The fall of Secularism
The most personal of all beliefs is the belief in religion and the Almighty. This feelings of devotion that unites communities and binds them together, is rapidly loosening it’s grip on harmony.
Today, a handful of world leaders and politicians, sitting on the thrones of votes and faith, channelize these energies of devotion to capture power and strength to their own advantage.
Vulnerable, marginalized, unknowledgeable sections are flung to far ends, intensely affected by the reign of terror that ensues their lives.
Secularism everywhere is rolling down the steep side of religious hierarchy, heavily burdened by leaders with boundless manipulations and measured fueling of fire.
Wrecking havoc in India: The situation in Ayodhya
The Indian constitution re-enforced it’s ideal of Secularism in 1976, but somewhere the country falls short of recognizing it, even after 44 years.
Despite the Supreme Court calling the Ayodhya dispute “a property dispute” and the Prime Minister encouraging the citizens to strengthen the spirit of ‘Rashtra Bhakti’, instead of focusing on ‘Ram Bhakti’ or ‘Rahim Bhakti’, the entire nation is still polarized over the matter.
Is this dividing line between people a consequence of their deep rooted culture or is it the dominant narrative of centuries surfacing in their thoughts and actions today?
Babri Masjid was constructed by Mir Baqi, the General of Mughal Emperor, Babur in 1528 A.D., according to a white paper prepared by the Central Government that was quoted by the Supreme Court in the case of M.Saddiq v Mahant Suresh Das and others.
Skipping through the arduous tale of conflicts during the medieval history and Colonial rule, we come down to 1949, the year in which Hindu’s placed the idols of their Gods under the dome of Babri Masjid.
In 1984, there were waves of movement demanding the Masjid to be razed, believing that the Mosque was built over the remains of a temple.
The movements propelled the destructive forces to break down the historical Masjid in 1992, which was built following the architectural pattern of the Lodi Dynasty.
As the Masjid stood dilapidated, the Country’s pride burnt to ashes. Tremors of a fallen structure spread all the way fromAyodhya to southern India, crossing over to Bangladesh.
India stood shaken and trembled with rage.
In the judgment of Ismail Faruqui&Ors v UOI &Ors, the Supreme Court lay a stone of India’s future by stating that “the concept of Mosque is not an integral part of Islam” and that the Namaz by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open.
In 2018, in the case of M.Saddiq v Mahant Suresh Das &Ors, Counsel for the appellants, Rajeev Dhavan, pleaded before a three judge bench of Supreme Court, to reconsider their stand taken in the Ismail Faruqui judgment.
Justice Bhushan and JusticeMisra, in their majority opinion did not wish to stretch the matter further and opined that, Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India would have been said to be violated, had the state upon acquiring the mosque would restrict the devotees from practicing, propagating or professing the religion. Article 25 and 26 have to be seen in the light of Sovereign powers of the state, “which has the power to compulsorily acquire property in the exercise of it’s jurisdiction of eminent domain in secular democracy.”
In 2019, the case was transferred to a 5 Judge bench by the then CJI, Justice RanjanGogoi.
The bench displayed the pressure and the stress that it was put through with the words that, “it was tasked with the resolution of a dispute whose origins are as old as the idea of India itself.”
Further, the Court stated that, “it cannot reduce the question of title to a question of which community’s faith is stronger.”
The final verdict of the Supreme Court was announced on 9 November 2019.
After analyzing the evidence brought on record ,weighing the arguments and understanding the sensitivity of the case, the Court gave it’s final views.
The Court recognized the gross injustice caused to the Muslim community in 1949 when the Idols were placed and the “egregious violence” of rule of law when the Masjid was brought down.
Yet, the Court could not grant the possession of land to the Muslim Community because of the failure to claim adverse possession by proving uninterrupted and continuous possession.
The land of 2.77 acres was given to the Hindu community to build the temple of Lord Rama.
However, the Court using it’s powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, allotted a land of five acres to the Muslim community to remedy the ‘wrong committed’.
Years of battle, killings and bloodshed came to a silent end, shrouded in uncertainty.
As one community is aggrieved at being ousted from their rightful place of worship, the other is laying the bricks of victory, rejoicing their conquest after years of struggle.
The cracked foundations of India have pitted societies against each other and have ripped them apart.
The Global Truth
The world together is following a similar trajectory of intrusion and desecration.
The Turkish President, very recently, announced that Hagia Sophia would be converted from a museum, to a mosque.
A 1500-year-old structure, which in the 1930’s was made into a museum, in 2020 has become a symbol of communalism.
The President, Recap TayyipErdogen, during his campaign called the 1930’s conversion, ‘a very big mistake’.
USA Secretory of State, Mike Pompeo criticized this move of President Erdogen and stated that, “the structure would not be able to serve humanity as a much needed bridge between those of different faiths, traditions and cultures.”
USA, under President Donald Trump, decided to shift it’s embassy to Jerusalemfrom Tel Aviv, recognizing the city as the capital of Israel.
The Turkish President showed his disapproval of USA’s move, stating that, USA is “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight.”
The Political motives of these countries have riven the two religions and left them with deep fractures.
A quick glimpse at other countries highlights parallel issues faced by minority communities all through the globe.
The Rohingya community of Mynmarwas quoted to be “one of the most discriminated people in the world”, by Antonio Guterres, UN Secretory General.
The globe is taking notice of the persecution faced by the Uighar Muslims in China, with more than one million detained in west Xinjang region.
The Hindu Tamils have faced years of threats and violence in Sri Lanka.
The Taliban on capturing Afghanistan in 1996, wanted all the pre-Islamic structures to be wiped out. In 2001, 6th century Buddha statues were blown up.
A hope for future
The wobbly stance on religion and the false standards of worship promulgated, need to come to a screeching halt.
The world together needs to recognize the intensity and vigour, religion has to amalgamate societies of all faiths.
A chain is only as strong as it’s the weakest link. Religion cannot become a catalyst in the iron hands of Leaders to defeat humanity.