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.


Painting of Ayodhya by William Hodges
  • 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 [1]), quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.302-3
  • 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.
  • 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
  • [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
  • 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
  • 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 [2] Also referred to and quoted in part in Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa.
  • 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. [3]
  • 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.

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