Today is Gandhi jayanthi. It has been two days of magical peace and harmony since the verdict on the Ayodhya dispute was pronounced by the Allahabad high court. Gandhiji would have really been moved to tears at this non violent gesture by the people. It is still unclear to me if this rare display of maturity is due to the heavy security deployment that thwarted the political parties always responsible in creating havoc or is it due to the majority community, the Hindus, having a sense of vindictive victory or if the people have really moved on. Whatever may be the reason, the end result is certainly a huge sigh of relief to every sane normal citizen.
But that doesn’t mean that the decision was welcome with open arms. What would have become a bloody street fight in the previous years has transformed into a raging debate. Is this India growing past its juvenile years? I certainly hope so.
There was a lot of talk, by everyone, prior to the judgment of completely accepting and respecting the verdict. And it seems these people didn’t really expect such a creative and sagacious judgment that would pave way for the long pending dialogue leading to harmony. And this, people could not take and have started whining about.
Some people may call it “Ayogya” verdict but I disagree.
I am a person who doesn’t respect any religion or faith. I am not a blind hardcore atheist but experience and history has provided ample evidence leading me to loathe. While every religion no doubt preaches love, peace and harmony among other things, the practitioners seem to overlook that and squabble about the superiority of what they follow, leading to deaths and destructions. They however do tactfully use the “love, peace and harmony” card when necessary to defend their faith. Yet, even I found this decision to be a good one and hence my description of sagacious.
I, like many, accept that the destruction of the mosque in 1992 was a shameful act, not only unlawful and unconstitutional at a legal level but also dividing people at an emotional level. The perpetrators must be prosecuted accordingly, irrespective of their supposed stature. But the main argument against the verdict is that it is based solely on faith and sentiments and not on hard evidence. That to me is a hypocritical and inane argument.
People’s lives revolve around some kind of faith and belief or the other and no one can deny it. Even atheists like me believe that belief and faith are futile. So it is impossible and impractical to leave out belief.
Why would a witness take an oath in the court of law that is supposed to be not a place for faith and sentiment? And why the statements of a witness under oath are trusted and why are witnesses committing perjury punished? Shouldn’t a scientific method like a polygraph be employed instead?
Then, it is incredibly bold and dumb of the “intellectuals”, that comprise of Muslims, including Zafaryab Jilani and “secular” Hindus, to argue that faith of Hindus alone cannot be a valid point that is central to the verdict and hence they are grieved. The very same people (Muslims) later go on to say that according to Shariah law, not even an inch of the site that had a mosque could be acceded and hence they will appeal to Supreme Court. Now, what is this Shariah? Is it some kind of scientifically moderated and proofread document or a document that is considered sacred solely by faith?
People argue that if such a precedent is set by the judiciary where matter of faith outweighs evidence then a lot of litigations may follow suit and win purely on the matter of faith. I don’t say it is wrong but it is a lot more complicated than such oversimplification.
Faith is like sedimentary rock. Over a period of time since its inception, layers upon layers of embellishments pile up. Every generation adds its own version that leads to amplifying the potency of the faith.
Let us suppose a building that was built upon a site previously owned by Nithyananda (the infamous scandalous sex guru from Bangalore) was demolished by his followers. When the followers claim faith in him for their actions, it won’t stand ground, at least in his own generation, as people will be fully aware of his “deeds”. How many skeptics are out there to expose the Sathya Sai Baba? But look what has happened to Shirdi Sai Baba. Because he belonged to a couple of centuries earlier, enough time has passed to strengthen his cult. That is same with Ayyappa, Raghavendra or even Guru Nanak, Jesus and Muhammad. In fact, that has what has happened to each and every historical or mythological prophets, god-men and good-men. Their cult has strengthened over time. Even Jesus and Muhammad had to famously face tremendous opposition in their own times. Whereas Jesus chose the path of peace, at least according to apostles, to maintain his claims, Muhammad chose a hardened path. But after thousands of years, their faithful outnumber their skeptics (who culturally belong to the same religion as the faithful).
The same way no one can prove that Abraham of Judaism, Christianity and Islam existed and corroborate his story, and yet he and the stone he placed at Kaaba, Mecca are revered unconditionally by the Muslims, it follows that Rama, Krishna etc of Hinduism and their associated places of sanctity must be understood and respected as well just based on the built up faith in the Hindus.
Faith and sentiments cannot apply to just one party.
Moreover, this has always been an issue involving faith and sentiments, which can never be resolved by any courts anywhere. But because people took it to courts, they would have to abide by the court’s decision. Our democracy and legal system sure allows the party dissatisfied with the verdict of lower courts to appeal to higher courts but that sort of hardened stance overlooking this golden opportunity of reconciliation is going to be disastrous. If and when the Supreme Court pronounces a clear winner and a loser, I hope people would have moved on further and would show absolute apathy and indifference to any provocations that may ensue.
I had been advocating a school or a hospital at that site. I believe that education and health are the basic building blocks for the development of our country. One more school/hospital will go a long way to help achieve progress compared to one more (or less) temple/mosque. I, like all, had never expected this kind of a verdict by the court. It truly reflects our secularism. Granted, I haven’t read the judgment like most but the end verdict is truly sagacious, despite what some pundits describe as “panchayati”.
Irrespective of further appeals, at least now, that a verdict of sorts is out on this, we can move on to addressing the real burning issues that hold value to our future, like poverty, unemployment, corruption etc. As I said elsewhere, shall we now concentrate our energy and spending on prosecuting and awarding some prison time aka Krishna janmasthan to corrupt authorities, starting with Kalmadi and co?