With elections near, and hearings about to start in Supreme Court, Babri Masjid is in news again. I am fascinated by how this contentious issue is spoken about, Muslims almost always call it Babri Masjid and Hindus almost always call it Ram Janam Bhoomi. Two names for the same place but different two identities, representing two different aspiration and desires.
Although Babri Masjid was nothing but a place of worship for Muslim, to some Hindus (ie not all Hindus) she represented defeat and humiliation and its mere existence really hurt their sentiments and their egos. They found it really hard to tolerate it, it used to hurt them that they were the ones now in-charge, they were the ones who were ruling, and still they could do nothing to this symbol of defeat and humiliation. So one day they decided that could not tolerate this place of worship any longer and they demolished it. Something that they perceived stood as a symbol of their defeat and humiliation was down to the ground.
To have a temple constructed at exact place of where Babri Masjid stood is an exercise in satisfying egos and not an act of devotion. Because everyone knows that if a temple is built there, it would lead to further bloodshed. Would Rama have approved his temple be built on dead bodies of children, women and men? Obviously Not. So let us be clear, it is not an act of devotion, it is act of ego, “I must build a temple to humiliate Muslims”.
I would be lying if I were to say that I don’t want to see the Masjid restored. And, I will also be lying if I say that it has nothing to do with ego. I believe Pathans are never born in odd numbers, all of them are born with their twin, their ego being the twin. Hence it is my ego that wants a Masjid there.
Anyway, leaving my twin behind and come back to the argument around Babri Masjid. The fact is that I really don’t find the arguments for Ram temple convincing, I find them wanting and unconvincing.
- Ramayana is Mythology: Ramayana is a mythological story, otherwise somebody has to explain a talking and intelligent monkey, who can make himself ginormous, fly from Lanka to Himalayas to find a herb, when he is not able to find the herb on the mountain he uproots the mountain, picks the mountain and flies back to Lanka with mountain on his palm. To me it is a mythological story, there is no need for bloodshed for mythology.
- Lack of Evidence in Text: I know many people believe Ramayana as absolute and inherent truth on basis of belief. But Ramayana, in no version of the text, mentions the exact place of birth of Rama, all it says is that he was born in Ayodhya. If no text mentions his exact place of birth, how could anyone be sure that location of the mosque is the exact same place where Rama was born.
- Other Claims of Exact Place of Birth: If a temple needed to be preserved in Ayodhya it should have been the one where he was born, and this should be undisputed as well. But that is not the case, there are 14 temples in Ayodhya whose Mahants claim that their temple is the place where Rama was born. And I think that is perfectly logical because someone who was allegedly born several thousand years ago and his exact place of birth is not recorded in any text, it would be impossible to point out his place of birth with absolute certainty.
- Gita says Rama and Krishna are not Born: Whether Rama could be born is a dispute in itself. Krishna in Gita (10.3) says that Krishna is unborn (ie he is not born like a normal person, who has to come out of his mother’s uterus and has to live in his own urine and stool in mum’s belly). Since Rama precedes Krishna as avatar of Vishnu, and have same status and qualities, same rules apply to both of them. Hence, according to Gita, if Krishna is not born, Rama can not be born either. Before anyone argues that I am interpreting Gita, please note that this is Hindu interpretation of Gita not mine, pick up a Gita and read commentary on the shloka. Gita makes it abundantly clear that individuals like Rama and Krishna are not born, they just appear and disappear at their own will. If this is the case, then it is illogical to argue about Rama’s birthplace who could not be even born.
- The illogical argument of mosque built over temple: The argument that Babur demolished the temple to erect a mosque in the exact same place is something I don’t find convincing. Archelogical Survey of India says that a structure (not necessarily a temple) existed right beneath the mosque, but it also says that when Babur arrived there was no temple and it was a public space says public space with no temple on it, then building a mosque on open land was fair game, no one in entire history digs 200 feet to find if remains of any temple are buried in the ground. Most advocates of this theory disregard the second part and say that Babur demolished the temple to build a mosque. But for Babur to make a mosque and yet leave remains of a temple buried under the ground, he would have to follow these steps, there is no second option:
- Destroy the temple.
- Move the temple rubble aside, emptying the space where temple stood.
- Dig a very deep pit to bury the rubble and fill the pit with normal soil to a good depth for foundations to be dug above the rubble.
- Next, he would move the earth he had dug previously back into the pit covering the rubble and extra space left for clear foundations.
- Then, wait for it the rubble and earth to settle.
- Finally, dig the foundations of the mosque and build the mosque.
- The whole thing seems completely illogical and impossible even if Babur had CAT and JCB machines. At one place people accuse Muslims of being stingy and converting temples into mosques and on the other hand they are justifying such completely illogical expense. It just does not make any sense to me.
Seeking Solution instead of Conflict: After all said and done, we are in a situation we are. We should be thinking of possible solutions for the issue and not sticking to our pride and ego at the cost of lives and hurt feelings. For me the best solution for Babri Masjid is to build something that benefits the whole society like an Orphanage, an Old Age Home, a Hospital, a School, a Sarai or anything that the whole communities can use for social benefit. I don’t think that majority of Hindus and Muslims like to see mosques and temples built on bodies of children, men and women, I for one certainly don’t want to. And this seems as agreeable compromise for all.
The following is an excellent award winning documentary on the issue.