Jamia Millia Islamia professor S M Akhtar, who has been tasked with designing a mosque that will come up in Ayodhya pursuant to the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, has said the entire complex will "bring together the ethos of India and the spirit of Islam". Akhtar said he was recently given the task of designing the complex, which will also house an Indo-Islamic Research Centre, a library and a hospital, and that he would start working on the project very soon.
"It is not just a question of designing a masjid. A complex will come up on the land given by the government. The objective of the complex will be to serve humanity. The basic purpose will be to bring together the ethos of India and the spirit of Islam," he told PTI.
"The philosophy of Islam or any other religion is to serve humanity and that will be the primary objective. It will solve the purpose of healing the nation. The attempt will be to bring everyone together to serve the society," he said.
The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF), a trust constituted by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board for the construction of the mosque on the five-acre plot in Ayodhya, will oversee the work. The Uttar Pradesh government allotted the five-acre plot in Ayodhya's Dhannipur village for the construction of the mosque on the directive of the Supreme Court.
After a protracted legal tussle, the Supreme Court had on November 9 last year ruled in favour of the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot an alternative five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a new mosque at a "prominent" place in the holy town in Uttar Pradesh. The mosque in Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992 by 'kar sevaks' who claimed that an ancient Ram temple stood at the same site.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 'bhoomi pujan' ceremony to begin the construction of the Ram Temple on August 5. Akhtar, the Head of the Department of Architecture at Jamia Millia Islamia here, said, "Over 1,000 architects have been my students and are spread across the globe, and they can collaborate with me. The option to work on this project will be open for my current students also as it will be a learning experience for them."
Akhtar has designed the university's computer centre, its hospital and even the architecture building and has also worked with the Delhi government for drawing up local area plans. He has been consultant for the UNDP-sponsored programme 'Capacity Development of Urban Local Bodies'.
Akhtar said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he would not be able to visit Ayodhya right now, but added that he had visited the site earlier and was "aware of the place".