‘The Ayodhya judgement is the first judicial acknowledgement of the Hindu right to worship their deities since 1192 CE,’ said author Sanjay Dixit.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court created history on Saturday in the Ram Janmabhumi case by directing the Centre to form within three months a trust which would build a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. The Court also said that Sunni Waqf Board, which was a party to the seven-decade-old title suit, should be given an alternate five-acre land at some other suitable place for the construction of a mosque. A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi pronounced in a unanimous judgement that the Centre should make suitable provisions by handing over the land to the trust. The bench also comprised Chief Justice-designate Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
The Apex Court ruled that the Allahabad High Court verdict of 2010, giving land to the Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara, was wrong. It also rejected the claim of Nirmohi Akhara of being a “shebait” (a devotee who serves the deity), but said that the Akhara should be accommodated in the trust formed.
The Supreme Court bench upheld the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report, which had said that a temple once existed at the site. The Court also said that there was clear evidence that Hindus believed that Ram was born at the disputed site and that “Ram Chabutra” and “Sita Rasoi” were worshipped by Hindus before the British came. The court also said that documents of 1856-57 showed that Hindus were not obstructed from worshipping there. In fact the outer courtyard was under exclusive possession of Hindus over the years. The bench said Hindus consider the disputed site as the birthplace of Lord Ram and this belief is beyond judicial scrutiny.
INDIA’S PAST CELEBRATED
According to observers, this historic judgement has reinforced the unity and integrity of India. They said that the verdict recognised the depth of the millennia-old Indian civilisation, which can be traced as far back as 5,000-plus years. It has also taken note of the cultural identity of India.
Saturday’s verdict was welcomed by the overwhelming majority of people from all faiths and communities. Though the government had made elaborate security arrangements, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the country.
Indian history, as being taught so far, gives the impression of it being only a few hundred years old. Even after Independence in 1947, there was hardly any attempt by successive governments to bring to light the glorious past of India. But the path-breaking SC judgement has highlighted the fact that Indian civilisation dates back to more than 5,000 years. This is one of the biggest takeaways of the judgement, said observers.
India’s ancient past was completely forgotten while teaching Indian history. There was a bias in the history taught as it gave the impression as if India’s history was just a few hundred years old, which is just a small fraction of the overall Indian civilisation, ignoring its major portion, they said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to reclaim the entire period of Indian civilisation and has worked hard on resolving the Ram temple issue.
PM Modi, while addressing the nation after the judgement, said: “Even the most complex issues are resolved under parameters of Constitution. The message from the SC decision is patience. The decision has brought a new dawn for India. Supreme Court has given the decision for Ram Mandir Nirman (construction). Now responsibility of every citizen towards Rashtra Nirman has increased. There is no place of fear, bitterness and negativity in New India.”
“The Supreme Court verdict is in line with the sentiments of the whole nation. It should not be seen as a victory or loss for anyone,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said, while speaking to the media after the judgement. According to Rakesh Sinha, Rajya Sabha MP, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and his bench would be remembered for the historic judgement which had not only undone all false narratives but also endorsed India’s cultural identity.
Observers say that the judgement is significant as it has reclaimed India’s glorious past. It’s a victory of the idea of India. The fact that the judgement was unanimous with all the five judges speaking in one voice has made it all the more significant. Equally significant is the fact that the situation has remained peaceful in the country, after the judgement, which shows the level of maturity of Indians, irrespective of their religious affiliations, observers add. This has happened despite the fear expressed by a handful of fundamentalists and doomsayers.
“Ayodhya is the foremost of the seven sacred cities of Bharat as lauded in ancient texts. Now its most iconic ruler Shri Ram has been given back his dignity. A new India that is Bharat has arisen for another millennium, its wealth of spiritual knowledge spreading worldwide,” said David Frawley, an American Vedic teacher and founder of American Institute of Vedic Studies. Frawley is a Padma Bhushan recipient.
Experts and scholars feel that Lord Ram is an icon of the country. He presented a code of conduct, which is applicable to all the people, though a particular cross-section of intellectuals has been portraying him as a personality related to one particular religion. However, the fact remains that the code of conduct propounded by him is for entire humanity. Lord Ram belongs to all of us, for the entire humanity, they feel.
Spiritual leader and Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the historic judgement of the Hon. Supreme Court. This has brought joy and relief to people of both communities from a long-standing dispute.”
“Let us remember how much Shri Ram is honoured in Indonesia, a Muslim majority country, as well as among all Buddhists and members of many other religions, countries and communities. All should visit Ayodhya. Ayodhya should be honoured once more as a great spiritual and cultural centre not only for India but for all the countries that honour Shri Ram and the Ramayana, extending to the entire world. Shri Ram reflects humanity’s ancient spiritual and yogic heritage that precedes the existence of manmade religious beliefs and political ideologies, along with their divisions and conflicts. May that Ram Rajya arise again,” said Frawley, in a series of tweets.
Senior BJP leader, L.K. Advani, who undertook the Rath Yatra in 1990 to mobilise support on the Ram temple issue, said: “It is a moment of fulfillment for me because God Almighty had given me an opportunity to make my own humble contribution to the mass movement, the biggest since India’s Freedom Movement, aimed at the outcome which SC’s verdict today has made possible.”
According to Pravesh Chaudhary, a faculty member of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Ram Janmabhumi case was not just of religious faith. “It was an issue of India’s identity. Ram is Bharat and Bharat is Ram. He is not just a religious figure. He represents the identity of India. The judgement has restored the very identity of India. Therefore it is very significant and will go down in the history of India,” he said.
“I don’t think people have realised the civilisational significance of the Ayodhya judgement. It is the first judicial acknowledgement of the Hindu right to worship their deities since 1192 CE. 828 years, no less. Imagine the enormity of the decision, Just imagine,” said author Sanjay Dixit.