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Much has been said about the dispute on both sides and the Honourable High Court is seized of the matter. So why write an article on it now?
Firstly, because our pseudo-secular intellectuals and their fellow-travellers in the media work 24/7 to scuttle any issue that is likely to favour the Hindus. The longer they have been in the game / the more respected they are - the bigger are their lies. They have perfected their craft to such finesse that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction in their writing, reason in enough for us to be wary.
An expert in this "genre" of writing is Vir Sanghvi. For e.g. see his "Land of Ram is no longer at war with itself" (The New Sunday Express, September 26, 2010 accessible from http://bit.ly/cQ4dtd). Sanghvi glibly says "I have no idea what the rights and wrongs of this dispute are. I know that many archaeologists deny that there ever was a temple at the site." The wily Vir might have balanced this loaded statement in his next sentence but people in the business of communications understand the "theory of primacy".
Contrast it with the conclusive evidence of the ASI report submitted to the Honourable High Court - in 2003. Does Sanghvi reside in another planet or doesn"t he read newspapers? A reader naïve of the antecedents of the problem is likely to be taken in by Sanghvi"s sweet reasoning.
Secondly, as time passes by, newer and more disingenuous reasoning is introduced into the debate. One such argument is "India has moved on!" Really, why then shouldn"t the disputed site be handed over to the "communalist" Hindus and let them construct their temple there. No Sir, India has "moved on" only to the extent for the Hindus to be harangued on the nobility of being large-hearted!
Also newspapers which do not have the time of the day for proponents of the pro-temple arguments allot tons of newsprint to purveyors of specious anti-temple arguments. One such who found favour with TNIE in the recent past is Omar Kalidi. This Hyderabad-born, MIT-based writer"s claim to fame is his boasted ability to prevail upon the American administration to deny Narendra Modi a VISA to visit that country.
In his "Disrespect for religion in demolition" (TNIE, September 21, 2010 accessible from http://bit.ly/dmnXKS), firstly he proffers the familiar argument put forth by commie historians that Indian kings destroyed each others" temples.
He disingenuously slips in two arguments to explain away the familiar complaint about mosques being built on destroyed temples and these being built with temple debris: Firstly as Muslims commissioned Indian artisans who were unfamiliar with Islamic art, so "they carved, painted or inscribed artistic elements they knew best regardless of who the patron was." So the next time you contract the construction of a building allow the contractor to build it according to his whims and fancies!
And sometimes "Muslim rulers adapted building material of abandoned temples for use in Muslim monuments - all of which suggests a readiness to tap local building talent and materials rather than disrespect for ancient Indian building tradition." Ah! What large-heartedness, what generosity and respect for "Indian traditions"!
Thirdly, a new argument that is interpolated into the debate by self-styled historians with vested interests needs closer examination. The argument seems to be more diabolic than cunning as it is introduced into the debate on the eve of the High Court judgement and could not but be intended to pre-empt it. This is Mukul Kesavan"s argument that "The Ram Mandir campaign threatens the republican principle" elaborated first in his article in "The Telegraph" (FACTS ON THE GROUND, September 23, 2010 accessible from http://bit.ly/cQXqDL) and in his intervention on the same subject in an NDTV debate. NDTV"s known political proclivities and the fact that Kesavan is employed by the Jamia Milia University should have given the game away, but the argument deserves strong rebuttal.
Anticipation of the judgement by the Allahbad High Court once again brought to the fore the centuries-old Rama Janma Bhumi dispute. It is the Janmasthan Masjid, as long as one remembers, that is in dispute. Only in recent years the "secular" historians and their fellow-travellers in the media began referring to it as the "Babri Masjid" or more charitably the "Rama Janma Bhumi - Babri Masjid". The dispute is not just about a mere title of the land on which it was constructed. It is in essence about the soul of India that is Bharat!
There is no need to debate about the antiquity of the dispute. In point of fact it originated in 1528 the moment the temple in Ayodhya was destroyed and a mosque constructed on the site, using its debris as building materials. It is the story of the conquerors and the plight of the conquered throughout history - the conquerors seeking to hoist a monument for their victory and the vanquished keening in grief over their loss. Unfortunately in the case of Indians - Hindus, Buddhists or Jains it was the loss of their cultural ethos, their identity, their esteem. It is the story of - according to some historians - 30,000 temples big and small.
"India"s history, for the secular establishment, begins in the tenth century AD after Mohd. Ghaznavi embarked on his "pilgrimage". According to celebrated leftist historians his repeated "visits" to Hindu temples had nothing to do with religion. Mohd. Ghaznavi merely wanted to set right social imbalances because temples in those days were centres of social activity. His second laudable objective was to take away wealth that was hoarded there - and not used for the welfare of the masses."
Having acknowledged the work of "secular" historians, it would be inappropriate to ignore their laudable fellow-travellers:
"While the closet, crypto, pseudo and other species of the genus commie and their fellow-travellers have been contributing their mite to re-writing India"s history for over fifty years ."
For the "secular" historians, glorifying India"s past in any way would be the ultimate sin a writer or historian could commit. It attracts instant condemnation, punishable by ostracism from the "club". For these "thought police" any view contrary to theirs amounts to "saffronizing":
".writing of India"s past, which is contrary to the commie parivar"s worldview, is Saffronising history."
It is an established fact that a large number of temples were indeed destroyed and mosques built on their sites. According to Arun Shourie (1999, p. 107-118), Sitaram Goel meticulously documented voluminous extracts from historians of the period narrating instances of Hindu temples destroyed by the invaders. His "Hindu Temples, What Happened to Them, The Islamic Evidence, Volume II" (1993. Voice of India, Delhi) chronicles the "fate" of temples over a period of eleven hundred years of Muslim rule. The invaders not only destroyed the temples and constructed mosques on the sites, but used the desecrated and disfigured idols from the temples as stepping stones for the mosques, with the express intent that every true believer entering the mosques should step on them and thus insult the idols of the infidel.
Specious explanations of "secular" historians notwithstanding, the destruction of all these temples was not for "secular" reasons as was made out to be but intensely religious. The explanations of "secular" historians for the destruction of temples vary from the bizarre to the comic: they were destroyed as they were repositories of wealth (they could have looted the wealth and left the temples alone!); the religion of the rulers ordained that no religion other than the rulers" should be permitted (this is more like it!) and they were social meeting places where enemies of the state could conspire against the ruler (was it possible for the conquered and enfeebled Hindus to plot against the rulers and couldn"t such plots have been more possibly hatched in mosques?).
There are many references that point out that the mosque at Ayodhya was indeed built on the ruins of the existing Rama Janma Bhumi temple. For example, the 1986 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica has this to say: "Sri Rama"s birthplace is marked by a mosque, erected by the Mughal emperor Babar in 1528 on the site of an earlier temple".
Babar"s own voluminous memoirs, "The Baburnama" gives us an insight into the mind and activities of the Moghul / Turkish conqueror. Originally written in Chaghatay (a dialect of Turkish), two English translations of the book are available. The first one was by Annette Beveridge and published between 1912 & 1921. The second and more authoritative version, "The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor" was translated, edited and annotated by Wheeler M. Thacktson and published by the Oxford University Press in 1996.
Babar"s memoirs could have settled the matter of the RJB-BM dispute once and for all and made light of the courts" task but for a very interesting and curious fact: the part of the Memoirs describing Babur"s stay at Ayodhya - from April to September of 1528 - precisely, the period during which the temple was demolished and the mosque built has been missing from all extant copies of the Baburnama!
N. S. Rajaram, who reviewed Thackston"s translation for Ayodhya.com, says this of the emperor:
"He pursued to the limit the concept of Jihad - a total war for the annihilation of his adversaries as prescribed by Islam of which he was a practitioner. He was a product of his age and his environment."
To silence those secular historians who still insist on Babar being a humane, "secular" conqueror, Rajaram quotes him:
"Chanderi had been in the daru"l-harb [Hindu rule] for some years and held by Sanga"s highest-ranking officer Meidini Rao, with four or five thousand infidels, but in 934 [1527-28], through the grace of God, I took it by force within a ghari or two, massacred the infidels, and brought it into the bosom of Islam ..." (p. 331)
"For the sake of Islam I became a wanderer; I battled infidels and Hindus."
"I determined to become a martyr. Thank God I became a holy warrior." (p. 387)
"Hindustan, is a place of little charm. ... The one nice aspect of Hindustan is it is a large country with lots of gold and money."
IS A TEMPLE AT AYODHYA AGAINST REPUBLICAN IDEAL?
The issue of literary and archaeological evidence of the destruction of the temple and construction of the mosque on its ruins has been dealt with extensively by others.
Firstly, geo-physical Investigations using "Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Technique" and "Electrical Resistivity Survey" by Tojo-Vikas International had indicated the existence of a pre-existing temple at the disputed site.
Secondly, the 2003 report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) based on a survey it conducted on the orders of the Allahbad High Court has been clinching enough.
How then is the renovation of the destroyed Bhagavan Sri Ram temple at Ayodhya fervently believed to be His birth place by about a billion Indians, against the republican ideal of India? The apparent argument is it amounts to majoritarianism subsuming minority interests. Before we examine the veracity of this argument let us examine whether the concept of "minority" is applicable in the case of Indian Muslims:
"Muslims are not a minority in India in the ordinary sense of the term. They constitute 50 millions of the total population of India. India is the third largest Muslim State in the world. Muslims are sons of the soil, they are Indian by race and they enjoy all the rights of citizenship. Every office is open to them, and in fact many of them hold the highest offices in the land. Our civilization is a synthesis of many diverse cultures and the Muslim contribution is one of the most significant. Ours is a secular State and an egalitarian society, where everyone enjoys equal opportunities and the equal protection of the law. We have no official religion. Hindus, Muslims Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and others have full freedom of worship, and fundamental rights under the constitution are guaranteed to every citizen. We have no first-class and second-class citizenship. Before the law every one is equal."
Can the Constitutional status of Indian Muslims be better summarised? These are not the words of a BJP politician trying to woo Muslim voters or a member of the Sangh Parivar speaking about the Constitutional status of Indian Muslims. This is the opening part of the speech delivered by Mahommedali Currim Chagla (1978. p. 394), speaking in the UN Security Council debate on Kashmir, on February 5. 1964. Chagla was Jurist, Educationist and Diplomat and served as a Minister in the Union Cabinet, first as Education Minister and then as Foreign Minister.
The population of Muslims in 2010 (@ 12 - 14% of 1.2 billions) is about 3 times the figure quoted by Chagla in 1964. The Constitutional status Muslims enjoy as citizens of India is certainly better than that of "minorities" in western democracies. The comparison would be iniquitous if we compare the Muslim theocracies or even the "people"s democracies", the darlings of our commie friends. Look at the status of Muslims in East Turkistan the Chinese renamed as Xinjiang or the status of Tibetans in Chana.
We are yet to see a member of a minority heading the government in many democracies such Britain, France, Germany or Italy, Australia or New Zeland, or for that matter, as far as this writer could notice, in the so called "peoples democracies".
By the by it took America 200 years to elect an African-American as the Head of State. India had four in its first fifty years as a democracy, not including the current Sikh Prime Minister and Catholic Chairperson of the UPA. And India was only the second democracy in the world to have a woman Head of government.
Therefore the argument that renovating the destroyed Ram Madir at His birth place somehow is against the republican ideal sounds ominous. It appears to be a throwback to the pre-partition rhetoric of the Muslim League, the divisive consequences of which the country suffered only sixty-years back.
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References & Notes:
REFERENCES / FURTHER READING:
Chagla, M. C. 1978. Roses in December. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Bombay.
Elst, Koenraad. 2003. Ayodhya the finale - science versus secularism in the excavation debate. Voice of India. NewDelhi
Shourie, Arun. 1999. Eminent Historians - Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud. Harper Collins. New Delhi.