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Friday, October 01, 2010

Reading Times Of India, the first Thing I do in D morning...The Ayodhya title suit

Reading Times Of India, the first Thing I do in D morning
 
NEW DELHI: The Ayodhya title suit was not just a dispute over a patch of land, it was being seen by many, particularly the minorities, as a test of India's commitment to secularism. So, did India pass the test successfully on Thursday? Though there are no shrill reactions to the verdict from the country's biggest minority group, there are many voices of disappointment. 

Historian Irfan Habib feels the "compromise judgment" had come at the cost of history and facts. "It is improper (for the court) to accept the ASI report on the historical fact. Weight has been given to belief. One should be careful in historical facts," says Habib. 

Though members of Muslim intelligentsia put up a brave face on TV channels, talking in politically-correct terms, in private, many accept that they see the verdict as "anti-Muslim". "The Muslims of India have been told very clearly that they have to live in this country on the terms set by the majority community. From now on we have to live in constant fear," says a former vice-chancellor of a central university. 

But others are a bit more forthcoming. Shabnam Hashmi, well-known social activist who heads Sahmat, says the verdict made her feel like a "second-class citizen". "We will not stop the struggle against irrationality and hatred but we can no longer promise to hand over a secular, democratic nation to you," says Hashmi, in her "message to the next generation". 

The Muslims are disappointed but they have not given up hope. And the verdict has not shaken their in the idea of India. "My sentiment about this judgment is in this couplet from Faiz. "Ye dil na umeed to nahi nakaam hi to hai, lambi hai gum ki sham magar sham hi to hai (The heart is despondent but not without hope, long is sorrows evening but its an evening after all)," says Syeda Hameed, a member of the Planning Commission. 

Such poetic words notwithstanding, there are fears in the community that the right-wing Hindu fanatics may now start raising old issues of "liberation of Kashi and Mathura". "Today the Lucknow court put its stamp of approval on the destruction of Babri Masjid. Can anybody guarantee us that such incidents will not happen in the future? I guess not," says the former VC. 

There is no palpable fear and tension on the streets and everybody is talking about "reconcilaition" and "moving on". This, according to some, is a sign of hope. "Despite the feeling of disappointment, this is an opportunity on both sides to use the interregnum before the time for appeals to talk," says Najeeb Jung, an academic from Jamia Milia Islamia. The Mulsims may be seeking a closure of the issue, but it's hard to deny that verdict has left them sad and disappointed.

Read more: 'Verdict makes me feel like a 2nd-class citizen' - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Verdict-makes-me-feel-like-a-2nd-class-citizen/articleshow/6661933.cms#ixzz1157I2LIH