Ayodhya verdict: Can Tamil Jains reclaim heritage destroyed by Hindus?

The case of Babri Mosque, although now settled, would have been more justly understood if we were open to multiple claims, perspectives and understood history as a complex web of events | Image: Eunice Dhivya

History has perhaps never been quite interesting to most Indians until we started clamouring for our glorious past from atop the Babri Mosque’s ruins, and amidst the rath yatras. That nostalgia has made us pay lip service to history, but ever so selectively — few of us study the subject, but many of us have become experts thanks to WhatsApp University.

In our understanding of the past, we have blurred the lines between facts and fiction, historical incidents and myths.

This is one major issue that comes to mind when examining the Supreme Court’s verdict, exonerating and rewarding vandals while selectively arranging facts to make the case for the temple to be built in Ayodhya.

Hindus have successfully demanded a temple where the Babri Mosque once stood. However, the events of December 6, 1992 are a continuation of a medieval practice, which we thought we had left behind when we became independent. As it has been pointed out by many, in the medieval era, the destruction of one religious structure to build another was not unique to the Muslim rulers, recently dramatised as barbaric by the historians in Bollywood. Countless rulers of all faiths across the sub-continent have done the same. Hindu kings too destroyed Hindu temples, and more often than not, Jain and Buddhist sites as well.

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