The Ayodhya judgement has set a disastrous precedent for a secular democracy
The long-awaited verdict on the Babri Masjid came out on the 9th November, 2019. For those who have a background about the case and are interested only in the opinion, jump to Para 3. For others, I have given some high-level context below on the facts and timeline.
In 1949, shortly after the Independence of India, there were a few miscreants who planted Hindu idols in the Babri mosque in Ayodhya thereby making claims to the then disputed structure. It has been an agenda in BJP’s manifesto in each election ever since. In 1992, it was entirely demolished by the Hindu activists of Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) — part of the broader Hindutva brigade. This triggered riots all across India, and around 2000 people lost their lives. In 2010 Allahabad high court gave its verdict in favour of the right-wing nationalistic Hindu party’s claim of it being the birthplace of Ram Lalla, but also made provision of one-third of the site to be allowed for the construction of the mosque. However, that judgement got overruled on 9th November when the Supreme court gave the entire site to a Trust to build a temple and provided an alternative 5-acre site for a mosque. Amongst other reasons, the main one that was cited was an Archeological Survey of India (ASI) report that mentioned a ‘pre-existing underlying structure dating back to the 12th century’, a structure which the ASI said was of ‘Hindu origin’.
Now at a superficial level, you’d say a temple will be built, a mosque will be built, and so that should be a peaceful closure for all stakeholders involved and the country at large. However, I beg to differ and allow me to explain my point of view. I know what I am about to say might not resonate with some, and some might even abuse me calling me names, anti-national or simply religion-agnostic. Well, I agree with the latter and thoroughly believe I am agnostic of all religious ideologies as such. But I am definitely not an anti-national. I wouldn’t write this piece if I had not cared enough.
Ok, let’s begin. I have two major arguments against the judgement
a) We spent an extensive amount of time to understand what was underneath an existing mosque but have turned a blind eye towards the obvious.
A mosque that 1.3 billion people know existed but a temple that no one saw, no one could prove and is still inconclusive that it was a temple. Why are we so hell-bent in determining what was existing some 400 years ago? It doesn’t matter — it was a different era, a different regime — that was an authoritarian rule, there was no constitution. There were a billion unfathomable decisions that were taken in the past, and we can’t undo all of them. Just because someone took down a temple, are we going to take down the mosque? Ouch, we already did that right? Well, if the damage is already done, we could have fixed it at the least by upholding the Allahabad verdict. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Rather it has justified the unsanctimonious actions of those goons by rewarding them with precisely what they wanted — a Ram Mandir. How is this justice?
b) Secondly, the judgement openly condemns the demolition of the structure in 1992 but rewards the miscreants. This is flawed logic.
How do we punish a convicted rapist — by marrying him to the victim? Who is this punishment for in reality — the accused or the victim? Think. Similarly, who is being punished in this 134-year-old battle? — those miscreants who vandalised the structure, caused riots, spread communalism, fought vote bank politics on this issue, wasted tons of legal, media and national resources?
An to add to it, giving Muslims a consolation prize was like giving some money to the rape victims parent’s so they won’t press higher charges.
The highest court of justice, the constitution, the police, the media and the public at large has failed today. Sorry, it is no victory to celebrate. And certainly not a case to be brushed off saying it’s now resolved. It isn’t about ticking boxes but adding value that matters. And unfortunately, in this case, 30 years of hearings, 1000 page long judgement and a bench of 5 elite SC judges have added absolutely no value. It is no landmark judgement. If this case study is picked up by any Law school in the world, they won’t be able to justify it basis rationale alone.
Faith supersedes reasoning in India’s court of law — how ironic!
Superiority lies in doing good for others rather than blowing one’s own trumpet.
A lie told a million times over eventually becomes a truth — To the commoner. But dig deeper and look closer — it still is a lie.
My biggest disappointment is the fact that this would set a wrong precedent in the following years. A 134 year-long battle is won by the loudmouths based on the persistent sloganeering, mindless Newshour debates and polarising communalist ideas by our right-wing politicians. If you watch this documentary ‘Ram Ke Naam’ you’ll find out that the common public didn’t care whether a temple would be built or a mosque would be built.
It didn’t matter then, it doesn’t matter now.
Except what matters is that this idea has been normalised to the extent that some highly informed and opinionated social media influencers also seem to have accepted this without any questions.
Not a long time before we get manipulated into thinking that every decision is made for a greater cause — the HINDUTVA ideology and it scares me to imagine how that would dwarf the idea of a secular nation we call India.