Awaiting the judgement
Irrespective of the outcome, it is hoped that the Ayodhya verdict unifies the increasingly fractured people and finally puts a historic dispute to rest
It's like the climax of a movie that has been building up for years. Will it be a moment of catharsis for an entire nation or a time of strife? The Supreme Court's final Ayodhya verdict slated to come out before November 17 is being awaited with fear and trepidation.
Security is being beefed up across the country especially in states such as Uttar Pradesh. Bomb disposal squads have swung into action in Ayodhya as the threat of terror looms large. Railway police has issued advisory and cancelled leaves. Political leaders have already been urging people to exercise restraint. Next week will be a time of deep anticipation for all as the apex court decides the fate of the bitterly contested Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit.
The 2.77 acres of land has been the site of a dispute as a legal debate has continued for years to decide the true inhabitant of the land. Right-wing activists claim it to be the birthplace of Lord Ram while a 16th Century mosque built by Mughal Emperor Babur stood in its stead only to be demolished on December 6, 1992. The demolition has also witnessed bloody riots with almost 2,000 people losing their lives.
The last verdict on the case was passed by the Allahabad High Court in 2010 dividing the land between the three primary litigants — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara, and Ram Lalla. But the verdict was unacceptable to the litigants and 14 appeals had been filed against the Allahabad High Court order.
A lot has changed in the country in the last decade. For starters, the city where the high court is based is now known as Prayagraj. The central government is being led by a right-wing, Hindutva party comfortably in its second term and Uttar Pradesh has a BJP government in charge as well. The last few years have seen a rise in religious and hate crimes, proliferation of incidents of lynching, and blatant muscle-flexing against minorities. And, into this heavily polarised atmosphere, we prepare to hear the Supreme Court's verdict.
It is heartening to see that both Hindu leaders and Muslim clerics have appealed for peace and all involved stakeholders pledge to accept the Supreme Court's verdict. While there still rests a chance to demand revision even after the verdict is passed but perhaps it is time to close this issue once and for all and to move on as a nation and concentrate on more pressing matters that affect our daily lives. Let's settle this dispute and accept its legal tenets; let's discuss the economy, job loss, unbreathable air…so many issues that require our urgent attention.
I hope that the verdict unifies India and the reactions to it come as a beacon of peace and brotherhood. It is the ideal moment to exhort the ideals that govern the Indian polity and mend the crevices of an increasingly fractured people. It is exactly at that moment when everyone expects us to lose our balance and tolerance towards each other that we should come together even more. Yes, there is fear and anticipation; many are expecting the worst. Security agencies are prepared to handle the worst. But can we Indians instead showcase our best? After all, a piece of land is just that, and it's what we do with it that makes all the difference.
Shutapa Paul is an author & media entrepreneur. Views expressed are strictly personal
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