Tag Archive for 'Ramjanmabhoomi'

Insaniyat over insanity

In The Asian Age, Suneel Sinha has a different take on the Ayodhya dispute:

It is a strong logic. The answer to a dispute from mediaeval India might eventually lie in a mediaeval practice. Simultaneum mixtum first came to be used in the Europe of the Reformation less than five years before the conqueror Babar, or his general Mir Baqi, raised the Babri Masjid in 1528 AD over an area where Hindus believe a temple to Lord Ram stood. The Latin phrase was used in Germany to denote a church premises used by more than one type of Christian for prayer after Martin Luther decided in 1517 that the Vatican’s sale of indulgences was really a chit fund scam, something we in India are familiar with, and nailed his objections, the Ninety-Five Theses, to a church door.

As a principle, simultaneum was used with effect down the ages when no other alternative presented itself. It has involved the peoples of three faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — in Europe and West Asia. Much later, even if they didn’t know the word simultaneum, Hindus and Muslims worshipped at Ayodhya at the same time. In 1859, the British put up a fence to separate the places of worships after communal violence. It was a separation; it was also a forced sharing.

Simultaneum, or forms of it, is still the practice at disputed sites in the Levant, at sites considered among the holiest by the Abrahamic religions. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is today administered by no less than six denominations of Christians and the guardians of the main door of the church are still the descendants of the same two 12th century Muslim families appointed by the conquering Kurdish general Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, in 1192 AD. Christians were permitted by a treaty between Saladin and Richard I (the Lionheart) to visit the holy site after the Third Crusade failed to wrest back Jerusalem from Saladin. The region of the eastern Mediterranean is filled with historical examples of the absence of tension, and even collaboration, between religious groups, without, of course, the intervention of later politics. There are examples of Christian, Jewish and Muslim voluntary pilgrimages (Ziyara) to pray where saints and prophets were born or died. Just like Ayodhya. Right here in India we have the tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer Sharief, venerated by all faiths. More:

The Indian verdict

Why the Ayodhya judgment could signal the evolution of a new liberal politics. Shekhar Gupta in The Indian Express:

So here is my first takeaway from this September 30. When all else fails, politics, social dialogue, intellectual and philosophical argument lean on the system of institutions. But for that you have to build great institutions and also tolerate what you might sometimes see as their excesses.

Because it is the institutions that serve as both parent-cum-guardians as well as pressure valves of a democracy. Institutions that are seen as impartial, credible and fair protect us and our rights from the whims of the executive, vagaries of our politics and, most importantly, the tyranny of brute majorities.

The second takeaway has to be the pragmatism and wisdom of our politics. So far no political party has tried to exploit the verdict for partisan purposes. The Congress, you can see, is a little lost. Its government is simply relieved that the judgment has been accepted with unprecedented calm and equanimity so far. The party itself, having built its post-2002 politics (following the Gujarat riots) on aggressive, almost Nehruvian secularism, where the BJP was evil and its leadership vermin, if not worse, finds that a compromise such as this might help the larger common good rather than any grand turnaround to undo the injustice of 1992. That, in fact, will be and should be achieved by pursuing the criminal cases arising from the Babri Masjid destruction more vigorously. This judgment has in fact created space for just that, by distancing a criminal act from a purely civil property dispute. More:

Ayodhya: A place that cannot be fought

Political philosopher Jyotirmaya Sharma in Mail Today:

The Ayodhya issue is not a religious issue. It is not a religious issue simply because the understanding of what religion constitutes has radically changed since the nineteenth century. Just as our definitions of religion would be incomprehensible to someone in the time of the Buddha, contemporary understanding of religion also requires a careful delineation. A single glance at definitions of religion offered by a figure like Swami Vivekananda would be enough to illustrate the confusion that has been introduced in the definitions of religion. For him, any entity that bore the name of religion must shun dualism and work towards perfect unity; it must direct its efforts to banish divisions and promote fellow-feeling. It also must shun rituals, eliminate poverty and uplift the masses. Religion ought also to promote, argued the Swami, radical individuality and shun the credo of the mob and the masses. Religion, he argued, must manifest itself in the form of love, empathy and posses a weeping heart for the suffering of others; the idea of God for him is unconditional love. At other moments, he describes religion as action and ceaseless work. The consequence of such a broad definition of religion is not, as apologists of the Swami suggest, to make religion broad and tolerant, but to infuse a sense of religiosity in all walks of life. After all, if one carefully looks at these definitions, they could easily fit the description of a government working towards elimination of poverty, an NGO working towards social uplift and providing emotional and material support to people, or a football club working towards promoting brotherhood and fellow-feeling. In other words, all arenas of public life were covered by religion. Politics as generally understood was enveloped by these definitions of religion and the public and private distinction, so crucial in democracies was sought to be eliminated. It affected a totalization of both politics and of religion: the distinction between them was effectively erased and fatally compromised. Continue reading ‘Ayodhya: A place that cannot be fought’

Ayodhya verdict on Thursday, India on high alert

According to The Indian Express, the court will give its verdict at 3.30 pm September 30.

The verdict will be posted at www.allahabadhighcourt.in/ayodhyabench.html

From The Times of India:

The Allahabad High Court will on Thursday pronounce its verdict on the decades-old title suits seeking ownership of the disputed Ayodhya site, amid signs of an easing of the anxiety about its fallout because of the growing assessment that it may not throw up a clear winner or loser.

This announcement from the HC’s Lucknow Bench, which was set to pronounce the judgment in the sensitive case on September 24 but was stopped from doing so by the Supreme Court, came after the apex court dismissed an appeal to defer the verdict in order to explore the possibility for a negotiated resolution of the case which has defied several similar bids.

While it is sure to mark a crucial point in the fight for the site, Thursday’s verdict is not going to bring closure to the dispute either. More: and also here

Also read: Anxious moments for all parties

Athletes and Ayodhya: a two-dimensional security challenge — read here

Ayodhya verdict deferred

In a last-minute move India’s Supreme Court temporarily stayed a lower court’s verdict in a case whether Muslims or Hindus own the land under the 16th century Babri Masjid mosque in Uttar Pradesh state.

The mosque was destroyed in December 1992 by a right-wing Hindu mob. Many Hindus believe the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram, one of the religion’s most revered deities, and claim a temple in his name was destroyed 482 years ago to build the mosque.

The Allahabad high court was to deliver its verdict today (September 24). The Supreme Court would resume the hearing on the petition on Tuesday. More here.

Click here for the Ayodhya dispute timeline

The Ayodhya files in the Indian Express:

Among the questions before the court are whether a temple existed at the site before 1528 when the Babri Masjid was built; whether the site is the birthplace of Ram; whether the idols were placed in the sanctum sanctorum on the night of December 22-23, 1949; whether the property within the inner courtyard at the site was of the Babri Masjid and the land adjoining it a public Muslim graveyard; whether the suit filed by the Sunni Central Board of Waqfs was barred by limitation; and whether the Masjid had been abandoned by Muslims. The title suits have been on in the courts for 60 years, but the legal battle for rights to the site began in the 19th Century.

Click here to read how it has played out over the years.

This is Ramjanmabhoomi in The Times of India