Summary of the evidence proving destruction of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple in 1528 AD

This Annexure gives a summary of the evidence provided by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in December 1990 to the government of India. This evidence was compiled in context of the discussions organised by the Chandrashekar government, and the moot point then was: Is there proof that an old and persistent tradition among Shri Ram devotees has considered the site as the sacred Shri Ram Janmabhoomi, and that Shri Ram worship took place there is a temple, before and until the Babri structure was built? It has also been published by the VHP, and many have written about the points made therein. The evidence establishes the vandalism at the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi site in 1528 AD.

The full evidence is available at the following websites: http://www.hvk.org/specialrepo/rjm/index.php

As a response to a White Paper prepared by the Narsimha Rao government in February 1993, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) brought out its own document in April 1993. The section relating to the evidence of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple not only gives a summary of the evidence but also includes comments made by the Government of India on the submissions made by the VHP. While the government comments have not been made public, the BJP’s White Paper is in the public domain. To the best of our knowledge, the BJP’s reproduction of government notes has not been denied.

The relevant section is available at the following websites: http://www.hvk.org/ram/a8.php

The full White Paper of the BJP is available at the following websites: http://www.hvk.org/specialrepo/bjpwp/index.php

The evidence provided by the VHP was divided into five parts. The first part dealt with the Hindu testimony. The city of Ayodhya has undeniably been a city of great antiquity and a sacred spot to the Hindus for a long time.

Valmiki’s Ramayana gives the location as on the bank of river Saryu, and describes its area, prosperity and glory. Many puranas attest the fact that Ayodhya is considered as one of the six holy cities, the other five being Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchi and Ujjain. In all the Hindu scriptures, Ayodhya figures prominently and Shri Ram is referred to as an avatar of Vishnu.

Kalidasa, the greatest classical poet and dramatist, gives a narrative of Vishnu’s incarnation on earth as Shri Rama. There is not a single important poet or writer in classical Sanskrit literature who has not paid his best obeisance to Shri Ram in one form or another.

For the last two millennia, the tradition of veneration to Shri Ram has existed in the Hindu society in one form or another. The earliest known inscription to testify to this is found in the Nashik cave inscription dating back to 150 AD. The evolution of the tradition of Shri Ram worship at least from 300 AD is established by the early shrines surviving at ancient Ramgiri hills, 30 km from Nagpur. Paintings depicting episodes of Shri Rama’s life have adorned the walls of numerous temples in India and outside – from the famous Deogarh temple in Madhya Pradesh to Angkor Vat in Cambodia. The Grand Palace in Bangkok has a pictorial depiction of the complete Ramayan along the inner part of the compound wall.

The merits of a devote observing the vow on Ramnavami (the day Shri Ram was born) has been described in Ayodhya-Mahatmya in the following words: “A man who has seen the Janmasthana will not be born again even if he does not offer gifts, practice asceticism, goes on pilgrimages or make sacrifice-offerings. A man observing the vow world will be liberated from the bondage of rebirth on arrival of the Navami day because of the miraculous power of a bath and a gift. By seeing the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi he shall obtain the result that occurs to one who gives away a thousand red cows day after day.”

The second part dealt with the Muslim testimony. Numerous Muslim writers have written detailed accounts of the regional history of Awadh since the 17th century. Based on older authentic contemporary sources of various nature, they aver to the fact that the temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi was demolished and a mosque constructed in its place. Some of these writers were residents of Awadh. We give below five the twelve Muslim testimonies that were given as part of the evidence in December 1990.

In Safiha-i Chahal Nasaih Bahadur Shahi, written during the late 17th and early 18th century by the daughter of Bahadur Shah Alamgir, it is stated as follows: “The places of worship of the Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., in which the Hindus have great faith – the place of the birthplace of Kanhaiya, the place of Rasoi Sita, the place of Hanuman, who, according to the Hindus, was seated by Ram Chandra over there after the conquest of Lanka – were all demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places mosques have been constructed.”

Mirza Jan, in Hadiqa-i-Shahada (1856), says, “The past Sultans encouraged the propagation and glorification of Islam and crushed the forces of the unbelievers, the Hindus. Similarly, Faizabad and Awadh were also purged of this mean practice of kufr. (Awadh) was a great worshipping center and the capital of (the kingdom of) Rama’s father…. The temple of Janmasthan was the original birthplace of Ram, adjacent to which is Sita ki Rasoi….. Hence at that site, a lofty mosque has been built by Babar Badshah under the guidance of Musa Ashikan.”

The Urdu novelist Mirza Rajab Ali Beg Surur (1787-1867), in Fasana-i Ibrat, says, “During the reign of Babar Badshah, a magnificent mosque was constructed in Awadh at a place which is associated with Sita ki Rasoi. This was the Babri mosque.”

The Tarikh-i Awadh by Sheikh Mohammed Azmat Ali Kakorwai Nami (1869) states, “Awadh was the capital of the father of Laxman and Ram. There, under the guidance of Musa Ashikan, a magnificent Babri mosque was constructed at the site of the temple within the premises of Janmasthan.” In another book by the same title, but written by Alama Muhammad Najamulghani Khan Rampuri (1909), it is stated, “Babar built a magnificent mosque at the spot where the temple of Janmasthan of Ramchandra was situated at Ayodhya.”

In 1977, an English translation of Hindustan Islami Ahad Mein by Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai (d. 1923), was published by his son, Maulana Abdul Hasan Nadwi, alias Ali Mian. The book contains a chapter “The Mosques of Hindusthan”, giving at least six instances of construction of the mosques on the very sites of the Hindu temples demolished by the Muslim rulers during the 12th-17th centuries. As regards, the Babri structure, he writes, “This mosque was constructed by Babar at Ayodhya which the Hindus call the birthplace of Ram Chanderji.”

In the third part, European records were produced which attest to the holiness of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi site and the destruction of a temple in 1528 AD. William finch, a European traveler (1608-11), confirms the existence of the ruins of Ramkot, the castle of Shri Rama, where Hindus believe he was born. Joseph Tieffenthaler, the Austrian Jesuit priest (1766-71), reports that Babur destroyed the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple and constructed a mosque using some of its pillars. He also wrote that Hindus refused to give up worship at the place, in spite of the Muslim efforts to prevent them. He noted the existence of the Ram Chabootra in the courtyard of the Babri structure, and celebration of Ram Navmi with great gatherings of people from all over India.

All the British official records have accepted the ancient Hindu belief of the holiness of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi site and the destruction of a temple there. These records also mention that the Babri structure was built after the destruction, and many specifically mention the use of the pillars from the destroyed temple.

The Archaeological Survey of India (1934) identified all the holy sites of Ayodhya with reference to the ancient texts, numbered them and put up sign posts in stone to mark the sites. The Babri structure was identified as the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi and a signpost was embedded there saying: “Site no. 1: Janmabhoomi”.

The court verdict of 1886 has been discussed in detail as an answer to question number fourteen, and what is said in Babur Nama (from the English translation by Annette Beveridge) has been discussed in question numbers seven and eight. The Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1978, 15th edition, Vol 1) records that a mosque erected by Babur in 1528, on the site of an earlier temple, marks Shri Rama’s birthplace.

Hans Bakker, the Dutch scholar, in his comprehensive study entitled “Ayodhya” (1984) has categorically accepted that an old Vaishnava temple was situated on the holy spot where Hindus believe Shri Ram was born. Bakker also says that this Janmabhoomi temple was destroyed by Babur in 1528 AD and replaced with the Babri structure. Fourteen black-stone pillars from the temple were utilised by Mir Baqi in the construction of the mosque.

In the fourth part, the revenue records, Kot Ram Chandra, the residential headquarters of Shri Ram has been shown quite distinct from the city of Ayodhya. In the records, Janmasthan, a large complex serves as a landmark in Kot Ram Chandra.

In the final part, the evidence with respect to archaeological records is presented. In the period 1975-80, the Archaeological Survey of India undertook a project to study the various sites mentioned in the Ramayana. The combined evidence shows that there did exist a historical basis for the Ramayana. Excavations were also done at two places around the Babri structure. They established the existence of pillar bases outside the structure, which were aligned in the same direction as the pillars in the structure, and the distance between the bases outside and the pillars inside were the same. These excavations also showed that the site was occupied prior to 7th century BC, which is for nearly 3000 years. The pillars that were present in the Babri structure had distinctive Hindu features, establishing the existence of a temple prior to the construction of the Babri structure.

Two Hindu structures of importance that existed within the Babri structure were the Ram Chabootra and Sita-ki-Rasoi. The former was a small raised platform, with a canopy, where constant prayers for Lord Ram were being conducted. Joseph Tiffenthaler, the Austrian Jesuit priest, who stayed in Awadh in 1766-71 reported that the Hindus had constructed the Ram Chabootra in the Babri structure’s courtyard. He also reported that the Hindus practised their devotion at the Chabootra, and continued to celebrate Ram Navami with great gatherings of people from all over India. This clearly shows the importance of the site to the Hindus, and they were willing to take huge risks to establish their presence. Please also see the answer to question number ten.

The demolition of the Babri structure on December 6, 1992, brought to light a great deal of archaeological material from within the thick walls of the Babri structure. Besides sculptured panels and images, architectural components such as amalaka, sikharas, doorjambs, etc., it included three inscriptions on stone. The largest one, inscribed on a 1.10x.56 meter slab and consisting of 20 engraved lines, has been published by Professor Ajaya Mitra Shastri of Nagpur University in the Puratattva (a reputed scholarly journal of the Indian Archaeological Society), No. 23 (1992-93), pp. 35 ff. (Professor Shastri is a distinguished historian and a specialist in epigraphy and numismatics.) The relevant part of his paper reads its follows:

“The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except for a small portion in prose, and is engraved in the chaste and classical Nagari script of the eleventh-twelfth century AD. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. Line 15 of this inscription clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (sila-sam hati-grahais) and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings (purvvuirapyakritam kritam nripatibhir) was constructed. This wonderful temple (aty-adhutam) was built in the temple-city (vibudh- alayni) of Ayodhya situated in the Saketamandala (district, line 17) showing that Ayodhya and Saketa were closely connected. Saketa being the district of which Ayodhya was a part. Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali (apparently in the Vamana manifestation) and the ten-headed personage (Dasanana i.e. Ravana).”

Courtesy – Hindu Vivek Kendra, www.hvk.org