Babri Masjid Issue

Supreme Court is the Last Recourse of Muslims on Babri Masjid

Lucknow: The Supreme Court which, on March 8, finally ordered a mediation on the Ramjanambhumi/Babri Masjid case, with Sri Sri Ravi Shanker of Art of Living as one of the three persons nominated along with retired SC Justice Khalifullah and eminent lawyer Sriram Panchu as members. This mediation would be in ‘utmost confidentiality’, until its report is submitted by August 15, 2019. This process had started on March 14.  This SC order, quite understandably triggered a debate in The Indian Express, a newspaper famous for its objective-journalism, as Bhanu Pratap Mehta (IE, March 11), Indira Jaisingh (IE, March 11), Arun Anand (IE, March 13) and Romila Thapur (IE, March 20), found lapses over the credibility of some members.

However, my focus in on the pantomime initiative taken by Rajmohan Gandhi, through his two articles (IE, February 6 and 16, 2019) in which he suggested that Muslims should reconcile (surrender) Babri Masjid as then the Central and UP governments would prevent Kashi and Mathura sites from the fate of Babri on December 6, 1992. Ironically, he foresaw the SC direction a month earlier!

“Qais tasveer ke parde mein bhi ‘uriyaan nikla” (Qais was driven by carnal desire even in the shadow of his image) said Ghalib, is how Rajmohan Gandhi’s two articles can be surmised. How come this was possible when he, who has an ‘understanding (of) the Muslim mind’,  said what once Kamyakoti Shankaracharya Jayender Saraswati had said in 2003 and what Sri Sri Ravishanker too has been saying since 2003.  His ill-advise that Muslims should hand over the claim of Babri Masjid to the RSS and VHP activists without ascertaining from the books of history and religion as to whether the land in question (Babri Masjid site) had ever had any structure of Ram Mandir or any other Mandir beneath it?  Whereas, negative evidence of the books of history and religion establishes beyond doubt that neither any temple was demolished by Mir Baqi in 1528, nor the mosque was constructed by using the pillars of any existing structure.

Book of contemporary history is the Babarnama in which there are several admissions attributed to Emperor Babar that he had mutilated idols of different temples but nowhere there is any mention of the demolition of any temple at Ayodhya. The books of near-contemporary periods of Akbar and Jahangir namely Akbarnama/Ain-e- Akbari and Jahangirnama etc also do not make any reference of any such demolition of any temple and construction of mosque at the site of any such demolished temple. These books even do not contain reference to any alleged belief (Aastha) of Hindus about the existence of the place of birth of Lord Rama at the site whereas the description of Ayodhya and Lord Rama is very much there in Ain-e-Akbari/ Akbarnama.

Even the entire literature of Goswami Tulsidas, including Ramcharitramanas, does not have a single couplet about the alleged incident of the demolition of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya and construction of the Babri Masjid on its site. Tulsidas has not even indicated anywhere in his books, including Ramcharitramanas, that the site of Babri Masjid was the place of birth of Lord Rama as per Hindu belief/Aastha, while he has written substantial part of Ramcharitramanas sitting in Ayodhya during the regime of Akbar after the construction of Babri Masjid there.

The travellers accounts of 1608 and 1773 published in the books of William Foster and Tieffenthaler, do not have any specific mention about the Babri Masjid site being the birth place of Lord Rama or any belief/Aastha of the Hindus of that period about the demolition of any alleged Ram Temple or construction of Babri Masjid on its site. Even from the public (official) documents of 1859 onwards, there is no mention about the building of Babri Masjid being the birth place of Lord Rama or its use by the Hindus as Ramjanambhumi. It was only in the 1885 that Hindus claimed that a platform of 17x21 feet  situated in the outer courtyard of Babri Masjid as the place of birth of Lord Rama and had sought permission of the court to build a temple on on the said platform/Chabutra. Even the suit filed by the Mahant of Nirmohi Akhara, which was the representative body of Hindus of that time, was dismissed by the Sub-Judge, Faizabad and thereafter an appeal filed by Mahant of Janamsthan was also dismissed by the District Judge, Faizabad and the second appeal by the said Mahant of Janamsthan was also later dismissed by the Judicial Commissioner (High Court) of Avadh in 1886.

Even in 1941 the Nirmohi Akhara had admitted that the said three-domed structure and the inner courtyard of the mosque as the “Babri Masjid,” in the suit filed before the Civil Judge, Faizabad and even in 1950 and 1951 the state of UP as well as the District Magistrate of Faizabad and Superintendant of Faizabad had admitted in their written-statements filed in the Regular Suit No. 2/1950 and Regular Suit No./1950, that the building in dispute had always remained a mosque and in which namaz was being performed by Muslims and in which no temple had ever existed and that Hindus never worshipped in the same and it was only in the night of Dec. 22/23, 1949 that idols were placed wrongly and stealthily below the central dome of the said mosque!  

In view of the aforesaid historical/religious and documentary evidences where is the question of any Aastha of Hindus being established and proved regarding the site of Babri Masjid being the place of worship of Lord Rama?  When, interestingly, as per Hindu jurisprudence, an Aastha having cropped up in a particular year, although even it may be a millennium old, will be considered as the Aastha from the year in which it was promulgated.

Regarding the ASI report of 2003, it may be mentioned that no artifacts were found in the layers of the Mughal period or prior thereto showing existence of any temple much less the so-called temple of Ramjanambhumi either of the period of Vikramaditya (1 BC) or any other subsequent period.  Its reference to ‘divine-couple’ was found from the debris and not from any regular layer and as such no inference could be drawn even by the ASI about the existence or demolition of any Ramjanambhumi Temple in 1528. The theory of ‘pillar-base’ is absolutely bogus and has been fully demolished by the objections filed by the Muslim parties as the said so-called ‘pillar-bases’ were neither equi-distanced and nor could form the basis of any structure there-on.

Coming to the debate in The Indian Express, Arun Anand has offered a calibrated defence for Sri Sri saying that he never ‘intimidated institutions’ and had been in the fray for ‘mediation’ before the SC order. Anand should know that Sri Sri efforts had firstly got actualised in 2003 (when NDA was in power) and which had then served for a naught. Anand has also very artfully put that Allahabad HC had decided where Lord Ram was born and whether a temple existed at Babri Masjid site, on Sept 30, 2010, but skipped informing that the said ‘order’ has been ’stayed’ by the SC on May 11, 2011. Anand in his piece has referred to the books by William Foster and Tieffenthaler, and as I have referred earlier to these books, there is no categoric reference therein about the Babri Masjid site being the birthplace of Lord Rama or about any belief/Aastha of the Hindus of that period about the demolition of any alleged Ram Temple or construction of Babri Masjid on the site of the said temple.

Muslim’s thus, last resort is in Supreme Court to uphold the vestiges of the law of the land.

The writer has written extensively on Ayodhya issue, is a lawyer and a former UP State Information Commissioner.