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Janmabhoomi – The Birthplace

Introduction
On 6th December 1992, when a mob tore down the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, an entire
nation watched in horror as governments of the day stood by, pleading helplessness. About 450 years
earlier, destruction of a temple had attracted the attentions of a similar crowd, whose actions became
linked in several ways to the discussion around the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation.
On Rama’s birthplace in Ayodhya there used to stand a disputed mosque structure. It was called the
Babri Masjid according to an inscription on its front wall. Babur had defeated King Rana Sangram Singh
of Fatehpur Sikri in 1527 and appointed his General Mir Babki as Viceroy of the area. Mir Baqi
constructed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in the year 1528.
Until the beginning of 20th century, official documents called the structure Masjid-i-Janmasthan,
“mosque of the birthplace”. The hill on which it stood was designated as Ramkot (Rama’s fort).

Babur – The Conqueror


Zahir-ud-din Mohammad Babur was the founder of the Mughal (or Moghul) dynasty of India. He was
a descendant of the Mongol conqueror Timur (Tamerlane).
In 1514, Babur resigned all hopes of recovering Ferghana from the Uzbeks to the West. He turned his
attention to India. He had made several preliminary incursions when an opportunity presented itself
for a more extended expedition in 1521. Ibrahim Lodi, sultan of the Indian Delhi Lodhi Sultanate, was
detested and several of his Afghani nobles asked Babur for assistance. Babur immediately assembled
a 12,000-man army, complete with limited artillery, and marched into India. Ibrahim advanced against
Babur with 100,000 soldiers and one hundred elephants. Their great battle, the First Battle of
Panipat, was fought on 21st April 1526. Ibrahim Lodi was slain and had his army routed, and Babur
quickly took possession of Agra.
A more formidable enemy awaited Babur. Rana Sanga of Mewar collected an enormous force of
210,000 men and attacked the invaders. Babur’s army was surrounded, tired, hot, and homesick.
Babur managed to restore their courage but secretly did not believe he had a good chance of defeating
Rana Sanga. Surprisingly, in the Battle of Khanua on 16th March 1527, Babur won a great victory and
made himself absolute master of North India. In 1526 he founded the Mughal Empire and dynasty,
although it was Akbar the Great who turned what was really a kingdom into an empire.
On the eve of his Jihad against Rana Sanga, Babur vowed to give up drinking and had the cups and
vessels destroyed: "These vessels were broken into pieces in the manner in which, if Allah wills, the
idols of the Pagans will be smashed." He also comments on his victory against the Rajput confederacy
in 1527, and after quoting copiously from the Quran, he writes: After this success, ghazi (slayer of
infidels) was written amongst the royal titles. Below the titles entered on the Fath-Nama, following
was written:
"For Islam's sake, I wandered in the wild,
prepared for war with Pagans and Hindus,
resolved myself to meet the martyr's death.
Thanks be to Allah ! A ghazi I became."
Proof of Existence of Temple
Hindu Testimonials
Ancient Hindu Scriptures
The Sarayu river winds its way from the Nepalese border across the plains of north India. Not long
before its churning gray waters meet the mighty Ganga, it flows past the town of Ayodhya (Ayodhya
means “unconquerable” in Sanskrit). Many Puranas attest the fact that Ayodhya was considered one
of the six holiest of the holy cities. Ayodhya has been irrevocably and definitively associated with Shri
Ram since time immemorial. The epic Ramayana, whose oral tradition goes back to 5000 years BC,
identifies Ayodhya as the capital of the Ikshvaku kings and the birthplace of Shri Rama, making it one
of the holiest places of hindu religion. It was here that Lord Ram created the golden period called the
"Ram Rajya".
The tradition of Rama worship was described in the 12th/ 13th century text, Ayodhya-Mahatmya,
which forms part of the Skandapurana. It describes the various holy spots in Ayodhya, and extols the
pilgrimaage to the city as the best means to salvation. The Ayodhya-Mahatmya profusely eulogizes
the Janmabhoomi shrine and gives its location. The merits of a visit have been described in Ayodhya-
Mahatmya in the following words:
"A man who has seen the Janmasthana will not be born again even if he does not offer gifts, practise
asceticism, goes on pilgrimages or make sacrifice-offerings. A man observing the vow world be
liberated from the bondage of rebirth on arrival of the Navami day because of the miraculous power
of a bath and a gift. By seeing the Ramjanmabhoomi he shall obtain the result that accrues to one
who gives away a thousand red cows day after day."
Kalidasa (4th-5th century CE) refers to Ayodhya in the 10th canto of his work Raghuvansham, to the
narrative of Vishnu's incarnation on earth as Rama. In the 13th Canto of his book, where the poet
refers to the return of Vishnu and his consort to Ayodhya in the Pushpak-Viman. According to well
researched conclusion of scholars, there existed at least five Vishnu temples in Ayodhya in the 12th
century viz:
• Harismriti (or Guptahari) at the Gopratar (goptar) ghat,
• Chandrahari on the west side of the Swargadwar ghat,
• Vishnuhari at the Chakratirtha ghat,
• Dharmahari on the east side of Swargadwar ghat, and
• Vishnu (Rama) temple on the Janmabhoomi.
The last three of these were destroyed and replaced by mosques built by Mughal emperors.
Tulsidas’s Silence
Muslims argue that Poet Tulsidas, author of the main devotional work on Rama in Hindi, the
Ramcharitmanas, is often cited as remaining silent regarding the alleged temple demolition. However,
in a lesser-known work, Tulsi Doha Satak, he records in a few verses the destruction in Samvat 1585
(i.e., 1528 AD) of a temple at Ayodhya by Mir Baqi and the construction of a mosque at the same spot.
The translation of each verse was done by the Allahabad High Court (AHC) and the second by the
scholar Dr. Nityanand Misra (NM).
In the translation, “There is mention of ‘Yavanas’, which refers to barbarians, in the present case,
Mohammedans” - writes Nicole Elfi Michel Danino.
Tulsidas says that”
• “the Yavanas, filled with rage, burnt many Mantras or Saehitas, Upanishads and even
Brahmanas (parts of Vedas), and Puranas and Itihasa scriptures, after ridiculing them”.
• Describing the barbaric attack of Babur, “he indulged in gruesome genocide of the natives of
that place (followers of Hinduism), using sword (Army).”
• “countless atrocities were committed by foolish ‘Yavans’ (Mohammedans) in Awadh
(Ayodhya) in and around the summer of Samvat 1585, that is, 1528 AD (Samvat 1585- 57=1528
AD).
• Describing the attack made by ‘Yavans’, that is, Mohammedans on Sri Ramjanambhumi
temple, Tulsi Das Ji says that, “after a number of Hindus had been mercilessly killed, Sri Ram
Janam Bhumi temple was broken to make it a mosque. Looking at the ruthless killing of
Hindus, Tulsi Ji says that his heart felt aggrieved, that is, it began to weep, and on account of
incident it continues to writhe in pain.”
• “Destroying the temple at Ramajanmabhumi, they constructed a mosque. At once (or with
great readiness/ alacrity) they killed many Hindus.”
• “Seeing the mosque constructed by Mir Baqi in Awadh, that is, Ayodhya in the wake of
demolition of Sri Ram Janam Bhumi temple preceded by the grisly killing of followers of
Hinduism having faith in Rama and also seeing the bad plight of the temple of his favoured
deity Rama, the heart of Tulsi began to always cry tearfully for Raghuraj (the most revered
among the scions of the Raghu Dynasty). Being aggrieved thereby, submitting himself to the
will of Sri Rama, he shouted: O Ram ! Save ... Save...”
• “Mir Baqi (further) destroyed the temple in Awadh (Ayodhya) and the Rama samaja (the idols
Rama Pañcayatana — Rama, Sita, Bharata, Lakhmana, Satrughna, Hanuman). [On thinking of
this] Tulsidas cries, beating his chest, O the best of Raghus! Protect us, protect us!”
• “in the midst of Awadh (Ayodhya), where the Ramajanmabhumi temple was resplendent,
there the wicked and vile Mir Baqi constructed a mosque”.
• Tulsidas says that where there was constant ringing of the bells and the narrations (upakhana)
of the Ramayana, Veda and Purana, the ignorant Yavana read the Quran and the Azaan.

Testimonies from Muslims


Abul Fazl (1598 AD)
Abul Fazl, the author of Akbar Nama/Ain-i-Akbari (late 16th century) is an eminent writer of the
Moghul age who has categorically associated Awadh (Ayodhya) with the residential place (banga) of
Sri Ram Chandra who during the Treta age was the embodiment of both the spiritual sovereign
supremacy as well as the mundane kingly office. Abu; Fazl also testifies that Awadh (Ayodhya) was
esteemed as one of the holiest places of antiquity. He reports that Ramnavami festival, marking the
birthday of Rama continues to be celebrated in a big way. As in the Ain-i-Akbari, Abul Fazl is basically
concerned with the institutional and administrative system of the Moghuls (under Akbar), he does not
provide any further detail about the disputed building; nor, for that matter, about any shrines or
buildings in general.
Daughter of Bahadur Shah Alamgir
Safiha-i Chahal Nasaih ("Forty Advices") Bahadur Shahi, written by the daughter of Bahadur Shah
Alamgir during the late 17th century/early 18th century. Twenty-five instructions were copied and
incorporated in the manuscript entitled Nasihat-i Bist-o-Panjam Az Chahal Nisaih Bahadur Shahi in
1816 AD, which is the oldest known account of the destruction of Ram Janma-bhoomi for construction
of the Babri Mosque, and its author is none other than Aurangzeb's granddaughter.
The text runs as follows:
"... the mosques built on the basis of the king's orders (ba farman-i Badshahi) have not been exempted
from the offering of the namaz and the reading of the Khutba [therein]. The places of worship of the
Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., in which the Hindus (kufar) have great faith -
the place of the birthplace of Kanhaiya, the place of Rasoi Sita, the place of Hanuman, who, according
to the Hindus, was seated by Ram Chandra over there after the conquest of Lanka - were all
demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places mosques have been constructed. These
mosques have not been exempted from juma and jamiat (Friday prayers). Rather it is obligatory that
no idol worship should be performed over there and the sound of the conch shell should not reach
the ear of the Muslims ...")
Hadiqa-i-Shahada by Mirza Jan (1856)
The author was an eye-witness and an active participant in the jihad led by Amir Ali Amethawi during
Wazid Ali Shah's rule in 1855 for recapture of Hanumangarhi from the Hindus. His book was ready just
after the failure of the jihad and was published the following year (1856) in Lucknow. In Chapter IX of
his book, following account has been mentioned of construction of the Babri mosque.
"The past Sultans encouraged the propagation and glorification of Islam and crushed the forces of the
unbelievers (kufar), the Hindus. Similarly, Faizabad and Awadh were also purged of this mean practice
[of kufr]. This [Awadh] was a great worshipping centre and the capital of [the kingdom of] Rama's
father. Where there was a large temple, a big mosque was constructed and where there was a small
mandaf, there a small kanati masjid was constructed. The temple of Janmasthan was the original
birthplace (masqat) of Ram, adjacent to which is Sita Ki Rasoi, Sita being the name of his wife. Hence
at that site, a lofty (sarbaland) mosque has been built by Babar Badshah under the guidance of Musa
Ashikan... That mosque is till date popularly known as Sita Ki Rasoi..."
Muhammad Asghar's petition (1858)
Muhammad Asghar, khatib and muazzan of the Babri Masjid, filed a representation dated 30.11.1858,
in case no 884, muhalla Kot Ram Chandra, Ajodhya to the British Government. In this complaint against
the Bairagis of Janmasthan, he alleged that the Hindus had occupied the mosque, constructed an
earthen mound therein, hoisted a flag on a high pole, installed a deity, started puja, wrote the name
of Rama all over the walls and so on. The muazzin also observes that in the outer space of the
constructed Babri mosque (i.e. in the courtyard within the walled boundaries of the mosque), there
had been Janmasthan lying desolate where the Hindus had been worshipping for hundreds of years.
This confirms the fact that even though the site of Janmasthan had been covered by the Babri Masjid,
the Hindus had been worshipping in the open space for hundreds of years, i.e. even during the Moghul
and the Nawabi periods, and that they had maintained their claim on the entire Janmasthan area.
Fasana-i Ibrat by the Urdu novelist Mirza Rajab Ali Beg Surur.
Dr. Zaki Kakorawi has appended an excerpt from this book by Surur (1787-1867) in his work. The
excerpt reads as follows :"During the reign of Babar Badshah, a magnificent mosque was constructed
in Awadh at a place which is associated with Sita ki Rasoi. This was Babari mosque. As during this
period the Hindus could not dare to offer any resistance, the mosque was constructed under the
benign guidance of Saiyed Mir Ashikan. Its date of construction could be reckoned from [the words]
Khair-Baqi. And in the Ram Darbar, a mosque was constructed by Fidai Khan, the subedar."
After further describing the construction of another mosque at Hanuman Garhi by Aurangzeb, the
author states that later on, after the defeat of Nawab Shujauddaula at Buxar, the Bairagis occupied
the Garhi : "The Bairagis mitigated the mosque at Hanuman Garhi and constructed a temple [thereon].
And then, open prayers were henceforth offered (by the Bairagis) in the Babri mosque comprising the
site of Sita ki Rasoi. The [Nawabi] administration could not do anything about it."
Tarikh-i Awadh or Muraqqa-i Khusrawi by Sheikh Mohammed Azmat Ali Kakorawi Nami
(1869)
Kakorawi (1811-1893) wrote this book in 1869, but it did not see the light of day for more than a
century. When Dr. Zaki Kakorawi prepared a press copy, the F.A. Ahmad Memorial Committee agreed
to publish the book, in 1986, but without the chapter on the 1855 episode. Subsequently, Dr. Kakorawi
published this chapter independently in 1987, under the title: Amir Ali Shah aur Markah-i Hanuman
Garhi.
It contains this account: "Awadh was the capital of the father of Lachhman and Ram. [There,] under
the guidance of Musa Ashikan, a magnificent Babri mosque was constructed at the site of the temple
within the premises of Janmasthan, which was popularly known amongst Hindus as Sita ki Rasoi. The
date of construction can be reckoned from Khair Baqi... And a mosque was also constructed at the site
of Ram Darbar by Fidai Khan, subedar, which was later demolished and mitigated by the Hindus."
Zia-i Akhtar by Haji Muhammed Hasan (Lucknow 1878)
The author states :"The mosque which had been built by Saiyid Musa Ashikan in 923 AH in compliance
with the order of Zahiruddin Badshah, Delhi, after demolishing the private apartments (mahal sarai)
of Raja Ram Chander and the kitchen of Sita, as well as the second mosque built by Muiuddin
Aurangzeb, Alamgir Badshah, [in fact] both these mosques have developed cracks at various places
because of the ageing character. Both these mosques have been gradually mitigated by the Bairagis
and this very fact accounts for the riot. The Hindus have great hatred for the Muslims..."
Gumgashte Halat-i Ajudhya Awadh ("Forgotten Events of Ayodhya"), i.e. Tarikh-i Parnia
Madina Alwaliya (in Persian) (Lucknow 1885), by Maulvi Abdul Karim.
The author, who was then the imam of the Babri Masjid, while giving a description of the dargah of
Hazrat Shah Jamal Gojjri states :"To the east of this dargah is mahalla Akbarpur, whose second name
is also Kot Raja Ram Chander Ji. In this Kot, there were few burjs [towery big halls]. Towards the side
of the western burj, there was the house of birthplace (makan-i paidaish) and the kitchen (bawarchi
khana) of the above-mentioned Raja. And now, this premises is known as Janmasthan and Rasoi Sita
Ji. After the demolition and mitigation of these houses (viz. Janmasthan and Rasoi Sita Ji)], Babar
Badshah got a magnificent mosque constructed thereon."
Kaisar-ul-Tawarikh ya Tawarikh-i-Awadh by Kamaluddin Haidar Hosni al Hussaini al
Mashahadi (Lucknow 1896)
This author gives the same account of the construction of the Babri mosque as given in Muraqqah-i
Khusrawi.
Tarikh-i Awadh by Alama Muhammad Najamulghani Khan Rampuri (1909).
Dr. Zaki Kakorawi has stated :
"Babar built a magnificent mosque at the spot where the temple of Janmasthan of Ramchandra was
situated in Ayodhya., under the patronage of Saiyid Ashikan, and Sita ki Rasoi is situated adjacent to
it. The date of construction of the mosque is Khair Baqi (923 AH). Till date, it is known as Sita ki Rasoi.
By its side stands that temple. It is said that at the time of the conquest of Islam there were still three
temples, viz. Janmasthan, which was the birthplace of Ram Chanderji, Swargadwar alias Ram Darbar,
and the Treta ka Thakur. Babar built the mosque after having demolished Janmasthan."
"...in short, the turbulence [of 1855] reached such a stage that apart from the mitigated mosque at
Hanuman Garhi, the Hindus built a temple in the courtyard of Babri Masjid where Sita ki Rasoi was
situated..."
"...Ultimately, on Zildaqqa 1271 AH [July 1855], for the tenth or twelfth time, nearly two or three
hundred Muslims gathered at Babri Masjid which is situated inside the Sita ki Rasoi..."
It is important to observe that the learned author used as many as eighty-one sources (manuscripts
and books) covering the history of India/ Awadh from the 17th-19th centuries, comprising mostly
Muslim authors, though a few Hindu and European writers have also been referred to.
In parenthesis, we remark that the calculation of the year 923 from the numerical values of the letters
making up the expression "Khair Baqi" (as before the adoption of Indian numerals, letters were still
used sometimes to encode numbers), rests on a mistake. The full expression which is repeated in the
inscription on the Masjid, is "Bavad Khair Baqi", of which the numeral value adds up to 935, the AH
year partly coinciding with 1528 AD.
Hindustan Islami Ahad Mein by Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai
Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai (d.1923), an eminent scholar on the history of Islamic culture and also
rector of Nadwatul-Ulama, wrote on "India under Islamic Rule" in Arabic, in the early 20th century.
The book contained a chapter on "The Mosques of Hindusthan" (Hindustan ki Masjidein), giving at
least six instances of the construction of the mosques on the very sites of the Hindu temples
demolished by the Indian Muslim rulers during the 12th-17th centuries. As regards Babri Masjid, he
writes : "This mosque was constructed by Babar at Ajodhya which the Hindus call the birthplace of
Ram Chanderji. There is a famous story about his wife Sita. It is said that Sita had a temple here in
which she lived and cooked for her husband. On that very site Babar constructed this mosque...".
Asrar-i Haqiqat by Lachmi Narain Sadr Qanungo, assisted by Munshi Maulvi Hashmi (Lucknow
1923)
This unique book was a product of joint efforts by a Hindu and a Muslim. This book confirms all that
has been said in the Gumgashte Halat-i Ayodhya on the demolition of Janmasthan and the
construction of the Babri mosque.

Testimonies from Europeans


Travel report by William Finch, the European traveller (1608-11)
Finch, who visited Ayodhya, confirms the existence of the ruins of Ramkot, the castle of Ram where
Hindus believed he had incarnated thousands of years ago.
History and Geography of India, by Joseph Tieffenthaler, (published in French by Bernoulli in
1785)
In 1768, an Austrian Jewist priest, Joseph Tiefenthaler, who lived in India for over 30 years. He stayed
in Awadh from 1766 to 1771. He reported that Babar destroyed the birth-place temple of Ram and
constructed a mosque by using its pillars. He averred in his book, “Description Historique Et
Géographique De L’Inde”, that Hindus routinely celebrated Ram Navami in front of a mosque in
Ayodhya. He stated, “Hindus refused to give up the place and in spite of the Moghuls' efforts to
prevent them, they were coming to the place for worship. They had constructed the Ram Chabootra
in the mosque's courtyard, which they used to perambulate thrice, then to prostrate on the ground.
They practised their devotion at the chabootra and in the mosque”. Tieffenthaler testifies that they
continued celebrating Ram Navami with great gatherings of people from all over India.
Analysing this ostensibly inexplicable behaviour, he wrote:
“The reason is that here existed formerly a house in which Beschan (Vishnu) took birth in the form of
Rama and where it is said his three brothers were also born. Subsequently Aurangzeb and some say
Babar destroyed the place in order to prevent the heathens from practising their ceremonies.
However, they have continued to practice their religious ceremonies in both the places knowing this
to have been the birth place of Rama by going around it three times and prostrating on the ground."
He also states that, "The Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed a fortress called Ramkot and built at the same
place a Muhammedan temple with three domes. Others say it has been built by Babar. one can see
14 columns made of black stone 5 span in height which occupy the site of the fortress. 12 of these
columns now support the inside arcades of the mosque".
Report by Montgomery Martin, British Surveryor (1838).
He proposes that the Masjid was built on the ruins of the Ramkot itself, rather than of a building
constructed by Vikramaditya, and that the pillars used in the mosque have been taken from Ram's
palace, the figures thereon having been damaged by the bigot (i.e. Babar).
East India Company Gazetteer, by Edward Thornton (1854)
This mentiones that Babar's mosque is embellished with 14 columns of elaborate workmanship taken
from the old Hindu temple. It also mentions that the Hindus practised pilgrimage and devotion on the
Ram Chabootra which they believed to be Ram's cradle. (see Annexure 14 for pp.730-740 of Thornton:
Gazetteer of the Territories under the Government of the East India Company)
Encyclopaedia of India by Surgeon General Edward Balfour (1858)
It mentions that Ayodhya has three mosques on the sites of three Hindu shrines : the Janmasthan, the
site where Ram was born ; the Swargadwar Mandir, where his remains were buried ; and the Treta ka
Thakur, famed as the scene of one of his great sacrifices.
Historical Sketch of Faizabad by P. Carnegy (1870)
He describes the Ramkot with all its bastions and palaces and says that the columns of Janmasthan
temple made of strong close-grained dark slate-coloured Kasauti (or touch-stone) and carved with
different devices were used by Muslims in the construction of Babar's mosque. Carnegy also notes
the construction of the new Janmasthan temple on the neighbouring plot of land in the early 18th
century. He reports that until 1855 both Hindus and Muslims worshipped alike in the mosque-temple.
Gazetteer of the Province Oudh (1877).
It confirms that the Moghuls destroyed three important Hindu temples at Ayodhya and constructed
mosques thereon. Babar built the Babri mosque on Ram Janmabhoomi in 1528, Aurangzeb built one
on Swargadwar, and either Aurangzeb or Shahjahan did the same on Treta ka Thakur. All other
assertions from Carnegy's Historical Sketch of Faizabad are confirmed in this Gazetteer.
Faizabad Settlement Report (1880)
The report confirms that Babar built the Babri mosque in 1528 on the site of Janmasthan temple
marking the birthplace of Ram. On Swargadwar Mandir, Aurangzeb constructed a mosque, and on
Treta-ka-Thakur the same was done by either Aurangzeb or Shahjahan, according to the well-known
Mohammedan practice of enforcing their religion on others. The columns of the destroyed
Janmasthan temple have been used in the Babri mosque.
Imperial Gazetteer of Faizabad (1881)
It confirms the construction of three Moghul mosques at Ayodhya on the site of three celebrated
shrines, viz. Janmasthan, Swargadwar and Treta-ka-Thakur.
Court verdict by Col. F.E.A. Chamier, District Judge, Faizabad (1886)
In delivering his judgment in Civil Appeal No. 27 of 1885, the Judge, after visiting the Babri mosque
site for personal inspection, observed :"It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on
land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now
to remedy the grievance."
Archaeological Survey of India Report by A. Fuhrer (1891)
Fuhrer accepts that Mir Khan built the Babri mosque on the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple,
using many of its columns. He also confirmed that Aurangzeb had constructed two other mosques in
Ayodhya on the sites of Swargadwar and Treta-ka-Thakur temples.
Barabanki District Gazetteer by H.R. Neville (1902)
Neville reports that "numerous disputes have sprung up from time to time between the Hindu priests
and the Mussalmans of Ayodhya with regard to the ground on which formerly stood the Janmasthan
temple, which was destroyed by Babar and replaced by a mosque".
Faizabad District Gazetteer by H.R. Neville (1905)
This chronicle confirms that the Janmasthan temple marking the birthplace of Ram at Ramkot was
destroyed by Babar and replaced by a mosque using the materials and columns of the temple. In spite
of its desecration, Hindus continued to regard it as a holy spot. The desecration caused numerous
disputes and clashes between the communities.
Babur Nama in English by Annette Beveridge (1920)
After analysing the inscriptions on the Babri mosque and studying the archaeological features, she
says that Babur was impressed with the dignity and sanctity of the ancient Hindu shrine it displaced,
and that as an obedient follower of Mohammed, Babar regarded the substitution of the temple by a
mosque as dutiful and worthy.
Revised Faizabad District Gazetteer by Smt. E.V. Joshi (1960)
This Gazetteer records that under Babar's orders the ancient Janmasthan temple was destroyed and
the Babri mosque was constructed on its site. The material of the old temple including some of the
original columns were employed in building the mosque.
Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1978, 15th edition, vol.I)
This most authentic Encyclopaedia records that Ram's birthplace is marked by a mosque erected by
the Moghul emperor Babar in 1528 on the site of an earlier temple. The Encyclopaedia also provides
a photograph of the present structure, describing it as the mosque on Rama's birthplace, Ayodhya,
U.P., India. Earlier editions of the Encyclopaedia also contained this information.
Ayodhya by Hans Bakker (1984)
In his most comprehensive study, the Dutch scholar Bakker has repeatedly and categorically accepted
that an old Vaishnava temple was situated on the holy spot where Ram descended on earth. This
Janmabhoomi temple was destroyed by Babar in 1528 and replaced with the now-existing mosque
structure. 14 black-stone pillars from the temple were utilized by Mir Baqi in the constructtion of the
mosque. Two more pillars have been driven upside down into the ground at the grave of the Muslim
saint Musa Ashiqan, who is said to have incited Babar to demolish the Janmabhoomi temple. A
seventeenth specimen which is a door-jamb with matching sculpture and similar age (and possibly
from the same temple) is kept inside the new Janmasthan temple on the neighbouring mound. Bakker
concludes that Ram Janmabhoomi temple was one of the oldest Ram temples in the country which
was in existence in the 12th century.
Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid by Koenraad Elst (1990)
The Belgian scholar Elst has centred his study of the Ayodhya controversy on a critical examination of
the anti-Mandir argumentations of mrs. Surinder Kaur (The Secular Emperor Babar), Syed
Shahabuddin (articles in Muslim India and Indian Express) and a group of JNU historians (The Political
Abuse of History). Confronting these argumentations with the available evidence, as well as checking
them in terms of logic and methodology, he concludes that the anti-Mandir thesis is untenable.

Destruction of Babri Masjid


Attacks on the Mosque prior to 1990
The first recorded violent incident between Hindus and Muslims regarding the issue took place in 1853
at the time when Nawab Wajid reigned. It was the second nawab, Safdarjung, who, in return for their
military services, gave the Ramanandi nagas money for the construction of a shrine to Hanuman at a
spot about 700 metres from the Babri Masjid. In due course, a Hindu nobleman enabled the expansion
of this structure into what is today the Hanumangarhi, described as a temple-fortress, and which in
the 19th century possessed gifts from the crown that brought it Rs 50,000 in revenue.
While this was superficially a Hindu-Muslim conflict, in reality matters were somewhat complicated.
Muslims in Awadh comprised 12% of the population; the vast majority was Sunni. The nawab,
however, was of Shia persuasion, and the cream of courtly patronage was distilled in favour of the
Shia minority. The reigning nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, was an admirer of Hindu traditions, in addition to
the court’s general collaboration with Hindu elites, provoked Ghulam Husain, described as an “arch
villain", and his “vile", “disreputable" followers to plot their attack on Hanumangarhi. This was, in
other words, not only a move against the Hindus but also a Sunni rebellion against the unorthodox
Shia nawab. While Husain’s plot was a failure, his place was soon taken by another zealot, the maulvi
Amir Ali. And this man went as far as declaring a jihad to occupy Hanumangarhi and re-establish the
mosque that was supposed to have existed within.
Soon, Shah Ghulam Husain, a Muslim firebrand, called to “reclaim" the temple. It was answered by
enough men to result in a violent clash soon afterwards. The Muslims were repulsed and the Hindus
took the skirmish into Babri next door, which Husain’s fighters had used as a base. In the course of
events, 70 men were killed on the Muslim side. An attack on Muslim civilians, and plunder of their
property, followed, with reprisals after some Hindus decided to make a grand display of slaughtering
pigs on the day the 70 fallen Muslims were buried. It was, simply put, provocations galore and blood
and violence everywhere.
To curb the spiralling violence the British administration in 1859 was forced to erect a fence in the site
to separate the places of worship allowing the Muslims to use the inner court and the Hindus to use
the outer court.
In 1885, Mahant Raghubar Ram moved the courts for permission to erect a temple just outside the
Babri Masjid premises. Despite validating the claim of the petitioner, the judge dismissed the case
citing the passage of time: “It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on land
specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to
agree with the grievances.”
Before the year 1940, Muslims used to call the mosque a mosque-e-birth place. In the year 1947 -
Government of India ordered to stay away from the disputed site of Mus lanes and locked the main
gate of the mosque while Hindu devotees were allowed entry from a different place. In the year 1984
- Vishwa Hindu Parishad launched a campaign of Hindus that we should revert back to build a temple
at this place again.
In 1989 - Allahabad High Court ordered that the main gate of the disputed site should be opened
and this place should be given to the Hindus forever. The lock opening quickly took on a mystical
aspect. Witnesses claimed that on the afternoon of the decision, a monkey sat on the roof of the
Faizabad court house. The animal, unusually for a monkey, sat still for more than 30 minutes. Then,
when the judge had issued his order, the monkey walked to the flagpole on the courthouse roof and
touched the Indian flag.
In mid-October 1990, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, the new Prime Minister, sought a compromise on
Ayodhya that would reduce the tension. On the night of 18th Oct 1990, the Prime Minister agreed to
pass the ordinance and it was issued the following day. The Ordnance allowed the Central Government
to acquire all the land around the Babri Masjid. Most of the land was to be handed over to a trust run
by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Hindu organization. The Babri Masjid and another small parcel
would be kept by the government and referred for deliberations to the Supreme Court. However, VP
Singh, repealed the ordnance, fearing Muslim backlash.

The Rath Yatra


The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had just two seats in Parliament, already had seized on Ayodhya as
its chief campaign issue. The symbolic foundation-laying ceremony for a Ram temple in 1989 was
organized by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which had been collecting bricks from all over India and
bringing them to Ayodhya to symbolize the desire to build a Ram temple. As many as 275,000 villages
and 60 million people participated, according to a VHP spokesman. Bricks were also sent from the
U.S., the U.K. and other foreign locales.
On 25th Sept 1990, BJP began a cross-country journey in an air-conditioned mini-bus made to look like
a chariot and decorated with marigold flowers. Mr. Advani headed the trip from Somnath, in the
western state of Gujarat. Somnath is, like Ayodhya, one of Hinduism's holiest sites. A temple there
dedicated to the god Shiva, the destroyer, had been repeatedly razed by Muslim invaders over
centuries. But construction of a new temple in Somnath had begun in 1947 with the blessing of the
government in New Delhi, making it a symbolic starting point for his journey.
Along the chariot’s route, Mr. Advani encountered dramatic scenes of devotion: the chariot itself was
worshipped as divine, he wrote. In short speeches – he made 20 a day -- from a platform on the
chariot, he spoke about how the “power of devotion towards Ram can unleash people’s power,” he
wrote. In his autobiography, Mr. Advani claimed the route the chariot took was peaceful. Government
officials and published accounts from that time said his journey sparked widespread violence
elsewhere between Hindus and Muslims.
As Mr. Advani rode across India and the deadline approached for the start of temple construction on
30th Oct 1990, the nation was on edge. State officials in Uttar Pradesh, where Ayodhya is located,
were worried about the potential for large-scale violence. In early October that year, false rumours
had spread in one area that Muslims had killed hundreds of Hindus, including butchering women and
children. Riots erupted, leaving 80 people dead, all but one of them Muslim, according to a later
published account.
On 23rd October the Prime Minister V. P. Singh authorised Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Chief Minister of
Bihar, to arrest Advani as the procession crossed the border with the state of Uttar Pradesh. Advani
was placed in preventive custody. Following his imprisonment, Advani was held in the Masanjore
Guest House, a luxury government accommodation. After his release, he stated that through the
success of the rally, the power of the people had defeated the power of the state. Vishwa Hindu
Parishad leader Ashok Singhal was also arrested, but managed to escape from police custody within a
day. Other activists arrested were often improperly detained, or allowed to escape.
Despite Advani's arrest, the kar sevaks continued on towards Ayodhya. Mulayam Singh Yadav, the
Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, ordered the arrest of all activists bound for Ayodhya, and 150,000
individuals were jailed. However, a large number of activists succeeded in reaching Ayodhya. On 30th
October a large number of activists pushed past the cordon of security officers, and moved towards
the Babri Masjid. Although they were intercepted by more security forces, they succeeded in avoiding
these, and reached the mosque. There, one volunteer placed a saffron flag on top of the mosque,
while other activists attempted to tear the building down using tools like axes and hammers. The
security personnel responded by initially using tear gas to expel the kar sevaks, and later using actual
ammunition. The kar sevaks were pushed away from the mosque, but a pitched battle with security
followed, which lasted three days, and led to the death of 20 VHP volunteers.

6th December 1992


The morning of 6th Dec 1992 was quiet. Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad surveyed the scene in Ayodhya from a rooftop as the volunteers amassed. Hindu activists
thronged Ayodhya. Mr. Narsimha Rao, the Prime Minister, watched on television at his residence in
New Delhi. He was “slightly apprehensive because he was getting the impression that not much forces
were there,” according to Mr. Prasad, his adviser, who visited him that morning. Then, around noon,
a group of kar-sevaks broke through the light security around the Babri Masjid. Some climbed onto
the central dome.
Hajari Lal, 55 years old, was among them, he said in an interview. He was a volunteer member of the
RSS. He had tried, with others, to destroy the mosque in 1990. But they had failed and, seething with
anger, were determined to finish the job, he said. Mr. Lal said he started chipping away at the domes
with a small shovel he carried in his bag. Others used hammers, iron rods and spades.
Mahant Satyendra Das, the chief government-appointed priest at the site, was standing not far away
with his assistants, he said in an interview. The priests raced into the building to rescue the idol of
Ram and other statues added since, he said. They took them to the shelter of a nearby tree. In New
Delhi, watching events with increasing concern, Mr. Rao asked senior officials to push the state
government to deploy the forces stationed outside of town, said Mr. Prasad. States are responsible
for law and order so the federal government couldn’t order the troops to move.
State had requisitioned 30 paramilitary companies – about 4,000 personnel at 12:45 PM. But they
were under strict orders not to use force. Soon the crowd totalled about 75,000 activists. Just before
2 PM, one of the domes collapsed, pulled down by ropes inserted in holes high in the mosque’s walls.
Later, the other two were demolished. After more than 450 years, the mosque was gone. The collapse
of a building closely associated with the Mughal invasion of India was a stark declaration of Hindu
might and electrified the volunteers.
Ashok Singhal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad official who led the temple movement, said in an interview
that, from his perspective, the building wasn’t destroyed at all. Rather, he said, what happened that
day was part of a “renovation program.” The VHP has long claimed that a Hindu temple was destroyed
in the 1500s for the mosque to be built. The activists rampaged, targeting local Muslims. Houses were
set afire. Mr. Das, the priest at the site, said he was appalled by the events that day. He considered
the building a temple since Ram had been cared for and worshipped there for more than four decades.
“I felt like I was witnessing terrorists attacking a village,” he said.
Mohammad Hashim Ansari, the 92-year-old Muslim tailor who was involved in the court case over the
site, said he fled with his family to relatives in Faizabad. More than a dozen Muslims were killed in the
violence, according to local Muslims. “I should have died instead of having to see the destruction of
Babri Masjid that day,” Mr. Ansari said in an interview. He and his family returned to Ayodhya but he
said many Muslims left for good. More federal security forces were deployed. But they were pelted
with stones and turned back, according to the government’s official version of events.
As late as 5:40 PM, most of the security forces remained stalled, in part because local officials said
they couldn’t provide the magistrates needed to accompany the forces into town. A makeshift temple
was erected on the rubble where the Babri Masjid once stood. Mr. Das, the priest, said he installed
the idols there, placing Ram on a wooden throne. The Prime Minister summoned his cabinet in the
afternoon and decided to impose president’s rule, according to Mr. Prasad. But only by late evening
was the process complete. The site of the Babri Masjid being cleared. Central security forces finally
secured the site, without incident, on the night of 7th Dec.
Several Congress leaders criticized Mr. Rao for not moving more swiftly or decisively to prevent the
mosque’s destruction. Mr. Prasad, his adviser, contended that the prime minister “took all the actions
that were available at his disposal.” As the day unfolded, Mr. Rao's spirits sank, said Mr. Prasad: “First
he was worried, then he was angry, then he said he felt very sad.” The Prime Minister felt betrayed by
Kalyan Singh, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, who had given Mr. Rao reassurances that law and
order would be maintained, said Mr. Prasad. In an interview, Kalyan Singh said, "What was said and
what wasn't said to Prime Minister Rao is irrelevant.” Of the Babri Masjid, he said: "It was the symbol
of slavery, so it had to go. That's it."
Many Hindus were disgusted with what transpired in Ayodhya that day. Subodh Kant Sahai, the leader
of two rounds of settlement negotiations, said he was disconsolate. He said his mother, who had
supported building a temple, told him: “This is too much. They have crossed the limits.” The
destruction tested Muslims’ faith in India’s governing institutions – the government, courts, and law
enforcement.
With the demolition of the Babri Masjid, communal violence and hatred spread like an infectious
disease across the country. More than 2000 people were killed in these riots. Liberhan Commission
was formed to investigate the matter after 10 days of the mosque demolition.

Archaeological Excavation
Archaeological Excavation before Babri Masjid Demolition
Archaeological Survey of India (1934)
It identifies all the holy sites of Ayodhya with reference to the ancient texts, numbered them and put
up sign posts in stone to mark the sites. The Babri mosque was identified as the Ram Janmabhoomi
and a sign post was embedded there saying :"Site no. 1 : Janmabhoomi".
Excavation from 1975 to 1980
The 'Babri Mosque', was a modest structure with three domes, the central one bigger than the two
side ones, it was surrounded by two high-rising walls, running parallel to each other with large open
space in between. On the high entrance of the domed structure were two stone tablets, side by side,
which bore two inscriptions in Persian informing us that this structure was built by one Mir Baqi on
the orders of Babur.
There were 14 pillars of black stone fixed in this domed structural complex. Two were located at the
small entrance in the outer boundary wall on the east, while four were located in the main door
opening into the central part of the domed building. Four each were located in the two walls which
separated the central domed area from the southern and northern domed areas.
While the coarse sand and the bricks used in the mosque were generally of local origin, found in nearly
all regions, the dark stone, called locally 'Kasauti' or 'touch stone', is found in far off places only, such
as the Himalayan foothills or 'terai' in U.P. and Nepal. The dark stone pillars had several Gods and
Goddesses, besides other sacred motifs.
Under a national archaeological project, called 'Archaeology of the Ramayana sites', a team of
archaeologists headed by Prof. B.B Lal, former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India,
excavated this site from 1975 through 1980 on the immediate south and west of this monument.
From 1975 through 1980, Prof. B.B.Lal, Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, also laid
trenches at 14 different places at Ayodhya, but including one at Janmabhoomi. Some trenches were
taken just behind the Babri Mosque in the west, and some by the south side of the mosque for detailed
archaeological survey of India. The scheme was a part of a large national project launched by the
Central Government, when Prof. Burul Hasan was the Minister of Education and Culture. It was called
'Archaeology of the Ramayana Sites'. These trenches yielded the following select data which have
direct bearing on the problem.
• Firstly, the earliest habitational layer in these trenches, laid directly above the natural soil,
yielded the most beautiful pottery of Indian material culture, called Northern Black Polished
Ware (early period) with silvery and golden hues. It is fired uniformally at a very high
temperature, more than 1000 degree C, which produced not only unique polish, but also
unique metallic sound. These potteries belonged to the 7th century B.C.
• Secondly, there has been almost continuous human habitation in the Janambhoomi-Masjid
area from the 7th century B.C. upto the 3rd century A.D. Then there occurred some break in
the habitation in the Janmabhoomi area.
• Thirdly, in the 11th century some people constructed a series of rectangular 'bases' or short
pillar- like structures of burnt-bricks, each about 3ft. tall. This was done by cutting the debris
of the earlier periods. These 'bases' were meant for the pillars of a super-structure. These
'bases' were found arranged in parallel rows. It is significant to note that the directional
alignment of the 'bases' is the same as that of the several pillars of black stone found in the
mosque.
• Fourthly, a well laid thick floor, made of pinkish white chundam or like and small kankars was
found running over and across a 'base'. It was found running even beyond the excavated area,
towards the mosque. It is conclusively proved by the floor material in the section of the
trenches. This is the original 'mosque floor' level.
• Fifthly, below this topmost floor a thick deposit was found which has yielded Islamic Glazed
Ware sherds of various types and colours including blue, red and green, which may be dated
between the 13th and 15th centuries. It includes a White Glazed Ware with blue paintings
which was prevalent in Persia in the 15th century, i.e. much before the date of the mosque
which was built in the 16th century.
• Sixthly, there was a well-laid chunam and kankar floor below this layer, but it was found
running against the 'bases'.
• Seventhly, there was one more similarly laid floor below this floor, also running against the
'base'.
• According to the science of 'Archaeological Stratigraphy', while the top-most floor belonged
to the level and period of the mosque, the lower two floors belonged to the earlier pre-
mosque structure. The fact that instead of one, there are the remains of two floors of this
pre-mosque structure is interesting since it shows that the floor of the structure was restored
almost completely and at least once.
• Eighthly, at least in one example the 'base' records the fact of destruction upon the
foundation. It is the evidence of a rectangular pit without its 'brick' base. It must have been
done anciently by laying a 'robber's trench' by some one interested in demolishing it and
removing its bricks for constructing some other structure.
The images on the pillars were dated from the 9th through the 12th century A.D. There were two
more similar pillars of the black schistose stone. These are found placed upside down by the side of
the grave of one Muslim saint, Fazle Abbas alias Musa Ashikhan. In the local tradition, he was generally
blaimed for inciting the then authorities, headed by Mir Baqi, to demolish the temple at Janmasthan
and build a mosque there. It has been mentioned by different authors, including Hans Bakker, the
writer of the famous book entitled Ayodhya.
The pillars were carved at the base with a sacred water-pitcher, called kalash. It had overhanging
creepers with rich foliage, arranged in a highly stylised form. A devkanya stood on some of the lotus
flowers. In another example, at the place of the devkanya, there was a picture of hamsa with
elaborate tail. On some of these Kalash, sometimes a decorative lotus rose up on one of the octagonal
facets of a pillar a female figure, standing in tribhanga mudra, although it was found heavily mutilated
by the iconoclasts.
The door-jamb was of the same stone as of the columns. It was 115 cms long and was decorated with
scultured figures from top to bottom. At the base, there was a small arch recess in which one could
see a standing male figure. The image was wearing a Karanda mukuta (or tiara) on the head, and a
vanamala on the bare front body. While the right hand was in vyakhyana mudra, the left hand was
carrying a weapon, trishula. Above the niche were the two vertical bands of decoration, the right one
had the rising creeper motif, divided into two vertically running friezes. The left one contained three
figures of devkanyas or apsaras, i.e., nymphs off heavenly female beings, alternating on the top with
gana i.e., demi-divine male in the dancing pose. These were arranged one above the other, the
uppermost figure was of a salabhanjika i.e. a female (nymph) figure holding and bending the branch
of a blossoming tree. The other apsaras were shown standing in simple niches. These forms belonged
to the art-history period of 'Late Pratihar' or 'Gahadval' style. These black stone pillars or columns
belong to an old Hindu temple.

Archaeological Excavation after Babri Masjid Demolition


In late 2002, the court called into service the country’s top archaeological research agency, the
Archaeological Survey of India. Headquartered in New Delhi, the ASI was formed by the British in 1861
and today is charged with excavating and preserving ancient monuments. The ASI was reluctant to get
involved. But after the court appointed a New Delhi-based geo-physical investigation company to do
the survey work, the ASI agreed to supervise it.
The site was excavated from 12th March 2003 to 7th August 2003. A report was submitted in Lucknow
Bench of Allahabad High Court with 574 pages of maps and all the evidence. The company surveyed
the area using earth-sensing equipment with high-powered antennas that transmitted
electromagnetic waves into the ground and recorded the variations in their travel speeds after hitting
different objects. The returning waves were fed into a special computer that generated maps that
could show “anomalies” – perhaps structures and artifacts – beneath the soil.
In its report to the court, the company said it found “a variety of anomalies 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.” To confirm, the site needed
to be excavated, the survey report said.
The court asked the ASI to excavate about 10,000 square feet of the main disputed area, except under
the makeshift temple containing the idol of Ram. The excavation should not disturb the worshipping
of Ram Lalla—and the visits of devotees, the court added.
The excavation team comprised of 14 senior ASI archaeologists, photographers and draftsman and 80
local laborers. The court allowed the parties who were fighting in court to have observers present.
The excavation team dug 90 trenches, most up to five meters deep. They unearthed and recorded
structures such as brick and stone pillar bases, masonry walls, and floors of lime. They found glazed
tiles, human and animal figurines, inscribed copper coins, bone and iron objects, ear-studs and bangles
of terracotta.

The ASI submitted a 272-page report with separate volumes of photos. The report’s summary said the
sum of the discoveries was “indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with
the temples of north India.” The report also said that radio-carbon dating showed that people using
“northern black polished ware” were the first people to “occupy the site at Ayodhya.” The ancient
Temple covered an area of about 50 x 30 meters.
The finding pushed evidence of habitation in the area to the middle of the 13th century B.C, about
3,300 years ago from today. The archaeologists involved in the excavation declined comment, citing
restrictions placed on them by the court. In the court in Lucknow, the Hindu parties and their expert
witnesses broadly welcomed the ASI report and said it vindicated their claims that a Hindu temple was
torn down to build the mosque.
But the waqf board, Hashim Ansari and other Muslim plaintiffs objected. They called the report “one-
sided” and produced eight expert witnesses, six of them Hindus. They assailed the report for its alleged
“omissions,” such as the discovery of animal bones with cut marks found in different layers of the
trenches that would be unlikely to come from a Hindu shrine. According to “a group of historians and
scholars” including Kapil Kumar, B.D. Chattopadhyay, K.M. Shrimali, Suvira Jaiswal and S.C. Sharma,
the “so-called discoveries of artefacts” during and after the demolition were “a planned fabrication
and a fraud perpetrated, to further fundamentalist designs”.

The Quranic Sanctions


The demolition of Hindu temples and their forcible replacement by mosques has been a very
persistent behaviour pattern of the Muslim conquerors. These temple demolitions were consistent
with the persecution of “unbelief” carried out by Islamic rulers from Mohammed bin Qasim (who
conquered Sindh in 712 AD) to Aurangzeb (the last Moghul, 1707 AD), and more recently in Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Kashmir. Though there is no lack of negationists who try to deny or conceal it, the
historical record bears out Will Durant‟s assessment that “the Mohammedan conquest of India is
probably the bloodiest story in history”. It is safe to affirm that the majority of pre-1707 mosques in
India have been built in forcible replacement of Hindu temples. Outside India, the Islamic take-over of
the most sacred sites of other religions was equally systematic, e.g. the Ka‟aba in Mecca, the Temple
Mount in Jerusalem, the Aya Sophia in Istanbul, the Buddhist monastery in Bukhara etc.
When the Taliban ordered the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, some “secular” Indians assured
that this had nothing to do with “genuine Islam”. The mental horizon of the Taliban, “the students of
Islam”, consists of nothing but the detailed knowledge of Islamic theology and jurisprudence. The
Taliban justified their destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas with reference to Prophet‟s own exemplary
iconoclasm. The primary Islamic sources on the Prophet‟s career (the Hadis and Sira) stated that
during his conquest of Arabia, he destroyed all functioning temples of the Arab Pagans, as well as a
Christian church. When he was clearly winning the war, many tribes chose to avoid humiliation and
martyrdom by crossing over to his side, but he would only allow them to join him on the condition
that they first destroy their idols. When the Prophet entred Kaaba, the central shrine of Arabia‟s
native religion, he and his nephew Ali smashed 360 idols with their own hands.
At the time of Prophet Mohammed’s appearance, Arabia was a multicultural country endowed with
shrines, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire-temples. When he died, all the non-Muslims had
been converted, expelled or killed, and their places of worship laid waste or turned into mosques. As
he had ordered before his death, only one religion remained in Arabia. Mohammed’s conduct was
the definitional standard of what was to be a good Muslim. Quran has little to say on temple
destruction, though it is very eloquent on Mohammed’s programme of replacing all other religions
with Islam.
Islamic apologists regularly justify the desecration of the Kaaba by Prophet Mohammed as a mere
restoration of Abraham’s monotheistic mosque which had been usurped by the polytheists. Every
place where demographic change happened because of Islamic or Christian invasions and conversions,
entire cultures and nations succumbed. Little living and breathing is left of Mayan, Aztec, Zoroastrian
and Egyptian civilisations. Entire populations were slaughtered or converted, shrines razed to dust or
transformed to the predators’ faith. India has been a magical exception, but not without serious
amputations and bruises. In his book, “Hindu Temples: What Happened to them‟, Vol. I, Sita Goel has
listed nearly two thousand mosques standing on the debris of demolished Hindu temples.
The Quran contains dozens of injunctions to wage war against the unbelievers, e.g.: “Make war on
them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme” (2:193 and 8:39); “Those who
follow Mohammed are merciless to the unbelievers, but kind to one another” (48:29); “Enmity and
hate shall reign between us until ye believe in Allah alone” (60:4), etc. The same attitude is found in
the jihad chapters of the Hadis collections and the Islamic law codices. In Indian history, these verses
and the precedent set by the Prophet have been systematically invoked to justify persecutions and
temple demolitions.
In its core vow, Islam swears to eradicate all God-concepts except Allah and narrows down the ways
of knowing God to the revelations transmitted through Prophet Mohammed.
The fact that temples were broken and mosques constructed in their place is well known. Also is the
fact that the materials of the temples, the stones and idols were used for constructing mosques. In
the ongoing 1,000-year battle over demography, invaders have destroyed thousands of temples in
India to drive in fear, disrupt her social fabric and inspire surrender to a foreign culture. In what is now
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and in places further east, they succeeded. In the modern times,
Islamic militants continue to follow their ancient pathways. J&K government admitted in 2012 that
208 temples had been damaged or destroyed just in Kashmir since the early-’90s days of militancy.

Shilanyas – Foundation Stone of the Temple


Rajiv Gandhi was persuaded to worship the Ram temple to further his re-election campaign. Just a
week before the land worship, Rajiv Gandhi was met with famous religion Guru Devraha Baba. The
formula for this meeting in Gorakhpur was Buta Singh who was a devotee of the Baba. When Rajiv
Gandhi and Devarah Baba met, the Baba blessed him by touching the top of his head. He requested
Rajiv Gandhi to allow the worship of Rama. Rajiv Gandhi decided to open the temple's locks and
rightfully mobilize the Hindu votes. In early November 1989, just weeks before the general election,
Buta Singh, was sent to the town to participate in a “shilanyas,” or symbolic temple foundation-laying
ceremony.
The foundation stone of Ram Mandir was laid on Ayodhya on 10th November 1989. After laying the
foundations of Ram temple, Rajiv Gandhi started his election campaign from Ayodhya and promised
to bring Ram-sansar in the country. It remained a secret for a long time, how did the temple of Ram
Temple be worshiped? It was against the order of the court.
Devraha Baba’s name was included by the Liberhan Commission on the list of those accused of
demolishing the Babri Masjid. Inclusion of his name even though he died two years before the
demolition, set off a spate of fury in Ayodhya. In a show of aggressive posturing, two most powerful
mahants of the temple town, the President of Ram Janma Bhoomi Trust, Gopal Das and Head Akhil
Bhartiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP) Mahant Gyan Das, sought "public apology from justice Liberhan."

Appearance of Idol in Sanctum Sanctorum


On the night of 22–23 December 1949, an idol of Lord Rama appeared in the Babri Masjid, an event
that was immediately portrayed as divine intervention and unambiguous proof that Rama had indeed
been born there. The First Information Report (FIR) filed at the Ayodhya police station named Abhiram
Das, Ram Sakal Das, Sudarshan Das and fifty to sixty unnamed persons for rioting, trespassing and
desecrating a religious place. As it turned out, the police investigation hardly helped in sifting truth
from myth.
Jawaharlal Nehru was greatly perturbed by an idol of Lord Ram being placed in a mosque. Polished,
intellectual and skeptical of religion, Nehru was trying to propel the nation into an era of modern
socialism and scientific thinking. But the events in Ayodhya forced him to grapple anew with the
centuries-long friction between Hindus and Muslims – and to try to counter the spreading belief that
a deity had materialized in the dead of night. “I am disturbed at developments at Ayodhya,” Nehru
said in a telegram on 26th Dec 1949, to Govind Ballabh Pant, chief minister of United Provinces, which
roughly included what is now the state of Uttar Pradesh. “Earnestly hope you will personally interest
yourself in this matter. Dangerous example being set there which will have bad consequences.”
The provincial government wanted the statue removed. K.K. Nayar, the district magistrate in Faizabad,
who also oversaw Ayodhya, refused. He wrote to a provincial official that removing the idol was
“fraught with the gravest danger to public peace” and would lead to a “conflagration of horror,”
according to a copy of his correspondence. The discord in Ayodhya threatened Nehru’s desire for India
to be a democracy in which all beliefs were equally respected. He also feared that it would have
repercussions “on all-India affairs and more especially Kashmir,” the disputed territory between India
and the newly-created Pakistan, he wrote to Mr. Pant on 5th Feb 1950.
Nehru added that he would be willing to make the 600-kilometer trip from Delhi to Ayodhya himself.
But, he also noted, “I am terribly busy.” Nehru didn’t make the trip. By March, he was sounding
defeated as local officials continued to balk at removing the idol. “This event occurred two or three
months ago and I have been very gravely perturbed over it,” he wrote in a letter to K.G. Mashruwala,
an associate of Mahatma Gandhi.
Nehru lamented that many in his Congress party had become “communal” toward Pakistan and India’s
Muslims. In 1952, Nehru visited Uttar Pradesh to campaign for Mr. Pant in an election, according to a
person who heard him speak. He told the crowd, in Hindi, “The Ayodhya event has put me to shame”.
Hindus got the right to worship where the idol had allegedly manifested itself, and the mother of all
legal disputes was born. Subsequently it was alleged that the act of the emergence of the idol was the
handiwork of Abhiram Das of Nirvani Akhara and his associates.

Supreme Court Case


On 7th January 1993, President Shankar Dayal Sharma, passed the law on Acquisition of land around
the disputed site vide the Ayodhya Ordinance. Later, a Bill was introduced in Parliament by then Union
Home Minister SB Chavan. After being passed, the Bill came to be known as the Ayodhya Act. Tabling
the Bill to replace Ram Mandir Ordinance, Chavan said, "It is necessary to maintain communal
harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst the people of India."
The Ram Mandir Ordinance and the subsequent Ayodhya Act cleared way "to acquire the site of the
disputed structure and suitable adjacent land for setting up a complex" that would have a temple
dedicated to Lord Ram. The Narasimha Rao government acquired 60.70 acre land surrounding the
disputed site of 2.77 acre. The Congress government planned to build "a Ram temple, a mosque,
amenities for pilgrims, a library, museum and other suitable facilities" in Ayodhya. Sixteen years
later, the Allahabad High Court pronounced its judgment on the title suit. It divided the disputed 2.77
acre land among three parties, Ram Lalla (the infant Shri Ram), the Nirmohi Akhara (fighting for the
Hindu side) and the Sunni Waqf Board (representing the Muslims).
The RSS said if the Supreme Court doesn't deliver an early verdict, the Modi government should bring
a law to remove hurdles in the way of giving land for a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP) was more assertive saying that the Hindus could not wait for eternity for a verdict by
the Supreme Court. BJP leaders Subramanian Swamy and Giriraj Singh (also a minister in the Modi
government) demanded an ordinance for early construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. The
Congress and the Communist Party of India asked the Modi government to wait for the Supreme Court
order in the matter. Speaking for the government, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad played stated
that the Centre has full faith in the Supreme Court.

The Compromise Formula


False Promises
Some Muslims have understood the unreasonableness of the Islamic claim to Rama-Janmabhoomi.
When Chandra Shekhar was Prime Minister, in December 1990, his friend Syed Shahabuddin wrote
that for once, Muslims would be ready to “gift away” the Babri Masjid site: “The law protects the
Babri Masjid even if it was constructed on the site of a temple after demolishing it, but in the interest
of communal amity, as a one time exception, the Muslim community is willing to make the offer, as
a moral gesture, in accordance with the Shariat.”
The Dutch scholar Paul Teunissen, declares that Syed Shahabuddin cannot possibly be a fanatic,
considering that “he has promised to demolish the Babri Masjid with his own hands if proof is
furnished that it was built on a temple”. After the demolition, several more Muslim leaders came
forward with proposals to abandon the claim to Ayodhya, notably Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and
Asghar Ali Engineer. This raised the hopes of a possible settlement with the Muslims, and the terms in
which such a settlement should be formulated.

RSS and Hardliners


Some RSS leaders repeatedly claimed that the Rama Janmabhoomi site should be left to the Hindus
out of respect for the “faith” of the Hindu masses in the tradition that Rama was born at that very
site. Prof. K.S. Lal has stated that: “In religion, it is a matter of faith and not of proof... So by faith
alone Christians embrace Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, by faith and faith alone Muslims believe
Muhammad to be the Prophet of Allah, and by faith and faith alone Hindus believe Ram-
Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya to be the birthplace of Lord Rama.”
Shortly after taking office as RSS Sarsanghchalak, K.S. Sudarshan gave a speech in which he developed
an idea which had already been popular for long among soft-line RSS ideologues: Indian Muslims
should follow the example of their Indonesian co-religionists. These, he said, are Muslims who tell
the Ramayana to their children and who don‟t mind a little Hindu symbolism in the background,
particularly Ganesha and the Garuda bird. If only the Indian Muslims could be like that, Sudarshan
mused.
However, hardline Hindus opposed it. They stated that struggle of the Hindu society is not primarily
with the Muslim community. The most important opponents of Hindu society today are not the Islamic
communal leaders, but the interiorized colonial rulers of India, the alternated English-educated and
mosty Left-leaning elite that noisily advertises its secularism. It is these people who impose anti-
Hindu policies on Hindu society, and who keep Hinduism down and prevent it from proudly raising
its head after a thousand years of oppression. The worst torment for Hindu society today is not the
arrogant and often violent agitation from certain minority groups, nor the handful of privileges which
the non-Hindu communities are getting. The worst problem is this mental slavery, this sense of
inferiority which Leftist intellectuals, through their power positions in education and the media, and
their direct influence on the public and political arena, keep on inflicting on the Hindu mind.
The Hindu hardliners feel that one of the first tasks in the awakening of Hindu society is to scrutinize
and expose the Nehruvian establishment, it its political and in, more fundamentally, its intellectual
dimensions. When in the fifties people like Ram Swarup and Sita Ram Goel were waging an intellectual
struggle against Communism, they were up against a dense fog of widespread fascination with this
intrusive ideology.

Faith and History


Believing without Eye Witnesses
It was not by faith alone that we believe Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo. Though, there are no
eye-witnesses, and even if there were, we could not be sure that they weren’t lying. It is, in a sense,
an act of faith (underlying all reliance on man-made historical evidence) to assume that the wealth of
documentary material mentioning Napoleon and directly or indirectly confirming the traditional
belief that he was defeated at Waterloo. The scholarly discipline of historical method has developed
ways of discerning trustworthy from untrustworthy sources. The traditional claims of Napoleon’s
defeat at Waterloo are true, to a degree of probability bordering on certainty.
We have fewer sources about Rama than about Napoleon, but essentially the situation is the same:
while we have no direct evidence in the form of eye-witnesses, we do have documentary sources
giving particular information about his career. The tradition that Rama was born in Ayodhya, even
on that very site, is supported by a fairly consistent Epic and Puranic tradition, a type of source
spurned by 19th century Orientalists, and still ridiculed by westernized Indian scholars who are not up-
to-date with developments abroad, where it has been rehabilitated.
The core of the Greek story of Troy, the Biblical histories of the Israelite kings and the Chinese records
of the Shang dynasty were once dismissed by scholars as “obviously unhistorical”, but are now
accepted as remarkably accurate or at least as having a core of historical truth. It is only in India that
people are still ignoring their own ancient historical tradition, and keep on treating some haughtily
prejudiced 19th-century speculations as Gospel truth. By Puranic chronology, Rama lived in a pre-
Harappan age which has left few durable buildings, so chances are slim that anything about him could
ever be archaeologically verified or falsified. Unlike the fictional traditions conferring sanctity on the
Muslim and Christian pilgrimage sites in Mecca, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the historicity of the
Ayodhya tradition remains an un-disproven possibility.
About demand for eye-witness accounts, Arun Shourie has remarked: “Today a contemporary account
is being demanded in the case of the Babri Masjid. Are those who make this demand prepared to
accept this as the criterion - that if a contemporary account exists of the destruction of a temple for
constructing a mosque, the case is made?” Shourie goes on to quote from Aurangzeb's court
chronicles: “News came to Court that in accordance with the Emperor‟s command his officers had
demolished the temple of Vishvanath at Benares (2/9/1669)… In this month of Ramzan, the
religious-minded Emperor ordered the demolition of the temple at Mathura… In a short time by the
great exertions of his officers the destruction of this strong centre of infidelity was accomplished...
A grand mosque was built on its site... (January 1670)”.
Aurangzeb did not just build an “isolated” mosque on “a destroyed temple”. He ordered all temples
destroyed, among them the Kashi Vishvanath, one of the most sacred places of Hinduism. Till today,
the old Kashi Vishvanath temple wall is visible as a part of the walls of the Gyanvapi mosque. All other
Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them; among
them are Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura and the rebuilt Somnath temple on the coast of Gujarat.
The number of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb is counted in 4, if not in 5 figures.
The Role of “Urban Elites” and “Secularists”
JNU historian Romila Thapar, a leading militant of the Babri Masjid cause, has stated that “the real
question” is not whether a mosque had forcibly replaced a temple, but whether Rama had lived at
that site in the first place. This strategic retreat from a question on which hard proof is readily
available, and where she knows her side has lost the battle, to a question buried in the deep past
which is probably beyond verification. The VHP evidence contains a large number of quotes from
ancient literature to prove that the Rama cult is not a recent development, and that the status of
Ayodhya as a sacred city has been uninterrupted since at least 2000 years.
The fact that a community considers a site sacred in the present is sufficient reason for respecting it
as such, regardless of history. The Israeli government is protecting Christian access to the places where
Christians claim that Jesus was born, crucified and buried. This correct policy is not altered just
because modem research has shown these claims to be unfounded. Two of these sites originally had
Pagan temples on them, which the Church destroyed. The Church’s claim on the supposed site of
Jesus’ crucifixion was based on a dream in which Jesus himself revealed the location to the Emperor
Constantine’s Christian mother.
One imagines the scornful secularist reaction if the Vishva Hindu Parishad had based its Ayodhya
claims on a dream, yet, the numerous Christians in India’s secularist coalition have not made any plans
to relinquish the Church’s dream-based claims on the pilgrimage sites in Palestine. Similarly, the
Islamic claims on the Kaaba in Mecca and on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem are completely
unhistorical and are based on transparent ad hoc myths. Prophet Mohammed abandoned his fad of
imitating Jewish tradition, including the choice of Jerusalem as the direction of prayer, when the Jews
proved to be unimpressed with his claims to prophethood. Therefore, he stole Abraham, the
presumed founder of the monotheistic tradition which he had adopted, from the Jews, and declared
that the Arabs were Abraham’s true heirs through Ishmael. The logic of this mythical construction
forced him to claim that the Arab national sanctuary at Mecca had been built by Abraham. The fact
that it had been in use as a temple of Hubal and other Arab Gods and Goddesses since time
immemorial, was explained away by the totally unhistorical speculation that the idolaters had at one
time usurped the temple, which originally belonged to Abraham and his religion.
In reality, no pre-Islamic Arab text or inscription mentions Abraham, his religion, or his son Ishmael.
Conversely, the Bible, the only authentic source on Abraham, never makes him go anywhere near
Mecca, nor does it make him build the Kaaba. These two inconvenient facts are explained away by
means of a conspiracy theory: the Jews censored their own Scripture and destroyed the existing
references to the future prophet Mohammed, and the Pagan Arabs must have done likewise with their
inscriptions and oral tradition. The truth of the matter is that Mohammed stole the Kaaba from its
rightful owners, who had never practised any Abrahamic or Islamic worship there. Yet, because the
Islamic use of the Kaaba is now a long-standing ritual convention, it is respected as such without
any question.
The Islamic claim to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is even more fraudulent. Prophet Mohammed
used it as a landing platform on his night journey through heaven on a winged horse. This claim is hard
to be classified as historical. Will the Muslims relinquish their claim to the Temple Mount so as to be
morally in a position to demand a similar abandonment of “mythical” claims from the Hindus?