By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Editor in Chief of TMO
First they created a dispute about the origin of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, then they installed idols of Hindu mythological gods and then they demolished the Mosque and finally they decided to partition the Mosque into three units, with one part offered to Muslims and the other two to Brahmans. In this process that spans over a few centuries, the Brahman politicians, religious leaders, fanatics and law enforcement agencies as well as judges acted within a framework that can easily be seen as prejudiced and biased.
Yet, the verdict on the Babri Masjid given by Indiaâ€™s Allahabad High Court has not settled the issue. With the exception of Brahman led fanatic and extremist groups, every group including several prominent Brahman intellectuals and lawyers in India feel that justice was not served on on September 30, 2010 when the Court decided to divide the Mosque into three portions with the main one going to Hindus.
With this judgment, a Judicial court for the first time in Indian history has given legitimacy to a myth that is based on fiction rather than facts.
Rama is a mythological king of Ayodhya in ancient Hindu religious texts. No respectable Brahman scholar accepts the story as true that was narrated by Valmiki, the poet harbinger in Sanskrit literature. Particularly the story that deals with the killing of a so called untouchable by Rama is widely accepted as mythology. Valmiki writes in the Ramayana that a Brahminâ€™s son died in a young age. In a Vedic (of Hindu religion) ruled country it was believed that everyone had a 100 year life. The Brahman went and complained to Ram about why his son died early. Ram thought that some un-Vedic things must have happened to cause this disruption in life span. He found out that Sambuk, a dalit (untouchable) was chanting Vedas. A person of the untouchable class was considered unclean and had thus defiled the Vedas, the Hindu religious text. So he killed Sambuk and the Brahman child became alive.
The writer of Ramayana, Valmiki according to Brahmin sources was a highway robber, robbing the people after killing them. After chopping their fingers he used to create and wear the Maala (necklace) of fingers of the victims, because of this his name was Angolimaal. Once, the robber tried to rob the divine sage Narada for the benefit of his family. Narada asked him if his family would share the sin he was incurring due to the robbery. The robber replied positively, but Narada told him to confirm this with his family. The robber asked his family, but none agreed to bear the burden of sin. Dejected, the robber finally understood the truth of life and asked for Naradaâ€™s forgiveness. Narada taught the robber to worship god. The robber meditated for many years, so much so that ant-hills grew around his body. Finally, a divine voice declared his penance successful, bestowing him with the name â€œValmikiâ€: â€œone born out of ant-hillsâ€. The Ramayana, originally written by Valmiki, consists of 24,000 verses in six cantos (some say seven i.e. including the Uttara Ramayana). The Valmiki Ramayana is dated variously from 500 BC to 100 BC. As with many traditional epics, it has gone through a long process of interpolations and redactions, making it impossible to date accurately.
It is this version of history that a judicial court has upheld, raising questions about the impartiality of the judiciary in India. Yet, a final verdict on Indiaâ€™s judiciary system is yet to be given. The Supreme Court will give the final verdict on the case that Muslims have appealed.
Doubtlessly, Indiaâ€™s youth deserve to be applauded for not falling into the propaganda of fanatics and zealots as they responded to the verdict in a civil manner unprecedented in India in similar situations.
The Allahbad High Court Judgment is biased. It is more like a religious and political statement than a judicial verdict. It ignores the rules of justice and defies the facts even the court upheld to be facts.
While it accepts the fact that no temple was demolished in the 16th century by Muslims to build the mosque, it describes the Babri Mosque a disputed land between two parties Hindus and Muslims. Paradoxically, it divides the mosque land into three parties Hindu, Muslims and Hindu Nirmohi Akhara.
While the court fails to identify the actual place of the birth of Rama, described as god, it gives the main portion of the Mosque to Hindus on the basis of the claim the Hindus made first in 1949 when they placed the idols of Rama inside the Mosque under the central dome. Ironically, the court acknowledges the conspiracy of placing the idols by a groups of Brahmans inside the Mosque without using the word conspiracy.
The court fails to record the fact that one of the parties was in contempt of the country by demolishing the Mosque and pitching its tent there while the case was being discussed in the country.
Based on a verbal narration of events in 1848 when parts of the premises were used by a section of Hindus as a place for Ram Alkhara and Sita Rasoi, the court allocates one third of the inside Mosque premises to Nirmohi Akhara while acknowledging the fact that the mosque was present since 16th century denies the mosque the actual location to rebuild itself. In fact, it echoes the Vishwa Hindu Parishad position that the mosque should be build in the adjoining land.
The Court verdict is not a unanimous verdict. Thus it is understood that honorable judges did not agree unanimously on the verdict. The minority of judges had doubts and questions about the validity and authenticity of the premises on which the verdict was based.
Obviously, justice has not been served in the case. The court by and large upheld the position of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bhartiya Janta Party and many other Brahman led organizations ignoring the historical facts that were established centuries ago. The court verdict sets a dangerous precedence because based on it, every historical Muslim monument and Mosque in India can be challenged and divided between parties who dispute their ownership.
The court decision is a set back to Indian judiciary and an alarming sign for minorities.
Under the circumstance, the Muslim community should defer the matter to the Supreme Court and if the judgment is upheld there, it should respect the decision believing the that ultimate justice will be served by the Judge of all judges. There is no need to defy the law and order and violate the sanctity of human life as was done by those who demolished the Mosque in 1992.
What is at stake in India is not a piece of land but the whole concept of justice. The court, unfortunately upheld historical fabrications, distortion and lies as the basis of its verdict and ignored the facts while acknowledging their existence.
The judgment is a sad precedence in the history of Indian judiciary. Perhaps Indian Muslims will learn a lesson from this by empowering themselves through education and economic self sufficiency.