Ayodhya verdict: Letter to Supreme Court

published on October 8, 2010

8th October 2010
The Hon. Chief Justice of India
Supreme Court
New Delhi 110001
[email protected]

Your Excellency,

Sub: Treating Allahabad High Court judgement as final in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Structure dispute.

In the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Structure dispute, the Allahabad High Court has finally given its verdict, on 30th September 2010. The entire country has heaved a sigh of relief at this judgement. A judgement cannot satisfy all, but the judges have treaded where no body dared in the last 60 years. Hence they deserve all our praise. Both Muslims and Hindus have taken it in their stride. In fact the whole country has welcomed the judgement. And contrary to govt. expectation, there is no communal tension.
However, a few disgruntled elements who have all along been spreading lies and canards on the issue have, under the banner of SAHMAT, come out with a ‘Statement on Ayodhya Verdict’ dated 4th October 2010 (see Annexure I below), casting aspersions on the judgement. The statement is signed by 61 ‘intellectuals’ and ’eminent historians’, many of whom are holding cozy govt. and semi-government positions and are enjoying government perks. By issuing such a statement, they have done an act which amounts to contempt of court. Their lies did not withstand the judicial process. The Supreme Court should take suo moto action against all those signatories and the communal organisation, SAHMAT. These people must be proscribed and given exemplary punishment, for attempting to rekindle communal frenzy.
The statement reads that “The most objectionable part of the judgement is the legitimation it provides to violence and muscle-power” and “it accepts the destruction of the mosque in 1992”.  This is a canard. As is their wont, they are just trying to mislead the general public. The case in question was a civil suit. The question of demolition of Babri structure on 6th Dec. 1992 is an alleged criminal act and was out of the purview of this court. Since a majority of the Muslims seem to accept the AHC judgement, their motive in issuing such a statement is obviously to provoke them and disturb communal peace.

The well known Belgian scholar, Dr. Koenraad Elst, who has done considerable research in the Ayodhya issue and has come out with several books on Ayodhya, has recently written an article dated 4th October 2010 titled ‘Eminent Historian Displeased with The Ayodhya Verdict’ (Annexure II below). In the said article he has expressed his fears thus: “Today, I feel sorry for the eminent historians. They have identified very publicly with the denial of the Ayodhya evidence. While politically expedient, and while going unchallenged in the academically most consequential forums for twenty years, that position has now been officially declared false. It suddenly dawns on them that they have tied their names to an entreprise unlikely to earn them glory in the long run. We may expect frantic attempts to intimidate the Supreme Court into annulling the Allahabad verdict, and possibly it will succeed. But it is unlikely that future generations, unburdened with the presently prevailing power equation that made this history denial profitable, will play along and keep on disregarding the massive body of historical evidence.”

Since many of the signatories to the statement are holding important positions in the government and semi-government bodies, it is likely that they will try to influence the political power. (As it is, our Prime Minister had the audacity to say that “minorities should have the first claim on our resources”, a blatant communal and unconstitutional statement.) They may also try to intellectually terrorise the individual judges, so as to annul the Allahabad High Court judgement. As it is, there are already a barrage of articles written in leading news papers by these perverted secularists, criticising the judgement of the Allahabad High Court. Various TV channels too are being used to spread the canard that the judgement of the AHC is wrong. One fears that some of the judges may succumb to this type of ‘media terrorism’.

As Your Honour may be aware, the Supreme Court has refused to decide on the Presidential Reference dated 7th January 1993, which read: “Whether a Hindu Temple or any religious structure existed prior to the construction of the Ramjanmabhoomi– Babri Masjid (including the premises of the inner and outer courtyards of such structure) in the areas on which the structure stood?”

Chief Justice of India M.N. Venkatachaliah, Justice J.S. Verma and Justice G.N. Ray together signed a judgement dated 24th October 1994, which said, in para 100(11): “We very respectfully decline to answer it and return the same”. Justice A.M. Ahmadi and Justice S.P. Bharucha gave their judgement on the same day. Para 165 of their judgement read: “The Presidential Reference is returned respectfully, unanswered”.

Since the Hon. Supreme Court has already decided ‘not to decide’ on the case, it has no locus standi to entertain the case now. The Supreme Court should now wash its hands off from this case. Any petition challenging the Allahabad High Court judgement should be dismissed by the Supreme Court, and the AHC judgement in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri structure case should be treated as final and the end of the judicial process, for all practical purposes.

Let there be a negotiated settlement or let the parliament pass a law giving the entire disputed area to Hindus for building a magnificent Ram Mandir.

P. Deivamuthu
Editor, Hindu Voice (Monthly) – Espousing the cause of Hindutva
Editor, National Spirit (Weekly) – Stirring up the Soul of Bharat
Founder-President, Hindu Journalists & Intellectuals Forum (Regd.)
210 Abhinav, Teen Dongri
Yeshwant Nagar, Goregaon West
Mumbai 400062
Tel: 022-28764460, 09324728153
[email protected]
[email protected]


Annexure I
Statement on Ayodhya Verdict
Date 1.10.2010

The judgement delivered by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Dispute on 30 September 2010 has raised serious concerns because of the way history, reason and secular values have been treated in it. First of all, the view that the Babri Masjid was built at the site of a Hindu temple, which has been maintained by two of the three judges, takes no account of all the evidence contrary to this fact turned up by the Archaeological Survey of India’s own excavations: the presence of animal bones throughout as well as of the use of ‘surkhi’ and lime mortar (all characteristic of Muslim presence) rule out the possibility of a Hindu temple having been there beneath the mosque. The ASI’s controversial Report which claimed otherwise on the basis of ‘pillar bases’ was manifestly fraudulent in its assertions since no pillars were found, and the alleged existence of ‘pillar bases’ has been debated by archaeologists. It is now imperative that the site notebooks, artefacts and other material evidence relating to the ASI’s excavation be made available for scrutiny by scholars, historians and archaeologists.

No proof has been offered even of the fact that a Hindu belief in Lord Rama’s birth-site being the same as the site of the mosque had at all existed before very recent times, let alone since ‘time immemorial’. Not only is the judgement wrong in accepting the antiquity of this belief, but it is gravely disturbing that such acceptance should then be converted into an argument for deciding property entitlement. This seems to be against all principles of law and equity.
The most objectionable part of the judgement is the legitimation it provides to violence and muscle-power. While it recognizes the forcible break-in of 1949 which led to placing the idols under the mosque-dome, it now recognizes, without any rational basis, that the transfer put the idols in their rightful place. Even more astonishingly, it accepts the destruction of the mosque in 1992 (in defiance, let it be remembered, of the Supreme Court’s own orders) as an act whose consequences are to be accepted, by transferring the main parts of the mosque to those clamouring for a temple to be built.

For all these reasons we cannot but see the judgement as yet another blow to the secular fabric of our country and the repute of our judiciary. Whatever happens next in the case cannot, unfortunately, make good what the country has lost.

Romila Thapar
K.M. Shrimali
D.N. Jha
K.N. Panikkar
Amiya Kumar Bagchi
Iqtidar Alam Khan
Shireen Moosvi
Jaya Menon
Irfan Habib
Suvira Jaiswal
Kesavan Veluthat
D. Mandal
Ramakrishna Chatterjee
Aniruddha Ray
Arun Bandopadhyaya
A. Murali
V. Ramakrishna
Arjun Dev
R.C. Thakran
H.C. Satyarthi
Amar Farooqui
B.P. Sahu
Biswamoy Pati
Lata Singh
Utsa Patnaik
Zoya Hasan
Prabhat Patnaik
C.P. Chandrasekhar
Jayati Ghosh
Archana Prasad
Shakti Kak
V.M. Jha
Prabhat Shukla
Indira Arjun Dev
Mahendra Pratap Singh
Ram Rahman
M.K. Raina
Sohail Hashmi
Parthiv Shah
Madan Gopal Singh
Madhu Prasad
Vivan Sundaram
Geeta Kapur
Rajendra Prasad
Anil Chandra
Rahul Verma
Indira Chandrasekhar
Sukumar Muralidharan
Supriya Verma
N.K. Sharma
S.Z.H. Jafri
Farhat Hasan
Shalini Jain
Santosh Rai
Najaf Haider
R. Gopinath
R.P. Bahuguna
G.P. Sharma
Sitaram Roy
O.P. Jaiswal
K.K. Sharma

SAHMAT 29, Feroze Shah Road,New Delhi-110001 Telephone- 23381276/ 23070787 e-mail-sahmat8@ yahoo.com
Annexure II
Eminent Historian Displeased with The Ayodhya Verdict     

Written by : Dr. Koenraad Elst   

Romila Thapar, most eminent among India’s eminent historians, protests against the Court verdict acknowledging the historical evidence that the Babar mosque in Ayodhya had been built in forcible replacement of a Rama temple. After two decades of living on top of the world, the eminent historians are brought down to earth.

In 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared to young Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. Before long, Lourdes became the most important pilgrimage site for Roman Catholics and other Mary worshippers. France prided itself on being a secular state, in some phases (esp. 1905-40) even aggressively secular, yet it acknowledged and protected Lourdes as a place of pilgrimage. Not many French officials actually believe in the apparition, but that is not the point. The believers are human beings, fellow citizens, and out of respect for them does the state respect and protect their pilgrimage.

For essentially the same reason, viz. the mere fact that the Ayodhya site is well-established as a sacred site for Hindu pilgrimage, is reason enough to protect its functioning as a Hindu sacred site, complete with proper Hindu temple architecture. Ayodhya doesn’t have this status in any other religion (though Buddhism in the Jataka story cycle accepts Rama as an earlier incarnation of the Buddha), most certainly not in Islam. So, the sensible and secular thing to do, even for those sceptical of every religious belief involved, is to leave the site to the Hindus. It helps to know, but is not strictly of any importance in the present, that Hindus kept going there even when a mosque stood there, even under Muslim rule. It is sufficient that the site has this sacred status today.

Secular PM Rajiv Gandhi had understood this, and from the court-ordered opening of the locks on the mosque-used-as-temple in 1986, he was manoeuvring towards an arrangement leaving the contentious site to the Hindus in exchange for some other goodies (starting with the Shah Bano amendment and the Satanic Verses ban) for the Muslim leadership. Call it Congress culture or horse-trading, but it would have been practical and saved everyone a lot of trouble.

That is when a group of “eminent historians” started raising the stakes and turning this local communal deal into a clash of civilizations, a life-and-death matter on which the survival of the greatest treasure in the universe depended, viz. secularism. Secure in their hegemonic position, they didn’t limit themselves to denying to the Hindus the right of rebuilding their demolished temple (say, “a medieval demolition doesn’t justify a counter-demolition today”), but went so far as to deny the well-established fact that the mosque had been built in forcible replacement of a Rama temple.

Though intimidated, the political class didn’t give in altogether but subtly pursued its plans. In late 1990, Chandra Shekhar’s minority govenrment, supported and largely teleguided by opposition leader Rajiv Gandhi, invited the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Babri Masjid Action Committe to mandate some selected scholars for a discussion of the historical evidence. The politicians had clearly expected that the debate would bring out the evidence and silence the deniers for good. And that is what happened, or at least the first half. Decisive evidence was indeed presented, but it failed to discourage the deniers.

The VHP-employed team presented the already known documentary and archaeological evidence and dug up quite a few new documents confirming the temple demolition (including four that Muslim institutions had tried to conceal or tamper with).

The BMAC-employed team quit the discussions but brought out a booklet later, trumpeted as the final deathblow of the temple demolition “myth”. In fact, it turned out to be limited to an attempt at whittling down the evidential impact of a selected few of the pro-temple documents and holding forth on generalities of politicized history without proving how any of that could neutralize this particular evidence. It contained not a single (even attempted) reference to a piece of actual evidence proving an alternative scenario or positively refuting the established scenario.

I have given a full account earlier in my book ‘ Ayodhya, the Case against the Temple (2002)’
( http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/acat/index.htm)

As for the second half, that didn’t work out as hoped for. No amount of evidence could silence the deniers. Though defeated on contents, the “eminent historians” became only more insistent in denying the evidence. They especially excelled in blackening and slandering those few scholars who publicly stood by the evidence, not even sparing the towering archaeologist BB Lal.

Overnight, what had been the consensus in Muslim, Hindu and European sources, was turned into a “claim” by “Hindu extremists”. They managed to intimidate a Dutch scholar who had earlier contributed even more elements to the already large pile of pro-temple evidence into backtracking. Most spectacularly, they managed to get the entire international media and the vast majority of India-related academics who ever voiced an opinion on the matter, into toeing their line. These dimly-informed India-watchers too started intoning the no-temple mantra and slandering the dissidents, to their faces or behind their backs, as “liars”, “BJP prostitutes”, and what not.

Even in the world-renowned RISA collective, dozens chose to toe this party-line of disregarding the evidence and denying the obvious, viz. that the Babri Masjid (along with the Kaaba, the Mezquita, the Ummayad mosque, the Aya Sophia, the Quwwatu’l-Islam etc.) was one of the numerous ancient mosques built on, or with materials from, purposely desecrated or demolished non-Muslim places of worship.

Until the demolition by Hindu activists on 6 December 1992, Congress PM Narasimha Rao was clearly pursuing the same plan of a bloodless hand-over of the site to the Hindus in exchange for some concessions to the Muslims. The activists who performed the demolition were angry with their own leaders for seemingly abandoning the Ayodhya campaign after winning the 1991 elections with it, but perhaps the Hindutva leaders had secretly been in touch with the PM or at any rate adjusted their policy to their inside perception of a deal planned by him. After the demolition, Rao milked it for its anti-BJP nuisance value and gave out some pro-mosque signals; but a closer look at his actual policies shows that he stayed on course. His Government requested the Supreme Court to offer an opinion on the historical background of the Ayodhya dispute, knowing fully well from the outcome of the scholars’ debate that an informed opinion could only favour the Hindu claim. In normal circumstances, it is not a court’s business to pronounce on matters of history, but then whom else could you trust to give a fair opinion when the professional historians were being so brazenly partisan?

The Supreme Court sent the matter on, or back, to the Allahabad High Court, which at long last got serious about finding out the true story. It ordered a ground-penetrating radar search and the most thorough excavations. In this effort, carried out in 2003, the ASI employed a large number of Muslims in order to preempt the predictable allegation of being a Hindutva outfit. The findings confirmed those of the excavations in the 1950s, 1970s and 1992: a very large Hindu religious building stood at the site before the Babri Masjid. The Allahabad High Court has now accepted these findings by India’s apex archaeological body. But not everyone is willing to accept this.

In particular, the eminent historians are up in arms. In a guest column in The Hindu (2 Oct. 2010: “The verdict on Ayodhya, a historian’s opinion”, (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article807232.ece ), Prof. Romila Thapar claims that the ASI findings had been “disputed”. Oh well, it is true that some of her school had thought up the most hilariously contrived objections, which I held against the light in my booklet ‘Ayodhya, the Finale: Science vs. Secularism in the Excavations Debate’,

http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/finale/index.html .

Thus, it was said that the presence of pillar-bases doesn’t imply that pillars were built on it, or that the findings of some animal bones in one layer precludes the existence of a temple, and more such hare-brained reasoning. The emerging picture was clear enough: there is no such thing as a refutation of the overwhelming ASI evidence, just as there is no refutation of the archaeological and documentary evidence presented earlier.

Today, I feel sorry for the eminent historians. They have identified very publicly with the denial of the Ayodhya evidence. While politically expedient, and while going unchallenged in the academically most consequential forums for twenty years, that position has now been officially declared false. It suddenly dawns on them that they have tied their names to an entreprise unlikely to earn them glory in the long run. We may expect frantic attempts to intimidate the Supreme Court into annulling the Allahabad verdict, and possibly it will succeed. But it is unlikely that future generations, unburdened with the presently prevailing power equation that made this history denial profitable, will play along and keep on disregarding the massive body of historical evidence.

With the Ayodhya verdict, the eminent historians are catching a glimpse of what they will look like when they stand before Allah’s throne on Judgment Day.

Courtesy: http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2010/10/eminent-historian-displeased-with.html

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