Babri Masjid Issue

Now Buddhists claim Ayodhya site

Lucknow: A third contestant, the Buddhists, have now entered into the fray over the right on Ramjanambhumi/Babri Masjid site. This has come through a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed at the Supreme Court, on Jan 7, by Udit Raj, the Chairman of Buddha Education Foundation and All India Confederation of SC/STs Organisations, against the Sep 30, 2010 order of the three judges bench at the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court in which it was decreed that two-thirds of the site of the Babri Masjid be given to the Hindu side and one third be given to the Muslim side. Both the sides have already gone to the SC against the order.

This verdict has come on the premise that Lord Rama was born, some 9,00,000 years ago exactly on the same place, where Babri Masjid had stood since 1528, and that the place beneath Babri Masjid, by virtue of Hindu Personal Law, had become a deity unto itself. A deity, as per Hindu Personal Law, can never be occupied or acquired and would also never lose its right to be dispossessed. So, the Muslim side, which has had an adverse possession of the site for over four centuries, can only be discounted! So much so for the small précis of the Sep 30, 2010 order.

Buddhists have also made such steps in the past too. It was around 1994, after the demolition of Babri Masjid by Hindu terrorists on Dec 6, 1992, when the Bhartiya Buddha Darshan Society UP, had moved an application before the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, claiming that Saket was the first and original site of Buddhist worship. This had come on the pretext that Saket was the resting place of Buddha for 16 years. Savita Ambedkar, the widow of BR Ambedkar, later joined the chorus.

Udit Raj has staked claim that before the construction of Babri Masjid the site was actually a Buddhist Vihara-monastery. He has put forward the Buddhist case saying that the Manuvadi Hindus and the Muslim invaders were the same as far as Buddhists are concerned. 

He has put forward that the Sep 30, 2010 order has held that Kasauti pillars found after the excavation of the Babri Masjid site by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in 2003 were starkly in resemblance to Buddhist structures and there is a great possibility that Babri Masjid was actually built on the ruins of an ancient Buddhist structure and that some of its material was actually used in the construction of the Babri Masjid.

The ASI report has come as a shot in the arm to both the Hindus as well as the Buddhists as now everything resurrected from the underground seems to have actually gained in size! Hindus claim that as per ASI findings the pillar bases, found below the Babri Masjid, are indicative of a huge structure which is distinctively similar to the features of the temples of North India. Udit Raj contests this claim by saying that North Indian temples are not necessarily Hindu temples and they can also be the Buddhist monasteries.

There is yet not any proof from any contemporary, eye-witness or a near contemporary historical source which proves that Babri Masjid was built after the demolition of any temple. The controversy actually started only after Muslims had lost their power, in 1856, and accordingly after the British takeover of the region, there was a theory deliberately perpetuated, through British gazetteers that a temple was demolished and a mosque was built on the site. This became a festering wound for the coming generations.

With this latest Buddhist angle added to the imbroglio, the tide seems to have turned for a more interesting turn. What has, however, come as a surprise is Udit Raj’s going on record to say that Buddhists were forced to make the claim owing to the clamour of the Hindu and Muslim sides-with their set of claims. If the sides had abided by the Sep 30, 2010 judgement there was to be no such move from the Buddhists. The whole Buddhist history was supposedly forsaken at the altar at a partisan judgement of Sep 30 in which fiction and faith were given precedence over evidence and law. How could Buddhists conceive such a situation that Muslims would have abided by the heavily biased judgement?

Udit Raj has also put forward that Buddhists, as the real claimants of the Babri Masjid site, can still forsake their rightful claim, in the SC, by withdrawing their petition, provided if Hindu and Muslim sides forge a compromise! If not, they would continue to peddle their claim.

Meanwhile, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex Muslim body in the country responsible for looking after the Babri Masjid cases, in a meeting of its newly formed 10-member committee under Abdur Raheem Qureshi, on Jan 9, in Delhi, has demanded that the government should order a day-to-day hearing of the Babri Masjid demolition case, being tried at Lucknow and Rae Bareli Court, as there is an incessant delay into getting the culprits of the Babri Masjid demolition being brought to book.

A UPA government, under Congress, which has as yet to do anything as a follow-up of Liberhan Commission report, which came after 17 years of investigation, and has refused to file an FIR to include the conspiracy charge against LK Advani for his role in the Babri Masjid demolition, is perhaps, unlikely to budge on this demand too.