As a student of history, the verdict of the Supreme Court on Ayodhya did not make me happy or gave me peace.
However, this is a verdict given by the top court of the country and as a citizen, I am bound to accept by it. However, as a social science student, teacher and a person who wanted to the quality of the higher education sector in our country go up, I feel that this verdict is pushing us backward.
The court decided on this verdict-of allotting the disputed site for the construction of a Ram temple-keeping in mind one section of people and their beliefs. A small town such as Ayodhya can do without a grand temple; but what was really needed was a modern research institute or a museum instead. This is a period when we have been affected by environmental issues and climate change. An institution devoted to studying them would have been in order.
The Ayodhya issue started as a title dispute over 2.77 acres. It was only later that political, historical and socio-religious debates become the focal point of the dispute; political and religious angles were added to give weight to the argument.
Such issues cannot be settled by considering historic evidence alone. It is not prudent to decide on ownership of a plot of land with information on one period of the history.
There are Buddhist and Jain links to Ayodhya. According to the Jain tradition, five tirthankaras were born at Ayodhya, including Rishabhanatha, Ajitanatha, Abhinandananatha, Sumatinatha and Anantanatha. It has been associated with Kosala kingdom, later to Maurya rule. It was also an important trade centre associated with various Sarthavaha communities. It has also been under sultanate and the Mogul rule later.
The issues that happened after 1992 were vital as they have several socio-political dimensions. But now that we have an order of the apex court on our hand, it is imperative that all sections of the people react to it in a mature way. Most of the people in the country believe in friendship and mutual respect. This was true even when some reacted in an impulsive way.
(The writer is vice-chairman, Kerala State Higher Education Council) (As told to Sabloo Thomas)