ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Ayodhya Verdict: Bad Theology, Without Justice

One of the most damaging consequences of the recent judgment by the Allahabad High Court on the dispute over the Babri Masjid is that it has provided a legal cover for a subtle shift from devasthana (holy place) to janmasthana (birthplace). It also lays the legal ground for converting the imagined birthplace of a diety into property claims which trump other claims to the same property. It thus opens a dangerous door to majoritarianism in India.

The much awaited judgment of the Allahabad High Court on the RamJanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute was delivered on 30 September 2010, by a three-judge bench. Despite differences amongst each of them, and the compromise solution of the division of the 2.77 acres of land surrounding the so-called “disputed structure(s)”, what is phenomenal, and to my mind with profound precedent-forming implications, is the verdict regarding the precise location of the “Ram Janmasthan”. Here it may help to look at the manner in which the court has framed its verdict. In response to the question whether the disputed site is the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram, the answer is as follows:

The disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram. Place of birth is a juristic person and is a deity. It is personified as the spirit of divine worshipped as birthplace of Lord Rama as a child. Spirit of divine ever remains present everywhere at all times for anyone to invoke at any shape or form in accordance with his own aspirations and it can be shapeless and formless also.1

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