Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hinduism doesn’t preach Jihad: Rakesh Sinha

http://www.zeenews.com/zeeexclusive/2008-12-27/493174news.html

A well known columnist, Rakesh Sinha has done a deep study of the RSS and the philosophy of Hinduism apart from following BJP’s rise to power. Besides being a professor of Political Science in Delhi University, he has also authored a book on the RSS founder titled ‘KB Hedgewar – A Biography’. In another of his famous works ‘Shri Guruji- & Indian Muslims’, he describes the thoughts and ideologies of RSS Sarsanghchalak MS Golwalkar. Being such an authority on the saffron ideology, he talks candidly to Zeenews.com‘s Himanshu Shekhar , about
the issues in the limelight especially the new face of terror, called ‘Hindu Terrorism’.

Excerpts:

Himanshu : ‘One man’s terrorist is other man’s freedom fighter’ is a saying. How will you react to the term called ‘Hindu Terrorism’ which has actually put the BJP and RSS in a Catch 22 situation?

Rakesh : Hinduism has a rich history and no one can actually tarnish its image. It is shabby media reporting which has coined terms like Hindu Terrorism. It is a religion propagated by the likes of Ramkrishna Paramhans and Swami Vivekananda. It is my firm belief that there may be some aberrations, but Hinduism has never taught any violence.
BJP has opposed the high handedness of the political system and its ideological pre-disposition in handling the Malegaon case. Sadhvi’s affidavit has exposed the poltical pressure on criminal justice system. However, in the larger interest of democracy and judiciary one has to maintain faith in the judicial system.

Himanshu : Do you think that very usage of terms like ‘HinduTerrorism’ or ‘Islamic Terrorism‘ is hitting the contours of Indian nationalism and secular fabric?

Rakesh : Of course it will have an impact, but in the long run India is strong enough to weather such things. People, who have come out on streets in Mumbai against terrorism, don’t want to see politicians. But surprisingly there has been increased voter turn out in recent elections which indeed is a welcome sign. Results of the recent
elections also indicate that Indian democracy is vibrant enough to tackle any issue- even terrorism and separatism.

Himanshu : That does not answer my question on coinage of Hindu Terrorism and its impact?

Rakesh : Terrorism in Islamic countries is a worldwide phenomenon. I condemn media for using terms like Islamic terrorism. But you need to understand that things like ‘Jihad’ exist in Islam. Quran says that reaching to Allah is only possible if you practice Islam. I understand that people misinterpret it in different ways. Hinduism on the other hand says ‘Ishwar’ is one and there are uncountable numbers of ways that you can connect to him. It becomes the responsibility of the community to send a message that what is wrong is wrong, whosoever
does it. And whatsoever faith they practice. It’s the educated Muslims who have taken to Jihad which is disturbing. Hinduism by and large is free from it mainly because there is no such concept like Jihad and I assure you there never will be.

Himanshu . The basic ideology which instils divisive politics is the philosophy of We and They. Guruji ( MS Golwalkar) was of the view that the Indian Constitution made a grave mistake by treating Hindus (WE) and Muslims (THEY) equally. Where does BJP or RSS stand on this Anti-Semitism now?
Rakesh : Guruji (MS Golwalkar) never used ‘They’ for all Muslims. The very use of the word ‘They’ is there in a book that is titled ‘We or our Nationhood defined.’ We was actually an abridged version of GD Savarkar’s book written in Marathi and Guruji just did a translation. As a matter of fact I would also like to make it clear that ‘They’ was
specifically used in reference to people in Muslim League, who never thought of one India. In Pirpur, Muslim League passed a resolution which charged Mahatma Gandhi of protecting Hindu Fascism, which was
not true.
Himanshu : …Why such hatred against the Mahatma then?
Rakesh : There is no hatred. Mahatma was a man whose secular credentials can never ever be questioned. It was he, who said, ‘…Iswar Allah Tero naam…’but he still had to face such charges from the Muslim League. He could have easily taken steps to save India. But it turned out that he could not. The man whom Gandhiji called Qaid-e-Azam was the chief motivator behind India’s partition. Appeasement was accepted by the Congress then and people like Guruji stood up against it. When people have a problem in calling India a mother, or have problems in singing ‘Vande Matram’, then it is an issue. Appeasement just can’t be accepted.
Himanshu : Today Indian politics is fragmented on basis of regionalism, casteism and communalism. Especially after the Mumbai attack, when there is so much public anger, what should political parties do to win back people’s trust?
Rakesh : The question is do you accept the existence of India. There is a growing intolerance in various sections of societies. I believe it is appeasement which has increased people’s militancy. India has to fight terrorism, naxalism and corruption in a big way. Only a united India can fight it. An India, which parts ways with the pan-Islamic approach, and works on Indianization of Islam. Politics is a reflection of society and it is the society which should work towards change.
Himanshu : Do you think that political-social degeneration has also affected RSS ideology, which has resulted in waning of committed cadres and to add, has BJP lost the tag of the party with a difference?
Rakesh : RSS ideology and organizations are unaffected by political environment. But there is an element of truth that the Bhartiya Janta Party is certainly affected by new rules and behavioral systems of competitive politics, still as a party BJP has shown more resilience than others. But, it also needs to do self introspection.
Himanshu : That means RSS has given up the long standing practice of screen testing people before they could actually get to join BJP. Is RSS losing its hold over the BJP?
Rakesh : It is an issue which media has often talked about. But let me tell one thing again that RSS never interferes with BJP’s inner strategy. Yes it’s a fact that people like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani proudly claim to be Swyamsevaks, but there is no law in the BJP which states that only a Swyamsevak can get party membership
Himanshu : BJP’s chief Rajnath Singh gave a clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya and Saraswati Dayanand Pandey, where does RSS stand on the issue?
Rakesh : Infact Rajnath Singh has opposed the politics behind Malegaon case. His opposition was vindicated by bail granted to Sadhvi and Dayanad Pandey. Pragya was an activist of ABVP but she later began her own mission in a different manner. In Hindutva movement RSS had hegemonic position but there are small streams some of which radically disagree with RSS. It is a misnomer to consider ‘Hindutva’ movement as monolithic and it is wrong to blame RSS for activities of any ‘Hindutva’ activist.
Himanshu : How does the RSS see itself in today’s era where moderation and inclusive politics are the key words? Is modern day RSS shifting its ideology and taking a more realistic approach?
Rakesh : It has expanded its base. RSS talks of one nation and talks of Hindu rights but if someone hates to hear the word Hindu, then there is a problem. What can you say to people who object to calling India as ‘Mother India?’ How will you explain the fact that 100 acres of land given to a Hindu shrine board had to be taken back? If RSS
talks of all this, they are termed as playing divisive politics. Though there is no denying the fact that Indian politics is by and large inclusive and RSS has a responsibility towards generation next, which has more pragmatic things to worry about e.g. jobs, security and freedom.
Himanshu : RSS and BJP have for long talked of ‘Cultural Nationalism‘ and alleged Congress of being pseudo-secular. But in a country with over 150 million of Muslims, what have they done to earn their trust?
Rakesh : This is one area where a lot of work needs to be done. We are not against Muslims, but we are for ‘One India’ and that is what should be showcased. But yes, there is an urge among current leadership in the RSS to be more proactive and send the right signals.
Himanshu : Atal Bihari Vajpayee was BJP’s most neutral face. Now that he has distanced himself from active politics, do you think LK Advani can gain that support, in case BJP falls short of a majority?
Rakesh : Well, long time back a US journalist asked Pandit Nehru: ‘Who after Nehru?’ And the reply was, “India is a vast and fertile land.” Whenever such situation arises, people come and take responsibilities.
There are people who can easily step in the role but it won’t be good to name and single out people.
Himanshu : Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Rakesh: Welcome



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

SRI RAMA JANMA BHUMI MOVEMENT AT A GLANCE



 1. Ancient History:

 1.aAyodhya was founded by Vaivasvata Manu (the progenitor and presiding figure of   the current Manvantara, which is the 7th of the 14 that make up the current Kalpa, each  Kalpa making up a day of Brahma) on the banks of the holy Sarayu. He saved life on earth from the great deluge with the blessings and help of Bhagwan Matsyavatar. Two of his children Ila and Ikshvaku became the progenitors of the Lunar Dynasty and Solar Dynasty respectively. The Saptarshis (seven sages) in the Ministry of Vaivasvata Manu are Kashyapa, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvaja.

 1.bLord Sri Ram – an Incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu – was born in the solar dynasty in Ayodhya in the Treta Yuga - the second of the four Yugas, or ages of mankind – to  rescue the world from global evil, wickedness and sensuousness and to restore it to a happy, healthy and blessed state, for future generations.

 2.a.     2100 years ago – A grand temple, on 84 black touchstone pillars, was constructed by Sakari Samrat Vikramaditya at Sri Rama Janma Bhumi (birthplace of Sri Rama), in Ayodhya and dedicated to Sri Ram to glorify and perpetuate his memory as a  national and global hero and savior. Further temples were built at different times to replace old ones that had been affected by vagaries of nature including the Sarayu floods, new ones coming up to mark the site as Sri Ramjanma bhumi sthaan. According to experts, the pre-Babri temple had been in existence from the Gahadwal period.

2.b. 1528 –Mir Baqi, the Mughal invader Babur’s commander, demolished this temple.

 2.c.  The first battle by Sri Ram Bhaktas (devotees) to save the temple from the invading marauders lasted  for 15 days. The invaders, unable to overrun the temple, used the canons to destroy it. 176,000 lionhearted Ram devotees sacrificed their lives attempting to save their most celebrated temple.

 2.d. An Islamic structure was forcefully superimposed on the demolished temple site, re-using the material obtained from the wreckage of the temple. Babar’s built this structure to celebrate his victory, the subjugation of Hindusthan by the ‘might of Islam’. This structure did not have any minarets (essential for Azan – call for prayer) nor a water-pool for Wazu (ablution) which are mandatory requirements for a mosque. This shows that this building was not a holy mosque, but a monument to celebrate ‘the enslavement of Hindusthan by Islam’, much like the Qutab Minar in Delhi.

3.    1528 - 1949 – During this period, there were 76 battles/struggles to reclaim the Rama Janma Bhoomi site and to reconstruct the temple. Guru Govind Singhji Maharaj the (10th Sikh Guru), Maharani Raj Kunwar and many other great warriors fought to reclaim  the holy place.

 4.a. 1949 - At midnight on 22nd December , Sri Ram Lala (Infant Sri Ram) revealed Himself at the birthplace that was under the central dome of the structure. At that time  Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru was the Prime Minister of Bharat, Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant was  the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Sri K.K. Nayyar from Kerala was the District  Magistrate of Faizabad ( where Ayodhya is situated).

 4.b. To maintain law & order, the City Magistrate attached the structure u/s 145 Crim. P.C., appointed Sri Priya Dutt Ram as a Receiver, entrusted the site to his care and  ordered the gates to be locked, but allowed a priest to go inside the structure and  perform regular worship and rituals twice a day. The devotees were allowed only up to the locked gate. The local people and Sadhus started chanting “Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” (Victory to Sri Rama) and Akhand Naam Sankeertan in front of the locked gate.2  This sacred chanting was continued non-stop throughout day and night.

 5.    1983 March - A veteran Congress leader of Western U.P. Sri Dau Dayal Khanna gave a rousing call to the Hindu society at Muzaffarnagar (U.P.) while addressing a Hindu Conference to reclaim the Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi sites. Sri Gulzari Lal  Nanda – two times interim Prime Minister of India after demise of PM Nehru and PM Shastri - was also present on the dais.

6.    1984 April - The First Dharma Sansad (National Parliament of Sants and Dharmacharyas of various branches of the Dharmic Tradition organized by VHP at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi) resolved to reclaim Ayodhya and, in order to create public awareness on this issue, to start a Jan Jagaran  Yatra (march across the length and breadth of the country to create a mass movement to demand that the gate of the Janma Bhumi sthaan (birthplace of Shree Rama) be unlocked.

 7.    1984, October - VHP started Ram-Janaki Rath Yatra from Sitamarhi to Ayodhya onwards to Lucknow, ending in Delhi, again to create public awareness. However, the Yatra had to be withdrawn for a year due to unfortunate developments in the country.

8.   1985, October - Rath Yatras were restarted for the above-mentioned objective.

9.   1986 – On February 1, responding to the massive support given by the public to these RathYatras, the District Judge of Faizabad ordered the locks be opened. At this time, Sri Veer Bahadur Singh of Congress was the Chief Minister of U.P. and Late Sri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister at that time.

 10. A sketch for the proposed temple was drawn, and a wooden model of it was prepared  by Sri Chandrakantbhai Sompura – an eminent temple architect of Gujarat –  whose grandfather Padmashri P.O. Sompura was the architect for the rebuilding of the  Somnath Temple. The Sompura family has modeled many other Nagari-style temples.

 11. 1989, JanuaryA Dharma Sansadh was held on the holy occasion of Kumbh Mela  at Prayagraj (Allahabad), on the banks of the sacred Triveni Sangam, organized by the VHP.  In the august presence of Pujya Deoraha Baba, it was decided to hold the Ramshila (consecrated brick) Poojan programme at every temple of the country. The first brick was consecrated at Sri Badrinath Dham.

 12. 1989 – By the end of October, about 275,000 such consecrated bricks (Ram Shilas) from Bharat and abroad had reached Ayodhya. An estimated 60 million people participated in this programme.

 13. 1989 - On 9th November, the foundation stone was laid by Sri Kameswar Chowpal of Bihar (belonging to Scheduled Caste community) with due permission of the then State Government. Sri Narayan Dutt Tiwari was the Chief Minister of U.P. and Late Sri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister.

14.a. 1990 - On 24th  June a declaration was made by Sadhus to start Kar Seva (voluntary service) for the construction of the temple from Devotthani Ekadashi (30th Oct., 1990).

 14.b.. A Jyoti (light/fire) was ignited by arani manthan (creating fire through the process of friction of wood blocks) at Ayodhya. It was called “Ram Jyoti”. The Jyoti reached every Hindu home across the country and all celebrated Deepawai Festival with this Jyoti.

 15. 1990 - On 30th October, thousands of Ram devotees entered Ayodhya crossing numerous hurdles put up by the then U.P. Government headed by Sri Mulayam Singh and a saffron flag was hoisted atop the disputed structure.

 16. 1990 – On 2nd November, the U.P. Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered the police to open fire on Kar Sewaks, resulting in the death of many devotees including the Kothari Brothers – Sri Ram Kothari & Sri Sharad Kothari from Kolkata.

 17. 1991 – On 4th April, Delhi witnessed the grandest ever rally at Boat Club. Mulayam Singh resigned as Chief Minister of U.P.

 18. 1992, September - Sri Ram Paduka Pujan was organized in all villages in India and another call was given to Bhaktas (devotees) to reach Ayodhya on Gita Jayanti (6th December, 1992). Tens of thousands reached for Kar Seva and the world knows the fate of the Babri structure.

 19. A stone slab approx. 5 ft in length and 2.25 ft in width was found from the demolished walls of the Babri structure. The epigraphists deciphered it to be an inscription of 20 lines written in Sanskrit of 12th Century CE. The first line starts with “Om Namah Shivaya”. The 15th, 17th and the 19th lines speak about the details of the grand temple and the king who built it. The 15th line clearly mentions that the temple was dedicated to “Vishnu Hari who killed Dasanan (Ravan)”. About 250 Hindu artifacts were also found from the rubble, presently held under the protection of the Court.        [To see the ASI Report, refer to the attached PDF file.]

 20. 1993 - Makeshift temple with Tarpaulins was erected by Kar Sewaks on the same spot where Sri Ram Lala had been seated before demolition of the Babri building. Approximately 67 acres of land was acquired by the Central Government ordinance (Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao was the PM at that time), in order to safeguard Sri Ram Lala. This ordinance was then approved by the Parliament through an Act on January 07, 1993.

 21. 1993 - A lawyer Hari Shankar Jain approached the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court requesting that devotees be permitted to do regular Sewa-Pooja of Sri Ram Lala. Permission was granted on the 1st January 1993. Ever since then, devotees have been obtaining a non-stop Darshan as well as offering pooja.

22.a. The then President of India Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma referred a question to the Supreme Court under Article 143-A of the Constitution of India. The question was “Whether a Hindu Temple or any Hindu religious structure existed prior to the construction of the Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid in the area on which the structure stood?”

 22.b. Some people, including one Sri Ismail Farooqui, challenged the acquisition of the land by the Central Government, mentioned in (23) above.

 23.a. 1994 - The Supreme Court heard all the above petitions and also the special presidential reference jointly for about 20 months. In its judgment on 24th October, 1994, it said: The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court would decide the title of the disputed site and answer the special reference made by the President.

 23.b. 1995 - A three-Judge Full Bench (two Hindu judges and one Muslim judge)  started hearing the matters in 1995. Issues were reframed. Oral evidences began to be recorded.

 23.c.. To find out the direct answer to the presidential special reference, in August 2002, the said Bench ordered Ground Penetrating Radar Survey (GPRS) of the site which was conducted by the Tojo Vikas International with its expert from Canada. The expert mentioned in his report the existence of a huge structure extending over a large area underneath the demolished structure scientifically proving thereby that the Babri structure was not built on virgin land as had been claimed by a group of Muslims in their civil suit filed in December 1961 before the Civil Judge of Faizabad. The expert also gave his opinion to verify the GPRS report through scientific excavation.

24. 2003 - The High Court ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate the site scientifically and verify the GPRS report. The excavation was conducted in the presence of two observers appointed by the Court (two Additional District Judges of Faizabad). The parties concerned, their counsels, their experts/representatives were permitted to remain present during excavation. To maintain impartiality, it was ordered that 40% of the labour would be Muslims. Minute to minute videography and still photography of excavation were done by the ASI. The excavation was an eye-opener. Several walls and floors, and two rows of pillar-bases at 50 equidistant places were found. A Shiva temple was also seen. The GPRS report and the ASI report are now an integral part of the High Court records.

25.a. The civil procedure of the Court of Law in the matter is now over after an exercise of about 60 years (40 years in the District Court and 20 years in the High Court) and the final verdict is expected by the end of September, 2010. Despite the fact that all evidence supports the Hindu claim that the Babri structure was superimposed on the Sri Rama Janma Bhumi site after the temple on the site had been demolished, nobody can predict the judgment. It is obvious that the judgment will create unrest in one party and its followers. This party may challenge the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, however, may or may not take notice of it. In any case, every Indian citizen knows the fate of the Supreme Court judgment in Shah Bano case. The ball, thus, may finally end up in the Parliament of India. Hindus have always maintained that the Indian Parliament should pass a law and handover the Sri Rama Janma Bhumi to the Hindu society.

 25.b. In the Constitution of India, there are illustrations depicting the Bharatiya national culture. The third illustration in the said volume is that of Lord Ram and comrades returning to Ayodhya riding the aerial vehicle Pushpak Viman after his victory in Lanka.

 26.a. The two storey proposed temple with 108 pillars in each storey will be 270 ft. long, 135 ft. wide and 125 ft. high and the temple ringed by a 10 ft. wide Parikrama Marg (circumambulation path). Wall thickness will be 6 ft and door frames will be made of white Makrana marble. Carving work has been done at 5 workshops [two at Ayodhya (U.P.), one at Makrana (Raj.) and three at Pindwara (Rajasthan)]. 60% of carving work is complete to date.

26.b. Sants and Dharmacharyas in their meeting held on 5th April 2010 at Haridwar Kumbh Mela resolved that Hanuman Chalisa Paath be arranged all over the country under the banner of “Sri Hanumat Shakti Jagaran Samiti”, commencing on Tulsi Jayanti (16th  August, 2010) until Akshyay Navami (16th November, 2010) and that Sri Hanumat Shakti Jagaran Maha Yajna be performed in every Prakhand during the month from Devotthani Ekadasi (17th Nov., 2010) to Gita Jayanti (16th Dec., 2010). These Yagnas will be organized at approx. 8,000 centres throughout Bharat.

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Note: You may circulate it to your friends, print it as it is or after translation in your native language.

 For further queries, you may contact the following:-

 Champat Rai, Joint General Secretary, VISHVA HINDU PARISHAD, (looking after Ayodhya Court matter.  Sankat Mochan Ashram, Sector-VI, Ramakrishna Puram, New Delhi-110 022, Bharat  (India).

E-Mails: vhpintlhqs@gmail.com ; vishwahindu@gmail.com ; Mobile: 9811119040;

TeleFax: 00-91-11-2610 3495, 2617 8992; Fax: 00-91-11-2619 5527;

 URL: vhp.org ;   http://shreeramjanmabhoomi.org

The Ayodhya Issue: A Summary of the History of the Ram Temple

 Hindus have always known that the site on which Babur built his infamous structure which has been erroneously regarded as a mosque was the site where Shree Raama, Vishnu Incarnate, took birth in human form. The fact that this building did not have minarets, or a water-pool for mandatory ritual pre-prayer ablutions, is evidence that this building was not a mosque. It was built as a monument to celebrate the subjugation of the people of Hindusthan by the incoming invaders. This structure, just like the Qutab Minar in Delhi , was established as a monument to pronounce publicly ‘Quvat-ul- Islam’ – the might of Islam.

 Hindus fought and sacrificed their lives to prevent the demolition of the holy temple at Ayodhya by Babur, and on many occasions since then have attempted to regain that site back to rebuild the temple that had been there.

 During the 20th Century, particularly around the time of Partition and thereafter, the demand for this site to be restored to Hindus was thwarted by politicians, impelled by their need to ‘not upset’ the Muslim community. The myth was created and perpetuated that Hindus were bent upon ‘subjugating Muslims’ and wanting to ‘destroy their mosques’. The reality is far from it. Hindus have always supported the concept of freedom of religious belief and expression. There are well over a million mosques in India , with many more regularly being added to that number with the passage of time. Hindus have not sought to damage or destroy these mosques, despite the fact that over the centuries numerous Hindu temples and holy shrines were destroyed by the Muslim rulers. Of these, they hold three sites as amongst the holiest – Ayodhya, the birthplace of Shree Raama, Mathura , the birthplace of Shree Krishna, and Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi . They have made it clear that these three sites must be restored to the Hindus devotees.

 The judicial process for the restoration of the Ayodhya site has been dragging on in the courts for decades, the court’s judgement being delayed for one reason or another, year in and year out. The brief account given in the attached document illustrates that.

 One of the latest developments was the directive given to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) by the Indian Government and the Supreme Court to undertake excavations at the disputed site to find out whether there is any evidence in support of the existence of a temple at the disputed site. The report from the ASI is also attached as a PDF file, and speaks for itself.

What should have been a straightforward case has been made into a complex issue, with political dimensions attached to it. A verdict is now expected to be given this month. Hindus earnestly hope and pray that the courts, not succumbing to political pressure, and taking account of facts, will pronounce their judgement that does justice to the sentiments and aspirations of the Hindu community.

 ****************

The Archaeological Survey of India Report

        The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated the mosque site at the direction of the Allahabad Bench of the Uttar Pradesh high court in 2003. The archaeologists reported evidence of a large 10th century structure similar to a Hindu temple having pre-existed the Babri Masjid. A team of 131 labourers including 29 Muslims - who were later on included on the objections of the Muslim side- was engaged in the excavations. In June 11, 2003 the ASI issued an interim report that only listed the findings of the period between May 22 and June 6, 2003. In August 2003 the ASI handed a 574-page report to the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.

        The ASI, who examined the site, issued a report of the findings of the period between May 22 and June 6, 2003. This report stated:

“Among the structures listed in the report are several brick walls ‘in east-west orientation’, several ‘in north-south orientation’, ‘decorated coloured floor’, several ‘pillar bases’, and a ‘1.64-metre high decorated black stone pillar (broken) with vaksha figurines on four corners’ as well as "Arabic inscription of holy verses on stone" Earlier reports by the ASI, based on earlier findings, also mention among other things a staircase and two black basalt columns ‘bearing fine decorative carvings with two crosslegged figures in bas-relief on a bloomed lotus with a peacock whose feathers are raised upwards’.

        The excavations give ample traces that there was a mammoth pre-existing structure beneath the three-domed Babri structure. Ancient perimeters from East to West and North to South have been found beneath the Babri fabrication. The bricks used in these perimeters predate the time of Babur. Beautiful stone pieces bearing carved Hindu ornamentations like lotus, Kaustubh jewel, alligator facade, etc., have been used in these walls. These decorated architectural pieces have been anchored with precision at varied places in the walls. A tiny portion of a stone slab is sticking out at a place below 20 feet in one of the pits. The rest of the slab lies covered in the wall. The projecting portion bears a five-letter Dev Nagari inscription that turns out to be a Hindu name. The items found below 20 feet should be at least 1,500 years old. According to archaeologists about a foot of loam layer gathers on topsoil every hundred years. Primary clay was not found even up to a depth of 30 feet. It provides the clue to the existence of some structure or the other at that place during the last 2,500 years.

        More than 30 pillar bases have been found at equal spans. The pillar-bases are in two rows and the rows are parallel. The pillar-base rows are in North-South direction. A wall is superimposed upon another wall. At least three layers of the floor are visible. An octagonal holy fireplace (Yagna Kund) has been found. These facts prove the enormity of the pre-existing structure. Surkhii has been used as a construction material in our country since over 2000 years and in the constructions at the Janma Bhumi Surkhii has been extensively used. Molded bricks of round and other shapes and sizes were neither in vogue during the middle ages nor are in use today. It was in vogue only 2,000 years ago. Many ornate pieces of touchstone (Kasauti stone) pillars have been found in the excavation. Terracotta idols of divine fugurines, serpent, elephant, horse-rider, saints, etc., have been found. Even to this day terracotta idols are used in worship during Diwali celebrations and then put by temple sanctums for invoking divine blessings. The Gupta and the Kushan period bricks have been found. Brick walls of the Gahadwal period (12th Century CE) have been found in excavations.

        Nothing has been found to prove the existence of residential habitation there. The excavation gives out the picture of a vast compound housing a sole distinguished and greatly celebrated structure used for divine purposes and not that of a colony or Mohalla consisting of small houses. That was an uncommon and highly celebrated place and not a place of habitation for the common people. Hindu pilgrims have always been visiting that place for thousands of years. Even today there are temples around that place and the items found in the excavations point to the existence of a holy structure of North Indian architectural style at that place.

Radar search

        In the January 2003, Canadian geophysicist Claude Robillard performed a search with a ground-penetrating radar. The survey concluded the following: "There is some structure under the mosque. The structures were ranging from 0.5 to 5.5 meters in depth that could be associated with ancient and contemporaneous structures such as pillars, foundation walls, slab flooring, extending over a large portion of the site".

        Claude Robillard, the chief geophysicist stated the following: "There are some anomalies found underneath the site relating to some archaeological features. You might associate them (the anomalies) with pillars, or floors, or concrete floors, wall foundation or something. These anomalies could be associated with archaeological features but until we dig, I can't say for sure what the construction is under the mosque."

        The final ASI report of August 25, 2003 stated that there was evidence of a large Hindu temple having pre‐existed the Babri mosque. 

        Midway into the excavations the courts ordered the removal of the head of the ASI excavations for not following the excavation norms.  



Summary of the Report submitted by the ASI on Ayodhya excavations



Excavation at the disputed site of Rama Janmabhumi â" Babri Masjid was carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India from 12 March 2003 to 7 August 2003. During this period, as per the directions of the Hon'ble High Court, Lucnow. 82 tenches were excavated to verify the anomalics mentioned in the report of the Ground Penetrating Radar Survey which was conducted at the site prior to taking up the excavations. A total number of 82 trenches along with some of their baulks were checked for anomalies and anomaly alignments. The anomalies were confirmed in the trenches in the form of pillar bases, structures, floors and foundation though no such remains were noticed in some of them at the stipulated depths and spots. Besides the 82 trenches a few more making a total of 90 finally were also excavated keeping in view the objective fixed by the Hon'ble High Court to confirm the structure.

The results of the excavation are summarized as hereunder.

The Northern Block Polished Ware (NBPW) using people were the first to occupy the disputed site at Ayodhya. During the first millennium B.C. although no stuructural activities were encountered in the limited area probed, the material culture is represented by terracotta figurines of female deities showing archaic features, beads of terracotta and glass, wheels and fragments of votive tanks etc. The ceramic industry has the collection of NBPW the main diagnostic trait of the period besides the grey, black slipped and red wares. A round signet with legend in Asokan Brahmi is another important find of the level. On the basis of material equipment and 14 C dates, this period may be assigned to circa 1003 B.C. to 300 B.C.

The Sunga horizen (second-first century B.C.) comes next in the order of the cultural occupation at the site. The typical terracotta mother goddess human and animal figurines, beads hairpin, engraver etc. represent the cultural matrix of this level. The pottery collection includes black slipped, red and grey wares etc. The stone and brick structure found from this level mark the beginning of the structural activity at the site.

The Kushan period (first to third century A.D.) followed the Sunga occupation. Terracotta human and animal figurines, fragments of votive tanks, beads antimony rod, hair pin, bangle fragments and ceramic industry comprising red ware represent the typical Kushan occupation at the site. Another important feature of this period is the creation of large sized structures as witnessed by the massive structure running into twenty-two courses.

The advent of Guptas (fourth to sixth century A.D.) did not bring any qualitative change in building activity although the period is known for its Classical artistic elements. However, this aspect is represented by the typical terracotta figurines and a copper coin with the legend Sri Chandra (Gupta) and illustrative potsherds.

During the Post-Gupta-Rajput period (seventh to tenth century A.D.), too the site has witnessed structural activity mainly constructed of burnt bricks. However, among the exposed structures, there stands a circular brick shrine which speaks of its functional utility for the first time. To recapitulate quickly, exteriorly on plan. It is circular whereas internally squarish with an entrance from the east. Though the structure is damaged the northern wall still retains a provision for pranala, i.e. waterchute which is a distinct feature of contemporary temples already known from the Ganga-Yamuma plain.

Subsequently, during the early medieval period (eleventh to twelfth century A.D.) a huge structure, nearly 50 m. in north-south orientation was constructed which seems to have been short lived as only four of the fifty pillar bases exposed during the excavation belong to this level with a brick crush floor. On the remains of the above structure was constructed, a massive structure with at least three structural phases and three successive Peers attached with it. The architectural members of the earlier short lived massive structure with stencil cut foliage pattern and other decorative motifs were reused in the construction of the monumental structure having a huge pillared hall (or two halls) which is different from residential structures, providing sufficient evidence of a construction of public usage which remained under existence for a long time during the period VII (Medieval-Sultanate level to twelfth to sixteenth century A.D.) It was over the top of this construction during the early sixteenth century, the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it. There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum dimension of 50x30 m. in north-south and east-west directions respectively for below the disputed structure. In course of present excavations nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat foundation, below calcrete blocks topped by sandstone blocks were found. The pillar bases exposed during the present excavation in northern and southern areas also give an idea of the length of the massive wall of the earlier construction with which they are associated and which might have been originally around 60 m (of which the 50 m length is available at present). The center of the central chamber of the disputed structure falls just over the central point of the length of the massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the make-shift structure. This area is roughly 15x15 m on the raised platform. Towards east of this central point a circular depression with projection on the west cut into the large sized brick pavement, signify the place where some important object was placed. Terracotta lamps from the various trenches and found in a group in the levels of Periods VII in trench G2 are associated with the structural phase.

In the last phase of the period VII glazed ware sherds make their appearance and continue in the succeeding levels of the next periods where they are accompanied by glazed this which were probably used in the original construction of the disputed structure. Similarly is the case of celadon and porcelain sherds recovered in a very less quantity they come from the secondary context. Animal bones have been recovered from various levels of different periods, but skeletal remains noticed at the trenches in northern and southern areas belong to the Period IX as the grave pits have been found out into the deposition coeval with the late disputed structures and are sealed by the top deposit.

It is worthwhile to observe that the various structures exposed right from the Sunga to Gupta period do not speak either about their nature or functional utility as no evidence has come to approbate them. Another noteworthy feature is that it was only during and after Period IV Gupta level) onwards upto Period IX (late and post Mughal level) that the regular habitational deposits disappear in the concerned levels and the structural phases are associated with either structural debris or filling material taken out from the adjoining area to level the ground for construction purpose. As a result of which much of the earlier material in the form of pottery, terracottas and other objects of preceding periods, particularly of Period I (NBPW level) and Period III (Kushan level) are found in the deposits of later periods mixed along with their contemporary material. The area below the disputed site thus, remained a place for public use for a long time till the Period VIII (Mughal level) when the disputed structure was built which was confined to a limited area and population settled around it as evidenced by the increase in contemporary archaeological material including pottery. The same is further attested by the conspicuous absence of habitational structures such as house-complexes, soakage pits, soakage jars, ring wells, drains, wells, hearths, kilns or furnaces etc. from Period IV (Gupta level) onwards and in particular from Period VI (Early Medieval Rajput level) and Period VII (Medieval-Sultanate level).

The site has also proved to be significant for taking back its antiquarian remains for the first time to the middle of the thirteenth century B.C. (1250±130 B.C.) on the analogy of the C14 dates. The lowest deposit above the natural soil represents the NBPW period and therefore the earliest remains may belong to the thirteenth century B.C. which is confirmed by two more consistant C14 dates from the NBPW (Period I), viz. 910±100 B.C. and 880±100 B.C.) These dates are from trench G7. Four more dates from the upper deposit though showing presence of NBPW and associated pottery are determined by Radio-Carbon dating as 780±80 B.C., 710±90 B.C., 530±70 B.C. and 320±80 B.C. In the light of the above dates in association with the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) which is generally accepted to be between circa 600 B.C. to 300 B.C. it can be pushed back to circa 1000 B.C. and even if a solitary date, three centuries earlier is not associated with NBPW, the human activity at the site dates back to circa thirteenth century B.C. on the basis of the scientific dating method providing the only archaeological evidence of such an early date of the occupation of the site.

The Hon'ble High Court in order to get sufficient archaeological evidence on the issue involved whether there was any temple/structure which was demolished and mosque was constructed on the disputed site as stated on page 1 and further on p. 5 of their order dated 5 march 2003 and given directions to the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate at the disputed site where GPR Survey has suggested evidence of anomalies which could be structure, pillars, foundation walls, slab flooring etc. which could be confirmed by excavation. Now viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure jut below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with the yield of stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of divine coupe and carved architectural members including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapolapali doorjamb with semi-circular pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranala (waterchute) in the north, fifty pillar bases association of the huge structure, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India.

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 Some Web Sites on More Information About Ayodhya
http://ayodhya2000.tripod.com  -- N. S. Rajarama's web site all about Ayodhya and the ancient temple of Lord Rama. You may also try: http://members.tripod.com/ayodhya2000/table_of_contents.htm
http://www.ayodhya.com -- another site on the sacred city of Lord Rama, Ayodhya.
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The Archeological Survey of India's Report on Ayodhya



        In what could be a turning point in the Ayodhya dispute, the Archaeological Survey of India has reported to the high court that its excavations found distinctive features of a 10th century temple beneath the Babri Mosque site. The Sunni Central Waqf Board, however, termed the report as 'vague and self-contradictory'.
        The 574-page ASI report consisting of written opinions and maps and drawings was opened before the full Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Monday morning.
        The report said there was archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural activities from the 10th century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure (Babri Mosque).
        Among the excavation yields it mentioned were stone and decorated bricks, mutilated sculpture of divine couple, carved architectural members including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge structure.
        The archaeological evidence and other discoveries from the site were indicative of remains that are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India, the ASI report said.
        The ASI report said there is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum dimension of 50x30 metres in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure.
        In course of present excavations nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat foundation below calcrete blocks topped by sandstone blocks were found, the report said.
        It said the pillar bases exposed during the present excavation in the northern and southern areas also give an idea of the length of the massive wall of earlier construction with which they are associated and which might have been originally around 60 metres.
        The centre of the main chamber of the disputed structure falls just over the central point of the length of the massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the make-shift structure, the ASI report said.
        In a significant observation the report said towards east of this central point, a circular depression with projection on the west, cut into the large sized brick pavement, signifying the place where some important object was placed.
        The ASI report, however, said various structures exposed right from the Sunga to Gupta period do not speak either about their nature or functional utility as no evidence has come to approbate them. The report said during and after the Gupta period up to late and post-Mughal period the regular habitational deposits disappear in the concerned levels and the structural phases are associated with either structural debris or filling material taken out from the adjoining area to level the ground for construction purpose.
        As a result of this much of the earlier material in the form of pottery, terracottas and other objects of preceding periods, particularly of Kushan period, are found in the deposits of later periods mixed along with contemporary material, it said.
        The area below the disputed site thus remained a place for public use for a long time till the Mughal period when the disputed structure was built which was confined to a limited area and the population settled around it as evidenced by the increase in contemporary archaeological material including pottery, the ASI said in its report.
        It went on to state that this observation was further attested by the conspicuous absence of habitational structures such as house-complexes, soakage pits, soakage jars, ring wells, drains, wells, hearths, kilns or furnaces.
        The report said the human activity at the site dates back to 13th century BC on the basis of the scientific dating method providing the only archaeological evidence of such an early date of the occupation of the site.
        The ASI report said the northern black polished ware using people were the first to occupy the disputed site at Ayodhya in the first millennium BC although no structural activities were encountered in the limited area probed. A round signet with legend in Asokan Brahmi is another important find of this level, it said.
        The report said the Sunga period (second-first century BC) comes next in order of the cultural occupation at the site followed by the Kushan period.
        The report said during the early medieval period (11-12th century AD) a huge structure of nearly 50 metres north-south orientation was constructed which seems to have been short lived as only four of the 50 pillar bases exposed during the excavation belonged to this level with a brick crush floor. On the remains of the above structure was constructed a massive structure with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it, it said.
        The architectural members of the earlier short-lived massive structure with stencil-cut foliage pattern and other decorative motifs were reused in the construction of the monumental structure which has a huge pillared hall different from residential structures providing sufficient evidence of construction of public usages which remained under existence for a long time during the period, the report said.
        The report concluded that it was over the top of this construction during the early 16th century that the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it.
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Archeological Society of India Says Temple Existed at Ramjanmabhoomi Site



        LUCKNOW, INDIA, August 25, 2003: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said a temple-like "massive structure" existed beneath the disputed site in Ayodhya in its 574-page report. The ASI report, submitted on August 22, was opened by the three-member Full Bench, comprising Justice SR Alam, Justice Khem Karan and Justice Bhanwar Singh on Monday. The bench has given six-week time to contesting parties for filing their objections on the sensational revelations made by the ASI in its two-volume report. "Viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with yield of stone and decorated bricks as well mutilated sculpture of divine couple...., fifty pillar bases in association of the huge structure, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India," concluded the ASI in its report. The ASI team, led by Hari Manjhi and B R Mani, had excavated the disputed site for nearly five months between March 12 and August 7 2003 on the March 5 order of the High Court. In its report on the famous excavations, the ASI has dwelt at length the period from circa 1000 BCE to 300 BCE and from Sunga (first century BCE) to Kushan, Gupta, Post-Gupta up to Medieval Sultanate level (12-16 century CE). The ASI report mentions a huge structure (11-12th century) on which a massive structure, having a huge pillared hall (or two halls), with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it was constructed later on. "There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum of 50 x 30 meter in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure," states the report. 

        To prove its point, the report says that during the course of digging, nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat foundation, below calcrete blocks topped by sandstones were found. It also suggests that the center of the central chamber of the disputed structure falls just over the central point of the length of the massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the makeshift structure. Significantly, the ASI report did not give any weightage to the glazed wares, graves and skeletons of animals and human beings found during the excavations. Rather it suggests that the glazed tiles were used in the construction of original disputed structure. Similarly, the celadon and porcelain shards and animal bones, skeletons recovered from trenches in northern and southern areas belong to late and post-Mughal period, it adds. In drafting its report, the ASI has also given importance to the carbon dating to ascertain the period of soil and artefacts found during digging. About the habitation around the disputed ground, the ASI report observed that "below the disputed site remained a place for public use for a long time till the Mughal period when the disputed structure was built which was confined to a limited area and population settled around it as evidenced by the increase in contemporary archaeological material, including pottery."
        However, and as to be expected, the ASI report has come as a rude shock to the Sunni Central Wakf Board and other Muslim organizations. "It is baseless, misinterpreted, based on wrong facts and drafted under intense political pressure," reacted Jafrayab Jilani, counsel for SCWB while announcing that they will challenge the report.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=145797

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Archaeological Excavations at Sri Rama Janma Bhumi




New Delhi, June 16, 2003. A few days ago a news item allegedly supplied by the Archaeological Survey of India was planted in the newspapers that no evidence of a pre-existing structure under the disputed Rama Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid was found. The said news item was definitely deceptive, groundless, misrepresented and calculated to dupe the country. The misrepresented item was based on an unfinished progress report of the ASI. Three-fourths of the report have been concealed. The item was cooked up on the basis of the excavation report of a spot that was about 50 feet away from the western wall of the Rama Janma Bhumi structure. As such the inferences of the news item based on the report of this pit is reckless. In spite of this, even these pits gave away two-thousand year old molded bricks and ornate stone pieces of different shapes and sizes. The news item dishonored these facts.

The excavations so far give ample traces that there was a mammoth pre-existing structure beneath the three-domed Babri structure. Ancient perimeters from East to West and North to South have been found beneath the Babri fabrication. The bricks used in these perimeters predate the time of Babur. Beautiful stone pieces bearing carved Hindu ornamentations like lotus, Kaustubh jewel, alligator facade, etc., have been used in these walls. These decorated architectural pieces have been anchored with precision at varied places in the walls. A tiny portion of a stone slab is sticking out at a place below 20 feet in one of the pits. The rest of the slab lies covered in the wall. The projecting portion bears a five-letter Dev Nagari inscription that turns out to be a Hindu name. The items found below 20 feet should be at least 1,500 years old. According to archaeologists about a foot of loam layer gathers on topsoil every hundred years. Primary clay was not found even up to a depth of 30 feet. It provides the clue to the existence of some structure or the other at that place during the last 2,500 years.

More than 30 pillar bases have been found at equal spans. The pillar-bases are in two rows and the rows are parallel. The pillar-base rows are in North-South direction. A wall is superimposed upon another wall. At least three layers of the floor are visible. An octagonal holy fireplace (Yagna Kund) has been found. These facts prove the enormity of the pre-existing structure. Surkhii has been used as a construction material in our country since over 2000 years and in the constructions at the Janma Bhumi Surkhii has been extensively used. Molded bricks of round and other shapes and sizes were neither in vogue during the middle ages nor are in use today. It was in vogue only 2,000 years ago. Many ornate pieces of touchstone (Kasauti stone) pillars have been found in the excavation. Terracotta idols of divine fugurines, serpent, elephant, horse-rider, saints, etc., have been found. Even to this day terracotta idols are used in worship during Diwali celebrations and then put by temple sanctums for invoking divine blessings. The Gupta and the Kushan period bricks have been found. Brick walls of the Gahadwal period (12th Century CE) have been found in excavations.

Nothing has been found to prove the existence of residential habitation there. The excavation gives out the picture of a vast compound housing a sole distinguished and greatly celebrated structure used for divine purposes and not that of a colony or Mohalla consisting of small houses. That was an uncommon and highly celebrated place and not a place of habitation for the common people. Hindu pilgrims have always been visiting that place for thousands of years. Even today there are temples around that place and the items found in the excavations point to the existence of a holy structure of North Indian architectural style at that place.

So the excavation was to find the answer to the question as to whether Babur superimposed the domed structure on a preexisting structure after demolishing it or built it on virgin ground. The answer to this question has been found from the excavations.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AYODHYA


By N.S. Rajaram

 
There already exists a good deal of literary and archaeological evidence relating to the existence of temples at the disputed site.

The Allahabad Bench of the Uttar Pradesh High Court has directed the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate in the disputed site at Ayodhya to determine whether the Babri Masjid was built after demolishing a temple that was already. This is a welcome development, for we will soon have a scientific investigation of the claims and counterclaims in full public view and under official direction. It is important to note however that there have been previous investigations, both literary and archaeological, that pretty much establish the pre-existence and destruction of temples at the site where the Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baki on Babar's orders. This was drowned in all the noise generated in the emotionally charged climate following the destruction of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. I will present some of this material from sources that are well known to experts, but not the public.


Literary Evidence
 
There are basically two kinds of literary sources--written records and inscriptions. Both these are available at Ram Janmabhumi at Ayodhya. One major inscription is that of Mir Baki himself, apparently placed on the Masjid wall when it was built in the 16th century. Another was discovered following the demolition on December 6, 1992. I'll look at it later. There are numerous literary records by Hindu, Muslim and British authors. When we survey even a small part of this vast literature, we find that until recently, until some politicians created the so-called 'controversy', no author--Hindu, Muslim, European or British official--questioned that a temple existed on the spot, which had been destroyed to erect the mosque. We may begin with a couple of references from European writers from published sources that are widely available.

A. Fuhrer in his The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh, Archaeological Survey of India Report, 1891, pp 296-297 records: "Mir Khan built a masjid in A.H. 930 during the reign of Babar, which still bears his name. This old temple must have been a fine one, for many of its columns have been utilized by the Musalmans in the construction of Babar's Masjid." H.R. Neville in the Barabanki District Gazetteer, Lucknow, 1905, pp 168-169, writes that the Janmasthan temple "was destroyed by Babar and replaced by a mosque." Neville, in his Fyzabad District Gazetteer, Lucknow, 1905, pp 172-177 further tells us; "The Janmasthan was in Ramkot and marked the birthplace of Rama. In 1528 A.D. 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."

One could cite many more in similar vein, but these examples should suffice for recent European records. When we reach back in time, what we find particularly interesting are the accounts attributed to Guru Nanak. He was a contemporary of Babar, and an eyewitness to his vandalism. Nanak condemned him in the strongest terms. The historian Harsh Narain in his book The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, writes: "Guru Nanak, according to Bhai Man Singh's Pothi Janam Sakhi, said to have been composed in 1787 Anno Vikrami/1730 A.D., visited Ayodhya and said to his Muslim disciple Mardana: 'Mardania! eh Ajudhia nagari Sri Ramachandraji ki hai. So, chal, iska darsan kari'e. Translation: 'Mardana! this Ayodhya city belongs to Sri Ramachandra Ji. So let us have its darsana.'"

This indicates that Nanak visited Ayodhya shortly before the destruction of the Rama temple by Babar. Another work by Baba Sukhbasi Ram gives a similar account, again suggesting that Nanak visited Ayodyha before the temple was destroyed by his contemporary, the Mughal invader Babar. Muslim sources also give a similar account. In 1855, Amir Ali Amethawi led a Jihad for the recapture of Hanuman Garhi, situated a few hundred yards from the Babri Masjid, which at that time was in the possession of Hindus. This Jihad took place during the reign of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Oudh. It ended in failure. A Muslim writer, one Mirza Jan, was a participant in that Jihad. His book Hadiqah-i-Shuhada was published in 1856, i.e. the year following the failed Jihad. Miza Jan tells us:
"'wherever they found magnificent temples of the Hindus ever since the establishment of Sayyid Salar Mas'ud Ghazi's rule, the Muslim rulers in India built mosques, monasteries, and inns, appointed mu'azzins, teachers and store-stewards, spread Islam vigorously, and vanquished the Kafirs. Likewise they cleared up Faizabad and Avadh, too from the filth of reprobation (infidelity), because it was a great centre of worship and capital of Rama's father. Where there stood a great temple (of Ramajanmasthan), there they built a big mosque, ... Hence what a lofty mosque was built there by king Babar in 923 A.H. (1528 A.D.), under the patronage of Musa Ashiqqan!" Even more impressive is a Persian text known as Sahifah-i-Chihal Nasa'ih Bahadurshahi written in 1707 by a granddaughter of the Moghul emperor Aurangazeb, and noted by Mirza Jan in his Urdu work Hadiqah-i Shuhada just cited. Mirza Jan quotes several lines from her work which tell us:

"...keeping the triumph of Islam in view, devout Muslim rulers should keep all idolaters in subjection to Islam, brook no laxity in realization of Jizyah, grant no exceptions to Hindu Rajahs from dancing attendance on 'Id days and waiting on foot outside mosques till end of prayer ... and 'keep in constant use for Friday and congregational prayer the mosques built up after demolishing the temples of the idolatrous Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Avadhà."

Other Muslim authors than Mirza Jan also cite the work, which appears to have been widely available in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then there is the evidence of the three inscriptions at the site of the mosque itself, at least two of which mention its construction by Mir Baqi (or Mir Khan) on the orders of Babar. Babar's Memoir mentions Mir Baqi as his governor of Ayodhya. Some parts of the inscription were damaged during a riot in 1934, but later pieced together with minor loss. In any event, it was well known long before that, recorded for instance in Mrs. Beveridge's translation of Babur-Nama published in 1926. 
Discoveries at the site I: The Temple City of Ayodhya
 
While this evidence is strong, the archaeological evidence is still stronger. This is what Dr. S.P. Gupta (former director of the Allahabad Museum), has to say about recent excavations at Ayodhya: "At Ayodhya, Professor Lal [B.B. Lal. Former Director General of ASI] took as many as 14 trenches at different places to ascertain the antiquity of the site. It was then found that the history of the township was at least three thousand years old, if not more... When seen in the light of 20 black stone pillars, 16 of which were found re-used and standing in position as corner stones of piers for the disputed domed structure of the 'mosque', Prof. Lal felt that the pillar bases may have belonged to a Hindu temple built on archaeological levels formed prior to 13th century AD..."

On further archaeological and other evidence, Lal concluded that the pillar bases must have belonged to a Hindu temple that stood between 12th and the 16th centuries. What this means is that Lal had found evidence for possibly two temples, one that existed before the 13th century, and another between the 13th and the 16th centuries. This corresponds very well indeed with history and tradition. We know that this area was ravaged by Muslim invaders following Muhammad of Ghor's defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain in 1192 AD. This was apparently rebuilt and remained in use until destroyed again in the 16th century by Babar.

The Hari-Vishnu Inscription
 
The demolition on December 6, 1992 changed the picture dramatically, providing inscriptional support to the traditional accounts--both Hindu and Muslim. The most important of these is the Hari-Vishnu inscription. It is written in 12th century AD Devanagari script and belongs therefore to the period before the onslaught of the Ghorids (1192 AD and later). It was later examined by Ajay Mitra Shastri, Chairman of the Epigraphical Society of India who gave the following summary.

"The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except for a very small portion in prose, and is engraved in chaste and classical Nagari script of the eleventh-twelfth century AD. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it... Line 15 of this inscription, for example, clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stones ... , and beautified with a golden spire ... unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings ... This wonderful temple ... was built in the temple-city of Ayodhya situated in Saketamandala. ... Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali ... and the ten headed personage (Dashanana, i.e., Ravana)." The inscription confirms what archaeologists Lal and Gupta had earlier found about the existence of a temple complex. I have given a copy of the Hari-Vishnu inscription. New archaeological finds ordered by the court are likely to yield more such riches but unlikely to change the historical picture.

Note added after publication
 
The reaction of 'secularist' scholars aired from their favorite platform of SAHMAT is intriguing to say the least. First they say that no excavation should be carried out because that would open a can of worms leading to disputes at other sites also. This is not very different from the objection raised by Pope Innocent against Galileo's discoveries. Not so long ago, the same worthies were telling us that no temple was destroyed by Babar when the mosque was built. If they were telling the truth, why should they fear excavation?
_________

Dr. N.S. Rajaram is a mathematician, linguist and historian. He has written several books
on India including Profiles in Deception: Ayodhya and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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