Originally Published 2010-10-07 00:00:00 Published on Oct 07, 2010
While the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board is well within its right to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court verdict, the VHP's reaction does not represent the people's will at all.
The Allahabad High Court Verdict on Ayodhya and the Popular Will
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court delivered its verdict on the Ayodhya Ramjanmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute on Thursday last, September 30 and it has now sunk well into people’s psyche. Both Hindus and Muslims and their self-appointed leaders have weighed the verdict’s pros and cons. After calculating the cost profit ratio, these leaders have also decided their respective strategies and are beginning to act upon it simply ignoring people’s will and the popular desire.

The crux of the verdict, delivered in three separate judgments, is that the disputed site is to be distributed among the three contending parties, namely UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram lala Virajman.

Naturally, the verdict can be faulted on many counts and the puritans would gladly do it. But then, when and what point of time ideal justice has been delivered? The time factor plays a crucial role in the delivery of justice and its perception than reality counts.

At present, the majority, let us say 90 per cent of Indian people, particularly those of the northern Hindi speaking belt, has welcomed the verdict and want the contentious issue, which has bedeviled the communal peace for over 150 years in general and sixty years in particular, to get resolved so that their country and society can move ahead and national resolve can be strengthened.

The rest 10 per cent, whom I call fringe elements, marginal parties and desperate groups want the issue to prolong so lest their stakes become irrelevant. So we see, UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has decided to appeal to the Supreme Court and similarly the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has declared that it wants total land at the Babri Masjid- Jamjanmabhoomi Mandir site. The VHP call reminds one of the Kauravs in the Mahabharata when they had declared “not an inch” to Pandavas.

In a nutshell, the vocal, aggressive, assertive and self-righteous elements on both sides of the communal divide are opposed to the verdict and they are also vehemently trying to stop any effort for an out the court settlement between the contending parties. 

While the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board is well within its right to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court verdict, the VHP’s reaction does not represent the people’s will at all. The Board has also authorized its chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqui to discuss any proposal of an out of court settlement with its members, and thus have taken a reasonable stand on the issue.

On the contrary, the Saffron family, particularly the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, has taken a position which does not reflect the popular mood. The entire Sangh parivar -- the RSS, BJP and the VHP -- are speaking in different tones. The Sangh parivar, which was consistently saying that courts have no jurisdiction in matters of faith, are now jubilant over the last week’s verdict.

The Sangh parivar is now talking of reconciliation which to them means that Muslims should relinquish their claim and allow the construction of a Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir. Surprisingly, it is being claimed that since Ayodhya is not sacred to Muslims, they should forgo their right in Ayodhya. It is also being said that the construction of a Mosque near the temple is being opposed with a view to avoid any communal trouble in future.       

It is indeed an interesting argument. This group of leaders, in their late seventies, is totally out of touch with the rapid development at the ground. They continue to live in the last two decades of the last century when they were able to mobilise large sections of the country’s youth for the Ramjanmabhoomi movement which culminated in the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992.

The VHP leadership, falling back on their experience of the Mandir movement, is trying to mobilise the public opinion through Dharam Sansad which served the Parishad’s cause in the past. But the crucial question here is whether the VHP and the Bajrang Dal will be able to drum support among the youth. The urban as well as the rural youth is now ambitious to fulfill personal goals. The attendance and the presence at the morning RSS shakhas (RSS drills) have been constantly falling in the last few years. There have been serious attempts to re-energise, rather re-invent, the once popular RSS shakhas, but till now, there has been an erosion in the RSS strength. It would have been better for the Sangh parivar to take stock of the existing ground realities.   
The most amazing response has come from the leaders of those parties which moved to seats of political power in the wake of the Mandal and Kamandal phase of the Indian politics. Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who came to power on the strength of the Muslim support, has tried to regain his support among the Muslims by trying to become their spokesman.

Expressing his disappointment, Yadav chieftain said that the judicial verdict was delivered by “keeping faith above law and evidences”. His stand on the verdict smacks of total lack of understanding of the law and the circumstance of the case.

While Mulayam has tried to stoke the fire by attempting to invoke passion among the Muslims, his co-brother in neighbouring Bihar, namely Laloo Prasad Yadav, has been somewhat restrained in his comments. It is possibly because of the impending Assembly elections where he has a tough political battle ahead.

The outcome of the Bihar polls would largely decide the course of the country’s politics. If Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar regains the levers of power in Patna and the Congress improves its position, then the message would be loud and clear. The Muslims would have delivered the judgement!

(The author is a Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

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