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Shahabuddin and Sudarshan correspondence
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

Syed Shahabuddin (left) and Sudarshan: an exercise in futility'As for your perception of India's past is concerned I would not like to call you ignorant but a clever user of distorted and concocted history of India's past written by colonial and Marxist historians, whenever and wherever it suits you. Much can be written on this but this is not the place for it. To give just one example, you reject European evidence on the demolition of Ramjanam-bhoomi temple and construction of Babri Masjid thereon, but flaunt the myth of Aryan invasion theory created by the 19th century colonial historians. Similarly you maintain a stony silence on the contemporary medieval literary, graphical and archeological sources on the atrocities and vandalism inflicted upon Hindus and their places of worship by the foreign invaders and rulers and declare these facts as myth created by the RSS but gleefully repeat the Marxist concoctions about imaginary-sect-conflicts in ancient India.' 

This is not a paragraph from the new history books introduced by the government but a part of the correspondence between RSS chief Sudarshan and the president of Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat and former MP Syed Shahbuddin. This came to media notice only recently when a part of the correspondence was made public by the Mushawarat president, though Shahbuddin has already published several letters written by him and Sudarshan's answers in his monthly journal Muslim India. He wanted to discontinue the correspondence because he perceived it a useless exercise. He told the MG that he want to end this correspondence because it was proving to be a futile exercise and it was not leading to any solution. This correspondence is continuing since July last year when Shahbuddin fired a letter in response to a statement made by the RSS chief a few days back. In his letter dated 7 August to Mushawarat's president Sudarshan had talked of prospective solutions of the Babri Masjid issue. He had talked of three options on the Babri issue and had emphasized on voluntary relinquishment of the claim of the Muslims of the Babri Masjid site and said that it is more feasible and pragmatic solution. He had also written of two other solutions including out of court settlement and legislation by Parliament to hand over the site to Hindus. 

He claimed that the option of handing over the site was more logical because the plot of land on which the 'disputed structure' (Babri masjid) stood was 'never under Waqf'. Sudarshan also claimed that the present existence of the makeshift temple on this site since 6 December 1992 has also judicial sanctions vide the judgement by Justice HN Tilhari dated 1 January 1993. He also wrote that Shahbuddin's assertion that the proof of the earlier existence on the disputed site should be to the satisfaction of eminent historians, is a highly controversial statement. He added that 'it is difficult to satisfy the eminent historians if they deliberately refuse to see the truth. 

He in the same letter accepted that he will accept judicial verdict. He assured that 'There is no denying the fact that in a democratic society we have all to accept the judicial verdict'.

Shahbuddin answered Sudershan on 11 August and appreciated his acceptance of the court verdict. It was the first time when any Sangh leader so openly accepted that he is prepared to accept the court verdict. Shahabuddin accepted that 'the option of negotiations is certainly ever available in the larger interest of amicable relations between the two communities, indeed of the nation.' But he added that 'negotiation must be free of coercion, on terms of equality and on the basis of mutual understanding of the essentials of the questions as perceived by the two sides. But he refused the option mentioned by the RSS president that the Parliament can legislate and hand over the site for the construction of the temple. He wrote that 'keeping in view the basic philosophy and structure of the Constitution, in our view, a particularized piece of legislation to acquire and then to hand over the site of a Masjid for the construction of a Mandir, or vice versa would be unconstitutional. He also refuted Sudarshan's claim that Babri Masjid site was not waqf land. Shahabuddin wrote that Babri Masjid and land adjacent to it was Waqf property. He added that Justice Tilhari's order of 1-1-1993 merely records a de facto situation and cannot override the final judicial verdict.

Sudarshan amazingly changed his tone in his reply and instead of elaborating what he had said earlier, questioned Shahbuddin's credentials to take any stand on the issue. He tried to undermine Shahbuddin by writing that 'Babri Masjid Action Committee did not include your name to participate in Government of India initiated rounds of talks between Babri Masjid Action Committee and Vishwa Hindu Parishad held in 1990-91 and 1992. He tried to belittle Shahbuddin,s credentials by saying that he has been changing his stand on the Babri Masjid issue and said that he was never interested in solving the problem.

Shahbuddin in his answer expressed surprise over Sudarshan's tone. He wrote that 'instead of carrying your proposal of out of court settlement any further you have questioned my legitimacy as your interlocutor.'

He clarified that he was not on the panel of Babri Masjid Action Committee to participate in talks because the Babri Masjid Coordination Committee had refused the offer of the Government of India to participate in the talks with the VHP. The BMCC had opted out because it anticipated that nothing will come out of these talks and nothing did actually come out. He also refused that there was any contradiction in his views. 

Shahabuddin tried to end the correspondence and termed his last letter dated 4 December last of the series. A few excerpts of letters written by him and Sudarshan were published in a leading daily newspaper being published from the capital. But Sudarshan objected over the publicizing of the letter and again fired another letter criticizing the act of making the letters public. 

Shahabuddin says that enough is enough and there is no point in carrying on this futile exercise any further. He also says that these people are not interested in solving the Babri Masjid problem amicably.

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