Mediation has yet again proved its worth. The famous case of ‘Ayodhya Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi’ dispute pending before the Court, where the Supreme Court believed that appointing a three-member mediation committee was the right thing to do. A sensitive case like this that plays massive emotional and socio-cultural roles in the minds of people both Hindus and Muslims cannot be simply dragged and tethered in the process of litigation. Therefore, establishing common ground on this subject matter had become imperative. A moderating dialogue is what we all were hoping to find!
The Supreme Court appointed Justice Ibrahim Kalifula, a Former Judge of the Supreme Court, Sri Sri Ravishankar, an Indian Spiritual Guru and Sriram Panchu, a Senior Advocate and Mediator. Once the idea of nasty litigation process brewed the minds of the public, a more moderating dialogue to settle the issue once and for all was set in motion.
Lack of any common ground after several hearings, the court lastly resorted to the mediation procedure. In mid- September, several parties requested for this as well. By mid- October, the very parties sought an agreement under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, or the formula to be adopted for a broad order under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. On the 9th of November, the Supreme Court finally gave its verdict and abided by the settlement arrived by the mediation process, however, because all the parties didn’t sign the settlement agreement, mediation agreement couldn’t be considered. This saved not just the present day but our future generations from being rather inflicted with the same religious-based differences. But only to be fair and as a gesture, the court gave the disputed land and adjoining parcels to the Hindus for building the Ram Mandir and allotted five acres of land anywhere else to the Muslims for building mosques.
As much as the court’s judgment was opposed, it stood to its ground of the Protection of Places of Worship Act, 1991, which protects all other places of worship of all religions from conversion.
Mediation yet again proved to be the hour of the need. This was surely the most historically significant case that changed the face of India and whipped and slammed the rumors of religious differences affecting the decision. All the parties have shown utmost good faith and brotherhood to conclude this mayhem. Upon speaking to various people, indeed it became prominent that more and more people favored this moderating dialogue, seeking common ground and compromising from both ends. Adjusting today for a better tomorrow because this should not lead to more bloodshed between the two ever conflicting religions; Hindu and Muslims. This settlement was rather a cause of change of heart on the part of Muslims and holy men who gave up this fight not to set a precedent but to protect the religious sentiments. Religious battles cannot be won because there is no right and no wrong when it comes to protecting and maintaining the sanctity of one’s religion. However, to revert the same kindness, any parcel of land can be chosen by the Muslims and a mosque shall be built there. This is an attempt to forgive and forget all the previous bitterness that lingered between these religions. Hence, it is not about giving up or giving in concerning any religion but it is about establishing goodwill and a sense of brotherhood but not to indulge in recurring situations like this. Breaking the age-old shackles of stereotypes and prejudices is what India needs right now for a better future.
There are several lessons that we get to draw from this momentous case of Ayodhya:-
- Moderating dialogue to ensure peace and stability rather than dragging it into nasty litigation clutches
- Confidentiality to preserve the important facets of cases that are otherwise out in the open if dragged in court and because of media
- Weighing every alternative available and the consequences of each
- Establishing a sense of goodwill
- Compromising and negotiating will get you more than accusing and throwing tantrums in the name of cooperation.
- Moderation teaches one to stay true and fair to the cause of the dispute
- Moderator is not clouded by judgments or in a tumultuous position to favor the popular or the well-connected one
- Social, political relationships are not tethered and maintain civility
- A true moderator ensures proper education and communication of facts, interests, and evidence of both parties to rationalize the situation into a win-win scenario
Let us pray that this event, this momentum guides us through the tunnel and make us better beings. Let us try resistance for once. Let there be light and sound but not noise. Let there be dialogues but not of conflict but moderation. Let there be hope that every ounce of bloodshed does not go in vain but is a pathway for new dreams and keeping brotherhood alive. Our nation remains one!