Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid in New Delhi | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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The Supreme Court of India has finally given its verdict on the Ayodhya title dispute case. No riots have broken out, as some had anticipated, and Muslims are being asked to move on with the consolation prize of 5 acres of land for a mosque, elsewhere.

The demolition of the Babri Masjid by Hindu mobs in 1992 led to a trail of blood and communal hate that India’s Muslim community is still shuddering from. Bizarrely, the onus of maintaining peace, now that the land has been awarded to Ram Lalla, rests with the Muslims even though the Muslims bore the brunt of the rioting in 1992. Over 700 Muslims died.

So, what do Muslims move on from? The fact that in 27 years, there have been hardly any convictions in the riots that ensued after the Babri demolition, while 100 people have been convicted, mostly Muslims, for the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai?

No judgment will set right the fact that the Babri Masjid demolition changed how Muslims lived and felt in India.

Muslims believe that the demolition and now the verdict in the Ayodhya case has once and for all settled their status as second-class citizens in India. And that the ‘aastha’ of Hindus matters more than the sentiment and security of the Muslim community in modern India.


Also read: SC Ayodhya verdict shows Muslims can be given public space if it doesn’t adulterate Hindu one


The aftermath of Babri

India’s rhythm changed after the Babri demolition.

I have heard stories of how Muslim people used ‘Hindu’ names while in public and how men decided to shave their beards or not wear skull caps in the months that followed. Mixed Hindu-Muslim neighbourhoods gave way to religion-specific ghettos. It became okay and even an intellectual exercise for people to throw the ‘Muslim invader’ argument at ordinary Muslims in everyday conversations.

More importantly, it brought back the ghost of Partition for many of us. It reminded us that modern India hadn’t buried it, instead it had morphed it into unabashed everyday bigotry against Muslims, shouted from the rooftops, celebrated and used as political bait. India never managed to put the genie back into the bottle again.


Also read: With Supreme Court Ayodhya verdict, two decades of Ram bashing politics must end


The big brother syndrome

Today, when Muslims talk about the Ayodhya verdict, many still insist that it is irrelevant whether the verdict was in favour of a mandir or a masjid. But the fact that the Supreme Court itself recognised that the demolition of the mosque was illegal and that placing of the idols in 1949 was a desecration of the mosque, and still gave the verdict in favour of those who believed it was originally a temple made the verdict seem contradictory. The judgment clearly states: “The destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law.”

Yet, the very act of placing the idols and destroying the mosque has been used to suggest that Muslims did not have exclusive possession of the inner courtyard of the disputed land, thus making the case stronger for Ram Lalla.

India’s secularism today is undergoing a major identity crisis. If secularism has been watered down to one community behaving like the elder brother, like Mohan Bhagwat once aptly put it, and the other behaving like the younger brother who must listen and obey to the elder one, then India is clearly not a democratic secular country. It is, at best, a feudal country based on archaic patriarchal norms.

A lot of Muslims are also of the opinion that a bitterly disputed land seeped in communal tension should not have been given a religious resolution. Making a hospital, a school or a community worship area in the disputed land would have been a better and more nuanced message for secularism and unity in a diverse country like India. But the cry of ‘Mandir wahin banayenge’ had turned this matter into a battle of egos. The whole idea of destroying a mosque to build a temple had somehow turned into an act of retribution for something apparently done in the 16th century. It tragically ended up as a weapon to humiliate an entire community that has nothing to do with Babur or the Mughals.


Also read: Two readings of Ayodhya verdict: legalising Hindutva or separating site from structure


Will it stop with Ayodhya?

Muslims also speak about the implications of sending out a message of cooperation by supporting the idea of building a grand Ram Mandir in Ayodhya now that the verdict is out. Before the verdict, some suggested that the disputed patch of land should be ‘gifted to Hindus’ by Muslims. In an ideal world, this would be considered a goodwill gesture. But the buck doesn’t stop at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya alone. Be it Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini that went inside Taj Mahal to read the Shiv Chalisa or former BJP MP Vinay Katiyar calling it ‘Tejo Mahal’, the Hindu Right-wing in India has claimed that several mosques, mausoleums and monuments as once-Hindu temples.

Last year, the Hindu Mahasabha’s Aligarh unit had referred to Qutab Minar as ‘Vishnu Stambh’. Many in the Hindu Right believe that Red Fort was built by a Hindu ruler. The RSS, according to a Wire article, has long followed the theories of self-styled historian Purushottam Nagesh Oak, who founded the Institute for Rewriting Indian History in 1964.

Some of Oak’s bizarre claims were – Kaaba in Saudi Arabia was a Hindu temple, and Mohammad Ghaus’ tomb in Gwalior, Salim Chisti’s mausoleum in Fatehpur Sikri and Moinuddin Chishti’s makbara in Ajmer were all Hindu structures that fell to Muslim conquests.

So, if supporting the construction of a temple in Ayodhya is a goodwill gesture, how far will one have to go to maintain it? Will the ‘gift’ stop with Ayodhya?

Ayodhya verdict also set a judicial precedent for India. Although fought as a title dispute case, it has been constantly marred by claims of faith and sentiments in court. Once a land title suit is seen in this light, there is no going back. A 116-page addendum in the Supreme Court verdict has gone into great depth about how the Hindus believe this land to be Ram Janmabhoomi.

Who knows, may be we will hear ‘Tejo Mahalaya wahin banayenge’ next?

They say a successful negotiation is one where each party walks away a little dissatisfied. However, in the Ayodhya case, only one community is walking away dissatisfied. The Muslims insist they have accepted the Ayodhya verdict. But do they respect it? Clearly not.

The verdict has wounded the Nehruvian idea of India.

The author is a political observer and writer. Views are personal.

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48 Comments Share Your Views

48 COMMENTS

  1. Funny thing is, over 90% Muslims of india voted for Pakistan in 1945-46 elections including muslims from Bombay and Madras presidency. Indeed, Jinnah himself got elected by Muslims from Bombay. 15% Muslims got 23% of land during partition. However, almost all Muslims were allowed to stay back in India eventhough knowing fully they voted for Muslim league by leaders like Gandhi, Nehru.

  2. Writer mentioned ajmer, tajmahal, kutubminar, etc but did not mentioned vaapi mosque in varanasi, because he know that anyone can easily say that this mosque is build on temple, writer smartly skipp this, he is baised while writing this artical, although i did not support any new controversy between hindu and muslim for any mandir and masjid, debate over these issues shuold be stopped now completely, and our focus should be human developement from now onwards

  3. Madam yr artcle n its contents is prejudiced. U being Muslim have preconditioned. yr thoughts beliefs n arguments. Yr Lawyers in SC got chance but couldn’t prove the case. Accept the truth n live with peace. No country loves muslims like India.See Pakistan what they hve done to their citizens. U don’t speak about third rate conditions of Hindus in Pakistan? Why are u mum? First be a better person than journalist Muslim hindu mam. Don’t kill inner truth due to reconditioning n prejudiced being Muslim. Introspection is must n u will find my each world will shake u to accept the truth mam

  4. I am in awe of Zainab Sikander’s skill of cherry picking facts from history and even from the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s 1045 page judgement to peddle her false narrative of muslim victimhood.
    She conveniently supresses pages of archaeological and historical evidences in the judgement that prove the existence of a temple at the site, it’s forceful destruction, subsequent construction of a mosque over the destroyed temple and the Hindus’ and Sikhs’ attempts to reclaim and restore the temple since then.
    In the process of peddling false narratives of victimhood, she should realise that she is creating discord between the two of the largest religious communities of India.

    • Sorry, but there is NO evidence that there was a Hindu temple below Babri Masjid, just that it was NOT an Islamic structure. There is NO evidence that the previous building was destroyed to make way for the Babri Masjid. There was a gap of centuries between both structures!!! And the idea that this site was the ‘actual’ birthplace of Lord Ram is only a couple of hundred years old. Where in the Sanskrit writings do you find anything other than Ayodhya mentioned?

      • I am sorry to but you read the whole ruling by supreme court as it clearly mentions the remains found are non-muslim beneath the bawri mazjid.

  5. Show me just one country where Muslims are minority and they are not complaining against the majority community whether it is White, or Buddhist or Hindus . Muslims always feel they are targeted, denied equal rights and freedom. At the same time they always want to go to the places knowing well that they are going to be a Minority there. Now show me just one Muslim majority country which shows equal respect to the minorities. In this era of information you can’t hide facts. Just understand that what you are getting is more than what you deserve.

    • Fully agree sir. Where Muslims are in majority they don’t allow minority to stay. Convert them . This article is any way biased and ignores the real cause of fire. Only talks about smoke.

  6. If it is evident that mosk is build on the land of any other religion’s place of worship, Muslims should give that land gracefully back.
    Even holy Quran does not permits to build mosk on used land.

  7. One must live with hope, not rational thought ,in times of crisis that humanity shall prevail .One judgement ,one period under one ruler is too short a period to judge our country by , moreover humanity all over the world has endured far greater tragedies to triumph.

  8. George Bush Jr. just mentioned the word “crusade” and the entire Islamic community erupted. China cleanses Uyghur, pin drop silence. Victimhood indeed, but according to convenience. Stop crying foul and acting hypocrites; focus instead on reform and moderation within the community.

  9. Please go and see psychiatrist …….. I am not that religious but for many many people, far more than muslims in this country, it is the birthplace of Ram, which is as high for Hindus as Allah of Muhammed for muslims.. This place makes it to the likes of Mecca for muslims.. Considering your view those 5 acres shouldn’t be given.

  10. Reconciliation yes but not on a foundation of lies.
    The tragedy of India is that the history taught denies the truth of brutal minority islamic rule.
    As long as Muslims, Communits and parties like Congress continue to deny the truth and distort history, Hindus should insist on a truthful recounting of history.

    Truth must precede reconciliation.

  11. Not so sure, what this verdict proves muslims in India to be but you have proved yourself to be pretty much a second rate human.
    I hope you are called out derided everywhere you go, for being an ostrich, whose head’s burried in the sand so deep that it can’t listen to anyone else but it’s own complaining.
    does this victim card carry an expiration date?

  12. It is hysterical views like this that would make me say – Kashi and Mathura next. The truth is, India must confront and honestly acknowledge its history of brutality by Muslim rulers. Every ruined temple, including Kashi and Mathura must display s plaque showing the history of the temple, including who destroyed it and when. History cannot be changed. But acknowledging the truth will give a sense of closure and we can move on as a nation. But it has been the grand fraudulent and perverted project of the nehruvian marxists to distort and pervert the history to deny even the truth to the Hindus. This denial of truth allowed the Hindu sense of injury to fester, which blew up in 1992. If it is not addressed with truth and honesty, Kashi or Mathura will be the next stop.

    • Great idea… a big plaque showing the history of the temple, who destroyed it, and when. The next generations will have nothing to learn from if you simply remove all evidence. And instead of building an expensive new mandir, money could be used for an interactive History Museum showing where and when the Islamic conquests took place and the repercussions for the local people. Most Indian Muslims do not know their history or even the truth about their own doctrine. Please invest in education and enLIGHTenment, not more temples!!!

      • No need to know volumes about thievery and plundering by unsophisticated aggressors of wealth, values and culture of Bharata…..

  13. We can go on endlessly by quoting fringe elements. Unless both community members unequivocally condemn acts of its fringe, things can not improve.

  14. In 1947, all Indian Muslims beloved in two nation theory that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together. But most of those Muslims stayed back in India demanding more flesh. Why crying now?

  15. The writer mindset itself is third class and hence the writing too. When such is the mindset, nothing can go in ears or head.

    There is a level of maturity and class required to think beyond religion, and with clogged filth filled mind the writer is only creating more filth minded ones who start thinking second or third class.

    Your mind and interpretation are your own and do not slap it on others. Shove it wherever you feel fit within you.

    People like you are adding manure to future jihadis and then write filth to justify and nurture more.

  16. Yes your right. More suit for claiming more such places as mentioned by VHP etc are now going to follow. But why worry by yielding these places to Hindus as long as Muslims are getting fair treatment for practising their religion and their development. Only thing is, now there wont be much enthusiasm in hindu public for such worshipping places.

  17. In this interconnected world, where every local news of significance becomes international in seconds, we cannot remain oblivious of our surroundings. In pakistan the minorities have been fossilised, in Bangladesh they were hounded out. the only Hindu country in the world has now become secular (nepal). The religion of peace can never co-habitate with other religion. It is a constant work in progress to achieve its objective. Systematically it purges its past. Have you ever been to Qutub Minar if you are staying in Delhi ? Open your eyes and mind to see around the material used for building the minar.

  18. Muslims in India enjoy minority privileges of protection of their religion, language, script, culture, practice of personal law, run education instituions, carry on business, soft loans in four hundred plus districts identified by the RBI as those with significant muslim population. Still the writer thinks that muslims are second class citizens in India. After demolotion of Bahri Mosque, dozens of temples were demolished in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Even as I write this, in Pakistan Hindu girls are abducted and forcibly married to Muslim men. Is the status of Muslims in India that bad?

  19. Thank God, now u guys atleast know where u always belonged to. N as far as ur argument of building a school or hospital goes, they can be built anywhere literally anywhere as per the convenience of people, why at only that spot? N even that can be done if u allow ajmer sharif or mecca to be build somewhere else, if only ur fanatic- atrocious religion allows to. We hindus dont have problem with temples being demolished, can go to Varanasi if u want to n see how many temples have been demolished. That’s what the point is, Ram janjanambhoomi is not just any random piece of land for temple as it is the case with mosque. The mosque there hold no importance n can be built anywhere. Its not even like ajmer, which has some history to it n hence is Reverent. Seems a religion which anyways cant tolerate anything has started preaching other. Killed a man just for “Allah is a Gay”, which anyways he is. N how does it even matter if he was an asshole or pious heart. Is India a Islamic nation that all this can’t be tolerated.
    There’s no blasphemy here. Go n watch some stand-up n u’ll find people making fun of Hindu goddes but no one dares to make fun assloving allah. Why? Reason again lies in your fanatic religion. Its tough to find peace unless islam is vanished from the world.

  20. One would not endorse such a glum assessment, for this is not what either the Constitution or common decency of people living in a diverse country expect. However, if there is a growing sense of disquiet in the community, and it is based on certain changes / developments that are taking place, the authorities especially should be keeping tabs. It can lead to alienation, even radicalisation.

  21. feeling a second class citizen and behaving like a second class citizen? I don’t know about feeling but most Muslims certainly behave like second class citizen. Few Muslims who behave like 1st class citizen are successful in India.

  22. Dear Foolish Zainab, So you intend to tell us that Hindus should feel second class in their own homes just because your parents came from Arab and defeated us not using peace and sufism but by brute force and canons and desecrated our holy places in broad daylight with disdain. You shameless morons do not understand that you cannot simply wipe off a civilization by branding yourselves as Muslims directly from heaven. Your job is only to convert Hindus to Islam and then take away the territory. ” Sikandar Butshikan” your forefather who converted hindus to Islam in Kashmir is the real third class citizen of the world. A reminder of the horrific destructions of our important places are as below:
    1. Destroying 40,000 temples
    2. Destroying all the Universities and Libraries like in Nalanda
    3. Converting forcibly entire villages to Islam by making them cook and eat beef

  23. Dear Zainab, Calm down.

    Do you consider Macca or Medina or the Mosque at Jerusalem…as holy and special for people believing in the Arabic religion of peace?

    Do you consider that cathedral of Hagia Sophia at Istambul as holy and sacred to Catholics?

    Do you know that for 1 billion pagan Indians, Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura is holy and sacred…

    Do you know that ethnic Turks, and Timur in particular had killed more muslims than any pagans or Christians…close to 10 million believers.

    Do you know, the Turks cleverly converted to the Arabic religion of peace, claimed the Caliphate and colonized the Arabs themselves for 500 years.

    Do you know that the Arabic Messenger is exclusively for Arabs – Surah 12:2, 13:37 and 41:44.

    So you know the same barbaric Turks colonized india for 500, destroyed many many pagan temples,…as an act against idolaters…islamic??

    Do you believe, respect and accept idolaters…ask yourself honestly.

    Remember, Allah, the almighty is watching….and Allah do not choose between HER children…

    Why do you love this barbarians…no Indian Christians love Lord Curzon or Robert Clive…ask yourself honestly.

  24. 1. Why this feeling of being second class citizens in India has arisen? Why not we discuss role of Muslim leaders in India in creating this feeling among Muslim masses? 2. This article provokes me to raise an important issue – that of role of Muslim leadership in (i) protecting interests of a majority of poor Muslims and (ii) in furthering cause of secularism in India. 3. Very recently senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s book titled ‘Visible Muslim, Invisible Citizen: Understanding Islam in Indian Democracy’, was released and that book too has provided an opportunity to me to express views on Muslims’ contribution in creation of a society which shuns use of religion in politics. 4. S Khurshid had said that “religious and political leaders should join hands to offer a modern interpretation of Islam, as done by poet Allama Iqbal in the past”. 5. My queries in context of issues relating to politics and Muslims in India are as follows: (a) should Muslims in our country use religion for electoral politics? (b) Why can’t Muslims identify with the majority on issues like illiteracy, poverty or democratic rights or common civil laws? (c) Is it not a fact that so-called intellectuals in Indian Muslim communities have very little influence on Muslim masses? (d) Do our Muslim leaders display a strong desire to negate influence of modern education on lives of poor Muslims?

  25. If Muslims feel like second-class citizens now because of the verdict, it is unfortunate but then please remember that Hindus felt like worse than second-class citizens when Mughals/Afghans/Turks and so on invaded, massacred, plundered and carried off thousands of Hindu women as slaves and sex workers to distant lands. Public executions used to kill thousands (literally) each day during the Mughal rules. (Please read Will Durant.)

    If the verdict has wounded the Nehruvian idea of India, then it is good for the civilization.

    • Wonderful response Krish!!! ZAINAB SIKANDER will feel blessed driving cars sitting alongside her Muslim female friends in Saudi Arabia or watching soocer in a stadium in Iran or wearing an western outfit to a multiplex or to a tennis match without your head to toe cover in Iraq. There is so much tolereance in Islamic world for Yazidis that ISIS sells Yazidi women in thier sex market. Zainab’s is the most peaceful religion in our planet.

  26. Would the writer agree to building a hospital in the Kaaba? Why should Hindus take a site of religious importance to us and turn it into something it isn’t.
    Modern Muslims need to come to terms with the violent history of their religion and recognize that structures built on important sites of other faiths to assert the primacy of Islam can’t stand. We Hindus are still here. We have survived the genocide attempted on us by Islam and we should have our religious sites restored. This sentiment needs to be respected and embraced by today’s Muslim community if they truly believe in humanism.
    Muslims should take Ataturk’s approach with The Hagia Sophia and stop praying at these offensive sites and convert them into museums or return them to the traditions to whom the site matters.

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