Ayodhya ruling sees site shared between Muslims and Hindus


by Rumbold
30th September, 2010 at 3:00 pm    

Ayodhya, the site of communal violence in 1992 when Hindu extremists destroyed a 16th century mosque, has been under a heavy security presence in the last few days in anticipation of today’s court announcement, which saw the site divided between Hindus and Muslims. Before 1992, the site had long been a focus for Hindu extremists, who alleged that the Mughal emperor Babur had destroyed a temple on the site. The destruction and ensuring riots also helped to galvanise the BJP. The site is especially important since it is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram:

A court in India has said that a disputed holy site in Ayodhya should be split between Hindus and Muslims, lawyers for the Hindu petitioners say. However in a majority verdict, judges gave control of the main disputed section, where a mosque was torn down in 1992, to Hindus, lawyers said. Other parts of the site will be controlled by Muslims and a Hindu sect. The destruction of the mosque by Hindu extremists led to widespread rioting in which some 2,000 people died.

No ruling was ever going to be welcomed by all sides (both sides are likely to appeal). Nore is there an easy answer. We know Hindu extremists destroyed the mosque, but how far back does one go (if indeed Babur destroyed a temple)? Who holds the ‘rights’ to the site? Does one destruction cancel out another one? Does the site’s relative holiness to either religion have any bearing?


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  1. Kamal — on 30th September, 2010 at 5:11 pm  

    Sad. A victory for the forces of genocidal hinduism . Bye bye “secular india”

  2. Jenny — on 30th September, 2010 at 8:51 pm  
  3. Sam — on 1st October, 2010 at 12:46 am  

    Calling this a victory for “Genocidal Hinduism” is a bit over the top.. The court did take into account the evidence from the Archeological Survey of India which found evidence for a hindu temple beneath the masjid site, and the fact that there were hindu shrines within the Mosque Complex that continued to be in use since before the middle of the 19th century, while the mosque also was in use. So there were longstanding traditions of shared worship there, but no formal division of title between the different groups as to the land.

    So based on the historical shared usage of the land, the court has just given joint title to all three claimants of the original civil suit, which was first filed back in the 1950s.

    The criminal cases against those who destroyed the disused mosque in 1992 is still in progress, and this civil suit has no bearing on that case.

  4. Believer — on 1st October, 2010 at 8:55 am  

    Does, secularism in India means appeasement of the minorities and a “go to hell” attitude towards majority?
    Is this secularism or pseudo secularism, which takes into account the concerns and problems only of the minority.
    I a not saying that the minorities should be marginalised or their concerns not be taken into account, but all the time giving heed to what the minorities want is not correct.
    Secularism means equality between religions, but sadly in India it means that the majority community (Hindus) are always left behind in everything.

  5. Shamit — on 1st October, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    This was judiciary at its best.

    More often than not I do not like legislation from the bench but there are times when the judiciary truly acts as the custodian of the Constitution. This was such a case.

    Both Kamal and Believer prove my point. When extreme opinions on both sides accuse the court of being unfair towards them, most likely the decision is spot on.

    I actually read the judgement and the preamble to it. It was thoughtful, legally correct and more importantly it defended the true spirit of the secular Constitution of India. A parallel could be drawn with the US Supreme Court decision which made discrimination unconstitutional.

    One more point, India of 1992 and India of 2010 are very very different with a booming economy and a far stronger media. To most Indians, this decision brought relief.

    Of course, there would be idiots shouting up and down, but in this case it would be the extreme fringe of both sides claiming they have been unfairly treated – which is no bad thing by itself; but overall India would move on.

    Irrespective of its many flaws India is a secular country and a democracy too where the balance of power lies in the hands of rural people.

    There are injustices and socio-economic problems make it almost impossible for the most vulnerable to survive – but one must remember, from Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi to Atal Behari Vajpayee – stalwarts and popular PMs have been toppled by the most vulnerable. So democracy works in India.

  6. Jai — on 1st October, 2010 at 12:09 pm  

    So there were longstanding traditions of shared worship there

    Exactly. It was jointly used as a mandir by Hindus and as a mosque by Muslims for a long time. Some of the more extreme elements on both sides of the argument conveniently prefer to ignore this fact, of course.

    ***************************************

    People can read the verdict in full via the following website. It’s the official judgement (including supporting details) of all 3 judges involved at the Allahabad High Court, namely Justice Sibghat Ullah Khan, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Dharam Veer Sharma:

    http://www.rjbm.nic.in/

    (*With thanks to commenter ‘Blackadder2001′ who supplied the URL link above on several associated CiF threads)

  7. sofia — on 1st October, 2010 at 3:07 pm  

    Post 4 – what a load of tosh. What exactly are hindus left behind in? Please elaborate

  8. sofia — on 1st October, 2010 at 3:08 pm  

    I hope there is real shared ownership of the mosque

  9. June — on 1st October, 2010 at 3:28 pm  

    Sad. A victory for the forces of genocidal hinduism . Bye bye “secular india”

    India is a thriving democracy enjoying robust economic and indsutrial growth, and it’s doing so despite the fact it’s saddled with large and parasitic Muslim handicap.

    This site is clearly Hindu. The fact that some four and a half cenutires ago Muslims destroyed a huge temple complexe dedicated to Lord Rama changes nothing.

    Destroying the important historical sites of other religions, and then constructing a mosque in their place has been standard Muslim procedure right since the get-go.

    And If Muslims in India cannot endure the “genocidal Hinduism” ( Jesus! talk about over-the-top), then they can always go and live in prosperous, tolerant Pakistan…where mosques are destroyed and blown up ( with people still inside them!) all the fucking time.

    Whole swaths of India’s Muslim community are comprised of nothing more than crybabies and hypocrites, most of whom would be ten times poorer were they ever to suffer the misfortune of finding themselves living (trapped?)in a Muslim-majority country.

    And most of whom gave absolutely nothing to help their drowning and starving co-relgionistsin Pakistan.

  10. sofia — on 1st October, 2010 at 3:38 pm  

    post 9 is even funnier.

  11. joe90 — on 1st October, 2010 at 6:08 pm  

    If my house was torn down by some religious extremists and the court then decided i have to share the house with same extremists i would not be happy at all. To call this a fair and proper outcome is hilarious. But if the parties involved are happy with the outcome then who am i to argue otherwise.

  12. kenni — on 1st October, 2010 at 6:37 pm  

    post 11 is spot on. I’m pretty sure Hindus could claim that the site of any mosque, gurudwara or church on Indian soil was once the birth place of one of their many gods,avatars, mythic kings etc especially where no proof of the claim was needed. Perhaps the Sikh’s Golden temple is situated on such a site . Does that mean Hindu mobs can destroy it and then be awarded two thirds of the property by the courts? Is this judgment not simply rewarding the mob? I don’t understand how so many commenters can just gloss over this fact and say “aww, it’s so nice that they’re sharing.”

  13. kELvi — on 1st October, 2010 at 9:52 pm  

    If my house was torn down by some religious extremists and the court then decided i have to share the house with same extremists i would not be happy at all. To call this a fair and proper outcome is hilarious. But if the parties involved are happy with the outcome then who am i to argue otherwise.

    That’s right Joe90. Babur’s soldiers tore down the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya about 450 years ago. Sometime in the declining years of the Mughal empire, Hindus mobilised to reclaim it. But were asked to share it with the Muslims who already had a mosque there. Tha Ram Chabhutara and Sita ki Rasoi is all the Hindus could use because the court then decided they have to share the house with others. So after much movement the district court delivered judgment in 1886, that even if a mandir had been destroyed by Babur 350 years earlier, it could not be rebuilt. Fast forward to the thirties and then 1949 and all the way now. It’s a long dispute centuries long. The judges are unanimous that Ram has been puja’d at the site since time immemorial, they only differ on where that spot within the precincts of the site is. The Babri Masjid has also been known as Masjid-e-Janmasthan for centuries, but Romila Thapar won’t tell you that because she knows English only! The Muslim litigants as well as several others even before the verdict had decided that whatever the verdict be the Ram murtis would not be moved out of that site, and at best be relocated somewhere within. This is a legal verdict not some imperial edict. The verdict has left the JNU/Marxist activists’ “Indian history” in tatters. For the first time archeological evidence has been used to pronounce on a matter of history. It is the first time a Hindu Muslim dispute has been left to the courts with the executive playing a purely co-equal rather than overriding role. It is the first time Hindu sentiments have been recognized as a valid concern by the courts, leaving many Hindus no doubt happy given the constant stream of abuse, invective, and patronising admonition they have had to put up with from “intellectuals”. Naturally India’s cackling chatterati are all riled up and not one bit happy about the fact that Muslims and Hindus alike have in v.large numbers decided to accept the verdict and move on. The common Hindus and Muslims of India have never ridiculed each others’ sentiments, at worst it has been disinterest or indifference. It is the intellectuals who have always and now followed by the “intellectuals” who have fished in troubled water. And it is exactly these two groups who have now begun to spew their bigotry. An acceptance of the verdict and a 1000 year moratorium on any historical mandir-masjid dispute would at one stroke render religious vote bank politics useless. So now we have the worms crawling out of the woodwork, Siddharth Varadarajan (who claims Babur was 11 years old when he built the mosque) Amulya Ganguly who claims Rama isn’t popular in TN or WB (Who cares Amulya for your opinion?) or Irfan Habib “historian” who wants to disregard archeological evidence (What does history have to with archeology?) Mukul Kesavan (for whom the majesty of the law exists only for verdicts he agrees with!) What a bunch of disingenuous poseurs!

    Kenni,

    Harmandir Sahab as well as every gurdwara is a punyasthan for Hindus. There is also an act of parliament that freezes the status of all religious structures as they existed on 15th Aug.1947. So no more disputes.

  14. Cauldron — on 2nd October, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    Perhaps the Allahabad High Court could be also asked to issue a ruling on the ownership of Temple Mount in Jerusalem….

  15. Rumbold — on 2nd October, 2010 at 9:41 am  

    Kelvi:

    I don’t know Irfan Habib’s view on the Ayodhya issue, but he is a leading historian whose major work is routinely cited by leading scholars of the Mughal empire. That’s why he gets asked to edit things like the Cambridge Economic History of India.

  16. June — on 2nd October, 2010 at 1:49 pm  

    post 9 is even funnier.

    Yeah Sophia, when that mosque in Quetta Pakistan was blown up killing nearly 80 people ( mostly women and young children) and completely destroyed the structure, were you rolling on the floor in mirth?

    Sunnis blow up Shia mosques,and vis-versa all the time, thousands are killed, but no one ever notices.

    Muslims in Pakistan have destroyed far, FAR more mosques than Hindus in India ever have, but that doesn’t count because Muslim-on-Muslim mosque destructions in Pakistan afford no opportunity to engage in psychopathic hatred of Hindus.

    The fact this triumphalist mosque stood for 450 on a sacred Hindu site changes nothing.

    Like Judaism, and UNLIKE Islam, Hinduism is a religion that goes back into the mists of time; both are thousands of years old and so a mere 450 years is but a blink of an eye.

    I think the Hindu temple should be rebuilt and its exterior walls festooned with images of crumbling crescent moons.

  17. suleiman — on 2nd October, 2010 at 4:37 pm  

    “Like Judaism, and UNLIKE Islam, Hinduism is a religion that goes back into the mists of time; both are thousands of years old and so a mere 450 years is but a blink of an eye.”

    Says who? According to Islam’s definition of itself (and it is a religion and its followers that defines itself not hostile outsiders)it has existed since the beginning of time and Islam (monotheism)is the primordial religion which was taught by all the Prophets starting from Prophet Adam.

  18. douglas clark — on 2nd October, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

    sulieman,

    Fascinating stuff.

    The adoption (? – correct me if I am wrong) of someone from the Old Testament – the prophet Adam – seems a tad odd. I wasn’t even aware that he had the status of prophet.

    I hadn’t come across that before.

    In any event Christianity is a tritheistic religion, consisting, as it does, of The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. The last of whom is more respectfully acknowledged as the Holy Spirit.

  19. joe90 — on 2nd October, 2010 at 6:29 pm  

    post #13 kelvi

    have you got cctv footage of barbur or paddington bear or whatever his name is tearing down this mosque, temple or whatever it is?

    If people can move than thats great but to call it a fair judgement is humorous, you only find worse judgements in israeli courts where palestinains have 0 rights.

  20. kenni — on 2nd October, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

    At the end of the day, this is just one more instance where the Hindu mobs do the dirty work and the Indian judiciary backs them up. No different than the ’84 anti Sikh pogroms. Minorities in India are faced with the choice of accepting this unholy alliance or risk further violence inflicted upon them.

  21. kELvi — on 3rd October, 2010 at 5:41 am  

    Joe90,

    I know you are being smart, but yes, Babur’s own historians have recorded the destruction of the Ayodhya mandir and several others. That is why the Ayodhya title dispute has dragged on for so many centuries. It is not something that started in the late ’90s. British records refer to the dispute as early as 1819, which is available from gazettes on google books. The archeological excavation at Ayodhya are the most extensive ever conducted at a place of pilgrimage and have been documented in excruciating detail. There are over seven archeological levels in places, and artefacts dating back all the way to 500 BCE.

    Rumbold in independent India sarkari historians like Habib and Romila Thapar have adopted a rhetrical approach to history. while Habib at least refers to a document here and there Thapar with her ignorance of any language other than Emglish has no expertise in the original evidence of the trade, manuscripts, epigraphy, literature, and the arts. Habib’s expertise in Mughal economic history does not translate into expertise on Babri Masjid.

    It is very difficult to conclude from the excavation if the Ayodhya mandir was demolished and less still if it was Mir Baqi or Babur that did it. But there is no doubt whatsoever that before the mosque exited there have been mandirs on the site for centuries. It is not for nothing that the Babri Masjid till as late as the 1930s was known as Masjid-e-Janmasthan.

    Kenni, in 1984 it was the Congress goons that killed Sikhs and it was the much abused Sangh Parivar that protected the Sikhs risking life and limb. even during the grimmest days of the Punjab troubles when terrorists targeted Hindus selectively, ambushing Durga Puja processions in Delhi, Dusshera gatherings in UP, and RSS shakhas in Amritsar, the Sangh Parivar resolutely stayed away from any response. Now if only they had shown the same grace, maturity, compassion, magnanimity and sense in Gujarat…

  22. June — on 3rd October, 2010 at 7:39 pm  

    According to Islam’s definition of itself (and it is a religion and its followers that defines itself not hostile outsiders)it has existed since the beginning of time and Islam (monotheism)is the primordial religion which was taught by all the Prophets starting from Prophet Adam.

    Islam is pagan in origin and has no Abrahamicconnections or credentials whatsoever. It has nothing, despite its absurd claims, in common with either Judaism or Christianity. It is merely an awkward and simplistic attempt by some crude, semi-literate Bedouins to appropriate Jewish and Christian theology and to then falisfy both in order to justify and kite the insane diktats of a false,”meshuggah” prophet.

    The fact the Islamic world is such a dismal and unprecedented academic, intellectual, scientific and technological failure when compared to the Judeo-Christian world constitues ample and irrefutable proof of that assertion.

    Islam took what were for millenia the most brilliant, enlightened, leading and advanced areas of the globe and transformed them into impoverished, violent and irrelevant backwaters that are among the worlds worst human rights hell-holes, and it did so precely because it is false, flawed and defective from beginning to end.

    Read some Magdi Allam, a leading Italo/Arab intellectual, journalist and brilliant ex-Muslim convert to Christianity…and learn about Islam, Sulieman.

    The world’s growing numbers of ex-Muslims have your number.

  23. earwicga — on 3rd October, 2010 at 8:29 pm  

    Islam took what were for millenia the most brilliant, enlightened, leading and advanced areas of the globe and transformed them into impoverished, violent and irrelevant backwaters that are among the worlds worst human rights hell-holes.

    Yes, those bloody Islamic rulers of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and Bagram prison camps. And those sodding Islam types won’t even tell us how many ‘black sites’ they have all over Afghanistan. It’s not bloody on.

  24. Shamit — on 4th October, 2010 at 11:08 am  

    Hindus and Muslims have lived together for centuries in India and they do so even today.

    While a small percentage of both communities may have hated this order, and more importantly, the calm and willingness of most Indians to move on – the truth of the matter is this judgement has received wide support from the public at large.

    So what is the problem again – what is this huge discussion all about? Move on folks – India has got other things on its minds and so should we.

  25. Soso — on 4th October, 2010 at 2:48 pm  

    Yes, those bloody Islamic rulers of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and Bagram prison camps. And those sodding Islam types won’t even tell us how many ‘black sites’ they have all over Afghanistan. It’s not bloody on.

    You’re an illiterate, run of the mill anti-US twerp incapable of addressing anything in a coherent, substantive way.

    The Islamic world is a frustrated and irrelevant backwater that finds istelf having to deal with a world, with a reality, with a modernity that Islam had absolutely no role in creating, and into which it had absolutely no input.

    The very trajectory of human history, a trajectory that has left muslim world dazed, confused and far, FAR behind the rest of humanity, puts THE LIE to every last thing Islam represents.

    Egypt, Mesopotamia, Byzance, Persia and the Sind, all of which were once on the cutting edge of nearly every field of human endevour, are now backward, poverty-striken, illiterate hell-holes wracked by violence, sectarian conflict and corruption.

    The only product these backwaters export are arrogant useless gasbags

    The Islamic world, when it isn’t a millstone around humanity’s neck, is the laughing stock of the entire fucking planet.

    Kleptocrats, nutcases and dictators leading a chorus on inbred, perpetetually enraged simpletons.

  26. A Faris — on 5th October, 2010 at 5:47 am  

    Jai @ #6

    Exactly.

    Even to this day, for example, the Great Umayyid Grand Mosque in Damascus is effectively a shared house of worship. It carries, allegedly, the head of John the Baptist, as well as the head of Husayn, the great Shi’a martyr and grandson of Muhammad. As a result, it of some importance to both the Christian community – and both sections (Sunni and Shi’a) of the Muslim community. I have seen all praying quite contentedly side-by-side (almost) there.

    Why anyone should think such cross-confessional sites of worship should be unusual (or worse, unthinkable) is rather a damning commentary on the state of tolerance and mutual respect today.

  27. Vikrant — on 5th October, 2010 at 7:15 am  

    So what is the problem again – what is this huge discussion all about? Move on folks – India has got other things on its minds and so should we.

    Exactly… Indians seem to have moved on. Only people knotting their chuddies here are the Khalistanis.

    Was there a temple at Ayodhya? Yes, it is pretty much an article of faith for most Hindus. Its not hard to see why, monuments to India’s plunderers stand atop hundreds of Hindu holy sites in the North India (Qutub minar hello?)… But then again do most Hindus want a temple at Babri? I’d say no. There is no point being burdened by history and going into who did what to whom, modern day Indian Muslims in any case have nothing to do with these historical wrongs.

  28. kenni — on 6th October, 2010 at 4:01 am  

    Vikrant – my concern is that India’s predominantly Hindu leaders have shown a frightening propensity for using mobs to intimidate and attack minority communities in the last 30 years. Whether it’s your secular minded congress goons or the fanatical religious Hindus of the BJP variety, it doesn’t really matter when that burning tire is being wrapped around your neck and place of worship is being demolished around you. I’m happy that Indian Muslims are not resorting to the same sort if shit, but really, what choice do they have but to ‘move on’ when the alternative is mob violence at your door and the police/ judiciary looking the other way. They clearly got the shit end of the stick on this judgment. Now if just once, the Indian judiciary were to prosecute some of the high ranking Hindu leaders behind these mobs I could maybe take off my paranoid Khalistani hat…sorry turban.

  29. Vikrant — on 6th October, 2010 at 10:27 am  

    my concern is that India’s predominantly Hindu leaders have shown a frightening propensity for using mobs to intimidate and attack minority communities in the last 30 years.

    India is inherently a chaotic country. In your world evidently the killings of Hindus in Punjab/Kashmir/West Bengal/Assam never happened. Indians of all religions like to rake shit up. Dont the Akalis in Punjab flip shit when minor Sikh sects like Nirankaris assert themselves? India is a Hindu majority country in purely statistical terms. I’m not justifying anything, no sane Hindu ever really supported BJP’s anti-Muslims riots. While 1984 was all Congress zealots really, it wasnt surprising given the cult of personality that surrounded Indira. Your characterisation of Indians leaders are “Hindus” or majority Hindus as “genocidal maniacs” is tad unfair.

    Yes India is a violent country. It used to be even more so in the past, but you can’t deny that it is changing. Hindutva is a spent force while Sikhs are pretty much a part of the Indian mainstream India has moved on whilst we in Britain are still discussing topics like Khalistan and Hindutva!

  30. kenni — on 6th October, 2010 at 1:36 pm  

    I’m afraid that the ‘killings of Hindus in Punjab/Kashmir/West Bengal/Assam’ are as real in my world as in yours. However, I would say the scales are tipped far more heavily against India’s minorities. Perhaps it’s wrong to boil it down to numbers but that’s just the way it is. I’m all for India changing but I will be more convinced of that change the day the courts start prosecuting these bastards. Until then it’s more apathy and lip service than change.

  31. kELvi — on 7th October, 2010 at 4:26 am  

    Kenni,

    Ignore –> deny –> tu quoque.
    That’s the standard order of responses. FYI.

    It’s very interesting that the most visible proponent of appeal of the Ayodhya verdict, who has offered to represent the All India Muslim Personal Law Board – Owaisi, (an MP no less) is also the thug who assaulted Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad and proudly owned up to it on TV. The reaction of the Muslims at large (evidenced by the number of letters in the reputed newspaper “The Hindu”) is one of remorse at the uncovering of the evidence for the mandir at Janmasthan. Some are deeply hurt at the thought that the Babri Masjid may have been built on the ruins of a mandir.

  32. Kamal — on 7th October, 2010 at 10:34 am  

    Kelvi would that the proponents of the fascist doctrine of hinduvata had remorse for the genocides they have committed against minorities in India such as against Muslims in gujurat in 2002 or their attacks on Indian christians

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