New Age Islam
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Interfaith Dialogue ( 19 Oct 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Masjid wahin Banayenge’ is stupid

Insistence on rebuilding the Babri mosque in the same place is asking for the moon

By Jamsheed Basha Abumohammed, Chennai

18 October 2008


Gulam Muhammed is one of the many Muslims in this country who think that the demolition of Babri Masjid was a mistake. That is all right, but to say that it was the symbol of Muslim religious freedom in India is nothing but stupidity on the part of such people. The Babri masjid was in disuse for the past several years before its forced demolition by Karsevaks in 1992. It was locked with idols of Ram Lalla kept inside, when there was a dispute. Hindus revered that place as according to them it was the birth place of Rama. To Muslims it was a mosque built by Babar.


It is also a fact that it was Rajiv Gandhi who opened gates of the disputed structure for Shilanyas in 1989. That was the turning point of the entire issue followed by a movement to build Ram Temple in that place. Mr. L K Advani even suggested that the Hindutvawadis were prepared to relocate the mosque elsewhere in Ayodha. To Muslims it was not acceptable. What followed thereafter is history.


The larger question here is what Muslims should do to resolve this thorny problem that has divided the two great religious groups? I, for one, believe that there must be a give and take policy. When Tipu Sultan could build a mosque and temple side by side in Srirangapattinam and that exist even today, why not Ram Mandir and Masjid side by side? This would not be acceptable to puritans among the Muslims or to those who spearhead the cause of the demolished mosque. Liberal Muslims of India feel otherwise. They always believe in peaceful co-existence between various communities. One should go a mile further to buy peace for the country.


To stand firm on false prestige would do no good to the Muslim community and to dream of rebuilding the mosque in the same place is asking for the moon in the present circumstances. Muslims must understand one thing first. They are a leaderless community in the first instance. They do not have a party of their own that could claim to be Muslim representative. Secondly, Muslims could never get back the disputed site as the court that could not decide the case in so many years, would not dare to give its verdict in the near future. All odds are against them. To Muslims, it was a symbol of their pride; to Hindus it was a symbol of their prestige.


The question is what if one mosque is lost? Will that be the end of Islam in India? That apparently is not the case as Muslims have lived without the mosque since 1992. What benefit Muslims would draw by their insistence on rebuilding the mosque in the same place?


Jamsheed Basha Abumohammed is a Chennai-based independent columnist.