Ram temple was never just a matter of Hindu’s faith vs. Muslim’s claims. It is more a matter of Nation’s identity. So do we have everything to end Ram’s exile now?
The construction of a grand Ram temple at the pilgrimage site of Ayodhya, the proven birthplace of Lord Ram has been a long a wait of crores of Hindus across the globe and thousands of supportive Muslims in India. Finally, with the BJP, perhaps the only party representing a leadership with a true secular spirit of a Hindu Nation, at both the central and the state government, the delay is finally seeing the light of becoming a reality now.
Retrospectively, I think the scholars and litterateurs of our times have grossly and, if I may speak for the future generations, dangerously disappointed us in putting forward a completely transparent narrative of our history as against the (continued) keyhole versions of their ‘motivated’ wisdom. And this is the reason why the word ‘Hindu nation’ today could trigger fierce debates in this country and oxymorons like ‘Hindu-terror’ or ‘Hindutva zealots’ are in great use. But for that, neither can we just blame the scholars, or the Congress party alone who, quite obviously for decades, failed to recognize the priorities and larger interests of the nation over and above their petty politics and handshakes with communists, nor the selective shaming of Hindus by today’s media (brew names here and not universalizing) and their false propagandas. We also need to impugn our own inherited ignorance and unwillingness to correct the same.
However, let us not go there for the sake of this article’s main idea. Here, I want to argue on two points. One, why the construction of the Ram temple is important and is no more a matter of Hindu’s faith vs. Muslim’s claims, even though the court had already settled the question in 2010 with ample evidences that there was a indeed a temple hundreds of years before the Babri was reprehensibly constructed upon it.
Infact, Ram Temple is not a matter of any religion at all, but of a Nation as a whole.
And for someone who understands our history, as I said, not in any biased anecdotes of how it has been taught to us through textbooks and not through any prerogative religious lens, but in a broader objective sense favorable to a nation’s true identity, (I want to stress that) he must favor the construction of the temple with great interest.
But before we do that, point number two, i.e. with the current tectonic shift in the country’s polity recently, let’s analyze if we infact have everything we need now to construct the temple besides just our will to do so, or are there still any political or legal impediments that will further delay the process.
Impediment one: Who will construct the temple?
On 30 September 2010, the Allahabad High court verdict came after a long period of six years since the first litigation was filed to claim the site. But there was dissatisfaction in both the parties, and even the three-judge bench had a huge difference of opinions. The 3 parts distribution verdict pronounced that 2/3 to be given to Hindu (1/3 to Lord Ram (Infant Rama) represented by the Hindu Maha Sabha, 1/3 to the Nirmohi Akhara) and 1/3 to Sunni Muslim Waqf Board on the basis of historical use of the site by Muslims and Hindus. Justice Mr. Sharma particularly dissented to the judgment and categorically stated, “The disputed site (under the central Babri dome) is the birthplace of Lord Ram “as per faith and belief of the Hindus”. He did not agree to the 1/3rd formula. According to him, based on the evidences, only Hindus must have exclusive rights to the entire site.
“The disputed building was constructed by Babar against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque.” He said.
Nevertheless, now since the owners of the sites were declared, it is their responsibility to construct the temple on the land in the 2/3 of the site.
VHP is long declaring, since 2001, that it would begin the construction and since then hoped for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of them. Initially, the crafting of the temple began in 1998 and it was asserted by Chandrakant Pathak that it would take a decade to complete it. Nevertheless, due to lack of workforce and constitutional obstacles, he predicted that the temple would take a decade to come to a shape. Construction of a temple is a slow process, even with enough number of architects and workforce, since it requires very intricate work on pillars, ‘pradakshana marg’, ‘mandaps’ and elsewhere. Somnath shrine was rebuilt in eight years during the 1950s but its ‘nritya mandap’ was completed only in 1997. The amount of massive quantity of marble and granite, best quality sandstone needed is huge and with today’s estimate, it would cost more than 800 million.
Currently, the Supreme Court is hearing the issue and has told that the state government under BJP rule would follow all the constitutional norms to build the temple.
Joining hands with VHP are Shiv Sena and RSS who want the temple to be build at the site where the Masjid once stood. “Development, education and employment are there in the city, but are meaningless without the temple” says Vinay Katiyar. Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, the women wing of Bajrang Dal, and other Hindu organizations are ready to play a positive role in the construction of the temple.
A couple of years back, Ashok Singhal, leader of VHP said that “About 2.25 lakh cubic fits of stones are required for the construction of Ram temple and about 1.25 lakh cubic fits of stones are ready at VHP’s headquarter in Ayodhya. The rest one lakh cubic fits stones would be collected nationwide from Hindu devotees”. Together with that, BJP’s recent election manifesto for UP reads ‘On Ram Temple, the law will be followed to get the temple built as soon as possible’ and the new Chief minister of U.P. Yogi Adityanath has already asserted during his election speeches that the construction will begin soon.
So ample political will. But so far, No official declaration from the government has come as to when the construction shall commence. Can a bill be tabled in the Parliament by the government for the construction and if this is the only option that would clear all obstacles, is still an open question?
Impediment two: Will Muslims Support?
Unfortunately, a section of Muslims continues to have sympathy with Mr. Jilani’s views that Babri Mosque was not a makeshift structure erected after demolishing a temple. Moreover, if it was and if they allow the temple to be built, then they fear that Hindus might want to take on other mosques as well. The Waqf Sunni board (represented by Hasim Ansari) with the backing of All India Muslim Personal Law Board are blind to the fact that they are doing it against the national harmony of the country and of the court’s verdict.
Consider a situation if Kaaba in Mecca is claimed by Hindus as a Shiva Temple today. Would the Muslims allow breaking it down and construct a temple there? No, because even if it is proven a Shiva temple, they want the Kaaba to remain because it is associated with their faith. Babri was never a question of Muslim’s faith, but Ram temple evidently was and is – a matter of extreme faith and belief of crores of Hindus and Hindu organizations all over the world who have been even sending bricks to be included in the foundation of the temple.
The fact that Babar’s commander Mir Baki didn’t invade any other temple in the state, but especially the one that was held in great reverence, the symbol of strength and faith, the birthplace of Ram – the God at the center of Hindu philosophy of ethics, inclusion, non violence, forgiveness, proves that Babri was never built as a mosque but as a victory symbol to humiliate Hindus. Even Islam forbids worship to this monument as a Mosque. Hence, it is not a question of worshipping a temple or a mosque, but to bring down the bequest of an atrocious ruler who killed hundreds of ‘Indians’. No Indian Muslim today would want to join hands with Mir Baki and plot a massacre against his fellow Indian Hindu brothers, then why defending something that he built doing the same, for the same objective.
Mr. Jilani must understand that no faith is bigger than someone else’s dignity and only an oppressor, as despot as Baki himself, would stop the construction. He must leave this false assumption and fear and instead should join hands with the Hindus and take the temple construction forward in the larger interest of the nation.
Impediment three: Will it hurt Muslim sentiments in any way?
Point number one. Savarkar said in his book that Bharat is essentially by identity a Hindu Nation, a philosophy even Atal ji has endorsed in his speeches. But by that, he never meant to assert that it can’t be a nation for Muslims or for anyone with a different set of faith than Hindus. But demolishing a temple, massacring the innocent priests and looting and raping their women, especially one that is central of the belief of millions from time immemorial, Mughals wanted to declare that ‘they have conquered the very spirit of the nation’. And when you fail to protect your rightful legacy, your honor, you fail to protect the future of your forthcoming generations and instill a sense of fear and an idea of ‘surrendering’ in their minds.
Point number two. The King of Thailand is still called Rama and they have festivals to celebrate anecdotes from Ramayana. Because in Ram, they see both the method and the merit of living a happy and fulfilling life. Rama is not just for one faith. Around the world, Rama is idealized as the epitome-spirit that guides us how to live a human life irrespective of your faith. Ram is to subjugate the enemy within you, establish complete righteousness, social harmony and equality and help humanity. It is with the backdrop of this understanding that we must see the construction as something bigger than constructing a temple, a question of gaining our lost Identity that must be answered now.
Before I come to the point as to why the temple is needed, a quick recap of the trail of events leading to establish that Ram temple has been there for long and nothing else.
The first case was made in the year 1950 by Gopal Singh, and then second case was file by Paramahans Ramchandra das of Ramanad Sampradaya on the same facts and evidences, third case was filed by Nirmohi Akada in 1959. Challenging it, the fourth case was filed by Sunni Waqf Board in 1961. When the case hearings began and evidences were placed, the Sunni board claims were rejected one by one. In 1990 – the court pronounced that all documents, settlement maps fabricated with words such as Azaadi Masjid, Mosque birthplace etc are forged.
Abul Fazal, granddaughter of Aurangzeb, Mirza Jaan, Novelist and Historian Mira Rajab Ali beg, all have documented that that Babri was erected after demolishing the grand temple which was there since the time of Vikramaditya (even before) and Babar broke it in 1528 to erect the Babri.
Professor A.K Sharma explains that by the order of the court, first, Radar surveillance was conducted by Tojo-Vikas International institute. The report that followed proved that there are big walls, fencing and pillars buried in the ground where the controversial Babri structure was made. Based on the report, the court ordered the Indian Archaeological Society to excavate the same area and provide evidences of the same, and directed another paleobotany institute in Lucknow to do the carbon dating. After the excavation was completed, not one, but clear evidences of three temples were found. A circular Shiva Shrine dated 9th Century and another two temples constructed over it in later time around 1228 AD. Carved idols of Indian Gods goddesses, ‘Garbhgrah’ where lord Ram used to sit, over 50 pillars with carvings of Vishnu all over them, ‘Garudhwaj’, ‘ArdhaMandap’, ‘Antaral’, clay animals and many other things, typical of Temples, especially north Indian Temples were found. These things are never present in a mosque. Ample evidences of demolishing the temple even from the walls of the Babri that were raised above the temple were also found because Babri had no foundations of its own. Its walls were erected over the walls of the temple since temple columns were built strong enough to sustain levels of floors.
Dr K.V Ramesh, an Epigraphist with ASI examined one of the inscription found etched in the Babri wall and examined that the nature and language of the inscription. The inscription of one period cannot be imitated by anyone at a later point in time.
“After killing HrinayaKashipu, after taming Banasur in the battle, who else is there to kill the evil ten headed (dashanan) Ravana” – the Inscription translated.
The inscription read in Sanskrit with the clear mention of the construction of Vishnu Hari temple and mention of Ayodhya. ‘Ayodhya Mahatmaya’ tell us that there were nine Vishnu Hari temples in Ayodhya out of which eight can be found now and the one below the Babri was the ninth one. Everything lead to prove beyond an iota of doubt that there was a temple before, and nothing else. All three questions that the court was pursuing whether there was a temple, whether it was demolished by Mir Baki and whether that place have been worshipped by Hindus since time immemorial as the birth place of Ram were answered beyond doubts with all the findings.
Why Ram temple is important and needed
In August 1990 – a slow and humble movement began in Vrindavan to free the birthplace of Ram. What was started mainly by the saints soon converted into a mass upsurge, more or less like the Dandi March started by Mahatma Gandhi that began with one single person and consumed the entire nation. The then Government of Uttar Pradesh did all in his power to stop the kar sevaks form reaching Ayodhya. On 2 November, 1990 several people died in the unprovoked and brutal firing that followed.
It is myth, gradually perpetrated by the tormentors of the real Indian history that the Barbri Masjid was destroyed because it was a Masjid. No, it was not. It was a symbol of defeat for the whole nation, and has nothing to do with Islam. It was built as a tomb, not a Masjid, for Babar to glorify that he has crushed not just the sentiments and religious beliefs of a great nation, but to convey the message that if they cannot save the temples that are a cornerstone to their culture, how will they save themselves? thus reducing the idea of a great nation as one open to domination. What 150,000 VHP and BJP kar sevaks saw in Babri was a looming, but a giant shadow of this continued domination upon an Independent nation. And similarly, If there was an attempt to take back the temples and shrines at Varanasi, Mathura and elsewhere, it was not to establish the Hindu superiority, because inherently a Hindu does not see someone as superior or inferior, but to take back our respect that the invaders of Islam snatched away from us. Those who understand this support the intention behind demolition, if not the way how it was carried out. And this intention serves best to begin understanding why the Temple is needed.
If an independent nation continues to have the symbols of oppression and shame that it suffered (over and above the requirements of a museum), then, in the minds of its generations, a doubt over its own self belief, over its own identity crises will continue to be felt. A small number of people who still have fear must understand that the core principle of Hindutva is not to stand as a vanguard of only Hinduism but a complete harmonious assimilation of every faith and belief. Hundreds of other Mosque came in the way of Babri Masjid, but the kar sevaks touched not a single stone of any of them. Why? (It is to be noted that PhD Scholar Jonathan Matusitz in his book ‘Symbolism in Terrorism’ claims that other mosques were also destroyed. I have sent him personal email asking evidences of his claim but he has not responded yet).
6 December 1992, the day when this movement was going on, Muslim women were buying bangles in the streets of Ayodhya as if nothing had happened. Had they been motivated by the idea of establishing a nation where Muslims have no role, they would have destroyed all. However, they did not. They were motivated by the notion of taking back the self-respect that they lost. Every home in Ayodhya has a Ram temple, just as every home in Vrindavan has a Krishna Temple. They do not need to find Ram anywhere else. It was their belief – centered around the philosophy of Hindutva – not to demolish a symbol of worship, but to demolish symbol of defeat by an invader.
Around India, there are hundreds of mosques that were erected after destroying the temples of this place. Take for example ‘The Might of Islam’ mosque near to the Qutub Minar in Delhi has an inscription in Arabic that reads that ‘twenty seven Hindu and Jain temple were destroyed to create this mosque (‘Quwwatul-islam masjid’)’. The invaders felt proud in doing so and left stone carved attestations of their brutally towards Hindu temples and people. Do we need to keep them and display them in public proudly, when they should only belong to a museum for historical sake? In his paper Navajivan, Gandhi ji wrote that Hindu cannot and must not tolerate and reject the idea of having mosque built over after demolishing their temples.
So do, we have everything we need?
Affirmative. We have the will, the participation from the Hindu community around the world, the support of the government and now the political leadership as well. I see no legal or administrative impediments that remain to be cleared now. What is left for BJP is to come clean on their manifesto and declare the date of commencement to end Rama’s overdue exile. A day that crores of hearts have been waiting to hear, similar to how the people of the kingdom of Ayodhya and Ram’s family must have waited for his return in the Treta Yuga.
P.S: I want to address a last question here that I recently received from a friend. A fear of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of UP has arisen. However, naïve that fear be, let us address this is brief. Yogi Adityanath is a Hindu, worse a Sanyasi. If you fear a Hindu’s principles, you don’t seem to quite get the idea of Hinduism. The principles are secular and all-inclusive. He will not believe in appeasing one section for the sake of minority, but will bring equal opportunities to all, for the sake of the State. Be it the construction of Ram temple, or closing down unlicensed butcher houses, or propagating Yoga, should these pro-nation ideas fear you, that it’s not a fear but a misplaced sense of phobia that you might want to get rid of. Rest, only time will tell.