Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has spoken exclusively and at length to Republic TV about his mediation and views in the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, which has run for almost seven decades, but is nearing a critical phase.
With the Ayodhya case set for its next hearing in the Supreme Court on March 14, and a massive 'Ayodhya meet' planned to work towards a consensus in the matter, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has outlined the various possibilities and potential outcomes, as well as the ramifications, some of which, he describes as "grave", and others, positive.
"The first one is that they'll say there was a Mandir was there before the Masjid was built. Archaeological evidence shows... so let's give it to the Mandir, let's build a Temple there. What does the Muslim community gain from this. Nothing. A defeat. And it can also cause damage to their faith in the judiciary.
The young generation may lose their faith in the judiciary. If not now, down the line in 50 years, in 100 years, they say 'injustice has been done to us and our community' by the court.
Second possibility is they say: 'Ok Babri Masjid was there, it was demolished, it should be given to Babri Masjid.' Suppose Muslims win the case here, they'll still be losers, because 100 crore people of this country's faith which is associated with Ram Mandir will have such bitterness of losing this case... this battle... which they've fought for 500 years. You think the country will take it easily? People are going to take it easily? Losing this battle on Ram Mandir? And you think, even the Ram Mandir, anyone will be able to implement it, take out the Ram Lalla from where he is now? Give up the Ram Janmabhoomi forever? You think Indian Hindus will give this up? Not possible. It'll create tension right from the village level. There could be a civil war also on the issue. The possibilities are there, we should never rule out these possibilities. And what do the Muslims gain? Winning the place as Babri Masjid. That's all. But there will be such a distance developed at the village level between the communities. Bitterness will be there between the communities.
The third solution is court says, like what Allahabad court has said, 'you build the Mandir also and you build the Masjid there.' In 60 acres there's a big Mandir and in 1 acre there's a Masjid inside. Let's see this possibility. They'll have to keep 50,000 policemen there all the time to maintain peace. You think there'll be peace? Moreover, Islam doesn't permit to do Namaz in a place where there is contention. So nobody's going to go and do Namaz there. It's un-Islamic to do Namaz in a place of dispute.
So looking at all these situations, the court judgment that would come is not a solution, not a permanent solution. It's going to be chaos, more heartburn, more disappointment. See one community wins, one community's losing. Celebration of one community will cause heartburn in the other, and the beautiful fabric of the country will in toss for this.
The consequences are very grave of a court judgment.
If the court says government should bring legislation. What do the Muslims get from that? Bitterness, lack of faith in the government, in the fairness of judiciary. Do we want to push the young people of this country into this sort of chaotic situation? And those who are dissatisfied, nothing will stop them from taking to militancy. Those who feel defeated, they will go the line of militancy.
The consequences can be grave, very serious. So that is why I appeal to people, 'come together, let us plan, that one acre you give as a gift to the majority community, and the majority community, in-turn, will give 5 acres, 10 acres, as a gift. Not as a deal, but as a gift... as a goodwill gesture.'
This is a golden opportunity for both communities to cement their relationship, come together and create a wave of harmony in the country. If we don't make use of this, we'll be fools. We'll be at loss. Instead, we make this a point of contention forever... keep this country divided and burning all the time. And some people want this, that's why they're opposing."