Ayodhva is also an example of shuddhi albeit incomplete until a
permanent Ram Lall mandir is built. We do not know when we will overcome the controversies
and when we shall be able to start building the temple. It is a simple issue. Most Hindus
believe that Sri Ram was born in Ayodhya; it is a master of faith. Most Muslim
accept that Mir Baqi built the Babri edifice as a tribute to the new conqueror, Bbar. In
1528 AD, there was hardly any Muslim resident in the city of Sri Ram. There were plenty of
temples but no mosque. Even today there are not many Muslim who live in the vicinity,
until one gets to Faizabad, several kilometres away.
For decades the edifice was not used by Muslims. In any case, the Babri
masjid was one among thousand upon thousand of mosques in India. It had no special
santity, whereas for the Hindus the birth place of Sri Ram is of infinite sentimental
value. The obvious gesture should have been to gracefully hand over the edifice to Hindu
devotees. But no! Some leaders formed a Babri Masjid Action Committees, when no political
party had espoused the Hindu cause. In other words, leaders politicised the issue.
Unfortunately, Hindu leadership did not voice home truths. Instead, they got bogged
down in responding point for point, argument by argument.
The first home truth was the contrast between what Ayodhya means to the
Hindu sentiment and how comparatively insignificant it is to Muslims. The second truth to
pose is: how would Muslims react to a Hindu proposal to build a temple in either Mecca or
Medina? The third home truth is that the Christians commemorate the birth of Lord Jesus at
Bethlehem by having erected the Church of Nativity. Muslim iconoclasts have left it alone
presumbably as a mark of respect for Christian sentiments. Khalifa Hakeem Bi Amr Illah
destroyed the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem during 1009 AD but did not touch
the Church of Nativity at Bethlehem. Surely, the Muslims in the 20th century should be
more considerate than the khalifa a thousand years ago. But they are not.
Instead of dealing with petty, perhaps self seeking leaders, Hindu spokesmen should have
addressed the Muslim masses, frankly and openly. The initiative was however allowed to
remain with the government of India, rather the prime minister who had a vested interest
in allowing the controversy to persist between the spokesmen and petty leaders, without
allowing either side to win. If the petty ones had succeeded in preserving the edifice,
the political dividend might have eventually accrued to the likes of Viswanath Pratap
Singh or Mulayam Singh Yadav. At the same time, for Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, it was
best that the edifice was out of the way. A Hindu metaphor says if there is no bamboo, how
can there be a flute!
Hype was therefore allowed to be generated. It became evident to the
public that the spokesmen were desirous of pulling down the edifice in order to build a
new temple.The author was in Ayodhya between 10.45 a.m. and 5.45 p.m. on that fateful day.
The whole township around the Babri edifice was choc-a-block with around two to three lac
people most of whom had come from outside for kar seva. The whole day was spent on
the terrace of a newish small building at a distance of what looked like a furlong from
the edifice. Two of the domes were clearly visible" the third one was covered by tall
trees from where he was located.
Short speeches, interspersed by the singing of devotional songs, was
all that was happening until about noon. A microphone was on the terrace and a few persons
took turns to address the mass of kar sevaks. No doubt the atmosphere was charged
with expectations, but there was no apparent action. Then the author saw youngsters
climbing the domes and scratching them. In the course of the next hour, the surface of the
domes had become the colour of sand; it had been a dirty black earlier. While the
youngsters on top were exhilarated, crowds below uttered cries of thrill from time to
time. For anyone who had the leisure to think, it was obvious that this was hardly the way
to demolish the structure.
Around this time, two photographers ran to the terrace and complained
that some five of them had been manhandled and the camera of one of them had been snatched
and smashed. The author concluded that the target was not the photographers but the
cameras, since the kar sevaks inside the edifice were anxious not to be
photographed. They were using crowbars to attack the top of the walls on which the domes
rested. The objective must have been to weaken the base of the domes sufficiently for them
to collapse. This also the author heard from the photographers as the terrace was
too far away. Around 2.30 p.m. a dull thud was heard, followed by the crowd
shouting with delight. This was presumably when the dome collapsed, but that was not
visible from the terrace.
The chanting of bhajans and the shouting of slogans continued
with the help of the mike on the terrace which was packed not only with sympathisers but
also many police officers. There were many policemen in uniform in Ayodhya. They However
had little to do since the kar sevaks on duty were making sure that there was no
disorder. In fact, the only incident of manhandling of a person during the whole day, was
that concerning the photographers. One could now see a stream of young kar sevaks
bringing away small pieces of debris to take home as souvenirs.
Then suddenly at 3.40 p.m. one of the two remaining domes collapsed.
This time there was clapping. The cries of delight could be heard with the mass clapping.
The scene on the terrace had to be seen to be believed. Jubilation was uncontrolled and
many tears of joy were shed at Ayodhya. At 4.30 p.m. the third dome fell and for a while
the birth town of Sri Ram saw a riot of exhilaration. Over the centuries, thousands of
temples had been desecrated across north India. At last, the Hindus present felt that they
had got back atleast one of them.
As the sun was receding on the short winter day, it was getting cold
and the kar sevaks began to melt away from the Ramjanmabhoomi. The author left the
terrace at 5.30 p.m. and was back in his car before 5.45 p.m. Soon after, he heard on the
radio that the chief minister had resigned and subsequently his ministry had been
dismissed and Governor's rule imposed in Uttar Pradesh by the central government.
On the way back to Lucknow, many scenes kept coming back to his mind.
The one scene that kept recurring the most, was that of the huge edifice, tall and with
thick walls standing without domes. At the little motel in Lucknow, probably at 9.30 p.m.
or 10.00 p.m., he heard Prime Minister Narasimha Rao speaking on TV. He condemned the
demolition as a dirty and shameful act and promised to rebuild the Babri masjid. The
author therefore wondered before falling asleep, whether the central government would
replace the three domes post haste. The whole of his next day was spent in driving back to
On the 10th morning, most of the newspapers had a photograph of a small
flat little temple with a tiny flag flying at its centre. This was the temple built
quickly by the centralgovernment on the site of the demolished edifice for the Ram Lalla
idol which, incidentally, the author had the privilege to see on the terrace on the
afternoon of December sixth. A pujari or priest had brought the black idol to the
terrace in his anxiety to save it from the crashing domes.
Seeing the photograph of the new Ram Lalla temple, the author realised
that the central government had demolished the walls of the edifice. He was thunder struck
by the hypocrisy of the secular government of India which had promised to rebuild the
masjid. The government instead had demolished the walls in a matter of 60 hours between
the evening of the 6th and the morning of the 9th when this photograph must have been
taken. No picture of the edifice sans is its domes has been seen by anyone the author
knows. Evidently, Ayodhya was cordoned off while the walls were demolished and the debris
removed with extraordinary despatch.
The author said to himself: even if he could not help a friend to
rebuild his brolken roof, at least, he would not go to his friend's house and demolish the
walls But that is what the central government did at Ayodhya in December, 1992.