Before reading former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao'sbleak and entirely pointless account of what happened in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 when a highly offensive so-called Babri structure was torn down by frustrated and angry Hindus, one must ask some simple questions such as: was any Hindu ruler, ever in history ventured abroad to a Muslim country and attempted to convert locals to Hinduism, and in the process destroyed mosques and built temples on their sites? Has any Hindu ruler attempted to over-run Saudi Arabia, destroyed mosques, not to speak of the Kaaba itself, and built temples on the sites? Forget destruction of mosques to destroy a culture: Has any Hindu ruler attempted to build a temple close to a mosque, as was resorted to by a henchman of Aurangzeb? Not one.
But Muslim barbarian invaders have ransacked over 3,000 Hindu temples in India with no one ever so much as raising his voice in meek protest. Hindus suffered in silence. Power was everything. To add insult to injury, Muslim rulers specifically targeted holy Hindu cities like Mathura, Kashi and Ayodhya and deliberately raised masjids there just to show who was in power in Delhi.
Even if Ram was not born in Ayodhya, a Muslim ruler had no business to raise a masjid in that city just as no Hindu ruler wanting to seek revenge would have had the right to build a temple in Mecca or Medina. Presently at airports in Saudi Arabia the baggage'sof Hindu immigrants are thoroughly searched for any objects resembling a Hindu God which, if found, are taken out and duly dropped into a waste paper basket.
For a thousand years Hindus bore all Islamic terrorism quietly and let Islamic rulers to get away with tyrannous conduct. But once the last of the Mughals was exiled, Hindus came back to their senses. In 1859 two years after the revolt of 1857 was harshly put down, the British administration erected a fence around the so-called Babri structure in Ayodhya to keep Hindus away. A suit filed praying for permission to erect a temple on the outer court close to the masjid was strictly disallowed. The so-called Babri stucture was build in 1528 to insult Hindus. The insult was never forgotten. Three hundred years later the anger in Hindu hearts was still alive and burning. If Hindus were determined to bring the so-called Babri structure down, the background to their anger must be understood and respected. But cowardice in the guise of secularism wouldn'tsee it that way.
Many excuses were provided why the so-called Babri structure was sacrosanct. One was that it had over the last four hundred years become a heritage building, even, if no namaaz was offered there. But some of the other excuses paraded were not just silly but highly provocative. One was that Ram was mythological figure and not one to be taken seriously. Another was that there is no guarantee that Ram was born at the place where once a temple stood. Obviously the secularists need a magistrate'scertificate in the original. A third argument seriously put forward is that the Ayodhya mentioned in the Ramayana is located somewhere in Nepal.
Yet another argument put forward is that prior to the temple that was allegedly destroyed was a Jain basadi which Hindus had destroyed, to build their temple, so what is wrong if Muslims destroyed a Ram temple? The sheer genius shown by our liberal secularist Hindus is truly amazing. The Hindus were not asking for replacement of all the temples desecrated and destroyed by Muslim rulers but, if one remembers aright, only three, one in Ayodhya, one in Mathura and another in Varanasi. The Ayodhya'sso-called Babri structure had been particularly offensive because it was built on the site of Ram temple and the Archaeological Department had produced enough material to prove it. If only the Muslim community had shown some grace, some understanding of Hindu sentiment, some desire to make amends for a past, the Hindu community could not have been more grateful. In fact it would have happily and willingly built a masjid for Muslim at another site and at its own expense. But Hindu secularists would have none of it. And Muslims had their own reasons to be on the defensive. If once the illegality of the so-called Babri structure is accepted, Muslim leadership must have felt, what wouldn'tthe Hindu community not demand next? To their joy they had the backing of the secularists. So they refused to oblige and one does not have to be reminded what then happened.
What P.V. Narasimha Rao has done is to record all the events that took place from 1955 onwards, quoting chapter and verse and the court records and summaries of what happened at meeting between representatives of the Hindu and Muslim communities, without making any value judgment of his own. For a record of events this is as good a book as any. But it deals with legal issues, not emotional ones.