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A PerspectiveRam Janmabhoomi
The dispute, as is well known, is that some Hindu organisations claimed that the mosque known as Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, a town in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, was built by Mir Baqi, a general of Emperor Babar, in 1528 after demolishing a grand temple on the spot, that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram – the most important incarnation of Vishnu in the Hindu belief system. So, while the Hindus wanted to remove the mosque from the spot and build a Ram temple there, some Muslim organisations disputed the legitimacy of
the Hindu claim. In the independent
No doubt, the manner the disputed structure called Babri Mosque was demolished on 06th December 1992 was wrong. The organisers of the rally on the day had promised to the Union Government and gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court of India that the structure would not be harmed. After giving that undertaking, the act of demolishing the mosque, that too in front of the world television cameras, was unacceptable. It left the Muslim community in
However, the crude nature of the events on 06th December 1992 should not blind us to the truth of history and propriety. As this writer has argued in another article published in this magazine, where some Hindu groups were the guilty party, no one has the right to attack others’ places of worship. And if it has been done by someone in the past, mature and civilized behaviour requires that it should be apologised for, and the mistakes rectified. As the Liberhan Commission acknowledges, Ayodhya is of special importance to Hindus. Justice MS Liberhan makes the observation:
"This Place had become emotive issue owing to its position as the birth place of Ram, a theme present in every facet of the culture, connecting the past with the present & the future." (Report of the Liberhan Ayodhya Commission of Inquiry, para 9.5, p. 24)
The Muslim groups at the forefront of this dispute contend that there are provisions in the Quran, according to which no mosque can be constructed at someone’s place of worship. So, this mosque could not have been built by destroying a temple.
Well, the history does not support this argument.
No historian disagrees with the fact that the
What happened in Somnath,
Regarding the origin of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, after 17 years of his study, Justice Liberhan concludes that “the construction of the mosque by Mir Baqi in 1528 is now an admitted fact." (ibid, para 18.9, p 62).
And, there is plethora of evidence to show that the Babri mosque was constructed after destroying a Ram temple on the spot.
The available records of the Ayodhya dispute in government documents go back to the middle of the 19th century. According to British sources, Hindus and Muslims used to worship together in the Babri Mosque complex, earlier called Masjid-e-Janamsthan, for hundreds of years until about 1855. The then Commissioner of Faizabad, P Carnegy, wrote in 1870: "It is said that up to that time (viz. the Hindu-Muslim clashes in the 1850s) the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosque temple." As quoted in a BBC Urdu Service programme, Meezan, broadcast on 11th December 1990, earlier in 1861, giving detailed description of Ayodhya in his book, Historical Sketch of Faizabad Tehsil, including the Former Capital of Ayodhya and Faizabad, Mr Carnegy had written: "It seems there was a grand temple at this place, and in 1528, during his stay in Ayodhya, Babar ordered the destruction of that temple.”
The matter first reached the British courts in 1885-86. Efforts in 1883 to construct a temple on Ram chabootra (platform) situated in the complex were halted by the Deputy Commissioner who prohibited it on 19th January 1885. Raghubir Das, a Mahant (head priest), filed a suit before Faizabad Sub-Judge Pandit Harikishan seeking permission to construct the temple on this chabootra measuring 17 ft x 21 ft. The Sub-Judge, though agreed with Raghubir Das’s contention that it was Ram’s birth-place, but dismissed the suit. An appeal was filed in the court of Faizabad District Judge Colonel JEA Chambiar. On 18th March 1886, Col Chambiar passed an order in which he wrote: “I visited the land in dispute yesterday in the presence of all parties. I found that the Masjid built by Emperor Babar stands on the border of Ayodhya, that is to say, to the west and south. It is clear of habitants. It is most unfortunate that Masjid should have been built on the land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 358 years ago it is too late now to remedy the grievance.”
Again, while rejecting the subsequent appeal filed by Raghubir Das on 25th May 1886 before him, the Judicial Commissioner of Awadh, W Young, wrote in his judgement on 01st November 1886: “The place where the permission to build the temple is being asked for is situated in a premises that has got a mosque which came into existence because of discrimination and religious repression by an emperor who chose this place for the mosque with total disregard for the Hindus’ faith. The access available to the Hindus for entering the mosque is very narrow, and for years they have been trying to get proper facilities for their entrance, and they want to construct two buildings in the premises – one, Sita’s Kitchen, and the other, Ramchandra’s birth-place.”
As Rashid Ashraf, the producer and presenter of the BBC Urdu Service programme, concludes, though the permission to construct a temple was refused and the Hindus and Muslims continued to worship alongside each other in that complex, it was through this court case that the British judges accepted the Hindu claim that it was the birth place of Lord Ram.
Afterwards, writing in the Faizabad District Gazetteer in 1905, HR Neville made it totally clear that the Janmasthan temple "was destroyed by Babar and replaced by a mosque." Mr Neville wrote: "The Janmasthan was in Ramkot and marked the birthplace of Rama. In 1528 AD Babar came to Ayodhya and halted here for a week. He destroyed the ancient temple and on its site built a mosque, still known as Babar's mosque. The materials of the old structure (i.e., the temple) were largely employed, and many of the columns were in good preservation." (HR Neville, Faizabad District Gazetteer, Lucknow, 1905, pp 172‑177, cited by Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, Penman Publications, New Delhi, 1993).
Thus, after investigating the site and relevant historical documents several times, the British officials and judges agreed that the so-called Babri mosque was constructed on the spot where a Ram temple stood before it.
As opposed to the clear judgements given by the British judges, the courts in the independent
Actually, the most important question is – What are these courts deciding now when twice the British judges had accepted the Hindu claim more than one hundred years ago!
Unable to decide the matter themselves, in 2003 the Lucknow Bench asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), to conduct a more in-depth study and an excavation to ascertain the type of structure that was beneath the rubble.
The ASI team was headed by an archaeologist of international repute, BB Lal, who had earlier worked for UNESCO committees and served as President of the World Archaeological Congress. The ASI report indicated proof of a 10th century temple under
the mosque. In the words of ASI researchers, they discovered "distinctive features associated with... temples of north
However, as the findings of the ASI were not to their liking, the Muslim groups termed the ASI report as “prepared under political pressure”. Zaffaryab Jilani, the counsel of the Sunni Central Waqf Board, said: “The ASI has filed a saffron report”.
Firstly, it is insulting to the integrity of a world renowned archaeologist like BB Lal, who headed the ASI survey. If the Muslim groups do not accept the authenticity of the ASI, one wonders which institution of
It is because of this Main‑Na‑Maanu (I‑will‑not‑agree) attitude of the Muslim groups that the Indian courts find themselves unable to decide the matter. Actually, it is not that all Muslims are against restoration of Ram and
And, rather than being respectfully persuaded to accept the truth and act reasonably, these hard-line Muslim groups are actually being encouraged in their intransigence by the self-professed “secular” politicians and intellectuals of
While the Indian courts express inability to arbitrate in the dispute, in the independent
Now, the way Prof Sharma quotes Vishnu Smriti, it sounds like Manu Smriti that every Hindu should be familiar with. By quoting little known book, Prof Sharma wants to prove that Ayodhya is not significant in the eyes of the Hindus! One would like to ask Prof Sharma, as per his research how many Hindus consult Vishnu Smriti before embarking on a pilgrimage! I’m over fifty, and I certainly had never heard of this “great" Smriti before my research for this article. As regards, Prof Sharma’s assertion of Ayodhya emerging as a place of pilgrimage in medieval times, according to the Cambridge dictionary, medieval times is the period in European history from about 600 AD to 1500 AD. If Prof Sharma accepts this definition, how does it prove that there was no temple in Ayodhya in 1528? If anything, it only gives credence to the Hindu claim that the temple destroyed by Babar was constructed by Garhwal king Govindachandra (1114–1154).
Prof Sharma also says that Tulsidas, who wrote Ramcharitmanas in 1574 at Ayodhya, does not mention it as a place of pilgrimage. This suggests that there was no significant Hindu temple at the site of the Babri Mosque.
This is the most ridiculous argument.
Prof Sharma ignores the basic fact that the classic Sanskrit text Ramayan by Maharishi Balmiki is the ultimate authentic source of Ram’s story, and it celebrates Ayodhya as the birthplace of Ram and its grandeur as the capital of Ram’s kingdom.
Another Marxist historian Romila Thapar says, "If we do not take Hindu mythology in account the first historical description of the city dates back recently to the 7th century, when the Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang observed there were 20 Buddhist temples with 3000 monks at Ayodhya, amongst a large Hindu population. In 1528, nobles under Mughal emperor Babur constructed a mosque over the disputed site. The mosque, called the Babri Masjid, has become a source of contention for some Hindus. At the end of the 19th century, Ayodhya contained 96 Hindu temples and 36 Muslim mosques. Little local trade was carried on, but the great Hindu fair of Ram Navami held every year was attended by about 500,000 people".
The question is – why we should not take the Hindu mythology into account? Can we respect
In fact, the only myths that are being created are by the self‑professed Marxist historians who are spreading the ideas that Babar was an Indian! Ibrahim Lodhi and Alauddin Khilji were indigenous rulers! Well, they were as much indigenous rulers as the Viking and Norman rulers in
Marxists are supposed to side with the victim and fight against present and historical injustice. And, it is historians’ duty to pursue the truth, no matter how ugly it is. But Indian Marxist historians have decided to side with an invader, who did everything in his might to crush the local culture and impose a foreign religion and language on
Had these historians been really pursuing truth, they would have tried to find where the missing pages of Babarnama are and who is responsible for those pages gone missing. The Marxist historians have made no attempt to find another book that went suddenly missing in most libraries in
These “intellectuals” do not want to know the truth. They fear truth and justice. They call those who speak the truth and seek redress to the past repression communalists and racists!
White Man went all over the world with sword in one hand and the Bible in the other. The native communities of Africa, Asia,
We should be mature enough to understand that the struggle against the excesses committed by Muslim invaders or rulers, or by Hindu and British rulers for that matter, does not mean a fight or hatred against the communities those rulers came from, or even against their descendents. Peace and harmony in the society is essential. But falsifying history cannot achieve true harmony. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we do not bind ourselves in falsehood. The truth of history should never be obscured or denied.
Copyright © 2010 Krishan Tyagi. All Rights Reserved.
This article has also been published in India Link International, Feb 2010-Mar 2010