A new book on Ayodhya amply illustrates deep political motives behind sustaining the vexed dispute through past few decades. Written in Hindi by Sheetla Singh, a veteran journalist from Faizabad, who successfully founded and ran for past sixty years a local popular daily Jan Morcha, the book is titled Ayodhya Ramjanambohoomi-Babari Masjid Ka Sach. It deals with the truth amid the myths hovering over the dispute.
The book has come at a time when Supreme Court is poised to hear a bunch of appeals in Ayodhya case and amid demands of expediting this with an eye on the next general elections.
Eighty-five-year-old Singh has twice been part of efforts to find an out of court settlement to the Ayodhya dispute. He provides details of talks between rival parties in the book and reveals that a solution was nearly reached between them way back in the mid-1980s only to be scuttled by the then RSS chief the late Balasaheb Deoras and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Vishnu Hari Dalmia.
According to him, other VHP leaders like Ashok Singhal too had agreed to the solution based on constructing a temple to commemorate the memory of Lord Rama at Ram Chabutra outside the precincts of the sixteenth century Babari mosque which was to be encircled by 11 feet tall boundary walls.
And on another occasion the shifting and, thus, relocating Babari Masjid was agreed upon as per Singh. But this too was thwarted because of the political stakes that got appended to the dispute.
He claims that the local people including the two parties making rival claims over the disputed land and shrine had come close to solution on more than one occasion but these efforts were aborted because of the political forces which were at work in those times.
Singh has blamed Congress for the genesis of the dispute since the time of the late Govind Ballabh Pant’s stewardship of Uttar Pradesh to Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister.
Though the writer has been unsparing of the politicos cutting across party lines who allowed the Ayodhya dispute to fester to this day, he could get only a few copies of the remarkable book printed because of the paucity of funds, means and resources with him.
Strangely, the book has escaped media attention and notice even after its publication about a week ago or so. Only a few Hindi publications have taken note of it and the Press largely has shunned it despite its immense importance in showing how a virtual non-issue at one point of time has been blown out of proportion to dominate political discourse for past several years.