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Ram Mandir: What teachers should teach

EducationWorld February 2024 | Editorial Magazine

Contrary to the assertions of die-hard Left influenced secularists and regressive Muslim leaders, the smooth establishment and consecration of the resplendent Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22 will strengthen Hindu-Muslim harmony rather than damage it. As such, it bodes well for snuffing out the embers of communal fires lit by Muslim warlords from Central Asia who invaded the subcontinent and colonised it from the 16th century onwards, and subsequently the British who devised a successful divide and rule strategy that enabled it to colonise and plunder the Indian subcontinent for almost two centuries after the end of Mughal rule.

For one, it’s important to note that unlike the sacred sites of Christianity and Islam — the Vatican and Mecca — which were established by fire and sword, the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya is the outcome of prolonged judicial deliberation and courtroom battles stretched over half a century and finally adjudicated in 2019 by a full bench of erudite judges steeped in the knowledge of constitutional law and the rules of natural justice. While describing the vandalisation and destruction of Babri Masjid three decades ago as a condemnable “gross violation of law” but accepting it as a fait accompli, in their lengthy reasoned judgements, the full bench of the apex court (which included a Muslim judge) permitted the petitioner Hindu religious trusts to re-erect a new Ram Temple at the disputed site, which many devout Hindu citizens revere as the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Simultaneously in a commendably Solomon-like judgement, the apex court judges decreed the award of a 5-acre site nearby for the construction of a new mosque for citizens of the aggrieved Muslim minority community to offer prayers and devotion. To its credit and in the interest of communal peace and harmony, the Sunni Waqf Board of UP representing the Muslim community has accepted the verdict and intends to construct a mosque in Ayodhya to be named after Prophet Mohammed’s father.

Now the onus is on the BJP government at the Centre and in several states that unreservedly backed the Ram Mandir proposal to ensure that the judicial verdict is not transformed into vengeful Hindu triumphalism, and instead culminates in Hindu-Muslim harmony, which was Mahatma Gandhi’s most cherished dream.

For educators and teachers in particular, obliged to narrate the history of the successful construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, it is important to present the facts and circumstances as set out above in the cause of communal peace and harmony going forward. The truth that this new centre of worship of India’s Hindu majority population has been established by the rule of law rather than fire, sword and bloodshed, represents a triumph of Indian civilisation. They should teach that resolution of religious disputes through secular, unbiased judicial verdicts provide opportunity for the next generation to unite to develop a peaceful and prosperous India.

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