Today, the Supreme Court will begin the final hearing on the Ram Janambhoomi – Babri Masjid case. As the country awaits the verdict with bated breath, it could be a defining moment in Indian politics. Unlike the financial discourse guiding politics now, it was not long ago that communalism was stronger than now, and fundamentalism rued the day.
What will the verdict be? How will the people react to it? Will we be able to close a bloody chapter in India’s post-independence movement? All these and more answers lie in what the Supreme Court declares today.
So, what is the case all about?
On December 6, 1992, hundreds of right wing activists razed the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya claiming it was built on a temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.
This was not a beginning, but the anti-climax of religious politics where the right wing hasaccused the Congress of appeasing a particular community as vote-bank. But from the politics of appeasement was born a dangerous environment that threatened the very composite culture and national integrity of Indian consciousness.
Ayodhya is recognised as the birthplace of Lord Ram. In 1525, Mir Baqi, a general of the Moghul King Babur came to Uttar Pradesh and built the Babri masjid here. Since the time of the British, both Hindus and Muslims have worshipped their respective deities inside this temple-mosque compound, Muslims inside the mosque, Hindus outside the structure, but within the compounds.
Image Credit: moviemandu.blogspot.in
In 1946, an offshoot of the Hindu Mahasabha called Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha (ABRM) started an agitation for the possession of the site. The 1980s saw renewed claims by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and things came to a head in 1992, when unruly crowds climbed over the structure and demolished the mosque.
A subsequent land title case was lodged in the Allahabad High Court, the verdict of which was pronounced on 30 September 2010. In the landmark hearing, the three judges of The Allahabad High Court ruled that the 2.77 acres of Ayodhya land be divided into 3 parts, equally between the Hindu Mahasabha for the Ram temple, Islamic Waqf Board, and the Nirmohi Akhara.
The Supreme Court suspended the High Court’s verdict in 2011. Today, on the 25th Anniversary of the demolition, Supreme Court will give the final verdict of the case. One hopes that the authority is able to give a judgement that is fair, and mostly able to retain peace and harmony. While those contending realise that a piece of land cannot be the criteria for jingoism.