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'India of 2019 is not India of 1992'

By ARCHANA MASIH
November 12, 2019 09:33 IST

'Both Hindus and Muslims should work together to construct both the masjid and mandir.'

People belonging to Hindu and Muslim faiths celebrate the verdict in the Ayodhya case outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

IMAGE: Indians from the Hindu and Muslim faiths celebrate the verdict in the Ayodhya case outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, November 9, 2019. Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo

"Ideally various people representing various streams of opinion should form the temple trust," says former Union home secretary Dr Madhav Godbole who resigned after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

"The politics of India is not going to change till you separate religion from politics. This is the crux of the problem," Dr Godbole tells Rediff.com's Archana Masih in the concluding segment of the two part interview on the repercussions of the long-awaited Ayodhya verdict.

Will the repercussions of the judgment be long-felt?

Once both the mandir and masjid come up, at least it will lead to reconciliation and reducing the alienation.

Ideally both Hindus and Muslims should work together to construct both the masjid and mandir. It will contribute to greater understanding between the two communities.

You speak about reconciliation, the case has come to a close, but has it healed wounds?

Conscious efforts will have to be made to bring about a reconciliation, not by just building the mosque, but by formulating future policies that show that minorities are being taken care of and their concerns are being addressed.

How is the judgment going to change the politics of India?

The politics of India is not going to change till you separate religion from politics. This is the crux of the problem.

This will entail amending the Constitution to separate the two. The Supreme Court said this in its 1993 (S R) Bommai judgment. The line the Supreme Court used at that time was that no political party can at the same time be a religious party.

But in a democracy the Supreme Court can lay down a few things, but whether they are translated in reality depends on the political processes.

Then doesn't the Ayodhya judgment deepen the bond between religion with politics?

I hope the judgment will lead to discussions on this subject about why these two shouldn't go together. It is my fond hope that it may be true someday.

Why do you think the court has entrusted the Centre to create a trust to build the temple?

Everybody wants to take credit and it will lead to court litigation about who should construct the temple.

That is why the court has said that a trust will be created for this purpose. The part of the government will end there.

Thereon the responsibility will be of the trust to construct the temple. It is not the government's responsibility.

Ideally, who should be the members of this temple trust?

Ideally various people representing various streams of opinion should form the trust, but that is something that the government will have to decide.

How different is the India of 2019 from the India of 1992?

My hope is that it is different from what it was in 1992 and we should move on. The world is different and people are different.

I am hoping over a period of time the influence of religion will be reduced and people will think of these matters more rationally. But one would have to give more time to it.

What is the way forward from here?

The only way forward is to accept the Supreme Court judgment.

Let bygones be bygones. In every country there are situations that are best forgotten and you move on.

It is a decision of the highest court of the land and must be accepted and followed.

The PM had said on winning the last election that maintaining the trust of the minorities will be a major thrust of this government. Let us hope this comes about.

ARCHANA MASIH / Rediff.com
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