Excerpts from the Bombay High Court Judgement

6 January 1997

” The entire structure of the film of the petitioner is based on the ideology of social justice for lower classes and castes. The film presents the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute not as a Hindu-Muslim problem but as a secular world view versus non-secular world view. The protagonists in the said film are therefore not Muslims or Hindus but Indians especially the poor and working class. A powerful plea for communal amity and co-existence is structurally incorporated in the film. Throughout the film those who are intolerant and those who spread hatred in the name of God are condemned through their own words. The film unmistakably condemns the hate-mongering commimalists but it painstakingly underlines the fact that they do not represent all Hindus. Pujari Laldas in his interview after witnessing the Karsevak’s attack on the mosque, says that “the ideals of Ram have been murdered.” He adds that the storm of communal hatred will pass and sanity will one day return. Laldas is depicted as the voice of tolerant and humanistic Hinduism. Under these circumstances the argument of Mr. Vyas (advocate for Doordarshan) that telecast of the movie is likely to create strife amongst the communities must be rejected. The argument of Mr. Vyas that an average or illiterate person is likely to be adversely affected by the screening of the movie is also without any merit. Illiterates are not devoid of common sense or unable to grasp the the calumny of the fundamentalists and extremists when it is brought home to them in action on the screen. The filmmaker has made a serious attempt to examine the Babri Masjid dispute from a secularist angle with the basic object to convey a message of communal harmony and amity. The apprehension expressed by Mr. Vyas that the exhibition of the film will provoke the people to commission of offences is completely baseless. On the other hand, viewed from the healthy and common sense point of view it is more likely that it will prevent incitement to such offenses in future by extremists and fundamentalists. ”

To a plea by the DD advocate that a scene from the film be deleted in which a Karsevak on the bridge to Ayodhya declares that Mahatma Gandhi deserved to be killed for his partiality towards Muslims, the judge observed:

“The entire film relies not so much on the didactic technique of using a heavy handed commentary but by juxtaposing events, speeches and interviews which speak for themselves. The bridge sequence is meant to create in the audience a response of disgust directed against the perpetrators of communal haired. Indeed when audiences realize mat some of the same people who are fanatical also believe that it was good that Gandhiji was killed, it is a true but sickening moment of revelation. Mr. Sebastian submitted and in my opinion rightly that even ardent supporters of Ramjanmabhoomi would not necessarily approve of Gandhiji’s’ murder. It is such a revelation that has the power to open their eyes to the corrosive nature of religious hatred.”

“I also recommend to the Doordarshan that considering the powerful message of communal harmony conveyed by the the film, the Doordarshan may consider its telecast on Channel -1 which has the maximum viewership.”

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