On 5th August 2020, The banks of the punya river Sarayu lit up with thousands of lamps, wore a festive look , reverberated with the vedic mantras & joyous bhajans in praise of maryada purushottham Bhagwan Shri Rama, the entire world joined the auspicious occasion. The day marked an auspicious ‘muhurtham’ when the H’ble PM of Bharat Shri Narendra Modi presided over the ‘Bhumi Pujan’ of the grand temple at the Shri Ram Janmabhumi in Ayodhya. The whole world celebrated as if Shri Ram was returning back to Ayodhya after 492 years of exile. The prevailing Covid19 situation with though protocols has come in the way of public celebrations, nonetheless the epic event filled the minds of crores of Hindus world over with joy and pride.
In geographical terms, the Ram Janma Bhumi is a small plot of land, about 1209.026 Sq Mtrs, which happened to be the centre of dispute between Hindus & Muslims for almost 500 years, till 2019. Surrounding this plot is a 67 acre land that was with Shri Ram Janmabhumi Nyas and that was acquired by the Government of India in 1993.
Ayodhya was founded by Vaivasvata Manu on the banks of the holy Sarayu river. His two children Ila and Ikshvaku became the progenitors of the ‘Chandra Vamsham’ and ‘Soorya Vamsham’ respectively. Bhagwan Sri Ram an Incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu was born in the ‘Soorya vamsham’ in Ayodhya in the Treta Yuga by virtue of which it became the holiest of the ‘saptha moksha puri’ –
‘Ayodhya Mathura Maya Kashi Kanchi Avantika Puri Dwarakavati caiva saptaide moksha dayika’
Chakravarti Vikramaditya built a grand temple at the birth place of Shri Rama in Ayodhya around 2100 years ago and dedicated it to Sri Ram to glorify and perpetuate his memory as a national hero and role model. Further temples were built at different times to replace old ones that had been affected by vagaries of nature and the pre-babri temple had been in existence from the Gahadvala period around 11th-12th century. In 1528 “Mir Baqi, the Mughal invader Babur’s commander, set forth to demolish this temple. The first battle by Sri Ram Bhaktas (devotees) to save the temple from the invading marauders lasted for 15 days. The invaders, unable to overrun the temple, used canons to destroy it. About 176,000 Ram bhakts sacrificed their lives attempting to save their most celebrated temple. An Islamic structure was forcefully superimposed on the demolished temple site, re-using the material obtained from the wreckage of the temple. Babur built this structure as a symbol of victory of Islam against Hindu dharm and the subjugation of Hindusthan by the ‘might of Islam’. This structure did not have any minarets (essential for Azan call for prayer) nor a water-pool for Wazu (ablution) which are mandatory requirements for a mosque.
However, Hindus were not willing to allow any ‘monument of shame’ to remain at their holiest place. They kept on trying to remove the ‘symbol of shame’ numerous times. Between 1528 – 1949 the Hindus fought 76 battles/struggles to reclaim the Rama Janmabhumi site and to reconstruct the temple, and lakhs of Hindus laid down their life in these battles. Guru Govind Singhji Maharaj the tenth (10 Sikh Guru), Maharani Raj Kunwar and many other great warriors too fought to reclaim the holy place.
On the midnight of 22nd December 1949, the vigraham of Sri Ram Lala (Infant Sri Ram) revealed Himself at the birthplace that was under the central dome of the structure. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru was the Prime Minister of Bharat, Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Sri K.K. Nayyar from Kerala was the District Magistrate of Faizabad. The magistrate attached the structure u/s 145 Cr P.C, to maintain law & order and appointed Sri Priya Dutt Ram as a Receiver, entrusted the site to his care and ordered the gates to be locked, but allowed a priest to go inside the structure and perform regular worship and rituals twice a day. The devotees were allowed only up to the locked gate. The local people and Sadhus started chanting ‘ Shri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama’ and Akhand Naam Sankeertan in front of the locked gate, and the sacred chanting continued non-stop, day and night.
In January 1950, Shri Gopal Singh Visharad, a resident of Gonda, filed a suit in the court praying for his right to darshan-pooja. The administration appointed a receiver to manage the place. The Nirmohi Akhada filed a suit in Faizabad in 1959 praying that the government-appointed receiver be removed and the management handed over to it. On December 18, 1961, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Muslim Waqf Board filed also a case demanding that the triple-domed structure be declared a public mosque. In July 1989, a case was filed on behalf of Bhagwan Ramlala Virajman by Deoki Nandan Agarwal and also on behalf of Ram Janmabhumi Land, making them party to the case & all the above four suits were transferred from the lower court to the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court for a collective hearing.
Meanwhile, in March 1983, veteran Congress leader of U.P. Sri Dau Dayal Khanna gave a rousing call to the Hindu society at a Hindu Conference, to reclaim the Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi sites. Sri Gulzari Lal Nanda two times interim Prime Minister of India after demise of PM Nehru and PM Shastri – was also present on the dais. The 1st ‘Dharma Sansad’ of the Sadhu, Sanyasis, Shankaracharyas, Sants and Dharmacharyas of Bharat, held in New Delhi on 7th & 8th April 1984 resolved to reclaim Ayodhya decided to create public awareness on this issue. The sant mahatmas asked the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to create a mass movement to demand that the gate of the ‘Janma Bhumi sthaan’ be unlocked. Accordingly, in October 1984, VHP started a ‘Ram Janaki Rath Yatra’ from Sitamarhi to Ayodhya onwards to Lucknow, ending in Delhi. The yatra evoked massive support so much so that District Judge of Faizabad ordered opening the locks on 1st Feb’1986. Late Sri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister at that time.
The Dharma Sansad held in January 1989 Dharma Sansad’ held on the holy occasion of Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj on the banks of the sacred ‘Triveni Sangam’ decided to hold the ‘Ramshila Pooja’ programme at every temple in the country. The first brick was consecrated at Sri Badrinath Dham. By the end of October 1989, about 275,000 such consecrated bricks (Ram Shilas) from Bharat and abroad had reached Ayodhya. An estimated 6 crore people participated in this programme. On 9th November the foundation stone was laid by Shri Kameshwar Chowpal from Bihar, who belonged to Scheduled Caste community, in the presence of Sadhu-Sanyasis from all over Bharat. On 24th June 1990, the Sadhu-Sanyasis of Bharat gave a call to the Hindus to start ‘Kar Seva’ for the construction of the temple from the Devotthani Ekadashi day (30th Oct., 1990). Meanwhile, ‘Ram Jyothi’, started at Ayodhya reached every Hindu home across Bharat, was received enthusiastically by every Hindu household and all celebrated Deepawali Festival with this Jyoti.
On 30th October 1990 thousands of Ram bhakts entered Ayodhya crossing all the hurdles put up by the then U.P. Government headed by Sri Mulayam Singh and hoisted the saffron flag atop the disputed structure. And on 2nd November 1990, Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered the police to open fire on Kar Sewaks, resulting in the death of hundreds of ‘Ram Bhakts’ including the kothari Brothers Sri Ram Kothari & Sri Sharad Kothari from Kolkata. On 4th April 1991, Delhi witnessed the grandest ever rally at Boat Club attended by over 25 lakh hindus that forced Mulayam Singh Yadhay to resign as Chief Minister of U.P. In September 1992 – Sri Ram Paduka Pujan was organized in all villages in Bharat and another call was given to Ram Bhaktas to reach Ayodhya on Gita Jayanti (6th December, 1992). Tens of thousands reached for Kar Seva and removed the monument of national shame, the day has been celebrated by the proud hindus a ‘shourya divas’ ever since.
The Government of India by a law (Act 33/1993) on 07th January, 1993 acquired the disputed plot and the 67 acres around it. Ismail Faruqi went to the Supreme Court in 1993 against the Acquisition and demanded that the mosque site could not be acquired.
On January 07, 1993, the then President of India referred a question to the Supreme Court of India under Article 143 of the Constitution for consideration and opinion thereon. The question was: “WHETHER A HINDU TEMPLE OR ANY HINDU RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE EXISTED PRIOR TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE RAM JANAM BHUMI-BABRI MASJID (INCLUDING THE PREMISES OF THE INNER AND OUTER COURTYARDS OF SUCH STRUCTURE) IN THE AREA ON WHICH THE STRUCTURE STOOD?” The white paper released by the GOI in 1993, after the demolition of the Babri building offers a clue as to why the government posed that question to the Supreme Court: The white paper said: “During the negotiations aimed at finding an amicable settlement, one issue that came to the fore was whether a Hindu temple had existed on the site occupied by the disputed structure and whether it was demolished on Babur’s orders for the construction of the masjid. It was stated on behalf of the Muslim organisations, as well as by certain eminent historians, that there was no evidence in favour of either of these two assertions. It was also stated by the Muslim leaders that if these assertions were proved, the Muslims would voluntarily hand over the disputed shrine to the Hindus. The Government of India had filed an affidavit in the SC that if it is found that a Hindu Temple existed under the demolished Babri Masjid, the Government would return the acquired land to Hindus for construction of Ram Mandir.
The five judge constitution bench set to find an answer to the petition challenging the takeover and the President’s question returned the President’s question respectfully in 1994, after 22 months, without answering it, and wrote that the situation at the site prior to 1528 CE could be answered only on the basis of science and archaeology. At the same time, the Supreme Court, cancelled the acquisition of the disputed land and ordered the resumption of all the cases related to the disputed land, but accepted the acquisition of the surrounding 67 acres.
The Full Bench of Lucknow High Court ordered for Geo-Radiological Survey (Ground Penetrating Radar Survey) by Canadian experts on 01.8.2002 to ascertain if the Babri structure has been built after demolition of a temple, and subsequently on the basis of GPRS Report passed an order for excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India on 23.10.2002 to verify the truth of GPR Survey results.
(xiv) The Geo-Radiological Survey Report, the ASI Excavation Report, and the 30th September, 2010 verdict of the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court demolished the Muslim claim that the triple-domed structure sat on a virgin land. The ASI report of 2003 states: – “Subsequently, (11th–12th century AD) a huge structure was constructed, which seems to have been short-lived. On the remains of the above structure was constructed a massive structure with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached to it. It is over the top of this construction during the early 16th century, the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it. Now, viewing in totality and taking into account the archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the tenth century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along with the yield of stone and decorated bricks… amalaka, kapotapali doorjamb with semi-circular pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine, having pranala (waterchute) in the north, are indicative of remains which are distinctive features associated with the temples of north India”.
On 30th September 2010, The Allahabad High Court, while outrightly dismissing the suits of the Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board, ordered equal distribution of the disputed land among the three parties , 2/3rd to the Hindu side and 1/3rd to the Muslim side. The parties appealed to the SC against the HC judgement. All appeals were filed in December 2010, but when it was eventually taken up for hearing only in August 2017, it was found that the documents in Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu and French languages needed to be translated into English. The Uttar Pradesh government got about 14,000 pages translated into English in 4 months to facilitate a speedy hearing. However the Congress party tried to delay Supreme Court hearings and even went to the extent of trying to impeach the Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Mishra. Eventually on 9th November 2019 the SC gave the historic judgement ruling the Shri Rama Janmabhumi belonged to Shri Ram Lalla Virajan and directed the Central Government to set up a Trust within 3 months and hand over the Shri Rama Janmabhumi to the Trust concluding one of the longest drawn legal battles which started with Mahant Raghubar Das in 1885 with the District Judge Col F.E.A Chamier dismissing his suit with the remark: “It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on land held sacred by Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance; all that can be done is to maintain status quo.”
As per the Supreme Court order, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra, a 15 member Trust was formed with Mahant Nrityagopal Das as its President, Shri Champat Rai as the General Secretary and Swami Govind Dev Giriji Maharaj as the Treasurer. Senior lawyer and Former Attorney General Shri K.Parasaran, who brilliantly argued the case for Ram Lalla Virajman in the Supreme Court is also a member. The 3 storied ( ground + 2 floors) grand temple designed by renowned architect Shri Chandrakant Sompura would be 161 feet in height with a carpet area of around 28,000 square feet. Temple construction started in march 2020 and during the ground levelling and site excavation shivaling, pillars and many idols were found and the Ram Lalla was temporarily installed in another location in the presence of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Soil and holy water from all the sacred places and rivers from all over Bharat were brought for the 5th august bhumi puja. The construction is expected to be completed in 3 years.
The world at large would have been fairly ignorant about the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi till about 35- 40 years ago, many would have thought Hindus were crazy to fight and even lay down their life for such a trivial issue as that of a ‘temple’. For, the world has never seen so much conviction and steadfastness by any other people ever, for anything, let alone a small piece of land. Hindus braved physical, legal, social, political and psychological challenges for almost 500 years in ‘protecting’ and successfully getting back most sacred place.
What could be the reasons? What is so special about the Shri Ram Janmabhumi movement?
First and foremost, it not a ‘land dispute’ or a ‘Mandir-Masjid dispute’, as the Jihadi-Communist -Fundamentalist Christian ecosystem has tried to project all along, nor is it a ‘conflict’ between Hindus and Muslims. The ‘janmasthan’ is a sacred place with a memory that didn’t die, even 500 years after the temple was destroyed, or even when a ‘symbol of shame’ was erected there, the Hindu resilience shows the sacred memory can never be destroyed.
It’s not a conflict. The idea of conflict arises only when one tries to snatch something that is not his. Hindus were only striving to reclaim their Shri Ram Janmabhumi that was destroyed by Babur. Babur was a foreign jihadi invader from present day Uzbekistan, is a direct descendant of Timur and Genghis khan through his father and mother respectively, who between them have the dubious distinction of slaying crores of people. History records that wherever Timur went, he brought about destruction, burning, looting, killing, raping women and Genghis khan responsible for the death of over 4 crore people. Babur followed in their footsteps, let a reign of terror in Bharat for about 30 years,destroying temples, looting, mass killings and dishonouring Hindu women, all that he proudly records in his autobiographical historical account, ‘Baburnama’. Muslims of Bharat don’t share any relationship to Babur, in fact their forefathers were victims of Babur. The only reason certain sections of muslims demand masjid at the Janmasthan is the utopian hadith ‘Gazwa-e-hind’ which says: “Allah has saved two groups of my Ummah from the hellfire; the group that will invade Al-Hind (Bharat) and the group that will be with Eesa (Jesus), the son of Mariam.”, hence the insistence of the symbol of invasion at Ayodhya. Terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), has been using the Ghazwa-e-Hind hadith to recruit, fund and justify its terror strikes against Bharat and Hindus as a religious holy war. The Bhumi Pooja at Ayodhya is Hindu’s firm answer to these jihadis that Ghazwa-e-Hind will always remain the Hadith only.
Ram Janmabhumi is a struggle to protect Hindu’s core identity & values, it was his fundamental, religious, philosophical and intellectual obligation. It was the life-line that the Hindus held on to for over thousand years as the Islamic invaders and Christian proselytizers tried everything possible to exterminate his religion and civilization. Ram, Krishna & Kasi Viswanath were symbols of hope for Hindus, and they held on tenaciously to these symbols of hope, without allowing despair to creep in, as they survived through one of the most turbulent phases, that threatened to wipe out the oldest living civilisation in earth. Malignant Islam has rampaged through countries annihilating the native people & cultures, it’s a testimony to the deep rootedness of the Hindu culture that it has not only withstood the Islamic & Christian onslaughts for over 1000 years by holding on to the ideals of Bhagwan Shri Ram & Shri Krishna, but has started to show signs of a turnaround. The bhumi pooja signals this turnaround and the construction of the grand temple at the Shri Ram Janmabhumi is a watershed moment from a nation-people-culture-civilizational perspective
With the temple construction now underway, the Hindu society pays tribute to the lakhs of kar sevaks who braved bullets, to the sadhus who bore the lathis, to the unknown man from the village who saved money to send a brick for the temple, to the unknown Hindu who kept the flame of the movement alive with the Vijaya maha mantra “Sri rama jaya rama jaya jaya rama”. Perhaps, the 492 years of waiting was a deliberate act by Rama himself. It is as if Rama wanted to awaken Hindus through his cause and protect Dharma, Rama wanted to be the cause. And he had shown the way, by organising all sections of society to defeat Ravana. As the temple construction progresses, each one of us have make our minds the temple, and emulating Rama would be the real ‘prana prathishta’.