Ayodhya: A New Beginning?

by Nitin M

The recent decision by the Lucknow High Court to divide the land disputed by both Hindus and Muslims was much awaited by the whole of India.

While security services across the country were on high alert with hundreds of thousands of police and paramilitary forces deployed across the country to counter any untoward incidents, the people of India acted with maturity and restraint.

To my knowledge not a single incidence of violence has taken place. In a country of over a billion people who are passionate about their religions, my fellow Indians have made me proud to be an Indian.

People all over the world with disputes have been watching us as we took the court’s decision in our stride.

The Muslim claimant in the case is obviously not satisfied with the verdict and are exercising their right to appeal the decision by taking it to the highest judicial authority in the land with a promise to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Fringe groups and some politicians will try to make political hay of it, but the people of India have spoken with their relative silence and restraint.

Some commentators, including popular Muslim figures, have called upon all parties to accept the verdict and move on. At the same time, there have been suggestions that both sides should show their magnanimity by offering support to the other.

Although I am a Christian, I believe that the Muslims have come away with the relatively raw end of the deal.

The court should have split the land equally between Hindus and Muslims. My understanding is that of the three claimants to the land, two are Hindu groups and hence the judges were right to split it three ways.

My recommendation to all three groups is to come together and build structures of equal magnificence to celebrate their respective faiths and to use a third of the total land to erect a facility that would celebrate India’s secularism – something that would stand as a reminder that freedom was not won by a Hindu or a Muslim, that our freedom is not guarded by a Hindu or a Muslim and that our prosperity is not exclusively because of a Hindu or a Muslim.

Let us do as much for the least of our brothers as we would do for ourselves.

I recommend to the citizens of India to reach out to their elected representatives in the panchayats, legislative assemblies and parliament to encourage these groups to build something that every Indian may be proud of.

For many years, Hindus and Muslims, in a spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood worshipped and practised their respective faiths on that land.

Let’s honor the memories of those brothers and sisters and the memories of those who won us the freedom to worship and the memories of those who guard those freedoms.