Babri Mosque: 31 Years Later

Shamsul Islam

The RSS-BJP government of India led by a seasoned RSS whole-timer, Narendra Modi has miserably failed in providing basic amenities, employment, education, security and peace to 138 crore of Indians (out of which approximately 80% are Hindus) but on August 5, 2020, he had a joyous news to share with the people of the country. While laying the foundation of Ram Temple at Ayodhya on August 5, 2020, with the get-up of a prosperous Hindu sage, Prime Minister declared that wait of Hindus of the world for centuries was over as Lord Ram’s birthplace was finally liberated from numerous attempts to destroy it. According to him India with his laying down the foundation of the Temple was writing a “glorious chapter” and declared that ‘‘Today, the Ram Janmabhoomi [birth-place] has become free from the centuries-old chain of destruction and resurrection".

According to Modi’s narrative, borrowed from the RSS shakhas, Ayodhya represented a continuous war between Hindus and Muslims over the Ram Temple for almost last five centuries.

While boasting of victory over the adversary (Muslims) he did not bother to look at the epic work of poetry in Avadhi language penned by Goswami Tulsidas, namely, RAMCHARITMANAS. This was the work which mesmerised India with the story of Lord Ram and the latter became house-hold deity of every Hindu home, specially, in North India. He penned his abovementioned work during 1575-76. According to the Hindutva version Ram birth-place temple was destroyed during 1538-1539. Thus, RAMCHARITMANAS written almost 37 years after the so called destruction of Ram birth-place temple should have mentioned this destruction. But it did not.

Are Hindutva zealots trying to say that the greatest story-teller and worshipper of Ram and his Court (Darbar), Tulsidas did not speak truth in his historic work? Is not it an attempt to question the credibility of Goswami Tulsidas? Are the Hindutva zealots trying to say that Goswami Tulsidas kept mum on the issue of the destruction of a temple at Ram's birth-place due to some ulterior motives?

PM by claiming that the Ram Janmabhoomi [birth-place] "has become free from the centuries-old chain of destruction and resurrection" was openly contradicting the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya delivered on November 9, 2019 that Babri Mosque was not built after demolishing any temple, the appearance of idol of Ram Lalla on the intervening night of 22/23 December 1949 was illegal and the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 was an “egregious violation of the rule of law”. The same judgment underlined the fact that “Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago”.

It is a different matter that despite all these findings the highest court of justice of India allowed construction of Ram Temple at the site of Babri Mosque. The more shameless was allowing Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a pocket organisation of RSS which demolished the Mosque on December 6, 1992 to build the Temple!

The demolition of Babri Mosque and building of a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya has been justified by the Hindutva flag-bearers claiming that justice was being done to the wrongs of history. However, the Indian past looked through the Hindu-Muslim binary has its serious limitations. One major problem is that despite India being a five-thousand-year-old civilisation but it is only the period of approximately 700-800 years in which people with the Muslim names ruled/attacked India is under scrutiny.

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Vol 56, No. 25, Dec 17 - 23, 2023