Ram Janmabhoomi

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Ram Janmabhoomi (Hindi/Devanagiri: राम जन्मभूमि) is believed by many Hindus to be the "birthplace of Rama." Rama is a major figure in Indian mythology and the Hindu religion where he is described as an avatar of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. The exact location of Rama's birth is not stated with any specific accuracy by the Hindu texts, but the term popularly refers to a tract of land in the North Indian city of Ayodhya.

A spot particularly famous is known as Sita Rassoi, i.e. table of Sita, Rama's wife... Emperor Aurangzeb demolished the fortress called Ramcot, and erected on the same place a Mohammedan temple with three cupolas. Others say that it was constructed by Babor... Fourteen pilllars of black stone.. are located in the fortress.. The other two (pillars) are in the tomb of an unknown Maure (Muslim)... On the left one can see a square box... Hindus call it Bedi (i.e. the cradle) because formerly it was the house where Beschan (Vishnu) and his three brothers were born under the form of Ram... Subsequently Aurangzeb and some say Babar destroyed the place in order to prevent the heathens from practising their ceremonies. However, they have continued to practice their religious ceremonies in both the places knowing this to have been the birth place of Rama by going around it three times and prostrating on the ground.. On 24th of Chaitrra a large number of people gather here to celebrate the birth of Rama extremely popular throughout India... - Joseph Tiefenthaler
[The Ram Janmabhoomi] secures heaven for whomever pays a visit to it. - Sant Laladasa
Here are also the ruins of Ranichand[s] castle and houses, which the Indians acknowledge for the great God, saying that he took flesh upon him to see the tamasha of the world. - William Finch
Ayodhya has ‘three mosques on the sites of three Hindu shrines: the Janmasthan on the site where Rama was born…..’ - Edward Balfour

Quotes about Ram Janmabhoomi[edit]

17th century and earlier[edit]

  • One who visits Ayodhya the way enjoined sheds all one’s sins and finds one’s abode in the House of Hari (Hari-mandira). Likewise, ‘for one who takes bath in the Svargadvara and visits the Rama temple (Ramalaya) nothing remains to be done here and he has fulfilled his duty.
    • Skanda Purana II, Vaisnava-khanda (2) Badarikasrama-Mahatmya (3) . I.24. (The Ayodhya-Mahatmya refers to Ramajanmasthana once, Janmasthana twice, and Janmabhumi twice. Paying a visit (pradarsana) to the same is said to be infinitely meritorious. Skanda Purana, Ayodhya-Mahatmya.) Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [1]
  • The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except for a small portion in prose, and is engraved in the chaste and classical Nagari script of the eleventh-twelfth century AD. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. Line 15 of this inscription, for example, clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (sila-samhati-grahais) and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings (purvvair-apy-akrtam krtam nrpatibhir) was constructed. This wonderful temple (aty-adbhutam) was built in the temple-city (vibudh-alaayni) of Ayodhya situated in the Saketamandala (district, line 17) (...). Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali (apparently in the Vamana manifestation) and the ten-headed personage (Dasanana, i.e., Ravana). Line 20 contains an allusion to the serious threat from the west, apparently posed by Sultan Subuktigin and his son Mahmud of Gahni, and its destruction by the king.
    • About the Vishnu Hari inscription found at the Babri masjid site. Ajay Mitra Shastri, Puratattva, No. 23 (1992-3), cited in S.P. Gupta: If Only the Court had Examined the Evidence in: India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.
  • Here are also the ruins of Ranichand[s] castle and houses, which the Indians acknowledge for the great God, saying that he took flesh upon him to see the tamasha of the world.
  • [The Ram Janmabhoomi] secures heaven for whomever pays a visit to it.
    • Hindu poet Sant Laladasa, ca. 1670. Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [4] p. 13

18th century[edit]

  • A spot particularly famous is known as Sita Rassoi, i.e. table of Sita, Rama's wife... Emperor Aurangzeb demolished the fortress called Ramcot, and erected on the same place a Mohammedan temple with three cupolas. Others say that it was constructed by Babor... Fourteen pilllars of black stone.. are located in the fortress.. The other two (pillars) are in the tomb of an unknown Maure (Muslim)... On the left one can see a square box... Hindus call it Bedi (i.e. the cradle) because formerly it was the house where Beschan (Vishnu) and his three brothers were born under the form of Ram... Subsequently Aurangzeb and some say Babar destroyed the place in order to prevent the heathens from practising their ceremonies. However, they have continued to practice their religious ceremonies in both the places knowing this to have been the birth place of Rama by going around it three times and prostrating on the ground.. On 24th of Chaitrra a large number of people gather here to celebrate the birth of Rama extremely popular throughout India...
    • Joseph Tiefenthaler, History and Geography of India, Cited by Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993, New Delhi, Penman Publications. ISBN 8185504164, also in Peter Van der Veer Religious Nationalism, also in R.S. Sharma et al.: Historians' Report to the Nation, People's Publ., Delhi 1991.
  • Oudh is an ancient city... It is the birthplace of Raja Ramachandra, who was one of the ten avataras, that is, a perfect manifestation of God. Sita was married to him.
    • Chatraman, Das Kayasth. Raizidaa Chihar Gulshan. 1760. Quoted in Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993, p. 18
  • The mosques built up to strenghten Islam after demolishing the temples of the idolatrous Hindus situated at Mathura, Benares and Awadh etc. which the wretched infidels have according to their faith adjudged to be the birth-place of Kanhaiya in one case, Sita Rasoi in another, and Hanuman's abode in a third and claim that after conquest of Lanka Ramchandra established him there...
    • Persian “Bahadurshahi Book of Forty Sermons” (around 1710), Sahifa-i Chahal Nasaih Bahadur Shahi (Persian: “Letter of the Forty Advices of Bahadur Shah”). Quotation quoted by Mirza Jain. Quoted from Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993 p. 23-26. (Also in History vs. Casuistry, p. 13-14)
    • This is a letter by a daughter of Bahadur Shah (Aurangzeb's son and successor). Mirza Jain quotes her (from her letter) that the temples on the sacred sites of Shiva, Krishna and Rama (including “Sita’s kitchen”, i.e. part of the Ramkot complex) “were all demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places mosques have been constructed”. She exhorted the Muslims to assert their presence at these mosques and not to give in to Hindu compromise proposals.
  • [A letter dated 1735 by a Faizabad qazi (judge) describes Hindu-Muslim riots in Ayodhya over] “the Masjid built by the emperor of Delhi”.
    • Quoted from Elst Koenraad: Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)

19th century[edit]

  • The bigot by whom the temples were destroyed, is said to have erected mosques on the situations of the most remarkable temples; but the mosque at Ayodhya... is ascertained by an inscription on its walls... to have been built by Babur (...) The only thing except these two figures and the bricks, that could with probability be traced to the ancient city, are some pillars in the mosque built by Babur, These are of black stone, and of an order which I have seen nowhere else, and which will be understood from the accompanying drawing. That they have been taken from a Hindu building, is evident, from the traces of images being observable on some of their bases; although the images have been cut off to satisfy the conscience of the bigot.
  • [According to tradition] Vikramaditya, king of Oojein, half a century before the Christian era, and by him [Ayodhya was] embellished with 360 temples. Not the smallest traces of these temples, however, now remain and according to native tradition, they were demolished by Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on part of the site. The falsehood of the tradition is, however, proved by an inscription on the wall of the mosque, attributing the work to the conqueror Babur, from whom Aurangzeb was fifth in descent. The mosque is embellished with fourteen columns of only five or six feet in height, but of very elaborate and tasteful workmanship, said to have been taken from the ruins of the Hindoo fanes....
    • Edward Thornton, A Gazetteer of the Territories Under the Government of the East India Company, [7] Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [8]
  • A fine temple in the Janmasthan; for many of its columns arc still in existence and in good preservation, having been used by the Musalmans in the construction of the Babari Mosque. ... It is said that up to that time, the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple. Since the British rule a railing has been put up to prevent dispute, within which, in the mosque the Mohamedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings.
    • P. Carnegy: A Historical Sketch of Tehsil Fyzabad, Lucknow 1870, [9] cited by Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993, New Delhi, Penman Publications. ISBN 81-85504-16-4 p.8-9, and by Peter Van der Veer Religious Nationalism, p.153
  • At one corner of a vast mound known as Ramkot, or the fort of Rama, is the holy spot where the hero was born. Most of the enclosure is occupied by a mosque built by Babar from the remains of an old temple, and in the outer portion a small platform and shrine mark the birth place.
    • Imperial Gazetteer of India, Provincial Series, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, Vol.II, pp 338-339. Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [10]
  • [According to Balfour, Ayodhya has] ‘three mosques on the sites of three Hindu shrines: the Janmasthan on the site where Rama was born…..’
    • Surgeon General Edward Balfour, Encyclopedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, 1858, p-56. Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [11]
  • From old records and the tradition it is gathered... Wherever they found magnificent temples of the Hindus ever since the establishment of Sayyid Salar Mas’ud Ghazi’s rule, the Muslim rulers in India built mosques, monasteries, and inns, appointed mu’azzins, teachers, and store-stewards, spread Islam vigorously, and vanquished the Kafirs.... And this to such an extent that all over Hindustan no trace of infidelity was left besides Islam and no practice of idol-worship survived besides worship of God. And the few Hindus who remained safe from the hands of the Muslims became the slaves of Islam, began to pay kharaj, became subdued... In short, even as the Muslim rulers cleared up Mathura, Banares etc from the dust and dross of infidelity ... Likewise, they cleared up Faizabad and Avadh, too, from the filth of reprobation (infidelity), because it was a great centre of worship and capital of Rama’s father. Here they broke the temples and left no stone-hearted idol intact. Where there stood the great temple (of Ramjanmasthan), there they built a big mosque, and, where there was a small mandap (pavilion), there they erected a camp mosque (masjid-i mukhtasar-i qanati). The Janmasthan temple is the principal place of Rama’s incarnation, adjacent to which is the Sita ki Rasoi. Hence, what a lofty mosque was built there by king Babar in 923 A. H. (1528 A.D.), under the patronage of Musa Ashiqan! The mosque is still known far and wide as the Sita ki Rasoi mosque. And that temple is extant by its side.
    • Mirza Ali Jan, Hadiqa(h)-i Sha(u)hada (“The garden of martyrdom”),1856, Lucknow, p. 247. cited by VHP evidence bundle History vs. Casuistry, Voice of India, Delhi, 1991, p.14; quoted in Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [12], cited by Peter Van der Veer, Religious Nationalism, also in History vs. Casuistry, 1991, also cited by Dr. Harsh Narain, "Rama-Janmabhumi Temple: Muslim Testimony", 1990, and quoted in Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What Happened to them.
  • According to old records, it has been a rule with the Muslim rulers from the first to build mosques, monasteries, and inns, spread Islam, and put (a stop to) non-Islamic practices, wherever they found prominence (of kufr). Accordingly, even as they cleared up Mathura, Bindraban etc., from the rubbish of non-Islamic practices, the Babari mosque was built up in AH 923 (?) under the patronage of Sayyid Musa Ashiqan in the Janmasthan temple (butkhane Janmsthan mein) in Faizabad Avadh, which was a great place of (worship) and capital of Rama's father'...‘Among the Hindus it was known as Sita ki Rasoi’ (p. 9-10)... 'A great mosque was built on the spot where Sita ki Rasoi is situated. During the regime of Babar, the Hindus had no guts to be a match for the Muslims. The mosque was built in AH 923 (?) under the patronage of Sayyid Mir Ashiqan' Aurangzeb built a mosque on the Hanuman Garhi' The Bairagis effaced the mosque and erected a temple in its place. Then idols began to be worshipped openly in the Babari mosque where the Sita ki Rasoi is situated.'
    • According to Harsh Narain, the publication of the chapter "dealing with the Jihad led by Amir Ali Amethawi for recapture of Hanuman Garhi from the Bairagis" was suppressed "on the ground that its publication would not be opportune in view of the prevailing political situation". Dr. Kakorawi himself lamented that ‘suppression of any part of any old composition or compilation like this can create difficulties and misunderstandings for future historians and researchers’.
    • Muraqqa-i-Khusrawî (Tãrîkh-i-Awadh) by Shykh Azmat Alî Kãkorwî Nãmî ,
    • Shykh Azamat Ali Kakorawi Nami (1811–1893), Muraqqa(h)-i Khusrawi also known as the Tarikh-i Av(w)adh cited by Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993, New Delhi, Penman Publications. ISBN 8185504164 Quoted in Dr. Harsh Narain: Rama-Janmabhumi Temple Muslim Testimony Harsh Narain (Indian Express, February 26, 1990) and in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
  • Mir Khan built a masjid in A.H. 930 during the reign of Babar, which still bears his name. This old temple must have been a fine one, for many of its columns have been utilized by the Musalmans in the construction of Babar's Masjid.'
    • A. Führer: The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh, Archaeological Survey of India Report, 1891, pp 296-297) cited by Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993, New Delhi, Penman Publications. ISBN 8185504164
  • In an application dated November 30, 1858, ... the Babari mosque has been called ‘masjid-i Janmasthan’ and the courtyard near the arch and the pulpit within the boundary of the mosque, ‘maqam Janmasthan ka’. The Bairagis had raised a platform in the courtyard which the applicant wanted to be dismantled. He has mentioned that the place of Janmasthan had been lying unkempt/in disorder (parishan) for hundreds of years and that the Hindus performed worship there... Well, if the Babari mosque is the Janmasthan mosque, its courtyard is the Janmasthan, and the Hindus had all along been carrying out their worship, all that implies that there must have been some construction there as part of a (Janmasthan) temple, which Mir Baqi partly demolished and partly converted into the existing Babari mosque, with or without Babar’s approval. And the Hindus had no alternative but to make do with the temple-less courtyard. Otherwise, it is simply unthinkable that they might have been performing worship for such a long time and on such a sacred place without a proper temple.
    • Harsh Narain: Rama-Janmabhumi Temple Muslim Testimony Harsh Narain (Indian Express, February 26, 1990) quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
  • A great mosque was built on the spot where Sita ki Rasoi is situated. During the regime of Babar, the Hindus had no guts to be a match for the Muslims. The mosque was built in 923(?) A.H. under the patronage of Sayyid Mir Ashiqan… Aurangzeb built a mosque on the Hanuman Garhi… The Bairagis effaced the mosque and erected a temple in its place. Then idols began to be worshipped openly in the Babari mosque where the Sita ki Rasoi is situated,’ (pp. 71-72). The author adds that ‘formerly, it is Shykh Ali Hazin’s observation which held good’ and quotes the following Persian couplet of the Shykh:... O Shykh! just witness the miracle of my house of idols, which, when desecrated, or demolished, becomes the house of God (a mosque). So, purporting to mean that formerly temples were demolished for construction of mosques, the author, Surur, laments that ‘the times have so changed that now the mosque was demolished for construction of a temple (on the Hanuman Garhi)’ (p. 72).
    • Fasanah-i Ibrat by the great early Urdu novelist. Mirza Rajab Ali Beg Surur (1787-1867), quoted in Harsh Narain: Rama-Janmabhumi Temple Muslim Testimony Harsh Narain (Indian Express, February 26, 1990) quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Harsh Narain writes that the original edition contained a reference to the demolition of the Rama temple, but Sayyid Masud Hasan Rizwi Adib omitted the reference altogether in the second edition (and Dr. Kakorawi supplied the omission in the third edition).
  • ‘….and the masjid buit by Babar stands on the border of the town of Ayodhya,that is to say to the west and south it is clear of habitations. It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago it it too late now to remedy the grievance….
    • Col. J.E.A. Chamier, District Judge, Fyzabad’s order dated March 26, 1886, in Civil Appeal No.27 of 1885, Mahant Raghubir Das versus Secretary of State for India and Muhammed Asghar. ( Muslim India, March 1986, p 107). Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [13]
  • Sayyid Musa Ashiqan built a mosque after levelling down Rajah Ramachandra's palace and Sita's Kitchen by order of ...Babar... and king Muhiyy-u d-Din Aurangzib Alamgir built another mosque at the same place.
    • Haji Muhammed Hasan, Diya-i Akthar, Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [14]
  • And now they call it Janmasthan and Rasoi-i Sita Ji. Having demolished these structures, King Babar got a majestic mosque constructed. ... Accordingly, in fulfilment of the pledge King Babar had taken before those saints, Babar ... got a magnificent mosque constructed.... The faqirs answered that they would bless him if he promised to build a mosque after demolishing the Janmasthan temple. Babar accepted the faqirs' offer...
    • Mawlawiyy Abdu I-Karim, translated into Urdu by Abdu I-Ghaffar as Gumgashtah Halat-i Ayodhya Yani Tarikh Parinah-i Madinatu I-Awliya. Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [15] Harsh Narain writes that in newer editions, controversial material has been excluded and calls it a "tragic tale of vandalism", and that the account [about the demolition of the Rama temple] is conspicuous by its absence in the 1981 edition.
  • Buchanan opines that Babar had built the mosque not on empty land, but on the site of the Ramkot “castle”, which to him may well have been the very castle in which Rama himself had lived. This claim only differs from the local tradition and the VHP position by being even bolder. According to him, the black-stone pillars (with Hindu sculptures defaced by “the bigot” Babar) incorporated in the Masjid had been “taken from the ruins of the palace”, and at any rate from “a Hindu building”. Obviously, the site was considered by the devotees as Rama’s court, originally a castle and only later a temple.
    • Francis Buchanan, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.

20th to 21th century[edit]

  • ‘And among them is the great mosque that was built by the Timurid King Babar in the sacred city of Ajodhya. It is believed that Rama Chandra, considered to be the manifestation of God, was born here. There is a long story about his wife Sita. There was a big temple for them in this city. At a certain place Sita used to sit and cook food for her consort. Well, the said King Babar demolished it and built a mosque at that very place with chiselled stone in 923 A.H.
    • The JANNAH AL-MASHRIQ WA MATLA ‘AN-NUR AL-MASHRIQ, retitled as AL-HIND-U FI AL- Ahd al-Islami, by Maulana Hakim Sayyid Abd al-Hayy [Abudl Hai], translated into Urdu (from Arabic) by Maulana Shams Tabriz Khan under the title Hindustan Islami Ahad mein and introduced by the author’s illustrious son Maulana Abul-Hasan Ali Nadwi alias ‘Ali Mian. Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [16] Also cited in Arun Shourie: Hideaway Communalism (Indian Express, February 5, 1989) and in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them. [17] Harsh Narain and Arun Shourie claim that 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.
  • At Ayodhya, where there stood the temple of Ramchandra Ji's Janmasthan, there is Sita Ji Ki Rasoi adjacent to it, King Babar got a magnificent mosque built there... Babar got the mosque built after demolishing the Janmasthan...
    • Muhammed Najmu I-Ghani Khan Rampuri, Tarikh-i Awadh, 1919, Quoted from Narain, Harsh (1993). The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers. [18]
  • 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.
  • Until 1989, there was a complete consensus in all sources (Hindu, Muslim and European) which spoke out on the matter, viz. that the Babri Masjid had been built in forcible replacement of a Hindu temple."
  • Until the beginning of this century, official documents called it Masjid-i-Janamsthan, “mosque of the birthplace”, and the hill on which it stands was designated as Ramkot (Rama’s fort) or Janamsthan (birthplace). Since 1949, the building is effectively in use as a Hindu temple...
  • "The Janmasthan was in Ramkot and marked the birthplace of Rama. In 1528 A.D. Babar came to Ayodhya and halted here for a week. He destroyed the ancient temple and on its site built a mosque, still known as Babar's mosque. The materials of the old structure [i.e., the temple] were largely employed, and many of the columns were in good preservation."
    • H.R. Neville, Fyzabad District Gazetteer, Lucknow, 1905, pp 172-177) cited by Harsh Narain The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources, 1993, New Delhi, Penman Publications. ISBN 8185504164
  • All relevant British government records followed by the District Gazetteer Faizabad compiled and published by the Congress government in 1960 declare with one voice that the so-called Babari mosque at Ayodhya is standing on the debris of a Ramjanmasthan temple demolished by the order of Babar in 1528.
    • Harsh Narain: Rama-Janmabhumi Temple Muslim Testimony Harsh Narain (Indian Express, February 26, 1990) quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1990). Hindu temples: What happened to them.
  • But the unique and the most important feature of its construction is the use of... nook-shafts (corner pillars)... They bear stylized designs of kirttimukha and lahara-vallari and are obviously Hindu in their origin... Technically called a 'clerestory', this feature has been used on a large scale in the mosques of Ahmedabad in imitation of the preceding temples of the region... More than the (supposedly) corbelled ceilings and corbelled pendentives, these 11 nook-shafts testify, without any doubt, that material from some despoiled Hindu temple was used in the construction or the final restoration of this mosque.
    • Nath, R., & Historical Research Documentation Programme (India). (1991). Architecture & site of the Baburi Masjid of Ayodhya: A historical critique. Jaipur: Historical Research Documentation Programme. p. 10-11
  • The foregoing study of the architecture and site of the Baburi Masjid has shown, unequivocally and without any doubt, that it stands on the site of a Hindu temple which originally existed in the Ramkot on the bank of the river Sarayu, and Hindu temple material has also been used in its construction.
    • Nath, R., & Historical Research Documentation Programme (India). (1991). Architecture & site of the Baburi Masjid of Ayodhya: A historical critique. Jaipur: Historical Research Documentation Programme. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • I have been to the site and have had occasion to study the mosque, privately, and I have absolutely no doubt that the mosque stands on the site of a Hindu temple on the north-western corner of the temple-fortress Ramkot.
    • R. Nath: letter in Indian Express, 2-1-91. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.

Archaeology[edit]

  • Subsequently, during the early medieval period (eleventh - twelfth century A. D.) a huge structure, nearly 50 m in north-south orientation was constructed... On the remains of the above structure was constructed a massive structure with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it. The architectural members of the earlier short lived massive structure with stencil cut foliage pattern and other decorative motifs were reused in the Construction of the monumental structure having a huge pillared hall (or two halls) which is different from residential structures, providing sufficient evidence of a construction of public usage which remained under existence for a long time during the period VII (Medieval-Sultanate level - twelfth to sixteenth century A. D.) It was over the top of this construction during the early sixteenth century, the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it.” The Hon'ble High Court, in order to get sufficient archaeological evidence on the issue involved „whether there was any temple/structure which was demolished and mosque was constructed on the disputed site‟.., had given directions to the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate at the disputed site where the GPR Survey has suggested evidence of anomalies which could be structure, pillars, foundation walls, slab flooring etc. which could be confirmed by excavation . Now, viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards upto the construction of the disputed structure alongwith the yield of stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of divine couple and carved architectural' members including foliage patterns, âmalaka [a fruit motif], kâpotapâlî [a “dovecot” frieze or cornice] doorjamb with semi-circular pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranâla (waterchute) in the north, fifty pillar bases in association of the huge structure, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples of north India.”
    • ASI Report 2003, Archaeological Society of India. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2012). The argumentative Hindu. New Delhi : Aditya Prakashan. Chapter: Ayodhya’s three history debates.
  • ‘Our excavations in Ayodhya in 1978 proved the existence of a temple dating to the 11th century. The ASI report just pushes it back by 50 or 100 years.’
    • K.N. Dixit. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • The team found that the objects were datable to the period ranging from the 10th through the 12th century AD, i.e., the period of the late Pratiharas and early Gahadvals. (...) These objects included a number of amakalas, i.e., the cogged-wheel type architectural element which crown the bhumi shikharas or spires of subsidiary shrines, as well as the top of the spire or the main shikhara ... This is a characteristic feature of all north Indian temples of the early medieval period (...) There was other evidence — of cornices, pillar capitals, mouldings, door jambs with floral patterns and others — leaving little doubt regarding the existence of a 10th-12th century temple complex at the site of Ayodhya."
    • Prof. S. P. Gupta , quoted in Narain, Harsh. 1993. The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute
  • There are also several types of cornices, pillar capitals, mouldings as well as door-jambs with meandering floral patterns. The images of chakrapurusha, Parashurama, matridevi, Shiva and Parvati, etc. provide further proof to their being members of a 10th-12th century Hindu temple-complex.
    • Prof. S.P. Gupta on the temple remains examined in 1992-93. S.P. Gupta: If Only the Court had Examined the Evidence in: India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.
  • It was then found that the history of the township was at least three thousand years old, if not more, and that at Ramajanmabhumi there stood a huge structure on a parallel series of square pillar-bases built of several courses of bricks and stones. When seen in the light of 20 black stone pillars, 16 of which were found re-used and standing in position as corner stones of piers for the disputed domed strucutre of the 'mosuqe', Prof. Lal felt that the pillar-bases may have belonged to a Hindu temple built on archaeological levels formed prior to the 13th century AD (...)
    • Prof. S.P. Gupta on the excavations between 1975 and 1980 at Ayodhya. S.P. Gupta: If Only the Court had Examined the Evidence in: India., & Dasgupta, S. (1995). The Ayodhya reference: The Supreme Court judgement and commentaries.
  • "Several of the temple-pillars existing in the mosque and pillar- bases unearthed in the excavations conducted in the south of the mosque (although in the adjoining plot of land) show the same directional alignment. This will convince any student of architecture that two sets of material remains belong to one and the same complex. Secondly, the archaeological history of Islamic glazed ware in India goes back to the eleventh century, not the fifteenth ; in the fifteenth only a particular type of glazed ware was brought to India. Here at Ayodhya one kind of Islamic glazed ware was even a local imitation of the thirteenth century. Therefore, when we observe that here we recovered Islamic glazed ware of different periods, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, from below the floor level of the mosque, we are telling the truth of archaeological discoveries."
    • S.P. Gupta. Reported in Indian Express, 6/12/90. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • Mr. Sharma has not given a single piece of archaeological or historical evidence in support of what he says. The archaeological and other evidence from art history indicate that there was a Brahminical temple at the place where the mosque stands today. The iconographical features like vanamala and karandmukut show that it was probably a Vaishnava temple.
    • S. P. Gupta, quoted by Peter Van der Veer: Religious Nationalism, p.219, n.55. quoted from Koenraad Elst. Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002)
  • In the 1970s, an ASI team led by Prof. B.B. Lal dug out some trenches just outside the mosque and found rows of pillar-bases which must have supported a larger building predating the mosque. Moreover, in the mosque itself, small black pillars with Hindu sculptures had been incorporated, a traditional practice in mosques built in forcible replacement of infidel temples to flaunt the victory of Islam over Paganism... In 1992, during excavations around the mosque in June and during the demolition on December 6, many more pieces of temple remains, mainly sculptures of Hindu gods and godlings, were discovered.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • “The excavations so far give ample traces that there was a mammoth pre-existing structure beneath the three-domed Babri structure. (…) The bricks used in these perimeters predate the time of Babar. (…) More than 30 pillar bases have been found at equal spans. The pillar-bases are in two rows and the rows are parallel. The pillar-base rows are in North-South direction. A wall is superimposed upon another wall. At least three layers of the floor are visible. (…) These facts prove the enormity of the pre-existing structure. (…) Moulded bricks of round and other shapes and sizes were neither in vogue during the middle ages nor are in use today. It was in vogue only 2,000 years ago. Many ornate pieces of touchstone (kasauti stone) pillars have been found in the excavation. (…) The Gupta and the Kushan period bricks have been found. Brick walls of the Gahadwal period (12th Century CE) have been found in excavations.”... “definitely a structure with a religious purpose: “Beautiful stone pieces bearing carved Hindu ornamentations like lotus, kaustubh jewel, alligator facade, etc., have been used in these walls. (…) An octagonal holy fireplace (yajna kund) has been found. (…) Terracotta idols of divine figurines, serpent, elephant, horse-rider, saints, etc., have been found. Even to this day terracotta idols are used in worship during Diwali celebrations and then put by temple sanctums for invoking divine blessings. (…) The excavation gives out the picture of a vast compound housing a sole distinguished and greatly celebrated structure used for divine purposes.”
    • Chetan Merani. 24 June 2003. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • There is some structure under the mosque.
    • In the winter of 2002-2003, the Court had secretly ordered a search of the site with a ground-penetrating radar. Canadian geophysicist Claude Robillard commenting on these scans with the radar. (Rediff.com, 19 March 2003). Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • [The motifs found] ‘proved the existence of a 7th century Shiva temple’.
    • R.K. Sharma. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • Archaeological findings in Prof. B.B. Lal’s excavation campaign Archaeology of the Ramayana Sites 1975-80 and more recent ones as well as a large number of documents written in tempore non suspecto confirm the hypothesis. Findings of burnt-brick pillar-bases dated to the 11th century in trenches a few metres from the disputed structure, prove that a pillared building stood in alignment with, and on the same foundations system as the Babri Masjid.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • “Among the structures listed in the report are several brick walls ‘in east-west orientation’, several ‘in north-south orientation’, ‘decorated coloured floor’, several ‘pillar bases’, and a ‘1.64-metre high decorated black stone pillar (broken) with yaksha [= demigod] figurines on four corners’.” ... “what many people have missed out on – due to bias or sloth – is that these are findings only from the period of May 22 to June 6. This is not the full list. If they read the earlier reports, they would also find listed several walls, a staircase, and two black basalt columns ‘bearing fine decorative carvings with two cross-legged figures in bas-relief on a bloomed lotus with a peacock whose feathers are raised upwards’.”
    • Sandipan Deb, In Outlook India (23 June 2003). Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • “In research carried out in the 1970s both Bakker and I relied heavily on the local tradition that Babar’s general had destroyed a temple built on Rama’s birthplace. This tradition is supposedly corroborated by the fact that in the mosque are pillars of a temple (which Bakker ascribes to the eleventh century). The same kind of pillars are also used in the grave of a Muslim pir who is in the local tradition considered to have been instrumental in the demolition of the temple...
    • Peter Van der Veer: Religious Nationalism, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • “Nevertheless, in a BBC interview in 1991, [B.B.] Lal argued that there had been a Hindu temple for Rama/Vishnu on the spot now occupied by the mosque and that pillars of that temple had been used in constructing the [Masjid]. Lal suggested that further digging should be carried out in order to come up with more evidence - a suggestion that was denounced in the press by the historian Irfan Habib and others as a ploy to demolish the mosque.”
    • Peter Van der Veer: Religious Nationalism, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.

Babri Masjid (Masjid-i Janmasthan)[edit]

  • A court ruling of 1951 cites testimony of local Muslims that the mosque had not been used since 1936, which means that in 1949 the Hindus took over an unused building - hardly worth the current Babri Masjid movement with its cries of “Islam in danger!” (or its newer version, “Secularism in danger!”) and its hundreds of riot victims. On 3 March 1951, the Civil Judge of Faizabad observed: “it further appears from a number of affidavits of certain Muslim residents of Ayodhya that at least from 1936 onwards the Muslims have neither used the site as a mosque nor offered prayers there... Nothing has been pointed to discredit these affidavits.” .... Prof. B.P. Sinha claims to know how this disuse of the Masjid came about: “As early as 1936-37, a bill was introduced in the legislative council of U.P. to transfer the site to the Hindus (... ) the bill was withdrawn on an unwritten understanding that no namaz [be] performed.”
    • Court Order of the Civil Judge of Faizabad of March 3, 1951. Prof. B.P. Sinha. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Ayodhya: The case against the temple.
  • It seems that the name Babri Masjid became the official term from this report onwards, as before it was mostly referred to as Masjid-i Janmasthan... It is even disputed whether the Masjid was effectively used before 1934, and even before 1855. ... What is more, neither [Joseph Tieffenthaler] nor, to my knowledge, any of the Muslim sources, mentions Muslim worship in the Babri Masjid. These are indications for what many common people in Ayodhya have told me : that the Babri Masjid has not been a real mosque for most of its history. With such a prehistory, it also becomes understandable that the local Muslim community in the 1930s and 1940s could have a mosque standing there and yet not use it... on the strength of local Muslim testimony, the Babri Masjid was not in regular use since at least 1936. If any firm counter-proof had come up by now, I guess we would have seen it: the pro-Babri faction has enough media at its disposal to present the strong points in its case.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society
  • That the Babri Masjid replaced a pre-existent centre of worship, is also indicated by the fact that Hindus kept returning to the place, where more indulgent Muslim rulers allowed them to worship on a platform just outside the mosque. This is attested by a number of different pieces of testimony by Western travelers and by local Muslims, all of the pre-British period, as well as from shortly after the 1856 British take-over but explicitly referring to older local Muslim sources. A number of these documents have been presented by Harsh Narain and A.K. Chatterjee. That they are authentic and have a real proof value, is indirectly corroborated by the attempts made to make two of them disappear, which Harsh Narain and Arun Shourie independently discovered.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • There is archaeological evidence that a temple, or at the very least a building with pillars, has stood on the Babri Masjid spot since the eleventh century. Of course, because of the structure standing there, the archaeological search has been far from exhaustive, but at least of the existence of this 11th century building we can be certain... However, it is very unlikely that the place was not functioning as a Hindu place of worship just before the Babri Masjid was built. As is well known, fourteen pillar-stones with Hindu temple ornamentation have been used in the construction of the Babri Masjid. Considering the quantity of bricks employed in the building, one cannot say that these fourteen pillar-stones were used merely to economize on bricks: quantitatively, they simply didn't make a difference. These remnants of Hindu architecture were more probably use in order to display the victory of the mosque over the temple, of Islam over Paganism. That was in keeping with a very common practice of Muslim conquerors, who often left pieces of the outer wall of the destroyed temple standing (as was done in the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, replacing the Kashi Vishvanath temple), or worked pieces of idols into the threshold of the newly- built mosque, so that the faithful could tread them underfoot.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • “No evidence whatsoever has been proffered of continued Muslim occupation Babri Masjid, while the uninterrupted presence of Hindu devotees has been attested by several sources. Babri Masjid finds no mention in the revenue records of the Nawabi and British periods, nor was any Waqf ever created for its upkeep. No Muslim filed an FIR when the image of Sri Rama was placed under the central dome on 23rd December 1949.” (p.144)
    • Meenakshi Jain, The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya (2017)(p.145)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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