Ayodhya Verdict today…Which way will it go? Ram Jaane

Time has come to the BIG VERDICT. Supreme Court on Saturday will deliver its verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case at 10.30 am.

The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had concluded the hearing in the case and reserved its verdict last month. The apex court heard a batch of petitions challenging September 30, 2010, Allahabad High Court judgment trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts among Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara.

Before CJI Gogoi goes…

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who retires on November 17, will deliver verdicts in several key matters, including the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute and petitions seeking review of the Rafale judgement, in the next eight working days of the Supreme Court.

Besides, the apex court bench headed by Justice Gogoi will pronounce its verdict on a plea seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his “chowkidar chor hai” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Gogoi will also pronounce its judgement on the pleas seeking review of the top court’s judgment allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Another five-judge constitution bench, headed by the CJI, had reserved its verdict in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute after a marathon hearing of 40 days.

What Justice Bobde said

In an interview to NDTV, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, who will be the next chief justice of India on November 18, has termed the century-old, politically and communally sensitive Ayodhya title dispute case as one of the ‘most important’ in the world.

When the interviewer asked Bobde which case is a milestone in his career and if Ayodhya case could be the one, he replied, “Ayodhya is definitely important. It is one of the most important cases in the world today.”

This statement by the CJI-designate has led to a spate of reactions on social media. It must be noted that after Hindu militants (kar sevaks) of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) demolished the Babri masjid in 1992, communal violence took the lives of several hundred people across India, mostly Muslims.


Gupta period
In Buddha’s time (600 B.C.) the present day Ayodhya was called Saketa and it was one of the 6 largest cities of North India. During the Gupta times, either Kumaragupta or Skandagupta made it their capital, after which it came to be called Ayodhya. Kalidasa wrote Raghuvamsa here, and referred to Gopratara tirtha (Guptar Ghat), where Rama was believed to have entered the waters of Saryu in his ascent to heaven. According to a local tradition recorded by Francis Buchanan and Alexander Cunningham, Ayodhya became desolate after Rama’s ascent to heaven and “Vikramaditya” revived it. (In Raghuvamsa, Rama’s son Kusa revived it.) Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II, was a Rama devotee. Her son, Pravarasena II wrote Sethubandha, in which Rama is regarded as identical to Vishnu. He also built a temple to Rama at Pravarapura (Paunar near Ramtek) in about 450 A.D.

Gahadavala period
After the Guptas, the capital of North India moved to Kannauj and Ayodhya fell into relative neglect. It was revived by the Gahadavalas, coming to power in the 11th century A.D. The Gahadavalas were Vaishnavas. They built several Vishnu temples in Ayodhya, five of which survived till Aurangzeb’s reign. Indologist Hans T Bakker concludes that there might have been a temple at the supposed birth spot of Rama built by the Gahadavalas. In subsequent years, the cult of Rama developed within Vaishnavism, with Rama being regarded as the foremost avatar of Vishnu. Consequently, Ayodhya’s importance as a pilgrimage centre grew.

Mughal period
In modern times, a mosque was located at the supposed birth spot of Rama, which sat on a large mound in the centre of Ayodhya, called the Ramadurg or Ramkot (the fort of Rama). The mosque bore an inscription stating that it was built in 1528 A.D. by Mir Baqi on the orders of Babur.

-Robin Roy