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Babri conundrum - Human blood is precious


The politics of appeasement by the Congress has resulted in much bloodshed in the country
September 19, 2010 16:40
Tags : Human blood is precious |the Muslim Personal Law |Personal Law |Ramjanmabhumi |

 Babri conundrum - Human blood is preciousArif Mohammed Khan, 

Former Union minister and senior politician

Ibn Ishaq, in his biography of the holy Prophet, reports that Abraha, the Abyssinian governor of Yemen, had built a Cathedral of immense proportions in his capital Sana, and made efforts to divert the pilgrims from Mecca to the new place of worship. Angered by these attempts, a resident of Mecca travelled to Sana, visited the Cathedral and defiled it. When Abraha came to know of this, he decided to punish the Meccans, by leading an army to attack Mecca and demolish the Ka’aba, the House of God. After reaching in the vicinity of Mecca, Abraha dispatched one of his generals to plunder the people there. The campaign was successful and a huge booty was looted, among it 200 camels belonging to Abdul Muttalib, the chief of the Quraysh and grandfather of the holy Prophet. 

Subsequently, Abdul Muttalib went and petitioned Abraha to return his camels and other property looted by his army. Abraha replied, “I am pleased to see you and hear what you have said. Do you wish to talk to me about 200 camels of yours which I have taken, and say nothing about the religion of your forefathers which I have come to destroy.” Abdul Muttalib said, “I am the owner of the camels not the temple. The temple (Ka’aba) has an owner who will defend it.” 

The rest is history, showing how the invading army was destroyed to a man by the divine intervention and the Ka’aba was saved though no defence was offered by the custodians of the Ka’aba. This event took place in the year of the birth of Prophet Mohammed, that is, 570 AD. The story is endorsed by the Holy Qur’an in chapter 105 titled ‘The Elephant’, giving an idea of the fate of the invading army. 

The Qur’anic story is profoundly instructive for any sensitive mind. It clearly shows that places of worship, important as they are, do not have greater sanctity than that of the human blood. The holy Prophet himself is reported to have said that the sanctity of Muslim blood is more than the sanctity of Ka’aba, yet we see people fighting over these places. The number of people who lost their lives either as kar sevaks on November 19, 1990 or as innocent victims of the communal orgy unleashed after the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992, is saddening. The Ayodhya dispute has been hanging fire since 1885, when one Mahant Raghubar Das had made a plea before a sub-judge at Faizabad to allow him to build a temple on the spot just outside the Babri Masjid, where the Hindu idols were installed on a platform. The dispute took a new turn after the idols were installed inside the mosque on the night of December 23, 1949, leading to number of court cases. It is interesting to note that the litigant parties were on amicable terms and often travelled together to attend the courts. 

People were generally indifferent to the court proceedings till February 1, 1986, when the District Judge passed an order for opening of the gates that were locked in 1950 by a judicial order. The District Judge passed the order only after examining the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Faizabad district, who assured the court that they could maintain the peace and law and order even without locks. One cannot imagine that the senior officers of the district would have given their consent to open the locks without necessary instructions from the state and the central governments. The fact that the order was implemented within an hour and was widely covered by Doordarshan further establishes the fact that the government was using the Ayodhya dispute for pursuing its political agenda. 

Neerja Chaudhary, writing in The Statesman on May 1, 1986, observed: “There is an evidence of connection between the opening of the doors of the disputed Ramjanmabhumi in Ayodhya and the introduction of the Muslim Women Bill in Parliament, both of which have heightened the communal tension.” She quoted a member of the Muslim Personal Law Board as saying, “To be honest, we were not expecting it to come so soon” and further opined that its timing indicated that it was not unconnected with the opening of the masjid doors. She concluded her piece thus: “A policy of appeasement of both communities being pursued by the government for electoral gains is a vicious cycle which will become difficult to break.” 

Indeed it became difficult to control the communal and divisive forces after the twin decisions of the government in 1986– succumbing to the pressure of the Personal Law Board to undo the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case and then counterbalance it by unlocking the gates in Ayodhya. To use an Urdu couplet: Han khabardar ke ek laghzishe paa se kabhi/Sari taarekh ki raftaar palat jaati hai (Beware, sometimes one false step leads to altering the whole course of history).

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017