Skip to main content

Ayodhya mediation? Sri Sri's choice shocking, he has "close connections" with RSS

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Counterview Desk
Well-known political observer Shamsul Islam, retired faculty, University of Delhi, in an open letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has argued that the mediation order in the Ayodhya case is bludgeoning of the Indian constitutional polity which the Supreme Court is “duty-bound" to safeguard.
Especially taking strong exception to the choice of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shakar, Islam recalls a March 2018 interview to a leading Indian periodical, asking Muslims to "give up" their claims on Ayodhya, even as  warning that if it was not done it would lead to "a situation like Syrian civil war".

Text of the letter:

You know more than anyone else in the world that Indian constitutional polity treats all citizens equally irrespective of their race, creed, religion, language, culture and gender. But the observation of the Bench (consisting Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer) headed by you in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title case that the issue is primarily not about the disputed 2.77 acres of Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, but about “religious sentiments” and the was looking at a “possibility of healing relationships”.
The religions of the parties were not named but it was clear that Supreme Court Bench meant to heal relationship between Hindus and Muslims. Such a stand presents serious dangers to the principles of Rule of Law or Due Process of Law on which Indian Constitution is based.
Mediation recourse on the plea that “religious sentiments” are involved would lead India to a theocracy. Fortunately, in the past Supreme Court never raised this issue while delivering historic judgments in favour of women and punishing perpetrators of carnages in 1984 and 2002. When the victims approach your esteemed highest court of justice in India, they do not approach you as persons of majority or minority but as Indian citizens who have been wronged. Regarding the present case, I would draw your kind attention to the following facts.
(1) Ayodhya dispute is not between Hindus and Muslims: The title dispute has been brought before esteemed Supreme Court as Babri Mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992 by an illegal assembly of Hindutva zealots gathered in Ayodhya by the RSS and its fraternal organizations after a long polarizing bloody campaign of hatred against Muslims. It was not and is not an issue between Hindus and Muslims.
It is between Hindutva organizations and democratic-secular Indian polity. The mosque was demolished despite orders of the Supreme Court, assurances by the RSS/BJP leaders to Indian Parliament and the then PM Narsimha Rao. Rao gave solemn promised both to the Parliament and Indian nation (from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15, 1993) that wrong would be undone and the demolished Mosque would be built at its original site.
(2) Demolition of Babri mosque by the Hindutva organizations was not endorsed by the Hindus of India: I want to draw your attention to the fact that treating this case as a fight between Hindus and Muslims, the highest court of justice of India is insulting vast majority of Indian Hindus who did not subscribe to the Hindutva brand of politics and did not join the demolition campaign. 
The RSS/BJP after demolition of the mosque at Ayodhya believed that their electoral future was secure. However, the enlightened and secular Hindu voters rebuffed the Hindutva politics of hate by defeating BJP not only in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan even in UP assembly elections but also in 2004 national elections.
(3) Highly retrograde selection of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a mediator: Under your headship the Supreme Court (SC) appointed three mediators to arrange a compromise between Hindus and Muslims. 
The penal is headed by Justice (retired) Fakkir Mohammad Ebrahim Kalifulla (one of his landmark judgments related to the ordering of introduction of Vedic astrology as a course of scientific study in Indian universities as a Justice of the Supreme Court) and includes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (a spiritual guru popular with the Arab rulers), and a legal mediation expert, lawyer Sriram Panchu (president of Indian Association of Mediators and director of International Mediation Institute). 
There has been no explanation from the Supreme Court Bench regarding the criteria relying on which this selection has been made.
It seems that these mediators are not representing religious communities but are neutral persons who are expected to come out with an objective and honest resolution.
Let me draw your kind attention to the highly questionable past and present of this spiritual guru, Sri Sri Ravishankar (not content having one Sri in his name) which makes his selection as mediator in the Babri mosque/Ram temple conflict a shocking choice.
This baba is not a neutral 'mediator'. He is an old pal of RSS which was responsible for demolition of mosque at Ayodhya on December 6, 2017. He has been attending all major programmes of RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Sri Sri's modus operandi, operations, gimmicks and close connections with RSS have been recorded by a renowned South Asia expert and journalist in his book, "In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India". According to him:
"Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has a reputation for being a mystic and liberal. What is less widely known is the guruji’s close attachment to the RSS. He has shared platforms with VHP leaders at public meetings. I asked him whether the Ram Temple should be built in Ayodhya. 'Suppose,' he said, 'that it was the birthplace of Jesus or Mohammed. What would you have done? Would you have tolerated another structure on that site? Let us build a temple to Ram and let the Muslims make this gesture as an act of goodwill and then the temple will also belong to Allah and to all Muslims.'”
Respected Sir, this guru is RSS frontman as would be clear from an anecdote shared by Edward Luce. According to him when he did a story after visiting this guru’s palatial ashram at Bangalore,
“A few weeks later received a telephone call from Ram Madhav, the national spokesman of the RSS. 'I am calling about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,' said Madhav. 'I was talking to him the other day and he said he was disappointed with your article in the Financial Times. You only quoted his views on politics and the Shankaracharya. He said he was hoping you would quote his views on tolerance and spiritualism.' It is true my article had lacked space to quote the guruji’s opinions on other matters. But I was surprised the guruji should have chosen the RSS – of all organizations – to convey his complaint.’”
It was 2007 when guru Sri Sri took the above stand in favour of building temple at the place where mosque stood. With the passage of time this stand got more hardened. In March 2018 in an interview to a leading Indian periodical demanded that Muslims should "give up" their claims on Ayodhya and warned that if it was not done it would lead to a situation like Syrian civil war. 
From his blatant threat it was not difficult to understand who would play the role of defender of religion in India which Islamic State plays in Syria. Despite sounding as a believer in the negotiated settlement he did not forget to warn the courts, “Can any government remove Ram Lala from where he is now, even if the SC says so?”
I would beg that please keep away the highest court of justice of the country from mingling with the communal narrative of the Hindutva gang about demolition of a mosque at Ayodhya in 1992. It has nothing to do with religion but a political issue which ruling parties of India have kept lingering on for electoral gains. 
It has come to the courts including the Supreme Court for criminal and civil reliefs. The judiciary should decide the issue guided only by the principles enshrined in the democratic-secular Constitution of India. It should not bother to keep any section in good humour.
I hope despite your enormously busy schedule, my request would be taken note of.

Comments

Niranjan Dave said…
Shri Shri is not eligible to be mediator.He has already formed his opinion by taking up this issue as an independent person.It is recalled that he almost frightened Muslims by saying , as reported : if you do not accept this solution , India would be Syria . Thus at this stage of mediation, he is not unbiased.
Ashoke Chatterjee said…
Perhaps a signature campaign is needed against the appointment of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. What an outrageous decision.

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.