Home | Our vision | Our philosophy | Our objectives
 
  Seminars  |  Articles and publications  |  Research projects  |  Discussion forum  |  Photo gallery  |  Faculty  |  News and events  |  Feedback  |  Contact us
 News & Events...
 
 
 
 
THE AYODHYA VERDICT

05 Oct, 2010 - The Ayodhya verdict by the Lucknow High Court has
received an array of mixed reactions.  Historians cannot
understand how the honourable judges can trust the
questionable report of the Archeological survey of India
about the existence of a temple on the given spot before
a mosque was built. 
 

        THE AYODHYA VERDICT

The Ayodhya verdict by the Lucknow High Court
has received an array of mixed reactions.  Historians
cannot understand how the honourable judges can trust
the questionable report of the Archeological survey of
India about the existence of a temple on the given spot
before a mosque was built.  They also cannot see how
they can affirm that Rama was born on a particular spot
based on the fervent faith of a particular religious
community.  Lawyers feel that the dispute about the
ownership of the property has not been properly settled. 
The judges seem to have looked at the usage rather
than the law.  Quite a few feel that the Bench has
behaved more like a Panchayat than a court of law when
it suggested a three-way division of the land.  There is
some truth in all these allegations.  At the same time the
people in general have received the verdict in a spirit of
calm resignation, even relief, though the Muslims are
disappointed.  But their reactions have been muted. 
There have been no celebrations nor protests.  Everyone
agrees that this is not the end.  There will be appeals and
more arguments before the Supreme Court brings the
matter to a closure, unless there is a negotiated
settlement. 

Though it may be true that law and history have
not been fully respected, I wonder whether cases like
these can be decided purely on the basis of the law and
history.  The conciliation efforts between the parties that
have stared and the repeated expectations of a
negotiated settlement show that the legal approach may
not be the best in the matter.  Perhaps the judges could
have avoided the affirmation that this particular spot is
the birthplace of Ram.  There cannot be any historical
proof for this, only a tradition based on faith and
practice.  There seems to be no proof either that
someone destroyed a temple before building a mosque. 

But with these reservations, I think that the judges
have done a good job and triggered a search for a
compromise and negotiated settlement.  They have
approached the problem, not merely as a legal and
historical dispute, but as a conflict between two
communities.  There seems to be historical proof,
including the report of the Austrian Jesuit, Joseph
Tieffenthaler, that the Hindus and Muslims have been
using the space for worship in a spirit of accommodation
for centuries.  A conflict between them seems rather
recent and imported from outside Ayodhya.  So what the
Justices have done is to suggest that the Hindus and
Muslims continue to use the space.  But since joint usage
seems no longer possible under the present
circumstances a division seems to be the best course of
action.  So they have proposed a three-way division. 
Any negotiated settlement will have to be along similar
lines.  When the issue is seen, not purely as a legal
issue, but as an issue between communities, then their
beliefs, traditions, attitudes and convictions cannot be
ignored.  I think that this is an aspect of Indian
secularism that we have to take seriously today. 

In the same week that the judgement was
pronounced, there was another news report that came to
my attention.  Some people in Trichy were agitating
against the fact that there is wall in a Christian cemetery
marking special areas for different castes.  The wall had
been pulled down some years ago and was restored on
the legal ground that the land was privately owned and
that the owners had the right to divide it in any way they
wanted.  For any person who believes in basic human
equality such a legal argument will not be very
convincing.  Besides human rights, Christian faith also
will come into play.  Law is not the last word in human
relationships.  What is legal need not be moral, much
less religious and spiritual.  In social contacts facts need
not always be decisive.  Attitudes and perceptions, even
beliefs, do matter. 

I think that this is the approach that the learned
Judges have taken and I agree with them. I wish that
rather than going on appeal to the Supreme Court the
parties come to a negotiated settlement.  Ideally
speaking, if some Muslim legal experts think that they
can abandon their claim to the mosque-land if a court
determines so, I do not see why, in the cause of
communal amity, the Muslims cannot give the land to the
Hindus and build a mosque somewhere else.  There
needs to be a basic element of trust.  May be the Hindus
will have to give an assurance that this matter will not be
taken as a legal precedent to make similar claims
elsewhere.  The idea that Gods are legal persons should
be given up.  As the honourable Chief Minister of Tamil
Nadu, K. Karunanidhi pointed out, it seems silly to make
legal claims on behalf of a divine person who is said to
have lived millions of years ago.  The focus should be on
the communities and their inter-relationships.  In this
case law and history can take a back seat.

                                                      M. Amaladoss, S.J.

 
Author: M. Amaladoss, S.J.
Reference:IDCR

 
   News & Events
National Consultation
THE AYODHYA VERDICT
Peace with Nature : Bhopal to Gulf of Mexico
Kandhamal: Burning Still
Melody of Joy - 2010
Breaking Differences - 10th July 2010
Peace Rangers of IDCR
Sensitization Programme for The Implementation of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005
Caste and Violence
 
 
Powered By Jehovah Jireh Softwares