This is a provocative book in two different ways. It provokes us to interrogate the supposedly foundational propositions that constitute the very first article of the Indian Constitution: ‘India that is Bharat’. The book destabilizes the very language—the concepts, categories, frames—by which we are trained to envisage India as a historic entity and/or as a civilization.
The author does not merely engage in producing a deconstructionist version of India’s past. He, unlike others, incites us to imagine the unimaginable: the idea of Hindustan. The book introduces us to a rich archive of Persian scholarship and explores the ways in which Hindustan as a concept as well as a geo-political reality is erased to pave the way for a new intellectual imagination, India.
The Loss of Hindustan is also provocative in an overtly political sense. The book cannot be described as an intellectual-historical project. It raises a few powerful political questions especially in relation to the placing of modern history in postcolonial projects of nation building. Continue reading Loss of Hindustan – A Symposium III: Hilal Ahmed→
The gradual erasure of the words ‘Babri Masjid’ from our everyday memory actually began in 1986, when the Hindu community was granted the exclusive right to worship there. This happened without any regard ownership disputes the and illegal conversion of this mosque into a temple in 1949.
This story of the dispute itself is disputable. It is imperative to revisit three interesting moments, which no one talks of these days.
The 1949 moment
On the night of 23 December 1949, a group of local Hindus entered the mosque and installed the idols of Lord Ram inside it. Although the police filed an FIR in which the building is clearly defined as a functional mosque, the local administration took charge of the building, and without removing the idols from the mosque space, declared it a legally “disputed site”. Read the full article here
There are three areas which I think we need to underline.
A. Technical problem: The question of applied principles
I ask a very fundamental question: How could a modern secular judiciary- technically an institutionalized ‘interpreter’ of the Constitution- determine the legal disputes related to religious places of worship on the grounds of ‘faith-based’ evidences?
All the three judges seem to recognize the fact that the Hindu beliefs should be (must be) taken as legal facts. Interestingly, these beliefs are supported by archeological report of 2003 to form an argument of judicial nature.
However, and quite astonishingly, the Sunni Wakf Board’s (SWB) case was dismissed on legal-technical grounds following a very mechanical interpretation of the Limitation Act.
But for Nirmohi Akhara and VHP case (referred as Ram Lalla virajman) the principle of faith was given primacy and in order to substantiate it further ASI report which is full of contradictions, is expanded to arrive on a conclusion.