FIRST OF ALL, we all know that it is a "political judgement." In the present case, that does not necessarily mean that it is a bad judgement.
As facts stand, neither the Hindus nor the Muslims could prove their legitimate title claims on the land before the court. Hindus could not prove that a temple was demolished to build the mosque. The Muslims could not prove that Hindus have not been praying here even after the mosque came into being.
The court agrees that that though the Hindus could not prove the existence of a temple precisely on this spot, the Muslims managed to prove the presence of the Mosque for as long as they claimed . But they could not prove that they always prayed here. This was funny. What else would the Muslims do with the mosque?
But matters got complicated as the Hindu side was able to prove that they had been praying on the site where the this "disputed structure" stood. The ASI records and maps could also prove or disprove nothing, one way or the other. There is evidence that some sort of worship was going on in Ayodhya during Guru Nanak's times, but exactly at what spot? Not clear. That the Hindus prayed at the same site even after the Mosque came up is mentioned in many travelogues.
So neither the Hindus nor the Muslims could prove "exclusive right" over the site beyond any reasonable doubt.
Thus, while the court could not have decided anything strictly on merit alone, it seems a lot went on through the back channels and some sort of an "out of court" understanding was reached but neither side had the courage to tell its followers about that understanding.
So it seems they mutually decided to give it a legal cover by getting the SC to formalise it in the guise of a judgement. This is proved also by the withdrawal of the Muslims a few days before the judgement.
Thus, the govt, the contending parties and the court were on the same page about finding a way out through a wishy washy judgement.
Nothing bad in all this if the goals of peace and communal harmony are achieved. The Muslim response to the judgement has been extremely sober and magnanimous, for which they deserve a salute. I hope the Hindus also refrain from going overboard in celebrating it as a defeat for the Muslims.
As for as religion is concerned, it makes no difference either to Allah or to Ram whether you have a mosque here or a temple. But it makes a difference to the "communities."
I am not bothered if this judgment is flawed so long as it achieves, with the active cooperation of both the Hindu and the Muslim parties, the goals of social cohesiveness. After all, social stability and communal harmony are far more important than legalistic exactness. Any judgement, no matter how flawed it might be, is noble if it can get the people to preserve peace, harmony and cohesiveness, and if it strengthens the country by preserving the social fabric.
Whether the judgement is good or bad will be known in how the two communities respond to it in the coming days. I am not obsessing too much with judicial fairness if the court achieves the desired goals through some other means. The law is for the people, and not the other way round.
My hunch is that they have managed to find a way out, and SC has merely helped in giving it a legal veneer. That is perfectly okay so long both communities are on board and agree to work together in maintaining peace.
That said , the whole thing can be sabotaged by just a handful of lunatics who may feel left out of the deal. That won't be easy if the government is determined to now to end the dispute, which it might be after getting the freedom to fulfil its promise on Ram Janambhoomi.
The order on 5 acres to be given by the BJP government to the Muslim community has a strong symbolic significance. Otherwise, it has no meaning.
I doubt if the Muslim community will take the offer. And all this can be a part of a prepared script to let the Muslims assert their pride by refusing the offer- a very smart psychological play being enacted here, it seems to me. And it is for the good.
All in all, a political judgement but maybe one that will be good for everyone concerned and for the country.
*(The author, a freelance journalist, has served as Advisor on National Affairs to former CM, Parkash Singh Badal. Needless to say, the views expressed herein are personal.)
Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.