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BY D.C. PATHAK
The judicial resolution of the 70-year-old Ayodhya dispute has mitigated the most inflammatory cause of Hindu-Muslim divide in India and given relief to the average citizens engaged in pursuing their livelihood in peace. The unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court’s five-member Constitutional Bench recognising the spot under the central dome of the demolished Babri Masjid at Ayodhya as the birth place of Lord Ram for worship and giving the title of the entire disputed land of 2.77 acres to the Hindu side is a transformative development that yields a significant end result of the long search for validation of what is a major determinant of India’s national profile. The judgement rests on points of both law and fact but the apex court also invoked Article 142 of the Constitution to give a verdict of arbitration on two points- accommodation of Nirmohi Akhara in the Trust that would oversee the construction of a Ram Temple at the site and award of five acres of land by the government at a suitable place in Ayodhya to Muslims for building a mosque in lieu of their lost claim.Ram Mandir
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had called for restraint on the part of those who considered the verdict as their victory. While many Muslim leaders grudgingly accepted the judicial pronouncement, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board kept the option of a Review Petition open, claiming that the verdict was flawed. The main opposition, Congress, attempted to derive political mileage from the development by insinuating that the BJP will no longer be able to exploit the issue on communal line for electoral gain. It thus tried to keep itself on the right side of Muslims while going along with the judgement. The overriding impact of a huge problem of national import being resolved through a credible judicial process has apparently injected political sanity in the responses to the judgement received so far. The democratic texture of Indian state remains intact and this is an invaluable gain.
It was clear before the verdict came that only one side would feel vindicated leaving the other with a sense of loss. There are three substantive elements in the judgement however, that would give the Muslim contestants the consolation of having been dealt an even hand. First, the highest court of the land clearly pronounced that the Babri Masjid demolition was a violation of law since the entire structure of the mosque was brought down in a ‘calculated’ act of destroying a place of public worship.
Second, the judgement has after an extensive examination of the facts of the case recorded upfront that “the evidence… in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims”. The Court held that “the existence of an Islamic structure at a place considered sacrosanct by the Hindus did not stop them from continuing their worship at the disputed site.. within the precincts of the structure” as this “did not shake the faith and belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born” there. It further concluded that according to ASI finding “the 16th Century mosque of Mughal Emperor Babar was not built on vacant land”. The judgement used the words “faith” and “belief” here only to establish the fact of continuity of worship by Hindus inside the Babri Masjid. The apex court pronounced that the three way bifurcation of the disputed land by the High Court was neither legally sustainable nor feasible in terms of sub serving the interest of either of the parties.
And lastly, the Supreme Court felt the Muslims had been wrongly deprived of a structure, even if its exclusive use by them as a mosque was not established, through means which should not have been deployed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law. Taking note of the entitlement of the Muslims, the Court pronounced that a five acre plot at an alternative site in Ayodhya will be allocated for the building of a mosque. This is not a gift of charity as made out by some Muslim critics of the judgement but a judicial recognition of the claim of the Muslim side.
It is extremely significant that the Supreme Court prefaced its judgement with the observation that “this Court is tasked with the resolution of a dispute whose origins are as old as the idea of India itself”. As the world’s largest practising democracy India was being “secular” in terms of showing respect to all faiths and making no distinction of caste, creed and region amongst citizens in matters of providing development and protection of law. It was however, always clear that India’s civilisational legacy that made it an entity of its own was older than what the Prophetic religions had brought to the world just over two thousand years ago and that the great mix of colour they all provided to this land had to be kept from creeping into our electoral politics and corrupting the democratic system of equality for all.
Minority politics threw up a conflict-ridden domestic scene here as faith-based vote banks were sought to be preserved by their protagonists through a needless denial of the reality that India demographically was a Hindu majority country. So long as the elections were fought here on the ultimate principle of “one man one vote” – the very basis of democracy – and the elected political executive governing the nation did not carry any denominational stamp, it would be ensured that the citizens had the freedom of religion and the right to pursue socio-cultural traditions provided they did not create disharmony and that political governance could remain above religion. India’s contemporary status as a democratic nation could therefore exist in consonance with and not in disregard of its Hindu inheritance. The Ayodhya verdict has given clarity to this idea of India.
The Modi government has to be given credit for patiently taking the path of Judiciary for getting the Ayodhya conundrum resolved in the face of mounting pressure from Hindu groups for facilitating early construction of Ram Temple through other methods. That the temple project will be overseen and monitored by the Government takes the communal sting out of it to an extent. The Ayodhya conflict was creating a vertical divide in the country, between its two largest communities, and election politics based on communal identity was clouding the historical reality that India could live on as a Hindu majority nation offering a socio-cultural spectrum of its own but treating all its citizens equally at the political level.
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In a democracy, a citizen lives in three dimensions- ‘personal’ that gave the choice of faith, ‘social’ that provided cultural freedom and ‘political’ that guaranteed the right to chose his or her representative in an election. Many parties have played minority politics for gaining power and done so in a manner that deprecated nationalism and progressively put such matters as respecting National Flag and National Anthem into question. The communities were pushed towards religious fundamentalism in the process creating a possibility that an adversary next door would be tempted to exploit the scene. India should ideally move towards a situation where Muslims will figure amongst the political leaders of Hindus and vice versa. Why should the communities be led by people of their own denomination in a democratic state? The Ram Mandir resolution should help India to reinvent its nationhood by creating a new sense of unity. As Prime Minister Modi rightly said “fear, bitterness and negativity have no place in new India”. The state would at the same time be well advised to prevent any mischief that could be created by trouble makers within or by those guided from outside of our borders, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court verdict. (IANS)
By- Digital Hub
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Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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The prestigious British-based, Booker Prize, is one of the most prestigious and acclaimed awards given annually to the best work of fiction. This award is given to a work of fiction which is primarily written in English language and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland by the writers of any nationality.
This year, six authors were nominated for their work of fiction, and the winner will be announced on the 3rd of November.
The books which were shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize 2021 are:
1. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
British-Somali writer, Nadifa Mohamed's novel, 'The Fortune Men', is a chilling reimagining of Mahmood Mattan's story. Mattan, who is the main character in the book, was a Somali seaman who was wrongfully imprisoned and executed for a murder in Wales.
2. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
Pulitzer-winner, Richard Powers' book is a story of a young astrobiologist, who is in search of finding life on other planets, and his troubled son, Robin. The book is a mixture of sci-fi and family romance. Interestingly, this is Powers' first book after winning the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2019.
3. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
This book is about the lives of pilot Marian Graves and Hadley Baxter, who was a troubled Hollywood actress. In the 1950s, Marian embarked on a journey to travel the world but then disappeared without a trace. Fifty years later, Hadley is drawn to play Marian's character, which indirectly leads her to probe the mysteries of the latter's life.
4. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockdwood
This is the first book by the American poet and memoirist. " 'No One Is Talking About This' is like a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature," reads the book's blurb. This book was also one of the finalists for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction.
5. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
The Sri Lankan author's book tells the story of a young man who travels to Sri Lanka's war-torn North. The story deals with the themes of loss, longing, the legacy of war, and how it affects everyone. The author had earlier won the DSC Prize for his debut book "The Story of a Brief Marriage".
6. The Promise by Damon Galgut
Damon Galgut is a South African author. In this book, the author pens down the story about a white South African family living around in Pretoria, and the crisis they face during the last few years because of apartheid.
Today, 17 September,marks the 133rd birth anniversary of Michiyo Tsujimura, who was a Japanese scientist, and worked extensively on decoding the nutritional value of green tea.
Tsujimura spent her early career as a science teacher. And, in 1920, she chased her dream of becoming a scientific researcher at the Hokkaido Imperial University, where she began to analyse the nutritional properties of Japanese silkworms, in which she was very much interested.
After a few years, Tsujimura transferred to the Tokyo Imperial University, and began researching the biochemistry of green tea alongside Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, who is well known for his discovery of vitamin B1.
In their joint research in this area, it was revealed that green tea contained significant amount of vitamin C, which is the first of many, yet unknown molecular compounds in green tea.
Later on, in 1929, Tsujimura isolated catechin, which is bitter ingredient of tea. Then, the next year, she isolated tannin, which is an even more bitter compound. All these findings formed the foundation for her doctoral thesis– "On the Chemical Components of Green Tea", and through all this hard work, she graduated as Japan's first woman doctor of agriculture in the year 1932.
Moreover, Tsujimura also made history as an educator when she became the first ever Dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at the Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School in the year 1950.
Even today, a stone memorial in honor of Dr. Michiyo Tsujimura’s achievements can be found in her birthplace of Okegawa City.