Editor’s NoteOpinion

‘Ayodhya Temple’ – A reality in the making

It is in great interest and excitement that I view the new big development in Ayodhya case. 

The Supreme Court of Thursday moved for the speedy disposal of Babri pleas stating that there won’t be any delay in the title dispute hearing. 

The Apex Court said that non-stop hearing in the case will being in the week commencing from October 29. “The appeals have been pending for a long time and require speedy disposal,” expressed Justice Ashok Bhushan.

Muslim petitioners had said that the 1994 verdict stated that namaz can be offered anywhere and not just at a mosque would unfairly influence the matter of who the disputed site in Ayodhya belongs to and weaken their claim.

They said the decades-old verdict must be reviewed before the title suit is decided. 

The Hindu petitioners stated this was an attempt to delay the hearings in the main case because Muslim petitioners worry that the top court will rule against them.

SC today stated that the 1994 verdict will not impact the Ayodhya case and that the observations in that decades-old verdict about a mosque not being essential to Islam were made only in the context of the government acquiring the land that a place of worship is built on.

One of three judges involved in today’s verdict dissented from this understanding.

I remember when the Babri Masjid demolition happened and the subsequent riots that ensued, I was seething with anger and hatred from Hindus and Muslims in India.

I remember, us Indians in our school in Dubai, felt so disappointed in our nation that we never wanted to go back. We were left stunned that human life, Indian life was worth nothing.

Many years later when I started to research and understand the Babri Masjid demolition and the Ram Janam Bhoomi demand. I started to understand the nuances of the games being played politically at a national and international level.

If you refer to the Meenakshi Jain book ‘Rama and Ayodhya’ published in 2013, you will find some interesting facts that in 1611, an English traveller William Finch visited Ayodhya and recorded the “ruins of the Ranichand (Ramachand) castle and houses”. He made no mention of a mosque.

In 1634, Thomas Herbert described a “pretty old castle of Ranichand (Ramachand)” which he described as an antique monument that was “especially memorable”.

The Jesuit missionary Joseph Tiefenthaler, who visited the site during 1766-1771, wrote that either Aurangazeb or Babur had demolished the Ramkot fortress, including the house that was considered as the birthplace of Rama by Hindus. 

He further stated that a mosque was constructed in its place, but the Hindus continued to offer prayers at a mud platform that marked the birthplace of Rama.

In 1810, Francis Buchanan visited the site, and stated that the structure destroyed was a temple dedicated to Rama, not a house.

We can deliberate on the many issues regarding the existence of the temple, demolishing of the temple to build a mosque, whether Bhagwan Ram was born at the site, why should a temple be built at that site only. 

You could find answers for all these questions, if we as Indians choose too and are inclined too.

I am for one as a Christian with a Hindu lineage and Vedic roots believe that if Ram Janam Bhoomi is indeed that site under dispute which is what is coming out in ASI findings reported by media. 

Then in all fairness and measuring the religious and historical significance of the Bhagwan Ram to Hindus all over the world. It would only be logical, ethical and humane to build a temple at the birth place of Ram.

Every Indian – Muslims and Christians – too must support the building of a temple.

Let for a moment assume that if Jesus Christ were to be born in India or travelled to India and left a mark; would it not be fair for the Christians to demand for a Church to build at that site. 

In Goa for example we have an entire Basilica devoted to St Franis Xavier – who the Church also christened the Patron Saint of Goa – wherein out of reverence and faith of many Catholics in Goa and across India – mortal remains of the Christian saint are kept. At this religious site – Christian, Hindu and Muslims all visit and prayer.

Muslims too have religious demands of place for their Saints and religious customs across the world not only in India like the Mecca &Madina. The religious significance of Haj cannot be denied.

If Christians can have Vatican, Muslims have Mecca, Jews have Jerusalem; I do not think it is communal to ask for Ayodhya Ram Temple for the Hindus.

If however, we do not want to look at through the humane eyes of mutual acceptance and respect of the religion of our Hindu family. Let us a look at it economically.

The industry that is booming globally is religious tourism. Ayodhya has the potential to evolve into a global religious tourism destination. 

The economic activity will touch many lives in Ayodhya and neighbouring towns, in fact the whole of UP and India.

Better infrastructure, better sanitation, better hotels and restaurants. It will change the current footprint of Ayodhya and Faizabad. 

As Indians that is what we should aim for – a religious structure that touches the life of every Indian and becomes a globally respected gift of the people of India to the rest world – a gift of Vedic thought and structure, a gift of oneness of us Indians.

Jai Shri Ram!

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