Timeline of the Ayodhya debate

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This is a timeline for the Babri Mosque and Ram Janmabhoomi articles.

Date of construction[edit]

The date of the construction of the Babri Mosque is disputed. Before the 1940s, the Mosque was called Masjid-i Janmasthan. Although there exists a detailed account of the life of Babur in the form of his diary, the pages of the relevant period are missing. The construction of the mosque subsequent to the demolition of the temple is speculated to have occurred between 1194 and 1528 (with the Ghorid conquests having reached Ayodhya in 1194).

1528[edit]

Babur may have built the mosque in 1528, or he may only have renovated the building, subsequent to the demolition of the Rama temple.

1767[edit]

Joseph Tieffenthaler records that Hindus are worshipping and celebrating Ramanavami at the site of the mosque.[1] The earliest suggestion that the Babri Masjid is in proximity to the birthplace of Rama was made by the Jesuit priest Joseph Tieffenthaler, whose work in French was published in Paris in 1788. It says that "Emperor Aurangzeb got demolished the fortress called Ramkot, and erected on the same place a Mahometan temple with three cuppolas. Others believe that it was constructed by Babar. Subsequently Aurangzeb and some say Babar destroyed the place in order to "prevent the heathens from practising their ceremonies." However, Indians have continued to practice their religious ceremonies in both the places knowing this to have been the birth place of Rama by going around it three times and prostrating on the ground.[2]

We see on the left a square platform 5 inches above ground, 5 inches long and 4 inches wide, constructed of mud and covered with lime. The Hindus call it bedi, that is to say, the birth-place. The reason is that here there was a house in which Beschan, (Bishan-Vishnu) took the form of Rama, and his three brothers are also said to have been born. Subsequently, Aurangzeb, or according to others, Babar razed this place down, in order not to give the Gentiles (Hindus) occasion to practice their superstition. However, they continued to follow their superstitious practices in both places, believing it to be the birthplace of Rama."Questions of history

This record reveals that Aurengzeb demolished the Ramkot fortress; that either he, or Babar constructed a Masjid there; the 12 columns of black stone pillars were brought from Lanka; and when veneration of Rama became prevalent after the 17th century, a small rectangular mud platform was built to mark the birthplace of Rama.(History and Geography of India, by Joseph Tieffenthaler, (published in French by Bernoulli in 1785))

However, this account does not explicitly mention the existence of a temple but a mud platform.

19th century[edit]

The Hindus of Ayodhya retained the tradition to worship Rama on the Ramkot hill, and always returned to the site. According to British sources, Hindus and Muslims used to worship together in the Babri Mosque complex in the 19th century until about 1855. P. Carnegy wrote in 1870: "It is said that up to that time [viz. the Hindu-Muslim clashes in the 1850s] the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosquetemple. Since the British rule a railing has been put up to prevent dispute, within which, in the mosque the Mohamedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings."[3]

1854[edit]

Edward Thornton records that Hindus are worshipping Ramanavami at the site of the mosque. [4]

1855[edit]

Hindu-Muslim clashes over the mosque-temple occurred. [5]

1858[edit]

The Muazzin of the Babri mosque says in a petition to the British government, that the courtyard had been used by Hindus for hundreds of years.[6]

In 1858, the Muazzin of the Babri Mosque said in a petition to the British government that the courtyard had been used by Hindus for hundreds of years. [7]

1886[edit]

On 18th March 1886 the Faizabad District Judge passed an order in which he wrote: "I visited the land in dispute yesterday in the presence of all parties. I found that the Masjid built by Emperor Babar stands on the border of Ayodhya, that is to say, to the west and south. It is clear of habitants. It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to agree with the grievances." (Court verdict by Col. F.E.A. Chamier, District Judge, Faizabad (1886))

20th century[edit]

The Hindus claim that the Babri Mosque was not used by Muslims since 1936, and that the Hindus took over the unused mosque in 1949. A court ruling on March 3, 1951 by the Civil Judge of Faizabad states: “it further appears from a number of affidavits of certain Muslim residents of Ayodhya that at least from 1936 onwards the Muslims have neither used the site as a mosque nor offered prayers there... Nothing has been pointed to discredit these affidavits.” Prof. B.P. Sinha stated: “As early as 1936-37, a bill was introduced in the legislative council of U.P. to transfer the site to the Hindus (... ) the bill was withdrawn on an unwritten understanding that no namaz [be] performed.” (in annexure 29 to the VHP evidence bundle). Of the 26 mosques in the region, only half of them were used for offering namaz in the early 1990s. It is also noted that there are about 40 different temples in Ayodhya where the worshippers believe that Lord Rama was born. However, Abdul Ghaffar the Imam of the mosque asserted that Muslims prayed in that mosque until 1949 when some miscehevous elements placed the idols of Ram after breaking into the mosque.[citation needed]

November 2, 1989[edit]

On November 2, 1989 the first stone for the planned new temple was laid.

The events of November 2 1989 led to riots in Bangladesh and Pakistan, which left 50,000 Hindus homeless in Bangladesh. More than 200 Hindu temples were demolished in Bangladesh. [1] Many temples were demolished in Pakistan.

1990[edit]

Lal Krishna Advani, a high-ranking member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began a campaign tour (a rathayatra, or "chariot-journey") in 1990, to build support for a Rama temple at the mosque site.

November 2, 1990[edit]

During demonstrations by Kar-Sevaks, many Kar-Sevaks and other demonstrators were arrested and killed by the police. The official death toll is 45, although this is disputed. The BJP estimated that 168 were killed. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) alone cremated 76 bodies.

In connection with the Ayodhya debate, at least forty temples were demolished in November 1990. According to the Hindu-Buddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, the Bangladesh minorities' association, over fifty women were raped in a village in the Chittagong district and hundreds of temples were razed or burnt down[citation needed].

January 24, 1991[edit]

A government-sponsored discussion platform for the two parties (VHP and Babri Masjid Action Committee/BMAC) was organized for January, 24 1991. The BMAC then demanded that their historians would get special privileges and be recognized as independent scholars who could pass a verdict on the case (this demand wasn't granted). The BMAC team didn't show up on the day of the meeting and claimed that they weren't prepared for the discussion, although shortly before that day they signed a public statement that stated that (according to them) there would be absolutely no evidence for an ancient temple on the disputed site.

However , other accounts said that They met first on December 1, 1990, presented the 'evidence' of their sides to the Indian government on December 23, obtained copies of the 'evidence' of the other side from the government, and met again on January 10, 1991. In that meeting they decided to set up four committees of experts nominated by both parties to examine the historical and archaeological evidence and revenue and legal records collected as evidence. The VHP released the summary of 'evidence' to the public, turned down the demand of the other side for more time to study and evaluate the evidence, and made it known that they were not interested in an amicable solution.(28)VHP's actions were taken by the Muslim parties to mean aggressive postures and unnecessary public arousal made to shore up vocal support from the Hindu masses.

1992[edit]

On December 6 1992, over a million[citation needed] Hindutva activists brought in by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, "World Hindu Council") and BJP, razed the three domes of this 16th century Muslim mosque, sparking nationwide riots between Hindus and Muslims that killed more than 2,000 people in one of the worst spates of sectarian violence in contemporary Indian history.

The demolition of the Babri Masjid set off a round of riots, especially in Bombay, that lasted two months (December 1992 & January 1993), and where the actual toll of lives is far less than the official one (See also Justice Sreekrishna Commission of Inquiry). However, most enquiry reports in India fail to satisfy all the parties.In retaliation, Muslim mafia, principally the D-Gang operated by Dawood Ibrahim Khaskar, the Konkanni Muslim and acolyte of former Mafia don Haji Mastan, staged a simultaneous, multiple bomb attacks in Bombay using RDX and whose toll is also not finally set. See 1993 Mumbai bombings.

December 6, 1992: the destruction of the Babri Masjid[edit]

The mosque was destroyed on December 6, 1992, by a crowd of 75,000 people [2](karsevaks) of the VHP and other associated groups. However, some estimates put the number at 200,000 (Growth & Change, Spring 2000). The destruction occurred at the end of Advani's rathayatra, and there is some evidence that it was pre-planned by extremist groups.

The rule of the Centre was imposed in UP at 6 p.m. on 6 December, although according to the BBC rioting did not begin in earnest until about 4 a.m. the following morning. However according to the BBC the violence and destruction continued for nearly 12 hours, with mobs several hundred strong roaming the streets of the town. According to some reports,[who?] the mobs also targeted other mosques with the result that almost all the masjids and idgahs of Ayodhya were damaged or destroyed. Only two mosques survived the violence. In the aftermath of the riots, members of both Hindu and Muslim communities hold 'outsiders' responsible for the events in Ayodhya, and insisted that they would survive recurring waves of violence together.

Following the destruction of the mosque, communal riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims across India, including in Mumbai (Bombay), which was a largely secular and cosmopolitan city.

In 1994 The President of India sent an official inquiry to the Supreme Court to decide whether a temple existed below the mosque, which the High Court returned saying it was not competent to decide on matters of historical evidence, only matters of law and fact. It added that the question whether a temple existed beneath the mosque was "superfluous" in the context of the legal dispute.

The Ayodhya debate also had effects on neighbouring countries. In 1992, in the aftermath of the Babri Mosque demolition there were incidents of loot, arson, rape and temple destructions committed against the Hindu community in Bangladesh. [8]

1993[edit]

The 1993 Mumbai bombings, which were connected to the Ayodhya debate, occurred. The official number of dead was 257 dead with 1,400 others injured (some news sources say 317 people died; this is due to a bomb which killed 60 in Calcutta on March 17). Several days later, unexploded car bombs were discovered at a railway station. Islamic terrorist groups based in Pakistan were suspected to be responsible for these bombings, and evidence uncovered pointed to the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim, leader of the muslim mafia of Mumbai.

2002[edit]

Since then, the AIBMAC and other Muslim groups have been campaigning to have the mosque rebuilt at the same site, while the VHP has been moving forward with plans to build a Rama temple there. In December 2002 the VHP announced that it would construct the temple in a year and a half (i.e., mid 2004). Prime Minister Vajpayee said in February 2003 during election campaigning in Himachal Pradesh that he firmly believed that the Babri Mosque existed on the site of a temple. The main opposition Congress Party took a cautious stance fearing it might alienate the Hindu vote by taking a position different from the Hindu hardliners'. Kapil Sibal, Congress Party spokesman, said the court order was part of judicial process for the final adjudication of the dispute.

2005[edit]

On July 5, 2005 five terrorists attacked the disputed Ram Janmabhumi site. Security forces killed all five terrorists while a pilgrim guide Ramesh Pandey, was killed in the blast triggered by the terrorists to breach the cordon wall. [3] See 2005 attack on Ayodhya.

References[edit]

  1. History and Geography of India (in French) by Joseph Tieffenthaler p. 253-54
  2. l'empereur Aurungzeb a détruit la forteresse appelée Ramkot et construit à la même chose placer un temple musulman avec 3 dômes. D'autres indiquent qu'il a été construit par Babar. On peut voir 14 colonnes faites en pierre noire qui soutiennent des découpages. Plus tard Aurungzeb, et certains indiquent que Babar a détruit l'endroit afin d'empêcher des heathens de pratiquer leurs cérémonies.Toutefois ils ont continué à pratiquer leurs cérémonies religieuses dans le places, sachant ceci pour avoir été endroit de naissance de Rama, en le circulant 3 fois et en se prosternant sur la terre..
  3. (P. Carnegy: A Historical Sketch of Tehsil Fyzabad, Lucknow 1870, quoted by Harsh Narain: The Ayodhya Temple/Mosque Dispute, Penman, Delhi 1993, p.8-9, and by Peter Van der Veer: Religious Nationalism, p.153)
  4. (Gazetteer of the territories under the Government of East India Company, pp-739-40).
  5. (Hadiqai-Shahada by Mirza Jan, 1856, pp. 4-7).
  6. (Petition by Muhammed Asghar dated 30.11.1858 in Case No.884 to the British Government)
  7. The Truth of Babri Mosque. IUniverse.com. 2012. p. 184. ISBN 1475942893.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. State of Human Rights, 1992, pp. 95; State of Human Rights 1992. 1993. Dhaka: Coordinating Council for Human Rights in Bangladesh.; http://www.hrcbm.org/plugins/BBS/hrdiscus1_ubb/Forum1/HTML/000001.html

Volume 15

  • para 3608-3612: Historians' Report to the Nation covered
  • para 3612-3614: Qualifications and lack thereof
  • para 3615-3617: sincerity

Volume 16

  • para 3719: corroborates with the ASI report in some ways.
  • para 3720: "not taken into confidence" - confusing
  • para 3800: Thakran testifies for his integrity.
  • para 3825: affidavit supporting complaint against ASI report and cross-examination (fairly detailed).
  • para 3826-3829: Court's assessment of the testimony.

Volume 17

  • para 3891: pillar bases
  • para 3915: more on pillar bases
  • para 3921: "made a general statement against the conclusion of ASI"

Volume 18

  • para 3962: on the question of bones
  • para 3972: on glazed ware
  • para 3982: on the question of a Qanati mosque underneath


  1. 1990/1991: Initial meetings with the VHP
  2. 1991: Historians Report. I want to note that the Historians Report explicitly states that the four authors were not able to gain access to BB Lal's report ("through no lack of trying").
  3. 1992: "Ram Janmabhumi Ayodhya: New Archaeological Discoveries" released (by whom?)
  4. 1992: The four authors write about the "PWD-like excavations".
  5. 1992: Babri Masjid is demolished.
  6. 2000: Bhan appears as an expert witness (para 3612).
  7. 2002: Appears again in response to SP Gupte's book.
  8. 2003: Allahabad High Court orders the excavation
  9. 2003: The Habib + Bhan press conference before the ASI proceeds with the excavation.
  10. 2003: ASI proceeds with the excavation and finds an underground structure in 2003
  11.  ????: Bhan writes in the People's Democracy about the pillars.
  12. 2003: The Frontline interview just after the ASI discovery. Bhan states categorically that it could not have been a temple and was probably a Sultanate-period mosque.
  13. 2006: Bhan's last appearance in response to an ASI report (which one? 2003?) where he again states that it is a mosque
  14. 2010: The court judgement is delivered where his expertise and attitude were called into question, etc., and is panned at reaching a conclusion without even reading Lal's report.

Further reading[edit]

  • Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor. 1996. Edited, translated and annotated by Wheeler M. Thacktson. New York and London: Oxford University Press.
  • Swapan Dasgupta et al.: The Ayodhya Reference: Supreme Court Judgement and Commentaries. 1995. New Delhi: Voice of India. ISBN 81-85990-30-1
  • Ayodhya and the Future of India. 1993. Edited by Jitendra Bajaj. Madras: Centre for Policy Studies. ISBN 81-86041-02-8 hb ISBN 81-86041-03-6 pb
  • Elst, Koenraad. 1991. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society. 1991. New Delhi: Voice of India. [5]
  • Elst, Koenraad, Ayodhya, The Finale - Science versus Secularism the Excavations Debate (2003) ISBN 81-85990-77-8
  • Elst, Koenraad, Ayodhya: The Case Against the Temple (2002) ISBN 81-85990-75-1
  • Emmanuel, Dominic. 'The Mumbai bomb blasts and the Ayodhya tangle', National Catholic Reporter (Kansas City, August 27 2003).
  • Sita Ram Goel: Hindu Temples - What Happened to Them, Voice of India, Delhi 1991. [6] [7]
  • Harsh Narain. 1993. The Ayodhya Temple Mosque Dispute: Focus on Muslim Sources. Delhi: Penman Publishers.
  • R. Nath. Babari Masjid of Ayodhya, Jaipur 1991.
  • Rajaram, N.S. (2000). Profiles in Deception: Ayodhya and the Dead Sea Scrolls. New Delhi: Voice of India
  • Thakur Prasad Varma and Swarajya Prakash Gupta: Ayodhya ka Itihas evam Puratattva— Rigveda kal se ab tak (‘History and Archaeology of Ayodhya— From the Time of the Rigveda to the Present’). Bharatiya Itihasa evam Samskrit Parishad and DK Printworld. New Delhi.
  • Thapar, Romila. 'A Historical Perspective on the Story of Rama' in Thapar (2000).
  • Thapar, Romila. Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early Indian History (New Delhi: Oxford University, 2000) ISBN 0-19-564050-0.
  • Ayodhya ka Itihas evam Puratattva— Rigveda kal se ab tak (‘History and Archaeology of Ayodhya— From the Time of the Rigveda to the Present’) by Thakur Prasad Varma and Swarajya Prakash Gupta. Bharatiya Itihasa evam Samskrit Parishad and DK Printworld. New Delhi. (An important work on the archaeology of the temple.)
  • History versus Casuistry: Evidence of the Ramajanmabhoomi Mandir presented by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to the Government of India in December-January 1990-91. New Delhi: Voice of India.

In fiction[edit]

Links[edit]

https://swarajyamag.com/news-brief/how-leftist-historians-delayed-a-peaceful-settlement-of-the-ayodhya-dispute-for-close-to-three-decades https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/the-wire-posts-irresponsible-content-on-social-media-on-the-day-of-the-ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-verdict/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/ayodhya-verdict-liberal-meltdown/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/supreme-court-ayodhya-ram-janmabhoomi-judgement-addendum-janmasthan/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/ram-mandir-mocking-tweets-supreme-court/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/prince-tucy-mughal-descendant-gold-brick-ram-temple/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/comprehensive-detailed-legal-history-of-ram-janmabhoomi-babri-masjid-case/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/ram-janmabhoomi-ayodhya-prayag-kashi-maratha-warriors-reclamation-project/ https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/south-india-ramayana-ram-liberals-ayodhya-mandir/ https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-invokes-anniversary-of-berlin-wall-fall-kartarpur-says-time-to-move-on/articleshow/71989447.cms https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/ayodhya-verdict-ram-mandir-supreme-court-bjp-babri-masjid-demolition-6112165/ https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ayodhya-verdict-ram-mandir-babri-masjid-narendra-modi-6111398/ https://swarajyamag.com/insta/upcoming-ram-temple-in-ayodhya-to-replicate-original-ones-grandeur-with-212-pillars-128-ft-height-and-5-entrances https://swarajyamag.com/ideas/mandir-masjid-dispute-was-like-article-370-imposition-on-ayodhya-temple-will-transform-citys-fortunes https://twitter.com/mvmeet/status/1193450151550914562 https://www.livemint.com/opinion/online-views/opinion-ayodhya-2003-uncovering-what-lay-beneath-11573303686925.html https://swarajyamag.com/insta/ram-janmabhoomi-case-supreme-court-cited-william-wordsworths-poem-relating-to-faith-in-the-verdict https://www.opindia.com/2019/11/left-historian-ram-mandir-argument-knowledge-allahabad-high-court/ https://swarajyamag.com/news-brief/ram-temple-movement-when-v-s-naipaul-defended-hindus-by-shattering-lefts-propoganda-in-his-characteristic-style https://medium.com/@Sanjay_Dixit/indian-independence-2-0-7d416ba61580

https://swarajyamag.com/politics/vhp-is-right-on-ram-mandir-trust-it-must-lead-the-movement-to-free-all-temples-from-govt-control https://dharmadispatch.in/the-spirit-of-maharshi-valmiki-and-the-greatest-gift-indians-can-offer-to-the-sri-rama-mandir/ https://koenraadelstnl.blogspot.com/2019/11/normalisering-in-ayodhya.html