At last, faith in the law
The feral, giant creature of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute has been finally placed where it belongs: within the solid and safe confines of India’s legal system. This is no mean feat. For those who have been following the trials and tribulations of the issue since 1949 when Ram idols were placed within the structure of the then existing Babri Masjid, a chapter that seemed to refuse to be closed has come to a major pit stop, if not necessarily to a close. What had initially been a property dispute morphed into something far bigger, fuelled by the sectarian politics of the late 80s that reached a bloody climax in the destruction of the disputed structure in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 and its horrific aftermath across India. Thursday’s verdict was a product of its time. The India that dabbled in communal politics has given way to an India that finds such tremors to be obstacles, rather than short-term stepping stones for one community, in its path. But the high court’s verdict couldn’t have been left hanging indefinitely. For leaving such a sore open, even if it had become just a scar for an India that has moved on since, would have left the door ajar for future misunderstandings and calamities.
Political parties across the spectrum have reacted in a mature manner to the verdict. The judgement itself — essentially acknowledging the fact, for the first time, that a Ram temple did exist prior to a mosque being built over it, and the division of the contentious land between three petitioners — is a sagacious one that, importantly, leaves no ‘losers’. There
may be critics who will find the law sidestepping certain issues, but they are liable to be nitpicking, missing the wood for the trees. The fact that the Sunni Waqf Board will be taking the verdict to the Supreme Court is itself a recognition that the ‘Ayodhya’ issue has been contained within the frames of the law. A bull has been caught by its horns and credit should be given where its due: the law overwhelming what had always seemed — and had, during a dangerous period of our political history, become — a matter of extra-judicial misadventures and posturings.
One hopes that even with the differences that may remain after the High Court’s verdict, the judgement will provide enough impetus to all sides of the dispute to work out an amiable solution to independent India’s most voluble property dispute. In the end, what is of prime importance and deserving both relief and applause is that the verdict, in no mean way, has been a touchstone moment for Indian secularism and a definitive step away from the pit of religious fundamentalism.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- The biosphere reserve spread over an area of 5569 sq km contributes 38% of the total protected area network in Odisha. It is also one of the oldest tiger reserves in the country having the largest zone of Sal trees.
- For the first time, junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and jawans are taking part in the top conference, as reported by Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
- According to the IMD's forecast, Friday and Saturday may see higher daytime temperatures that could rise to 39 degrees Celsius.
- A police officer said that the complainant's status as witness in the case of alleged sexual exploitation against former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi is also unclear.
- On Wednesday, the Centre had submitted a note prepared by Department of Financial Services (DFS) which did not agree with the Court’s suggestion to create additional courts as a solution to curb high pendency of Section 138 cases.
- Indore was ranked the ninth-best city among cities with over a million population.
- Pradhan, who has written at least three letters to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding immediate implementation of 27 per cent quota for OBC category, in a statement said that his demand for reservation in jobs and education remain unaddressed till date.
- General Bipin Rawat said the Indian armed forces face greater challenges than any other military in the world and India urgently needs to bring about structural reforms in higher defence and operational organisations.