Saturday, October 02, 2010

2010 is a Century away from 1992

Byline by M J Akbar: 2010 is a Century away from 1992

The judiciary is more important than any judgement. Every institution has to be larger than the sum of its members, and nowhere more so than the two pillars of any democracy, Parliament and the judiciary. We do not question the legitimacy of an enactment just because we disagree with an MP, or indeed because the behaviour of some MPs might have been unsavoury. A substantial section of India did not agree with the passage of the nuclear bill in 2009; and evidence of bribery in the process was produced, in a fairly dramatic way, during the proceedings. This did not mean rejection of the new legislation.

Lawyers and leaders of the Sunni Waqf Board and the Muslim Personal Law Board have repeatedly insisted that they would abide by the judgement of the courts. This was both reasonable and acceptable [reason and response have not necessarily been in harmony during the long years of contention over a mosque at Ayodhya]. When the Allahabad High Court’s judgement was deferred by the Supreme Court for about a week, there was perceptible irritation among Muslims, who wanted the verdict to be announced. It is possible that such enthusiasm for the verdict was fuelled by a conviction that it would go in favour of the mosque. The lawyers and spokesmen of the pro-mosque movement displayed considerable confidence. Maybe they forgot that however strong a case may be, it still has to be argued before a bench, and complacency within the legal team can be a fatal flaw. It was the BJP that was preparing for an adverse judgement. Its leader L.K. Advani told his party repeatedly, before the verdict, that any remorse should be a private matter; and that violence was unacceptable. No disputant can deny the validity of the judicial process, or the credibility of the verdict, just because it has gone against you. That is counter-productive, and dangerous.

In any case, the Allahabad judgement is a semi-colon, not a full stop. The full stop will come when the Supreme Court takes a decision. Muslims will appeal, as they have every right to. It must also be stressed that in 1993 Parliament clearly prevented the courts from hearing any other dispute over a place of worship. Ayodhya is the last case of its kind.

The Congress, which has been in power during all four of the nodal points of the Babri-Ayodhya controversy — opening of British Raj locks and installation of idols in 1949, laying of the foundation stone for a temple in 1989, destruction of Babri in 1992 and the verdict in 2010 — is in search of an “amicable” settlement. The game is old and evident. Congress policy on the dispute has rotated around one axis: how to get the temple built without losing the Muslim vote. The BJP has no Muslim vote to lose, but it will support such an under-the-surface endeavour since it obviously wants a temple to be constructed as soon as possible. If Ayodhya is the last case of its kind perhaps we should let it complete the legal process as well. We have waited for six decades; why not wait for two or three years more? Any “amicable” settlement is unlikely to be amicable enough for everyone, to begin with and could degenerate into a “political” compromise that could strain community relations rather than heal them. If we trust our institutions then we must trust them fully.

Pseudo-politicians in religious garb seem to be able to resist everything except temptation, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde. Unsurprisingly, therefore, one or two professional fire-breathers among Muslims have reinforced their reputation for irresponsibility by indulging in provocative rhetoric from the pulpit. They have not learnt from the experience of a quarter century what the price of provocation is, for they never suffer. The price is paid by the poor and the defenceless, who live in crowded lanes, defenceless on one side and hostile on the other.

There is however some good news. Those who think they can still milk hysteria are blind to an extraordinary change that has come about in India. The people, Hindu or Muslim, have risen above the negative politics of communal conflict; they want the positive politics of development. Faith and worship still matter to Indians; and it is a very limited, elitist, Delhi notion that the young have moved beyond religion. They have not. But they have moved beyond violence as a means to their horizon.

The impoverished have understood a simple, important, over-riding reality: poverty is not communal. There is no shortage of places for prayer in our country. There is, however, a shortage of self-respect, since every hungry stomach in our country is a sharp slap on the face of the idea of India. 2010 is a hundred years away from 1992.


Devaki said...

Sir, I think you are right--it should go to the Supreme Court. The High Court has evidently not taken the archaeological evidence into account.

Manish said...

The Archaeological evidence in this case is conclusive enough except for our lefty left historians. It also has the support of two academic departments of archaeology outside India.

The title deeds of all parties not being in existence means that the court would give relief to all three.
So the tri partite verdict.
It is time to move on. Owaisi Shah with support from some of our foolish media personalities seems to want to put confrontation back into the agenda.
MJ Akbar is right, our youth want spirituality, after all Sanatana Dharma accepts all forms of worship and that will not cease even if the English media portrays it otherwise.
It would be wiser for Waqf and other parties to come to a negotiated settlement. The longer this dispute go on, the worse the public perception of Waqf

Common said...

Muslims of India (Shias, Sunnis and 70 more muslim sects or firqas or castes) should surge forward and handover Hindus of India/World their rightful holy places at Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi and many other places. These holy places of Hindus are as same as Makkah and Madina to Muslims of India/World. Always we should seek advice of our own moral conscience and our mother and never forget that Hindus are only seeking worship places which rightfully belong to them. Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi and many other worship places are sacred places to all Hindus till eternity.

God forbid my mind - Harming and cheating people, demolishing a temple or any other worship place to construct a Masjid on it will never bring peace or earn respect to any person or his mother or his family members or his community members till eternity. We need to continue with the ages old tradition of the land where we have taken birth and live, in the truest sense, from our hearts. Generations of our family members are there some where far away underneath deep sands of the soil of Bharath/India for ever.

We have inherited traditions from India/Bharath and also imbibed traditions from far away shores of Arabia & Persia just by listening and observing the good will of Sufi sahebs and countless Hindu people beginning
from our neighbourhood lanes, vegetable markets, agricultural land places and Paan beeda shops. These humble people
have the power to melt all differences till eternity. This is the divine power of Hindu
people. May God bless them and give them all the strength till eternity. They are and will continue to remain forever as a big tree to all others in India. Muslims of India, on their own, should contribute resources for the re-construction of numerous temples that have been demolished and ransacked in the past by any of their family or community members.

This is a challenge in best spirit to all Muslims of India. Beyond this, religion is a non-issue. What are we waiting for. Lets just surge ahead and spread kindness to all people. After these problems and sticky perceptions are brought to closure, we can cleanly think and focus on daily work and nothing but quality work and at least contribute something towards providing services to others. There are several among us who do not have food to eat daily, do not have eye sight, have mental health problems or suffering from life long health and other personal problems. We have to grow each day by solving our daily problems, the way trees and plants grow naturally. Best wishes.

Many People will be uncomfortable with these discussions and the situation they have got into, at this point in time, while others are planning homelands in far away planets and talking about space vacation trips, there will be exceptions till eternity but I am only saying the ground facts as they are.

Seeker of Truth said...

Mr. Akbar writes "There is no shortage of places for prayer in our country." There is wholehearted agreement for this in this often unheard section of Indians:

Anonymous said...

Respected M.J.Akbar sahab,

The solution of Ayodhya is in the Constitution amendment. The eternal truth is one and the same for all. It can be included in the Constitution. It can satisfy all, because it is scientific also.

With regards.


The Ayodhya issue is 400 year old. It can not be solved with physical evidences only. We have to trace back the history.

In the world, India is only country, which has not given importance to God in the constitution. With this the faith and belief has not been defined. The spiritual freedom is a very high concept, which can be adopted, only when people have the knowledge that that God is within them as consciousness. It has been ignored.

With this as soon as the people became free from spiritual bondage, it has opened the door for corruption and other self interests, hence have forgotten the National integrity. India is facing the consequences of this or we can say curse of God.

All religious scriptures are saying one and the same thing in their own language. What is God? it can be proved scientifically now. Without the help of God, we can not maintain peace and harmony in the country. The eternal truth is one and the same for all. It is not a illusion.

Only amendment in the constitution that the eternal truth is one and same for all we trust in it, can solve all the problems. It will unite the Indians, who have been divided into Hindu and Muslim on the name of faith. It was a political conspiracy of the British Government on the name of faith, Mandir - Masjis is a symbol only. The symbol, which has divided Indians, the same can unite also. No doubt with it India will emerge as a great Nation in the world.