This article is examining the decision of the five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India to refer the much-fought litigation, over 60 years, which is highly sensitive, and witnessed several violence and deaths in India, for a “Court Monitored Mediation”, to come out with a mediated solution as to the title over the disputed land at Ayodya district, UP State, between the two dominant communities- Hindus & Muslims. Considering the historical background, court judgments and findings, and the faith involved, this article is exploring the likelihoods of how faith-related matters can be mediated best, where much of the conflict is related to pride, beliefs, sentiments, and ideology are at its crowning.
- Historical Background
Baber, the founder of the Mughal Empire in India, with the leadership of his General Mir Baqi, is believed to build a Mosque, named Babri Masjid in 1528 AD, at the birthplace of Hindu deity –Ram, at Ayodhya District, in UP State. It was alleged that the Mosque was constructed after destroying a temple at the site. In the recent past, on December 6th 1992, in a political rally by Hindu political parties, and by the temple activists, violence and riot took place, and the Mosque was destroyed, and several communal clashes and deaths followed by it. Subsequently, a land title suit was filed, and the Allahabad High Court, using pieces of evidence by the Archeological Survey of India, confirmed the remaining of a temple, at the site, and given a 2:1 verdict to the Hindus and Muslims, favoring Hindus. The Supreme Court of India stayed the Allahabad High Court Order of splitting the site into three parts and said that the status quo will remain. Subsequently, the matter was referred to the Constitution Bench of Five Judges.
The Five Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India ordered COURT MONITORED MEDIATION, and the Mediation Panel is under Retired Supreme Court Justice F M Kallifulla, as Chairman, Sri Sri Ravishankar, is an Indian Hindu Spiritual leader and founder of Art of Living Foundation, who is known for spreading Meditation for Peace; and Mr. Sriram Panchu, is a Senior Advocate and Mediator and the Director on the Board of International Mediation Institute.
- 2 What is Faith-Based Mediation?
Pure Faith-Based Mediation invites God into the Mediation process, a spiritual – divine force, and all the parties have to agree upon the same, as to the process. The expectation is faith and belief will work through Mediator, and the trust is created through God’s wisdom, guidance, and force during the Mediation process is the expectation, and parties to be respectful, courteous, and polite to each other, and try for an amicable settlement.
Modern Faith-Based Mediation, however, is a hybrid one, and adopts a complex process and integrates several dimensions like:- the technical aspects of knowledge, skills; the humane one, based on the ability to recognize personal, emotional, and relational elements in a conflict; and transcendent one, which relies on the religious belief system and pursues divine intervention for reconciliation and resolution.
- 3 The Expectation from the Mediation Committee for the Resolution.
Mr. F. M Kallifulla, the Chairman of the Mediation Committee, is expected to play the prominent role, the humane one, and his ability to recognize the personal, emotional, and related elements in a conflict for promoting better understanding between the parties for fostering a resolution and to balance the interest of the Muslim Community in India is expected. Mr. Sriram Panchu, an expert Mediator, is a technical person and is expected to lead the knowledge front with his skills and process. Finally, the transcendent one, represented by Sri Sri RaviSankar, who is representing the Hindu Community, is expected to play the role of a Faith-Based Mediator, and he can rely on and pursue the process with convincing the Majority community of Hindus who are strong in their dispute.
- 4 What role is expected from Mediators in a Faith-Based Mediation?
Mediating in a faith-based dispute is a delicate and sophisticated process that requires artistry, and the main and most desired outcome expected is to reconcile people in a transcendent way, by restoring the relationship. In comparison to conventional Mediators, Faith-Based Mediators dealing the conflict in a harmonious way. The professional Mediators or the conventional Mediators may not look into or acknowledge the feelings, needs, expectations from a spiritual point of view. In a Faith-Based Mediation, the Mediators need to acknowledge the emotion, creeds, and empathy of the parties.
Using religious symbolism in the course of Mediation can open a window to the deeper emotional and spiritual realities of the issues involved in a conflict and the same can be effectively used in the process of Negotiation.
- 5 A Transcendent Community Resolution -Everything starts with God, and ends with God.
The Court Monitored Mediation, in the above backdrop is expected to bring the faith-based mediation principles into the forefront, which can be well balanced, by the expert mediation team appointed by the Supreme Court, through the spiritual and religious dimension, to open a window of peace and communal harmony, through prayers, forgiveness, and reconciliation is the ultimate expected objective of the Supreme Court, along with a political awakening for peace and socio- communal accords, by allowing the representatives of the communities to speak harmony, instead of hatred, and to see beyond the limits of the dispute resolution, irrespective of a Mediated Settlement or a final adjudicated verdict by the Supreme Court, for better human contact, by making the parties ready for accepting the end result, shall be the final outcome of the faith-based Mediation in critical cases like this, for a Spiritual Mediation Resolution Model.
Everything starts with God, in God, and everything returns to him.