Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ayodhya Verdict: a flawed attempt for political compromise by the Judiciary

December 6 1992

 The day when I felt most ashamed of India and its Government.
 The day on which glorious Indian tradition-of tolerance and respect for all-was torn apart by few goons.


Now with the Ayodhya Verdict of the Allahabad High Court I am feeling ashamed again,this time of Indian Judiciary.
The verdict has been analysed in detail both in Print and in Cyberspace.So without going into the details let me make it clear why I am ashamed of this verdict.

Role of Belief and Religion in a Title suit
This was a title suit. What role religion and belief have in a title suit? The court was supposed to look at the legal documents available and come to a verdict. Instead the Court tried to over reach its authority and came up with an  'illegal' political compromise.

Condoning Masjid demolition
The ASI was able to excavate the site because of the criminal vandalism of Hindutva goons.What would have been the verdict if Babri Masjid was still there? Would the Judiciary give a verdict to partition it into 3 parts? By giving a portion to the criminals who demolished it are n't they condoning the demolition? The Hindutva brigade will surely try to get immunity in demolition case citing this verdict.

ASI Report 2003
Findings of ASI after excavating the Babri Masjid site did not prove that the Masjid was build demolishing a temple. It was due to political bias that a wrong conclusion was given in its report by ASI. Many archeologists and historians have challenged this. Here is an extract from the statement released by SAHMAT, an organisation in which many renowned Historians are members.

One decisive piece of evidence, which entirely negates the possibility of a temple, is that of animal bones. Bone fragments with cut marks are a sure sign of animals being eaten at the site, and, therefore, rule out a temple existing at the site at the time. The Report in its “Summary of Results” admits that “animal bones have been recovered from various levels of different periods” (Report, p.270). Any serious archaeological report would have tabulated the bones, by periods, levels and trenches, and identified the species of the animals (which in bulk seem to be of sheep and goats). There should, indeed, have been a chapter devoted to animal remains. But despite the statement in its “Summary”, there is no word about the animal bones in the main text. This astonishing omission is patently due to the ASI’s fear of the fatal implications held out by the animal bone evidence for the temple theory.

....The bias, partisanship and saffronised outlook of the ASI’s Report takes one’s breath away. In almost everything the lack of elementary archaeological controls is manifest. The one-page carbon-date report, without any description of material, strata and comments by the laboratory, is meaningless, and open to much misuse. There has been no thermoluminescence (TL) dating of the pottery; no carbon-dating of the animal or human bones. No care has been exercised in chronology....

...It cannot be overlooked that the occupant of the office of Director-General was changed almost simultaneously with the High Court’s direction to the ASI to begin the excavations in early March. The signal given thereby was obvious; and the present Report should come as no surprise. Politicians gloating over it are precisely those who have got it written.
Location of birth place of Lord Ram
     At least 2 Judges of the High Court seems to have accepted that most Hindus believe Lord Ram was born at a place which fell under the Central dome of the Masjid. What was the evidence to conclude that most Hindus beleived Ram was born at that exact place? The truth is there were many rival places in Ayodhya which had claims to be the birth place of Lord Ram. Only in the 1980s with the advent of strong Hindutva movement that the Mosque was deliberately made the birth place of Rama. 

Political Compromise versus Judicial Compromise

Many well meaning Indians,especially the young feel that as every one have got something we all should be satisfied with it and the Nation should move on. Many believe that the Secular 'fundamentalists' are needlessly creating problems. I disagree.
If it was a political compromise arrived at by religious leaders all of us including me would have been happy to accept it. But when a High Court go back to the period of Panchayath Court system to arrive at an extra-legal compromise in its verdict, it spells trouble for India's democracy and secularism.
Can we change history to justify the politics of present?

What happened in history, happened. It cannot be changed. But we can learn to understand what happened in its fuller context and strive to look at it on the basis of reliable evidence. We cannot change the past to justify the politics of the present. The verdict has annulled respect for history and seeks to replace history with religious faith. True reconciliation can only come when there is confidence that the law in this country bases itself not just on faith and belief, but on evidence
 Romilla Thapar, Historian

Let us hope that some time in future the Supreme Court will rectify this flawed attempt for political compromise by the Judiciary.

Links
http://sahmatnews.blogspot.com/2010/10/statement-on-ayodhya-verdict.html
http://www.sahmat.org/2982003.html  on ASI report
http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-justice-rajindar-sachar.html

http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-rajeev-dhavan-on-ayodhya.html
 http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/in-name-of-faith-frontline-5-oct-2010.html