The oldest litigant of Ayodhya dispute took his last breathe on Tuesday. The matter is still pending in court.
"I am waiting for my death and for the final verdict in the (Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid) case. But I just hope that the Supreme Court order comes before I die," Hashim Ansari, who died on Wednesday morning, had told this correspondent at his ramshackle house in Panji Tola, Ayodhya, about four years ago. "I think the only reason I am alive is to hear the final verdict," he had said.
He had been regularly present at the Allahabad court despite his age and frail health for listening the hearings of the matter.
On 24, 2010, the decision was announced by the High Court through which Ansari got a sigh of relief, though he was not too happy with the land being allocated between the three contending parties. His relief did not last long as the litigants took the case to Supreme Court.
At the time of news development in Ayodhya, Hashim's decrepit one-room house was bustling with journalists, apart from police and intelligence officials. During December 1992 demolition, the house was scorched down.
"My Hindu brothers helped me put it back in shape," Ansari said.
It was written outside the house, "Babri Masjid Punarnirman Samiti" (reconstruction committee), virtually spelling out the one single aim of its occupant's life.
"We used to come out of the court and have tea together," he had told DNA. "You see, the problem is not a Hindu-Muslim one… it's a matter which will restore our faith in the system."
Ansari’s daily source of motivation was the old photograph of the Babri Masjid which was dangling on the wall facing his bed.
"I have been fighting this case for 60 years but that has made no difference in my personal relations with my Hindu friends. I go to their homes… they wish me on Id and have 'sewain' with me." Hashim was also great friends with the late Ram Kewal Das of the Nirmohi Akhada, the main petitioner in one of the title suits. He even discussed the case with Mahant Bhaskar Das, who used to appear in court on behalf of Nirmohi Akhada. "Peace and brotherhood are more important than mandir or masjid," he said.
To obtain the minority votes, people from different political parties used to visit him as part of their campaign. Moreover, Ansari never mixed religion with politics.