The Game

 

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SRI RAMA'S NAME BUT BABAR'S GAME!
Bharatiya Janwadi Aghadi

Copyright 1990, All Rights Reserved.

Introduction
Only One Ram-Janam-Bhoomi?
Was the Babri Masjid Built After Destroying a Ram Mandir?
Why Did Muslim and Hindu Rulers Destroy Temples?
Where Will the Destruction of Other's Shrines Take Us?
Not Authorized Proof, But Authorized Deceit!
The Heritage of Brotherhood
The Heritage of the Fundamentalists
Sri Rama or Babar?

Introduction

The Ram-Janam-Bhoomi / Babri Masjid dispute has set the whole country on fire. No religion preaches hatred and yet in the name of religion the most savage communal riots have been organized. Complete villages have been destroyed and entire families have been cold-bloodedly massacred. In the name of religion, helpless women have been raped and defenseless men have been burnt alive. Children have been reduced to orphans while hundreds of women have become widows. Thousands of families have been rendered homeless and hundreds of thousands have lost their meager sources of livelihood. Hundreds of cities and towns are suffering under curfew, while fear, insecurity and tension have gripped huge parts of the country.

Armed groups like the Bajrang Dal and the Adam Sena have unleashed the most vicious communal violence in the name of religion. In 1989, after the Shila pujans, the most gory dance of death, were performed in Bhagalpur, Badaun, Kota, Meruth and other places, making a crude mockery of religion. This year the most violent communal riots were instigated in Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka in the wake of L.K. Advani's Rath Yatra. And now, the most bestial communal holocausts have been unleashed in Ahmedabad, Aligarh, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, etc., as a follow-up to the kar seva at Ayodhya. Whether the Babri Masjid will eventually be demolished or not is not definite. What is definite is that through this conflict, thousands of homes belonging to Hindus and Muslims have been broken and will continue to break.

If anything has saved our country till now, it is the fact that scores of Hindus refuse to follow these "defenders of Hinduism." The fact that millions of Muslims refuse to retaliate under the instigation of the self-proclaimed "defenders of Islam." And it is this that should make all Indians proud and give us inexhaustible hope.

If it was left to the true devotees of Sri Rama and Allah (SWT) to find a solution, the problem would have been solved a long time ago, because true devotees of God are interested in worship and not conflict. True devotees are interested in prayer and service and not in using religion to become MP's and ministers. One such agreement between true devotees was arrived at as far back as a century ago, when the people of both communities worshiped at the disputed site.

However, today the true devotees of Sri Rama and Allah (SWT) have been pushed into the background while those totally hostile to any solution have pushed themselves center stage. On the one hand, are the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) claiming to be the sole representatives of Hindus, and on the other hand, is the Babri-Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) claiming to be the sole representative of the Muslims. These Hindus and Muslim fundamentalists, who claim to have the sole monopoly to decide for their respective communities, are the ones who are deliberately avoiding a settlement. The VHP and the BMAC have from time to time pretended to find a peaceful settlement through negotiations. However while these leadership shake hands, exchange evidence, make polite conversation, their henchmen are busy setting the country on fire.

Similarly, leaders like the Advani and the Vajpayees continue their facade of "reasonableness and liberalness," claiming they do not want to demolish the Masjid but to "respectfully" shift it to another site. But this is a mere play of words to fool the liberal intelligentsia. Shifting a Masjid against the wishes of the community amounts to force. Besides, can one ignore that while the fundamentalists of all religions act as liberals and reasonable men with the press and on T.V., with intellectuals at seminars and in Parliament, yet their own henchmen in gallis and mohalas abuse the other community, preach communal violence, and instigate riots. VHP and RSS followers continue to give the most provocative, blood-curdling slogans like "Usko Kaun bachaye jis ka wadh karne bhagwan chale." (Who can save those whom God himself has set out to destroy), "Jo mange Babri, uske din hai akhri." (Those who demand Babri have their days numbered) etc.

This is not all. The RSS, VHP and BJP have made it clear that the removal of the Babri Masjid is just the first step in their objective towards a Hindu Rashtra. It is not a question of merely one shrine in Ayodhya. The VHP has named hundreds of other masjids which it is subsequently going to "liberate" -- obviously using brute force. With the Babri Masjid "Reconstruction" program, it is only laying the foundations of its future diabolic plans.

It is therefore extremely important to understand where this dangerous path of using fuze to "settle" disputes concerning faith and worship will take our country. A path propagated by the RSS through its various front organizations like the VHP and the BJP. Let us scrutinize their arguments.

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Only One Ram-Janam-Bhoomi?

They say that Muslims can have their Masjid anywhere else, but for the Hindus there is only one Ram-Janam-Bhoomi. But is it true that the Hindus unanimously agree that there is only one Ram-Janam-Bhoomi? That Sri Rama was born exactly at the spot where the Babri Masjid stands today?

The Ramayan by Maharishi Valmiki does not say where Ram was born. Another book in Sanskrit, Ayodhya Mahatmya, says that Sri Rama was born in Kaushalya Bhavan. The Kaushalya Bhavan still stands at a distance from the disputed site. The Dashrath Mahal also stands nearby. Some people ask: Could Lord Rama, son of the mighty King Dashrath, have been born outside his father's or mother's palace?

But most important, a temple called Ram Janmasthan Mandir which stands a few hundred yards away from the Babri Masjid is known by locals as the birthplace of Sri Rama! If the Babri Masjid site is the birthplace of Sri Rama, then why is this other temple venerated by thousands of Hindus as the Ram Janmasthan Mandir? Does the VHP have an answer to this question?

But the VHP and BJP are not really interested in worship, even at the site they claim to be the Janmasthan. It is a fact which the BJP and VHP themselves accept that since the past four years, Hindus have been worshiping without any restriction the Sri Rama idols placed under the central dome of the Babri Masjid. Despite this the VHP and BJP are roaming around the country instigating people to break down the shrine. Is it not clear that they are not interested in worship but in deliberately offending the religious sentiments of Muslims, of insulting and denigrating todays Muslims for the crimes committed by the Aurangzeb and Mohammed Ghaznavi? Their acts of vandalism on October 30, 1990, proved beyond doubt that they were not interested in worship but in breaking the shrine.

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Was the Babri Masjid Built After Destroying a Ram Mandir?

The VHP claims that the Babri Masjid was built in Ayodhya after destroying a Ram Mandir there. Recently, they have begun citing "archaeological evidences" to "prove" their claims. However, all these claims have been refuted by famous and renowned historians. For example, a team of 26 famous Indian historians (25 of them Hindus), including renowned scholars like Sarvapalli Gopal, Roamila Thapar, Bipan Chandra, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Suvira Jaiswal, Harbans Mukhia, K N. Pannikkar, R. Champalakshmi, Satish Saberwal, B. D. Chattopadhyay, have jointly stated that "so far no historical evidence has been unearthed to support the claim that the Babri Masjid has been constructed on the land that had been earlier occupied by a temple." This has been confirmed by the findings and researches of other disputed historians like Sushil Shrivastav and Aok Mitra. Noted historian R.S. Sharma also confirms the above fact.

Neither the autobiography of Babar called Babarnama, nor the Ain-e-Akbari has any reference that the Babri Masjid was built after destroying a Ram mandir.

Sant Tulsidas, a devotee of Lord Rama, lived in Ayodhya during the reign of Akbar and wrote his famous Ram Charit Manas. In his work, Tulsidas writes not a word that the Babri Masjid was built after destroying a Ram temple. Would Sant Tulsidas, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, have remained silent if the Ram-Janam-Bhoomi temple was destroyed and the Babri Masjid built over it?

Recently, some of the national papers have been full of the "archaeological evidence" unearthed to "prove" the destruction of a Ram Mandir. However, all these claims made by some archaeologists on the basis of "evidence" excavated 15 years ago have been refuted point by point by Prof. Romila Thapar, Prof. Sarvapalli Gopal and Prof. K. N. Pannikar in a recent statement. These noted historians ask how come this "evidence" was kept hidden by these archaeologists for the past 15 years and has suddenly cropped up. They point out that the earlier statements made by one of ten archaeologists B. B. Lal, "contradict his present claim to having found the pillar bases on what may have been a temple at the site!".

But the total lack of conclusive historical evidence does not deter the VHP. They have no need whatsoever of such proof as they assert that it is a question of faith. But if that is the case, there are countless Hindus who believe that the Ram Janmasthan Mandir (also called Sita Ki Rasoi) and not the Babri Masjid, is the real Ram-Janam-Bhoomi. Why is the VHP silent about their faith? And if faith was so important for leaders like Advani and Vajpayee, what happened to this precious virtue of theirs when they were in power at the center and in Uttar Pradesh in 1977? How come they conveniently forgot about the Ram-Janam-Bhoomi then?

The VHP claims are not restricted to the Babri Masjid alone. Almost every single monument in the world is claimed to be a Hindu mandir. 'Vishwa Hindu,' the VHP journal, claims that the Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahalaya -- a Shiva temple. Jerusalem is Yedushayam, or the shrine of the Lord of Yadus -- Krishna. St. Paul's Cathedral in London is originally "Gopal Krishna Mandir." The Kaaba in Mecca was a gigantic Vishnu temple, Paris was Panneshwaram, etc., and everybody in the world is supposed to accept this unquestioningly because it is the VHP's faith! What does the VHP take the people to be -- little children who will listen to any old nannies tale? Is it not a deliberate and malicious attempt to fool Hindus and to hurt the religious sentiments of non-Hindus?

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Why Did Muslim and Hindu Rulers Destroy Temples?

The VHP instigates Hindus by charging that Muslim rulers tried to force Islam on Hindus and demolished temples as part of their religious oppression. Yes some Muslim rulers did destroy temples in the process of wars. But these were not religious wars. Every Muslim ruler had some Hindus commanding top positions in their armies, and similarly Hindu rulers had some Muslims in similar positions. What the VHP deliberately hides is that the main motive behind the destruction of temples was not religion by plunder. And that such plunder was carried out not only by Muslim rulers, but even by Hindu rulers who looted their own Gods. For example, Prof. Harbans Mukhia tells us, "Many Hindu rulers also did the same (demolish) with temples in enemy territory long before the Muslims had emerged as a political challenge to these kingdoms. Subhatavarman, the Parmar ruler (1193 -1210 A.D.), attacked Gujrat and plundered a large number of Jain temples at Dabhoi and Cambay. Harsha, a ruler of Kashmir, plundered all the temples in his own kingdom, barring four, in order to replenish his treasury, and not a word of protest was uttered. And when he needed still more money and enhanced the amount of tribute due from his subordinate feudal lords, he was dragged down the streets of Srinagar and done to death."

Do the VHP leaders have the courage to tell this history to the masses? Do they also condemn Hindu rules like Subhatavarman and Harsha along with Babar?

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Where Will the Destruction of Other's Shrines Take Us?

Indian history is replete with examples of the conversion of shrines. Not just mandirs converted into masjids, or churches, but even Buddhist temples have been converted into Hindu temples. Even though Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites are both Hindus, there are a number of examples where Shiva temples have been forcibly converted into Vaishnavaite temples and vice-versa. Now what if the Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites, both Hindus, follow the VHPs reasoning and start demolishing each others temples in order on restore them to the original status? Will it unite the Hindus or will it lead to disintegration - we would like to ask the VHP, the self-proclaimed unifying force within Hinduism? Nationalist it claims to be, but can its logic lead to anything else but breaking the country?

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Not Authorized Proof, But Authorized Deceit!

When renowned historians have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that the Babri Masjid was built after destroying a temple to Lord Rama, then on what basis does the VHP make this claim? It is clear that this legend has been inserted into "official records" in the past century, and the ones responsible for fanning this controversy were the oppressive British rulers whose policy was to divide and rule. Primarily they attempted to break Hindu-Muslim unity and sow the seeds of hatred and discord. The translator of BabarNama into English, Lady Annette Beveridge, the officiating commissioner of Faizabad, P. Carnegie, and other Britishers were responsible for mischievously inserting into the government gazette and other records the legend that a temple was destroyed and a masjid built - without any evidence whatsoever, without any research whatsoever!

BJP President Shri L.K. Advani cites the testimony of Carnegie. But Carnegie's entire work consists of surmises. Here is a sample. Carnegie says that Ayodhya "must as least have possessed a fine temple at the Janmasthan..." Must have? Is this speculation or is this proof? Carnegie further says "it seems that in 1528, Babar visited Ayodhya and under his orders this ancient temple must have been destroyed." Note the words "it seems!" Just because it seems so to the British sahibs, does it make historical proof? All the myths spread by the British without an iota of proof have been effectively demolished by Indian historians like Romila Thapar, Bipan Chandra and others.

The leaders of the various front organizations of the RSS proudly call themselves nationalists. However, these very nationalist leaders do not hesitate to peddle the same myths perpetuated by the British colonists to serve their exploitative interests. Is it nationalistic to divide the people of this country on the deceptive myths propagated by the British?

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The Heritage of Brotherhood

If plunder has its history so does brotherhood. The brotherhood of the Hindus and the Muslim masses has its own inspiring history which the VHP and the BMAC try to hide. Prof. Sunil Srivastava Department of Medieval and Modem History, Allahabad University, and others have shown that as far back as in 1855, the local leaders of Ayodhya from both communities (Raja Devi, Baksh Singh, Maulvi Amir Ali, Pandit Ram Chandra Das, etc.) had come to an agreement to settle the dispute.

But the British government had to divide to rule. They schemed along with some local mahants (priests). In the 1857 revolt, these mahants had helped the British along with some landlords. After crushing the revolt, the British gifted the mahants rights over the open land in front of the Babri Masjid and allowed them to build a chabootra (platform) to mark Ram-Janam- Bhoomi. By doing so they killed two birds with one stone - returned the favors done to them during the revolt, and also created a vested interest for the mahants in opening up old wounds. The British did not stop at just this.

After crushing the revolt they publicly hanged the leaders, who had made the agreement in 1855, on a tree. How much the people wanted communal harmony can be seen from the fact that they started worshiping the tree as a symbol of unity and courage. But this was too much for the British to tolerate, and their Awadh Resident got the tree struck down in 1860.

We have to decide today which heritage and history we will uphold - that of people who lived in communal harmony and martyrs who gave their lives for the unity of the people, or the history of the communalists who preach only hatred and disunity?

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The Heritage of the Fundamentalists

The involvement of the RSS and the Muslim fundamentalists too has its own history. After the British Raj ended, these organizations carried forward the mission started by the British - to instigate communal passions and to divide the people.

The collector of Faizabad in 1949 was one Mr. K.K. Nair who was known for his sympathies for the RSS, who later joined the Jan Sangh (the then political front of the RSS) after his retirement and contested assembly elections on a Jan Sangh ticket. He allowed some people to create a volatile situation by surreptitiously installing the idol of Sri Rama in the Masjid in December 1949.

The RSS, the VHP and other organizations preach to the common Hindus that on the night of December 22-23, 1949, Sri Rama himself miraculously appeared in the temple, e.g., the RSS English organ Organizer in an article published on March 29, 1987, wrote, "On the historical dawn of 23 December Sri Rama and Sita Devi miraculously appeared at the Janmasthan." However, the truth of the matter has been recorded in three incontrovertible and indisputable government documents. One, a radio message sent on December 23, 1949 by the district magistrate K.K. Nayar to the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh G.B. Pant, the chief secretary and the home secretary. It read: "A few Hindus entered the Babri Masjid at night when the Masjid was deserted and installed a deity there."

The second document is a FIR lodged by sub-inspector Ram Dubey based on police constable Mata Prasad's report at the police station in Ayodhya on December 23, 1949. It states that '...at around 8 o'clock in the morning I came to know that a group of 50 to 60 persons had entered Babri Masjid after breaking the compound gate lock of the Masjid or through jumping across the walls (of the compound) with a stair and established therein an idol of Sri Rama and painted Sita, Rama, etc., on the outer and inner walls with geru (red loam)..."

Even later, in April 1950, according to the next district magistrate of Faizabad, J.N. Ugra, 'on the night of 23 December 1949, the idols of Sri Ramachandraji were surreptitiously and wrongly put inside it." Till today, the BJP and the VHP have not challenged these official documents.

So the "faith" that the VHP proclaims and defends has in reality been propped up by a clandestine and surreptitious act, aimed at not only deceiving devout Hindus, but also fomenting trouble between Hindus and Muslims.

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Sri Rama or Babar?

But you, Mr. Advani have a more sophisticated argument in store. You say that the controversy in Ayodhya is not simply one of choosing between a temple and a mosque, but "it is time....it is accepted that there is but one India, and that this India and its population, Hindu or Muslim, can identify itself with Rama and not with Babar." Yes the choice is between two perspectives.

"Rama by his living example taught rulers of the world self-sacrifice, self-discipline, compassion, truth, justice and mercy to the oppressed and the downtrodden," while Babar stood for despotism and aggression." The question Mr. Advani, however is whom do you yourself and your organization - the RSS, BJP and VHP - identify with: Ram or Babar?

If Babar is supposed to have demolished a shrine in the medieval period, you want one demolished today in the 20th century. And still you have a holier-than-thou attitude toward Babar! Hinduism never preached the destruction of places of worship of other religions. Then whose preaching do you follow when you say that Babri Masjid should be destroyed? Though you may pretend to chant Ram's name day in and day out it is Babar's game that you follow - the same Babar whom you so profusely abuse.

Courtesy: Bharatiyda Janwadi Aghadi, 254 Ambedkar Nagar, MIDC Road No8, Andheri (E), Bombay 400093, India. Pamphlet (1990). Abridged and compiled by IIFA.


 

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Last updated: October 29, 2000 .