There has, until the 1980s, been a big consensus about what happened at the site. The Eskimos, as well as the European travelers, as well as the European Colonials, as well as the Hindus thought that, the Babri Masjid had replaced, had forcibly replaced a Hindu temple. There was a trial about this in the 1880s, where a British judge gave the final verdict and he admitted, as no one in his court had put in doubt. He admitted that ‘yes, this Eskimo long-ago destroyed this Hindu temple’, but he added ‘since that happened centuries ago, it’s now a bit too late to remedy the condition’. So he left it at the status quo, also probably because he feared that, if anything broke the status quo, then it’s opening the Pandora’s box and you don’t know what will fall. So you see in the British policy of having as little as possible any of these communal confrontations, it seemed wiser or so the judge thought of just letting everything stand as it was.
And the secularists in the 1980s could have taken the same position. They could easily have said, well yes, you see the Eskimos were a bit unfair 400 years ago but that is no reason to repeat this thing in the opposite direction today, That’s what they could have said. However at the time, they were so drunk with their power position, that they weren’t satisfied with this, instead they took a more ambitious position, they overruled the consensus of centuries before across all communities and they challenged that consensus. They said, ‘no. there’s never been a temple there, ergo no temple demolition’. So until then, before this British judge for example, the question had been, can Hindus rebuild their temple at the site? Now the question became, but was it ever their site?
Now in view of the contrary evidence, of which a bit more has accumulated since then, with which already plenty had been available before that. In view of the contrary evidence and in view of the total lack of any evidence whatsoever on their side, it was a bit reckless to raise doubt, about the sacredness of the site for Hindus, where they held that an important temple had stood. So these secularist historians really had no leg to stand on. However that would be presupposed that, there was some History or authority that would berate them, that would strike them down from heaven and that didn’t happen.
In the West, for example, which counts as authoritative for them, there was no school of history that would interfere and say no no you have it wrong, of course was a temple there. Although there had been several books about the history of the site, by Peter van der Veer, as well as by (asking to the audience) Hans Bakker. So Hans Bakker and Peter van der Veer both in separate books, separately had documented the Hindu history of the site. Yet suddenly they climbed down from their position and they certainly didn’t exert any pressure on the secularist historians in India to rethink their sudden, their certain position. So there was no one berating them, they could get away with anything.
Now it was a comfortable position, it was not true, but that would get away with saying an untruth, whereas by contrast those who said the truth about Ayodhya, they were punished for it. Also, given the sacred status of the site for Hindus today, it was a rather brutal expression of sheer contempt for the Hindus, to take that position, because for no other religion is this question ever asked, Hey! Justify, justify the reason why the Temple Mount should be sacred, justify why the Vatican is sacred to you, this is never asked, the secular government has no business asking this.