rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » 'Muslims and Hindus seem to be tired about Ayodhya'

'Muslims and Hindus seem to be tired about Ayodhya'

Last updated on: September 18, 2010 12:26 IST
The urgency to understand and decode the possible impact of the Ayodhya verdict is so high that the Bharatiya Janata Party and many Muslim organisations are not even participating in public debates, reports Sheela Bhatt.

They want to play it safe by not inciting the public before the verdict and want to ensure that all options are kept open after the highly anticipated judgment, which will be delivered on September 24.

An unprecedented national churning has begun a week before the crucial verdict in the Ayodhya title case, says a political leader associated with many institutions in the Muslim community.

"Muslims and Hindus seem to be tired," notes this leader. "It seems very different from 1992 (the year, when the Babri Masjid was demolished in Ayodhya). Now, people want to move ahead. Nobody wants riots!"

The urgency to understand and decode the possible impact of the Ayodhya verdict is so high that the Bharatiya Janata Party and many Muslim organisations are not even participating in public debates.

They want to play it safe by not inciting the public before the verdict and want to ensure that all options are kept open after the highly anticipated judgment.

Many experts feel if the verdict goes in favour of the Muslims, then the Congress could gain politically, provided it ensures that the losing side quickly adopts the legal means to take the case to the Supreme Court. The Congress party would also need to ensure that it reflects the sensitivity of the Hindu community.

The power of political communication will be on display after the verdict. Political gains will be achieved or lost depending on how one interprets the verdict.

Explains the well-known thinker, sociologist Dipankar Gupta, "I don't see the same kind of intensity over the Ayodhya issue. There is a new generation who is unaware of the Babri Masjid demolition. They have no idea about the Ram Janambhoomi issue. Also, I see a split in the BJP over the issue."

Gupta believes India has changed since those communally tumultous years in the 1990s and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and extreme Hindutva forces need an honourable exit from the complex Ayodhya issue.

"It will be a good thing if the VHP gets an honourable exit," he adds. "If the supporters of the Ram temple lose, then they should take the issue to the Supreme Court. That may take another 20 years. All the major players of 1992 will be dead or retired by that time."

The Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre, Gupta feels, should try and make sure that the extreme forces are given an exit route. "Astha (faith) is not a 'document,'" he adds. "The Hindus should bear in mind that a court decides only on the basis of documents."

"In case the Muslims win the case, they should not celebrate," says Gupta. "The All India Muslim Personal Board should restrain any such celebrations. However, I can be proved wrong. Politics is not logical, always."

The Union Cabinet issued a statement on Thursday, September 16, appealing for calm after the verdict in the Ayodhya case, which is scheduled to be delivered by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on September 24.

Even hawkish television debates are announcing that neither the Muslims nor Hindus should feel dejected after the verdict because the option of going to the Supreme Court is available to both sides.

However, the issue is not that simple.

As a senior Member of Parliament and a Muslim leader explained to Rediff.com, "I am hopeful the verdict will go a long way in celebrating Indian democracy. But if the judgment is mixed or ambiguous, then what are our options? Our community leaders are going through the same (Ayodhya) proceedings again and again."

"The plot where Babri Masjid stood also included a small part called Sita ki rasoi (Sita's kitchen)," adds the Muslim MP.

"If Sita ki rasoi, which was in possession of Hindus, is not cleared in favour of Muslims, while upholding the rights of the Muslims over the three demolished domes, then that will be the beginning of a new debate," he said.

"Many Muslim leaders are worried about the make-shift temple," Waris Mazhari, editor of the Urdu magazine Tarjuman-e-Dar-ul-Uloom, told Rediff.com. "Even if the verdict is in our favour, what about the temporary temple? We want the court to settle the issue clearly. Who will remove it (the temple) if the title suit favours the Muslims?"

The delicate position of all sides is visible, but as Mazhari adds, "This time, I don't see any excitement. There is a silence on both sides. Hindus and Muslims are treading carefully. I have not got any letters from readers about it."

"I would say the Muslims are not tense nor eager to hear the verdict," the editor notes. "If the Muslims lose the case, then they will surely get upset. They will make noises. If they win the case, they will celebrate and say, "Dekhon, Hindustan ne insaaf kiya! (See, India has done justice!))"

"We are telling our readers 'Let us have patience. Human lives are not destroyed or made by one issue,'" points out Mazhari. "The Babri Masjid issue has harmed the community immeasurably. We want it buried deep. But then we wonder even if we win, how will you remove Ram Lalla from the site? Who will do it?"

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi