The Ram Janma Bhoomi case is one of the major legal and political rows in India. The notions of historical legality and politics are intertwined within the issue.
Now that the Supreme Court is all set to deliver the judgement any day under the leadership of Chief Justice Deepak Misra, let’s take a look at what exactly is the fuss all about.
Ayodhya, a town on the banks of river Saryu in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, traces its mention in the mythological Hindu text Ramayana, which claims it to be the place where the Hindu deity Ram was born during one of the four Yugas.
But during the times which lead to the formation of this case, there was a mosque at this place called the Babri Masjid.
These are the basic facts after which along with around 9,000 pages of oral evidence and related archaeological facts and findings, the case was dragged to the Supreme Court, the decision of which is reserved and could be declared anytime this month.
The legal history of the Ram Janma Bhoomi case is as interesting as the facts of the case. Though it is connected to the sentiments of both religions, Hinduism and Islam, the issue is around who gets the legitimate ownership over that land- Shree Ram Janma Bhoomi Nyas or the Sunni Waqf Board?
The case is attached to a history of violent clashes which can be traced back to 1853. The first case over this issue came into the picture in 1885 when Mahant Raghubir Das wanted to create a canopy around where the idol of Lord Ram was placed.
In later years, the case was given a political tint because of the active involvement of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Before being appealed in the apex court, the High Court of Allahabad gave a balancing decision which provided for providing an equal share of land to all the three parties.
Interestingly, the proceedings in Supreme Court commenced a day before the 25th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Majid.
The present ruling party, beyond any doubt, has vitally used this issue to side the majority Hindu population of India in its favour. It was a long and continuous effort of several years which lead BJP to benefit from the hard work it invested over this issue.
The Bhartiya Janata Party is an outcome of the Jan Sangh. This party has always identified itself with the Hindu majority.
It was the then star leader of BJP, Lal Krishna Advani who was the face of the Rath Yatra and was one of the parties to the case filed in response to the demolition of Babri Masjid which called it a criminal conspiracy.
Now, that BJP is in power, and the upcoming Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to be held in 2019. The important promise of getting Ram Mandir built, which had been the driving force for Hindus towards BJP, needs to be fulfilled.
The awaited decision is going to play a decisive role in the rapport of the ruling party and would obviously show its impression in the next general elections.
All we can do is to wait for the decision to come out and pray that history does not get repeated. The verdict is going to make a lasting impact over the Indian judicial, legal, political and social system.
This is one of those cases with which every class of the society connects and because the Supreme Court has taken upon itself to pronounce the final verdict, the political, as well as social actors, are looking upon it with high hopes.
A version of this post was first published here.