Ayodhya: The land to Behold

The Government of India seeks to return excess land in Ayodhya to their original owners claiming to pave the way for “better understanding and better atmosphere” in the country. Of the 67.7 acres of Ayodhya land acquired by the UP government in 1993, 42 acres of the land held by the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas were frozen by the Supreme court. 2019 has seen a new dawn with the Center approaching the Supreme Court of India to return the undisputed land of Ayodhya to its “Rightful Owners”.

The Historic Facts

Ayodhya, the iconic land is embedded with the  oldest legacy of the generous King Sri Rama who gave utmost importance to the country’s people more than his own family. Ancient Indians have inscribed their leader’s sacrifice for generations to cherish and have historically revered Sri Rama’s birthplace Ayodhya, as the place of worship centuries before democracies and governments were even formed.

Ayodhya developed into a flourishing city called the Saketa by 1st century BCE that attracted several preachers and spirituals seekers, and was ruled by several ancient Hindu Kings that included the Magadhas, the Mauryas, the Kosala Kings and the Deva Kings. In the medieval times, India the land of wealth and prosperity along with its temples had been vandalized, raided and attacked by several Muslim rulers from far and wide when “Tolerance” of the Indian Hindu kings had turned into a weakness more than a strength. By 1226 CE, Ayodhya the capital of Awadh had been taken over by Mughal rulers and by 1539, the Rama temple was demolished to raise a mosque known as the Babri Masjid built by a military commander of the Mughal King Babur. The land of Ayodhya was further annexed in 1856 by the British rule that shunned the Mughal rule coaxed with internal conflicts between the Shia and Sunni groups of Muslims. The weakening of the central Muslim rule paved way for Hindu groups to fight back for what was lost and the idols of Lord Rama and Sita were placed inside the central dome of the Babri mosque in December 1949.

Babri Masjid Riots, 1984

By 1984, the Vishwa Hindu Parishat (VHP) launched its movement to reclaim the land for the Rama temple. Communal tensions and riots swept through and on 6th December 1992. The volunteers from VHP, BJP and Nationalists who formed the “Kar Sevaks” demolished the Babri Masjid and that land occupied by the Babri mosque  has remained as the disputed piece of land for decades.

 The Status Quo

In year 2002, the  Supreme Court  received a complaint regarding an attempt made by Kar Sevaks to perform their sacred worship on the land neighboring the disputed plot. In response, the Supreme court mandated the Center to seize the land and ban all kinds of religious practices on the disputed land of the Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi. It was in the year 2003, that the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered a status quo on the acquisition of the adjoining land. The Allahabad High Court (HC) pronounced its verdict on 30th September 2010 that the 2.77 acres of the Ayodhya land were to be divided into 3 equal parts with 1/3rd for “Ram Lalla” or Infant Rama represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha for the construction of the Ram temple, 1/3rd for the Islamic Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining 1/3rd for  Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara. On May 9th 2011, the Supreme court stayed Allahabad’s HC ruling and passed an ordinance of temporarily acquiring all  the 67.703 acres. By the year 2017, the SC revived all conspiracy charges against veteran leader  L.K Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and several other Kar Sevaks in the demolition case. Several political ramifications and indictments have churned into the hearings time to time.

The “Ground” Reality

In January 2019, The BJP Central Government  has pleaded to the Supreme Court  that it was only on 0.313 acres where the Babri Masjid stood and the statues of Lord Ram and Sita installed that remains disputed, and that the remaining land should be returned and be released from acquisition .

According to Union Minister Prakash Javedkar , the government is keen on expediting and hearing  the Ram temple proceedings on a  day-to-day basis so that the issue can be resolved. Zafryab Jilani of  The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) tags the government’s plea as  a “backdoor move”.

Amidst the political rallies for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath asserted that the BJP government was the only government that could revive the Ram temple. The VHP’s  “Dharma Sansad” participated in the Kumbh Mela of Prayagraj  and left no stone unturned to take a resolution on the “Ram Mandir”.

In Uttar Pradesh, Union minister Rajnath Singh was jolted with thunderous slogans from young crowd that echoed

 “ Mandir jo banvaayega , Vote usi ko jayega” 

The majority of voters hope and foresee an urge to regain the past glory of a Ram temple in Ayodhya under the current  pro-Hindu government. Will BJP cash this hope into a voters’ mandate ? The left-right wing political parties have always played their vehement roles in the entire fabric of the Indian democracy. The Supreme Court and the people of India have much more to relinquish and accomplish in order to end this pseudo-religious vendetta.

Sources: News18, The Indian Express , Wikipedia, Times of India ,The Economic Times

Image Credits: Newslaundry, Northlines, OneIndia

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