By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
Ahmedabad: Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid issue is once again at the centrestage as Supreme Court recently conveyed its clinical approach to the 70-year-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute, exhorting the parties on either side of the fence to treat it merely as a “land issue.”
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra has already indicated and amply clarified that this case would be treated as a “land title” issue and it would not be swayed by the history of religious conflict and violence associated with the Ayodhya site.
Even as the 2019 parliamentary election gradually approaches, the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid issue has caught everybody’s fancy. Attempts are being continuously made to amicably reach out-of-court settlement in order to prevent increasing animosity between Hindus and Muslims, and keeping the country’s secular fabric intact. The latest reconciliation attempt saw a meeting between Art of Living chief Sri Sri Ravishankar and renowned Islamic scholar and AIMPLB executive committee member Maulana Salman Nadvi, along with others. The meeting has come on the eve of Ail India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Executive Committee meeting in Hyderabad, which is being held from February 9 to 11, 2018.
The six-member AIMPLB delegation comprised of Maulana Salman Husaini Nadvi, UP Sunni Central Waqf Board chairperson Zafar Farooqui, former IAS officer Anis Ansari, Advocate Imran Ahmed, Maulana Wasif Hasan Waizi of Teeli Wali Masjid and Director of Objective Research and Development Athar Husain. The meeting was held for three hours n Bengaluru on Thursday, February 8.
The meeting has become a rage and being widely discussed in social media. Allegations are being made that the members of AIMPLB delegation, including Maulana Salman Nadvi are cronies. Some of the members are harbouring fanciful thoughts of getting Rajya Sabha seats. Questions are being asked as to why this unduly long wait of two decades when the idea of shifting of the demolished mosque is on the table. People on the social media are crying hoarse and called for exposing such elements as they are out to cheat the countrymen.
The three-judge Supreme Court bench has fixed March 14 as the next date of hearing in Ayodhya case as some of the documents and translations were yet to be filed before the apex court. The Supreme Court was likely to start ‘final hearings’ on a batch of 13 petitions over the 2.7-acre disputed Ayodhya site that is claimed by both Hindus and Muslims.
At this juncture, I want to put some pertinent and probing questions worth pondering to AIMPLB member Maulana Salman Nadvi, who is now being seen as seeking out-of-court settlement.
(1.) No single person can have the authority on behalf of Muslims of the whole country. Be it anyone. What made him wait for 30 years to take up that stand (that according to Humbali Fiqh a mosque can be relocated).
(2.) Muslims shouldn’t soften their stance on their valid right over the Babri Masjid premises. Not only it will set a very bad and counterproductive precedent but it will encourage the RSS for many more similar atrocities. It will open the flood gates for similar arm twisting tactics by Sangh and compromises by Muslims.
(3.) After lapse of more than 25 years and so many lives sacrificed and bitter riots in country and considering the inequality of strength of both the parties (Muslims & Sangh) any out-of-court compromise/ surrender by Muslims can’t be called as an ‘Amicable’ solution as some pro soft stand people are trying to justify their stand by using this word. It is like fooling themselves.
(4.) Any such agreement between Muslims, who crumbled under intense pressure and arm twisting and were forced to adopt a soft stand on this issue by accepting relocation of Babri Masjid just a year or few months before 2019 parliamentary elections, will confer immense strength and popularity to RSS and that will be translated into a massive vote harvest by them in the elections and their roots will become forever unshakeable from India with its all worst kind of consequences.
(5.) Are those Muslims ready for such eventuality? They should deeply ponder upon this bitter truth. There are more than 300 Masjids which are under the scanner of VHP, how can Muslims keep trust on Sri Sri Ravishankar for any future problem?
I humbly put some historical facts to those who are talking to relocate Babri Masjid. There was a mosque at that place from 1528 to 1949 and there was no dispute over that place. Till 1949, there was no dispute. There was a chabootra (platform) outside the Babri Masjid where Ram Lalla idols used to be placed and Hindus used to worship Ram Lalla there. In 1949, this Ram Lalla idol was suddenly placed inside the mosque.
After that, the Babri Masjid was locked up. In 1992, they demolished the Babri Masjid, and therefore this entire issue is going against the Muslims. For 400 years, Muslims were worshipping in this mosque, then it was demolished and now Muslims are being asked why this mosque is important to them. Till 1949, there was no aastha (faith) for the Ram Mandir at the site of the Babri Masjid.
There was a chabootra (platform) outside the Babri Masjid and Hindus worshipped there. And that chabootra too was built only in 1886. Lord Ram was born thousands of years ago, so this aastha should be that old, but then why did this aastha suddenly develop from 1949 only?
There are seven Ram Mandirs in Ayodhya and every mandir claims that Ram was born there. During Emperor Akbar’s time, Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitra Manas in Ayodhya. He sat in Ayodhya and wrote the Ramcharitra Manas. He too never mentions the Babri Masjid being constructed over a Ram Mandir. Tulsidas never wrote that Muslims destroyed the Ram Temple. Till 1949, there was no dispute over this place.
I hold the President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadvi in high esteem. It is unfortunate that Maulana Rabey Nadvi, of late, seems to be under immense pressure to make certain compromises, and that too which are fundamentally not in the interest of the community. In Lucknow, his crony members (some retired IAS officers suit boot types) are bent upon making deals. The community feels let down by their attitude.
[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is regularly contributes to IndianMuslimObserver.com – India’s First Online Muslim Newspaper. He is also Editor of Gujarat Siyasat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]