The Supreme Court with its verdict – which went in favour of the Hindu side on Saturday – ended the decade-long dispute on the Ayodhya land dispute.
But only a few know that it was Triloki Nath Pandey, who is described as the ‘next friend’ of infant Lord Ram, as per the court papers, represented deity Ram Lalla and won the case.
The Supreme Court has held that the deity Ram Lalla is the rightful owner of the disputed land in Ayodhya.
In the Ayodhya land dispute case, the deity Ram Lalla was one of the litigants and it was 75-year-old Pandey, who represented the deity.
Pandey recently told India’s BBC correspondent Soutik Biswas: “To represent God is a glorious job. To think that I was chosen to do this job from among millions of Hindus made me proud and joyful.”
Pandey spoke for the deity Ram Lalla, whom millions of Hindus worship as God.
It may be mentioned that Gopal Singh Visharad was among the first set of litigants to file a lawsuit in lower courts.
The first suit was filed in 1950 by Gopal Singh Visharad, a devotee and ‘friend’ of the deity ‘Ram Lalla’.
Visharad sought enforcement of the right to worship of Hindus at the disputed site.
Pandey, a tall, strapping man, is the third ‘friend’ of Lord Ram after the deity became one of the litigants in the dispute in 1989.
Through Pandey, Lord Ram claimed the ownership of the land in Ayodhya.
It was through Pandey, Lord Ram claimed Ayodhya as His birthplace.
Pandey was born to a farming family in Uttar Pradesh.
Pandey was the eldest of four children.
He went to a local school and college, studied Hindi and later took training to be a teacher. However, he never held any job.
In high school Pandey got involved with the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and later moved to work with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
In 1992, a Hindu mob tore down the Babri Masjid, which was built in the 16th century in Ayodhya which triggered riots in many parts of India.
A BBC report quoted Pandey as saying: “I used to go to places where we used to hear reports of large-scale conversion of Hindus to Muslims, and tried to stop it. I believe that Hindu society had become diminished. To raise Hindu pride, we needed to become aggressive and not remain defensive.”
It has been reported that when the Babri Masjid was razed to the ground, Pandey became involved in organising legal aid for 49 men accused of participating in the demolition.
Pandey also helped a number of Hindu monks to defend themselves in independent investigations probing the demolition.