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Islam and Politics ( 5 Apr 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Ayodhya Dispute

By Syed Mansoor Agha

Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

05 April 2017

It is the Lord’s wisdom that the Jama Masjid built by the Mughal Emperor has gained wide acceptance. The people from all around the world flock into this mosque. During five time prayers, thousands of people bow down to Allah Almighty. During Ramadan, Dozens of Huffaz (those who have completely memorized the Quran) recite the Qura’n in separate congregations.

After the British victory in Revolt of1857, they occupied the mosque, stationed their soldiers and tied up their horses here. But later, the mosque got rid of the plague. Again the voice of Azan started echoing from its minarets. In recent times this mosque has occupied central significance. It is the blessing of Allah Almighty that whoever is associated with it gets reverence.

A mosque built by Babar’s commando Mir Baqi in Ayodhya was also unique of its architecture. This mosque also gained fame, but confronted with wrong reasons. We are incapable of endowing Shahjahan with certificate of purely sacred work or doubting the sincerity of Mir Baqi. However the question is: why do both the mosques have contradictory destinies?

After migration, the beloved prophet (peace be upon him) reached the city of Madina and aimed at building a mosque. The land he chose for the mosque belonged to two young orphans, and when they came to know that prophet (peace be upon him) was keen on acquiring their land in order to erect a Masjid; they offered the land to him as gift, but the prophet insisted on fixing cost of the land and finally bought it by paying more than the then prevailing price. The mosque was built. Hence we can imagine that Mir Baqi made a mistake while selecting the land of mosque on the hill of Ramkot in Ayodhya and did not take the precautionary measure that the beloved prophet (peace be upon him) exemplified.

One can guess that the governor of Awadh was subjugated by the temporary interest of the political conflict and domination; otherwise there would not have been any quick conflict on this issue. The ruling of Babar in India was established in 1526. The mosque was built in 1928-1929. Babar’s grandson, Akbar ascended the throne in 1556. The controversial issue of this mosque also reached his court. The emperor found out the middle way-out and built the Chabutra (size 21 × 17 feet) in the compound of the mosque. The idols of Ram Lalla, Sita Ji and Lakshman were placed here and worshipped. Henceforth, this is also called “Masjid-e-Janamsthan” (Babri Masjid: the late Syed Sabah al-Din Abdur Rahman). These idols were later placed in the sanctuary of the mosque in December, 1949.

Until 1949, the issue was local. But after the division of India, the situation changed. This became the doctrinal issue of Hinduism, according to which, Shri Ram is the Avatar of Vishnu and came in the Treta Yuga that lasted 1,296,000 years, then the Dvapara Yuga started and lasted 864,000 years and the current  Kali Yuga is thought to last 32,000 years. Accordingly, Rama was born approximately 21, 00000 years ago. It is considered that Vedas were revealed millions of years ago. However, none of the old scriptures of Hinduism supports the view that Rama was born at the place where the mosque was located. But this discussion is futile.

We know that even in our times no one can properly determine the exact birthplace of any distinguished personality. But it is being claimed that Rama was born at the same place where the Mehrab of the mosque was located. He was born before the recorded history began. Even Mr. Gandhi said he was not a historical entity. But after all, the belief is belief; which has been made the political tactic.   

The political process of promoting this belief had started immediately after independence, when, on the night of 22-23 December 1949, the idols were placed in the central dome of the mosque. On December 6, 1992, the law breakers, at the behest of Mr. Advani, Ashok Singhal and other Sanghi leaders, gathered at Ayodhya. In the presence of these leaders, the old place of worship was demolished and then on its debris, the temple, though temporally, was built under the government surveillance. Who played which role? No need to explain. All the major events took place during the Congress government; Idols were placed, the door was unlocked, the temple was founded and the mosque was demolished. It is also crystal clear that the Sangh Parivar affiliates, with their tactical tricks to turn it into the national problem and gain political advantage, has outperformed the Congress.        

The Liberhan Commission report mentioned the interim Prime Minister Gulzari Lal Nanda among those who played the pivotal role in the development of irregular Hindu nationalism. But the report missed many names which are still fresh in our minds; such as the modern minded Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (who has been regarded as the real Hindu PM by the Subramanian Swamy), his Union Home Minister Sardar Buta Singh, Minister of State for Internal Security Arun Nehru who lured the people to unlock the mosque and turn it into the temple. They performed the Shilanyas (laying the foundation stone) for the temple a little before elections. Even Rajiv Gandhi started the election campaign with the promise of establishing ‘Ram Rajya’.    

Although Rajiv Gandhi was born into a family with political background, he was not interested in politics. In 1980 after the death of the younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in a plane crash, he was called for the participation into politics. After 4 years, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated, he was appointed as the PM of India. These coincidences were not alternative to the political experience. He was greatly dependent on the consultants. Prior to unlocking the mosque, the serial ‘Ramayana’ was aired on the Indian National TV channel ‘Doordarshan’ for one year. This led to flourishing the impressions of Shri Ram’s greatness in the minds. After that, the events such as unlocking the mosque, performing the Shilanyas for the temple, reminding the forgotten lessons of ‘Ram Rajya’ etc were the political strategies antithetical to the enlightenment and progress. Rajiv Gandhi’s short-sighted consultants unaware of secularism were not less responsible for that. All these were not merely coincidences. But rather, the efforts were made to provoke the religious emotions in order to gain political interests. After the very incident, the movement of Hindu Majoritarianism developed but the Congress went with this wind. Advani and VHP stole the environment made by the Congress.     

The dispute over the ownership of Babri Masjid Land is not new. The dispute was dragged to the court for the first time In January 1885, when Mahant Raghubar Das filed suit no 61/280 of 1885 in the Court of the Sub-Judge, Faizabad, claiming that the place on which the mosque is located is Ramjanambhoomi [birthplace of Ram] and seeking permission to construct Ram Mandir there. But the sub-Judge, Pandit Hari Krishan Singh dismissed the suit. After the idols were placed inside the mosque in December 1949, the cases were filed from both the sides. Their appeals are pending in the Supreme Court for 69 years. Describing the issue as sensitive and serious, the Chief Justice, JS Khehar suggested both the parties to resolve their dispute through negotiations. He even offered to act as a mediator between the two sides laying claim over the historic site in Ayodhya. This suggestion has become the matter of discussion.

As a matter of fact, the court must indeed decide on the land ownership. The government should implement the Court decision. However, a number of precedents can be tabled here to prove the point that the court decisions are not implemented in the sensitive and serious issues. In the chapter of this dispute, it is very clear, if the decision goes against Muslims, they will sit in their houses. But if the decision goes on the contrary to that, there may arise, in the entire country, the storm of killings that would be more dreadful than the communal riots taking place after demolition of Babri Masjid 1992, and Gujrat riots in 2002. Keeping this possibility into mind, we should give response. It is high time we adopt the far-sighted and smart political strategy. While expressing our standpoints, we should be careful for gaining the sympathy of the neutral Indians and the goodwill of the Supreme Court. Dismissing the suggestions of the Chief Justice during the press conference is extremely unwise and inappropriate.         

In June 2003, Kanchi Shankaracharya made a proposal, asking the Muslims to hand over the Land of Ayodhya as a gift for the construction of Ram Mandir. In return, Muslims would be allowed to offer Namaz in more than one thousand mosques currently under control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The 9 percent reservation in jobs will be given to Muslim youth. Hindu organizations would also desist from raising the “Mandir-Masjid” disputes in Kashi and Mathura. There were reasons at that time to be sure that this proposal had the support of BJP government. The proposal comprising of two pages was sent to AIMPLB. But both Muslim groups as well as VHP rejected this proposal. (Hindustan Times: June 22, 2003)   

We should keep in mind the current situation. Just as the Enemy Property Act was approved with the deceitful support of the opposition parties who did not oppose it in Rajya Sabha, so the law can also be made for Ayodhya Ram Mandir construction. It is most likely that no opposition party will take any step against it. Then, what will be the situation? How difficult would it be for us to live?   

It should also be noted that the temple, after if it is built, will receive massive donations, but where will these donations go? What will these donations be used for? Analyzing it, I wrote in a lengthy article of mine (27-28 June 2003): If Muslim groups accept the proposal of Shankaracharya on condition that the government shall take the responsibility of constructing and managing the temple under its control and expel VHP from it; it will then be effective in disclosing the VHP agenda and crush the cobra of sectarianism. After all, if VHP is bent on building the temple on its own, it will not be difficult for the people to understand that the purpose of VHP is something else other than Ram Mandir. The mutual agreement of all the parties is necessary for any settlement. However we should keep in mind that this is not the issue of only an organization but the entire nation. Though our standpoint is dismissed by the VHP, it should get down to the hearts of those moderate religious Hindus whom the sectarian elements lure for gaining power.    

The common Hindus have belief in Shri Ram and are interested in the construction of a temple in the name of Rama. However they are not interested in its getting constructed by the VHP. Just as capturing the thousands of mosques is openly hostile, so too if the debris of this mosque are captured, it will help change the environment of sectarianism”. But sadly, this was not heard. Why should it be heard?! It has become the issue of personal leadership. The leaders caring for the entire nation are no longer available now. Today’s leaders work for provoking emotions and the common people shrouded in emotions blindly accept them. If Muslims had accepted the proposal on condition that about thousand mosques currently under control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) would be unlocked for Muslims, no one would have been held accountable to Allah Almighty. As for building a mosque in Ayodhya in return, let them know, if the mosque is not rebuilt on its original place, then we do not need any mosque across the Koshi.     

 (Courtesy: 30 March, 2017 Roznama Hindustan Express, New Delhi)


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