Hans T. Bakker

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Hans T. Bakker (born 1948) is a cultural historian and Indologist, who has served as the Professor of the History of Hindusim and Jan Gonda Chair at the University of Groningen. He currently works in the British Museum as a researcher in project "Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State".

Quotes[edit]

  • “Now until the end of Great Moghul rule, that is to say till the beginning of the eighteenth century, Ayodhya was the capital of one of the provinces of the Muslim empire in North India. In consequence, Hindu sects had few rights to defend in the city. Pilgrimage was tolerated, but the cream of the profits from it was taken by the Muslim rulers in the form of a tax on pilgrims. It was forbidden to build temples or monasteries of more than a certain dimension in the city, and the existing temples fell into decay and disappeared or were replaced by mosques. The latter took place with the temple on the supposed spot of Rama’s birth, dating from the early eleventh century. This small temple was replaced by a mosque, the Babri Masjid, in AD 1528, during the reign of the first Moghul emperor, Babur, a deed which was to have far-reaching consequences.”
    • Ayodhyā: A Hindu Jerusalem’ , Numen (Vol. 38, Fasc.1,pp. 80-109 published by Brill Publishers in Leiden, The Netherlands in the year 1991, p. 91)quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch 11

Bakker, Hans. 1986. Ayodhya[edit]

  • “The oldest pieces of archaeological evidence are the black columns which remain from the old (Visnu) temple that was situated on the holy spot where Rama descended to earth (Janma-bhumi). This temple was destroyed by the first Mogul prince Babur in AD 1528 and replaced by a mosque which still exists. The following specimens of these pillars are known to exist: fourteen pillars were utilized by the builder Mir Baqi in the construction of the mosque and are still partly visible within it; two pillars were placed besides the grave of the Muslim saint Fazl Abbas alias Musa Ashikhan, who, according to oral tradition, incited Babur to demolish the Hindu temple. The grave and these two pillars (driven upside-down into the ground) are still shown in Ayodhya, a little south of the Kubertila. A seventeenth specimen is found in the new Janmasthana temple of the north of the Babur mosque. It is rather a door-jamb than a column.”
    • Ayodhya. quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch 11, also in Jain, M. (2017). The battle of Rama: Case of the temple at Ayodhya. chapter 1
  • “Notwithstanding all the difficulties discussed above, the original location of the Janma-sthãna is comparatively certain since it seems to be attested by the location of the mosque built by Babur in the building of which materials of a previous Hindu temple were used and are still visible. The mosque is believed by general consensus to occupy the site of the Janmasthana. After the destruction of the original temple a new Janmasthana temple was built on the north side of the mosque separated from it by a street.
    • Ayodhya, Bakker, quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. ch 11, and Meenakshi Jain, The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya (2017)(p.91)
  • “In conclusion we may say that there is evidence for the existence of five Vishnu temples in Ayodhya in the twelfth century. Harismriti (Guptahari) at the Gopratara ghat, (2) Vishnu-hari at the Chakratírtha ghat, (3) Chandrahari on the west side of the Svargadvãra ghats, (4) Dharmahari on east side of the Svargadvãra ghats, (5) a Visnu temple on the janmabhùmi. Three of these temples have been replaced by mosques and one was swept away by the Sarayù. The fate of the fifth is unknown but the site is occupied today by a new Guptahari Chakrahari temple.” (p. 54)
    • quoted in Kishore, Kunal (2016). Ayodhyā revisited. chapter 11
  • The original birthplace temple dated from the 10th or 11th century. Before its destruction the temple must have been one of the main pilgrimage centres of Ayodhya, _ especially on the occasion of Ramanwami .... The destruction of the temple would not have implied the end of all forms of worship in and around the holy site. Just as they do today,.. pilgrims may have assembled near the mosque to have darsan of the tihrtha, and in order to perform the puja special _ provisions may have been made ... .... The ritual of Ramanavami described in OA 22 (a recension of the Ayodhya Mahatmya), which is said to be carried out in the Janmasthan (OA 22.22), does not require a temple or the like and could therefore have been performed somewhere near the original holy spot in the 16th and following centuries. Such perseverance and flexibility of Hinduism under Muslim repression, which was demonstrated throughout the history of North India, could have provided an objective reason for the compiler of the OA recension not to delete or minimize his description of the Janamsthan despite its occupation by a mosque ...
    • Bakker, Hans. 1986. Ayodhya, Egbert Forsten, Groningen. (Bakker Part a 1986: 14&47). in Jain, M. (2017). The battle of Rama: Case of the temple at Ayodhya. chapter 1
  • About 250 m to the south-east of the Svargadvara mosque is [the] ruin of another masjid very similar to the former. The two mosques stand symmetrically on both sides of the main bathing ghats, which are collectively called Svargadvara. The eastern mosque, built at the same time as the other one, replaces an old Visnu temple built by the last Gahadavala king Jayacandra in AD 1184. An inscription found in the ruins of the mosque testifies to the construction of this Vaisnava temple.
    • (Bakker 1986: 52–54, quoted in Sharma 2010, Annexure IV, p. 14) Bakker, H.T. 1986. Ayodhyā, Eghert Fosten, Groningen., Sharma, D.V. (Justice). 2010. Judgement of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench. also in A Timeline of Ayodhya - Nicole Elfi & Michel Danino, 201
  • In conclusion we may say that there is evidence for the existence of five Visnu temples in Ayodhya in the twelfth century: 1) Harismrti (Guptahari) at the Gopratara ghat, 2) Visnuhari at the Cakratirtha, 3) Candrahari on the west side of the Svargadvara ghats, 4) Dharmahari on the east side of the Svargadvara ghats, 5) a Visnu temple on the Janmabhumi. Three of these temples have been replaced by mosques and one was swept away by the Sarayu. The fate of the fifth is unknown but the site is occupied today by a new Guptahari/Cakrahari temple.
    • (Bakker, 1986: 52-54, quoted in Sharma 2010, Annexure IV, pp. 15–16) Bakker, H.T. 1986. Ayodhyā, Eghert Fosten, Groningen., Sharma, D.V. (Justice). 2010. Judgement of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench. also in A Timeline of Ayodhya - Nicole Elfi & Michel Danino, 201

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