Why This Goodwill Gesture Over Babri Now?

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Babri Masjid was demolished by a Hindu mob in Ayodhya on 6th Dec 1992.

M. Burhanuddin Qasmi | Caravan Daily

THE Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhomi dispute has been an unparalleled and extraordinary case in the entire history of India. For over a century, including the past 50 years post-Independence, the matter has been a source of Indian polity occupying the centre stage on the country’s political chessboard. Those pursuing divisive or polarising political agenda and those who claim to strive for inclusive secular cause, both have benefited from the never-ending controversy.

Hundreds of political figures emerged, shined on the Indian political firmament or paled; half a dozen political parties formed, elections won or simply went into oblivion, thanks to the perpetual Babri Masjid-Ram Temple dispute. Formation of governments, both at the Centre and in the state of Uttar Pradesh, were heavily influenced by this emotive issue in post 1992 India.

Previously, less popular political formations came to power riding on temple yatras while some others lost power owing to polarisation of votes over the Babri issue.

The ongoing legal battle, which commenced soon after Independence, continued till date between the followers of two of India’s major faiths – Hindus and Muslims. Post 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case and its land ownership suit combine has been the single major case for whole of India’s judicial system. Babri linked cases are till date under regular causelists in the Allahabad High Court as well as in the Supreme Court of India.

Thousands of human lives have been lost or affected directly or indirectly because of this dispute. Billions of rupees spent, enormous energy expended; Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), history archives and modern scientific methods from within India and abroad put to use to prove claims and counterclaims by the parties involved. India’s core value of unity in diversity had major setbacks due to this uncalled-for incidence. The whole world has been carefully observing our businesses in the apex court.

Of late, this title suite became a battle of secular, democratic and constitutional principle of India. Stronger muscle power group always tried to use force against the weaker side. Constitutional safeguards proved in vain when it came to protection of the Babri structure. Thus, it is time now to deliver for the honourable Court that in India judiciary is on straight path and is the “Supreme” power in our system of republic and democratic governance.

Having all these, aforementioned, to the credit of the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple saga, the apex court of the country took a good initiative to give its verdict on the land suit case sooner than later. Of course, the present ruling dispensation might have asked or paved the way for this fast-tracking legal stride, may be as a display of its political adventurism.

Nevertheless, following the failed out Court settlement attempt, regular hearing by a Special Bench in the Supreme Court of India, headed by the Chief Justice himself is going on for the last a few months. The case is about to be locked this week, a judgment is expected soon, as the hearings and arguments from all concerned parties are nearly complete.

Here comes one new twist from a few so-called goodwill shooters from among the Muslim Indians. One gentleman reported to proclaim that Muslims should donate the Babri Masjid land to Hindus even if they win the title suit. The other argues that the judgment on the title suit need not be delivered, instead Muslims should handover the land voluntarily to their Hindu counterparts.

To me, these are planted players to derail the ongoing and smooth constitutional and legal process in the dispute. It may not be in the interest of some political power houses if the honourable apex court gives a verdict on merits. Thus, agents are out on streets to sabotage the whole process ensuring further confusion among the masses and prolonging the political mess for future elections.

Muslims were ready for out of the court settlement, but it did not turn out to be fruitful. Muslims have unanimously stated they will respect the court verdict come what may.

Where then is this goodwill gesture theory coming from now? What are these people up to? Answers are but individual guesses. Are they party in the case in anyway or did they make any contribution in the matter in the past? The answer is a big NO in both cases. Who should make a goodwill gesture? Obviously, the opposite party in the case which is battling for it.

I think, without slightest ambiguity, Muslims should wait for the final judgment. Let the constitutional supremacy prevail in India – be it in favour or not. How can one speak about donating a piece of land when it is not yet clear whose land is this? However, goodwill gestures are very much in demand given the present boiling condition in India. But a goodwill gesture is a goodwill only when done with equal respect, mutual share and on the basis of equal justice. Else it becomes indirect fear mongering and plotting tactics of blackmailing to meet interests of the stronger player in the race.

If the Muslim party wins the Babri title suit in the apex court, then only they will be in a position to think and decide about its use in view of the sentiments of majority fellow citizens of India.

However, if the Court verdict goes in favour of Hindus, then the Muslim party already stated will accept the order. Hence, speaking about donating the land and goodwill gesture in this case makes no sense.

It is expected that the urgently called meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow, this week will deliberate on this issue too and take a wise and respectable stand for minority Muslims in India. We cannot make a whole long constitutional process undone simply for wishful good wills of a few agents. Contribution to keep India peaceful, its constitutional values are guaranteed, citizens’ rights are respected and its good image at the international stages is protected is everybody’s duty as citizen of India.

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(The author is director of Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre (MMERC), Mumbai and editor of Eastern Crescent, English monthly.)

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