A great victory : Achche din aa gaye hain

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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A great victory

By Justice Markandey Katju

After the order of the District Judge, Varanasi, given on the date of his retirement, a puja was performed in the basement (Vyasji ka tehkhaana ) of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, within hours of the court order.

 No doubt this will be followed by many such pujas and aartis ( often at the very time of namaz, so as to create a ruckus and melee ). And no doubt many such Hindu temples will be 'liberated' in the coming days, as parliamentary elections approach.

Even the name of the mosque has been changed
Har har Mahadev !

No doubt this is a great victory for the Hindus against the demonaic Muslims.

Step by step the centuries long atrocities on Hindus is being avenged, and these 'Babur ki Aulads' put in their place. Thousands of mosques which were allegedly built on sites of demolished Hindu temples, will now be restored as temples, like the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya.

I told a Hindu friend that the Places of Worship Act, 1991, enacted by the Indian Parliament, prohibited change of the religious character of a place of worship as it existed on 15.8.1947 ( to put a quietus to such disputes )
When the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute was at its height, in the early 1990s , the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other Hindu organisations also laid claim to two other mosques — the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and the Shahi Idgah in Mathura. The radicals in the Hindu camp often spoke of reclaiming thousands of mosques across the country, and threatened to start agitations in respect of them. In this backdrop, the P.V. Narasimha Rao government enacted, in September 1991, a special law, the Places of Worship Act, to freeze the status of places of worship as they were on August 15, 1947.  As the only exception, the law kept the disputed structure at Ayodhya out of its purview, mainly because it was the subject of prolonged litigation, and to provide scope for a possible negotiated settlement.

The aim of the Places of Worship Act was to freeze the status of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947, and to maintain the religious character of such a place of worship as on that day. It was intended to put a quietus to such disputes, and pre-empt new claims by any group about the past status of any place of worship prior to 15.8.1947 ( Indian Independence Day ), and attempts to reclaim the structures or the land on which they stood. It was hoped that the legislation would help the preservation of communal harmony in the long run. India must look forward, instead of backward
He replied ( paraphrasing Urdu poet Habib Jalib ) '' Main is qanoon ko nahi maanta ''. I think he is right. A law is a law only if enforced. But when the police and the courts do not enforce it, it is no law, but just a piece of paper.

Hindus allege that the Gyanvapi mosque was built on orders of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb on the site of the original Kashi Vishwanath Mandir after destroying it  Even if that is so, this destruction of the temple and construction of the Gyanvapi mosque took place in or around 1670 or 1680, that is, long before 15.8.1947. Hence in view of section 4 of the Places of Worship Act, 1991 it cannot be restored as a Hindu temple. 

I then asked : is this not a diversionary tactic, to divert attention from the real, socio-economic issues in India ?

What about the massive poverty in India, the record and rising unemployment, appalling level of child malnutrition ( every second child in India is malnourished, according to Global Hunger Index, a reputed international agency ), skyrocketing prices of essential commodities such as food and medicines, almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, etc ?
' Yeh sab bakwaas hai.'' he replied 'Sab virodhi dalon ka jhootha prachaar hai. Achche din aa gaye hain ''.
(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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