Pilgrims visit temples around the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid demolition site in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India | Photo: Prashanth Vishwanathan | Bloomberg
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Much blood has flowed, tears too. Many insecurities have drowned, fears too. Enough political capital has been wasted, narratives too. Abundant inter-religious divisions have been created, riots and killings too. The 491-year-long religious battle behind, the three-decade-old political skirmish resolved, the victory for what had degenerated into a property dispute in hand, and the supremacy of the Constitution established, it is now time for India to live the ideals that Ram stood for.

If we are to examine avatars from the prism of spiritual goals, Ram’s transformative role was to deliver to the world the ideal of sattwa through action. Unlike the next avatar Krishna, Ram neither gave any spiritual discourse nor announced to the world his avatarhood. His role was to live like a man and raise men towards the sattva ideal through his actions, sacrifice, valour, justice and above all, love. Actions were his teachings, victory a legacy. At the point society then stood, Ram delivered the highest ideal by slaying Ravan and establishing Ram Rajya.

Ram’s business was “to fix for the future the possibility of an order proper to the sattwic civilised human being who governs his life by the reason, the finer emotions, morality or at least moral ideals, such as truth, obedience, cooperation and harmony, the sense of humour, the sense of domestic and public order, to establish this in a world still occupied by anarchic forces, the Animal Mind and the powers of the vital Ego making its own satisfaction the rule of life,” wrote Sri Aurobindo. “Rama and Sita are the ideals of the Indian nation,” Swami Vivekananda said in a 31 January 1900 lecture.

Taking that as a civilisational context, the battle for a plot of land measuring 2.77 acres seems statistically insignificant. But before the force of faith that sees the timeless, spaceless eternal in holy premises, this small plot of land had become one of the central points of division between Hindus and Muslims over centuries and in a formal court of law over decades. With the Supreme Court finally ruling favour of Hindus, but with caveats that include giving Muslims a five-acre plot to build a mosque in Ayodhya, we hope this clash of political religiosity, is behind us.


Also read: Ayodhya verdict made one thing clear. This is the problem with Indian secularism today


The five-judge verdict – comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, next Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and justices Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer – is unanimous. Spread over 1,045 pages, this has been one of the most closely-watched judgments and will be among the most closely-tracked orders of the Supreme Court over the next few decades. The scope for error and hence a revision, therefore, is limited. Judicial orders are technical and pivot around points of law and the Constitution, and hence, this judgement will set a precedence for future disputes on and around properties of faith.

Apart from the order per se, we laud the administrative planning between Gogoi and the government of Uttar Pradesh. Sensitive to potential troublemakers who could enflame peoples, the two institutions, the judiciary and the state executive, took pre-emptive measures to prevent violence. At the time of writing, we see no flashpoints. Hopefully, there will be none going forward. We also commend the maturity of political parties, all of which are standing firmly behind the judgement.

Above all, we see the rise of a mature India, a society that has been honed to peace on the hot anvil of religious violence, a nation worthy of the time. No triumphalism, no victory marches, no needling by Hindus. No violence, no threats, no anguish by Muslims. A general sense of peace and calm prevails that tell us that we are more than what the media headlines expect, that we can surprise ourselves in what cynics see as the most dire crisis of faith. Exhausted by years of suspicion and fighting, perhaps we are turning a new leaf in Hindu-Muslim relations, a leaf that the rest of the world could emulate.


Also read: Muslim bodies split on Ayodhya verdict review plea, community at odds with clergy


There is dissonance, of course. But barring stray comments by political leaders, it is not coming from Muslims. The source of this frustration is the predictable Left-illiberal ecosystem. Already a diminishing ideology and receiving only contempt and whataboutery with every tweet, Leftist ideologues are attacking not merely the judgment but the Supreme Court itself. In their minds, the judicial process works only when a verdict is in their favour. Not for them the multiple hues of democracy where among other things, finally we argue differences out in a court of law and bow before the majesty of law. In a civilisation that stands high above suffocating Left-Right-Centre boxes of Western thought, this ecosystem is best ignored. Stepping back, we see this group of people and their ideology expressions of tamasic forces that have been and continue to weaponise victimhood.

Irrespective, having won this long-drawn battle that has sucked out the energies of several faith warriors, the arc of action is now in the hands of Hindus. How they behave and what they do with this victory will decide the future course of India. Having fought for Ram, they need to follow Ram. Had the verdict been in favour of Muslims, Hindus should have embraced sacrifice and walked away, like Ram did, when asked to forego the kingdom and live in the forest for 14 years by his father. Along with Sita and Lakshman, as Ram walked into the forests, away from the luxuries of palace life, he didn’t look back, harboured no regrets. A sattwic detachment guided his actions.

Winning the case, however, has placed the yoke of morality on the shoulders of Hindus. And as Ram bhakts they need to follow their faith. Despite defeating Ravan and killing him in battle, Ram installed Ravan’s brother Vibhishan as the king of Sri Lanka. He needn’t have. Nobody would have raised any question had he taken charge of the kingdom. But driven by the sattwic ideal of righteousness and justice, Ram did what he did. No great discourse, no lecture. A simple act decided the course of the island nation’s future. He handed the throne to Ravan’s brother and flew to Ayodhya. Again, Ram didn’t look back and despite a spectacular victory, remained detached in sattwa.


Also read: Why Mathura or Varanasi temple disputes won’t go the Ayodhya way


To complete this judicial-physical win and turn it into a moral-religious victory, Hindus must learn from and follow Ram. If the Muslim leaders agree, for instance, Hindus could help build their mosque. They could help finance it. They could participate in several ways and celebrate its completion. All this without the smallest political grandstanding. Simple actions, silently executed would go a long way in not merely imparting dignity to the victory but even creating a virtuous cycle of Hindu-Muslim unity, a model for 21st century India.

This would mean the people shunning vested political interests from both communities. Politics in the area of religion has repeatedly proven to be a tool that has short-changed the people. Religion in the premises of politics has failed to harmonise collective interests. On the contrary, political religiosity has created rifts and fed on and profited from them. It is perhaps time to reverse the cycle. That is, allow the sattwa ideal in individuals – each being harbours some aspect of sattwa within – to engage one another and create a new and harmonious India. From that sattwic ideal, that unity, that spiritual oneness will emerge India’s 21st century Ram Rajya.

Finally, we see the pyres of hatred and potential rebirth of an aspired-for harmony. Now that the people have shown the maturity that political leaders ought to have had in the first place, perhaps politics will follow through and pick up the pieces of destruction – physical and psychological – and rebuild the nation as per the new will of the people. The people are done with faith-based, religion-driven lives of mutual suspicion. We look at this verdict as the beginning of new political alignments in tune with a new India.

The temple is a body, Ram an eternal ideal. The body in control, now embrace that sattwic ideal.

The author is Vice President at Observer Research Foundation.

This article was first published on ORF.

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29 Comments Share Your Views

29 COMMENTS

  1. It is time to stop talking,writing and discussing the ram janmbhoomi. A purely local problem was exploited and blown out of propertion by one and all.There are such problems all over India.Their resolution should not be allowed to become an all india problem.let it get resolved at local level. The very mature reactions or no reactions to this verdict is an indication of grown up India.The new generation of Indians know much better than the old generation what is worth to be to waste time on . We need to tackle the left liberals who are bent upon dividing India on many of its fault lines and trying to create more fault lines . Hence we need to deny them these temple/masjid sagas here after by not allwoing the local issues getting snowballed into the national issues.

  2. This is yet another article that fails to provide the evidence for their theory. I actually agree with the thesis that the main opposition is coming from our left liberals who in the past have done their best to foment the communal divide. (I still remember how Arundhati Roy fabricated the story of witnessing an infant being burnt alive in Gujarat). It’s a good theory but until you provide a few examples of real people, who they are, and what they said, it’s still a theory. By the regularity with which we see articles that fail to back up their thesis with fact, it would appear that the art of political writing has been entirely lost in India.

  3. As long as India’s left librandus are alive, they would not allow Hindu Muslim coming together because their politics survives on dividing people and inciting hatred among people. Hang all Indian left librandus and India would become a peaceful place.

    • You base the premise of a peaceful India on the Completely Violent and Non-peaceful act of hanging everyone you don’t agree with ! Irony died a million deaths !

  4. Supreme court has been criticised in other cases also! BJP has also criticised, and even undermined, the supreme court! And it is in today’s news that the Muslims have rejected the offer of 5 acres of land in lieu of mosque, and decided to file a review appeal! Here is the headline which reads, “Alternative land not acceptable for mosque in Ayodhya: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind”.

  5. The Mughal emperor Babur (who ruled India from 1526 -1530 AD) writing in his memoirs called the ‘Baburnama’ – wrote : ” In AH 934 (2538 C.E.) I attacked Chanderi and by the grace of Allha captured it in a few hours. We got the inn fidels slaughter and the place which had been Daru’l-Harb (nation of non-muslims) for years was made into a Daru’l-Islam (a muslim nation).”

    In Babur’s own words in a poem about killing Hindus (From the ‘Baburnama’ ) he wrote :

    “For the sake of Islam I became a

    wanderer,

    I battled infidels and Hindus,

    I determined to become a martyr

    Thank God I became a killer of

    Non-Muslims!”

    So you think he came all the way to Ayodhya, a centre of Hindu religion, to buy a piece of land from Hindus and build a masjid ?

    • In fact Babur had lost one initial battle and came back. The second time he motivated his troops by invoking religious ideology and using the term ‘Kafir’ as a rallying point, and used the term ‘holy warriors’ o rally his troops (there are several sources, including perhaps the redoubtable Abraham Eraly). Those who complain online about right wing tactics e.g. use of Vande Mataram etc) should also refer to the prestigious McGill University’s web-page:

      “Despite the unwillingness of his troops to engage in further warfare, Babur was convinced he could overcome the Rajputs and gain complete control over Hindustan. He made great propaganda of the fact that for the first time he was to battle non-Muslims, the Kafir. He had his men line up and swear on the Qur’an that none would “think of turning his face from his foe, or withdraw from this deadly encounter so long as life is not rent from his body”. He also began to refer to himself as a Ghazi, or “Holy Warrior,” a title used by Timur when he fought in India.” (https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/b/Babur.htm)

    • What Babar has supposed to be done,we are not sure, but we have done is clear, so we are not better than Babar when we killed burnt innocent citizen and lastly waited for the supreme court decision nobody came forward to pay the penalties for the damage we caused to the Nation socially economically the moral of the story is we got economic collapse in return of hatred

      • Everything that the majority community has done is unlawful- even criminal , according to this judgement- placing the idols, demolishing the structure etc. Yet the judgment is in favour of them. That is majoritarianism. Isn’t it ?

  6. One very famous ‘faith warrior’ is in jail because he did not have the decency of Ravan and molested a law student .I hope Ram rajya comes ASAP.

  7. The common comment from across the length and breadth of the country and from every hue and religion was “we shall accept the verdict, whatever it might be”. Hence, one can only ignore the sulking fossils from the Left. As for the Muslims, one cannot generalise a uniform opinion as though they are a homogeneous one. There would be critics, as should be, in any democratic society. No decision can be beneficial to 100% of the population. But at the end of the day, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter and it has spoken.

  8. Analysis and criticism of a court judgement is an integral part of a vibrant democracy. Respecting the court’s verdict does not preclude analyzing, questioning or criticising it. It would have been helpful if the author attempted to provide answer to the questions the so-called ,”left liberals ” are raising, instead of these homilies.

  9. Do you really know what was going through the hearts and minds of 1000 million Indian non-Muslims until this moment?
    Muslims have 53 other countries to take care of them.
    For Hindus only one Homeland.. that is India!
    Where would they go? For once imagine it.. You will realize the gravity of such notion!

    • India has managed to antagonize Nepal, another Hindu country besides Bali where Hindu Indians go to steal from their hotels and get caught, so you are stuck with India.

      • Huh? How does relationship with Nepal affect hindus of India ? And Stealing from Hotel is cheap but at least No Inncoent was killed. Its lot better than Indian Muslims specially from Communist kerala going to Afghanistan, joining ISIS . is it not ?

      • Talk to Muslims! I am one and I and all of Muslims I have talked to are shocked by this verdict. All of them say it is injustice and we don’t want any 5-acre land. Liberals and secular leader’s response was a shame. Only Owaisi’s response showed a true Muslim opinion.

        • Anybody who loose the case will be shocked, why you lost? May be your arguments were not strong enough. Accept this, move on.

        • It was done with the noblest of intentions, but taking recourse to Article 142, to render “ complete justice “ to the Muslim community, directing that they be granted a five acre piece of land, is liable to be deeply misunderstood. A lay person would think a title suit has been decreed purely on merits, the entire 2.77 acres of land – including the portion on which the Babri Masjid stood for 460 years – has been found to belong to the Hindu community. However, the Court has been magnanimous to give two new lamps for one old one.

      • To give you a very honest answer : Get into their slippers / burqas for a week and see how the world looks like from the other side of an increasingly sharply edged majoritarian divide.

        • ashok – while I wouldn’t like to condone majoritarianism, I would like to point out that you deliberately ignore discussing contentious issues from Hindu viewpoint. For example, I would never expect you to comment or express dismay over Kashmiri pandits. Your hypocrisy is so blatant though you try to hide it in your ‘wise. words.

          MK – Owaisi is an intelligent man. He should raise these questions in the Parliament for sure.

          • You make a fair point, RRji. What bothers me is that some prominent Kashmiri Pandits are using the injustice / cruelty towards their compatriots to mobilise public opinion in the rest of the country against Kashmiri Muslims, especially on the news channels. That can only complicate what is already a very messy situation in the Valley.

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