The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Seer focus on dividends of Ayodhya truce

Kancheepuram (Tamil Nadu), June 18: The Kanchi Sankaracharya did not reveal the proposals he has sent in writing to the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, but pointed out that a quick resolution to the Ayodhya dispute would benefit the country economically.

“Please excuse me, I have a headache,” Swami Jayendra Saraswati said this afternoon, when asked about the proposals he has couriered to the board’s vice-president, Maulana Kalbe-Sadiq.

But sources close to the seer said he was trying to find a solution to the conflict so that economy, education and health can become priority issues. This concern for economic growth hand in hand with communal harmony has been one of his driving principles, the sources said.

The Sankaracharya’s idea is to arrive at something concrete — say “even a 85 per cent or a 90 per cent solution” to the temple tangle — and then go public as he feels “obstructions from some quarters” were hampering the dialogue process every time. He does not want a repeat of the past, the sources said, explaining why he was avoiding the media.

The seer looked tired when he reached the Kanchi mutt this afternoon after performing the consecration of the renovated Brahamapursehswarar temple at neighbouring Thenambakkam, where his predecessor, the late Swami Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, had lived for many years. This was also where Indira Gandhi had her 90-minute meeting with the then Sankaracharya during Emergency.

“I am not going anywhere now,” the seer said, when asked if he would be visiting New Delhi. He appeared unhappy with the Sangh parivar’s protests about the alleged exclusion of the VHP from his talks with Muslim religious leaders.

To refute the impression that he was trying to monopolise the talks, Jayendra Saraswati pointed out last week that the Kanchi mutt’s efforts to help successive governments to resolve the Ayodhya issue went back to the days of his predecessor, when religious and political leaders and legal luminaries flocked here for advice.

Sources later said the Sankaracharya would not move out of Kancheepuram for two months from July 13, once the Chaturmasya period begins. That is traditionally the monsoon season, when Swamis all over the country stay where they are, to carry on their usual religious duties.

This would in turn mean that those who want to discuss the Ayodhya issue would have to come to Kancheepuram. Defence minister George Fernandes and finance minister Jaswant Singh are scheduled to reach here on Sunday, giving rise to speculation that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is backing the Sankaracharya’s new proposals.

However, it is still not clear here whether the seer’s “latest proposals” differ in substance from the suggestions he had conveyed to Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and his deputy, .K. Advani, when he met them in New Delhi last week.

Those proposals, which have been doing the rounds informally, included reaching a settlement with the Muslim groups concerned on constructing a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and a mosque nearby. In reciprocation, about 100 mosques across the country under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India are to be thrown open for namaz and the VHP is to be asked to give up its claims on the Kashi and Mathura shrines.

Email This Page