Where RAM Born

 

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BABRI MASJID - TEMPLE DISPUTE
Where was Ram Born?
(Mohammad Abdul Rahim Quraishi

Secretary, All India Muslim Personal Law Board
General Secretary, All India Majlis Tameer-e-Millat)
Copyright 1991, All Rights Reserved

Introduction
Where Is Ram's Ayodhya?
Where Ram Would Have Born?
Where Was the Birth-place Temple?
Did Babar Demolish Ram's Temple?
False Stories
The British Invented History
The Conspiracy to Establish Fascist Rule
Fiction of Miraculous Appearance
Call to Surrender
The Evil Design
Beware of the Conspiracy

Introduction

Sri Ramchanderji or simply Ram is held and venerated by Hindus as god incarnate. His Idols are worshiped in thousands of temples all over India. He is believed to have lived at least seven thousand years ago. A movement has spring up which aims to demolish Babri Masjid and construct a Ram temple at its site. It is claimed as Ram's birth place. This movement has generated much heat and tension between the Hindus and Muslims of India and led to violent incidents in various part of India and to the ghastiest violence at Bhagalpur. The author in there 3-article series has discussed the historicity and has analyzed various aspects and motives behind the dispute.

The Babri Masjid - Ram Janam Bhoomi controversy is gaining ominous proportions. The protagonists of the temple emboldened by Shila Pujan (worship of the brick) in hundreds of thousands villages and by the former pusillanimous government which permitted shila pujan and Shilanyas (foundation-laying) in the grave yard are planning to start construction of the alleged Ram Janam Bhoomi (birth place) Temple in which the deities of Ram, his consort Sita and his brother Lakshman will be installed at the niche (Mehrab) of Babri Masjid which will be demolished to make way for this temple. This wicked plan will certainly shake the foundation of the secular democratic republic of India.

It is high time for all people in India and abroad who have regard for justice and truth and will and determination to uphold right and justice to seek the truth and ponder over the question, where is the place of Ram, and to raise their voice against untruth and irrational obstinacy.

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Where Is Ram's Ayodhya?

First of all, it is to be determined with certainty that the present town of Ayaodhya in Faizabad district of U.P. is the same ancient grand city Ayodhya of Shri Ramchanderji's days.

Scholars of Ramayana say that the present ayodhya is not Ayodhyapuri of Ram. That Ayodhyapuri was at a distance of about 22 km from Saryu river which flowed westward. Ayodhya of today is right on the bank of Saryu which flows eastward. In the excavations done by the Archaeological Survey of India, the archaeologists did not find any ruins of relics of Ram's days and concluded that in those days the present Ayodhya was jungle without any human habitation.

It is also to be noted that a digging for archaeological excavations was made in the vicinity of Babri Masjid and this digging too did not yield any trace of the temple alleged to have been constructed by king Vikramaditya.

Even though the archaeological evidence and the history do not support the contention that the present town of Ayodhya is the same ancient city of Sri Ramachanderji, we know that the present Ayodhya became a centre of pilgrimage for Hindus, Jains, Budhists and Sikhs. It came to be held as the city of Ram.

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Where Ram Would Have Born?

Still three questions remain to be answered in unambiguous terms: (1) whether the site of Babri Masjid is the place where Ram was born, (2) whether Babri Masjid stands on the site of the Ram Janam Bhoomi temple built by king Vikramaditya and (3) whether Mogul emperor Babar demolished this temple and constructed Babri Masjid on its site?

Regarding the first question, the protagonists of Ram Janam Bhoomi concede that the birth place of Ram cannot be located with exactness. Shri Atal BihariVajpayi, M.P., in his reply dated July 19, 1989 to Prof. Hiren Mukherji, M.P., has admitted, "It Is not possible to pinpoint the exact spot where Ram was born. But it is known that Ram, the king of Ayodhya, whom vast masses of Hindus regard an Incarnation of God, was born in that historical city and temple dedicated to him had been in existence since long."

Moreover Bharata Ram's step brother is said to have born in the palace of his mother Kaikeyi and two other step brothers Lakshman and Shatrughan in the palace of their mother and logically the palace of Ram's mother, Kaushalya should be the birth place. Kaushalya Bhavan, known to be the place of Queen and Kaushalya is more than 120 yards away from the Babri Masjid.

The Ramayanas and other religious classics on Ram do not provide any clue for exact location of the place of birth. The only other clue is the temple alleged to have been built by King Vikramaditya. Therefore, the second question becomes the prime question for this controversy.

On the question whether Babri Masjid stands at the site of the alleged Ram Janam Bhoomi temple, it is to be noted the renowned historian and son of former president Sarvepally Radhakrishnan, Prof. S. Gopal, in his lecture recently delivered at Madras, said, "So far no evidence has been found to support the claim the Babri Masjid was constructed on the land that had been earlier occupied by a temple." He asserted, "In Ayodhya to-day there are still about 30 places where Rama was claimed to have been born." It is also to be noted that the digging made in the vicinity of the masjid proved futile and no remains of any temple were found.

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Where Was the Birth-place Temple?

I may point out here that Ram Janamasthan (Birth-place) temple was in existence in Ayodhya and it was far from Babri Masjid. Mr. A. Cunningham in his Archaeological Survey of India (1862-63) recorded this Janamasthan temple as, 'After Tretaka-Thakur, close by is the Lakshman Ghat....and about one quarter of a mile distance in the very heart of the city stands the Janamasthan or Birth place temple of Rama.'

It must be noted here that Cunningham, finding that almost all temple buildings in Ayodhya were not very old but of recent past, opined that the Muslims had destroyed old Hindu temples. Even then he did not allege that Babar destroyed a temple dedicated to Ram and constructed the mosque at the place. He saw and described Ram Janamasthan temple existing in Ayodhya at a distance from Babri Masjid. This temple was in existence in 1863 at a site which was not occupied by Babri Masjid. This temple is still there in Ayodhya and is called and known as Ram Janamasthan, i.e., the birth place temple of Ram. No Hindu individual or organization had challenged its claim to be the temple at the birth place of Ram. The centenarian living priest of this temple Mahant Janaki Jiwan Das vehemently denies the contention that the Babri Masjid had been the site of the birth place temple of Shri Ram or the Janamasthan or Janam Bhoomi temple.

Mr. Indrajit Datta commenting on the location of Ram Janmasthan temple writes in The Statesman of Oct. 22, 1989, "fairly precise coordinates are obtained from the earliest known Ayodhya Mahatmya (Guide to pilgrimage) in Sanskrit, the English translation of which appears in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol. XI, Part I, No. I to V, Calcutta 1875). According to these coordinates, Ram's birth place appears to be somewhere South-East of the disputed mosque," i.e. Babri Masjid.

A research team consisting of Mr. Sher Singh I.A.S., Prof. Sushil Srivastava of the Department of Medieval and Modern History, Allahbad University and his senior student Indu Dhar Dwivedi carried on a field survey from 9th to 11th April, 1988 in Ayodhya to pin-point the Janamasthan of Ram on the basis of description given in Ayodhya Mahatmya. After the field survey (7) different places turned out to be the Janmasthans of Ram, no two of which meet each other and not even one touches the site of Babri Masjid. One site turned out to be approximately 3 kms. from Babri Masjid towards its east-north.

Therefore there is no difficulty to conclude that the Janam Bhoomi or Janamasthan temple was built somewhere and definitely not at the site of Babri Masjid. After this conclusion the question whether Babar demolished this temple to build Babri Masjid on its site becomes irrelevant and redundant. Still it is better to discuss this question as it will help in appreciation of true facts.

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Did Babar Demolish Ram's Temple?

Babar conquered India in 1524 after defeating Ibrahim Lodhi. This conquest put an end to the rule of Lodhi dynasty in India. Babar easily established his rule and founded the Mogul dynasty. Babar never went to Ayodhya. He came to the Awadh region during a military expedition against Muslim Afghan rebels led by Shaik Bayazid and crushing the rebellion he went to hunt in the jungles along Sarda river. The region between Gomti and Ghagra river had been described by medieval historians and chroniclers as Awadh. Lucknow, Ayodhya, and Barabanki fall in this region. As Prof. Sushil Srivastava points out, the Muslim influence in Awadh became established around 1030 A.D. when Syed Salar Masood Ghazi came from Multan and took Awadh without any struggle, and when Babar entered the area, it had already been 500 years of Muslim domination. Babar came to the Awadh region in pursuit of Muslim Afghan rebels and had many Hindu contingents in his army. If he had any ill-will, it was an against the rebels who were Muslims. He had no reason to wreak vengeance on the temples of Hindus. Babar was not an Iconoclast. His sole aim was to establish kingship for himself and for his dynasty and he knew that this required toleration of other faiths and policy to win over the hearts of Hindu masses. In his last testaments he advised his son Humayun, "It is incumbent upon you to wash off all the prejudices. Rule over the people with Justice. Make it a point to give up beef-eating to win over the hearts of your subjects, who will remain grateful to the Kingdom. The temples and places of worship of the people abiding by the law of the kingdom, should never be demolished.. Meet out justice in such a way as the people may love their king and the king his subjects." Babar in his will advised his son never to demolish any temple and desist from beef-eating for winning over the hearts of Hindus subjects. How could such a ruler demolish a temple held sacred most by the masses of Hindus!

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False Stories

It is said that Babar fought two battles with Rana Sanga at Sikri (Agra) and he won the second battle because of the blessing of Jalal shah and Khaja Musa Ashakan of Ayodhya where Babar had taken his refuge after his defeat in the first battle, and that at the instance of these Muslim saints he converted Ram Janam Bhoomi Temple into a mosque after killing one lakh seventy four thousand (174,000) Hindus and that 'Mir Banki' invited Babar to Ayodhya again as the walls of the masjid constructed in the day time were mysteriously falling down in the night, therefore Babar again visited Ayodhya for casting off mysterious spell accepted five conditions offered by sadhus to facilitate construction. The conditions included that the Hindus would have free fight to offer puja inside while the Muslims could offer Friday prayers only. This is all false, Babar fought with Rana Sanga only once at Kenwaha near Sikri and in this battle the Rana was defeated. Babar did not meet and did not seek blessings from any saint called Jalal Shah or Khaja Kajal Abbas Khalandari Musa Ashakan in Ayodhya. There was no agreement between Hindu sadhus and Babar on Babri Masjid. All references cited from Babar's Memoirs for this false propaganda are fictitious and not found anywhere.

I have time and again asked the protagonists of Ram Janam Bhoomi and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad people to produce any historical evidence from any source other than the British, their Gazetteers, alleging demolition of the temple by Babar in 1528. In a symposium held at Hyderabad on January 7, 1990 on a related subject, requested the V.H.P. representatives, who were the main participants, to cite any writing, document, travelogue, memoirs, lyrics, devotional songs, or inscriptions made by a Hindu before 1819 which even obliquely refers to the alleged demolition by Babar.

Around 1819 the Britishers embarked upon their campaign to occupy Awadh. Should we believe that the Hindu community was so barren that it did not produced men of letters and learning between 1528 and 1819 who could narrate this incident or lament on the demolition! No, It produced many men of learning. It was during this period that Sant Tulsidas composed Ram Charitr Manas in Hindi. This epic created a tidal wave of Ram Bhakti (devotion of Ram) which swept the whole country. Sant Tulsidas did not refer to the alleged demolition in this or any writing because no such incident took place.

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The British Invented History

The Britishers had consolidated their hold and dominations in Bengal and Bihar before the advent of the l9th century and Awadh was their next target.

The Britishers were facing strong resistance from the Hindus and the Muslims in their campaign to occupy Awadh. The freedom fighters were led by Mou1vi Ahmedullah, Raja Debi Baksh Singh, Amil Ali and the revolutionary Ram Charan Das. In pursuance of their policy of 'Divide and Rule,' the British invented stories and fabricated history to sow seeds of hatred and enmity between the Hindus and Muslims. The Britishers systematically planted false stories against the Muslim and particularly against the mogul rulers as they were trying to usurp the rule from them.

The Britishers, as a part of plan to annex Awadh, planted false stories of demolition of Hindu temples by the Muslim rulers and of Ram's birth place temple by Babar to create enmity and hatred between Hindus and the Muslims. Their aim was to gain sympathies of the Hindus for their campaign against the Moguls and to weaken the resistance of Hindus and Muslims opposing the British occupationist moves. They succeeded in creating a divide between the two communities at Ayodhya which resulted in the Hindu clash over Babri Masjid in 1855. It was the first ever encounter between them for this place of worship.

It is not a mere coincidence that after the clash of 1855, the Britishers occupied Awadh in 1856 and in 1857 they captured Delhi in spite of the struggle by valiant freedom fighters. The clash over Babri Masjid paved way for the British occupation of India.

It is noteworthy that when the Hindus and the Muslims of Ayodhya led by Raja Debi Baksh Singh, Amir Ali and Ram Charan Das worked out an agreement settling the dispute and a land in the open yard of the Masjid was handed over for erecting a platform known as Ram Chabutra, the British were dismayed and deeply worried by this demonstration of unity between the two communities. The Sultannabad Gazetteer records this anguish in the comments of Col. Martin who observed, "We (i.e. the British) had been deeply worried by the decision (i.e. settlement of dispute between Hindus and Muslims)....we had apprehended that the British Raj (rule) in India will come to an end...."

In spite of the conspiracy to create ill-will enmity between the two communities, the British faced strong resistance in which the Muslims fought under Hindu rulers and leaders and Hindus fought under Muslim rulers and leaders in the campaign of l857. The Britishers, therefore, persued their policy of 'divide and rule' more vigorously and kept on circulating false stories particularly against the Mogul rulers. It was during this period that H.R. Nevill wrote in the District Gazetteer of Faizabad that in 1528 Babar halted at Ayodhya for a week and destroyed the temple and built the masjid on its site. Nevill did not cite any reference. After all no Englishman, neither Nevill nor were Cunningham, Carnegie, Fuhrer and writers of this kind, present when the Muslim kings or the Moguls rule over this country.

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The Conspiracy to Establish Fascist Rule

The protagonists of Ram Janam Bhoomi claim that the black pillars of Babari Masjid are the pillars of the temple of Vikramaditya and the same are made of Kasauti stone (touch - stone). In the ancient India many ambitious kings had adopted the the title of Vikramaditya. Which Vikramaditya had built this temple? Some writers say he was ruler of Avintka who came to Ayodhya in 100 B.C. (before Christ). According to some, he was ruler of Ujjain in 100 B.C., some hold that he was in 2nd century A.D., still others say that he was Chandragupta II of Gupta Dynasty who ruled from 329 to 413 A.D. It is also said that this Vikramaditya was Skandagupta (455-467 A.D.) of the Gupta dynasty. Anyhow, the temple was built at least 1500 years ago. The pillars must be at least 1500 years old. Mr. Sher Singh, I.A.S., took the samples of the polish from the black pillars of Babri Masjid and subjected it to Radiocarbon Dating (C. 14) test. These samples were sent by Mr. Sher Singh and Mrs. Surinder Kaur of Calcutta to different laboratories and the result proved that the pillars are less than 500 years old. It is to be noted that as mentioned in his (Babar's) Memoirs, "got 26 pillars carved out from a solid rock and got them finished at Dholpur in December 1528." It was proved that the pillars are not of Kasauti stone. They have polished black with some pastes. Therefore the argument that the black pillars of Babri Masjid are Kasauti pillars of the Vikramaditya temple failed the carbon-dating test and proved to be wrong.

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Fiction of Miraculous Appearance

Finding that their claim regarding Babri Masjid cannot stand historical test and archaeological scrutiny, the protagonists of the Ram Janam Bhoomi temple say that Ram by miraculous appearance had himself disclosed his place of birth. It is pertinent to note here that Mr. J. N. Ugra, Deputy Commissioner of Faizabad who as a Kashmiri Pandit, in his sworned statement on 24th April 1950 testified that the Babri Masjid had been used for the purpose of worship by the Muslims and it was not used as a temple of Ram and that in the night of 22nd December 1949, the idols of Ram were surreptitiously and wrongly put inside Babri Masjid.

Police constable Mataprasad filed the report on 23rd December, 1949 at the Police Station that Rama-das, Ram Shakal Das with 50-60 persons defiled the masjid by putting Idols inside it. It is false to say that these idols were there from time immemorial. It is also false to say that the idols came up from beneath the ground miraculously.

Highly exciting and provocative rumors are being circulated to exhort the Hindus to shed blood and make sacrifices for constructing the Ram temple after demolition of Babri Masjid. It is said that Babar killed one lakh seventy four thousand Hindus (174,000), who resisted destruction of the temple land with their blood he made mortar to build the mosque. Such stories are being concocted to arouse the feelings of the Hindus against the Muslims.

The Hindu brethren are misled to believe that during Akbar's reign Hindus attacked Babri Masjid at least 20 times. Akbar deputed his courtiers Raja Birbal and Todarmal to negotiate with the Sadhus and agreed to allow them construct a platform on the left side of the mosque gate. It is said that these events are found in Divan-e-Akbari written by Akbar himself. There is no book with the title of Divan-e-Akbari. Akbar did not wrote any book. One of his ministers Abul Fazl compiled a book on the events of Akbar's reign entitled as Ain-e-Akbari. This book does not narrate any incident of attack on Babri Masjid. There is no historical record to support these false allegations.

It is alleged that Aurangzeb completely demolished the Ram temple on 7th of Moharram or Ramzan of the year 1664 after killing more than ten thousand Hindus. The fabrication is obvious. The Islamic year 1664 is yet to come as now we are in the year 1410. There is no such narration in Alamgir Nama. Even historian Jadunath Sircar, who is hostile towards Aurangzeb did not allege such an incident. In 1664 of Christian Era, Aurangzeb was engaged in his Deccan expeditions in South India.

It is false to allege that the Hindus numbering about 3 lakhs (300,000) shed their blood 76 times to get their Rama temple back. There was no such encounter during the mogul period. The Hindus never attacked the Masjid during Mogul period because the Masjid was not built at the site of any temple. The first ever encounter between the Hindus and Muslims took place in 1855 at the instigation of the British. The Britishers reaped the harvest of seeds of dissension sown by them and in 1856 they successfully annexed the region of Awadh as the resistance was weak and disorganised.

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Call to Surrender

The last argument is, 'Do not ask for a proof, historical or archaeological or any other, be it history or myth, fact or fiction, respect the sentiment of 170 Crores (700 million) Hindus, the spot of Babri Masjid has been the focus of devotional sentiments of this vast multitude." This argument is nothing but an ingenious invention of a cunning mind. The manifestation of these sentiments is of very recent origin. After 1855 when the first ever clash between the two communities took place, the dispute became dead. None claimed Babri Masjid. There was no demand, no demonstration, no manifestation of any sentiments for the place by the Hindus. Even during the struggle for freedom when the two communities fell apart on certain issues and many riots and disturbances took place, there was not even a whisper for taking over the Masjid to build Ram Temple.

The sentiments have been created through false propaganda from 1983. Before this, there were no such sentiments. Many weak and spineless kings ascended the throne after mighty Aurangzeb. These Mogul kings could do nothing even to save graves of their forefathers from wanton destruction. One of them in silent amazement and shame watched Suran Mal digging up Akbar's grave. Marathas, Jats and many Hindu chieftains invaded the Mogul territories without any resistance from the Mogul kings. None of these Hindu groups of Chieftains marched to Ayodhya to claim Babri Masjid. Even after the independence of India in 1947, when there was no hindrance, expression of such sentiment is not seen. In the incident of 22nd December 1949, the idols were secretly and surreptitiously brought and placed inside the Masjid. No expression of the sentiments was witnessed till 1983 when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad a front organization of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (R.S.S.) started instigating the Hindu masses with false stories and mischievous rumors.

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The Evil Design

The president of the Parishad, Swami Chinmayananda speaking at a press conference at Calcutta on November 4, 1989 said that it was their national programme to whip up the Hindu feelings of the people for the temple. A jubilant Mahant Avaidyanath after laying the brick for the main entrance of the proposed Ram temple on November 9, 1989 declared, 'It will not only be the foundation for the Ram Janam Bhoomi temple but also for the Rashtra which we will now establish.' The religious fervor of the Hindus, their devotion and sentiments for Ram are being exploited to instigate them against the Muslims and to activate them for establishing Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Fascist State) in India.

The idea of Hindu Rashtra was expounded by the ideologue and the former chief of the R.S.S., M.S. Golwalker in the following words:

"In this country, Hinduism, the race with its Hindu religion, Hindu culture and Hindu language (the natural family of Sanskrit and her offsprings) exist and must need exist the ancient Hindu nation and nought else, but the Hindu nation. ALL THOSE NOT BELONGING TO THE NATIONAL i.e. HINDU RACE, RELIGION, CULTURE AND LANGUAGE, NATURALLY FALL OUT OF PALE OF REAL 'NATIONAL' LIFE.... Those only are nationalist patriots, who, with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and nation next to their heart, are prompted into activity and strive to achieve that goal. ALL OTHERS ARE EITHER TRAITORS AND EVEN ENEMY TO THE NATIONAL CAUSE OR. TO TAKE A CHARITABLE VIEW IDIOTS."

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Beware of the Conspiracy

The real design is to establish Hindu Rashtra and the issue of Ram Janam Bhoomi has been propped up to whip up the Hindu passions. It is for those Indians who have a vision of democratic, advanced and developed, non-denominational India, to stand up against and; face this challenge to the integrity and solidarity of India. They should keep in mind, in ancient days, India never was one political entity but loose conglomerations of numerous kingdoms and principalities fighting each other. Looking far back in the past will revive sentiments for their region, kings and regional cultures.

It is also a challenge for enlightened world opinion. A brute and blind force on numeral strength is being mustered up by spreading and circulating mischievous and provocative rumors to cow down the Muslims and to coerce political parties and leaders to bow down to the false claim for the site on which stands a mosque and at which never was any temple.

Well informed sources have disclosed that the protagonists of the temple have approached Ulemas and Muftis (religious scholars and Jurist consults) of the Muslim countries asking whether Shariah permits shifting of a mosque from its site. It is also said some official representatives of India are also seeking opinion of this question. The question itself is malicious. It is part of a nefarious design to establish Hindu Rashtra. Hope the scholars will see through the game.

This article was written more than a year before the destruction of Babri Masjid and was presented at the AFMI Annual Convention "Peace-Unity-Progress," November 29-30, 1991, USA. Courtesy AFMI.

 

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Last updated: January 15, 2001 .