Ayodhya Verdict Reflections

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Updated links listed below in addition to the report from the Wire
The issue
A Mosque stood in Ayodhya, it was built in the 15th century – since then, Tulsidas, the writer of the Ramayana, (that is the story of Lord Ram) did not write that Lord Ram was born in the precise place the mosque stood, Swami Vivekananda, the Icon of Hinduism did not mention it. The surveys did not indicate that, nor there any stories mentioned by the who is who in the Hindu community in the last 500 years, but a political party found Babri Masjid to be advantageous to have unlimited political gains.

Babri Masjid was built in 1528 when Tulsidas was seventeen years and was born and raised in Ayodhya. He made no mention of it in the Epic Ramayana that all of us revere. Poet Allama Iqbal had praised Ram lavishly in his poems.  Mr. Advani, then a major political figure of Jan Sangh (Political party) led the march for the destruction of the Mosque and it was destroyed on December 6, 1992.
BJP (formerly Jan Sangh) struggled with their divisive agenda and could not convince the Indians to give them more than 2 seats in the 545 member parliament for nearly 40 years. The politicians found it beneficial to politicize the issue and claimed that the Masjid was built on the where a temple stood before, and Lord Ram was born exactly 11,000 years ago where the Mosque stands now. Advani, rallied up people to go destroy the Mosque.
They destroyed the mosque, and right after that they got some 60 seats, and when they stirred up the passion of the Hindutvadis (Political Hindus and not regular Hindus) to build Ram Temple they gained a majority in the house of Parliament. These politicians got the taste, and have continually sowed the seeds of discord between Hindus and Muslims and earned a supermajority in 2019 elections.  But still, they were elected by 37% of the Indians and not even a majority of Indian voters. The election systems need to be corrected. The governing party or the coalition should have at least 51% of the votes cast to be a true representation of the people.
Today the Indian Supreme Court rendered their judgment to give the land to the party to build the temple.  There have been great suggestions to deal with the issue including the one proposed by Dr. AbuSaleh Shariff to build a cultural smart city https://thewire.in/rights/ayodhya-as-cultural-smart-city-a-mediation-proposal-for-the-mosque-temple-dispute

Ayodhya reflections – November 9, 2019

What is right, and what is wrong is the question, and where lies the future of Indian democracy, or we a Mobocracy or a Democracy?  

Courtesy – Indian Express

We are Indians, supposedly smart people, and we have to find a way out of this, we cannot let our motherland rot, and our society to degenerate into rejoicing belittling each other.  
Since three this morning, I’ve deleted hundreds of notes I wrote, some of you may be going through similar struggles, yet some of you are happy as a lark. I want to put together some reflections on how to steer India in the right direction.  
 What got me out of the freeze is this song, continually reverberating on my mind. The song is calling on us. https://youtu.be/kfAVUOvip9g
 The questions are not legal but moral.  
The Muslims would have had a moral upper hand, had they donated the land voluntarily with no conditions. If the Hindutvadis (not Hindus), the self-appointed representatives of the Temple issue came for more, the Hindus would have stood up and said, enough is enough. Bring us the jobs, and do not throw dust in our eyes.  
 The Hindu community’s will to welcome the gesture was not reflected by the men who represented them either. They could not assure the Muslims that after donating the Babri land,  no more claims will be made. Instead, we will focus on creating jobs, providing clean water, increasing literacy, bringing prosperity, and living our lives in the pursuit of our happiness.  
 Both communities have failed in their moral duty (not legal or political) to find a solution, given the destruction of a place of worship is wrong, and the destroyers were not punished. We have to remember, we don’t live under kings and dictators who did what they wanted to do, be it Muslim or Hindu Kings. We are a democracy, and we have a say in how we are governed.   
 Did the men who represented Muslims care for the opinion of the majority of Muslims? What would they have chosen? Muslims, at large, always wanted harmony and a cohesive India where we got along. It is not a religious issue; it is a social and political issue. Muslim kings have donated lands and grants to build temples, and we have a great history of that. Forget them, the ordinary Muslims amongst you, and I have donated to temples and vice-versa.  
Did the men who represented Hindus care for the opinion of the majority of Hindus? Would Lord Ram have Approved their actions? Again, as Indians, we find songs to reflect our thoughts. A majority of Hindus would agree with this song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGKFMGwFDwo
  Would Indian governance reflect the will of the people or the decisions of a few? 
What kind of India do we want? What kind of civilization do we want to foster? Do we want to continue to live in hostility propagated by political parties (not Hindus or Muslims)? When will we start living freely again?  When we have the jobs or places of worship?  
I urge my fellow Indian-Americans to think in terms of liberty, freedom, and not as Hindus or Muslims. We can find answers at least for our sanity, the sanity that purges ill-will, malice for the other, and let us live freely, and see eye to eye and invite each other in our celebrations and commemorations.   
We cannot let a few on each side, strip our goodness that we are blessed with from birth.  
Please share your thoughts, let there be no blame, but solutions to build a cohesive India. Both Muslims and Hindus have agreed to abide by the verdict of the Supreme Court, and I am glad to see numerous reports from the Muslim community to let go of it, and I am sure the same sane voices dominate in the Hindu community. It is not a victory or a defeat, and it is a moment of reflection about us, what kind of people are we?  
 Neither Hinduism nor Islam should be used to fight political battles. Let’s fight to keep the sanctity of both religions intact. In the long run, we would be smart to keep religions to bring us together and now sow division. Let’s say words that bring us together and not divide us. We have to move on.  
 Here is another inspirational song. If only we realize that none of us will live forever, then why create pain for others?
Jeevan aani Jaani Chaya, jhooti maya, jhooti kaya,
phir kake ho sari umariya, pap ki gathri dhoyee
If you revisit this site on Sunday, you will find links to many good pieces from both sides of the issue.
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, author, speaker, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. His new book American Muslim Agenda is available on Amazon, coming up are books on Human Rights and Pluralism. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His information is linked-in.

Added from the WIRE – several links follow this

Ayodhya Verdict: Hindu Parties Will be Given the Disputed Land 
What’s the news?
The Supreme Court has pronounced its unanimous verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute case, saying that the Hindu side – Ram Lalla as represented by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad – will be given the land where the Babri Masjid once stood. The Sunni Waqf Board, the main Muslim litigant in the case, will be given five acres at a separate “prominent” location in Ayodhya as “restitution” for the 1992 demolition.
A board of trustees is to be set up within three months for the construction of a temple, by the government of India.
The judgment delivered today is in the civil dispute case. The criminal case on the demolition of the 450-year-old mosque is still pending in a special CBI court in Lucknow, with the hearing at its final stages.
The Supreme Court’s 1,045-page-long verdict handing over the land rests on a narrow and extraordinary claim: that the Muslim side has not been able to provide documentary evidence that namaz was offered in the mosque from the time of its construction in 1528 until 1857, when it enters the annals of colonial law thanks to a riot in Ayodhya.
The crux of the judgment
The court says:
1. The mosque was constructed well over 450 years ago;
2. There is proof that Muslims worshipped there from 1857 till 1949 when they were illegally ousted “through an act which was calculated to deprive them of their place of worship”;
3. But because “they have offered no evidence to indicate that they were in exclusive possession of the inner structure prior to 1857 since the date of the construction in the sixteenth century…on a balance of probabilities, the evidence in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims.”
The glaring contradiction
What the court leaves unaddressed is the purpose the mosque served between 1528, when it was built, and 1857. If a dispute arose in 1856 between local Hindus and Muslims over the manner in which the inner and outer courtyards were being used, it stands to reason that this is because Muslims and Hindus had both been praying there from before.
In any event, when the court categorically asserts, “The Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago,” it accepts that it was a mosque throughout its lifetime and thus, by definition, would have belonged to Ayodhya’s Muslim residents.
Yet, because the Muslim plaintiffs were able to provide no evidence to prove their exclusive possession, the court handed the site over to the Hindu plaintiffs.
Incidentally, nowhere have the Hindu plaintiffs, other than the Nirmohi Akhara which the court ousted, been asked to demonstrate exclusive possession of the site. Hindus worshipped at the Ram Chabutra outside the domed structure and the 18th-century European traveller Jozef Tieffenthaler’s account of the worship of the ‘bedi’ or chabutra/cradle is cited, but that is an ambiguous source for the claim that Hindus worshipped inside the inner courtyard, let alone on an exclusive basis.
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The Chilling Message Underlying the Ayodhya Verdict
In his analysis titled, What the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya Judgment Means for the Future of the Republic, Siddharth Varadarajan writes, “We can pretend all we like that the Supreme Court was only adjudicating a civil dispute. In reality, there was nothing ‘civil’ about what a judge on the bench had called “one of the most important cases in the world”. The dispute cannot be divorced from the politics which has driven it.
“The title suit in the Babri Masjid matter has been going on in one form or the other since 1949, mainly in the local courts of Faizabad, where Ayodhya is located. It took on national salience in the 1980s, thanks to the cynical politics of Lal Krishna Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Rajiv Gandhi and now forgotten villains like Vir Bahadur Singh and Arun Nehru.
“BJP leaders conspired to demolish the mosque on December 6, 1992 and a Congress prime minister, Narasimha Rao, allowed them to get away with the crime. So did the Supreme Court judges of the day. Twenty-seven years later, the demolition case continues to linger. Even when all the evidence is recorded and arguments made, the outcome is uncertain since it is no secret that the prosecuting agency – the Central Bureau of Investigation – has wilfully dropped the ball.
“Justice S.A. Bobde was right in observing in his interview to India Today – shortly after being named as the next Chief Justice of India – that there have been governments of all political persuasions in power at the Centre since the Ayodhya case first emerged in 1949. Yet the fact that the case ended up being fast-tracked at a time when the party in power today is one which openly asserts its partisanship on Ayodhya should be reason enough to worry us about happens next to the Republic. We already have a draft citizenship law which explicitly excludes Muslim refugees. A law has been passed that criminalises the abandonment of wives by Muslim men but not men of other religions. It is not a coincidence that the only part of India where the constitutional protections of liberty and free speech do not apply is a Muslim majority region, Kashmir.” 
The fate of the criminal case
“Although the apex court chose to prioritise the title suit, fast-tracking it to a conclusion, it is not clear how the bench intends to firewall the demolition case from its verdict on the ‘property dispute’.
“In his interview to India Today, Justice Bobde denied the court was attempting to legislate on matters of faith. He agreed with the suggestion that it is a “title dispute” but added: “The only thing is, what is the character of that structure, that is one of the issues. But even that structure doesn’t exist any more.”
“Shouldn’t one of the issues then also have been why “that structure” – i.e. the Babri Masjid – “doesn’t exist any more”?
“The main beneficiaries of the Supreme Court’s verdict on Saturday are organically linked to the main accused in the crime of demolishing the mosque. If the Ayodhya case is really one of the most important cases in the world, it is so because of the violence it is associated with. Can this case really be settled, then, without punishing the leaders responsible for that violence?
The five-judge bench represented an impressive array of judicial wisdom. Sadly, their judgment offers no pointers on this fundamental question,” Varadarajan adds.
 “We Respect the Judgment, but Not Fully Satisfied
Reacting to the verdict of the Supreme Court on Saturday in the Ayodhya title dispute case, leaders of various Muslim organisations have said that they “respect the judgment but are not fully satisfied by it.”
At a joint press conference organised by several Muslim organisations such as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Jamaat e Islami Hind and Jamiat Ulema Hind, the community leaders stated, after studying the judgment in detail, that they will in all probability file a review petition.
Addressing the media in the national capital shortly after the apex court unanimously decided in favour of building a Hindu temple on the disputed land, Zafaryab Jilani, the lawyer for Sunni Waqf Board, said, “We will go through the judgment in detail and with the assistance of our seniors like Rajeev Dhawan and most likely we will file review petition.” 
The leaders expressed their contentment at the fact that the apex court had observed that the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 was “an egregious violation of the rule of law” and that the act of placing idols inside the mosque was wrong.
“This gives us hope that in future no other mosque in the country will be touched,” said M.R. Shamshad, another lawyer who represented the Muslim side.
Speaking at the press conference, Syed Sadatullah Hussaini, president of Jamaat e Islami Hind said that they totally endorse the statements made by the lawyers and “whatever will be decided after consultation we will stand by it”.
However, the AIMPLB has expressed its disappointment over the verdict. “The judgment is against our expectations. We presented solid evidences to prove our stance. Our legal committee will review the judgment,” tweeted the AIMPLB handle, on behalf of its general secretary.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that after a meeting of various Muslim organisations, it has been decided that they will not accept the five acres of land offered to them in judgment.
Congress Hails SC Verdict, Owaisi Says Apex Court ‘Not Infallible’
The Congress today hailed the decision of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya title dispute case and urged all parties and people to accept the same. The party stated that it is in favour of the construction of a Ram temple and noted that the verdict has closed the doors on all those who have been indulging in the politics of religion over the issue.
Addressing a press conference, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “The Supreme Court has today honoured faith and belief.” (In fact, the court explicitly said it was deciding the case on the basis of adverse possession and not faith and belief.) He announced that a meeting of the Congress working committee had been held under the chairmanship of party president Sonia Gandhi where the Supreme Court verdict was discussed. Therein, he said, a resolution was passed on the issue of the verdict and the construction of a Ram temple. 
Answering a question, Surjewala said the Congress was in favour of the construction of a Ram temple.
He said after several years, the Supreme Court has settled this issue with its ruling. “I feel this issue is not of giving credit to any party, person or organisation. With this decision of the highest court of the land, the doors have been opened for the construction of a temple of Ram Lalla but this order has also closed the doors on Bharatiya Janata Party and other people who were playing politics of religion and faith on this issue.” 
“The Supreme Court is supreme but not infallible”
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen leader and MP Asaduddin Owaisi while reacting to the judgment said: “The Supreme Court is supreme but not infallible.”
Asking if he did not have the “right to express dissatisfaction with a judgment”, he noted how the All India Muslim Personal Law Board too had said “it is not happy” with the ruling. He said he too was “not satisfied with the verdict”, but had “full faith in the constitution”.
He also cautioned about the repercussions of the ruling. “A victory of faith over facts – that is what this judgment is. There are several other mosques in this country over which ‘Sanghis’ have laid claim. Now we are wondering if they will cite this judgment in those cases too.”
On the issue of the five-acre land the court allowed to be given to the Muslims, he said: “We were fighting for our right, we don’t need five acres of land as donation. We should reject this five acre land offer, don’t patronise us.”

A list of articles to be added for the next few days:

  1. India’s Court clears the way for Hindus to build a temple over Mosque – https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/indias-supreme-court-clears-way-for-a-hindu-temple-at-countrys-most-disputed-religious-site/2019/11/09/ca0b54f8-0258-11ea-8341-cc3dce52e7de_story.html 
  2. Ram’s Political triumph – https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/ayodhya-verdict-supreme-court-ramjanam-bhoomi-babri-masjid-case-6112164/
  3. Indian court favors Hindus – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/world/asia/ayodhya-supreme-court-india.html?searchResultPosition=1
  4. Guarded Opposition respects Janam Bhoomi verdict https://theprint.in/politics/guarded-opposition-respects-ram-janmabhoomi-verdict-aap-alone-to-welcome-it/318655/
  5. Supreme Court says Temple should be built where Mosque existed – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/09/ayodhya-verdict-hindus-win-possession-of-site-disputed-by-muslims?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVS19XZWVrZW5kLTE5MTEwOQ%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&CMP=GTUK_email 
  6. My House Demolished, I Go To Court, Court Awards The Land To The Demolisher, Is This Justice? https://countercurrents.org/2019/11/babri-masjid-verdict-my-house-demolished-i-go-to-court-court-awards-the-land-to-the-demolisher-is-this-justice
  7. Ayodhya Explained – https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/ayodhya-explained-supreme-court-faizan-mustafa-says_in_5dc694b5e4b02bf57940668f  
  8. Indian supreme court gives in to hardliner Hindus http://www.albiladdailyeng.com/indian-supreme-court-gives-hardliner-hindus/#.XcZ6cXDhVoc.whatsapp
  9. Tushar Gandhi on Ayodhya – https://indianexpress.com/article/india/tushar-gandhi-on-ayodhya-verdict-if-godse-tried-today-he-would-have-been-murderer-and-patriot-6111521/
  10. SC judgment is not the end of the story, it is the beginning: VHP – http://muslimmirror.com/eng/sc-judgement-is-not-the-end-of-the-story-it-is-the-beginning-vhp/
  11. Ayodhya : Imagined, framed and legitimized – http://muslimmirror.com/eng/ayodhya-imagined-framed-and-legitimized/