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Foes in court, but friends forever

Sharat Pradhan in Ayodhya | August 01, 2003 23:35 IST
Last Updated: August 02, 2003 00:09 IST


When Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans was cremated in Ayodhya on Friday, there was an unlikely mourner among those who had come to pay their last respect to the architect of the temple movement.

Hashim Ansari (83), the oldest litigant in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, had only praises for the Mahant whom he had battled in different courts for more than half-a-century.

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  • They opposed each other tooth and nail when it came to the Ayodhya issue, but their friendship was deep-rooted.

    "We might have been rivals in court, but I had the best of relations with him. Today, I must confess I have lost a good friend and well-wisher," Ansari told rediff.com

    "There was not a single occasion when we would not honour each other's invitation at social gatherings."

    More significantly, it was Ansari's son who chauffeured the Mahant around for many years.

    "As long as he held on to his old Ambassador, he would never go out of Ayodhya without my son at the wheels. It was only when he acquired a more modern car that he hired someone else to do the driving," he said.

    The frail old man paid the highest tribute to the Mahant when he said: "Paramhans was one person who was responsible for maintaining communal harmony in Ayodhya even during the worst of times. I wonder if anyone else will be able to fill that vacuum."


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