, by V.M. KHALEELUR RAHMAN
The Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought among Muslims conducted a seminar on “Ayodhya: The Way Forward” in Chennai on November 8. The seminar commenced with the recitation of the verses of the Holy Qur’ān by Mr. N. Roohullah, the Forum Treasurer who also explained them. Mr. Zackriah Badsha, the Forum President, presided over the meeting and delivered the welcome address. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and Mr. Moosa Raza were the main speakers.
Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, despite his knee pain, attended the meeting and enlightened the audience with the history of the Ayodhya controversy in detail. Mr. Moosa Raza also enlightened the audience about it extensively as he joined as Secretary to Government of India just a day after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Both the speeches were very informative and thought-provoking. They also answered the questions raised. A questioner said that even Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was fed up with this issue and replied in his own inimitable style that “Hum ishq ke maaron ka mazhab se naheen rishta, gar kaba hua to kye gar kasha hua to kya”. This long-pending problem should be settled amicably. The sum and substance of their speeches was that all the three parties concerned are to appeal in the Supreme Court and in this situation after its final verdict a negotiated settlement will be imminent in the national interest and that we must prepare a ground for it.
At the end of the meeting, the Forum’s Secretary General Mr. A. Faizur Rahman issued a statement saying that a negotiated settlement is “the best way-out” for the Ayodhya dispute. He appealed to the parties concerned to arrive at a compromise formula through negotiations. For this he thought that two confidence building measures are imperative. One, the Supreme Court should countermand the dangerous precedent set by the Allahabad High Court that makes it possible for a community to take over a place of worship of any other community purely on the basis of irrational antiquated dogma or faith. And two, the Hindutva parivar, in the spirit of reconciliation it is talking about, must take the first step towards it by announcing its willingness to relinquish its claim to other mosques in the country. In his opinion such a gesture would be seen as upholding the concept of democratic fair dealing and it will pave the way for a negotiated settlement of the dispute.
The statement further said that the Ayodhya dispute should not be seen as purely a Hindu-Muslim issue as it actually concerns the entire nation and could seriously affect its development if allowed to continue and hence the Union Government must assume the role of a genuine mediator to help the Hindus and Muslims to resolve this dispute amicably.