Digging deeper – Ayodhya – land, suit, faith and history


On the eve of the verdict for the title suit of a stretch of land in Ayodhya, I found it really necessary to air my view on this. Before talking about my own view points, let me make it clear that, I have absolutely zero (read it aloud!!) intension to hurt anyone. Moreover, I will put forth my best efforts to keep this article free from the influence of all the rhetoric and politics that I have heard and read from various sources (and hence could have influenced my own view points which are normally based on facts and common sense).

Now that the initial “statement of purpose” is done, let me come to the scope of this article. Before I talk about what I am going to talk about, let me tell you what all I am not going to talk about. I will not be talking about whether there should be a temple or a masjid there. I will not be talking about whether it is just a political leverage item (many of us are still sceptical about that !!…). I am not a preacher hoping to convert you to the faith of non-violence (thats so futile a try to make…).

The focus of this article is plainly on the title suit – how much deeper should we dig ?

The court, on tomorrow, decides whether a temple complex existed at the disputed land about 5 centuries ago. Whether that is a point to ponder upon or not, that’s very much up to us. For some of us who are faithfully curious about it, yes it makes sense. For some of us, who are not so “faithfully” curious, it makes absolutely no sense when we hear that the whole country is at the verge when court decides there was a temple or not (fairly, its a matter to be studied by 8th standard children, and we adults should dread of going back to those history lessons). Anyways, wherever we stand – across the line, over the line, far away from the line… there is always this question that keeps on nagging my mind  – How much deeper can we dig?

The contentious piece of land at Ayodhya is owned by someone (that’s natural, every piece of land must belong to someone, if not the government). Is it the Muslim board of trustees or does it belong to the Hindu board of trustees. What difference it makes is an altogether different story having numerous politico-religio-law-and-ordero dimensions. Now, how does the court decide whether the land belonged to someone and not the other one. It sought the help of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) in deciding if there was a temple that existed almost 5 centuries ago. ASI must have done its job based on facts and evidence. We will know if there was a temple there or not.

Now, the next question – if there was a temple, and if it was later destroyed by some invaders to build a Masjid there – then what? By all common sense, we should know that history is dynamic. The place where my house now stands, might well have been a place of worship, a pond, a community hall, a tiger cave and what not. Now, the place where my house stands doesn’t require a title suit to decide if it is mine (technically my father’s, though), or if it is the tiger’s. Thats because, no one is interested in this piece of land. The problem about the land at Ayodhya is that, it involves the faith of a lot of people (or it is portrayed so).

So, back to our main thread – …then what ? It means that sometime in the 16th century, an invader (who was by all sense not-so-secular in outlook), came to Ayodhya. He ordered to take the temple down to dust and then build a Masjid there. Wonderful specimen of dictatorship !! We need to have a perspective on this. The time is 1528 or somewhere near that. The “invader” must have grown up in a single-religion family and community. He must have believed that his was the only religion and that his view is the only right one. And unfortunately, he must have been the only son (or the eldest one) who inherited the kingdom (and the not-so-sensible view points). He later came to Ayodhya, saw the beautiful temple and that hurt him (non-secular outlook). He ordered for it to be destroyed and he was happy (we could call him the Osama of the 16th century who would laugh out at destroying the Buddha statue in Afghanistan!!). And likewise, he found happiness in bringing down temples in other places too. The people of the temple-worshiping-faith must have got really hurt. Religion and faith is something that is really close to our blood in India, so can’t blame them for not being tolerant to the hippy-happies of the invader (would you be so tolerant, if someone comes from outside and kills your dear pet – tats not fair…). Ok, so we stand at this position.

A few hundred years later in time (in about 1850’s). The “hurt-people” wanted to make sure that their concerns are heard. They employed various ways to reclaim the land in which their forefathers had worshiped. This resulted in massacre and violence thereafter. Moving forward about a century later, (late 1940’s), the “hurt-people” once more tried to reclaim their lost faith. This time, for the surprise of the new democracy that India was, the parties went to the court – expecting (“hoping” would suit here better) a decision. And thus was born the “Ram Janmbhumi/Masjid Title Suit”.

Now, the invader hurt the “hurt-people” in 1500’s. Many must have died then. The “hurt-people” hurt back the believers of the faith of the invader in 1800’s through 1900’s. Both the sides were hurt more than enough. Scores can never be settled. There will always be another T-20 after this. So, in 1992, another instance of the hurt-people hurting the hurted continued. More than 2000 people died. The scores couldn’t be settled by counting the number of dead meats on the road. ASI couldn’t find out how many of the “hurt-people” were massacred or killed in 1500. So, since there are no accurate scores kept in 1500’s, we can’t extrapolate the numbers based on settling-the-scores theory.

Now, we are in 2010. About 30 crore Indians still live below Rs.20 a day. 5 crore children can’t go to school (to know if there was a temple in 1500’s which was later destroyed by someone…). 60 crore people don’t get potable water (they do want to know if there was a Masjid constructed over the ruins of a temple). Millions (you read it right) of children die every year due to HUNGER (ya, they are too curious about tomorrow’s outcome in the Allahabad court). In the midst of this reality, we are trying to hurt each other. A thousand of us trying to hurt a thousand of our own men, but of different faith. Well, lets compare a few hundred deaths to the list of 1 million deaths due to poverty – yea, thats right, none cares about the million deaths, everyone cares about that few hundreds. Has the faith blinded us ? Aren’t we the same hippy-happy invader who enjoyed destroying temples? Aren’t we the “hurt-people”, despite our different faiths ?

We could dig deeper and find, if there was a building of other faith much below. Lets dig deeper, even deeper and find if there existed a place of worship of the early Hommo Sapiens. Ridiculous as it may seem, incomprihensible as it may seem, but the fact is that we are trying to dig deeper into the past. Not with a sense of detachment, but with a passion to settle the scores. We are just turning into the same old 1528’s invader. This time the faiths have switched sides, but the “hurt-people” will remain the same.

Lets dig deeper to understand the fallacies of the past, the mistakes of the past – so that we don’t repeat it. But we are in twisted times, twisted ways and twisted faiths. Hope still persists in our Judicial system. There is Supreme Court, which hopefully should take another 100 or so year to pronounce the verdict in case there is an appeal for tomorrow’s. We could cherish in the fact that the slow judicial process would help in healing the wounds – though a cure is most unlikely.

I am optimistic about how the nation will receive the verdict. Millions will still die of Hunger, and not due to lack of faith (or blinded-faith). And the scores can never be settled, no matter if the ASI finds out the score in 1500’s. But, there is a silver lining. There is a lot of young people, who have not yet blindly read the history text books, who are unaware of the score-sheets, who are looking forward to a future of happiness and hope. They have faith. They belong to both the “hurt-people” and the “lately-hurt-people”. But they have something in common, they are not the hippy-happy invader of 1500, but a forward looking, past-understanding, happily-living lot. So, to sum up all the letters that have flown over (and through) your head, lets dig deeper, not in Ayodhya and elsewhere, but into our own ways of perception.

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4 responses to “Digging deeper – Ayodhya – land, suit, faith and history

  1. Hey Rahul.. nice one.. really took me into the depths of the case.. I belong to the portion of “young people, who have not yet blindly read the history text books”.. Never gave a thought on this topic, never tried to dig in too.. just knew that there existed such a case.. This article covered everything i needed, and the content is quite neutral too.. I can see a humanitarian heart speaking loud, or rather crying or pleading..
    Only thing i found a li’l distracting was the repeated use of some sentences and phrases.. It actually have a good effect at places but found wobbly too.. Because it depends on the mood of the reader.. (I know what you wanted by that repeated usage.. ;) but not in a great mood :P, sorry!! )

    All in all – I just loved this piece..

  2. Yepp i completely agree…very well written and complete with your views….but yes there has been a little trouble with smoothness despite the lucidity. anyway great job! :)

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