Ramrajya to Mughal kingdom to Secular rule, the tradition of Ram worship continued

Published: Sunday, Apr 01,2012, 17:00 IST
ayodhya history, ram mandir, 06 Dec 1992, babur, akbar, demolish,

From Ram to Babur : So the tradition of Ram worship continued. The various literary and scriptural sources seem to have culminated in the Ayodhya Mahatmaya composed somewhere in the 12th or 13th Century AD. The Ayodhya Mahatmaya describes the various holy spots and extols the pilgrimage to the city of Ayodhya as the best means of salvation.

हिंदी में पढ़ें : राम राज्य से मुग़ल शासन, मुग़ल शासन से धर्मनिरपेक्ष सरकार : रामलला की उपासना ...
The Ayodhya Matahmaya profusely eulogizes the Janmbhoomi shrine and gives its exact location. It is said that the man who has visited the janmsthaan will not be born again, even if he doesn’t practices asceticism or go on pilgrimages. Lakhs of Hindus kept going to Ayodhya passionately and devoutly believing in whatever was stated in the Ayodhya Mahatmaya.

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Then in 1526, an invader from across the border invaded India. He hailed from the province of Fargana in Central Asia. His name, Zahiruddin Mohammad Babur. On 16th of March 1527, Babur defeated Rana Sanga and conquered Delhi. That was the beginning of the Moughal era in India. Soon thereafter, Babur’s lieutenant on Babur’s express orders marched towards Ayodhya. The texts of Babur’s order to Meer Banki have been printed in the 6th July 1924 issue of the Modern Review published from Delhi. It reads, “Shahenshah-e-Hind Malikul jahaan badshah Babur ke hukm wa Hajrat Jalaal Shah ke hukm ke bamoozim Ayodhya mein Ramjanmbhoomi ko mismaar karke uski jagah par usi ke malbe wa masaale se masjid taameer karne ki ijazat de di gayi hai. Bajariye is hukmnaame ke tumko bakaul ittilaa se agaah kiya jaata hai ki Hindustan ke kisi soobe se koi Hindu Ayodhya na jaane paawe, jis shaks par ye suba ho ki wo wahaan jaana chahta hai use fauran giraftaar karke daakhil-e-zinda kar diya jaave. Hukm ka sakhti se taameel ho farz samajh kar”

(By the commandment of the emperor of India, King Babur, it is hereby ordered to demolish the temple at the Ram janmbhoomi and use the material recovered after demolition to construct a mosque at that site. You’re also informed and warned to ensure that no Hindu should be able to reach Ayodhya, and any Hindu suspected of willing to go to Ayodhya should be arrested and persecuted. The command must be obeyed like a duty.)

By 1528, One Lakh Seventy Three Thousand (1,73,000) people had sacrificed their lives defending the janmsthaan site. They fought bravely and held Meer Banki at bay but ultimately they lost. The presiding priest of the temple, took away the idol of Ram-lala and ended his life by taking Jal-samaadhi at river Saryu with the idol. Meer Baanki set about to carry out Babur’s orders and he demolished the temple by a canon.

 When Meer Baanki’s men weer constructing the msoque it is said that the day’s work used to get undone every night. Babur himself writes about this in his autobiography, “Tujuk-Babari”.

“Ayodhya ke Ram janmbhoomi mandir ko mismaar karke jo masjid taameer ki ja rahi hai uski deewarein shaam ko aap se aap gir jaati hain. Is par maine khud jaa ke saari baatein apni ankohn se dekh kar chand hindu aauliyaon fakeeron ko bula kar ye masala un ke saamnbe rakha.. is par un logon ne kayi dinon tak gaur karne ke baad masjid mein chand tarmeemein karne ki raay di .. jinmein paanch khaas baatein thi .. yaani masjid ka naam Seeta Paak ya rasoi rakha jaaye, parikrama rahne di jaaye, sadar gumbad ke darwaaje mein lakdi laga di jaaye, meenarein gina di jaaye, aur hinduon bhajan paath karne diya jaawe. Unki raay maine maan li, tab masjid taiyaar ho saki.”

(The mosque that is being constructed after demolishing the Ram Janmbhoomi temple was not completing. At night, its walls used to collapse on their own. I myself visited the site and saw the phenomenon. Then I consulted few Hindu sages who suggested me to make certain modifications in the mosque, viz. naming it Seeta Pak or the kitchen of Seeta, to leave the Parikrama as it was, to make use of wood in the gate of the Sadar Gumbad, to not have Meenars, and to allow Hindus to continue with their bhajans. I acquiesced to their suggestions and then only the mosque could come into existence).

An interesting point here is that Meenar (towers) are an important ingredient of the mosques, while a Parikrama is never there in mosques. Both these design exceptions and the clause of Hindus being permitted to perform Bhajan had virtually reduced the structure to a temple minus idol ever since it was constructed. The name of the structure, that was inscribed on it, Seeta Pak-sthaan (Kitchen of Seeta) spoke volumes about what was later propagandized as the ‘Babari Mosque’.

Babur’s otherwise meticulous diary does not have any record for the period 12th of April 1528 to 18th September 1528. The pages are said to have been lost in the storm of 17th May 1529 or during Humayuan stay in the desert in 1540. On 3rd June 1528, Devideen Pandey from Sanethu and Mahabat Singh attacked Meer Baanki’s men. Devideen Pandey alone is said to have killed 600 men in five days. Meer Baanki survived however and killed Devideen. On the day of Eid in 1529, Rana Rannvijay tried to liberate the Janmsthaan site from the clutches of Meer Baanki but in vain. Babur died in 1530. His son Humayun succeeded the throne. During his regime from 1530 to 1556, Rani Jairajkumari and Swami Maheshwaranand made ten attempts to regain the janmsthaan site. The control of the janmsthaan site kept on intermittently passing from the hands of one side to that of the other.

From Akbar to Indian Independence : Akbar succeeded Humayun and turned his kingdom into an empire. During his rule there are said to have been twenty outbreaks when Hindus fought relentlessly to regain the control of the janmsthaan site. Akbar granted permission to the Hindus in recognition of their rights to construct a platform right outside the mosque and perform pooja there. The platform today is known as the Ram chabootara. Akbar also introduced a silver coin by the name of Ramtaka with the images of Ram and Seeta on either side of it. One of the courtiers of Akbar presented Akbar with a Ramayan in a pictorial form. Abul Fazal, the author of Akbarnaama and Aayine-Akbari categorically associates Awadh with the residential place of Ram and one of the holiest places of the antiquity.

Meanwhile, during Jahangeer’s rule, Wiliam Finch visited Ayodhya somewhere between 1608 and 1611. Wiliam Finch was a traveller who has confirmed the existence of the ruins of Ramkot, in his report which has been quoted and reproduced by Wiliam Foster in his book “Early Travels in India”. After 1658, Aurangzeb’s lieutenant Jaanbaaz Khan attacked Ayodhya but was defeated. Guru Govind Singh’s Akaalis fought against his army near Ayodhya at Rudali and Sadatganj. In 1664, Aurangzeb himself went to Ayodhya and killed ten thousand Hindus, and demolished the Ram Chabootara. But even thereafter, the Ram Navmi celebrations continued. There were fights between Nawaab Salamat Khan and Raja Gurdutt Singh of Amethi and Rajkumar Singh of Pimpra. Saadik Ali also had to face five attempts made by Hindus to recapture the janmsthaan site.

In 1751, the second nawaab of Awadh Safdarjung invited Malhar Rao Holkar, the eminent courtier of the Marathas to fight against the pathans. Malhar Rao Holkar put a condition that in return Safdarjung would hand over the three holy cities of Ayodhya, Kaashi and Prayaag to the Hindus. Again in 1756, Shujauddaula asked for Maratha help when the Afghans invaded Delhi. The maratha agent in his court demanded the transfer of the three holy citiies. Shujauddaula agreed to it. Unfortunately, the marathas lost the bloodiest war at Panipat and the fate of Ayodhya remained in the dark, for another century.

Numerous muslim and European writers during the century confirm that a mosque had been built by Meer Baanki at Babur’s orders after demolishing the temple at Ramkot. They also confirm the tradition of Ram worship at the janmsthaan site. They also confirm the existence of the practice of celebrating Ram Navami with great gathering of people from all over India. Let us have a look at some of these books and their authors.

# ‘The History and Geography of India’ by Joseph Typhenthaller, 1785;
# ‘Safiayi chahal nasai bahadur shahi’ by the daughter of Bahadur Shah, 17th/18th century;
# ‘Report by Mont Kamarie Martin’, a British surveyor, 1838;
# ‘The East India Company Gazateer by Edward Fountain’, 1854;
# ‘Hadiokaayi Shahadat’ by Mirza Jaan, 1856;

In this relatively peaceful period, there were repeated attempts to recapture the janmsthaan. Five such attempts were made by Baba Uddhav Das, Baba Ramcharan Das during Nasiruddin Haidar and Wazid Ali Shah’s rule. In 1857, one Amir Ali declared a Jihad and attacked the site of Hanuman Garhi with a 170 men. However, they were defeated and the jihad wiped out. Then came the Indian war of Independence of 1857 when the Muslims collaborated with Hindus to re-establish the Moughal king Bahadur Shah Jafar as the emperor of India and fought against British Imperialists. This time, another Amer Ali, a maulawi and the leader of the rebels of Awadh convinced the native muslims and decided to handover the Janmsthaan site to Hindus. However, the British imperialists using their tactics arrested Amer Ali and Baba Ramcharan Das and hanged both of them by a Tamarind tree which still stands in Ayodhya as a mute witness to the event.

In the Encyclopedia of India by the then Surjeant General, Edward Balphar, it is mentioned that there were three mosques on the site of the temples. These were the janmsthaan, the Swarg Dwaar and the Treta ka Thakur. We have seen earlier some books and authors. Apart from these, there are other sources of reference which are also worth looking at. Let’s have a look at them. These are

# ‘Fasana-e-Ibrat’ by Mirja Rajam Ali Beg, 1867;
# ‘Tareek-e-Awadh’ by Sheikh Mohammad Ali Hajrat, 1869;
# ‘A Historical Sketch of Faizabad’ by P Khanagi, 1870;
# ‘The Gazetteer of the Province of Agra and Oudh’, 1877;
# ‘Ziai Aktat’ by Hazi Mohammad Hasan, 1880;
# The Faizabad Settlement Report, 1880;
# ‘The Imperial Gazetteer of Faizabad’, 1881; and
# ‘Gumashte-haalaat-e-Ayodhya’ by Maulawi Abdul Kareem;

The Court verdict of 1886 by Colonel, F E H Meher in Mohammad Asgar’s petition in which he states after a visit to the site, “It is most unfortunate that a masjid was built on a land especially held sacred by Hindus, but as that event occurred about 356 years ago, that is in 1530, it is not possible to remedy to grievance. All that can be done is to maintain the party in status quo.”

In 1934, Hindu Muslim clashes broke out in Ayodhya at the issue of a cow being slaughtered at Ayodhya.  The structure too was severely damaged. After the clashes, the Muslims of Ayodhya abandoned the mosque and discontinued offering Namaz in it forever.

to be continued : Ayodhya after partition - secular lies and killings of karsewaks

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