Supreme Court's decision to proceed with mediation to resolve the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute offers all sides a final opportunity to arrive at a mutually acceptable settlement. Supreme Court judges cannot enter the realm of theology or dubious history, yet if they are to treat the case in legal terms as a pure title suit dispute, some party would be left aggrieved. Since, as Justice Bobde observed, the case also "involves sentiments and faith of people", it is best to give mediation a chance before the court steps in.
With febrile sentiments which are often politically whipped up in India, what gets left by the wayside is common sense. The best course for a mediated settlement could be the construction of a Ram Mandir and a mosque adjacently, considering that Hindu parties are unwavering in their belief that the demolished Babri Masjid stood at the exact location where Lord Rama was born. Such a twin structure may also in time become a monument to communal harmony and modern India's nation building project. Yet, such a mediated settlement should be a one-off effort and mustn't set any sort of precedent for demolishing other mosques.
Such a settlement would be a fair and sensible one and nobody ought to feel aggrieved. Yet India is littered with mythological, historical and contemporary landmines waiting for a deft political touch to explode and trigger tensions. But the Supreme Court's authority will bolster the current mediation efforts unlike earlier attempts. The eight week period granted to the mediators will also help SC ride out the political pressures of this election season. Politicians must leave out mandir-masjid from their poll discourse or risk vitiating the talks and communal harmony. If the mediation succeeds, we can leave the past behind and get on with the job of living in the present.
saving score / loading statistics ...