Was there a temple at the Ramjanmabhumi before the Babri Masjid was built? – B.B. Lal

Babri Masjid / UP CM Kalyan Singh

Sandhya JainSuddenly on Thursday, 23 Sept., hours before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court was to deliver the long-awaited judgment on the Ayodhya title suit, the Supreme Court deferred the verdict till September 28; further delays are now inevitable. We are of the view that the sudden intervention by the apex Court was unwarranted in law, and will vitiate the atmosphere for the disposal of politically or communally sensitive cases in future.

Prof B. B. Lal excavated the Janmabhumi area at Ayodhya as a part of a project titled ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana Sites.’ One trench was immediately to the south of and almost parallel to the boundary wall of the Babri Masjid, the intermediary space being hardly four metres. The lowest levels in this trench was characterized by early Northern Black Polished Ware, and on the basis of Carbon-14 dates provided by the Birbal Sahni Research Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow, the beginning of settlement at Ayodhya goes back to the last quarter of the 2nd millennium BCE. We publish excerpts – Sandhya Jain

B.B. LalThe evidence presented in the following paragraphs in respect of the existence of a Hindu temple in the Janma Bhumi area at Ayodhya preceding the construction of the Babri Masjid is so eloquent that no further comments are necessary. Unfortunately, the basic problem with a certain category of historians and archaeologists — and others of the same ilk — is that seeing they see not or knowingly they ignore. Anyway, in spite of them the truth has revealed itself. — Prof B. B. Lal

In the uppermost levels of this trench, hardly 50 centimetres below the surface, were encountered rows of pillar-bases, squarish on plan and made of brick-bats sometimes intermixed with a few stones. While most of these bases were well within the trench, a few of them lay underneath the edge of the trench towards the boundary wall of the Masjid. Associated with the pillar-base-complex there were successive floors made of lime mixed with brick jelly. No coin or inscription was found on these floors but on the basis of the associated pottery and other antiquities the entire complex could be dated from the twelfth to fifteenth century CE.

Attached to the piers of the Babri Masjid there were twelve stone pillars which carried not only typical Hindu motifs and mouldings but also figures of Hindu deities. It was self-evident that these pillars were not an integral part of the Masjid but were foreign to it. Since, as already stated, the pillar-bases were penetrating into the Masjid-complex, a question naturally arose whether these bases had anything to do with the above-mentioned pillars affixed to the piers of the Masjid.

A summary report on the essentials of the excavations at Ayodhya was published in Indian Archaeology 1976-77 – A Review, pp. 52-53. Since the main objective of the excavation was to ascertain the antiquity of the settlement, the brief report in the Review did not make any mention of these pillar-bases. In fact, these had nothing to do with the main enquiry.

However, since these pillar-bases raised a question about their relationship with the pillars affixed to the piers of the Masjid, which evidently had originally belonged to a Hindu temple, these did draw public attention. The first reaction that came up from a certain category of historians was to deny the very existence of these pillar-bases. Their approach was simple: if there were no pillar-bases, the question of their relationship with the pillars affixed to the piers of the Babri Masjid became automatically redundant. These historians took recourse to publishing all sorts of unsavory comments in the newspapers. However, when they were told that the pillar-bases were not someone’s fantasy but their photographs (along with the negatives), taken at the time of the excavation, did exist in the photo-archives of the Excavations Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India, they gave up their first exercise in denial…

In this context it needs to be added that, after a recent order of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, the Archaeological Survey of India carried out excavation in the area which earlier lay underneath the Babri Masjid and has discovered that the series of pillar-bases continues all over the area….

On December 6, 1992, the Masjid was demolished by the Kar Sevaks who had assembled in a large number at the site. The demolition, though regrettable, brought to light a great deal of archaeological material from within the thick walls of the Masjid. From the published reports it is gathered that there were more than 200 specimens which included many sculptured panels and architectural components which must have once constituted parts of the demolished temple. Besides, there were three inscriptions…

… the largest one is engraved on a stone slab, measuring 1.10 x .56 metres, and consists of 20 lines. It has since been published by Professor Ajaya Mitra Shastri of Nagpur University in the Puratattva, No. 23 (1992-93), pp. 35 ff. (Professor Shastri, who unfortunately is no more, was a distinguished historian and a specialist in Epigraphy and Numismatics.) The relevant part of his paper reads as 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 has yet to be fully deciphered, but the portions which have been fully deciphered and read are of great historical significance for our purpose here. 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, for example, clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (sila-samhati-grahais) and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings (purvvair-apy-akritam nripatibhir) was constructed. This wonderful temple (atyadbhutam) was built in the temple-city (vibudhalayani) 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).

The inscription makes it abundantly clear that there did exist at the site a temple datable to circa 11th-12th century CE. The sculptures and inscribed slab that came out from within the walls of the Masjid belonged to this very temple. It has been contented by certain historians that these images, architectural parts and the inscribed slab were brought by the Kar Sevaks from somewhere else and surreptitiously placed there at the time of the demolition of the Masjid. This contention is absolutely baseless. Transportation of the above-mentioned material from elsewhere would have required the use of many trucks, an act which would have certainly been noticed by the innumerable representatives of the print and electronic media present on the spot to cover the event. On the other hand, a reputed journal, India Today, published in its issue dated December 31, 1992 a photograph which shows the Kar Sevaks carrying on their shoulders a huge stone-slab sculpted with a long frieze, after having picked it up from the debris.

The above-mentioned historians have also alleged that the inscription has been forged.… So many eminent epigraphists of the country have examined the inscribed slab and not even one of them is of the view that the inscription is forged. Anyway, to allay any misgivings, I append here a Note from the highest authority on epigraphical matters in the country, namely the Director of Epigraphy, Archaeological Survey of India, Dr. K. V. Ramesh.

… According to [Ramesh] this temple was built by Meghasuta who obtained the lordship of Saketamandala [i.e. the Ayodhya region] through the grace of a senior Lord of the earth, viz. Govinda Chandra of the Gahadavala dynasty, who ruled over a vast empire, from 1114 to 1155 CE.

… The evidence presented in the foregoing paragraphs in respect of the existence of a Hindu temple in the Janma Bhumi area at Ayodhya preceding the construction of the Babri Masjid is so eloquent that no further comments are necessary. Unfortunately, the basic problem with a certain category of historians and archaeologists — and others of the same ilk — is that seeing they see not or knowingly they ignore. Anyway, in spite of them the truth has revealed itself.

» Reprinted with permission from Rama: His Historicity, Mandir and Setu. Evidence of Literature, Archaeology and other Sciences; B. B. Lal; Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2008.

Hari Vishnu inscription found at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya

Ayodhya Excavation Graphic

6 Responses

  1. Jay Shri RAM . . . .

  2. Proposed Ram Temple at Ayodhya
    Kashi’s Muslim women back Ansari’s ‘free Ram Lalla’ desire, want Ram Temple built in Ayodhya – TNN – December 5, 2014

    Varanasi: A group of Muslim women of Varanasi has come out in open support of Babri Masjid case litigant Mohammad Hashim Ansari, who is no more keen to pursue the matter and wants “Ram Lalla to be free”. These women have also submitted a petition to MP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

    Supporting Ansari’s assertion, they said, “The construction of Ram Mandir would end hatred and strengthen Hindu-Muslim unity and harmony.” These women are also planning to travel to Ayodhya to meet Ansari.

    Muslim Mahila Foundation president Nazneen Ansari along with Bharatiya Awam Party Najma Parveen and others submitted the petition with Modi’s local office in Ravindrapuri Colony on Thursday. The petition was also sent to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar.

    “Yadi Musalman apni tarakki chahate hain aur Hinduon se izzat chahate hain to Ram janmbhoomi par mandir nirman ke liye pahal kare kyunki duniya janti hai Ayodhya Sri Ram ki hai, (If Muslims want prosperity and respect from Hindus, they should take lead in constructing temple at the birthplace of Ram, as the world knows that Ayodhya belongs to Sri Ram),” said Nazneen adding that construction of temple would permanently resolve the hatred between the two communities.

    “Ram se yudh karne wale Ravan ko logon ne aaj tak maaf nahi kiya toh Ram mandir todne wale Babar aur uske samarthakon ko log kaise maaf karenge, (When people have not forgiven Ravana for fighting with Ram, how can they forgive Ram Mandir destroyer Babar and his supporters)”, wondered Nazneen. Describing Babar as Mongol invader, she wrote that his ancestor Halaku killed thousands of Muslims and Khalifa in Baghdad in 1258, and Babar sowed seeds of hatred by destroying Ram temple in 1528. “Everybody knows that Indian Muslims have no connect with Mongols,” she said adding that those who oppose the construction of temple were not well wishers of Muslims.

    Bharatiya Awam Party president Najma Parveen said that time was ripe for Muslims to set an example of communal harmony by contributing to the construction of Ram Mandir. “No one can play with the sentiments of crores of Hindus attached with Ram,” she said.

    Muslim women associated with MMF and BAP had openly campaigned for Modi during the parliamentary election. Besides, these women had also sent Rakhi to Modi on the occasion of Rakshabandhan and prayed for his well being during the holy month of Ramzan.

  3. Times of India, Mumbai, Oct 9, 2010, 03.07am IST
    How Allahabad HC exposed ‘experts’ espousing Masjid cause – Abhinav Garg,

    NEW DELHI: The role played by “independent experts” — historians and archaeologists who appeared on behalf of the Waqf Board to support its claim — has come in for criticism by one of the Allahabad High Court judges in the Ayodhya verdict.

    While the special bench of three judges unanimously dismissed objections raised by the experts to the presence of a temple, it was Justice Sudhir Agarwal who put their claims to extended judicial scrutiny.

    Most of these experts deposed twice. Before the ASI excavations, they said there was no temple beneath the mosque and, after the site had been dug up, they claimed what was unearthed was a mosque or a stupa. During lengthy cross-examination spread over several pages and recorded by Justice Agarwal, the historians and experts were subjected to pointed queries about their expertise, background and basis for their opinions.

    To the court’s astonishment, some who had written signed articles and issued pamphlets, found themselves withering under scrutiny and the judge said they were displaying an “ostrich-like attitude” to facts.

    He also pointed out how the independent witnesses were all connected — one had done a PhD under the other, another had contributed an article to a book penned by a witness.

    Some instances underlined by the judge are: Suvira Jaiswal deposed “whatever knowledge I gained with respect
    to disputed site is based on newspaper reports or what others told” (other experts). She said she prepared a report on the Babri dispute “after reading newspaper reports and on basis of discussions with medieval history expert in my department.” Supriya Verma, another expert who challenged the ASI excavations, had not
    read the ground penetration radar survey report that led the court to order an excavation. She did her PhD under another expert Shireen F Ratnagar.

    Verma and Jaya Menon alleged that pillar bases at the excavated site had been planted but HC found they were not present at the time the actual excavation took place.

    Archaeologist Shereen F Ratnagar has written the “introduction” to the book of another expert who deposed, Professor Mandal. She admitted she had no field experience.

    “Normally, courts do not make adverse comments on the deposition of a witness and suffice it to consider whether it is credible or not, but we find it difficult to resist ourselves in this particular case considering the sensitivity and nature of dispute and also the reckless and irresponsible kind of statements…” the judge has noted.

    He said opinions had been offered without making a proper investigation, research or study in the subject. The judge said he was “startled and puzzled” by contradictory statements. When expert witness Suraj Bhan deposed on the Babri mosque, the weight of his evidence was contradicted by anotherexpert for Muslim parties, Shirin Musavi, who told the court that Bhan “is an archaeologist and not an expert on medieval history”.

    Justice Agarwal referred to signed statements issued by experts and noted that “instead of helping in making a cordial atmosphere it tends to create more complications, conflict and controversy.” He pointed out that experts carry weight with public opinion. “One cannot say that though I had made a statement but I am not responsible for its authenticity since it is not based on my study or research but what I have learnt from what others have uttered,” Justice Aggarwal has said, emphasising the need for thorough original research before concurring with what someone else has claimed.

    Read more: How Allahabad HC exposed ‘experts’ espousing Masjid cause – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/How-HC-exposed-experts-espousing-Masjid-cause/articleshow/6716643.cms#ixzz11xsDnCDE

    • A patient comes to a doctor for a second opinion because his previous doctor’s advice is “not convenient” to her; the second doctor dies not do any independent study of the patient’s clinical history or investigation reports, but reading only the previous doctor’s remarks, makes a statement that he agrees with the treatment advice. Will the patient, logically, have got an independent, unbiased second opinion on the matter? Does she now have two independent experts advising her the same treatment, giving her the requisite confidence to go ahead with the treatment? If, instead, the new doctor contradicts the previous doctor’s advice without performing any independent inquiry, is his advice more credible, or merely more convenient? I believe, these are evidences of how corrupted we have become as a society.

  4. For security reasons, comments have to be made in English.

  5. Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, Sept. 27. 2010
    Ayodhya verdict: Security up after threat to attack foreigners in Tiruvannamalai

    The famous Sri Arunachaleswarar temple at Tiruvannamalai has come under a security blanket following an anonymous letter threatening attack on the devotees, particularly foreign visitors. The police department has erected metal detectors and engaged around 50 police personnel in and around the temple from Friday.

    The temple’s joint commissioner received the letter on Thursday which stated that the temple, devotees to the temple and foreigners in the town would be attacked when the verdict of the Ayodhya case is pronounced. The anonymous letter, posted from the Thenimalai area in the town, also challenged the police department to arrest the senders if it could.

    “Following the threat letter to the JC of the temple on September 23, we have engaged 16 personnel attached to the anti-sabotage wing, 20 armed personnel from the Armed Reserve Protection Force and a four-member team at the three entrances of the temple — Pey gopuram, Raja gopuram and Amani Amman gopuram — to avert untoward incidents,” Tiruvannamalai superintendent of police M. Pandian told this newspaper. “We have also closed the entrance of Kili gopuram for security reasons.”

    Devotees are allowed inside the temple after a thorough check. “Police have also been put on regular beats around the temple and important places,” said the SP. The police have also conducted thorough checks in lodges, hotels and alerted ashrams in and around the town to look out for suspicious-looking persons.

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