This work summarizes some relevant information relating to the
temple-mosque controversy over the site known since time immemorial as
Ramajanmabhumi. In addition, it also brings into focus what may be seen as the
real issues involved — issues that have been obscured by the cloud of
controversy surrounding it. Upon carefully examining it, the reader will
discover that the dispute is not so much about the right of possession to the
ancient site known as Ramajanmabhumi as it is over the version of history that
is sought to be imposed on the people of India. It is a serious contraction of
the scope and meaning of the Ayodhya episode of December 6, 1992 to treat it as
a dispute over a piece of land, and brick and mortar; the dispute really is part
of a struggle being waged by an ancient people to recover their own history from
the clutches of imperial interests. This is what I have tried to highlight in
the present document.
It is therefore a serious error to treat the demolition of the Babri
Masjid as a mere retribution for the temple destructions by Islamic vandals
going back a thousand years. That would place the Islamic vandals and the kar
sevaks on the same moral plane which I see as a historic error — for what
the kar sevaks were trying to recover
was not merely the disputed structure built over their sacred site, but the true
history of their land.
Looking at it in the context of de-colonization of the Hindu mind, V.S.
Naipaul is right in seeing the demolition as a symbol of rising historical
awareness on the part of the Hindus. Hindus have recognized that the Babri
Masjid was never intended as a place of worship; it was a symbol pure and simple
of the victory of Islamic imperialism over the Hindu Civilization. This is what
I have tried to highlight in this volume.
At the same time, the historical facts about the existence or
non-existence of previous temples at the site, and the record of their
destruction are very much part of this struggle. This too I have tried to bring
to light by presenting the relevant information from literary, archaeological
and epigraphic sources. My goal in all this is to enable everyone to see the
true historical facts behind the struggle, free from the propaganda and
misinformation that has plagued the field so far. Unless we have a true picture
of the historical facts, we have little chance of finding our way out of the
view of history
In spite of the enormous volume of writing that has appeared on Ayodhya,
a central theme that runs through the dispute has not been sufficiently
highlighted; this theme is the effort to impose the Islamic view of history not
only on the Ayodhya dispute, but on all of Indian history. The
Islamic view holds that the history of any place begins with its Muslim
takeover, and nothing that took place before the takeover is of any account.
According this version, the demolition of the Babri Masjid is a crime, but the
destruction of previous temples at the site (or anywhere else) is of no account.
It is this version of history that has been imposed on countries
conquered by Islam — countries like Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan. It is this
version that Islamic warriors sought to impose on India also for several
centuries but failed. (But this is the version taught at Islamic institutions in
India, like the madrasahs and even the
Aligarh Muslim University.) The Indian Muslim leaders and their allies calling
themselves ‘Secularists’ are fighting to see this version prevail, while the
Hindus are fighting to preserve their own history and tradition. Ayodhya is a
symbol of this struggle for history.
I see the present work as a small effort aimed at highlighting the following: (1) the true facts of history relating to Ayodhya; (2) the struggle for the recovery of their history that lies behind the temple-mosque dispute; and (3) understanding the consequences of hasty actions by reacting to transient passions and political compulsions, while failing to take note of the course of history. The key fact to note is that the events of December 6, 1992 do not stand alone; they are part of the history of the struggle being waged between exclusivism and pluralism going back a thousand years. The stakes in this for the people of India are enormous. We ignore it only at our peril.