Information is a weapon in the new age. Media that wields this information-axe quite often makes deliberate cuts or slices bits of information to shape public opinion. Nowhere does this manifest more, than in the coverage of Ram Janmabhoomi Movement and Godhra incident.
In the 16th century the temple at the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram in Ayodhya was destroyed by the Muslim ruler Babur and replaced by a structure without minarets which was later called the Babari Masjid. All through the centuries Hindus tried to re-occupy the site to construct a new temple or at least use the existing building for worship.
In 1949, a Krishna idol was installed and worship could be performed from then on.
In 1948 Hindu organisations asked the government to support their efforts to get back their three main holy places replaced by Muslim structures: (1) Rama Janmasthan at Ayodhya, (2) Krishna Janmasthan at Mathura and (3) Kashi Vishwanath at Varanasi. They offered to rebuild the mosques at some other place and not to ask for the return of thousands of other demolished temples. It was to be a step to improve Hindu-Muslim relations and friendship.
The offer to rebuild the mosques was not mentioned by some in the Indian media and was skipped in toto by the Western media.
Negotiations between Hindu and Muslim groups, the latter supported by historians of the Delhi’s Jawahar Lal Nehru University, started. First demand of the Muslim side: Please submit temple evidence from pre-British times. The evidence was produced, but then came the second condition: Produce evidence from the 19th century. This could also be submitted. But, soon the third condition followed: Older evidence. Even this condition was fulfilled.
The Evidence submitted included: The Skandapurana, report of William Finch from 1608, appeal of Aurangzeb’s grand daughter from 1710, report of a Muslim judge from 1735 and of an Austrian Jesuit Tieffenthaler from 1768 as well as British sources of officials and archaeologists from 1838 to 1922. In Muslim sources the structure was called Masjid-e-Janmasthan and Ramkot.
This rich evidence produced surprised the members of Muslim delegation who had been deceived by JNU historians (who had assured the Muslims that no evidence existed—which throws some light on the capacity and knowledge of history of Marxist historians and many Muslim intellectuals, because more than half of the evidence was through the Muslim sources).
Four attempts to remove evidence related to temple were detected: Removing books from libraries, deleting temple passages in new editions etc. It needs to be known that how many such attempts had been successful. Meanwhile, Hindus demonstrated in Ayodhya.
In autumn 1990 the police, posted on rooftops, shot without warning and killed—according to police sources-45 persons. In reality the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had cremated 76 corpses and three trucks with corpses had been “removed” by the police.
On December 6, 1992 some radical groups among the Karsevaks lost patience with the government and the judiciary and destroyed the structure. BJP leaders sought to prevent the destruction.
The Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council of Bangladesh reported that as a reaction around 200 temples and many homes were attacked and 15 people killed there. The same happened in Pakistan. Even in Britain 22 temples were damaged.
On 6 January 1993 Muslims started rioting and killing Hindus in Mumbai. Only on 9 January the Shiva Sena hit back. At about the same time a suitcase containing 8 kg of explosives was found at the Ayodhya railway station which was to go off at the time of the arrival of two trains with Hindu pilgrims.
A few years later radar scanning started on the Janmasthan site in Ayodhya. The results led to excavations. Already in the seventies excavations under Prof. Lal had yielded temple remains.
The Indian Express of December 15, 1990 carried the following report of a Muslim archaeologist named KK Mohammad : “I took part in the excavations in 1976-77 under Prof. Lal. I… saw the pillar bases. The JNU historians reported only about part of the findings and the rest was hushed up… and voluntarily hand over the structure to the Hindus for building the Ram Temple”.
More than 30 pillar bases in equal distances in north-south direction in two parallel rows, bricks etc. The oldest findings date back to 1,300 BC.
In 2011 the larger part of the temple site was handed over to the Hindus.
Frankfurter Allegmeine (FAZ) 27-12-00 “The destruction of the Babari Mosque was the worst sacrilege since India got independence”
Berliner Zeitung 9-5-03 : “Propaganda archaeology failed. Excavations for a Hindu temple yield Muslim graves”
My Comment: After destruction of one Muslim structure —Worldwide outrage. After the destruction of hundreds of Hindu temples—Worldwide silence.
And certainly nobody was surprised to find Muslim graves around a Muslim structure. But what had been let loose by certain historians and the world media after the excavations was propaganda archaeology, which has failed.
The finale of the Ayodhya controversy can in many aspects be compared to the struggle of Galileo with his Church, because his opponents were not only the Church and the Pope but also many scholars. But this happened a few centuries back and all along I had thought that we had moved on a bit.
In February 2002 two coaches of a train with Hindu pilgrims at the Godhra station in Gujarat were locked from outside by Islamists and set on fire. 59 persons, mainly women and children died. Hindus reacted by attacking Muslims, and Muslims hit back. Casualties according to the Home Ministry: 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims dead, 18,000 Hindus and 3,800 Muslims arrested.
The media alleged that the pilgrims had provoked the Muslims in the station that the attack had been planned by Hindu organizations to “ teach Muslims a lesson” etc. These allegations were disproved in the court. One Muslim girl confessed she had been forced by a journalist to accuse the Hindu side. She added that she had been abducted and forced to make wrong statements.
Newsweek International, 22-4-02: “To disappear is nothing new for Indian Muslims”.
My Comment: Here instead of “Muslims” we should insert “ Buddhists” and “Hindus” because they are the ones who had to disappear from Afghanistan, Pakistan and large parts of Northern India because of the terror of Muslim invaders. This terror has been continuing in present times wherever Hindus become a minority.
On the other hand, Indian Muslim population is increasing more rapidly than adherents of all other religions not only because of more children but also by migrating to India a country where ‘they’—if you believe the Western and certain sections of Indian media—are being persecuted by Hindus.
Financial Times 11-3-03: “The VHP demands blood test for Muslims to see whether they are of Indian descent”.
My Comment: Muslim invaders came to India came from Central Asia and Persia, so they had a fairer skin unlike most Indians. That’s why Indians were soon called “chehre-ye-zagh (cow faces)” in Persian; the conquerors felt superior not only because of their religion but also due to their fairer skin. This may be the beginning of race discrimination in India, which is absent in ancient Indian scriptures but is found in ancient Egypt and the Middle East.
Some Hindus who had converted to Islam started saying that they have a Persian or Central Asian descent. Their Hindu countrymen therefore often tell them bluntly: “You are Indians like us and if you don’t believe us you can have a blood test”.
Hermann Jung (The writer is an eminent scholar & a member of Bielefeld Bharat-German Maitree, excerpts from a lecture delivered at the Bielefeld Adult Education Centre on 21 and 28 September 2015)