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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Monday Musings: Ayodhya dispute needs a creative, inclusive solution

Construct a university at Ayodhya with the consent of Hindus and Muslims, said Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in a TV show recently

pune Updated: Dec 03, 2018 14:54 IST
Abhay Vaidya
Abhay Vaidya
Hindustan Times, Pune
Construct a university at Ayodhya with the consent of Hindus and Muslims, said Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in a TV show recently.
Construct a university at Ayodhya with the consent of Hindus and Muslims, said Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in a TV show recently.(HT PHOTO)
         

Our beloved Lord Ram lives in our hearts. He is there in our homes. As children we have grown up on stories about the valour and the strength of character of Lord Ram. As adults, we have wondered whether Ram was unfair to his wife Sita because of aspersions cast by a washerman. The story of Ram fascinates us all and ‘Ram Rajya’ is considered the gold standard of governance.

Recently, when Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia was asked on an NDTV show for his views on the clamour for a Ram temple at Ayodhya, he made a thought-provoking point: “I would suggest that we construct a university at Ayodhya with the consent of Hindus and Muslims. A university, where children from all faiths can study. Ram Rajya will come through education, not through temple construction.”

This suggestion from Sisodia is not new as others too have spoken in the past on similar lines. Such alternate views are certainly worth considering seriously.

If one thinks about it, there is no dearth of great and magnificent temples in this country and another magnificent Ram temple can be constructed virtually anywhere, anytime, without any difficulty. The issue at hand, however, is the politically-driven and communally-divisive agenda of the construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, at the very site where the Babri Masjid was demolished.

This issue has been the cause of enormous strife and communal disharmony in the country. Elections are being fought aggressively on the issue of a temple construction and the matter has become entirely political than spiritual. Temples are meant to aid a person’s spiritual growth and bring a sense of peace and harmony to society. Will any of this be achieved through temple construction at Ayodhya, given the unfortunate history, circumstances and complexity of the issue there?

What India needs is a creative solution that will satisfy all the communities involved and also emerge as a lasting symbol of communal harmony, and not disharmony. The Hindu-Muslim discord can be buried at once by envisioning a large complex at Ayodhya which will include a temple, a mosque, a hospital and a university as a part of this unique complex.

This country does not need another temple, howsoever grand it may be; but certainly needs more world-class hospitals and educational centres, especially in a state like Uttar Pradesh. We certainly don’t want our political parties to waste time on temple construction. We would prefer that they pursue the agenda of all-round development by focusing on the creation of employment and infrastructure.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 14:53 IST