Archelogy of Babri Masjid




Some controversies simply refuse to die down. In India, certain extremist Hindu groups every now and then rake up their allegation that the site of the Babri Masjid in the town of Ayodhya is really, Lord Ram’s birthplace (janam bhoomi). They further claim that since the Mughal emperor Babar was responsible for demolishing a pre-existing Hindu temple on the site, the Babri Masjid should be destroyed in totality and a temple built in its place to consecrate the site as worthy of Lord Ram’s birthplace. Babri Masjid was destroyed on December 6th, 1992.

Much blood has been shed over this issue, and sadly, every time it makes headlines, the Muslim minority populace in communally sensitive cities and towns fear a successive backlash.

TwoCircles.net determined to delve into this issue and uncover certain interesting facts unknown to the vast majority. Who better to speak to, in this regard, than Mr Sher Singh, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service known for his research in, and subsequent publishing of three volumes on the subject – The Secular Emperor Babar, authored by Surinder Kaur and Tapan Sanyal, Lokgeet Prakashan, Sirhind 1987, The Secular Emperor Babar – More Sinned Against than Sinning (Volume 2), authored by Surinder Kaur and Sher Singh, B B Prakashan, 1989 and The Secular Emperor Babar, a Victim of Indian Partition, authored by Surinder Kaur and Sher Singh, Genuine Publications, Delhi 1991. Surinder Kaur and Sher Singh are also authors of Archaeology of Babri Masjid, published by Genuine Publications in 1994 (1).

We learnt a lot about the Babri mosque in conversation with Mr Sher Singh. Read on for more…


TCN: Mr. Singh please tell us something about your background?

SS: I was born on December 3, 1946. I am a Dalit Sikh. I studied at Punjab University, Chandigarh and earned a Masters degree in English in 1970. I joined the Indian Administrative Service (1976 batch), and have spent most of my working years in West Bengal.

My Dalit background inspired me to spearhead a movement to bring Dalits into mainstream cultural, economic, political and social life. I perceive the creation of the Bahujan Samaj Party as an outcome of this enhanced awareness among leaders of the dalit masses.

TCN: Where does your interest in the Babri mosque stem from?

SS: I enjoy challenging my thinking processes. In fact, even when I was dismissed as an I.A.S. officer, I did not sit back and moan over my fate! I chose to master Cheiro’s astrology and the Jewish Kaballah school of thought. I also studied the stock market, auction trading and the reading of market trends.

Frankly, like any other Indian, I witnessed the brouhaha over the Babri mosque. I heard the claims of extremist Hindu groups and determined to get to the bottom of the matter. This was before events of 1992. My aim was to separate mythology from history. You know, Dr Sukumar Sen, India national professor and author of the Ramayana has proven that there are 23 places in the world where Lord Ram is supposed to have been born – but evidently, all these claims cannot be right. Another national professor Dr Suniti Kumar Chatterjee has written three volumes on the subject – the Ramayana. (2) Incidentally, Dr Chatterjee faced a lot of difficulty because of his work – his house was also set on fire.

Anyway, even if his birthplace is Ayodhya, I wanted to determine whether the allegations involving Babur and the Babri mosque were correct.

Luckily, I came in touch with Dr Bishambhar Nath Pande (3), an eminent historian. I consider his work exemplary, for he works with great caution, and emphasizes the need for logical dialectical reasoning, eyewitness accounts and/or documentary evidence to support any historical theory. He has clearly pointed out that much of Indian history has been written by British historians who served the vested interests of their ruling masters. It was therefore, seen fitting to pit Hindus against Muslims, or divide the masses to make it easier to rule over them. Perhaps this is the reason for so many brutal accounts of the atrocities of Mughal emperors towards native Indians flooding Indian history. Thanks to Dr Pande, today we know for certain that the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was not the tyrant he has been made out to be. Quite the contrary, he was a secular emperor who donated generously to Hindu temples across the country.

Anyway, coming back to the point, Dr Pande was most encouraging when I wrote to him about the need for someone to take up the Babri mosque controversy as a study. Fortunately, he was willing to guide my work. He reiterated the need for a three-point process, similar to what he adopts, in order for me to be certain that nobody would throw stones at me for the outcome of my findings. Hence, my research methodology focused on logical dialectical reasoning, eyewitness accounts and/or documentary evidence.

TCN: Please summarize your findings about the Babri mosque.

SS: Summarizing my findings is not easy, but I will put forward three noteworthy findings for your readers –

The first relates to the year 1528 AD, which is when Babur was supposed to have visited Ayodhya and ordered the demolishing of the temple. Babur kept a daily diary, meant to be an autobiography called Tuzk-i-Babri, of which entries spanning a duration of 5 to 6 months are entirely missing. It is believed that after Babur’s death, when his son Humayun was once on the run from Sher Shah Suri, and camping out in a tent, these pages got drenched and were thus removed from the diary. Incidentally, the rest of his autobiography minus those pages may still be seen at the Salarjung Museum in Hyderabad.

However, the absence of these pages has very conveniently been interpreted otherwise by those who desire to prove that Babur visited Ayodhya during those very months. I therefore referred to his daughter Gulbadan Begum’s diary Humayunama, wherein she has very clearly stated that during those months, her mother and she were to be received at Agra by her father, but eventually they met up at Aligarh. Babur was already in the region for a hunting expedition along the Sarda river, following a military expedition against Muslim Afghan rebels led by Shaik Bayazid. Awadh – the region in which Ayodhya lies – had already been under Muslim influence since 1030 AD, when Syed Salar Masood Ghazi entered the region from Multan. So there was never a need for Babur to exert himself on the people of Awadh.

The fact is that Babur, an Uzbek rebel ruler himself, had been driven out of his domain and headed towards India. His aim was to establish a kingdom that would be ruled by successive Mughals, but without antagonizing the Indian populace. He even had a Hindu Prime Minister named Khiwa. He is known to have advised his son Humayun never to harm temples, the places of worship of the Hindu people. So the first falsity is that Babur visited Ayodhya.

If he didn’t, then who ordered the Babri mosque to be built? This mosque was actually built by the Sharqi kings of Jaunpur, 16 years before Babur was even born. I have had the nameplate inscriptions of the Babri mosque transcribed by Persian scholars, and the date testifies this year.

Apparently, the Sharqi rajas grabbed power by stabbing the then governor of the region (including Ayodhya). The Sharqi rajas were eunuchs, who ruled for about 100 years. The Babri mosque was ordered to be built during their reign, pretty much as a food for work program of that time. It took 10,000 people 5 years to build the mosque. For this duration, all those 10,000 people were paid for in food, and thus averted starvation.

How do I know this? This fact has been documented by Dr Francis Hamilton Buchanan (3), a surgeon and botanist who had also earlier served the East India Company. However, from 1807 to 1814, he was appointed by the Governor General of India Marques Wellesley to conduct an extensive survey that would include topography, history, antiquities, the condition of the inhabitants, religion, natural productions, agriculture, fine and common arts, and commerce. In 1813-1814, he focused on Ayodhya. I obtained copies of his conclusions from the British Library in London.

Finally, I would like to say a word on the mysterious Kasauti stone that is said to have been used to construct the black pillars of the Babri mosque, which are believed to date back to the pre-existing temple.

We subjected samples of the structure to a radiocarbon dating (C 14) test. This helped prove that the structure is only around 500 years old. If the pillars were meant to date back to a pre-existing temple built of the Kasauti stone (some Hindu groups believe the temple was 1000 to 1500 years old), these should have been much older. Actually, the construction techniques of the time involved a fine polish, by which a mixture of adhesive urad dal and other substances were applied to a surface to get a blackish result. This is what was done at the Babri mosque.

TCN: Congratulations! Has anyone disputed your findings?

SS: I published my books only after writing about my findings in major newspapers, and waiting six months to see if these were disputed. No, till date these findings have not been contradicted by anyone. Perhaps this is why my book has been translated into 27 languages across the world.

I also shared copies of my work with the Honourable Justice Mirza Hameedullah Beg, ex Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who appreciated it and gave a copy to the late Rajeev Gandhi, who liked the book a lot and eventually became a family friend.

TCN: Sir, what opposition did you face after the publication of the book? Why do you believe you faced this opposition?

SS: Sadly, in 1994, the Hindu Marxists of West Bengal filed a chargesheet against me. It claimed that I had violated the All India Service Conduct Rules 3(1) and 6(2), and was subsequently suspended. The reasons cited were several – the first volume of the Babri mosque series was authored by Surinder Kaur and Tapan Sanyal, yet the chargesheet claimed I was a co-author. Secondly, it was said that I incited Muslims to the extent that they could perform acts threatening communal harmony. Thirdly, according to newspaper reports, I had received the Saudi Arabian government’s Faisal Award in 1993. However, the award [amount] was routed through me as customary through the government and I eventually never received it, even though corrupt officials tried to bargain with me to split the award. Then since I had not submitted some property statements in the years 1989-1991, this was also made part of the chargesheet. It was also said that I had defamed the BJP, by criticizing its contentions regarding the Babri mosque.

A one man inquiry committee was instituted to look into the case. I requested that a scholar be appointed to assist the inquiry, but this request was refused. In January 2000, the committee declared me guilty as charged,

I appealed the order, and on July 24, 2000, my chargesheet stood quashed by the Central Administrative Tribunal.

However, I was dismissed from service and harassed and almost driven to acute financial crisis. A case continued which eventually reached the Calcutta High Court, where it was pronounced that I (the defendant) had not been secured the legal rights that I could rightfully claim. On March 19, 2007, the honourable judges Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice K K Prasad of the Calcutta High Court ordered that I be fully compensated, as an I.A.S. officer with due consideration to the seniority I would have gained over the years I was suspended, and that pension and all other dues be paid to me. For reference this case is W.P.C.T. number 120 of 2003.

Quite asides this legal battle, I have received threatening calls, but have always taken these in my stride. I would call those who threatened me to face me, and talk things out. No one ever did.

As to why I faced all these calls and the harassment, I suggest you wait for my autobiography My Destiny, to know the answer. It will be released soon.

TCN: What are the consequences of your findings? Do these answer questions for many people, or do they throw up more questions? It appears more that the common man believes what political parties say.

SS: Do remember that my research was not aimed at the common man. It was a scholarly study, like a PhD thesis, aimed at unearthing the truth behind the Babri mosque controversy. I don’t think lay people go into so many details, but yes, I think I have taken many so-called scholars to the task for promoting a hypothesis which has no basis. I have effectively shown their theory to be humbug.

Notes:

1. Surinder Kaur is Mr Sher Singh’s wife. Tapan Sanyal is an anthropologist who Mr Singh collaborated with for specialist inputs. Publisher details: B B Prakashan, 22, Panchana Tala Road, Calcutta and Genuine Publication & Media Pvt. Ltd., B-35 (Basement), Nizamuddin West, New Delhi 110013, http://www.iosworld.org/gp.htm

2. [Dr] Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, “Rama and his Birthplace,” Ananda Bazaar Patrika, Calcutta, Jan 17, 1976 from http://www.t0.or.at/scl/scl11/msg07816.html Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suniti_Kumar_Chatterjee and http://ignca.nic.in/nl_00104.htm

3. Dr Bishambhar Nath Pande born on 23 December 1906 in Madhya Pradesh of Umreth; member UP Legislative Assembly (1952–53); member UP Legislative Council (1972–74); twice member of the Rajya Sabha (1976 and 1982); governor of Orissa state (1983–88); recipient of Padma Shri (1976); author of several books, including The Spirit of India and The Concise History of Congress; died in New Delhi on June 1, 1998) from http://www.sabrang.com/cc/comold/oct99/cover5.htm

4. Francis Hamilton Buchanan, more at http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101003836 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Buchanan-Hamilton

Comments

Babri masjid

Sir,
The author is confusing the real issue. Ofcourse Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya. It could never be scientifically proved that Lord Ram is born in this ayodhya. Every one should agree on this.
Now coming to the Babri masjid. I have also visited it before its destruction. The FOUR kasouti black stone pillars on the walls of the central dome looked so out of place and different when one saw the white wall. The author is talking about carbon dating of the structure which is 500 years old. Nobody again disputes that. It is those 4 pillars and their actual date. Has the author carried out seperate carbon dating of the 4 black granite pillars? Where are they now?
Nobody says emperor babur visited the site. It is his genral mir baqui who is supposed to have constructed the mosque. I am not a historian but the real feeling about the mosque was given by a muslim head constable of UP police. He said that the mosque is NOT mosque at all. It is actually a victory construction. If it has been a mosque it would have had a place to wash and clean which is a must for every mosque. This structure DIDNOT HAVE THIS FSACILITY. I am not an hindu fanatic. But i believe IN TRUTH. Ordinary muslim masses must face uptO to the TRUTH. Nobody says anything about Akbar. Dara Sikho. It is believed that Aurangazeb was a pious man and a good Muslim. He lived by his own earnings. But he also believed that idol worshippers must be converted. so he lost his kingdom.

archaelogical evidence

Dear Captain Johann,

The evidence points to a structure that was made in 11th century AD, which means that there was no temple before that. If it was indeed a Lord Ram janmasthan shouldn't it have a temple going all the way to BC era?

The said structure was destroyed in 15th century and there is a time lag between destruction and the construction of the Babri masjid.

Bottom line: if Hindutva organizations are sure about their claim and archaeological evidence why are they not willing to let the court decide on this matter?

Babri masjid

captainjohan!, speak for yourself. Saying things like. 'Every one should agree on this' is pointless because I DON'T. Being a person with common sense makes me accept logical thinking supported by sound references. The other way is being a TIC (Total Ignorant of Common-sense). Are you a TIC captainjohann?
Abid Bahrti, Sydney

no need an explanation about

no need an explanation about this babri masjith by an hindu and muslims of india.... because we are all brother before and now and for ever.....why we have to fight for an forign invader. Just think deeply and no need to reply keep it on ur mind
* who is baber(king)
* He is from which country(not indian)
* how he came (through war or peace)
* who killed by their war(our brothers,sisters)
* what he did for us(diversion with us by religious)
* what we gained(Lost pakistan,bangladesh and piece in India)
* why we still discuss about him...................

I am not fanatic

Dear
Sir,

Even though I have not seen ayodhya, I have complete knowledge about it by reading the resources.
i have not seen the name of ayodhya in kuron. i have read many histoical books. and true views.

I have not seen in Kuron holy book of muslim, about mentioning of "ayodhya "also prophet mohammad has not suggested about the name of ayodhya in any of the islamic historical books,but they have mentioned about their followers...To destory others religiostic temples and all,

Today babri masjid destruction has become issue because we have new technology and internet to speak or write. But those days forigners invaded our holy land., 1000s of temples have been destroyed by muslim invaders through out india , now i am also questioning and producing all the scientific evidence for them do you bring justice for them....tell me then i obey your orders
They are forigners , and they will be forginers for ever in our holy land.because i cannot go and build up Hindu temple in mecca madina. so should be no masjid in my site. I hope you understand the depth and lateral area of my claim. thank you.

babari masjid

dear "i am not a fanatic" you said "but they have mentioned about their followers...To destory others religiostic temples and all"
your proof please..............when you making allegations against certain community it will be more nice if you quote references sir.... in fact the quran says...
"[2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient."
"[22:40] (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah.. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might,"
[6:108] "Revile not those unto whom they pray besides Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah through ignorance;We have adorned the works of every group in their eyes. Ultimately, they return to their Lord, then He informs them of everything they had done.

thank you sir

affidavit filed by the Archeological Survey

In a developing country like India, if faith is pitted against secularism, it proves advantageous politically to the rightist political parties. It amounts to playing on their home turf. Sangh Parivar has always derided secularism as a western concept. The BJP, and to some extend media commentators and columnists also, have been seeing the issue of affidavit filed by the Archeological Survey of India in the Supreme Court in reply to a petition challenging Ramasethu Samudram Project in this light.

The Petition before the Supreme Court challenges the Project on the ground of faith stating that pursuing the project would mean damaging a historical bridge that was built by the monkey army of Lord Ram from the eastern coast of India to Sri Lanka. The Archeological Survey of India under the pressure and threats from BJP has sought permission of the Supreme Court to withdraw its earlier affidavit wherein it took the stand that there was no proof that Lord Ram existed. Constituent Parties of UPA, including the Congress took a stand that no evidence was required to prove existence of Lord Ram, though they maintain that there is no man made structure and Adam’s Bridge that exists is a natural formation of sand and corals. Media commentators and columnists have criticized the Govt. arguing that it should not have questioned the existence of Lord Ram, which amounts to questioning something that is a matter of faith. They further argue that secularism, as we practice in India, doesn’t mean that state will be intolerant of religion, but that the State will maintain equidistance from all religions.

The ASI’s affidavit nowhere questioned the existence of Lord Ram. It was neither competent nor called upon to comment on existence or otherwise of Lord Ram. That is indeed a matter of faith and left to individuals according to Article 25 of the Constitution.

When called upon to file a reply to a petition claiming that there was a Ram Setu which was built by Lord Ram’s monkey army, as an expert body it stated that if there was no evidence of existence of Lord Ram, it could not be scientifically accepted that there was any Ram Setu constructed by his monkey army. ASI is an expert body which studies and maintains historical structures and cultural heritage of India. ASI was required file its reply to the issue of Ram Setu and it did so. Sangh Parivar smelt an opportunity there and misled the people of the country stating that the Government headed by Manmohan Singh under the direction of UPA Chairperson questioned the faith of millions of Hindus.

Distinction should be made between opinion and evidence of existence of Lord Ram. All those who have opinion that Lord Ram exists, may not have evidence. This is true of all the believers who might be called upon to prove their respective Gods in whom they believe. One would expect an expert body like ASI to give its opinion on the evidence that the Adam’s Bridge was built by monkey army of Lord Ram. It is a perfect legal counter that there was no evidence of existence of Lord Ram himself, let alone about his monkey army constructing Adam’s Bridge. Any counsel representing ASI in a court of law and opposing the petition would be tempted to take that legal defence.

We will make a big mistake if we see the issue of Adam’s Bridge or Ram Setu through the prism of faith versus secularism. The issue must be seen in the light of faith versus law of the land. If the government of the day in public interest has taken a decision to dredge a canal after taking all the relevant factors into account with due process, can the decision be challenged in a court of law on the ground of faith? That is what the petition was doing. The answer to the question is a clear no, as our Constitution is secular. The defence to such a petition then, is perfectly tempting for any counsel as was initially taken by the ASI. The decision of the Govt. can be challenged in a court of law on other grounds, Viz. that it is not in public interest, that it violates fundamental rights or wednesbury principle that Govt. has not followed due process of law in making its decision, taking all the relevant factors (like environment) into account and not that it has not based its decision on any extraneous factors which it should not have taken into account.

The Sangh Parivar on the other hand wants the Govt. to decide all policy decisions on the extraneous factor of faith of Hindus. Such an attempt is insidious effort to create legal regime privileging Hindu faith over others, as in Pakistan, Kingdom of Nepal (Hindu faith was privileged) and theocratic states. During its agitation on the issue of Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, the Sangh Parivar could not come with any evidence to prove that birthplace of Lord Ram was on the precise spot where Babri Masjid existed. Therefore the Sangh Parivar through its extensive propaganda made vulnerable people believe that the location of Babri Masjid was on the place where Lord Ram was born, and then claimed that no proof of birth of Lord Ram on a particular location was necessary as it was a matter of faith for Hindus.

The Sangh Parivar was not willing to accept the decision of any court by placing any evidence, let alone cogent evidence of Lord Ram’s birth on the location where Babri Masjid then stood. The Sangh Parivar’s demand during the Ramjanmabhoomi agitation was that there should be legislation to hand over the premises of Babri Masjid to a Hindu trust for construction of Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir based not on evidence but on faith of Hindus. Even if we accept that Hindus have faith that Lord Ram was born in the Ayodhya where Babri Masjid once stood, the issue before the courts of law cannot be whether Lord Ram was born on the location or even whether there was a Ramjanmabhoomi temple on the location. The only issue which the secular courts established under the Constitution can be called upon to decide is dispute of ownership of the premises of Babri Masjid and undisputedly from the year 1526 till 1949 the ownership of the premises of Babri Masjid was recorded in the name of Muslim trust and they were in occupation. After 1949 orders of Collector, and later Courts, restrained the Muslims from offering namaz. The law of adverse possession states that if a person not having title to an immovable property is in possession for more than 12 years, and the rightful owner did not take any remedial measures, the title of the property passes onto the party having adverse possession. The Sangh Parivar was not confident that Courts of law would be able to hand over the possession of the Babri Masjid premises to Hindu litigants on the basis of existing laws and therefore wanted a new legislation based on faith of Hindus. Any state where laws of land are based on the faith of one particular community is anything but a secular state. Of course, such a law would be open to challenge for violation of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, which give all persons freedom of conscience and lay foundation of secularism.

This time round, the Sangh Parivar is making another effort by threatening to mobilize popular support privileging faith over law and judiciary. Hindus are at liberty to have their faith in existence of Lord Ram as are Muslims, Christians and others to have faith in their own mythologies. The issue in the Ramsethu Samudram project therefore is not whether Hindus can have faith in existence of Lord Ram but whether the execution of project should be subject to faith of one particular community. If the Indian Courts, legislatures and executive do gradually accept this premise on whatever grounds, it will not only be end of secularism in the country, but beginning of continuous communal conflicts in plural India.

What is a "national

What is a "national professor" and what makes them so special? I couldn't bring myself to read further after reading such things.

Babri Masjit

This Guy is a cheat Bribed by VHP to create Religous Tension.

We muslims do not want Mosque at the site just give us similar area to create mosque. Let religious harmony prevail

Who are you Roshan to negotiate on behalf of...

Roshan on 14 September 2010 - 12:58 pm. under title: Babri Masjit

Thank you Roshan for your comment "tilting" towards BJP's (Bhool Jao Party) ideals / wishes. You can't even "spell" the word MASJID correctly - and I doubt you, even being a Muslim.

Anyhow, WHO are YOU to NEGOTIATE for a DIFFERENT SITE, when the "title of land" is CLEARLY a Waqf Property - which is a protected property under existing Indian law.

Please keep your SUGGESTION, your VIEWS, and your COMMENT for YOURSELF.

Court Verdict is due, and let's wait for it to be delivered. It has taken 18-plus years AFTER ILLEGAL DEMOLITION to "deliver verdict". It may take another 18-plus years for GOI to call the DEMOLISHERS act as ILLEGAL, and 18-plus years to rebuild the DEMOLISHED MASJID - as promised.

If GOI or U.P. State Government are "incapable" of providing "Peace and Security" - which is their "constitutional duty" being elected members, then - they have NO RIGHT "even to remain in government".

An Indian

Please read and watch this...

There are many many "Anonymous" commenting under this article, with a clear LEANING towards Bhool Jao Party's ideals, wishes, and wants. I would humbly request those readers and TCN readership to watch and hear these:

See all 5 videos

http://www.youtube.com/user/sheiknazeerahamed#p/a

The YouTube video is about a speech given by Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay - a Commissioner of Police from Sholapur, which is in 5-parts. Please watch at-least part 2, 3, and 4. Thank you and

Good Luck.

An Indian