Babri Masjid Issue

Hashim Ansari’s efforts to ensure peace in Ayodhya

If the problem of Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi is solved through talks, what else will be more welcome than this. It is the height of absurdity that two communities of the country are fighting for places of worship

Ayodhya: High Court's verdict on Ayodhya dispute has given rise to statements and counter-statements by different people all over the country. Political leaders are adopting different tactics to derive mileage from the dispute and efforts are being made by them to project their image among the people on the issue but the picture of Ayodhya is completely different. People here are talking of peace and harmony and devising a strategy as to how mandir and masjid can be built side by side. Those who had been fighting the legal battle against each other now appear to be keen on sitting together and find a mutually agreeable solution. VHP leaders who did not want to see a mosque “within 250 kms of Ayodhya” are now sitting with Muslims to talk about building a mosque. On one side this important change is indicative of shrinking distance between Hindus and Muslims, on the other side it portends well towards a pleasant future for India.

Ninety-year-old Hashim Ansari who is the oldest plaintiff in Babri Masjid case and has had the honour of offering namaz in Babri Masjid before the planting of idols in it, no longer wants to prolong the Ayodhya dispute. He says that he had been waiting for the verdict on Ayodhya for sixty years but when the verdict came, instead of solving it, the court complicated it further. He asks, with what hope we should now go to the Supreme Court? With great disappointment, he says 'should I bequeathe Babri Masjid case file to my children and grandchildren before leaving the world?' He says that “there is still a ray of hope in my tired eyes that this problem should be solved through talks and that is why I am trying for a settlement in my meetings with Hanuman Gadhi's Mahant and president of All India Akhara Parishad, Gyan Das'. When asked as to why he selected only Gyan Das for this, he said that this is a problem of Ayodhya and I wish that people of Ayodhya alone should settle it. He further said that our dispute is with Nirmohi Akhara and this Akhada is under Gyan Das. And secondly, Gyan Das is the only person in Ayodhya who can throw a challenge to VHP and it is he who has strongly and openly opposed VHP in Ayodhya and who is talking of building a mosque alongwith the proposed temple.

Hashim Ansari's statement was confirmed when Mahant Gyan Das brought on one platform Nirmohi Akhada's representative Mahant Ram Das, VHP leader and Ram Lalla's representative Ram Vilas Vedanti and Hashim Ansari at his seat at Hanuman Gadhi and asked them to make a statement that both mandir and masjid will be built in Ayodhya and we shall try to get this matter solved peacefully. Gyan Das said very clearly that he is the president of the Akhada Parishad and hence will not allow excesses to be committed against it (Akhada Parishad) and, on the other hand Muslims should rest assured that Gyan Das, who held iftar parties in Harnuman Gadhi, will never betray them. He further said that he is neither to get anything from Ram Mandir nor the builders of mosques there will give him anything. He simply wants that in Ayodhya where there never was any war or clash, where the concept of Ram Rajya prevails, where we put on the khadaoons (wooden footwear) built by Muslims and where garlands/beads made by them are worn by idols of bhagwans in Ayodhya's temples, there should not be any untoward incident which may spoil the feeling of brotherhood here. Gyan Das also said that if any party goes to the Supreme Court, we will not prevent it; let it go there but we shall continue our efforts for agreement and understanding.

According to Haji Mahboob, another party of Babri dispute, if the problem of Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi is solved through talks, what else will be more welcome than this. It is the height of absurdity that two communities of the country are fighting for places of worship; but Babri Masjid's problem is now not limited to Muslims of Ayodhya only. This is not the dispute of only one particular piece of land. This is the problem of the faith and belief of all Muslims. How anyone can decide this case on his own responsibility? The whole community is angry over the manner in which Hashim Ansari is trying to solve this problem. Haji Mahboob says that it is highly regrettable that Hashim Ansari is having no faith in his own community. He has no trust in his lawyer Zafaryab Jilani also nor has he faith in Muslims, Sunni Waqf Board as well as in Muslims’ most important organisation, Muslim Personal Law Board. Haji Mahboob says that Hashim Ansari has now gone to the extent of saying that he is facing danger to his life from Haji Mahboob! He says what will I get by taking his life? He further says that he does not understand what kind of unity Hashim Ansari is going to bring about in which no other Muslim except himself will succeed. Haji Mahboob says whatever Hashim is doing alone could have probably brought better results if he would have been doing alongwith the Muslim community as a whole or at least he should have taken all the parties to the Babri Masjid into confidence.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2010 on page no. 5

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