SIGNIFICANCE OF 5TH AUGUST IN INDIAN HISTORY

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By Priyanka Ojha from Amity Law School, Noida

Introduction

August has a special importance in Indian history. While there have been numerous enlightening events in August like the East India Company Delegation in 1608 August, the Non- Cooperation Movement of August 1920, the Quit India Movement of 1942 started in August and also never forgettable Independence on 15th August, 1947. The list goes a long way and the names of such events are recorded in the pages of history. Often all of you must have read somewhere about many such incidents, whilst there is something special about day 5 of august in Indian history. There are various events that have happened on 5th August in Indian history like on 5th August 1991, Justice Leila Seth became the first women Chief Justice of a state high court and also became the first women judge of Delhi high court. 

Though there aren’t long lists for the day still it serves a great deal to the country. It looks like the ruling government is trying to turn August 5th into a new “Bharatiya Liberation Day” to commemorate the success of two major ventures that are declared as the essence of Indian nationalism.

These events are the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, 1950 vis-a-vis the state of Jammu & Kashmir on 5th August, 2019 and the other is the Bhumi Pujan for the Shilanyasa of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, uttar Pradesh on 5th August, 2020

Two major events have happened on 5 of August this year and last year. Let’s have a look on how these events took place and what are the alterations in the country’s situation after these events.

Revocation of Article 370 and 35A:

On 5th August, 2019, the Indian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, Jammu and Kashmir, which have been maintaining limited autonomy since 1947, no longer enjoy the autonomous status of the Union of India. At the same time, the Indian government has also passed an amendment, according to which, Jammu and Kashmir is no longer the state and branched out. Effective October 31, 2019, they will be reduced to two union territories, one of it constituting Jammu and Kashmir valleys, and the other forming the Ladakh region.

Background

This article of the Indian Constitution granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. These are located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and are part of a larger area of Kashmir, which has been the object of disputes between India, Pakistan and China since the independence. Jammu& Kashmir had a separate constitution, a state flag, and autonomy over the internal matters of the state.
This article, together with Article 35A, defined that residents of Jammu& Kashmir state had their livelihood under a separate set of laws compared to residents of other Indian states, including laws related to citizenship, property ownership, and fundamental rights.

Legal Frontier of the Article

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was a temporary provision added on 17th October, 1949 giving special powers to the state of Jammu& Kashmir also empowering it to have a Separate Constitution. Accordingly, Article 35A of the Constitution of India, introduced by a constitutional order in 1954 authorized the national legislature of Jammu & Kashmir to define “permanent residents.” Those who are defined as permanent residents are entitled to property rights, employment, scholarships and other social benefits in the state.

Situations Afterwards

Prime Minister Modi’s recent decision to abolish Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution that gave Jammu & Kashmir special status has caused controversy throughout the political field. Supporters of the initiative emphasized that this move fulfilled the Bharatiya Janata party’s campaign promise, but critics believed it was a turn to the prologue of majoritarianism. Externally, this move was praised because it took advantage of Pakistan’s focus on its Western front and Afghanistan’s final battle, and turned the Kashmir issue from a dispute with Pakistan to an internal dispute. However, for critics, reducing the status of Jammu and Kashmir to the status of a Union territory (cut off by the separatist rule of Ladakh) did not resolve Kashmir being the source of international disputes and it’s just about time that Pakistan forms out a renewed conflict either directly or indirectly.

Shilanyasa of Ram Janmabhoomi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on 5th August, 2020. Ram Mandir is a Hindu temple that is being built at the Ram Janmabhoomi pilgrimage site in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Hindus believe that the site is the birthplace of God Rama, whom they worshiped as the seventh incarnation of God Vishnu. The construction of the temple will be undertaken by Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra. It is designed by the Sompura family in Gujarat and its groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 5, 2020.

          Historical Background

In 1952, the Mughals built a Mosque at the site by demolishing the original Rama Temple. This mosque was known to be the “Babri Masjid”. Since then disputes over the rightful use and ownership of the site have come into court resulting in various protests. One such protest in December, 1992 led to the demolishing of the mosque. This demolition resulted in several years of riots and conflicts between the Hindu and Muslim communities.  

Verdict of conflict

A land title case was lodged in the Allahabad High court: ““M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs v. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors””. This case was directed to the supreme court of India. In its verdict on 9th November, 2019 the supreme court of India declared that the disputed land (1.77 acres) was handed over to a trust which will be created by the Indian government to build the Ram Janmabhoomi (respected as the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram). The court also ordered the government to provide another 5 acres of land to the Sunni Waqf Board to build a mosque.

And with this Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on 5th August, 2020.

5th August as important as Independence Day

Prime Minister Modi explained why Ram Mandir’s Bhoomi Pujan Festival and the Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A should be compared with Independence Day. He said: “During our struggle for freedom, people sacrificed for our freedom and the 15th of the month symbolizes the end of our struggle for freedom, and the entire country is playing its role. Similarly for Ram Mandir, people have made many sacrifices and struggles. Today symbolizes the centuries since the culmination of fighting for Ram Mandir. Also the people of Jammu & Kashmir have dealt with a lot lately and they deserved all that a citizen of India deserves.” 

5th August might not be the Independence Day but it will surely hold an important stature in history. 

5th August: A New Day in History

In the coming years 5th August 2019 and 2020 will be days of rejoice and celebrations for the country and its citizens. Just like 15th August, 1947 which marks the end of the British Era in India, this day 5 of August would mark itself as the end of the era of separate livelihood and illegal overpowering.  This date has definitely redefined national politics in India as well as the status of the country internationally. Images of Lord Ram and the magnificent Ram Temple to be built in Ayodhya traverse the giant billboard on New York City’s iconic Times Square, and members of the Indian community gather Celebrate the Prime Minister’s “bhoomi pujan” Narendra Modi together. Thus it can be said that this day has remarkably proven itself to be one of the most significant days in the Indian history and will continue doing the same in the coming future.

References

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/107745042/M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs vs. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors on 9 November, 2019

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