THE judicial verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court which divided the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land into three parts can prove to be the new dawn of amity for India if all the people accept it as a starting point for the reconciliation between the Hindus and the Muslims of India. If the Muslim community handsover their portion to the Hindus as a goodwill gesture and the Hindus build a masjid at a mutually agreed site, it would be a fitting tribute to the fraternity envisaged by the Constitution of India. It will have the same effect on the country as that of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission constituted in South Africa by the great visionary Nelson Mandela. The Commission provided the catharsis and laid the foundation for the social, economic and political renewal of South Africa.
The three-judge bench of the Court has to be applauded for the justice and the fair-play displayed like the great King Solomon of Isreal or the legendary Chakravarti Vikramaditya of Ujjain, who started a new era in India.
Of course, the judges have not given the verdict on just the possession of land by the Sunny Central Board of Waqfs.That is an easy option as we all know that possession is nine points in law. That is why the secular establishment and the Muslim clergy maintained that they would abide by the decision of the court and all others too should do the same. However, the court took into account the archaeological and historic evidence as well. One judge said that the masjid was constructed on the ruins of a temple and the other two maintained that it was built after demolishing a temple. One of judges said masjid was not constructed according to the tenets of Islam.
Some historians with leftist and Islamic orientation still do not accept the fact that Muslim kings have converted temples into mosques. History records many such events. Nothing else explains the lack of magnificent temples in North India while South India boasts a number of such temples. Somanath Temple in Gujarat was one of them and it was reconstructed at the initiative of Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India.
Many churches in Europe too have been turned into masjids by Muslim rulers and the most important among them are in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) in Turkey and in Cordoba, Spain. Hagia Sophia, a basilica of the Orthodox Chruch was constructed by the Emperor Constantine in 360 AD in Constantinople, and when in 1453 Sultan Mehmed II conquered the city, he converted it into a mosque. Later, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkey, turned it into a museum in 1934. Similarly, the Cathedral of Cordoba built in 600 AD became a mosque in 784 when the Moors occupied Spain and later in 1236 it was turned into a church by King Ferdinand III.
The judgment of the high court should put an end to the grievance of the Hindus while it gives an opportunity to the Indian Muslims to disassociate themselves from the wrong-doings of the kings who happened to be Muslims. Jihad is not the essence of Islam but brotherhood is. Holy Quran mentions many prophets sent to the world by God and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, an Islamic scholar and the first Education Minister of India explained that Hindus too are ‘of the Book’, not kafirs ( unbelievers). 21st century should be a century of tolerance and acceptance of diversity as the world is a village now, if not a family.
Indian Muslims who are born and brought up in the ethos of liberty, equality and fraternity proclaimed by the Constitution of India have a challenge and an opportunity to be the flag bearers of change and reformation of Islam in the world highlighting the liberal and democratic side of Islam.