Muslims should give up their claim for Babri Masjid: Justice PK Shamsuddin
Historically Babari Masjid was constructed in 1526 AD by Mir Baqi, a subedar in Oudh appointed by Mughal Army Chief Saharuddin Muhammad Babar. Babar defeated Ibrahim Lodi and conquerred Delhi in the year 1526 and established the Mughal dynasty. Mir Baqi named the mosque as Babari Masjid. However of late the Mahand of Rama Janmasthan and others raised a dispute that mosque was constructed on the site of the birth place of Lord Rama and there existed a temple and it was after demolishing it Babari Masjid was constructed. This dispute became very sensitive issue and the karasevaks of Sangh Parivar demolished the mosque on the historical day of December 6, 1992. It is not disputed that BJP leaders Sri Advani, Uma Bharti, Murali Manohar Joshi and many other BJP and RSS leaders were present at the time of demolition.
It appears by and large Hindus believe that the site is the birth place of Lord Rama and there existed a Ram temple on the site. This can be due to constant propaganda mechanism unleashed by Sangh Parivar and may not be based on any brute historical evidence. However, the fact remains that this sentimental belief became a cultural force to be reckoned.
Having regard to the sentiments of Hindus it would be good gesture if the Muslims give up their claim over Babari Masjid site and allow the Hindus to construct a Ram temple on the site. As indicated above, Babari Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992 and in its place a temporary structure was put up and it is used as a temple.
Some years ago I wrote to Syed Shahabuddin, the then Chairman of All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, suggesting to take into consideration of the already developed sentiments; whether crafty means or not; and that the Muslims should relinquish their claim for Babari Masjid site and allow the Hindus to construct a Rama Janmabhumi temple in its place and that a mosque also should be constructed with the funds provided by the Government of India near the site allotted by the government.
I also suggested that the Sangh Parivar should give up their claim to other mosques and Muslim monuments and a compromise decree can be obtained on the above terms. Unfortunately Sri Syed Shahabuddin did not accept my suggestion and sent a reply saying that since the mosque site is a Wakf the mosque cannot be shifted to any other place. This argument will not hold good for the following reasons:
- The mosque disappeared in 1992 and a temporary structure was put up and it is used as a temple.
- In Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries many mosques have been shifted from their original locations.
- Even if the Sunni Wakf Board is able to get a decree in their favour, it will not be practical to remove the present structure and construct a mosque there because of resistance from the side of Sangh Parivar.
- The issue is very sensitive and if it is not settled amicably, it will result in massive communal violence and loss of lives and properties.
- If there is no peace among the two major communities, there will be no progress to the country. It is often said that the most fascinating feature of Indian cultural heritage is the unity in diversity. That needs to be preserved at any cost.
- There is a lot of precedent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which would show that peace is the paramount consideration in resolving the disputes. The famous Hudaibiya Treaty is a striking example from the life of the Prophet. That event should be a stimulus for Muslims with deep thoughts for apparently; they went against the communal interests of the Muslims.
The following four decisions were agreed upon as part of the Hudaibiya Treaty:
- The Muslims shall return to Madinah and come back next year, but they shall not stay in Makkah for more than three days.
- The Muslims shall not come back armed but can bring with them swords only as covered and kept in bags.
- War actions shall be deferred for ten years, during which both parties will live in full safety.
- If anyone from the Quraysh clan goes to join the Muslims without his guardian’s permission, he should be returned but if anyone goes from the Muslims to the Quraysh, he shall not be sent back.
The terms of 1 and 4 are ostensibly unjust! However, the term 3 is the fruit of that sacrifice. The treaty seemed to be against the interest of Muslims and was most unjust and unfair and many companions of the prophet felt unhappy about the same, but the Prophet stood firm and subsequent events proved that the diplomatic gesture of the prophet was most successful and yielded good results.
Similarly, Muslims must realise that emotional approach to a sensitive issue like Babari Masjid Rama Janmabhumi will not serve interest the Muslim community and will only be counterproductive.
The memory of Hudaibiya Treaty should be a model for every peace-seeking community. This is particularly now: The appeals filed by the parties against the Judgment of Allahabad High Court in Babari Masjid Ramajanmabhumi case came for the consideration of the Supreme Court and the honorable Court thought it fit to try for a negotiable settlement and was also pleased to appoint a panel of three mediators with Honourable Sri Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, a former judge of Supreme Court as the Chairman and Sri SriSri Ravishanker and Sri Sriram Panchu, a senior Advocate, as members.
The Muslim organisations have generally welcomed the decision but unfortunately RSS and other allied organisations have not yet favourably responded . The Honorable Chief Justice of India has given cogent reasons for taking such step before court itself hears the appeals and finally decides the matter.
Let us try to construct a bridge of love and affection between the two large communities. This should be done in the spirit of toleration, amity and love.
I am happy that Dr. Zafarul-Islam khan, an eminent scholar, and presently the Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission and former president of the All India Muslim Majilis-e-Mushawarat and many Muslim organizations, leaders and intellectuals have taken a similar view which I expressed earlier.
In the above circumstances I request all the parties to accept the following formula which I want to place before the panel of mediators for consideration as a just and fair settlement of the disputed issues:
- Muslims should give up their claim for Babari Masjid site and allow Hindu brethren to construct a Ram temple on the site.
- A mosque should be constructed near the same site and the cost should be met by the Government of India.
- The Hindu brethren should give up their claims in respect of other mosques and Muslim monuments.
- A compromise decree should be passed on the above terms.
Justice PK Shamsuddin is a retired judge of Kerala High Court and a member of the All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, Chairman, Gandhi Peace Foundation Kochi Centre and Patron, World Fellowship of Interreligious Councils