After long wait and marathon hearings, the Ayodhya Verdict was announced by the Supreme Court on 9th November. The Ayodhya land dispute has been a centre of political discussions and debates for decades. Ram Janmbhoomi issue was brought to the political limelight by Lal Krishna Advani who appealed to the Hindus to unite in the name of Ram. His exploitation of the cause gathered him support from the Hindu masses that led to the famed Rath Yatra all across the country.
Babri Masjid demolition was part of the plan hatched by the political think tanks of that time who polarized masses in the name of religion. The wide-scale communal riots in the country after the Babri Masjid demolition disturbed the secular fabric of India and made a devastating mark on India’s reputation on a global scale. Before Lal Krishna Advani’s Rath Yatra, Hindus and Muslims in India lived a life of harmony and brotherhood. The secularism gifted to India by none other than the first Prime Minister of India, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, still reigned supreme in the hearts of Indians.
Babri Masjid demolition was an attempt to disrupt secularism and communal harmony which are the trademark qualities of India as a country. This attempt might have disrupted the harmony of the country for a little while but it failed big time in the long run to provoke Indian Muslims. There was widespread fear and panic before the verdict was out over the law and order situation and prospect of communal riots.
The verdict accepted that Babri Masjid demolition was illegal, that a mosque was not constructed after demolition of a temple, but it went ahead to give the disputed land to Hindus for the construction of Ram Mandir. Muslims, on the other hand, were given 5 acre land elsewhere in the city for the construction of Masjid, which Muslims never demanded as they insisted the case was about justice over the disputed land.
Though the verdict went against the expectations of Muslims who hoped that justice would finally be done, still their patience, restraint and maturity stood exemplary and received praise from all sides. Jama Masjid Shahi Imam went out to issue a statement that the Ayodhya dispute must not be stretched further and this verdict must be considered a closure of the same. Assam Muslim Body announced a donation of Rs. 5 lakh for the construction of Ram Mandir while a Muslim Students Organization announced a donation of Rs. 1 lakh for the same in a display of universal brotherhood and communal harmony unprecedented in the history.
Sunni Waqf Board, which was one of the litigants in the case and which was at first disturbed over the verdict, finally conceded that it humbly accepts the verdict and reportedly refused to file a review of the same. Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board chairperson Zafar Farooqui gave a statement that shows his commitment to secularism and law, he said: “There are two reasons for our decision. First, it had been our clear stand from day one that we would abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict – whatever it may be. Second, this issue has created a deep divide in our society over the years. Going for a review could have meant vitiating the atmosphere again”.
This is the most important aspect of living in a pluralistic society where one learns to co-exist and respect other cultures and religions. India is a diverse country and it is the duty of every responsible Indian citizen to respect its diversity and maintain peaceful, harmonious relationship.