[Ayodhya Hearing ][Day 6] 'Mosque Occupied The Janmasthan', Sr Adv Vaidyanathan Quotes Accounts Of Historians, Travelers
Continuing his endeavour to prove the existence of the Janmasthan temple and the subsequent erection of the Babri Mosque on its ruins, Senior Counsel C. S. Vaidyanathan drew the bench's attention to a 1986 publication based on the research of scholar Hans Bakker.
"It would seem that under Muslim supremacy it was possible for Hindu religious life to continue on a modest scale in old temples which were built before Muslim rule, until they were eventually demolished. The first Hindu temple that is known to have succumbed to this fate was the temple on the Janmbhumi, which was replaced by a mosque by order of Babur...", he quoted Bakker's findings.
"The oldest pieces of archaeological evidence are the black columns which remain from the old (Vishnu) temple that was situated on the holy spot where Rama descended to earth (Janmbhumi). This temple was destroyed by the first Mogul prince Babur in AD 1528 and replaced by a mosque which still exists. The following specimens of these pillars are known to exist: fourteen pillars were utilized by the builder Mir Baqi in the construction of the mosque and are still partly visible within it; two pillars were placed besides the grave of the Muslim saint who, according to oral tradition, incited Babur to demolish the Hindu temple. The grave and these two pillars (driven upside-down into the ground) are still shown in Ayodhya. A seventeenth specimen is found in the new Janmsthana temple to the north of the Babur mosque...", he continued reading.
"It is a temple of religious significance, not just a shrine with an idol...what is significant is the way the faith continues...", advanced Mr. Vaidyanathan.
"There seems to be no dominating influence, things have been fluid there...all these years of Hindu culture, Jainism, Buddhism, then Islam...", observed Justice D. Y. Chandrachud.
"The faith and belief of people with respect to Ram has continued. The offer of worship at the Janmasthan and treating it as a place of divine benefit has continued...we are dealing with a 130 feet by 80 feet area. It cannot be divided into three...Even in 1950, the oral evidence of the court commissioner made it clear that the place is treated as holy and the 'parikrama' is performed there...Now just because of the mosque, the question of joint possession cannot arise...the faith of the people cannot be dissected, bisected or trisected!", replied Mr. Vaidyanathan.
"...the original location of the Janmasthana temple is comparatively certain since it seems to be attested by the location of the mosque built by Babur, in the building of which materials of a previous Hindu temple were used and are still visible. The mosque is believed by general consensus to occupy the site of the Janmasthana...", he referred to Bakker's findings.
Next, the Senior Advocate discussed a suit filed by the Shia Central Board of Waqf against the Sunni Waqf Board in 1945- "There is an admission by the Shia Waqf Board that during the reign of Babur, 'a beautiful Masjid' was constructed, located at the Janmasthan, Ayodhya".
"What happened to the suit?", asked Justice S. A. Bobde.
"It was dismissed", he was informed.
"What was the averment of the Sunnis (in response to this claim of the Shia Waqf Board)? Was it admitted, denied or was it an issue?", probed the judge.
"There was a conflict between the Shias and the Sunnis as to who owned the sight. The Shias wanted to give the site to the Hindus...Against the judgment of 1946, the SLP was filed in 2017 and it is on board", Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhawan stood up to intervene for the Sunni Waqf Board.
"The Shia Board is the waqf. It is a Shia mosque. The Sunnis have nothing to do with it", it was countered on behalf of the Shia Waqf Board.
"The place where the mosque was constructed was not an issue. The statement by the Shias was accepted by you", noted Justice Bobde.
"This cannot affect a claim that came in 1989. The claim regarding the parikrama area came in 1989. It did not exist in 1945", asserted Dr. Dhawan.
Finally, Mr. Vaidyanathan indicated the written statement in Suit no. 5 of the President of the All India Shia Conference- "It is submitted that the Mandir was demolished and the Babri Masjid built in its place...that the land would be gladly returned for the building of the Mandir...On behalf of all Muslims, I can say that a mosque built on such land deserves to be destroyed...it is not permissible to build a mosque on unlawfully acquired land, and the offer of namaz in such a mosque would be against Islam...", he quoted from the written statement.
"The question was whether the mosque was destroyed. And the Shia stance was that Babur or Mir Baqi did not demolish any Mandir or construct the Mosque on the ruins of any Mandir. Then the theological question of whether it can be built on the ruins of a temple is a different issue altogether!", objected Dr. Dhawan.
Earlier in the day, the bench had questioned Mr. Vaidyanathan on whose hands the temple had come to be demolished at, the accounts of several foreign travellers he relied on casting aspersions on both Babur and Aurangzeb.
"When did it come to be known as the Babri Masjid", Justice Bobde had asked.
"Only in the 19th century", responded Mr. Vaidyanathan.
"What is the evidence that it was Babur who had ordered the erection of the mosque?", pressed Justice Bobde - "He had ordered his military commander to do so"
"How is that evidenced?", Justice Bobde had asked again.
"And the Baburnamah is silent as to the entire thing?", continued the judge.
When Mr. Vaidyanathan replied in the affirmative, Dr. Dhawan argued that 2 pages describing Babur's stay in Ayodhya have gone missing- "Baburnamah talks about Babur crossing the river to get to Ayodhya. It is wrong to say he had never visited Ayodhya".
The hearing will spread into its seventh day on Friday