We will never accept second class citizenship


The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has grossly overstepped its limits proving what we knew all-along that some people were more equal than others even in the eyes of law in this secular and democratic country. What was de facto until yesterday is de jure today. The court was supposed to basically decide the title suit of the disputed land. It did so but relying not on evidence and history but on aastha, faith, and said so unabashedly.

This verdict has smashed our trust in the Indian judiciary. It reveals it as a Hindu and politicised system, not one strictly bound by law and constitution. The verdict has left the Babri issue an open wound for all time to come and any temple built on the site by this sleight of hand will always be seen by us, Indian Muslims, as a monument of injustice and unfairness.

I have been proud of our judiciary and have been saying so openly to the whole world. We considered it a safety valve for the country’s myriad problems and one reason why the Indian Muslim was so law-abiding and peaceful. Now that trust stands smashed and shattered.

Babri was never a land ownership issue. It is a ploy of the majority community fanatics whose plan is to marginalise the minorities, especially Muslims, to force them to accept the status of second class citizens in their own country. Until that aim is fulfilled, they will keep finding one issue after another. These fanatics have a very long list of monuments including Taj Mahal and Delhi's Jama Masjid, which they claim either stand on the sites of "razed" Hindu temples or are "Hindu" monuments whose names were changed by Muslim rulers (Taj Mahal, they claim was Tejo Mahlaya). Pre-British historical records, including the books written by Hindus themselves have no such indication. The Hindutva list is very elastic and includes anything from three to three thousand monuments, mainly mosques. The idea is to perpetually keep Muslims occupied in mandir-masjid issues, polarise the Hindu voters in favour of the BJP and show the Muslims their place as second class citizens in their own country. The example of one of the first three mosques demanded by Hindutva zealots shows that they will not be content with any compromise short of complete surrender to their dictates. Under a mutual settlement overseen by the local court and district authorities, Muslims of Mathura had handed over about half of the land of the Mathura Eidgah (a masjid) in October 1968 to a trust headed by Hari Dalmia, head of the VHP. The matter was closed and a magnificent temple was built on the land given by the Muslims while their dilapidated mosque does not even have a proper approach. Yet, despite that solemn agreement, they are now demanding the other half of the site on which the actual Eidgah stands today. Let the fanatics know we are equals, we will never accept to live as second class citizens.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2010 on page no. 1

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