The Marxist Spin To Indian History Unearthed In The Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Case
Here is a judicial scrutiny of the narration of history, placed before courts as evidence, and the role played by Marxist academicians and historians in building a narrative of History in the Ram Janmabhoomi case in support of one side, using their positions of influence in public offices.
satyena sūryastapati satyenāgniḥ pradīpyate |
satyena māruto vāti sarvaṃ satye pratiṣṭhitam ||
It is by the truth that the sun is imparting heat, it is by truth that fire gives light,
It is by truth that the winds blow, verily, everything rests upon truth.
Bhishma, Anushasana Parva Ch.74 V.30, Mahabharata
Truth, is a civilisational value in India from times immemorial. Our land has seen great personal sacrifices of individuals to uphold truth and this virtue has elevated humans to be adulated and revered for thousands of years. Truth is the most cherished constitutional value.
Most of the Indians trace the virtue of truth from the life of Lord Sri Rama. However, the proof of Lord Sri Rama’s birth in Ayodhya in a specific place was required to be proved in a civil suit for title over about 1500 sq. yards of land in Ayodhya.
For many Lord Sri Rama’s place of birth being Ayodhya is axiomatic. However, when questioned as to exactly where is the place of birth it became a bone of contest spread over 492 years since 1528 when Babur, an invader from Central Asia, was believed to have built a Masjid at the site of the place of birth. It is not easy to prove axioms in a court of law and that was the task Hindus had to achieve in this case.
In the pursuit to establish the exact place of birth reliance was placed on description given in Ayodhya Mahatyam in Skanda Purana by Hindus. The significance of the exact place of birth was attributed to the place being chosen by Lord Vishnu himself who took birth as a human in his seventh Avatar as Sri Rama, as was mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana.
The continuous worship at the same place of birth, notwithstanding the existence of an Islamic structure,from times immemorial was proved through various documentary and oral evidence.
The subsequent division of the place by the British in 1856/57 did not deter the faith of Hindus and though denied access to the exact place of birth, they still worshipped it from a distance. In fact some of the Muslim witnesses stood by truth and deposed that Hindus believed and worshipped at the same place.
To put things in perspective it would be useful to see what the Supreme Court had to say in the opening para of its historic judgment pronounced on 9th November 2019:
“1. These first appeals centre around a dispute between two religious communities both of whom claim ownership over a piece of land admeasuring 1500 square yards in the town of Ayodhya. The disputed property is of immense significance to Hindus and Muslims. The Hindu community claims it as the birthplace of Lord Ram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Muslim community claims it as the site of the historic Babri Masjid built by the first Mughal Emperor, Babur. The lands of our country have witnessed invasions and dissensions. Yet they have assimilated into the idea of India everyone who sought their providence, whether they came as merchants, travellers or as conquerors. The history and culture of this country have been home to quests for truth, through the material, the political, and the spiritual. This Court is called upon to fulfil its adjudicatory function where it is claimed that two quests for the truth impinge on the freedoms of the other or violate the rule of law.”SC judgment dt.9.11.2019, para 1 in C.A.No.1086 of 2010
The Ayodhya judgment of the Supreme Court has very objectively addressed a very complex and pestering issue which goes to the root of the identity of the world’s oldest living civilisation. Indian judiciary has decided the issues in accordance with modern legal principles accepted as the basis for conflict resolution by civilised nations.
An issue of dispute over place of worship between Hindus and Muslims was adjudicated by applying secular laws of the land by invoking Constitutional powers conferred on the Supreme Court.
In the process the Court chose not to be guided by personal laws of Hindus and Muslims alike but has applied the law of the land which applies to all uniformly.
The pursuit of truth was aided by evidence on existence of faith by both Hindus and Muslims. It was really heartening to mention that amongst several Muslims witnesses who deposed in support of the case of Muslim side stood by truth in admitting that the Hindus believed the place to be the Janmasthan of Sri Ram from times immemorial. In fact, some went to the extent of saying that Ayodhya is to Hindus what Mecca is for Muslims.
Adherence to truth by the devout Muslim witnesses also reinforced that truth was indeed a highly cherished value for devout followers of Islam. Persons of faith amongst Hindus and Muslims put across their perspectives based on truth or what they bonafide believed to be truth.
However, the role played by certain persons, some of whom followed marxist ideology, appeared to have no such compulsion to adhere to truth, as was noticed from the case records and the judgment of the High Court and Supreme Court.
The present opinion seeks to bring out judicial scrutiny of narration of history placed before courts as evidence in the following ways,
1) Publishing fallacious material under the authority of Government of India,
2) Reports to the Nation by persons of eminence in academia to build a public opinion to suit their narrative and
3) Oral depositions by Professors in support of the narratives built over decades by their ideological mentors and peers.
The role played by Academicians/Historians in building a narrative of History in support of one side using their positions of influence in public offices was recorded by Courts in their judgments with anguish.
Firstly, the Archaeological Survey of India Publication ‘Epigraphia Indica, Arabic and Persian Supplement (in continuation of Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica) (Z A Desai Eds), Archaeology Survey of India (1987)’. This has been published by the Director General, ASI and contains a reference to the inscriptions of Babur purportedly on the structure of Masjid.
The text is attributed to Maulvi M Ashraf Husain and is edited by Z A Desai. This publication was sought to be relied upon to establish the Masjid was constructed in 1528 and how it was correlated to Babur.
The said publication by ASI was subject to strong observations by the High Court quoted with approval by the Supreme Court as follows:
“59. Justice Sudhir Agarwal while adverting to the work of Ashraf Husain and Z A Desai took serious note of the ―fallacy and complete misrepresentation of the author in publishing a text under the authority of the ASI without regard for its accuracy, correctness and genuineness: ―
1463. We are extremely perturbed by the manner in which Ashraf Husain/Desai have tried to give an impeccable authority to the texts of the alleged inscriptions which they claim to have existed on the disputed building though repeatedly said that the original text has disappeared. The fallacy and complete misrepresentation on the part of author in trying to give colour of truth to this text is writ large from a bare reading of the write up. We are really at pains to find that such blatant fallacious kind of material has been allowed to be published in a book published under the authority of ASI, Government of India, without caring about its accuracy, correctness and genuineness of the subject. …Both these inscriptions i.e., the one claimed to be on the southern face of the pulpit and the other on the right hand side wall of the pulpit are said to be non-available by observing ―of these the last mentioned two epigraphs have disappeared. The time of disappearance according to Maulvi Ashraf Husain was 1934 A.D. when a communal riot took place at Ayodhya. However, he claimed to have got an inked rubbing on one of the two inscriptions from Syed Badrul Hasan of Faizabad. The whereabouts of Syed Badrul Hasan, who he was, what was his status, in what way and manner he could get that ink rubbing of the said inscription and what is the authenticity to believe it to be correct when original text of the inscription are not known. There is nothing to co-relate the text he got as the correct text of the inscription found in the disputed building claimed to have lost in 1934.
The High Court observed that two inscriptions, those on the southern face of the pulpit and on the wall on the right of the pulpit were not available. According to Ashraf Husain, the epigraphs disappeared in 1934 at the time of the communal riot.
However, reliance was sought to be placed on an alleged “inked rubbing” without explaining the identity or whereabouts of the person from whom it was obtained. The criticism of the High Court is not without basis.
The identity of the individual from whom the inked rubbings were obtained was not explained. Nor was there any explanation about the manner in which he had in turn obtained it.
There was indeed nothing to co-relate the text which that individual had obtained with the translation in the text compiled by Ashraf Husain and Z A Desai. The High Court observed: ―
“1464…When the original was already lost and there was nothing to verify the text of restored inscription with the original, neither the restored one can be relied upon nor is it understandable as to how he could have any occasion to compare the restored one with the alleged… original…
In this background, the High Court observed: ―
“1466…The text, description and whatever had been set up by Ashraf Husain in respect of the above inscription is unbelievable and lacks trustworthiness. We are constrained to observe at this stage that in the matter of historical events and that too, when it bears a religious importance and the matter has also seen serious disputes between two communities, the persons who are connected with history… must behave responsibly and before making any write up, should check up, cross check and verify very carefully what they are writing since the consequences of their write up may be dangerous and irreparable.”
Secondly, reliance was placed on a document which is titled: “Babri Mosque or Rama’s Birth Place? Historians’ Report to the Nation” dated 13.5.1991 by Prof. R.S. Sharma, formerly Professor at Delhi University and Chairperson of the Indian Council for Historical Research, Prof. M. Athar Ali, formerly a Professor of History in Aligarh Muslim University and President of Indian History Congress, Prof. D.N. Jha, Professor of History, Delhi University and Prof. Suraj Bhan, Professor of Archaeology and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Kurukshetra University, Haryana addressed to Mr. Subodh Kant Sahay, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Govt. of India. The report was summarised by the Supreme Court as follows
(i)Professor B B Lal did not mention the pillar bases in his report submitted to the ASI in 1979-80; (ii)No stone pillars or architecture of roof material of a temple were found in the debris of the trenches where the pillar bases stood; and (iii)There is no mention of Babri Masjid in Ram Charitmanas in 1675-76.
The conclusions in the study were:
(i) No evidence exists in the texts to indicate that before the eighteenth century any veneration was attached to a spot in Ayodhya as being the birth site of Lord Ram; (ii) There are no grounds for supposing that a temple of Lord Ram, or any temple, existed at the site where Babri Masjid was built in 1528-29; (iii)The legend that Babri Masjid occupied the site of Lord Ram‘s birth did not arise until the late eighteenth century; and that a temple was destroyed to build a mosque was not asserted until the beginning of the nineteenth century; and (iv)The full-blown legend of the destruction of the temple at the site of the birth of the Lord Ram and Sita Ki Rasoi dates to 1850 after which there is a progressive reconstruction of imagined history, based on faith”.
The Supreme Court chose not to give any significant weight to the said report as it was prior to ASI Report in 2003. However, observed as follows:
“The inferences which have been drawn by the historians in regard to the faith and belief of the Hindus in the birth-place of Lord Ram constitute their opinion.”
Another interesting conclusion of these Historians noticed in the Addenda to the Supreme Court judgment is that the 4 Historians have found that the Skanda Purana was published towards of 18th century or beginning of 19th century. The Supreme Court in the Addendum observed as follows:
“56. ….. PW20 Prof. Shirin Musavi in her statement has stated that geographical local of Ramkot found description in the Skanda Purana. She clearly stated that Skanda Purana belongs to Ninth Century A.D.” “57. In above view of the matter, the opinion of four Historians in their report that Ayodhya Mahatmya of Skanda Purana was prepared towards the end of Eighteenth Century or the beginning of Nineteenth Century cannot be accepted. …… “59. ……It may be further noticed that whole report is nothing but objection to the case of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad as has been mentioned in the report in very beginning. The report, thus, has been prepared as the counter to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad case, which itself suggests that the four Historians had not treated the entire subject dispassionately and objectively.”
Their report was found to be more a reply to the claim of VHP than an original work on Indian History. It was so glaring that the High Court passed strictures against the said historians for brushing aside scientific material available in public domain based on Archaeological excavations as early as from 1969 onwards.
Their report sidesteps the Archaeological studies done prior to 1991 when they submitted the report to the Nation on the premise that the material was not made available to them.
One fails to understand why these Historians did not make any independent attempts before 1991 to examine the Archaeological studies conducted from 1969 onwards at least academically, as there were clear indications of the existence of an old temple suggestively in view of the limited excavations done.
Thirdly, the experts who deposed on oath after the extensive excavations done by ASI under orders of Court to unearth the truth, were again found to be more to raise a defence of their school of history from being exposed as being mere legend or tradition.
During cross examination it was stated on oath by some of the experts that persons of eminence in History/Archaeology such as Mr. Irfan Habib, Mr. R.S. Sharma, Mr. BNS Yadav, MR D.P. Agarwal, Ms. Romila Thapar, Dr. Suveera, Jaiswal, Prof.Suraj Bhan, Prof. D. Mandal, to be influenced by Marxism.
Not all of them appeared to depose on oath before the Court but their views were put forth by those who chose to depose as expert witnesses and sujected their narratives and conclusions to cross examination. All these persons on different occasions expressed their opinions that there was no basis to the claim of a pre-existing temple below the disputed structure.
Some of these expert witnesses tried to argue a completely new case to justify their earlier position that there was no temple existing at the disputed site, even after it was found to be baseless by ASI report in 2003.
The new case pleaded, not by Muslims for they never amended their plaint to this effect, but by Marxist historians was that the Babri Masjid was built on a Idgah or Kanati Mosque. This suggestion while being quite shocking, only showed the degree of desperation to somehow deny the truth of existence of an ancient Hindu temple.
In fact it is necessary to point out that some of the Muslim parties to the suit had in fact stated in their pleadings that they shall not claim the place if it is found that the Masjid was built on a temple.
Some Muslim witnesses in their deposition on oath had stated that for the true followers of Islam prayers offered in a place built over a place of worship of another faith would not be accepted by God. The faith and belief of the Muslim parties deserved to be respected by the expert witnesses appearing on the Muslim’s side.
Well, it appears that the dispute was only a platform for these experts to enact their own script irrespective of the pleadings before the Court.
The observations made in the judgment of Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Allahabad High Court, qua the four authors of the 1991 report and academicians who deposed as expert witnesses in History and Archaeology are extracted in the Addendum by the Supreme Court as follows:
“60. Justice Sudhir Agarwal in the impugned judgment has elaborately dealt with the above reports by four Historians and found it unworthy of reliance. Very strong observations have also been made with regard to the report of Historian as well as of some witnesses in following words:-
3623. Normally, the Court does not make adverse comments on the deposition of witness and suffice it to consider whether it is credible or not but we find it difficult to resist ourselves in this particular case considering the sensitivity and the nature of dispute and also the reckless and irresponsible kind of statements, and the material got published by the persons claiming to be Expert Historian, Archaeologist etc. without making any proper investigation, research or study in the subject. 3624. This is really startling. It not only surprises us but we are puzzled. Such kind of statements to public at large causes more confusion than clear the things. Instead of helping in making a cordial atmosphere it tends to create more complications, conflict and controversy. Such people should refrain from making such statements or written work. They must be extremely careful and as a correct statement of fact and affairs. Normally, these persons do not find a stage where their statement can be scrutinized by other experts like a cross-examination in a Court of law. In legal terminology, we can say that these statements are normally ex parte and unilateral. But that does not give a license to such persons to make statements whatsoever without shouldering responsibility and accountability for its authenticity. One cannot say that though I had made a statement but I am not responsible for its authenticity since it is not based on my study or research but what I have learnt from others that I have uttered. No one, particularly when he claims to be an expert on the subject, a proclaimed or self styled expert in a History etc. or the facts or events can express some opinion unless he/she is fully satisfied after his/her own research and study that he/she is also of the same view and intend to make the same statement with reasons.”cautious before making any statement in public on such issues. 3625. The people believe that something, which has been said by a learned, well studied person, would not be without any basis. Normally they accept it
However, the observations of the High Court on the report of the said four historians were found to be “unjustifiably harsh on the four historians” by the Supreme Court and “observations were unnecessary for the exercise which was being embarked upon by the High Court.”
The attempt by the Historians who deposed on oath as expert witnesses as noticed by the Supreme Court clearly lacked objectivity expected of experts. It only showed their approach was more to oppose a perspective put forward before a Court of Law other than what they approved of was more important to them than truth.
Unfortunately, in the process they exposed an ugly truth about the manner in which the academicians wedded to an ideology which does not support existence of God, were using the bitter contest of faiths as a platform to widen the divide and perpetuate social unrest. For social unrest and division in the society are essential in the struggle as per the Marxist template.
They openly took sides and made publications using their position as academicians as also by virtue of the high office they occupied, to influence public opinion as experts on History and Archaeology.
Their statements and publications had become the basis for public debate in the country. Many Indians trusted their opinions to be objective findings of experts and did not suspect them of being politically influenced.
A contest between persons of faith over a disputed piece of land seems to have been appropriated by ideologues by using their unique position of eminence in academic arena. It is but natural that the Courts have come down heavily on their conduct for how they breached the trust reposed on them by the nation both as intellectuals and academicians.
The narrative in support of the case of the Muslims was built over years by Marxist Historians. The reasons for their approach towards Indian History is probably best summarised in the following quote from ‘A Textbook of Historiography 500 BC to AD 2000’ by Historian and author Sri E. Sreedharan,
“Peter Hardy observes that modern Muslim historiography on medieval India has chiefly taken the form of an Islamic apologetic justifying the life of medieval Muslims to the modern world. It could be seen in an abundance of value judgments and desire to establish that whatever Muslims did in medieval India was right if not in terms of religion then in terms of politics.” “The same intense consciousness of Islam as the unique, vital, final way of life and thought seems to have been carried over from medieval Muslim historiography by modern Muslim historians of medieval India. Muhammad Habib wrote even in his Marxian strain that “The Quranic conception of God was, and can still be a revolutionary force of incalculable value for the attainment of human welfare.”
Peter Hardy comments: There is the same inarticulate premises that the writing of history should justify the ways of Muslims to men. There is the same assumption that history is purposive, teleological; there is the same urge towards a universal schematic view of history…..The significant feature of Professor Habib’s Marxist interpretation of medieval Indian history is not that Marxism has absorbed Islam but that Islam has absorbed Marxism.”
The Marxist historians’ narrative on Indian History was not without criticism even amongst Historians and authors. A clear attempt was made to hide certain aspects of History which reflected on bigotry of the medieval rulers.
One cannot but ask these academicians, if we can be taught about Hitlers holocaust or General Dyer’s blood thirst in Jallianwalla Bagh as part of History, what was the need to air brush the historical wrongs suffered by Hindus for being idol worshippers.
Truths about medieval India were swept under the carpet to suit certain narratives by these intellectuals. As a consequence, few generations of Indians appear to have been exposed to what may in hindsight be called as ‘re education programmes’ designed to disconnect us from our past, by labelling our civilisational heritage either as mythology or legend if not both.
It may not be wrong to compare this systematic attempt with what their ideological cousins are practising more transparently now in China qua Uighur Muslims.
In conclusion, one can only wish intellectuals and academicians, irrespective of whether they believe in God or not remember these words of Mahatma Gandhi (From M.K. Gandhi An Autobiography or The Story of my experiments with truth) “My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth” and stick to the path of truth.
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