Analysis

Babri Masjid vs Taj Mahal

Original_mg-babri-taj

Babri Masjid (BM): I came into existence when perhaps on the order of Mughal Emperor Babur, Mir Baqi completed construction in the year 1528. Babur, who established Mughal Empire in India after defeating Ibrahim Lodhi, was very considerate to the religious sentiment of his subjects. He advised his son Humayun to respect the prevailing customs, like taking care to avoid cow slaughter as it will hurt the sentiments of Hindus.

 

Taj Mahal (TM): I am a symbol of extreme love of an Emperor for his queen who bore him a number of sons. Isa Effendi took great care to translate this exemplary love between man and woman into marble. Among the progeny of Babur, my mentor Shah Jahan was the one who richly decorated India with architectural marvels culminating in the ultimate in beauty and form i.e. myself. It took 17(22) years for my completion in the year 1648.

 

BM: People came to worship Almighty and sing His praise inside my premises. I was a source of spiritual enhancement and my visitor got purged of all vices by bowing to the Creator five times a day (‘Namaz’). Everyone had a great respect for me as an important historical religious place.

 

TM: A huge labour force of 20,000 workers led by Muhammad Hanif, the head of the masons, was employed in my construction and it cost the Mughal exchequer 32 million rupees. Poet Sir Edwin Arnold described me as, “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones.” Though an Indian poet thought of me as “An Emperor by building the beautiful Taj Mahal has made fun of the love of poor people like us”.

 

BM: Conspiracy to destroy me was hatched in the year 1949 when idols were surreptitiously planted inside my premises in the night of 22-23 December. This was to stop the ‘Namaz’ being offered. The district administration of Faizabad got the matter registered under IPC 145(Cr.) but I was acquired by the administration and handed over to a receiver on 29th December. Later on 16th January 1950 a civil suit requesting permission to worship planted idols was filed.

 

TM: Originally, the land where I stand belonged to the Kachhwahas of Ajmer (Rajasthan). The land was acquired from them in lieu of four havelis as is testified by a court historian, Abdul Hamid Lahauri, in his work titled the Badshah-Namah and the firmans (royal decrees). A historian has claimed that a grand Shiva Temple stood at my site but his rhetoric was not given much importance.

 

BM: In February 1986, District Judge of Faizabad allowed worship of idols below my central dome. A strong propaganda of my site being the birth place of a revered Hindu mythological figure ‘Ramchandra ji’ was started and panderers for their own political aggrandizement ignited the passion of innocent Hindu masses. This whipped up frenzy resulted in my deliberate demolition watched by the whole world. 6 December 1992 was the day when I was razed to the ground. Sane minds termed it as not simply the demolition of a built up religious structure but the demolition of our secular ethos. Narrow minded cultural nationalism shred to pieces our ‘Unity in diversity’ and reaped rich political dividends through divisive politics. Derogatory terms like ‘Babar Ki Aulad’ were used for those who used to worship Almighty in my precincts.

 

TM: People from all over the world come to admire my pristine beauty and flawless form. Though I was built by ‘Babar ki Aulad’ (progeny of Babur) but I was not only protected, great care was taken to preserve my structure and beautiful façade. In 1983, I became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though I just have two graves under the marble canopy but because of my material importance as a great revenue earning source my mentor, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is revered. Strangely, he is the one who is ‘Babur ki Aulad’

 

BM: 30th September 2010 was the saddest day for me as on this day occurred my spiritual death through a court decree. Physically I was gone on 6 December 1992 but at least I had the hope that vandalism, unruly behaviour, lies and deceit will not go unpunished.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 12

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