Much ado about a mosque – Prafull Goradia

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Similarly, it is difficult to think of a masjid without a minaret or several of them. As it is well-known, the function of a minaret is to enable a muezzin to stand as high as possible before he issues the azaan or the call for worship. The higher he can stand, the greater the distance his voice or baang would carry and more would be the worshippers, who would attend the prayer. In the days where there were no loudspeakers, the height of the minaret was most crucial. An outstanding example of height is the masjid built by Aurangzeb on the banks of Ganga at Varanasi, which has two extremely tall minarets.

Taking a foreign example, the big mosque at Istanbul was earlier a church of Hagia Sophia. There, the church was converted into a masjid by raising four minarets as tall as the pinnacle of the dome. In rural Anatolia and its wheat lands, most masjids have a single minaret. But a minaret was there nevertheless. Or else, the baang would not carry.

Was the edifice Babri maqbara rather than a masjid? If so, why is the Sunni Personal Law Board making so much hue and cry about the structure and the land on which it stood?

When this writer visited Ayodhya, he had heard a great deal about the Babri Masjid, as if it was some historic piece of architecture. This was early in 1991. The writer was surprised at the uncomely sight of this enormous rough-looking trinity of domes. More surprising was the total absence of anything like a minaret. This made him suspicious enough to enquire one by one, from three passing Muslim gentlemen, as to whether there was a mehrab or a mimbar inside, or a wuzooh for a wash before the prayer. A few minutes earlier, the writer was categorically informed by a skull cap-wearing gentleman that he could not go inside, hence the queries.

Whoever the writer talked to, including two shopkeepers, referred to it as the ‘Babri’ Masjid. The writer had not earlier, or even later, come across a mosque named after any individual. His suspicion continued about the nature of the edifice in the absence of a minaret and the presence of the name Babri. On subsequent contemplation, the writer felt that perhaps, the edifice was a maqbara of Mir Baqi, one of the military commanders of Babar in the latter’s invasion of India. The date of the building has been consistently given as 1528 AD.

Much ado about a mosqueBabar won the First Battle of Panipat in April 1526. He and his immediate men were new to India and were generally busy establishing their rule at Agra. How could Mir Baqi get the opportunity to visit Ayodhya; have the Ram temple demolished and have the huge Babri structure constructed — all in a matter of two years? In those days, five centuries ago, everything had to be done manually — breaking, building and all. It must have taken longer than two years. Babar died in 1530 while beseeching Allah, the merciful, to save the life of his ailing son Humayun.

Taking all these circumstances, — the lack of minaret and the presence of the name Babri among others — could it be possible that Mir Baqi did not forget the King he was beholden to, and admiring of? He took his time to build this maqbarah, probably larger than any in India, as a compact building in the loving memory of Zaheeruddin Mohammad Babar. In short, was the edifice Babri maqbarah rather than a masjid? If so, why is the Sunni Personal Law Board making so much song and dance about the edifice and the land on which it stood? Up to a dozen of maqbarahs were demolished under the British rule in order to lay out Delhi’s Golf Course.

Incidentally, Sir Arnold Toynbee had visited Delhi and Bombay in the 1950s to deliver the Azad Memorial Lectures. This was at the personal invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru. During the course of his lectures, Arnold expressed surprise at having seen the masjid with tall minarets, as we mentioned above, on the banks of the Ganga, still standing. This despite India’s independence, at the holiest of holy places of the Hindus. He went on to say that on his recent visit to Warsaw in Poland, he saw the cathedral in that city as a Roman Catholic edifice. When the Russians had conquered Warsaw a century or more ago, they had converted the earlier Catholic cathedral into a Russian orthodox church. The poles could not tolerate this but were helpless. When they regained independence towards the end of World War I, they demolished the Russian church and rebuilt their own.

This pattern of behaviour was in evidence elsewhere too. Several wars were fought during the 1990s after the collapse of the Socialist Federated Republic of Yugoslavia, particularly the 1991-1995 war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was the biggest conflict in Europe since the World War II, causing massive terror and brutality with approximately 150,000 deaths and several million people forcibly resettled. Although the Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims, who fought this war, were Europeans of Slavonic ancestry, they had significant and irreconcilable differences in religion. The Serbs are eastern-orthodox Christians, the Croats were Roman Catholics, and the Bosnian Muslims are Slavs Islamised after the Turkish conquest. The Serbs have always defended Christian Europe from invaders, most notably the Ottoman Turks. The heroic Serbian defence in the Battle of Kosovo against the Ottoman invaders in 1389 AD stands out as a landmark.

Conquering militias or armies in this 1992 inter-Yugoslav conflict destroyed the enemy’s religious symbols and built their own to symbolically mark the territory. For example, the capital city of what is today called the ‘Serb Republic’ of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was ethnically cleansed of all its numerous historic and newer mosques, with the Serbs also expelling the local Muslims, ostensibly in retribution for centuries of Ottoman humiliation.

Not only that, the Orthodox Serbs destroyed about 200 Catholic churches in Krajina in Croatia during their four year occupation of the town. This was Serb revenge on atrocities against the orthodox Church by the Croat Nazi puppet state during World War II. The Catholic Croats had then murdered over a 100 orthodox priests and three bishops, massacred about 1,000 Serbs in a town Glina and also razed its orthodox Church of the nativity.

Similar is the tale of Córdoba in Spain. It was originally a cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption) but was conquered by the invading Moors and turned into a mosque in 784 AD by Abd al-Rahman. It was reconquered by 1236 AD by King Ferdinand III of Castile during the Reconquista. The centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. The kings who followed added further Christian features.

(The writer is a well-known columnist and an author)

Courtesy The Pioneer , 28 December 2018



By- Balbir Punj

                     Balbir PunjA TALE OF TWO CITIES- While the world is busy getting ready to welcome 2018, two ancient cities — Ayodhya and Jerusalem — have been in the news for civilization reasons in the last month of the outgoing year. Jerusalem, the focus and spiritual centre of the Jews, hit the headlines when the Trump Administrationdecided to shift the US embassy in Israel there from its current location in Tel Aviv. Ayodhya, one of the holiest cities of Hindus, figured in public discourse recently after the Supreme Court decided to hear the Babri Masjid-Ram Janam Bhumi case. Appeals against the Allahabad High Court verdict in this case have been pending before the apex court for the last seven years.

Both Ayodhya and Jerusalem, located in two different parts of the globe, have a lot in common in terms of travails and the trauma they have suffered at the hands of successive invaders, who claimed divine inspiration from their respective religious texts while repeatedly sacking the ancient cities.

Like Ayodhya, whose existence pre-dates even Lord Rama, the history of Jerusalem too is lost in antiquity, tracing its hoary past to Adam, the first man created by god. It is believed that Adam lived in Jerusalem all of his life.
A TALE OF TWO CITIESDuring its chequered history, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured, and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times and destroyed twice. In the 1st century CE, Jerusalem became the birthplace of early Christianity. The Emperor Constantine developed the city as a Christian centre of worship and the Jews were banned from their city.

In 638 CE, the city was over-run by Muslims, led by their first Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab. However, in July 1099, crusaders captured the city and nearly all the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants were massacred. In 1517, Jerusalem was taken over by the Ottoman empire and after its collapse, by the British.

The way the name of Lord Rama (and by association that of Ayodhya) permeates India and Hindus the world over, the city of Jerusalem is central to the faith and identity of Jews. Here are some Jewish customs.

A tiny amount of ash is touched to the forehead of a Jewish groom before he goes to stand beneath the bridal canopy. This symbolically reminds him not to allow his own rejoicing to be greater than the ongoing need to recall Jerusalem’s repeated destruction.

While the world is gearing up to welcome yet another year, two ancient cities, which have lots in common in terms of travails and trauma they have suffered, are undergoing civilisational trials

Another ancient custom is to leave a path of interior wall opposite the door to one’s home unpainted, as a remembrance of the destruction of the temples and city of Jerusalem at the hands of successive invaders.

According to the Bible, Jewish temples stood on Temple Mount. According to Jewish tradition and scripture, the first temple was built by King Solomon, the son of King David, in 957 BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE and destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Jewish tradition maintains it is here that a third and final temple will also be built.

The location is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place Jews turn towards during prayer. Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood, since according to Rabbinical law, some aspect of the divine presence is still present at the site.

However, after Islamic take-over in 638 CE, the Mount was declared the third holiest site for Sunni Muslims. It is revered as the Noble Sanctuary, the location of Prophet  Muhammad’s journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven.

The Prophet is believed to have been taken by the miraculous Steed, Buraq, to visit Jerusalem, where he prayed and then to visit heaven, in a single night in the year 610.

While the Hindus are repeatedly told to prove Lord Rama’s birthplace at Ayodhya, none has ever asked for evidence for the Islamic belief about the Prophet’s sojourn to heaven on a flying horse.

Thanks to their steadfast commitment to their culture and faith, unity, and clarity of purpose, the Jews today have complete control over Jerusalem. On the other hand, divided Hindus have been struggling to build a Ram temple at his birth place for hundreds of years, but without any tangible results.

The Hindu aspiration to build a grand Ram temple, at the site believed to be his birth place in Ayodhya, is not directed against Islam or Muslims. What the Karsevaks demolished on December 6, 1992, was not a place of worship (a mosque) but a monument built by an invader to humiliate the locals. The situation is best summed up in the words of  Arnold Toynbee, one of the great historians of the present century. While delivering the Azad Memorial Lecture, he said:

“As I have been speaking, some vivid visual memories have been flashing up in my mind’s eye. One of these is a mental picture of the principal square in the Polish City of Warsaw sometime in the late nineteen twenties. In the course of the first Russian occupation of Warsaw (1614-1915) the Russians had built an Eastern Orthodox Christian Cathedral on this central spot in the city that had been the capital of the once independent Roman Catholic Christian country, Poland.

“The Russians had done this to give the Poles a continuous ocular demonstration that the Russians were now their masters. After the reestablishment of Poland’s independence in 1918, the Poles had pulled this cathedral down. Demolition had been completed just before the date of my visit. I do not greatly blame the Polish Government for having pulled down that Russian Church. The purpose for which the Russians had built it had been not religious but political, and the purpose had also been intentionally offensive.

“Aurangzeb’s purpose in building those three Mosques was the same intentionally offensive political purpose that moved the Russians to build their Orthodox Cathedral in the city centre at Warsaw. Those three Mosques were intended to signify that an Islamic Government was reigning supreme, even over Hinduism’s holiest of holy places.

“I must say that Aurangzeb had a veritable genius for picking out provocative sites. Aurangzeb and Philip II of Spain are a pair. They are incarnations of the gloomily fanatical vein in the Christian-Muslim-Jewish family of religions.

“Aurangzeb — a poor wretched misguided bad man spent a lifetime of hard labour in raising massive monuments to his own discredit. Perhaps the Poles were really kinder in destroying the Russians self-discrediting monuments in Warsaw than you have been in sparing Aurangzeb’s Mosques. Anyway, it is Aurangzeb, and not the Hindu holy ground on which his Mosques are planted, that suffers from their very conspicuous presence…” (One World and India, compiled by National Book Trust, pp 59-61)

(The writer is a political commentator and a former BJP Rajya Sabha MP)

Courtesy-The Pioneer, 18 December 2017

Mahant Vedanti takes full responsibility for the destruction of Babri Masjid

Mahant Vedanti takes full responsibility for the destruction of Babri Masjid structure in 1992

The Supreme Court’s suggestion in March for a consensual decision to end the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute involving all parties has set off some churn in the decades-old dispute, with a proposal to build an inter-faith Vishwadharmi Shriram Manavata Bhavan in Ayodhya said Mahant Vedanti.

Mahant VedantiThe Bhavan is proposed to be built on the disused 67-acre plot of land adjacent to the makeshift temple at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya.

The proposal will be discussed at a conference to be held in New Delhi on Monday (Gandhi Jayanti), under the aegis of the World Peace Centre at Alandi in Maharashtra, headed by Vishwanath Karad (who has filed an intervention petition in the Ram Janmabhoomi case). Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, former MP and ex-chair of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas; social activist Swami Agnivesh; Chancellor of Nalanda University Vijay Bhatkar; and former Union Minister Arif Mohammad Khan are also expected to participate in the meeting.

“The proposal will also be put before the Dharma Sansad of sants to be held in Udupi between October 24 and November 16,” Mahant Vedanti told The Hindu.

A scale model of the proposed inter-faith Bhavan will be on display at the Constitution Club in Delhi for public viewing during the conference.

Mahant Vedanti admitted that the Sunni Waqf Board was not on board, but according to him, the Shia Waqf Board had a greater claim on the land. “History is clear that Babar never visited Ayodhya and he had asked Mir Baqi to destroy the temple. Mir Baqi was a Shia and his grave is at Shah Nawa village in Faizabad,” he said.

The Shia Waqf Board had, in April, filed a 30-page affidavit saying that they were amenable to the construction of a mosque at a distance from the disputed site.

“Under this proposal, five acres will be given to each building of eight religions of the 67 acres acquired by the government,” said Mahant Vedanti, adding that this would make Ayodhya a pilgrimage for all religions, including Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Zorashtrianism, Judaism and Jainism. He also said that with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre and the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh, chances of a solution to the issue appeared brighter than ever before.

“At a time when the world is dealing with global terrorism, we need to come up with this kind of solution,” said Mahant Vedanti, who had also astounded those around him by taking full responsibility for the destruction of the Masjid structure in 1992.

“I told the High Court, very clearly, that I was responsible for that demolition and that he [the judge] should let L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others go,” he told The Hindu.

Dr. Karad, who also spoke to The Hindu, said an inter-religious dialogue was the only way forward. “This is the reason why I filed an intervention petition in the Supreme Court,” he said.


Ram Janmabhoomi main litigant Mahant Bhaskar Das dead

Ram Janmabhoomi case main litigant Mahant Bhaskar Das deaMahant Bhaskar Dasd

Mahant Bhaskar Das, the main litigant in the Babri Masjid- Ram Janmabhoomi case passed away in Ayodhya on September 16. He was 89.

The seer, head of Nirmohi Akhada, was a petitioner in the case since 1959. He was admitted to a private medical facility on September 12 following breathing problems where he later suffered a brain stroke. The seer will be cremated at the Tulsi ghat in Ayodhya later on September 16, close associates told IANS.

Doctors had earlier advised that he be taken to a super-speciality hospital either in Lucknow or Delhi. However, the ageing priest refused to leave the temple town.

Faizabad MP Lallu Singh, former UPCC president Nirmal Khatri and several local BJP and RSS leaders besides others paid their homage to the seer.

All shops in the Hanumangarhi area in Ayodhya have downed their shutters as a mark of respect. The seer’s disciples recalled that he had cordial relations with Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the case, who passed away in July 2016.


Hindu temple remnants were found at Babri Masjid site

Back Issue News – January, 2016

Hindu temple remnants were found at Babri Masjid site, Left historians distorted facts: KK Muhammad

'Hindu temple remnants were found at Babri Masjid site, Left historians distorted facts'
In a revelation that has put the role of historians in shaping the fact-based history under scanner, former Regional Director(North) of Archaeological Survey of India KK Muhammad has alleged that an excavation done by a team headed by Professor BB Lal, then director general of the ASI during 1976-77, found the remnants of a Hindu temple at the Babri Masjid site.

According to Firstpost, in his recent memoirs Njan Enna Bharatiyan (I an Indian) in Malayalam, Muhammad has accused Left historians like Irfan Habib and Romila Thapar of thwarting an amicable settlement to the Babri Masjid issue.

“The Babri issue would have been settled long ago if the Muslim intelligentsia had not fallen prey to the brain washing by the Leftist historians. A set of historians including Romila Thapar, Bipin Chandra and S Gopal argued that there was no mention of the dismantling of the temple before 19th century and Ayodhya is Bhudhist-Jain centre. They were supported by historians Irfan Habib, RS Sharma, DN Jha, Suraj Ben and Akthar Ali,” Muhammad told Firstpost.

Muhammad further claimed that a Hindu temple existed at the site of the Babri Masjid based on the unearthing of temple pillars during the excavation.

“We found not one but 14 pillars of a temple at the Babri Masjid site. All these pillars had domes carved on them. The domes resembled those found in temples belonging to 11th and 12th century. In the temple architecture domes are one of the nine symbols of prosperity. It was quite evident that the Masjid was erected on the debris of a temple. I went on writing to several English dailies in those days about the finding. Only one news paper published my view and that too in the letters to Editor column,” He wrote in the book.

He further accused the Left historians of misleading the Allahabad High Court and alleged that even Qutab Minar and Taj Mahal were also built on Hindu temples.

Muhammad has been working as the director of Aga Khan Trust project in Hyderabad after retiring from ASI in 2012.

While some noted historians have backed Muhammad’s claims, a few left historians have snubbed the arguments as baseless.

Zee Media Bureau, January 27, 2016

Chronicle of the Ayodhya controversy-Dr Koenraad Elst

Chronicle of the Ayodhya controversy

By-Dr. Koenraad Elst

Koenraad Elst-The controversy on Rama’s birthplace in Ayodhya, where a Hindu temple was forcibly replaced with a mosque known as the Babri Masjid, was very consequential.

It raged at its fiercest around 1990, when it led to the fall of two national governments, the dismissal of four state governments, two electoral victories of the BJP  ultimately leading to its present power position, riots claiming a few thousands of lives, dozens of temple demolitions from England to Bangladesh, and terrorist attacks pioneering a now-popular new tactic, viz. many  synchronous attacks at different locations within one city, first tried in Mumbai on 12 March 1993. While that seemed to be the closing date of Ayodhya-related violence, the controversy again played a minor role in the next major communal conflagration, the Gujarat riots of 2002. These started with the arson of a train coach carrying Hindu pilgrims from Ayodhya, and helping to make CM Narendra Modi the undisputed Hindu leader and today the PM.

So many books are published about religion and politics in India, that one would expect such a consequential affair to generate a whole library. Very partly, this has indeed been the case. In the 1990s, every Indian political “scientist” and every foreign India-watcher hurried to publish an account of or comment on the Ayodhya controversy. On that occasion, almost all of them followed in the footsteps of the “Eminent Historians”, who had decreed in 1989 that there had never been a Hindu temple at the site. This way, they overruled the consensus existing till then (even among the Muslims and Britons), viz. that the mosque had of course been built in forcible replacement of a temple. These “experts” all took it as a given that any pro-temple voice was that of a history-falsifier or Hindu fanatic.

In 1991 already, an officially organized scholars’ debate highlighted plenty of evidence for the demolished-temple scenario, but it effectively got drowned out by all the loud anti-temple shouting that bullied most public figures into conformity. In the Court-ordered excavations of 2003, however, archaeologists dug up the foundations of the temple and provided the definitive proof: the Eminent Historians had taken the nation for a ride. All the “experts” who had parroted their mendacious account were left with egg on their faces. This explains why all of them have firmly looked the other way and discouraged anyone from further writing about the affair.

So we are happy to report that at last, the Ayodhya library is starting to grow. After the 2010 Court ruling essentially leaving the site to the Hindu litigants, we had as yet only one new Ayodhya book: history professor Meenakshi Jain’s Rama and Ayodhya (2013), meticulously detailing the evidence and revealing the complete loss of face by the Eminent Historians when questioned in Court. Three years later, we can welcome Anuradha Dutt’s book Sri Ram Mandir, published by Shubhi Publications (Gurgaon 2016). As a veteran journalist, she has followed the whole controversy from day to day since the 1980s. Naturally, the format here is looser, more journalistic, but covering far more ground than just the historical data.

In his foreword, retired historian Prof. Saradindu Mukherji already surveys the evidence and the misbehaviour by the Eminent Historians. He highlights the contribution to the debate by outsiders, especially by Arun Shourie and by the late AK Chatterjee, two people with a reputation for uprightness and incorruptibility. His opening line sums it all up: “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.” (p.7)

Mrs. Dutt chronicles the history before Independence very briefly, the more recent history in detail. The evidence (p.29-116) is interwoven with the polemic between real and would-be professionals and the mediacrats. Then she relates the politics of the affair, including background facts (Shah Bano divorce rights, Mandal reservations), successive governments, the internal faction struggle among Dharmacharyas, and the hostile spin which the Dravidianists and their Marxist supporters put on any story involving Rama. On the way, she does of course present the episodes in the narrative of the “temple liberation” movement itself. Since I don’t want to spoil the reader’s pleasure, I will give no further details here.

She also gives the theological background, with the Puranic lore about the divine incarnations and the pilgrimages, and the Islamic theology of iconoclasm. This does not base itself on Hindu precedent, as the secularists nowadays claim, but on the Prophet’s precedent: “The first polytheistic shrine that was taken over by Mohammed and his followers was the Kaaba in Mecca, an old pilgrimage centre, on December 11, 629 AD.” (p.119)

While this book is packed with data, for the more recent period even many hitherto unknown data, a reviewer may be forgiven for nitpicking about a few shortcomings. One is a fine point that most readers won’t even notice: she posits in passing that at the time of “militant Islamic intrusion, (…) Adi Shankara and other theistic crusaders succeeded in worsting heterodox preachers in debate”. (p.144) This suggests a relation between Islam and these polemics. But in fact, there isn’t any connection between the Islamic invasions and Sankara’s polemic against intra-Hindu “heterodoxy”. Not that he was entirely unaware of them. For most of India, these invasions had not started yet, but Sindh was already under Muslim occupation. That is where Shankara had planned to establish the westernmost of his four abbeys: in Hinglaj on the western side of the Indus. But because of the Islamic occupation, he had to settle for Dwarka in Gujarat.

Yet, his writings, as well as those of numerous later Dharmacharyas, show no awareness at all of the Islamic challenge. More than a thousand years after confronting the Islamic presence did Hindu society first spawn a critique of the Quran, viz. by Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayananda Saraswati. It is one of the worst failings of Hindu society that it has responded to the Islamic challenge only with lying low or with being heroic and dying, and never with informed arguments against the ideology that motivated them.

The second point pertains to the Ayodhya narrative itself, particularly the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992. “Analysts debated, as they still do, whether the demolition was a spontaneous act (…) or a planned move.” (p.26) And she leaves it at that non-committal observation. But shouldn’t a journalist be curious about the responsibility? And not just the present author, but the hundreds of reporters on the Ayodhya events?

The vast majority of commentators refrained from wondering about the mechanics of the demolition. Out of a desire for maximum damage to the hated BJP, they declared LK Advani responsible, the BJP leader who presided over the gathering, though the demolition took place against his will. Most of the activists who achieved the demolition, assure us that it was all spontaneous. But from some voices inside the RSS, I have heard the name of an engineer who prepared a few technical aspects of the demolition. After he and his assistents had given a lead, the mass of unprepared volunteers joined in. All these years I have kept this name to myself, and I will continue to do so. I want to leave the honour of revealing this name to an inquisitive Indian journalist. Very belatedly, he can make headlines with a photograph captioned: “This man demolished the Babri Masjid”, or: “Meet the Demolition mastermind”. This is what any of the hundreds of journalists could have done in 1992, but they were so partisan that they spurned this moment of glory for a predictable and untrue accusation against Advani.

The last point is a partisan attitude that shines through. I do not mean: partisan in favour of the temple thesis, for that would cast aspersions on a stand for the truth. After the tons of filth thrown at the truth about the Ayodhya history, it is only right for an author to set the record straight. I mean the choice for one political party over another, as if more naturally favouring the Hindu ownership. She writes that after the BJP was put on the defensive by the Demolition, as a “clever strategist, [PM Narasimha] Rao formulated a plan for the Congress to hijack the temple cause”. (p.182) How so, “hijack”? This is not the property of a political party. And if it were, then more of the Congress than of the BJP.

The first major politician to call for the liberation of the Rama Janmabhumi was Gulzarilal Nanda, the former Congress interim-PM. Congress PM Rajiv Gandhi was working on a peaceful arrangement for a Hindu temple at the site, a move thwarted by the shrill and mendacious claims made from the Eminent Historians’ pulpit. And the “clever strategist” Narasimha Rao (the best PM independent India ever had) allowed the Demolition to take its course because that way, not only would the BJP be embarrassed, but at least the mosque would be out of the way and a solution that much closer. Meanwhile, the BJP used the Ayodhya enthusiasm to make gains in the 1989 and 1991 elections, then dropped it like a hot potato.

In spite of these minor remarks, this book contains such a wealth of material on the facts and backgrounds of the Ayodhya controversy that I can unreservedly recommend it. And if you don’t care for the text, then at least enjoy the many pictures of the Hindu implements dug up at the contentious site.

– APRIL 10, 2016


Ayodhya title dispute; SC allows Swamy to intervene

Ayodhya title dispute; SC allows Swamy to intervene

The Supreme Court today allowed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the Ayodhya title dispute with his plea seeking construction of Ram temple at the site of demolished disputed structure.
A bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra, while tagging Swamy’s fresh plea with pending civil appeals, said that it cannot separately hear the petition seeking direction to allow construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya at the site where the disputed structure was demolished in 1992 as a matter of fundamental right.
“Tag this matter with the pending civil appeals. Let parties be served with the copies,” it said.
Swamy argued that the Government already given an affidavit that it would pave way for construction of the temple if there are evidence and moreover, there are findings of Archaeological Survey of India to this effect.
At the outset, the bench said that it cannot entertain the “writ petition” when the civil appeals are pending before it and Swamy should either move the High Court for enforcement of his fundamental rights or seek impleament as a party in the pending civil appeals here.
Swamy had earlier moved the plea for a direction to allow construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site and had mentioned it before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur for urgent hearing.
Swamy in his petition claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries, a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes like constructing road etc, whereas a temple once constructed cannot be touched.
“A temple and a masjid cannot be considered on par as far as sacredness is concerned. A masjid is not an essential part of Islam religion, according to the above majority judgment of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, whereas according to the House of Lords, U K (1991), the temple is always a temple even if in disuse or ruins.
“Thus, the fundamental truth is that the Ram temple on Ram Janmabhoomi has an overriding claim to the site than any mosque,” Swamy claimed in his plea.
Swamy has also sought directions to expedite the disposal of several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on September 30, 2010.
While ordering status quo at the site, which means that prayers at Ram Lalla’s make-shift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya would go on as usual, the apex court had restrained any kind of religious activity on the adjacent 67 acres of land which had been taken over by the Centre.
-26 February 2016 | PTI | New Delhi

VHP rakes up demand for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya

VHP rakes up demand for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday made a renewed pitch for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and announced a seminar, to be held in January, on how to work toward a legal solution to the issue.

VHP leader Ashok Singhal, however, did not blame the Narendra Modi government for not making any move to construct the temple, despite a BJP majority government at the Centre.

“The Supreme Court has to pronounce its judgment on the matter, and the government too has to wait,” he said.

The VHP’s aim is to draw attention to the significant legal victories already in its kitty on the issue and how to move forward, he said.

The seminar would be held under the aegis of the Arundhati Vashisth Anusandhan Peeth, an affiliated organisation of the VHP.

Legal hurdles

Dr. Swamy said that he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on how to remove legal obstacles on the route to building the Ram temple and had “received an acknowledgement of the letter” but not a reply.

“I have also written to BJP president Amit Shah for calling a special session of the national executive.”

-The Hindu, NEW DELHI, October 1, 2015