Ram tem­ple trustee calls for Mandir and Masjid at Ay­o­d­hya

The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

a “waqf­nama” (bind­ing doc­u­ment of mort­main prop­erty un­der Is­lamic law) writ­ten in Urdu, declar­ing that the el­dest mem­ber of the fam­ily would be in charge of the trust. Speak­ing to The Sun­day Guardian, Shah shared his views about the land dis­pute in Ay­o­d­hya, its so­lu­tion and why he sup­ported the construction of a mosque in the vicin­ity of Ram Jan­mab­hoomi. Ex­cerpts: Q: What do you think is the so­lu­tion to the dis­pute in Ay­o­d­hya? A: I sup­port the construction of the Ram tem­ple on the dis­puted land and the construction of a mosque in the vicin­ity. Mus­lims must be com­pen­sated for the loss of Babri Masjid. That would be the best so­lu­tion. Q: Why do you sup­port the construction of a mosque? A: There was a mosque stand­ing there till 1992 when it was de­mol­ished. It would be much bet­ter if next to the rail­way tracks and the high­way, a plot could be ac­quired and a mosque could be built. Hin­dus should make an in­vest­ment of as little as Rs 20 crore and build a mosque that can house around 10,000 peo­ple. If we are tak­ing away the mosque from them, then some­thing should be given in re­turn. Suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have ruled Ut­tar Pradesh since the de­mo­li­tion of Babri Masjid and yet no­body has tried to re­solve the dis­pute. So, in or­der to solve the is­sue once and for all, com­pen­sate Mus­lims. A mosque is not a re­li­gious or a holy place for Mus­lims. The qi­bla (di­rec­tion to the Mecca) in a mosque is sa­cred. So, a new mosque can be built and still have the same stature. Q: Do you think that the Mus­lim com­mu­nity will be ready to ac­cept a new mosque at an al­ter­nate site? A: I have spent a lot of time among Mus­lims and tried to understand their faith. What I know is that an ideal mosque com­plex re­quires a qi­bla, a se­han (pa­tio), a prayer hall, a hamam, a ya­teem-khana (or­phan­age) and enough num­ber of shops in the sur­round­ing ar­eas that can help gen­er­ate in­come for the mosque’s imam. We should build all of it in Ay­o­d­hya. We can give it any name. We can call it “Nayee (new) Babri Masjid”. We have an abun­dance of mar­ble in the coun­try. We can use them and make a beau­ti­ful mosque in Ay­o­d­hya. Q: The sup­port­ers of Ram tem­ple claim that Babri Masjid was built on a tem­ple which is why there should not be any mosque there. Why would they agree to in­vest in a mosque? A: This is the only way to set­tle this dis­pute. For the Mus­lims to let go of the dis­puted area, they should be given some other piece of land where a mosque can be built. This dis­pute has gone on too far and too long. Yes, the Babri Masjid and many other mosques were built af­ter de­stroy­ing Hindu tem­ples un­der Mughal rule. How­ever, I am of the opin­ion that the Mughal rulers did not understand Hindu re­li­gion com­pletely. They were against idol­a­try, but could not see that Hin­duism, too, preaches about one God; which is why across the Ganga val­ley, there was large-scale de­struc­tion of tem­ples. Any Hindu struc­ture in Ut­tar Pradesh, be it in Harid­war, Mathura, Vrin­da­van, Al­la­habad or be it the Dwarkad­heesh tem­ple, Banke­bi­hari tem­ple, Kashi Vish­wanath tem­ple, is not more than 200 years old. Even­tu­ally, when the Mus­lim lead­er­ship started wan­ing and the Baba Bairagis started get­ting more mil­i­tant in na­ture, they (monks) started fight­ing for the tem­ples. That be­ing said, we do not know whether Lord Rama was born here or not. But it is the be­lief. Baba Bairagis had tried to de­mol­ish the Babri Masjid in the past, too, but had not suc­ceeded. Q: Do you think that a judge­ment in the Ay­o­d­hya case will bridge the gap be­tween the two com­mu­ni­ties? A: The point is that vic­tory for any one com­mu­nity can­not set­tle any such dis­putes ever. Mughals are part of In­dia’s his­tory, just like the Bri­tish are. We might not like what the Mughals did in In­dia, but we can­not erase that, es­pe­cially when we have a size­able peace-lov­ing pop­u­la­tion of Mus­lims in In­dia. The com­mu­ni­ca­tion gap is huge be­tween the peo­ple of the two com­mu­ni­ties and this has led to con­tin­u­ous ten­sion on the ground among the peo­ple. This should not be the case. Co­ex­is­tence is im­por­tant for de­vel­op­ment.

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