Srijan Foundation organised a talk on Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue, kicking of a series of talks and interviews on this topic at INTACH, Lodhi Estate.
The speaker, Dr. Meenakshi Jain is Ph.D from Delhi Univeristy. She specialises in Cultural Studies. She is presently a member of the Governing Council, ICHR. Here is the snippet of her talk, where she describe the inimical role of left historians in the Ayodhya debate. Transcript also given.
The left historians, they carried out a campaign against the ASI on this issue also. Now, I want to conclude my talk by giving you some idea of what these left historians said in court because what they said in court was so atrocious that it is really amazing that anyone take the people seriously even today. There was an agreement among the left historians and archaeologists that the big four, that is, R.S Sharma, D.N Jha, Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib, they will not present themselves in court but they will send their colleagues and students to make statements in court, so, and can you imagine the close group they were.
One of the persons who gave statements in courts was Supriya Verma, she had done her Ph.D under Shereen Ratnagar, who also went to court, Suvira Jaiswal’s work was done under R.S Sharma another left historian , R Thakraan was a student of Suraj Bhaan, Sita Ram Roy was a pupil of R.S Sharma and S.C Mihra did her Ph.D under D.N Jha, it was just a closed group and just to give you some hilarious accounts of what happened in court. Suvira Jaisval, she was a professor at JNU and she said in court that she was an expert in Ancient Indian History and had come to give evidence in court as a specialist on Ancient Indian History. She said that she had not studied whether Muslim rulers constructed mosque after destroying temples nor had she read any report on the subject. She said that she was giving a statement on oath regarding Babri mosque without any probe and on the basis of her knowledge, she said, she was actually giving the statement on the basis of her opinion not knowledge, opinion and she says that she has not read the Babarnama. According to her knowledge no evidence was found that could indicate that Babri Masjid was built after demolishing the Ram temple, she said no evidence was found and she said, I did not study the history of the Babar mosque, whatever knowledge I gained with respect to the disputed site was on the basis of the newspapers and what others told me, others told me, I mean the left historians report to the nation , I along with my companions, please listen to this, I along with my companions published a pamphlet entitled, Rajnaitik durupayog: Babri Masjid Janmabhoomi Vivaad, I prepared this pamphlet from news published in newspapers and after discussions with the Medieval experts in my department. The court express surprise that in this particular case considering the sensitivity of the dispute, persons claiming to be experts, who were making statements without proper investigations, research or study, instead of helping to create a cordial atmosphere, such actions tended to create more complications, conflict and controversy, this is what the court had to say about her. She further said it is correct in her book she had written that by the first second century A.D, Ram was recognized as an incarnation of Vishnu, that means before the controversy broke out, she did her Ph.D in which she said Ram was recognized by the first century A.D as an incarnation of Vishnu and now the 18th scholar, left scholars are saying that Ram worshipping was an 18th 19th century phenomenon which was against her research which she was forced to admit.
Another person is S C Mishra who teaches in Delhi University, I know it’s not good to name people like this but I think the time has come that we should not be so polite about everything. so, he did his graduation and post-graduation from Allahabad university. In B.A, his subjects were History, Philosophy, Sanskrit and in M.A Ancient History. He said that he done a deep study about the Babri mosque, as per his studies the mosque was built by Mir Baqi and that no destruction of any kind had taken place in it’s construction. According to his studies, there was no evidence of the existence of a temple below Babri Masjid. he said I have discovered the birth place of Ram, that birth place is between Ayodhya Brahm Kund and Rishi Mochan Ghat.
Now, he gave some idea, of his knowledge of history. He said that Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the King of Ghazni, he said in court that Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the King of Ghazni and he said that Muhammad Ghori was the King of the adjoining area and he said that I have heard of Jazia but at the moment I cannot remember why it was levied and I don’t think that it was levied only on the Hindus, this is in court a teacher who is teaching History at Delhi University and then he says that it is wrong to say that Aurangazeb built the Gyanvyapi mosque after demolishing half of the Vishwanath mosque that half we already see the back of the Gyanvapi mosque that temple is there if anyone has been there, so this is, he says that I have read many books written from the Babarnama to 1989, I have read many book from the time Babarnama was written till 1989 regarding the construction of the Babri mosque, I do not remember the name of any book now, alright, this is what he says, what did the court say?
The court said that his statements failed to inspire confidence and lack independent fair and impartial opinion, this is what the court said. Shereen Musvi, she did her B.sc and M.sc from Lucknow University and later M.A in History as a private student from AMU and did her Ph.D from there also. She said that during my studies I have not come across such evidence or proof of medieval period to suggest that Babri mosque had been built by destroying a temple. There was an inscription, Babri mosque was divided into three parts and this is what she says, and the court said that this statement, that the inscription was in three parts itself show that she has no knowledge at all of the subject, there is one more thing that I would like to embarrass her then there is Sushil Srivastava, he did his B.A from Allahabad University in History and Political Science, he completed his PH.D after 11 years at a time when Mulayam Singh was the Chief Minister, you can draw your conclusions, so, he said that from the research carried out by me, I find no evidence regarding the disputed site to suggest that a mosque was built after demolishing the temple, then, please listen to this, neither I can read or write Persian, I can also not read Arabic language nor can I write it, I have no sound knowledge of Sanskrit, it is correct that my father-in-law helped me in reading and writing the book and interpreting the Persian language and he says that I cannot say but the inscription in Babri mosque was in Persian or Arabic, I have not studied the science of calligraphy, I have not studied a subject of epigraphy and he says that in my book, I have mentioned books which I have actually not read and you know, then there are people like Suraj Bhan, he says that I am in M.A in Sanskrit language, I cannot speak Sanskrit since I have not used it for quite sometime, I face difficulty in reading it also in following it, I can only remember that Ancient India and early medieval India were not in my course of study and they went as experts, I do not, I did not try to find out what is written in the Ramayana by Tulsi Das, I cannot tell when Indus Valley Civilisation was discovered, I did not, I am not a specialist in epigraphy and numismatics, I am not a geologist, I am not a student of History, I am not a student, I am not a specialist in architecture, I am not a specialist in Sculpture, in epigraphy is also not my field, so, you know I can go on but I think, that, last.
I will just give you one more, D Mandal, he was also very active, he says, I have never visited Ayodhya, I do not have any specific knowledge of the History of Babar’s reign whatever little knowledge I have about Babar is only that the Babar was the ruler of the 16th century expect of this, I have no knowledge of Babar then he says that the communist parties issues red card and I am its holder, it is true that I have no faith in religion, I have no degree or diploma in archaeology, I have acquired knowledge of archaeology, so, it goes on , the thing that has to be noted is that none of these people is shown to have any expertise but, which is motivated by their bias, that they have to make statements against people and they went to any extent to ridicule the whole movement just because they wanted the Pro-Babri group to win, now as things stand today, the left historians are hoping that the Supreme Court will overturn the verdict of the Allahabad High Court and rule in favour of the Masjid because that is now their last hope but it is difficult to understand that how the supreme court can overturn the judgement of the High Court because there is not one evidence that we can find which shows continued Muslim occupation of that site whereas all the evidence that we have shows continued Hindu presence, there is no evidence which shows that the Hindus were missing from that site for a particular period, then the point is, that the Muslims, they never filed a case, in 1949 when the idols were placed inside and they filed a case just 5 days before the 12th anniversary of the placement of the idols in the Masjid, if they filed the case 5 years later, 5 days later, they would have no case because it’s a time limit, property dispute has to be filed within 12 years, for 12 years they kept quite and just 5 days before they filed the case, so, they have actually no attachment to that site and we all know and even the courts in pre-independent and independent India have said that Namaaz can be offered anywhere, the mosque is not a sacred place but Hindu worship is centered around sacred site’s and sacred spaces, now when all these things went against the Babri group then the leftist historians came up with the last triumph card that was, what is the proof that Ram was born at that exact spot, they have started saying this, what is the proof?
The courts , from the British period onwards, they have said that it is not the duty of the courts to examine or to subject the belief of the people to scientific or judicial scrutiny, the courts only have to take note of the fact that millions believe it so, so, the Allahabad High Court said we are giving the space under the central dome to the temple group because millions believe that is the birth place of Ram, so, I cannot understand what the supreme court can do to overturn the verdict of the High Court but as concerned citizens, I feel what we can do is to popularize the weakness of the Babri case and the duplicitous role that some academics has played over 20 years because there is an archaeologist called K.K Muhammad, he was with the ASI and he has written his autobiography, very recently his autobiography has come out and in that he says that there was a very serious thinking among Muslims that let us handover this site to the Hindus because it means so much to them and it doesn’t mean much to us. He said at that moment left historians entered the fray and they convinced the Babri group that you have a very strong case and we will fight your case and the intervention of the left historians made the Babri group changed its mind and says yes , we will fight it, so this is a very painful case of academics doing such harm to the amity between communities, to the social fabric of this country and you know, Ayodhya has been one issue, which has caused so much tension between communities for the last 2-3 decades, so, I can only end by saying that academics should be very conscious of their responsibility to society, it is important for them to present fact as they are and not to deliberately distort them and now, when every distortion of theirs has come to light and been proven, they owe at least an apology to the country.