Kicking off a series of talks and interviews on the Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue, Srijan Foundation organised a Srijan Talk titled, “Case For Ram Mandir At Ayodhya” by Dr. Meenakshi Jain at INTACH, New Delhi.
The esteemed speaker, Dr. Meenakshi Jain holds a Ph.D from Delhi University and specialises in Cultural Studies. She is presently a member of the Governing Council, Indian Council of Historical Research.
Here is a snippet of Dr. Jain’s Srijan Talk, where she elaborates on the extent of lies spread by the Left historians to keep the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue burning.
Ever since the Left historians joined the Ayodhya debate in November 1989, they have been deceiving the country with their lies and preventing a settlement between the Hindus and Muslims on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue. Even as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) carried out excavations as directed by the Allahabad High Court, these Left historians responded by mounting a well-coordinated campaign to discredit the ASI both within the Court and outside. Considering the atrocious, farcical statements they made in Court, it is a wonder that people take them seriously at all.
Modus Operandi Of Left Historians
The modus operandi of these Left historians was ingenious. There was an unspoken agreement amongst this extremely closed group that the big four viz. R.S. Sharma, D.N. Jha, Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib would not appear in Court themselves, but would tutor and send their colleagues and students to make statements.
One of the persons who gave statements in Court was Supriya Verma. She had done her Ph.D. under Shereen Ratnagar, who also attended Court sessions. Another one who went to Court was Suvira Jaiswal, who was under the tutelage of R.S. Sharma. Other attendees in Court were R. Thakraan, a student of Suraj Bhan, Sita Ram Roy, a pupil of R.S. Sharma, and S.C Mihra, who did her PhD under D.N. Jha. Supriya Verma, Shereen Ratnagar, Suraj Bhan, Sita Ram Roy and R.C. Thakraan, among others, were presented as archaeologists who were experts in excavation by the Sunni Waqf Board in Court. Interestingly, with the exception of Suraj Bhan, none of these pro-Babri archaeologists had any experience in field archaeology.
Vacuousness Of Left Historians Exposed
These so-called experts exposed their vacuousness during some hilarious Court proceedings. Suvira Jaiswal, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, who was in Court to give evidence as an expert in Ancient Indian History, stated that she had not studied whether Muslim rulers constructed mosques after destroying temples, nor had she read any report on the subject. She said that she was giving a statement on oath regarding the Babri mosque without any probe and that she was actually giving the statement on the basis of her opinion, not knowledge. According to her knowledge no evidence was found that could indicate that Babri Masjid was built after demolishing the Ram temple. She did accept in court that she had not read the Baburnama and had not studied the history of the Babur mosque, and that whatever knowledge she had gained with respect to the disputed site was on the basis of newspapers and reports of the Left historians to the nation. She informed the Court that she and her companions had published a pamphlet entitled, ‘Rajnaitik Durupyog: Babri Masjid Janmabhoomi Vivaad’, after gleaning information from newspaper reports and discussions with the Medieval experts in her department.
In response to Suvira Jaiswal’s testimony, the Court expressed surprise that despite the sensitive nature of this particular case, persons claiming to be experts were making statements without proper investigations, research or study and were aiding in creating more complications, conflict and controversy instead of aiding in a cordial resolution of the case. Further, Suvira Jaiswal was forced to admit in Court that in her Ph.D. thesis which was written before the controversy broke out, she had acknowledged that by the 1st-2nd century AD, Ram was recognized as an incarnation of Vishnu. The Left historians had been pushing the falsehood that Ram worship was an 18th-19th century phenomenon, which went against her research and which she was forced to admit.
Another ‘expert’ who gave testimony in Court was S.C. Mishra, who taught in Delhi University. He was a post-graduate from Allahabad University. In B.A. his subjects were History, Philosophy and Sanskrit, and in M.A. his major subject was Ancient History. He testified before the Court that he had carried out a deep study of the Babri mosque and as per his study, the mosque was built by Mir Baqi and no destruction of any kind had taken place during its construction and there was no evidence of the existence of a temple below Babri Masjid. He went on to state that he had discovered the actual birth place of Ram, which was between Ayodhya Brahma Kund and Rishi Mochan Ghat.
This specialist of Ancient History then proceeded to reveal the extent of his specialization in Court. He stated, in Court, that Prithviraj Chauhan was the King of Ghazni and that Muhammad Ghori was the King of the adjoining area. He said he had heard of Jazia but did not remember why it was levied, however he did not think it was levied only on Hindus. He further said it was wrong to say that Aurangzeb built the Gyan Vapi mosque after demolishing half of the Kashi Vishwanath temple but provided no substantiation to his statement. He also claimed that he had read many books starting from Baburnama up until 1989, on the subject of the construction of Babri mosque, but he did not remember the names of any of them at the time. Such were the farcical statements made in Court by a teacher of History at Delhi University, while testifying for an issue as sensitive as the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. The honourable Court, rightfully noted that S.C. Mishra’s statements failed to inspire confidence and lacked independent, fair and impartial opinion.
Another testifier was Shireen Moosvi, who had done her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Lucknow University and subsequently her M.A. in History and Ph.D. from Aligarh Muslim University. She stated in Court that during her studies she did not come across any evidence or proof of the medieval period to suggest that Babri mosque had been built by destroying a temple. Upon her statement that the inscription at Babri mosque was divided in three parts, the Court remarked that this statement of hers alone showed that she had no knowledge at all of the subject.
One more testifier, Sushil Srivastava, had done his B.A. from Allahabad University in History and Political Science and had completed his Ph.D. after 11 years. He stated in Court that during his research, he found no evidence regarding the disputed site to suggest that a mosque was built after demolishing a temple. He then admitted in Court that he could neither read nor write in Persian, Arabic or Sanskrit and that his father-in-law had helped him in reading and writing his book and interpreting the Persian language. He could not even say for sure whether the inscription in Babri mosque was in Persian or Arabic. He had not studied the science of calligraphy, he had not studied the subject of epigraphy and he had mentioned in his book references of books he had not actually read.
The list of these Leftist ‘experts’ goes on. There was Suraj Bhan, who had done his M.A. in Sanskrit but who said in Court he could not speak in Sanskrit as he had not used it for quite some time, and that he faced difficulty in reading and following it. He further stated in Court that he could only remember that Ancient India and Early Medieval India were not in his course of study. Suraj Bhan went on further, stating that he did not try to find out what was written in the Ramayana by Tulsi Das, he could not tell when Indus Valley Civilisation was discovered, and that he was not a specialist in Epigraphy and Numismatics, he was not a geologist, he was not a student of History, he was not a specialist in Architecture, he was not a specialist in Sculpture, and that Epigraphy was also not his field. This was an ‘expert’ testifying in the Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.
There was D. Mandal who was very active on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue. He said in Court that he had never visited Ayodhya and did not have any specific knowledge of the history of the reign of Babur. Whatever little knowledge he had of Babur was that Babur was a ruler in the 16th century. More than that, he did not have any knowledge of Babur and yet, he was testifying in Court on the issue. He then accepted in Court that the Communist parties issued red cards and that he was a holder of a red card, that he had no degree or diploma in Archaeology and that he had only acquired some knowledge in Archaeology.
It must be noted that none of these people showed any manner of expertise but made statements motivated by their biases and unsubstantiated by any facts or evidences. They had no qualms in going to any extent in ridiculing the entire Ram Janmabhoomi movement, simply because they wanted the pro-Babri group to win.
Where Things Stand Today
As things stand today, the Left historians are left clutching at straws. Their only hope is that the Supreme Court will overturn the verdict of the Allahabad High Court and rule in favour of Babri Masjid. It is hard to fathom how the Supreme Court can overturn the judgement of Allahabad High Court because there is not a single evidence found which shows continuous Muslim occupation of that site, whereas all the evidence present shows continued Hindu presence at the site. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence which shows that the Hindus were absent from the Ram Janmabhoomi site at any given period for any length of time.
Then, there is the fact that Muslims never filed a case in 1949 when the Ram Lalla idol was placed inside the mosque. They filed a case just 5 days before the 12th anniversary of the placement of the idol, because filing the case just 5 days later would have annulled their claim as a property dispute has a time-limit and must be filed within 12 years. The pertinent question to ask is why did the Muslims not file the case much earlier? Why did they wait for 12 years and file it just 5 days before the deadline? This goes to show that they actually have no attachment to the site. Courts in pre-independent and independent India have said that namaz can be offered anywhere and that a mosque is not essential for the practice of Islam, whereas Hindu worship is centred around sacred sites and sacred spaces.
When all factors went against the pro-Babri group, the Left historians came up with their last-ditch trump card asking for proof of Ram’s birth at that spot. What was the proof that Ram was born at the exact same spot, they asked. Now since the British period, Courts have said that it is not the duty of the Courts to examine or subject the beliefs of the people to scientific or judicial scrutiny, the Courts only have to take note of the fact that millions believe it. In the same vein, the Allahabad High Court gave space under the central dome to the Hindus because millions believed it was the birthplace of Ram.
We, The People, Must Play Our Role
While it is hard to understand what the Supreme Court can do to overturn the verdict of the Allahabad High Court, yet as concerned citizens, we need to play our part in building awareness around the issue. We all need to popularize the weaknesses of the Babri Masjid case and especially the duplicitous role that certain ‘esteemed’ academics have played in derailing the proceedings and deceiving the people of this country for two decades.
K.K. Muhammed, ex-Regional Director (North), Archaeological Survey of India, has written in his autobiography, “Njan Enna Bharatiyan” (I, An Indian), that at the time, the Muslims were seriously considering handing over the site to the Hindus as it meant so much to the Hindus and not as much to them. At that moment, he writes, the Left historians entered the fray and convinced the Babri group that they had a very strong case and that they would fight the case for the Babri group. This inopportune intervention by the Left historians made the Muslims of the Babri group change their minds about handing over the site to the Hindus as a gesture of goodwill, and they decided to fight the case.
It is extremely unfortunate and painful to see academics doing so much harm to the amity and goodwill between the two communities, thereby irreparably damaging the social fabric of this country. Given the enormity and seriousness of the tension between the two communities in the last 2-3 decades on this extremely sensitive and volatile issue, academics ought to be very conscious of their responsibility to society. It is important for them to present facts as they are in a non-partisan manner and to not deliberately distort them to suit their individual biases.
The Leftist historians need to undertake some serious soul-searching and, since each of their distortions has been exposed definitively, need to apologise to the country for the malicious deception and grave harm caused by them. That is the least they can do.
Reference: The Battle For Rama: Case Of The Temple At Ayodhya – Dr. Meenakshi Jain