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Ram Mandir Resolution should Help India to Reinvent its Nationhood by Creating New Sense of Unity

The main opposition, Congress, attempted to derive political mileage from the development by insinuating that the BJP will no longer be able to exploit

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Ram Mandir, India, Nationhood
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. Pixabay

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.

Ram Mandir, India, Nationhood
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. Pixabay

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)

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Here Are Some Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Freedom Fighters this Republic Day

Liberty of thought and expression, to practice ones faith - in broad terms, the power to choose

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Republic
This Republic Day, why not remind our next generation, particularly young children who will grow up to be proud Indians upholding the republic-spirit of our great nation, of five incredible freedom fighters and what their lives and sacrifices exemplified - virtues that we can learn from, imbibe, and propagate, in order to strengthen ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. Pixabay

The 26th of January marks a very special day in our calendars. For Indians in India and the world over, our nation’s Republic Day symbolizes all that our great, free, democratic, secular nation stands for and embodies. Values that we sometimes take for granted. Privileges, that we ought to protect, nourish, nurture, savor. Liberty of thought and expression, to practice ones faith – in broad terms, the power to choose. The definite gift of Free Will.

This Republic Day, why not remind our next generation, particularly young children who will grow up to be proud Indians upholding the republic-spirit of our great nation, of five incredible freedom fighters and what their lives and sacrifices exemplified – virtues that we can learn from, imbibe, and propagate, in order to strengthen ourselves as individuals, and as a nation. Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Rani Laxmi Bai, Bhagat Singh and Sarojini Naidu; these brave men and women of India’s freedom struggle may have represented differing philosophies, espoused, at times, contradicting ideologies. They all however came to a common point wherein principals they stood for, were the same. Let us remind ourselves and our children through life lessons from their lives, of theirs and our country’s greatness.

TAKE A STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

From Gandhi protesting being unfairly disembarked from a Train, to atrocities of civil rights at the hands of the British that poetess Sarojini Naidu wrote about, to discriminatory treatment meted out by the imperialists that Bhagat Singh & Subhash Chandra Bose fought against, to the entirely forced and hostile advances of the British army to usurp Rani Laxmi Bai’s kingdom – each of these brave men and women, when confronted with a moral dilemma, took it on, head on, and took a brave, bold, unafraid stance, even though it was a David vs Goliath scenario! Children of today’s world would be very wise to learn to stand-up for what they believe in.

POWER OF TEAM-WORK

Another crucial lesson children can learn from all these men and women’s’ lives is their absolute belief in the power of team-building and team work. In the future, children will form leaders and it will be of utmost importance for them to appreciate the strength of a team, rather than being individualistic workers. Examine any of the freedom fighter’s individual lives and one will find that each worked purposefully to construct a team of trustworthy, loyal, devoted and philosophically aligned men and women, who fought and furthered their causes right alongside them. Be it generals and friends in the armies of Bhagat Singh, Laxmi Bai and Bose, or an intellectual coterie of guides and advisors always with Gandhi & Naidu. The power of team-work was evidently important to each of them.

Indian Flag, Flag, India, National, Country, Nation
The 26th of January marks a very special day in our calendars. For Indians in India and the world over, our nation’s Republic Day symbolizes all that our great, free, democratic, secular nation stands for and embodies. Pixabay

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

In a bygone era with limited to no real and effective means of fast or mass communication; all five men and women we are using as inspirations, led masses of people, through massive campaigns, wars, protests, and organized movements. How? It was only because they understood, appreciated and made efforts to put in place, a well-oiled and highly effective communication system. From Gandhi’s well-attended speeches to Bhagat Singh and Bose’s surreptitious networks of pan-India soldiers. From the power of the written word to the power of the spoken word, as practiced by Naidu & Laxmi Bai respectively. Each was using communication skills to their best efficacy, a vital lesson for children of today, who have a plethora of communication tools at their disposal, to use, correctly, rather than go atray and abuse these resources.

SACRIFICE SELF

What is also painfully clear is that all five individuals believed in a purpose far bigger and greater than themselves. That they willingly sacrificed their own lives, families, careers, safety, security; putting everything on the line for the greater good, the good of a nation in distress, inspires us with their courage of conviction and their do-good nature. If they hadn’t bothered, who knows we might still have been an English colony, and not the free nation we so assume to be our birthright! A sacrificing and sensitive outlook is an immensely important lesson for children.

FIERCELY PATRIOTIC

The other life lesson that children ought to clearly see reflected in the lives of Gandhi, Laxmi Bai, Naidu, Bhagat Singh and Bose is their intense and immense patriotism. If it wasn’t for their overarching sense of belongingness to the country and motherland, few amongst them would have gone to the extent that each of them did, fighting for the cause of freedom. It was this sense that NOTHING, not even their own lives, was bigger or greater than Country, which made each of them garner the strength and resolve to fight against all odds.

PHILOSOPHICAL

It wasn’t only brute force of stubbornness of purpose that drive each of these five freedom fighters to achieve their goals. It was, in each individual’s case, a well thought out, well considered, guiding light – a principled philosophy that each of them believed in, that made them be successful freedom fighters. It was this philosophy of �fighting for what was rightfully their own’ that united them into a common mission, although their methods or means to that common end might have been different from each other’s. The latter did not matter. The lesson to draw is that along with grit and determination, children must also develop a mature belief-system that guides them through life.

STEADFAST

Steadfastness of purpose is yet another element that unites our group of freedom fighters. They might have begun their individual battles, fought for the common cause of liberating India from the clutches of British tyranny. But had they NOT been steadfast, stubborn, with a dogged persuasion and self-motivation, they would have fallen by the wayside, having list sight of their goal. Many times in life, children give up too, because they are not steadfast, something that they can learn and incorporate in their own lives, from these great men and women.

DREAMERS

Sometimes as elders we tell our children not to dream. And this is a colossal mistake. Had these five brave men and women not seen a common dream, not dreamt of a free, independent India, their purpose would never have taken shape in the form of the movements they each led so heroically. It was this inconceivable dream that Gandhi, Naidu, Bhagat Singh, Bose and Laxmi Bai dreamt, that made them firm in their mission and resolve. It is a lovely and necessary thing to dream, and to dream big, and we would be wise to teach children the same life lesson.

Aged, Ancient, Antique, Army, Art, Asia, Background
The planet today, of which our country is a part, is grappling with a set of shared problems – be it terrorism or climate change. In these trying circumstances, drawing on life lessons from the lives of freedom fighters on Republic Day could just serve as the most required and most intelligent thing to do. Pixabay

ACTION-ORIENTED

Finally, it is absolutely vital for us to understand, and communicate to our children, the importance of putting plans into action. Too often, in classrooms or in boardrooms, much discussion takes place, much strategizing is done, to no avail. Alas, plans, remain plans, never seeing the light of day, unexecuted, they stay in dusty files, physical, virtual. The lesson to draw ultimately from our set of incredible freedom fighters is that plans they drew up in their lives, they had the courage, the will, the strength, and the sheer guts, to execute them. And we must as well, in our lives. Particularly for children, it is imperative that they understand that thought has to be backed-up with action.

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The planet today, of which our country is a part, is grappling with a set of shared problems – be it terrorism or climate change. In these trying circumstances, drawing on life lessons from the lives of freedom fighters on Republic Day could just serve as the most required and most intelligent thing to do, in order to come together to fight off the different types of menace that face us today. These are the lessons we ought to impart to the younger generation, for it is the Children of today, that will be the saviors of tomorrow. And the lessons are all in our very own history, to draw from! (IANS)