The dust has – for all practical purpose – settled on the Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid dispute. And it’s time for some introspection, especially taking a look at those who worked overtime to defuse the crisis.
At the heart of it was India’s wellness guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who on March 6, 2018 had written to the President and the Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), explaining the current situation and future possibilities for India in the context of the long-pending dispute. The genial guru explained in the letter that he had examined the possible outcomes of the Supreme Court judgment favouring one community over the other. In the second paragraph of the letter, Sri Sri wrote: “The first possibility is that of the court declaring the site be given to the Hindus based on the archaeological evidence that the temple existed long before the masjid. In this scenario, Muslims would have serious apprehensions about our legal system and their faith in the Indian judiciary may be shaken.”
And then he further wrote: “Even though the Muslim Personal Law Board and other community leaders say that they will accept it, in the long run, the feeling that the court has done injustice to the community will prevail for centuries.”
What is interesting is that statements from the Muslim leadership after the Ayodhya verdict vindicated Sri Sri’s stand on the Ayodhya issue.
“The order was not based on merit and evidence and defied logic … Justice was not done fully in this judgment,” said Maulana Arshad Madani, President, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) & Executive Member, AIMPLB “The judgement has shaken the faith of the minorities in the judiciary as they believe that they have been wronged,” said Maulana Mahmood Madani, General Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH) & Executive Member, AIMPLB. And then, said Dr Muhammad Salim Engineer, Vice President, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH): “The representatives of JIH attended the meeting (with NSA Ajit Doval) only to convey our disagreement and dissatisfaction with the judgment and the course of events.” And then spoke Asaduddin Owaisi, President, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) & Executive Member, AIMPLB, who had once said he will accept whatever verdict comes from the Supreme Court. Hours after the judgement, Owaisi said: The Supreme Court is supreme but not infallible.”
So let’s reconstruct the events to see – obviously with a magnifying glass – Sri Sri’s involvement with the long-standing Ayodhya dispute. Well, it began in 2001. Sri Sri had returned to India, after addressing the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2001, and had a meeting with the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Very few know it was Vajpayee who requested Sri Sri to help resolve the dispute through an out-of-court settlement. Consequently, Sri Sri held a series of meetings with stakeholders from the Hindu and Muslim communities between September 2001 and March 2002.
Eventually, Sri Sri proposed a 3-point formula in February 2003. He met with senior-most functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and also visited the AIMPLB office in Delhi for a meeting with about 15 members. Almost everyone from both sides had agreed to Sri Sri’s formula. Sri Sri explained why communal harmony in India is a role model for the world and why India is the original melting pot of cultures. The wellness guru explained time and again how Indians accommodated others and adapted beliefs based on the ancient idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or One World Family. However, the talks reached a dead end due the hard-nosed and dogmatic attitude of only a few. Even before his appointment to the 3-member mediation panel, set up by the Supreme Court, the same set of people were opposing Sri Sri’s 2017 initiative.
But let’s take a realistic look. The solution Sri Sri had offered since 2003 to resolve the Ayodhya dispute proved to be right, the same solution has been now been promulgated by the country’s apex court. Had Sri Sri’s advice been heeded by both sides India could have saved 16 precious years.
India is the beacon of hope for our planet, a planet that often finds itself in the midst of gory conflict. The mediation process that Sri Sri kick-started in 2003, and that which has culminated with the balanced and historic judgement of the Supreme Court has brought forth the real strength of our culture and values to the world.
India has often shown that it is only through the unifying and higher spiritual knowledge of the ancients, that which is available in all cultures and religions, harmonious co-existence is possible. It is precisely this very message Sri Sri had put forward in his meetings to resolve the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid crisis. The message routinely reflects in the teaching and actions of the spiritual and wellness guru, counted among the world’s top peace ambassadors.
The faster people listen and agree, its better for mankind.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.