Why didn’t Tulsidas mention Ram temple demolition?

By Parmod Kumar, IANS,

New Delhi : Was legendary poet Tulsidas, who wrote “Ram Charit Manas” in the 16th century, so scared of Mughal emperor Akbar that he did not mention the demolition of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the construction of the Babri mosque thereupon in his work?

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“If a temple standing on the premises in dispute had been demolished and a mosque had been constructed thereupon less than 50 years before Tulsi Das wrote ‘Ram Charit Manas’ at Ayodhya, there was no reason for not mentioning the said fact by him in his famous book,” Justice S.U. Khan of the Allahabad High Court said in his judgment on the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title suits Sep 30.

Justice Khan made this observation while rejecting the contention of several counsel appearing for different Hindu parties on this count.

These counsel had tried to explain this vital omission – no mention of the demolition of Ram’s temple and construction of the mosque at the site – on the ground that Tulsidas feared emperor Akbar would not like it and cause him harm if he mentioned it.

But Justice Khan said such a wild accusation against a poet of such repute and calibre as Tulsidas was rather unpalatable even to non-Hindus.

Moreover, Justice Khan says Tulsidas had given up all the comforts of life and had virtually renounced the world by separating himself from his wife for writing “Ram Charit Manas” at Ayodhya. The work is considered the common man’s Ramayana.

“A poet in such a situation and of such calibre is not expected to be fearful in writing the truth,” said Justice Khan.

It was during the reign of emperor Akbar (1556-1605) that Tulsidas (1532-1623) wrote “Ram Charit Manas” from 1574 to 1577 in Awadhi, which was the common man’s language at that time.

Justice Khan said: “Even if it is assumed that the mosque was subsequently constructed by Aurangzeb, still Tulsidas should have mentioned in ‘Ram Charit Manas’ that a specific small piece of land measuring 1,500 square yards or a temple standing on such a site was birthplace of Lord Ram.

“Symbolism and similes are two most essential, handy tools of poetry. Accordingly, if not directly then at least symbolically or in similes some indication could have been given by Tulsidas regarding the premises in dispute to be the birthplace of Lord Ram and demolition of the temple,” underlined Justice Khan.

Further disagreeing with the counsel of Hindu parties, Justice Khan said: “Apart from (its) religious importance, ‘Ram Charit Manas’ has got great poetical value. Poetry is basically flight of imagination” and this could not be subjected to any fear.”

Elaboratin, Justice Khan said: “Wealth and fear are two great retarding gravitational forces for flight of imagination. No wealthy or fearful person has composed great poetry.”

However, he said, this principle does not apply to prose writers. Leo Tolstoy who wrote “War and Peace”, the best novel of the world, was a feudal lord of Russia of considerable wealth and position.

The Ayodhya verdict, given by the Lucknow bench of the high court, has divided the disputed land into three parts – one for Ram Lalla, one for the Nirmohi Akhara and one for the Sunni Wakf Board. It also said the Babri mosque had been built on a site that was the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.