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Saturday, June 3, 2023

A brief look at the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi journey

The first step towards the construction of a grand Shri Ram Mandir at Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi (RJB) is going to be taken on 5th August with the laying of foundation stone (Shilanyas) in the presence of PM Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath among others.

As the moment that millions of Hindus have been waiting for, ever since the 9th November 2019 verdict draws closer, we take a quick look at the journey and hurdles that Ram Lalla had to cross to get His home back from encroachers and squatters.


On Babur’s instructions, his commander Mir Baki built the Babri Masjid over the existing temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. It was customary for Islamic invaders and rulers to destroy existing temples and build mosques over them, often by simply making a few changes to the temple structures.

As per the available information, at least 300 mosques that stand in Uttar Pradesh today have been built after destroying temples. These are the known ones while there are numerous which will be known only if the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducts a thorough excavation.

The Babri Masjid was constructed sometime in 1528-29 to symbolize the overrunning of the Hindu site by Islamic rule. Ever since then there were skirmishes between Hindus and Muslims which were subdued when the place was under the reign of Awadh Nawab Sadat Ali Khan.

Evidence of destruction of the temple at Ram Janmabhoomi

Eminent historian Dr. Meenakshi Jain in her talk has pointed out that in the histories written in the 18th and 19th centuries in Urdu, Persian, and Arabic make it clear that the Babri Masjid was not built on vacant land.

All books without exception say that Babur ordered the destruction of the Ram temple and a Masjid to be built in its place. She further points out how Akbar’s official biographer Abul Fazal who writes that Ayodhya is the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram where numerous people go to worship during Sri Ram Navami.

The long-standing dispute went to court for the first time under the British rule in the year 1853 when the Faizabad District Court took cognizance of the riots that had broken out between Hindus and Muslims over land rights at RJB. The Faizabad Court then awarded the outer courtyard to Hindus and the Masjid to Muslims.

In 1857, after the First war of independence when the Nawab’s rule was replaced by that of the British, Hindu Sadhus were successful in recapturing the area outside the Masjid where they built a plinth (Chabutra) and began worship rituals.

Mahant Raghubir Das of the Nirmohi Akhada approached the Faizabad Court in 1885 seeking permission to pray at the RJB site and later sought approval for constructing a temple over the plinth. However, both these appeals were rejected by the Court.

The movement to reclaim the land begins

Besides the skirmishes between Hindus and Muslims over land ownership, there were also disputes between Sunnis and Shias with regards to ownership of the Masjid. The movement to establish Hindu rights over the RJB land began in real earnest by the Akhil Bharatiya Ramayan Mahasabha.

The movement, in which UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s Paramaguru (Guru’s Guru) Shri Digvijay Nath ji participated, began with a nine-day recital of the Ramcharitamanas. This was this first step towards reclaiming the land that rightfully belonged to Bhagwan Prabhu Sri Ram.

Nehru orders throwing out the vigrahas of Bhagwan Ram and others

In December 1949, the vigrahas of Bhagwan Ram and his brothers were found inside the Masjid. While Hindus claimed that it was an act of god, Muslims accused Hindus of having discreetly kept the vigrahas within the mosque.

Following this, Nehru ordered that the vigrahas be thrown out. However, Mahant Shri Digvijay Nathji strongly opposed the move. Fearing law and order problems and hurting Hindu religious sentiments, District Magistrate KK Nayar refused to follow the state government order calling for the removal of the vigrahas.

After this incident, the gates of the site were locked and it was designated as a “disputed site”.

Ram Janmabhoomi movement post-independence

Three petitions were filed between 1950 and 1959 by different parties; the first of these was by Shri Gopal Das Visharad who wanted the premises to be unlocked so that devotees may offer their prayers to Bhagwan Shri Ram.

Shri Paramhans Ramchandra Das filed the second petition asking for permission to allow uninterrupted prayer offerings to Bhagwan Ram. The Nirmohi Akhada approached the court seeking custody of the RJB in 1959.

The UP Sunni Wakf Board appealed against the Nirmohi Akhada and demanded the removal of vigrahas from the Masjid while claiming the land next to it to be a Muslim burial ground (Kabrastan) in 1961.

The movement gathered steam in the 80s with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) forming the Bajrang Dal (BD) in 1984 to up the ante. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) movement brought the RJB struggle into the political mainstream.

1986 turned out to be an eventful year when Faizabad Court Judge KM Pandey passed orders to unlock the premises to allow Hindus to worship Bhagwan Shri Ram in February. Also, later that year the All India Muslim Personal Law Board constituted the Babri Masjid Action Committee.

The stage was set when BJP passed a resolution asking for RJB to be handed over to Hindus in its 11th June 1989 Working Committee meeting at Palampur. The subsequent famous Rath Yatra of Former Home Minister and then National President of BJP Shri LK Advani gave the final push to Hindus to reclaim what was rightfully theirs and had been overrun by Islamic forces.

The violence unleashed by Mulayam Singh Yadav on Karsevaks is well-documented. However, it was the spirit of common Hindus to see their Bhagwan Ram at His birthplace that gave further impetus to the Karseva of 1992.

On 6th December 1992, the symbol of oppression called Babri Masjid was razed to the ground but this was just the beginning of the battle for Hindus who had to wait till November 2019 for the landmark Supreme Court judgement awarding the entire 2.77 acres land to Hindus for construction of the grand Ram Mandir.

Those who made RJB possible

While we have just taken a brief look at the entire journey, mention must be made of the people and organizations that helped Hindus realize their long-cherished dream of seeing Prabhu Sri Ram move from an insignificant tent to a grand temple.

  • Shri Abhiram Das – reportedly placed the murti of Ram Lalla inside Babri Masjid
  • Gorakhnath Math Mahant Shri Digvijay Nath, Maharaja Pateshwari Prasad Singh, and Faizabad DM KK Nayar – said to have planned the act executed by Das
  • Shri Gopal Das Visharad and Shri Ramchandra Das – first two petitioners seeking rights to pray at RJB site
  • Archaeologist Prof BB Lal – who discovered remnants of the temple at the site
  • Archaeologist Dr KK Muhammad – whose ASI report formed one of the important basis of SC verdict
  • Mahant Shri Avaidyanath of Gorakhnath Math – formed the Sri Ramjanmabhoomi Mukti Yagna Samiti
  • VHP Chief Shri Ashok Singhal – spearheaded the movement
  • District Judge Shri KM Pandey – ordered reopening the gates
  • BJP leader (then President) Shri LK Advani – kick-started the political demand for RJB
  • Kothari brothers and numerous Karsevaks – laid down their lives to realize the dream of RJB
  • BJP leader and UP CM Kalyan Singh – sacrificed his political career for RJB
  • BJP leaders such as Uma Bharti, Former PM AB Vajpayee, Shri MM Joshi, Sadhvi Ritambara and Sakshi Maharaj, PM Modi, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and many others – who mobilized Hindus
  • Advocate Shri SK Parasaran – put forward the Hindu point of view with astuteness
  • The five-judge SC bench – delivered the verdict in unison after impartially considering all pieces of evidence and arguments

As the auspicious and joyous moment and Ayodhya along with the whole of Bharat gets ready to lay the foundation for the Mandir, we can’t help but say:

“Ayodhya toh bas jaanki hai, Kashi Mathura baaki hai”

That, however, would require the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991 to be reversed through legislative means, a topic we will leave for another day.

Today, let us all just rejoice and welcome Prabhu Shri Ram to a place of His own and remember the sacrifice of those who made this historic moment possible for all Hindus.

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A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.


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