Culture

Ayodhya Is Lord Rama’s Birthplace, Say Historical Works In Persian, Urdu, Arabic

Book Excerpts

Apr 05, 2017, 08:37 PM | Updated 08:37 PM IST


Ram Paidi Ayodhya (Ramnath Bhat/Wikimedia Commons)
Ram Paidi Ayodhya (Ramnath Bhat/Wikimedia Commons)
  • Excerpts from Meenakshi Jain’s book The Battle for Rama, which presents historical accounts of Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Rama.
  • The sanctity of Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Rama, which has been questioned repeatedly by leftist historians, has been vouched for by not just "Hindu religious scriptures" but observers of diverse stripes across time.

    From Persian works of the Medieval era to sanads issued by Mughals in the eighteenth century, ‘Muslim’ sources that acknowledge the disputed territory as Ram Janmabhoomi, for instance, have seldom been cited in mainstream discourse.

    Meenakshi Jain’s The Battle for Rama includes an account of various such sources in history, shining a new light on the city, and also counters popular arguments.

    Here is an excerpt from the book which highlights the accounts of Muslims:

    Several works in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu discussed the demolition of the Ramjanmabhumi temple and its replacement by Babri Masjid (Narain 1993: 16-37). Among them was the Jannah al-Mashriq wa Matla ‘an-Nur al-Mashriq, re-titled Al-Hind-u fi al- Ahd al-Islami, by Maulana Hakim Sayyid Abd al-Hayy. It was translated into Urdu by Maulana Shams Tabriz Khan, under the title Hindustan Islami Ahd mein. In an introduction, the author’s son, Maulana Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadawi alias Ali Mian, wrote,

    Another work was the Hadiqah-i Shuhada, (Lucknow 1856), by Mirza Jan, a participant in the jihad of Amir Ali at Hanuman Garhi in 1855. Mirza Jan referred to a Persian text, Sahifah-I Chihal Nasaih-I Bahadurshahi (the Bahadurshahi Book of Forty Sermons), attributed to a granddaughter of Emperor Aurangzeb. He claimed to have found a copy of the book, made on 11th July 1816, in the library of the grandson of Prince Dara Shukoh. Among its sermons, the book advised devout Muslim rulers to keep idolaters in subjection to Islam and,

    The authenticity and authorship of this work is debatable (Kunal 2016: 253-57). Mirza Jan did not name the daughter of Bahadur Shah, nor cite the year in which she composed this work. However, according to the Foreign Department Political Consultations, December 28, 1855, No. 450, the Prime Minister of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh “referred to a book which existed in the King’s library written in the reign of Bahadurshah about the year AD 1707 which contained an account of the Masjid at Hanumangarhi.” While quoting from the above text, Mirza Jan remarked,

    Several other works in Urdu written in the nineteenth and early twentieth century also referred to the replacement of the temple by the mosque. The Tarikh-i Awadh (1919), for instance, stated,

    The Qaysar-u’t Tawarikh located the mosque in Sita ki Rasoi as well as the Janmasthan. It acknowledged, “...all the temples of Ayodhya were turned into mosques by the Sultans of the past" (Narain 1993: 27-35).

    The Fasanah-I Ibrat, written by Rajab Ali Beg Surur in 1860, but first published in 1884, stated,

    Muraqqah-i Khusrawi, or the Tawarikh-i Awadh, by Shaykh Azamat Ali Kakorawi Nami (1811-1893), an eye witness to several events of the reign of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, was completed in 1869 but published in 1986. The manuscript is preserved at the Tagore Library, University of Lucknow. The parts dealing with the construction of Babri Masjid and the Hindu-Muslim conflict of 1855 were deleted by the Fakhruddin Ahmad Memorial Committee, under whose auspices the book was published. Zakir Kakaurwi published these sections separately under the title Amir Ali Shahid Aur Marakhai-i-Hanuman Garhi in 1987 (Grover and Gupta 1991: 152). It stated,

    A translation of the same work provided by Kishore Kunal affirmed that Hindus had begun worship at Babri Masjid and officials kept quiet after accepting bribes,

    The Tarikh -i- Awadh (Hissa Doyam) by Allama Muhammad Nazamul Gani Khan Rampuri (1859-1932) stated,

    Perhaps this described the situation after the Galata conference when the Ramanandis began arriving in Ayodhya in considerable numbers.

    Professor Irfan Habib dismissed these works as the product of the communal consciousness of the last 150 years (Muslim India 101, May 1991). It would have contributed immensely to the debate had Professor Habib listed Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindavi, Hindustani, or Hindi works that asserted that Babri Masjid was built on virgin land.

    In addition to the works listed by Harsh Narain, B.R. Grover and S.P. Gupta mentioned the Gumghasta Halat-i-Ajodhaya Awadh (The forgotten events of Ajodhaya Awadh), by Maulvi Abdul Karim, Imam of Babri Masjid. He cited several contemporary sources in his book. It was translated from Persian to Urdu in 1979 by his grandson, Maulvi Abdul Gufar; who retained the section pertaining to the destruction of the Janmasthan temple and the construction of a mosque in its place. The revised second Urdu edition published in 1981, however, omitted this portion (Grover and Gupta 1991: 152).

    Book cover of <i>The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya</i>
    Book cover of <i>The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya</i>

    Excerpted from The Battle for Rama: Case of the Temple at Ayodhya by Meenakshi Jain, Aryan Books International, 2017, with the permission of the publisher.


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