The ‘Ayodhya issue’ may be dead for someone like Azam Khan. But what was rejected on 6th December 1992 and many battles before that was the barbarism symbolised by Babur, the pioneer of Moghul aggression in India. For secular messiahs like Lalu or Mulayam it has been a question of Hindu Vs Muslims and an agenda to secure vote bank. But when the original plaintiff in the case Mohammad Hashim Ansari decides to withdraw himself from the case and reiterate the fact that many people like him ‘want to see the grand temple of Ram Lala’ and that ‘the temple already exists there’, it is time to restore the legacy of one of the most important social-cultural movement of post-Independent India. Like Independence movement and anti-Emergency movement have their own legacies against imperialism and authoritarianism, one should not forget that Ayodhya movement has the legacy to fight against barbarism for cultural resurgence.
Historically Shri Ram Janmabhoomi movement was not started in 1983. Right from the destruction of original temple structure in year 1528, there have been more than 75 attempts to restore the dignity of the place. So contrary to the general perception, the Ayodhya movement is not the creation of VHP or BJP, but was always there in Indian consciousness.
The spirit of this movement was never anti-Muslim. Ayodhya, or for that matter Kashi and Mathura were not the only places where temples were destroyed by Muslim aggressors. The Hindu society is therefore not fighting for places, temples or a piece of land but its prime motive is to restore India’s cultural ethos.
Restoring national pride was the main cause of this movement since 1528. While inheritors of India’s cultural legacy believed these places to be sacred places for the people of this land, in Islamic history there is no place for Babur nor a parallel of constructing a mosque like structure in any individual’s name. In this sense, the argument in favour of the so-called Babari mosqure is anti-Islam and not the movement for restoration of Ram Temple.
What has transpired in the legal judgement is also significant in this regard. The Allahabad High Court took into account evidence from Muslim scriptures, Muslim Waqf Act, Hindu scriptures, Skanda Puran, Historical accounts written by Muslim historians, the Diary of a French Jesuit Priest Joseph Tieffenthaler, Gazetteers and books written by British officials and historians, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Carved stone blocks and inscription found from the debris of the structure, report of the Ground Penetrating Radar Survey (GPRS), report of the GPRS-inspired excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and oral cross-examinations and statements of approximately 85 witnesses. It reached to the conclusion on the basis of the ASI excavations reports that “it’s beyond doubt that there existed a grand temple at the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi site that was razed down to build Babari structure”. The judgement has also passed comment on the “ostrich-like attitude” of the so called experts.
Though the issue is under consideration of the Supreme Court, everyone knows that it is not just a legal issue. If it has a bearing on socio-cultural identity of India, then the onus now is on the Muslim community. They can choose to connect themselves with the barbaric tradition of Babur and Taliban or the righteous tradition of Shri Ram. If the present day Muslims of India who are very much inheritors of inclusive and tolerant legacy of the nation consider the Babari structure to be a symbol of vandalism and aggression then, the issue is automatically resolved. Because the real legacy of Ayodhya movement is not only to unite Hindus but to restore the cultural bond of different faiths existing in India.