Word For Peace
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned over the decision of several of the Muslim litigants in the Ayodhya dispute to challenge the recent unanimous decision of a constitution bench of the Supreme Court in favour of a Ram Temple at the disputed plot.
We share the unhappiness of the Indian Muslim community, constitutional experts and secular organisations over the fact that the highest court in the land has placed faith above law in arriving at its decision. But while agreeing that the court order is judicially flawed, we strongly believe that keeping the Ayodhya dispute alive will harm, and not help, Indian Muslims.
We urge fellow Muslims to ponder over what has been gained and what has been lost in the course of the over three-decades-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. Has it not meant loss of previous Muslim lives and countless property on one side and the meteoric political ascendency of the sangh parivar on the other? Have we not learnt through bitter experience that in any communal conflict, it is the poor Muslim who pays the price?
Many have been advising Muslims to ‘move on’. Our appeal to fellow Muslims is to ‘move away’ from the mandir-masjid dispute since it only helps to mask the real agenda of the sangh parivar: the replacement of our secular-democratic republic with a Hindu Rashtra.
We believe that continuation of the dispute in the court will add fuel to anti-Muslim propaganda and Islamophobia, aid further communal polarisation. On the other hand, in choosing not to pursue the matter further, Muslims stand to gain the goodwill and empathy of the non-communal millions from the majority community. This will be in the best interests of the community and the country.
Signatories: Javed Anand, Naseeruddin Shah, Feroze Mithiborwala, Hasan Kamaal, Irfan Engineer, Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Anjum Rajabali.