The groundbreaking ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on 5 August, following a decades-long legal dispute that ended last year, would not only begin its construction, but would also mark a new chapter in the history of the city. Located 130 km east of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya, a town of great religious significance, has gained national prominence over the last few decades, coinciding with the Ramjanmabhoomi movement and its intertwined fortunes with the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP).
No matter how you look at it, 5 August 2020 will be a very important day in the history of the Indian Republic.
It is a year since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government decided unilaterally to revoke the autonomy of the Jammu and Kashmir states, to put the entire population under a curfew, to remove the high-speed Internet, to jail almost every mainstream politician in the Kashmir valley, including former BJP allies, and to downgrade the state – India’s only Muslim majority – to the Union Territory con.
On the same day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a religious ceremony to be broadcast live on state television to mark the beginning of the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The temple will be built on a site whose history encapsulates the rise of Hindu nationalism as the pole around which Indian politics now revolves.
“Hindus and Muslims have been challenging over the region of Ayodhya, the Babri Masjid, for more than a century, while the Hindus say that Ram, one of Vishnu’s avatars, is born. In 1949, Hindutva organizations conspired to place the Ram idol in the mosque, effectively turning it into a demonstrative Hindu temple, leading to a court case over who owns the land. Then, in the 1980s, the BJP and its parent organization, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, used a nationwide campaign to build a Ram temple on the spot as a means of stirring up passions (and inciting violence), culminating in mass vandalism that demolished the mosque on 6 December 1992.
One of the forms in which a temple can be constructed in land where the mosque was – by permission of a court – illicitly demolished is, for exemple, the position of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of India has appeared to follow the majority trend of India, which has only intensified in the last six years , given the illusion of judicial independence.
A perfect example of this is the judgment of 2019 which paves the way for building the temple:
The Court found it illegal to install the Mosque’s idol in 1949 and the 1992 demolition of the mob, but the beliefs that those illegal actions might give the land to the Hindu parties are also used. The Court found this to be illegal.
The idea of dividing the land from Hindus and Muslims was dismissed but its legal justification was based on these divisions.
And it took the Muslim side, without the same quality on the Hindu side, to prove “the exclusive possession” of the land.
Can the temple build bear electoral advantages for the BJP? Another is that the party may really have had a bad judgment from the Supreme Court, as it might have had a common problem organizing its supporters in that situation.
You live only as long as the last person who remembers.