10 Stories About the Events That Shaped the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Land Dispute

News18.com

A five-judge bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will on Saturday morning pronounce the verdict in one of the country's significant and sensitive cases — the Ayodhya land dispute case.

The dispute first escalated in 1949 when an idol of the Hindu deity was planted in the central dome of the Babri Masjid and the site was closed off. Several suits were subsequently filed staking ownership to the site.

Then in 1986, it was opened on a court order, a move would culminate in the 1992 riots and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Since then, a slew of litigants has claimed ownership.

Here are 10 stories that made the Ayodhya case.

Pain and Gain: The Biggest Political Losers and Winners in the Ayodhya Dispute

Seventy years since independence it is the Ayodhya case that has played a crucial role in redefining and reshaping politics in India. Over the decades, as the dispute gradually acquired the center stage of national discourse, it’s the Congress, which emerged as the biggest loser. It also paved the way for the BJP which rose on the kamandal (a metaphor for Hindutva politics) wave and the socialists on the Mandal wave (demand for reservations for the Other Backward Classes as defined by the Constitution). Read more about it here.

What is Ayodhya Case? Mapping the Twists and Turns of the Dispute Since 1528

The legal dispute can be traced back all the way to 1885 when one Mahan Raghubir Das filed a plea in the Faizabad district court, seeking to build a temple on the disputed site. Although, his plea was, however, by an administration cautious of stoking communal flames it would come to be more than a footnote in what is perhaps the longest ever legal case in the history of the country. Read more about how the whole dispute has unfolded over the past several decades.

Rs 2,000 from Islamic Scholar, Meeting in a Lucknow Byway: How Babri Masjid Action Committee Was Born

One name that emerges in the case as the biggest crusader for the Muslim cause is that of the committee founded in 1986 — the Babri Masjid Action Committee. Ali Miyan, one of the most noted Islamic scholars and the head of the famous Islamic seminary Nadwa College in Lucknow, had laid the first building blocks of the movement that culminate in the formation of the BMAC. Read more about it here.

Triple Take: How Ramchandra Das, Ashok Singhal and LK Advani Shaped the Ram Temple Movement

The three men who perhaps played the most crucial role in turning what began as a local land dispute under British rule into the biggest religiopolitical flashpoint in independent India were Ramchandra Das, Ashok Singhal, and LK Advani. Read the story of the ascetic, engineer-turned-RSS volunteer and politician who brought a turning point in the country’s history.

How Ayodhya Land Dispute Became Nation's Longest Legal Battle

Spanning over 160 years (70 in independent India and 90 in British rule) the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute of Ayodhya stands out as probably the longest-drawn controversy in the country’s history. The manner in which an issue of civil dispute over a piece of land gradually became one of the most defining aspects of politics in contemporary India is another aspect of it. Here is a timeline of how the dispute began and how it gradually moved on to the stage when the Supreme Court is expected to deliver the much-awaited verdict in the matter by mid-November.

The Other Ayodhya Case: Trial in Final Phase to Decide Fate of Babri Masjid Demolition Culprits

As eyes remained peeled at the crucial Ayodhya judgement, a second case pertaining to the Babri Masjid Demolition might see a verdict from a court in Lucknow not so long afterwards. After 27 years of often-derailed investigations and trial, the matter has finally reached the concluding stages of hearing in a special CBI court. Several of the 49 accused are already dead and those still active include some high-profile names of Indian politics. Here’s a brief history of the case.

No Roti Without Ram, Says Dalit Man Who Laid the First Stone for Ram Temple in 1989

While all parties to the dispute have been eagerly awaiting the verdict, one man in particular is counting down to the day the Ram Temple is constructed. Kameshwar Chaupal, who belongs to a Dalit family, had laid the first stone for the temple’s construction on November 9, 1989, three years before the demolition of the Babri Masjid at the disputed site opened a tumultuous and violent chapter in India’s history. Now 63, Chaupal reasons how the demand for a temple is justified at a time when unemployment and economy need attention.

The Other Ayodhya Case: Trial in Final Phase to Decide Fate of Babri Masjid Demolition Culprits

As eyes remained peeled at the crucial Ayodhya judgment, a second case pertaining to the Babri Masjid Demolition might see a verdict from a court in Lucknow not so long afterward. After 27 years of often-derailed investigations and trial, the matter has finally reached the concluding stages of hearing in a special CBI court. Several of the 49 accused are already dead and those still active include some high-profile names of Indian politics. Here’s a brief history of the case.

No Roti Without Ram, Says Dalit Man Who Laid the First Stone for Ram Temple in 1989

While all parties to the dispute have been eagerly awaiting the verdict, one man, in particular, is counting down to the day the Ram Temple is constructed. Kameshwar Chaupal, who belongs to a Dalit family, had laid the first stone for the temple’s construction on November 9, 1989, three years before the demolition of the Babri Masjid at the disputed site opened a tumultuous and violent chapter in India’s history. Now 63, Chaupal reasons how the demand for a temple is justified at a time when unemployment and economy need attention.

At 93, K Parasaran Has Lord Ram & Memory by His Side As He Fights the Hindus' Case in Ayodhya Title Suit

Former attorney general, Parasaran has been working relentlessly since the Supreme Court embarked upon the legal adjudication of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute. One of the most fiercely fought battles in the country's judicial history witnessed the veteran lawyer holding the fort from the front for the Hindu parties. All along, it was Parasaran's spiritual relationship he felt with Lord Ram that kept the nanogenarian lawyer going. Read more about it here.

Power of Attorney: Zafaryab Jilani Has No Regrets on Spending 45 Years Fighting Ayodhya Case

Zafaryab Jilani has relentlessly worked on the Ayodhya land dispute for 45 years now representing the Sunni Central Waqf Board. Over the years, he also emerged as eyes and ears to the case for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). His chambers, barely two hundred meters from the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s office has been sought after by journalists willing to understand and catch up with the developments in the legal battle of the Ayodhya title suit. Read more about the man here.

Ayodhya Verdict: Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid Dispute Explained Ahead of Supreme Court Ruling

Many factors will go into deciding how the title dispute will be ultimately resolved by the five-judge bench headed by the outgoing Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, CJI-designate SA Bobde and Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer. This includes the parties who have staked a claim on the land, the events around the dispute and how the courts ruled in the matter. Read News18’s explainer here.