Babri Masjid: The Ayodhya verdict
The dispute holds out the largest controversy in India. The battle and cry over the Ayodhya dispute have been running since the past 70 years of Independent country and 90 years more in the British period. However, the matter holds danger to the democracy of the country since India is a secular country and the matter is controversial by dividing the people on the basis of two religions – Hindus and Muslims.
Dispute from Ram Janam to 1947
The date of construction of Babri Masjid is yet a question. There are no proper records or mentions that when the temple was constructed. The dispute came to the claim that Mughal Emperor demolished a mosque and constructed a temple over it- where Ram Janam is believed to happen. A Muslim Party alleged that a temple was made over the mosque for which a riot was then arranged and the raiders were beaten and the others took refuge to the Babri Masjid.
“It is clearly established that while Muslims offered prayers inside the inner courtyard, the same was done by Hindus in the outer courtyard.”A quote by Supreme Court
But there were British travelers who came to India and recorded several observing as their records stating the evidences of place of Ramchand and his place while there were no evidences of the existence of the mosque.[i]The most evident record existed where the King Jai Singh II who bought the land got one of his documents where the map of Ayodhya temple was found clearing the Ram chabutra or Janmsthaan as well as Sita ki rasoi.[ii]
However, in 1938 a British surveyor claimed that the mosque was taken over by Hindus and initially there constructed a mosque as made by Babur. The contradiction continued to state that the pillars in the mosque were taken up from the Hindu temple. A section of historians deny and state that such demolitions of temple sprang up only after 18thcentury. The Hindus didn’t make claims to the Babri Masjid. Muslim Community was traumatized and some of the Hindu community started being busy in construction of Ram chabutra in 1858. During this process they forgot that the Hanuman Garhi was gift of Muslims to them. After all this, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah delivered a verdict in favor of Muslims due to which a kind of riot occurred in which several Muslims and Bairaghis were killed. Inside the shrine of Maulavi , Muslims wanted to capture Hanuman Garhi which remained under the possession of Bairaghis. After all the controversies, it lead to another point where the Muslims claimed it was a place of Babri Masjid while Hindus stated that it was a place of Ram janam.
A complaint regarding the same was made to the magistrate.[iii]In 1861, the district administration is said to have built a wall to separate the mosque from the chabutra. Pandit Hari Krishan referred to clashes saying a boundary between mosque and chabutra. Relying on the local memory which had connected two unrelated episodes Das went in appeal to District Judge Col F.E.A Chamier. He upheld the verdict of the sub judge in March 1886 but cancelled his observation that the ownership of the chabutra vested in Das and Hindus[iv]. At least until 1886, it was the chabutra, and not the spot under the central dome of the Babri Masjid, which was believed to be Lord Ram’s birthplace. It became evident that chabutra is said to indicate the birthplace of Ram. Mahant then went in appeal to the Court of Judicial Commissioner, Oudh, not only to build a temple over the chabutra, but to also get Chamier’s ruling that he wasn’t the owner of the chabutra, cancelled. The judicial commissioner said- Hindus wanted to create a holy temple over this place[v]. Some stated this place was chosen intentionally to make a temple over the mosque.
In 1900, after the awakening of Nationalism both the communities claimed that the place belongs to their communities. Also, the Hindus had been persistently trying to increase their rights to the property and to “erect buildings on two spots in the enclosure: (a) Sita ki Rasoi (b) Ram Chandar ki Janam Bhumi.” But the executive authorities, he said, had been right in forbidding any “alteration of the status quo.” The Babri Masjid was next in the news in 1934, because of a riot over cow-slaughter in a village near Ayodhya. Hindus damaged the Babri Masjid, which was subsequently repaired at the British government’s expense. In March 1946, the mosque was declared a Sunni mosque after an inquiry ordered by the Commissioner of Waqfs.
From 1870 to 1923 the controversies continued as the controversy spread further, several official publications of the time started taking note of it. It was even mentioned in some of the gazetteers published at the time. A stone marker reading “No 1 Ram Janam Bhoomi” was placed at the main entrance of the mosque.[vi]The land since then is considered to be a “disputed land.”
Report of the Commissioner as in 1950
The commissioner went to the site on 16/04/1950 and 30/04/1950 where the parties failed to come on the first day but on the other day the defendant no. 1 came along with some other people over the site.
Plan no. 1 and 2 were drawn giving the insights of the building within the locality.
Plan 1 further shows that there are two gates out of which the one mentioned with ‘Hanumatdwar’ is the main gate of the building and on this gate, a stone is stabbed known as ‘Shri Ram Janam Bhumi nitya yatra’. The other gate is known as ‘Singhdwar ’on which the carvings of Garura are done in middle.
On entrance, there is a pukka floor built with a neem tree that grew on the northeastern part and the southern part holding bhandara/ kitchen. The floor in the south is raised further where ‘Ram Chabutra’ is made and idols of God are kept there. Further, in the south-eastern corner, the neem and peepal tree join together with more marbles of idols kept.
On the northern floor, there is ‘Sita Rasoi’ which accompanies the chulha, chaukha and belna. On the eastern side, there are four pair of marbles which hold the footprints of Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan. Further, the area is divided into three arches and a chhajja is made and in the raised portion with approx. 14 stairs there is a urinal area made.
There are pillars made in between which hold the carvings of Shankar bhagwan in tandav nritya form and scriptures of Lord Krishna and other murals enclaved on the pillars.
In the center of northwestern portion, a raised platform with 2 stairs is made on which the idol of infant Ram is installed. There are three domes raised on the octagonal base and no bathrooms in the building all around.
The building furthermore holds an area for parikrama. Plan 2 holds the other buildings in the locality. The other nearby areas hold the houses of sadhus and sants.
There is a pucca well mentioned as ‘Sita koop’ of which on its south is marble slab fixed with ‘Sumitra Bhawan’ and a carved image of ‘Shehnaag’ kept nearby.
The names of various samadhis and other structures are noted nearby. The commissioner provides the noting of Plan 1 and Plan 2 to the parties and the application provided to the defendant no. 1.
All this application was completed on 25/05/1950.
” Ayodhya Verdict*
Today Temple may be happy and Mosque a bit sad. But neither Raheem will be gloomy nor Ram any glad. As disappointed they sit and together they chat. Is there a verdict on lost ‘Teachings & Lessons’ which both Ramayan & Quran had.”Nomadposey
[i]Jain, Rama and Ayodhya 2013, p. 9, 120, 164.
[iv]Suit no. 61/280
[v]Civil appeal no. 27 in 1886