R L Bhat
For all the bravura on faith and persona of Raama, the adjudication was all through over the title to the land of Ram janam bhumi -Babri Masjid (RJB-BM). There Auqaf and ors claimed that since there was a mosque there, it was a clear case of a title to the land whereupon it stood. Akhaaddaa & ors claimed that Muslims had no title since they had no presence, no possession there since 1885, and that Hindus had been continuously been in possession of the place and praying there for the last century and a half. Supreme Court adjudicated on the point and found it to be true and rejected the claim of Auqaf and ors and granted Akhada and ors title to the land. There the highest court of the land tore through the technicalities, which the courts rarely do, and came to grips with the reality beneath the whole issue.
The case of Auqaf and ors stood on the technicality that prayers in 1885 were an intrusion upon the mosque property, and violated of the Muslim possession which has continued in the ceaseless worship at the place since then. Thus, Auqaf and ors conceded continuous presence and presence of Hindus at RJB since. It also confirmed non-presence, non-possession of Muslims including absolute absence of nimaaz at the place since 1885, because the railing allowed the British Magistrate obviated it. While there is a sizeable population of Muslims in Faizabad, replete with mosques, there are no worth the name Muslims in Ayodhya. Probably, no nimaaz had ever been performed at the RJB-BM structure, except possibly that at the time of its completion. Apparently, there had never been any Muslim presence or possession there, except the fact of the structure itself.
Archeological data proved that the mosque had not been erected on virgin land. It showed that there had been temples there, in fact, layers of temples upon the very spot claimed to have been the birth place of Bhagavaan Rama. Clearly, Baabar’s general had got a masjid foisted upon the place believed by Hindus to be janma bhumi of Lord Rama. That formed the subtext of the ‘intrusion’. Hindu intrusion in 1885, and continuous presence since then, had been into a place which had been snatched from them, three centuries before, by the ruler with military might. The impingement on the mosque, the violation of Muslim deemed possession in late 19th century was clearly preceded by impingement upon janma bhumi and violation of the possession of Rama lala baraajamaan.
Auqaf and ors denied this earlier violation. Indeed, they claimed that the RJB-BM structure had been raised on virgin land and said that they would give up their claim if presence of Mandir was proved. That proving may not have been possible in the mid-20th century without demolishing the structure. By the end of the 20th century, the structure stood demolished and digging took place. Archeological survey also used remote sensing, to penetrate deep layers of the place. Together they came up with enough evidence to prove that beneath lay temple remains.Had the assertion of Auqaf and ors been sincere in their claim of virgin land below the structure, they would have given up the claim when Archeological survey made it clear that the mosque had not been built on virgin land but stood on temple remains, indeed layers of temple remains. In its sagacity, Supreme Court actually asked the parties to settle the case through negotiations, in view of the all the facts.
The facts showed through all the obfuscations forced upon it, including questioning the very existence of Ram, the birth and the spot being the exact one. As it is, historians are not settled upon the places mentioned in the epic Ramayana yet. There is no consensus on the location of the bigger land Lanka. The epic itself says that it was all written by Vaalmiikii, before anything had happened. That is how un-provable all religious lore’s are! Christianity has not proved the birth and exploits of their Savior described in the Bible. New research has raised credible doubt about Mecca being the actual place that Islamic lore invests it with. But for the devout, belief is all that matters. The Semitic religionists have killed many who questioned their beliefs, not religious or its philosophy, but the beliefs over concrete events on which their faith is hinged. The belief that Bhagavaan Rama was born at RJB is the reason why Baabar had a three-dome structure erected over the temple remains in Ayodhya where few Muslims live even today!
The wisdom of Supreme Court lay in seeing through the shroud of technicalities, recognizing that impingement of 1885 could not have been separated from the earlier impingement and decreeing that in these matters one encroachment was as violative as another, though they be separated in time. That took the title suit to the original imposition. If law does not countenance impingent of religious places, that principle cannot be limited in its application. The tourney of violations could not be stopped in the late 19th century but must go all the way to early 16th century, when the original violation was perpetrated with the military might of the day.
Ordinary courts could not have made that journey in history, and thereby could not scrutinize the genuineness of the claims and counter-claims and determine the true title. Only the highest court could do so and it did so with all facts in view. This is also true that such untrammeled thinking could not have been possible in a different time frame. It is not always possible to override obfuscations. Sometimes it is impossible. In 1937state elections were held under the Government of India Act 1935. Congress won all over, including the ‘Muslim seats’ and formed ministries. Next year Jinnah raised the bogey of Congress ministries oppressing Muslims. He formed a committee of Muslim League members, which came up with a list of ‘atrocities and injustices’ by Congress government on Muslims. Congress offered to probe the allegations, jointly. Muslim League did not respond.
The, then, Congress president Rajandar Prasad tasked Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to conduct spot investigation of the allegations. They scrutinized the allegations and found them to be totally false. The Governor General asked the respective governors to probe the allegations. They reported that there was no substance to the allegations. In a long drawn correspondence, documented in the GG’s papers, the Governors refuted the allegations, one by one, point by point. League’s allegations of atrocities and injustices to Muslims under the Congress Governments live to this day. Even Mujib Rahman spoke of them in his Prison Dairies. A psyche is being built today that the Supreme Court verdict was manipulated. This is not based on hard facts or analysis. It is just a perception that is sought to be buttressed on circumstantial inferences at best. BJP is definitely creating that impression.
The nomination of Justice Gogoi to Rajya Sabha, quick on his retirement, has not helped to dispel the impression. BJP had a definite role in awakening the national conscience over the impingement on janma bhumi, and none can deny the party that credit. But turning the judgment into a party triumph is as wrong as wrong can be. Dividends, inevitably, come for every karma. You need not press and pound it. When the Ayodhya judgment has come from an independent court, which everybody including the BJP claim it to be, then there can be no wrappingit around yourself. Doing so is politicking. It undermines the historic judgment and the sagacity the Supreme Court displayed.
R L Bhat