He is in his early 90s and has been involved in a legal battle since 1959 in a case that turned the social scenario of the country upside down.
Mohammed Hashim Ansari, a resident of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, is probably the oldest litigant in the Babri Masjid demolition case, which remains as a black-mark in the social history of the country.
What caught Ansari the media limelight now is his declaration that he doesn’t want to pursue the case any further, being unhappy over the politicization of the case.
He now wants 'Ram Lalla' (infant Ram) to be free, and is ‘helplessly’ annoyed at people who are reaping political benefits out of the case. “They are staying in bungalows whereas 'Ram Lalla' is living in a tent,” he fumes.
He is also not going to attend any protest meeting on December 6 to mark the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition from now onwards.
Ansari isn’t new to controversies as he, last year, came out in support of Narendra Modi claiming that the Congress was creating fear of Modi among Muslims and the BJP leader needed the community's support to become prime minister.
"Modi needs Muslims' full support to become prime minster of the country," Hashim said on the 21st anniversary of the demolition of Babri mosque.
The comments earned criticisms from several quarters of the community although he stood unaffected. He recently took a dig at Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, saying that he was taking advantage of the Babri issue thereby reaping the political benefits. "I file the case and political advantage is taken by Azam Khan. Hence, I will not pursue it. Let Azam Khan fight it."
He said that he didn’t want to “fool the Hindus or the Muslims” as it has become a “battleground of politics”.
Ansari is also ready to talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue. "The door for talks is open. I will talk to him, welcome him," he says.
While the community players feel that Ansari's recusal from the case will not have much effect and the BSP demanding a probe into the circumstances that prompted him to make the comments, the BJP, however, is heaving a sigh of relief as they welcomed the decision.
While BJP leader Yogi Adityanath said that talks should be held and a bigger Ram Mandir should be constructed at the site, D. Raja of the Communist Party of India said that Ansari was under some pressure.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma described Ansari's comments as "a good beginning" saying that if a solution to the Babri Mosque dispute could be found through talks, it will be a historic decision.
In an interview to the Outlook in 2010, Ansari said, "Masjid se pehley hummey Mulk dekhna hai” (we have to look at the nation before the Mosque). Many would call it ironic. Others may even term it pretence. But he is unfazed.