SC Judgment and My Memoires on Ram Janam-Bhumi Temple

By: Parmanand Padey, Advocate, Supreme Court (General Secretary IPC)

Judgment of the Indian Supreme Court on communally tangled case on the Ram Janam-Bhumi dispute  may be pronounced now anyday. The Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had heard this matter for 40 days right from 10:30 a.m. to 4 o’clock and sometime even up to 5:30 p.m. If Ram Janmabhoomi tangle is resolved by the judicial pronouncement, the Supreme must be lauded by all citizens of India for giving a finality to it. It has been one of the most communally vexed issues between the Hindu majority and Muslim minority communities of India. This judicial verdict settling the centuries old dispute between these two communities would be living testimony of the triumph of the democratic rule of law and the greatness of the tolerant culture of this ancient land. Just imagine, had this issue been in reverse order in a theocratic state, like Pakistan, the way of resolution would have been horrific for the minority people. But it is India. And, India is different. It is a great country because it is different.

Therefore, now the responsibility would fall on the Modi and Yogi Government to ensure that the judgement of the Supreme Court is complied with in its letter and spirit paving the way for the harmonious relationship between Hindus and Muslims. Anyone who dares to violate the law – and its rule as spoken by the Supreme Court in this case – must be dealt with by the law and order machinary in an examplary manner. We have faith in the state and certainly the rowdy elements will be dealt with sternly. Now, it may be interesting to re-visit the recent history of this dispute in free India. Let us have a look at the incident of the reopening of the gates of the Ram Janam-Bhumi temple in 1986 and how the then media – newspapers of that times – had sheepishly almost blacked out this news by giving 1 or 2 column scanty space in internal pages of their daily papers.

On 1st of February 1986, the locks of Ram Janmabhoomi were ordered to be opened by the then District and Sessions Judge of Faizabad, Krishna Mohan Pandey on the appeal of a Lawyer Umesh Chandra Pandey. At that time I was the Chief-sub-Editor in Jansatta newspaper and was the night shift in- charge.

When this news was flashed on the ticker, I collected all available information from the teleprinter and added something from my own memory and displayed it as a banner lead story in six columns for the next morning of the newspaper. I have had a very deep relationship with Ayodhya because I have been pilgrimaging to Ayodhya on the occasion of Ramnavmi along with my mother to have a dip in the river Saryu and then have the darshan of Ram Janmabhoomi and Hanumangarhi. In those days there used to be akhandpath (24-hour recitation) of Ramcharitmans.

What actually, I want to highlight here is that almost all newspapers of Delhi had relegated this news item either in a single column or double column in the inside pages. What shocked me most was that even Hindi newspapers could not measure up the news value of the unlocking of the gates of Ram Janmabhoomi, which later turned out to be an epoch-making event.

Next day during a routine meeting with the then editor the late Prabhash Joshi in his chamber where besides me Banwari (Assistant Editor) Deopriya Awasthi (He was practically a News Editor), Satya Prakash Tripathi, Amit Prakash Singh were present. I was expecting that I would get a pat on my back for the splendid coverage. But Prabhash Joshi being, a Sarvodayee had hardly his pulses on the political scenario, which was going to unfold in the wake of that event. When he did not find that report on the front pages of other Delhi newspapers, he thought it was unnecessarily blown up by me.

Almost everybody, except Devpriya Awasthi, was in agreement with the late Shri Joshi. Even Shri Awasthi did not want more than double column display of that news item on page one, although I am thankful to him that at least he supported me by saying that it was certainly an important event. Shri Joshi told me that it was a serious error of judgement on my part to have flashed that news into six columns. and to my utter shock and surprise even Banwari nodded his head in support of what Prabhash Joshi had said.

The less said about other two persons the better because they had never had their own independent opinions. I was adamant on my decision and told in the meeting that the issue of Ram Janmabhoomi was not as trivial as was being considered. However, there was a bigger surprise for me when I saw the evening and the late evening editions of the newspaper which was brought out by my other worthy colleagues and the news of the opening of the locks of Ram Janmabhoomi was dismissed in a single column. Thankfully, it was retained on page one.

That was the occasion when I found that mentality of most of the journalists are mostly mechanical and they are guided mostly by other factors. I am, however, happy to note now some young journalists have started thinking out of box and that is why, more creativity is seen among them, although in this time and era, the newspapers have lost their charms because electronic and digital media have almost overshadowed them.

Coming to the Ayodhya issue, I find that Ram Janmabhoomi issue is largely responsible to bring the present Bhartiya Janata Party to power. This is reason that this party should do whatever it takes to finally resolve this issue and give this dispute a decent burial for all times to come. Modern India should resolve it, put it in the history books and march ahead with development in science and technology, higher standards of living and general prosperity of its citizens – so that India is able to occupy its due place as an ancient and enlightened nation.

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