Ayodhya dispute

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The Ayodhya dispute is a political, historical and socio-religious debate in India, centred on a plot of land in the city of Ayodhya, located in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh. The main issues revolve around access to a site traditionally regarded among Hindus to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Rama, the history and location of the Babri Mosque at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque.

Quotes[edit]

Our party is for the building of the temple to Lord Ram, and we should, if possible, work towards an amicable settlement which, while upholding the principles of secularism, enables the construction of the temple to start, with the approval and support of all concerned. ... The key issue appears to be whether or not there was a temple erected to Lord Ram at the site where the Babri Masjid stands today. This question of historical fact would appear to hold the key to a resolution of the problem to the satisfaction of all reasonable, secular-minded persons of all communities. - Rajiv Gandhi
Ayodhya is as holy to Hindus as Mecca is to Muslims. Muslims should respect the sentiments of their millions of Hindu brethren and voluntarily hand over the structure for constructing the Rama temple. - K.K. Muhammad
While a temple was going up in Ayodhya, a communist temple was being demolished five thousand miles away in Europe. If this is not history, I do not know what is. - Jay Dubashi
What is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. ... Today, it seems to me that Indians are becoming alive to their history... Now, however, things seem to be changing. What is happening in India is a mighty creative process.... In Ayodhya the construction of a mosque on a spot regarded as sacred by the conquered population was meant as an insult. It was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Ram which was two or three thousand years old... There is a big, historical development going on in India. Wise men should understand it and ensure that it does not remain in the hands of fanatics. Rather they should use it for the intellectual transformation of India. - V.S. Naipaul
Evasion, concealment, have become a national habit. And they have terrible consequences... Those who proceed by such cynical calculations sow havoc for all of us, for Muslims, for Hindus, for all. Those who remain silent in the face of such cynicism, such calculations help them sow the havoc. Will we shed our evasions and concealments? Will we at last learn to speak and face the whole truth? - Arun Shourie
  • I say that the Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque. From 1000 A.D., every Hindu temple from Kathiawar to Bihar from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas, has been sacked and ruined. Not one temple was left standing all over northern India… Temples escaped destruction only where Muslim power did not gain access to them for reasons such as dense forests. Otherwise it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation, with any self-respect, will forgive this. They took over our women. And they imposed the Jaziya, the tax. Why should we forget and forgive all that? What happened in Ayodhya would not have happened, had the Muslims acknowledged this historical argument even once. Then we could have said : All right, let the past remain in the past and let us see how best we can solve this problem…
    • Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri , Sunday Times of India, August 8, 1993; in an interview to its Editor Dileep Padgaonkar [1]
  • There is no state today, certainly not in India, to protect Hindu interest in the international arena, to raise voice for the Hindus .... In December 1992, no less than 600 Hindu temples were destroyed in Bangladesh, thousands of Hindu homes were burnt down, hundreds of Hindu women were paraded naked on the streets of Bhola town, a number of Hindus were killed, Hindu shops were looted, Hindu deities were desecrated, Hindu girls were dishonoured. But the Government of India remained silent. In Pakistan, 300 temples were destroyed. In Lahore a Minister of Pakistan personally supervised the pulling down of a temple with the help of bulldozers, and several Hindus were murdered. But the Government of India remained silent. No matter how much tyranny, how much injustice is heaped on Hindus anywhere in the world, the State of India is not bothered - this is the essence of Secularism in India.
    • A. Chatterjee: Hindu nation, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 518-519
  • On the very same day the first brick of the Ram Shila foundation was being laid at Ayodhya, the Berliners were removing bricks from the Berlin Wall. While a temple was going up in Ayodhya, a communist temple was being demolished five thousand miles away in Europe. If this is not history, I do not know what is. (...) The post-Nehru era began at Ayodhya on November 9, and it will gather momentum in the years to come, just as the post-communist era in Europe and elsewhere.
    • Jay Dubashi, From Shilanyas to Berlin Wall in The Road to Ayodhya (also [2]), quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.302-3
  • The Muslims, in my opinion, should show magnanimity and [make] a noble gesture of gifting away the mosque.
    • Asghar Ali Engineer. Communalism and Communal Violence in India (Ajanta Publ., Delhi 1989), p.320. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • The British concoction hypothesis is not only untenable. It is so far off the mark, so totally out of tune with the known historical and cultural context, so totally unsuggested by any relevant document, that no unbiased historian would ever have come up with it. It warrants a suspicion against the pretended objectivity and scientific temper of the secularist participants in this debate... When you analyze and explicate all the implications of the secularist historians' version of the Babri Masjid story, you find that they in fact postulate a great many unusual entities. And they create them purely in the air.... This postulating of very improbable theoretical possibilities without any coherence is not really the scholarly defense of an alternative Ayodhya scenario, it is just a diversionary tactic made up to put the pro- Mandir people on the defensive. As the historian Sita Ram Goel has said, it is a typical strategy of unscrupled lawyers.... Of course, lawyers are paid by clients to try such un- truthful tactics, so we may perhaps forgive them. In the case of historians, or even for politicians claiming high ideals, this is unacceptable. ... As Lenin, Goebbels and other masters of lies knew, it is sufficient to repeat a big lie often enough, to make it pass as truth. So, the truly outstanding feature of the Leftists' and Muslim fanatics' campaign of distortion has been its shameless persistence. No matter what hard evidence they got confronted with, the Romila Thapars and R.S. Sharmas just kept on lambasting the Hindu side for distorting history and concocting evidence and for merely bluffing in the face of "incontrovertible evidence that no Ram temple ever stood on the site". While they had not given any such evidence nor replied to the pro-Mandir evidence ..., they kept up the offensive and absurdly accused the other side of not facing the evidence. The way the anti-Mandir falsehoods have been given wide currency in 1989-91 will make an interesting case study for future scholars. A classic in propaganda.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • The pogroms in Pakistan and Bangladesh after the demolition of the Babri Masjid left 50,000 Hindus homeless in Bangladesh and triggered another wave of refugees from both countries towards India. In Pakistan, 245 Hindu temples were demolished, in Bangladesh a similar number was attacked, and even in England some temples were set on fire by Muslim mobs.
    • Elst K. Negationism in India, (1992)
  • Without exaggeration, the BJP's Ayodhya campaign was the single biggest public relations disaster in world history.
    • Elst, Koenraad. (1997) BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence
  • The debate has not genuinely altered the old consensus, but it has been an interesting case-study in manipulation by unscrupled academics. How else should we call the practice of seemingly learned publications advertising themselves as "objective" studies of the controversy, but systematically concealing the arguments put forth by one of the parties? ... The VHP scholars have pointed out 4 cases of attempted fraud by their opponents (removing relevant old books from libraries, adding words on an old map). ... Future books on the affair will certainly include a chapter on "the Ayodhya scandal": the unscrupled use of academic and media power positions by the secularists to suppress relevant evidence, and the gullibility of foreign scholars relying on hearsay from Indian colleagues whose bona fides is open to question. (...) Future scholars of political and communications science will study the reporting on the Ayodhya affair as an absolute classic of brilliantly successful disinformation. ...
    • K. Elst : The Ayodhya Demolition: an Evaluation, in India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.
  • Future historians will include the no-temple argument of the 1990s as a remarkable case study in their surveys of academic fraud and politicized scholarship. With academic, institutional and media power, a new academic-journalistic consensus has been manufactured denying the well-established history of temple demolition by Islamic iconoclasm to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site; at least among people with prestige and influence but no firsthand knowledge of the issue. But the facts will remain the facts, and their ongoing suppression is bound to give way as new generations of scholars take a fresh look at the data. ... The debate has not genuinely altered the old consensus, but it has been an interesting case-study in manipulation by unscrupled academics. That, at least, seems to be a fair description of learned publications advertising themselves as “objective” studies of the controversy, but systematically concealing the arguments put forth by one of the parties. .... The aim of the pro-Babri Masjid historians was never to settle any historical questions. If it had been, then they would not have opposed the VHP’s request to organize systematic excavations at the site; nor would they have concealed the pro-temple evidence in their publications. Their aim was merely to distract public attention from the obvious and extremely simple solution of this controversy. The fact that this solution would be in favour of the Hindu claims was apparently unbearable to them because of their seething hatred of their ancestral religion. .... One of the contenders in the Ayodhya history debate, the “hypothesis” that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple, had been a matter of universal consensus until a few years ago. Even the Muslim participants in court cases in the British period had not challenged it; on the contrary, Muslim authors expressed pride in this monument of Islamic victory over infidelity. It is only years after the Hindu take-over of the structure in 1949 that denials started to be voiced. And it is only in 1989 that a large-scale press campaign was launched to deny what had earlier been a universally accepted fact. .... Tellingly, they do not mention the outcome of the debate, but reiterate the ludicrous demand they made while attending the debate as BMAC advocates, viz. that they be considered “independent historians” qualified to pronounce scientific judgment in a debate between their employers and their enemies... Of course, the government representative dismissed this demand as ridiculous. Yet, the BMAC has continued to call them “the independent historians”, and they themselves have continued to demand that the VHP submit its case to “independent arbitration”, i.e. by their own kind. These two telling details of the Ayodhya debate story have, of course, been withheld from the reader in the booklet published by the BMAC team, and in all subsequent publications by the anti-temple party. ... Future books on the affair will include a chapter on “the Ayodhya scandal”: the unscrupled use of academic and media power positions by India’s secularists to suppress relevant evidence, and the gullibility of foreign scholars relying on hearsay from Indian colleagues whose bonafides is open to question. ... If any proof is needed that the BMAC has been defeated in this debate, it is this: no one sympathetic to the Babri Masjid cause has made any reference to the outcome of this debate all through the subsequent years... Politicians have made a show of their “secularism” and their opposition to “religious fanaticism” by organizing “fact-finding missions” to Ayodhya and issuing statements on the dispute, but they have not made any reference to the outcome of the scholars’ debate at all. When reading about the subsequent course of the Ayodhya controversy, one might get the impression that the scholars’ debate never took place.
    • Elst, Koenraad Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)
  • The existence of the medieval temple had long been firmly established. There was testimony upon testimony of Hindus bewailing and Muslims boasting of the replacement of the temple with a mosque; and of Hindus under Muslim rule coming as close as possible to the site in order to celebrate Rama’s birthday every year in April, in continuation of the practice at the time when the temple stood. None of the written sources, whether Hindu, Muslim or European, contradicted the pre-existence of a Rama temple at the site. ... During the scholars’ debate in 1990-91, the VHP-mandated team had discovered no less than 4 documents on which references to the “birthplace temple” had been altered or removed, or which had been removed from public access (and those were only the ones where the foul play was discovered; who knows how many times the tampering succeeded?). ... Given that Prof. Harsh Narain, Dr. Arun Shourie and others have discovered attempts to conceal or alter Muslim documents confirming the temple tradition, we cannot exclude that in some cases, similar attempts at concealment of highly informative documents have succeeded and remained undiscovered.
    • Koenraad Elst, Ayodhya, the Finale (2003)
  • At a time when Native Americans, New Zealand Maoris and Aboriginal Australians were frequently (and often successfully) going to court to reclaim sacred sites and other heritage items, it should not have been too difficult to explain to the international public the reasonableness of Hindus claiming a Hindu sacred site, all the more so because the contentious building with mosque architecture was already in use as a Hindu temple since 1949... Yet, the net result was the exact opposite... It is not really exaggeration to say that the BJP's Ayodhya campaign was the public relations disaster of the century.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 246-7
  • Our party is for the building of the temple to Lord Ram, and we should, if possible, work towards an amicable settlement which, while upholding the principles of secularism, enables the construction of the temple to start, with the approval and support of all concerned. ... The key issue appears to be whether or not there was a temple erected to Lord Ram at the site where the Babri Masjid stands today. This question of historical fact would appear to hold the key to a resolution of the problem to the satisfaction of all reasonable, secular-minded persons of all communities.
    • Rajiv Gandhi 1990, [cit. Indian Express, 2 Dec. 1990, repr. Aggarwal & Chowdhry 1991:123]. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2012). The argumentative Hindu. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan. Chapter: Ayodhya’s three history debates.
  • [The Ayodhya movement for the liberation of Rama's supposed birthplace was] the largest mass movement in India since Independence. At its height, more people were detained by the police than during the course of the Salt March and the Quit India movement combined.
    • Edward A. Gargar, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 152
  • Several thousands of karsevaks brutally demolished the Babri Masjid, refusing to listen to RSS cadres, who were acting as the last ramparts of the paternalist perspectives. Numerous comments showed clearly that for the academic and establishment commentators, the most insupportable thing was that uneducated youngsters, without any letters of introduction or written authorisations, had intervened to change the course of things. ... “the way in which the RSS was overwhelmed by a thousand determined youngsters on 6 December 1992 is telling. The sect is worthless in street combat... its manifestations remind us more of the boy scouts than of mass politics.”
    • Gérard Heuzé: Où va l’Inde moderne? L’Harmattan, Paris 1993, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • It is indisputable that the Ramjanmabhumi/Babri Masjid debate has bee dominated by a handful of historians from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), with stray participation of one or two other universities. The historians involved have been of Marxist orientation, some admittedly even card-holding members of the two Communist parties, the CPI and CPM. Their writings on the issue have appeared in the official publications of these parties--New Age and People's Democracy respectively, and also been published by Left-sponsored publishing groups like People's Publishing House, Sahmat and Tulika Books. Perhaps that could explain why their stance has often seemed more driven by ideology than academic deliberation. Yet, some of these academics, who even appeared as BMAC (Babri Masjid Action Committee) experts during negotiations between the VHP, BMAC and the Government in 1990-1991, claimed to be "independent historians", and demanded that they be recognized as such. A perusal of their writings and statements reveals an unswerving resolve to deny any possibility of a temple beneath the Masjid and, thus, fixity of purpose. So they initially pronounced Rama to be a mythic figure; questioned the identification of present day Ayodhya with Valmiki's Ayodhya; touted little remembered variants of the Rama story to counter Valmiki's version; declared Ayodhya was better known as a sacred city of the Buddhists and Jains; and even ruled out the existence of a Rama cult at Ayodhya prior to the eighteenth century. The belief in a Janmabhumi temple being destroyed by Babar they attributed to British machinations in the nineteenth century. For long, Marxist historians insisted that the Babri Masjid was built on virgin land.
    • Jain, Meenakshi. Rama and Ayodhya (2013, pp. 154-155)
  • In its presentation of evidence in the Government sponsored scholars’ debate in December 1990, the VHP scholars have pointed out 4 cases of attempted fraud by their opponents, attempts by BMAC sympathizers to conceal, obliterate or change evidence: removing relevant old books from libraries, adding words on an old map. Recent editions of Urdu books (by Maulvi Abdul Karim and by Shaikh Md. Azamat Ali Nami) have suppressed chapters or passages relating the temple destruction on Ramkot hill which were present in earlier editions or in the manuscript. In an English translation of a book by Maulana Hakim Saiyid Abdul Hai, the relevant passages present in the Urdu original had been censored out, and an effort was discovered to remove all the copies of the Urdu original from the libraries... On maps included in the Settlement Record of 1861, which describe the disputed area as Janamsthan, “birthplace”, someone had added “Babari Masjid”; the interpolation was obvious after comparison with a copy of the document kept in another office.... In my opinion, these petty and clumsy attempts to tamper with the corpus of evidence, are child’s play compared with the concealment of evidence by professional scholars sympathetic to the Babri Masjid cause. In their publications on this dispute, A.A. Engineer and Prof. S. Gopal have simply kept all the inconvenient (mainly pre-British) testimonies out of the picture, and just acted as if these did not exist. In his reply to the anti-Janmabhoomi statement The Political Abuse of History by 25 historians of JNU, Prof. A.R. Khan shows grounds to accuse the eminent JNU historians of “not only concealment but also distortion of evidence”.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple. quoting Prof. A.R. Khan: “In the name of ‘history’” (originally published in Indian Express, 25-2-1990) and in History vs. Casuistry, app.2, and in S.R. Goel: Hindu Temples, vol. 1, 2nd ed. (Voice of India, Delhi 1998), p. 243-263.
  • Using the Babari Masjid-Ramajanmabhumi controversy as a pretext, Muslim mobs went on a rampage all over Bangladesh. They attacked and burnt down Hindu houses and business establishments in many places, murdered some Hindus and inflicted injuries on many others. Hindu temples and monasteries invited their special attention everywhere. Starting on October 29, 1989, the mob fury reached its climax on November 9 and 10 after the Shilanyas ceremony at Ayodhya. Many temples were demolished or burnt down or damaged in various ways. Images of deities were broken and thrown out. Temple priests were beaten up.
    • Sita Ram Goel: Introduction to the report INCIDENTS OF COMMUNAL REPRESSION IN BANGLADESH Occurred on the Pretext of Babri-Masjid / Ram-Mandir Situation in India (Translated from original in Bengali published by the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Unity Council, 53, Tejturi Bazar, Dhaka, Bangladesh) Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Volume I. [3]
  • [The controversy is] "paving the way for a movement [in India] for an independent and liberated Islamic country within India".
  • It would thus appear that the four historians who wrote the 'report to the nation' were really experts nominated by All India Babri Masjid Action Committee and were not independent. But they always pretended to be impartial professional historians. In fact, in their 'report to the nation' they criticized the claims of V.H.P. only and made no comments on the documents submitted by A.I.B.M.A.C. Had they really been truly impartial historians, they would have commented on the evidence submitted by both parties and presented their report to the nation or M.H.A. without any bias or prejudice.
    • Kunal, K. Ayodhya Revisited (2016, p. xl) (Kunal was the Government official appointed to mediate between the two parties)
  • Recent events about Ayodhya are well-known. Long before the structure was pulled down, Muslims in Bangladesh had destroyed more than 200 temples in November 1989 (reacting against the Shilanyas at Ayodhya). In November 1990 another 50 temples were razed or burnt, not to mention about the women raped and men killed. So also was done in Pakistan. The Kashmir Samiti has produced a report titled Riots in Kashmir, listing 85 temples destroyed, and claiming that 550 people had been killed in the Islamic purification campaign in 1990. ... Those who cannot forget 6 December 1992, should also remember another date, 9 April 1669. On this day Aurangzeb issued a general order "to demolish all schools and temples of the infidels and to put down their religious teaching and practice". Much vandalism had preceded this order and reckless destruction of shrines followed.
    • Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6
  • The responsibility for what has happened in Pakistan and Bangla Desh is entirely that of the Union and U.P. governments. They have been making so much anti-Hindu propaganda on this issue that those countries are getting all the excuse for this.
    • Vijay Kumar Malhotra, BJP national secretary, Times of India, 2/11/1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • I had written: "I can reiterate this (the existence of a Hindu temple before it was displaced by the Babri mosque) with greater authority - for I was the only Muslim who had participated in the Ayodhya excavations in 1976-'77 under Prof BB Lal as a trainee. I have visited the excavation near the Babri site and seen the excavated pillar bases. The JNU historians have highlighted only one part of our findings while suppressing the others..." ... By JNU historians, I meant the Leftist historians such as Irfan Habib, Romila Thapar, DN Jha, Bipin Chandra and RS Sharma who do not want to see a solution to the Ayodhya issue. Till the Allahabad High Court judgment came out on September 30, 2010, these historians maintained that there was no temple beneath the Babri mosque.
  • Mr. Mahadevan's comments were really an objective analysis of the archaeological data. I can reiterate this with greater authority, for I was the only Muslim who had participated in the Ayodhya excavation in 1976-77 under Professor Lal...I was at the Hanuman Garhi site, but I have visited the excavation near the Babri Masjid and seen the excavated pillar bases. The JNU historians have highlighted only one part of our findings while suppressing the other. ... Ayodhya is as holy to Hindus as Mecca is to Muslims. Muslims should respect the sentiments of their millions of Hindu brethren and voluntarily hand over the structure for constructing the Rama temple.
    • K.K. Muhammad (deputy superintending archaeologist), commenting on Iravatham Mahadevan, who held the JNU historians guilty of "political abuse of history". Indian Express. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • The sacred spot in Ayodhya, worshipped by Hindus since time immemorial, (…) has unfortunately been made the subject of a contrived and unnecessary controversy in the last three decades.
    • Prof. Saradindu Mukherji, from the Preface in Anuradha Dutt’s book Sri Ram Mandir, published by Shubhi Publications (Gurgaon 2016). Quoted from Elst K.:Chronicle of the Ayodhya controversy, The Pioneer,April 2016.
  • There has for some time past been in evidence a sinister move in certain quarters to suppress, conceal or eliminate primary sources in Arabic, Persian and Urdu testifying to the temple demolition. ... The Urdu version is found to have been withdrawn from circulation and even removed from several libraries. There is an English translation also, with which undue liberties have been taken. ... An Urdu translation of the work was published ... at least two more editions came out in 1979 and 1981 respectively... [but] the account ... is conspicuous by its absence in the 1981 edition. ... Dr. Kakorawi rightly laments that 'suppression of any part of any old composition or compilation like this can create difficulties and misunderstandings for future historians and researchers. ... The original edition of Mirza Rajab ... contained a reference to the demolition of the Rama temple. Sayyid Masud Hasan Rizwi Adib omitted the reference altogether in its second edition.... As a matter of fact, black-out of well documented, acutely argued contributions ... continues with renewed vigour. A certain leading library of the country of late instituted an enquiry as to how a particular book came to be utilized by the Vishva Hindu Parishad.
    • Harsh Narain The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources (1993)
  • It is a pity that thanks to our thoughtless 'secularism' and waning sense of history, such primary sources of medieval history .. are presently in danger of suppression or total extinction. Instead of launching sustained search and research in this behalf, 'secular' historians are going about dismissing relevant data out of hand, imputing unfounded motive to the recorders themselves. The state in general and the universites in particular must do something to protect and retrieve such invaluable documents from unscrupulous hands.
    • Harsh Narain The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources (1993)
  • I can see how what I said then could be misinterpreted. I was talking about history, I was talking about a historical process that had to come. I think India has lived with one major extended event, that began about 1000 AD, the Muslim invasion. It meant the cracking open and partial wrecking of what was a complete cultural, religious world until that invasion. I don't think the people of India have been able to come to terms with that wrecking. I don't think they understand what really happened. It's too painful. And I think this BJP movement and that masjid business is part of a new sense of history, a new idea of what happened. It might be misguided, it might be wrong to misuse it politically, but I think it is part of a historical process. And to simply abuse it as Fascist is to fail to understand why it finds an answer in so many hearts in India. .... It could become that. And that has to be dealt with. But it can only be dealt with if both sides understand very clearly the history of the country. I don't think Hindus understand what Islam means and I don't think the people of Islam have tried to understand Hinduism. The two enormous groups have lived together in the sub-continent without understanding one another's faiths.
    • V.S. Naipaul 'Hindus, Muslims have lived together without understanding each other's faiths', interview by Rahul Singh, The Times of India, Jan 23, 1998. [4]
  • For the poor of India to identify something like this, pulling down the first Mughal emperor’s tomb, is a marvellous idea. I think in years to come it will be seen as a great moment.... It would be a historical statement of India striving to regain her soul. What puzzled me and outraged me was the attitude that it was wrong, that one must not undo the [Muslim] conquest. I think it is the attitude of a slave population.
    • V.S. Naipaul, Quoted in The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul By Patrick French
  • What is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. ... Today, it seems to me that Indians are becoming alive to their history. This has not happened before. ... Now, however, things seem to be changing. What is happening in India is a mighty creative process.... But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening. ... But the sense of history that the Hindus are now developing is a new thing. Some Indians speak about a synthetic culture: this is what a defeated people always speak about. The synthesis may be culturally true. But to stress it could also be a form of response to intense persecution. ... In Ayodhya the construction of a mosque on a spot regarded as sacred by the conquered population was meant as an insult. It was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Ram which was two or three thousand years old. ...One needs to understand the passion that took them on top of the domes. The jeans and the tee-shirts are superficial. The passion alone is real. You can't dismiss it. You have to try to harness it. .... There is a big, historical development going on in India. Wise men should understand it and ensure that it does not remain in the hands of fanatics. Rather they should use it for the intellectual transformation of India.
    • “An area of awakening” (Interview with V.S. Naipaul), Dileep Padgaonkar The Times of India Date: July 18, 1993 [5] Also referred to and quoted in part in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa.
  • It is the duty of every nationalist Indian to protect the birthplace of Lord Rama to save India's honour, prestige and cultural heritage.... Anti-national and communal activities of Muslim fundamentalists are a blot on the entire community... It is the duty of all nationalist Muslims to expose such designs and accept the truth.
    • Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Indian Muslim Youth Conference president . Indian Express, 21/9/1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • "Many mosques and monuments were erected on sites where temples existed earlier. I also agree with what Muhammed has said about Prof. Irfan. It was during his tenure as chairman of ICHR [that] the democratic functioning of the institution was destroyed. It [was] very difficult to work with him. I have my own bitter experiences. It was he and his team that had branded me an RSS man. It was he and his team that turned Jawaharlal Nehru University and the ICHR into a den of Marxist historians," MGS said.
  • The Hindus have been so much humiliated and insulted since 1947 that sometimes it seems doubtful whether they are living in their own country adding that in Kashmir & Punjab Hindu blood is being shed so much so that even in Ayodhya unarmed Kar Sevaks including the Sadhus were brutally killed.
    • From a speech by Sadhvi Ritambhara, which was considered to be actionable, objectionable under 153-A of Indian Penal Code 'on the ground of inciting the Hindus in the context of construction of Shri Ram Temple at Ayodhya and attempting to spread feelings of animosity against the Muslims'. Quoted from ' The Case of Sadhvi Ritambhara', in Goel, Sita Ram (ed.) (1998). Freedom of expression: Secular theocracy versus liberal democracy. [6]
  • Not even a bird shall be able to enter Ayodhya. ... We will crush them.
    • Mulayam Singh Yadav, comments against the planned demonstrations by kar sevaks (activists) in Ayodhya. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • The large-scale arson of December 1992 occurring in Islamic Bangladesh in the wake of the demolition of the Babri structure at Ayodhya was characterised by gangrapes of thousands of Hindu girls, assaults on Hindu temples, and widespread loot and violence. It had all the marks of a full-fledged jihad.
    • Majumadāra, S. (2001). Jihād: The Islamic doctrine of permanent war. ch. 10
  • These leftist ‘historians’ had attended the initial meetings. They had put together for and on behalf of the Committee ‘documents’. It had been a miscellaneous pile. And it had become immediately evident that this pile was no counter to the mass of archaeological, historical and literary evidence which the VHP had furnished, that in fact the ‘documents’ these guides of the Babri Committee had piled up further substantiated the VHP’s case. These ‘historians’, having undertaken to attend the meeting to consider the evidence presented by the two sides, just did not show up!
    It was this withdrawal which aborted the initiative that the government had undertaken of bringing the two sides together, of introducing evidence and discourse into the issue. Nothing but nothing paved the way for the demolition as did this running away by these ‘historians’. It was the last nail: no one could be persuaded thereafter that evidence or reason would be allowed anywhere near the issue. ... His bias is evident in the fact that he totally blacks out the absolutely disgraceful concoctions that the Marxist historians put together for the All Indian Babri Masjid Action Committee – … the shameful way they dodged the archaeological evidence, pretending that they had not examined it, that they had not met the archaeologists concerned – when in fact they had met the principal one just the day before, and how, when it became evident to all that the ‘documentary evidence’ which they had complied for the Babri Action Committee just did not match what was submitted on behalf of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, they just failed to turn up at the final meetings. It was this failure to turn up for the meetings that led to the breakdown of negotiations, and killed all prospects of a negotiated settlement.
    • Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • “On reading the papers the BMAC had filed as ‘evidence’, I could only conclude, therefore, that either its leaders had not read the papers themselves, or that they had no case and had just tried to over-awe or confuse the government etc. by dumping a huge miscellaneous heap.”
    • Arun Shourie: “Take over from the experts”, syndicated column, 27-1-91, included in History vs. Casuistry as appendix 1. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • A case in which the English version of a major book by a renowned Muslim scholar, the fourth Rector of one of the greatest centres of Islamic learning in India, listing some of the mosques, including the Babri Masjid, which were built on the sites and foundations of temples, using their stones and structures, is found to have the tell-tale passages censored out; The book is said to have become difficult to get;... Evasion, concealment, have become a national habit. And they have terrible consequences... A curious fact hit me in the face. Many of the persons who one would have normally expected to be knowledgeable about such publications were suddenly reluctant to recall this book. I was told, in fact, that copies of the book had been removed, for instance from the Aligarh Muslim University Library. Some even suggested that a determined effort had been made three or four years ago to get back each and every copy of this book... Each reference to each of these mosques having been constructed on the sites of temples with, as in the case of the mosque at Benaras, the stones of the very temple which was demolished for that very purpose have been censored out of the English version of the book! Each one of the passages on each one of the seven mosques! No accident that. .... why would anyone have thought it necessary to remove these passages from the English version-that is the version which was more likely to be read by persons other than the faithful? Why would anyone bowdlerise the book of a major scholar in this way?... Their real significance- and I dare say that they are but the smallest, most innocuous example that one can think of on the mosque-temple business-lies in the evasion and concealment they have spurred. I have it on good authority that the passages have been known for long, and well known to those who have been stoking the Babri Masjid issue. That is the significant thing; they have known them, and their impulse has been to conceal and bury rather than to ascertain the truth....The fate of Maulana Abdul Hai’s passages-and I do, not know whether the Urdu version itself was not a conveniently sanitised version of the original Arabic volume-illustrates the cynical manner in which those who stoke the passions of religion to further their politics are going about the matter. Those who proceed by such cynical calculations sow havoc for all of us, for Muslims, for Hindus, for all. Those who remain silent in the face of such cynicism, such calculations help them sow the havoc. Will we shed our evasions and concealments? Will we at last learn to speak and face the whole truth?
    • About the removal of a book from libraries for political reasons. Arun Shourie: Hideaway Communalism (Indian Express, February 5, 1989) Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (editor) (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Volume I.
  • In November 1989, Muslims in Bangla Desh destroyed more than 200 Hindu temples, on the pretext of reacting against the Shilanyas in Ayodhya... Moreover, during this anti-Hindu violence, many women were raped, some people killed and many wounded, and many shops looted and burned down. In November 1990, another forty or fifty temples were razed or burnt down in Bangla Desh. Or at least, those are the figures given by the secularist press. The Hindu-Buddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, the Bangla minorities' association, reported that in the a village in Chittagong district more than fifty Hindu women had been raped, two killed, and that hundreds of temples had been damaged or burnt down. ... Both the opposition parties and the Hindu-Buddhist- Christian Unity Council of Bangla Desh have alleged a strong government involvement in the communal violence...: "We directly blame the president for these heinous anti-human incidents... they were staged in a planned way under a blueprint in co-operation with law-enforcing agencies." ... In Pakistan too, Muslims used the Ayodhya news as an occasion for temple-burning, rape, murder, and looting... in Dera Murad Jamali, "the police was unable to control the mob", which ransacked fifteen shops belonging to Hindus and set a temple on fire. Little was said about the large-scale outbursts in sindh. In Latifabad and Hyderabad , at least three temples were destroyed, in neighbouring Siroghat the Rama Pir temple was looted and set on fire, etc. Islamic student organizations also took the occasion to attack a Christian school and church in Peshawar.... In Nepal, the Hindu kingdom, some five Hindu temples were burnt down by Muslim gangs, who had probably come over from Bihar. No official protests from any side have been reported.
    • Christian Unity Council of Bangla Desh , Pioneer, 10/11/1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • If the question referred is answered in the affirmative, namely, that a Hindu temple/structure did exist prior to the construction of the BM, then government action will be in support of the wishes of the Hindu community. If in the negative (...) government action will be in support of the wishes of the Muslim community.
    • Sollicitor-General, 14 September 1994, [cit. A. G. Noorani 2003:II:259]. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2012). The argumentative Hindu. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan. Chapter: Ayodhya’s three history debates.
  • When Hindus believe that the place of birth of Lord Rama was within the disputed site of the Ayodhya temple, such belief partakes the nature of essential part of religion and is protected under Article 25 of the Constitution (right to profess one’s religion), the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has held. ... Such an essential part of religion is constitutionally protected under Article 25.
    • J. Venkatesan, 2 October 2010, quoting the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. The Hindu: “Hindus’ belief about Lord Rama’s birthplace protected under Article 25” [7] Also quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2012). The argumentative Hindu. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan. Chapter: Ayodhya’s three history debates.

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