Tag Archives: Babri Masjid

The BabriMasjid/Ayodhya Judgement of 2010 – Some questions for today


Babri Masjid before its demolition. It was still a mosque in 1992 when Hindutva mobs demolished it, and namaz was offered there until 1949 when under growing pressure from Hindutva forces, it was locked and made out of bounds for the public. However, Hindu puja was permitted there once a year.

This post is an analysis of the Allahabad High Court judgement of September 2010, on the BabriMasjid /Ayodhya issue. The final judgment ruled that the disputed land would be divided into three parts, one third going to the Hindu Maha Sabha which represented Ram Lalla, one third to Sunni Waqf Board and the rest to Nirmohi Akhada including Ram Chabutara and Sitaki Rasoi.

This essay was written at the time, and published in Economic and Political Weekly. Two of the key issues of this case arose in two of the recent judgments of the Supreme Court on other matters.

One, the status of ‘Next Friend’, which is central to the Ayodhya case, was brought up in the judgement on the Bhima- Koregaon Five. Regarding  the PIL filed by historian Romila Thapar and four other eminent persons challenging the alleged-unlawful arrest of these five activists,

the court assumed that the writ petition has now been pursued by the accused themselves and was of the opinion that the petition, at the instance of the next friend of the accused for an independent probe or a court-monitored investigation cannot be countenanced, much less as a PIL as the petitioners cannot be heard to ask for the reliefs which otherwise cannot be granted to the accused themselves.

Two, the status of the deity as a person in law came up centrally in the judgement on Sabarimala.

Apologies for posting this long piece, which is not a blog post but an analytical essay closely examining the 2010 judgement by Allahabad High Court. I have not updated it in any way, as that is the judgement that currently stands. The  case is currently in the Supreme Court.

The Ayodhya judgement: what next?

 Published in Economic and Political Weekly Vol 46 No. 31 July 30 – August 05, 2011

Since the Allahabad High Court judgement on the Ayodhya dispute was delivered on September 30, 2010, a substantial body of reflection upon it has emerged. Historians, political commentators, legal scholars and lawyers have all produced serious and engaged critiques of the judgement, pointing out flaws in reasoning and flaws in law. In an engagement with the debate so far, particularly with the critical voices, of which I am one, I hope here to develop a composite picture of the problems with the judgement, currently under appeal in the Supreme Court. And to ask, what are its weakest links?

Continue reading The BabriMasjid/Ayodhya Judgement of 2010 – Some questions for today

What’s in a Name? The Demolition of ‘Babri Masjid’, the Name and the Mosque: Hilal Ahmed

Babri-Masjid – Before the Demolition, image courtesy Tehelka.com

The gradual erasure of the words ‘Babri Masjid’ from our everyday memory actually began in 1986, when the Hindu community was granted the exclusive right to worship there. This happened without any regard ownership disputes the and illegal conversion of this mosque into a temple in 1949.

This story of the dispute itself is disputable. It is imperative to revisit three interesting moments, which no one talks of these days.

The 1949 moment

On the night of 23 December 1949, a group of local Hindus entered the mosque and installed the idols of Lord Ram inside it. Although the police filed an FIR in which the building is clearly defined as a functional mosque, the local administration took charge of the building, and without removing the idols from the mosque space, declared it a legally “disputed site”. Read the full article here


De-recognize the BJP!

The BJP has been clamouring for the de-recognition of AAP for its ‘anarchism’ and its lack of faith in institutions put in place by the Constitution, but faced with the sting by Cobrapost on its own responsibility for the Babri Masjid demolition, its only response is that  the Election Commission should stop its broadcast in view of the elections. In its characteristic fashion, the BJP leaders went on to accuse the sting operation of being ‘Congress sponsored’ – looks like this party has even lost the capacity to make a reasonable argument about anything. Meanwhile, all of yesterday the major channels were  dancing tango with the BJP in expressing suspicion about the ‘timing’ of the release. Not one of the channels had anything to say about the content of the sting.

Who is setting the terms of ‘debate’ here?

And why does the BJP want the EC to stop the broadcast? Because now it is clear that even as top BJP leaders and the Kalyan Singh government gave their commitment to the Supreme Court of India that nothing would happen to the mosque, the leaders were planning its demolition. That is what the sting operation shows. It shows, in the words of the actual dramatis personae, how the young recruits were trained by retired military personnel, without  being told what their mission was. The training was conducted in strict secrecy and with the full knowledge of at least some of the BJP bigwigs, the RSS and the Shiv Sena. Continue reading De-recognize the BJP!

उन्नाव का सोना और विश्वास के आगे समर्पण

अभी ज्यादा समय नहीं बीता जब एक दिन यह ज्ञात हुआ के नई दिल्ली में स्थित तथाकथित अग्रसेन की बावली को अगरवाल समाज के हवाले कर दिया गया है क्योंकि उन्होंने ए एस आई से यह कहा था के इस बावली का निर्माण महाराजा अग्रसेन ने किया था जो अगरवाल समाज के संस्थापक थे. उनका कहना था कि इसलिए अगरवाल समाज बावली की देखभाल करना चाहता है – आखिर बावली उनके संस्थापक की यादगार जो है. ए एस आई ने विधिवत ढंग से एक एम ओ यू (इकरारनामा) तैयार किया दोनों पक्षों ने उस पर हस्ताक्षर किये और बावली अग्रवाल समाज के हवाले कर दी गयी.

अग्रवाल समाज को शायद उस शिलालेख से भी ऐतराज़ था जो बावली के बाहर ए एस आई ने लगाया हुआ था और ऐतराज़ वाजिब भी था अग्रवाल समाज का “विश्वास” है के बावली महाराज अग्रसेन की बनवाई हुई थी और शिलालेख पर, जहाँ तक हमें याद है, यह लिखा हुआ था के ‘उग्रसेन की बावली के नाम से मशहूर इस बावली का निर्माण सल्तनत काल की वास्तुकला का एक सुन्दर नमूना है’. इस तरह की बात ज़ाहिर है अस्वीकार्य थी और फ़ौरी तौर पर भूल सुधार की आवश्यकता थी. लिहाज़ा भूल सुधार दी गयी. अब जो नया शिलालेख वहां लगाया गया है उस पर साफ़ साफ़ लिखा है के “इस बावली का निर्माण अग्रवाल समुदाय के पूर्वज, राजा उग्रसेन, द्वारा किया गया था.” यह अलग बात है के शिलालेख पर अंग्रेजी में इस बात को ज़रा अलग ढंग से इस तरह कहा गया है “ कहा जाता है के इस बावली का निर्माण अग्रवाल समुदाय के पूर्वज, राजा उग्रसेन, द्वारा किया गया था.” (यह भी दिलचस्प बात है कि राजा का नाम कहीं ‘उग्रसेन’ तो कहीं ‘अग्रसेन’ लिखा जाता आया है.) Continue reading उन्नाव का सोना और विश्वास के आगे समर्पण

The muezzin’s last call at Babri Masjid: Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K Jha

This guest post by KRISHNA JHA and DHIRENDRA K JHA is an excerpt from their book, Ayodhya: The Dark Night, about the original Ayodhya conspiracy of 22 December 1949

Published December 2011 by HarperCollins India;Rs 499; Pages 232
Published December 2011 by HarperCollins India; Rs 499; Pages 232

The sound of a thud reverberated through the medieval precincts of the Babri Masjid like that of a powerful drum and jolted Muhammad Ismael, the muezzin, out of his deep slumber. He sat up, confused and scared, since the course of events outside the mosque for the last couple of weeks had not been very reassuring. For a few moments, the muezzin waited, standing still in a dark corner of the mosque, studying the shadows the way a child stares at the box-front illustration of a jigsaw puzzle before trying to join the pieces together. Continue reading The muezzin’s last call at Babri Masjid: Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K Jha

Ayodhya for Buddhists: All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations


Neither Hindus nor Muslims are entitled to the disputed land at Ayodhya. SLP filed in Supreme Court claming the title for the Buddhists.

New Delhi, 7th January, 2011

Dr. Udit Raj, Chairman of Buddha Education Foundation and the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, told the press that Special Leave Petition (SLP) no. DC 466/2011 has been filed in the Supreme Court against the judgment of Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench in the much disputed matter of Ayodhya.

Continue reading Ayodhya for Buddhists: All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations

City in Terror: Dilip D’Souza

Guest post by DILIP D’SOUZA

Starting today eighteen years ago, for much of December and January (and then March 12), Indian killed Indian on the streets of my city. Terror at its most elemental: I felt it then. I saw it then. Others told me about it then.

Some memories of those weeks, in no particular order but they all still make my hair stand on end.