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True devotees of Ram do not demolish mosques
By Lajpat Rai

What communal frenzy has made of man! To understand this you have to see Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia. All leaders of Hindutva are manufactured in the factory of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. After their production RSS sends them to its other departments such as Bharti Janata Party, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad etc. These readymade characters are like machine-made toys run by keys. Ready-made ideologies are stuffed in their minds after which these minds are locked lest some new and rational ideas should creep in their minds. After locking, keys are deposited with RSS central offices at Nagpur. People like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishn Advani, Ashok Singhal, Praveen Togadia etc are all of the same mould. Their dresses can be different, their behavior and manners may be different but there is no difference in their mentality. Falsehood and ignorance are their distinctive marks.

You might probably be aware that Ashok Singhal had, in one of his speeches, described Jenghiz Khan as the symbol of Islamic barbarism whereas he was not a Muslim. He belonged to a religion considered to be one of the most peace-loving religions of the world i.e. Buddhism. 

But the foundation of the structure of communalism is curved or crooked. As the building goes up and up, it becomes more and more crooked. You might have seen Ashok Singhal and Togadia on TV both of whom appear to be patients of mental constipation. The way in which Togadiaji was speaking very enthusiastically and with emotion in Star TV’s ‘Big fight’ programme about Ayodhya, it appeared to me as if very soon he will smash TV and break into my drawing room and start indulging in disruptive activities.

Whatever he was speaking about Ayodhya, Ram Mandir and Babri Masjid was nothing but prattles of an ignorant person. What is after all the reality of Ayodhya? I am happy and also proud of the fact that I am exposing false claims of Hindutva champions and to face Hindu communalism.

Whatever I am writing currently is based on Sushil Shrivastava’s book ‘The Disputed Mosque’ and Ram Sharan Sharma’s book ‘Saampradaayik Itihaas aur Ram ki Ayodhya’ (Communal History and Ram’s Ayodhya). The third book ‘Saampradaayikta ke Sarot’ (Roots or Origin of Communalism) is complied by Akshai Kumari Dubey in which all essays, except one, are written by Hindus.

Before the arrival of Englishmen, there was no dispute between Hindus and Muslims on the questions of Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi. The origin of this dispute first started between 1853-55. For the first time the ‘Bairaagees’ (a sect of Hindus) claimed that Shri Ram was born at the spot where Babri Masjid stood. Till that time this mosque was called Jama Masjid or Sita Rasoi Masjid. After this dispute only this mosque started being called as Babri Masjid.

The basis of all this whole dispute is not historical facts but the belief that Shri Ram was born at that very place where Babri Masjid stood and that there was a temple which was demolished and Babri Masjid built in its place. The same arguement is also being advanced by VHP people that there is no proof whether Shri Ram Janmabhoomi was at this spot or not but in matters of religion, proof is not important, but people’s faith or belief is important for which no proof is required. Therefore we shall build the temple at the same spot where Babri Masjid stood because we believe that Ram was born there.
If you happen to go to Ayodhya, the Pandas there will tell you at least six places where Ram was born. Since religion has become a business now, the Pandas there will tell you many interesting and funny things and will play with your religious ignorance such as Ram used to sit here, sleep there, and stand here etc etc and finally ask for ‘daan’ or charity from you. All the big temples and ‘akharas’ there were built on lands given to their ancestors by big landlords and Muslim kings as feudal estates because of which the ‘Mahants’ and ‘saints’ are earning fortunes. 

Now you please do not ask whether it is the same Ayodhya (because there is no room for questions in matters of faiths and beliefs) where Ram was born? According to one belief, Ayodhya was in Haryana, according to another, it was in Punjab, still another belief says it was in Afghanistan. According to yet another belief, Ram was not born in the present Ayodhya, rather he died here. At a short distance from the present Ayodhya, there is ‘Swarg Dhaam’ on the bank of river Saryu and there is a common belief that by taking a bath at this place, man goes to Heaven and that Shri Ram came and lived here during his last days.

Another question that arises is: When Ram was born? Another question closely related to this question is whether Ram was a historical fact or merely a literary and imaginary figure. People who think that Ram was a historical reality believe that Ram was born around 2000 years ago from now. This belief is based on the presumption that there is a difference of 56 generations between Shri Ram and the Mahabharat war. In other words, Mahabharat war was fought 3000 years ago from now. That means that Shri Krishn was born 1000 years before Shri Ram.

First mention of Ayodhya is found in Atharva Ved (1000 to 800 years BC) though in the form of a city in making. But this city as mentioned in this Ved is on the bank of Ganga and not on the bank of Saryu. This city existed 2300 years ago and has no connection with the present Ayodhya.

In any case the present Ayodhya is mentioned in a book titled ‘Kritya Kalpatru’ in 1125 which describes holy places of Hindus. The holy places mentioned in this book include, inter alia, Kashi, Prayag, River Ganga, Gaya etc which are among the top holy places or pilgrimage centres. Ayodhya’s name is mentioned there but rather as an unimportant centre of pilgrimage and that too is not associated with Shri Ram, though in some ways it is associated with Vishnu.

Shri Togadia may probably be aware but there is no historical evidence to prove that the present Ayodhya was in any way associated with Shri Ram. Shri Ram’s literary creation was made by the great Sanskrit poet Valmiki. It is estimated that Balmiki’s Ramayan was written 2600 years ago in which originally there were 6000 ‘shlokas’ though later on people added more and more ‘shlokas’ from time to time which ultimately contained almost 24000 ‘shlokas’. Balmiki’s Ramayan was extremely popular and through this book the story of Ram found place in other languages of India.

But in course of long time many changes came to be incorporated in Ramayana and Ram’s stories in other languages. In one such Ramayan Sita has been described not his wife but his sister. In Balmiki’s Ramayan the prohibited meat i.e. cow’s meat, is also mentioned which was cooked for the guests in Vishwamitr’s ‘asharam’. In Balmiki’s Ramayan there is no mention of the incident when Shri Ram had eaten plums offered to him by a scheduled caste woman, though this incident is described in Tulsi Das’s Ramayan (or Ramcharitmanas) which is most popular. Tulsi Das’s Ramayan was written during the period of Moghuls.

I do not know whether Ashok Singhal, Praveen Togadia and other people of ‘Sangh Parivar’ associated with the Ram Mandir movement have at all read Sant Tulsi Das’s Ram Chacharitmanas’ (Ramayan) but the biggest and most important devotee of Ram in India, Tulsi Dasji has nowhere mentioned about any existence of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. As a matter of fact there was no tradition of ‘Ram Bhakti’ in ancient times. Origin of Ram Bhakti itself took place during the Moghul period. If ‘Babar’s general, Mir Baqi, would have demolished any Ram temple in Ayodhya, Tulsi Das must have mentioned this thing in his Ramayan.

Sant Tulsi Das has mentioned about temples in his Ramyan at two places. Firstly, the Girija or Parvati temple which was in Mithila and secondly, the Swayam Prabha temple which was situated at Mahinder Anami hills. He has also mentioned about many temples on the bank of present Ayodhya’s river Saryu but there is no mention of any Ram temple. He was not in favour of popularizing and projecting Ram as a god. Ram’s temples had definitely appeared in some places (in some cities of Madhya Pradesh) of India in the twelfth century but the construction of Ram Mandirs had not yet started in UP and specially in Ayodhya till the end of seventeenth century. The oldest Ram temple in Ayodhya is the ‘Kanak Bhawan’ or ‘Kanak Mandap’ of mid-eighteenth century. Therefore there is no historical proof of demolishing any Ram temple and building of a mosque in its place. Babari Masjid was built in 1528.

Tulsi Das was a poet of the period which was under the influence of ‘Bhakti’ and ‘Sufi’ movement, and the objective of which was to eliminate religious fanaticism and to bring Hindus and Muslims nearer to each other. Ram’s devotee Tulsi Das had no enmity with mosque. Rather, in one of his ‘dohas’ (a genre of Hindi poetry) he has said: ‘Tulsi has nothing to do with the wealth and greed of this world. He fills his belly by begging here and there and at night sleeps in a mosque’. But our today’s Hindu devotees of Ram and champions of Hindutva are preparing a list of 3000 mosques and talking of demolishing them. True devotees of Ram, like Tulsi, do not demolish mosques. 
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