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Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla Virajaman: Susmita Dasgupta

[In this guest post, Susmita Dasgupta throws light on some important aspects of the Ayodhya issue that have been misunderstood. First, she argues that there is an anomaly in treating the Nirmohi Akhara as a “Hindu” group, when in fact historically, akharas (aakhra in Bengali) were gymnasiums associated with sects that were usually opposed to organized and/or textual religions like Hinduism and Islam and claimed themselves to be non-Hindus. More importantly, she points out that the worship of the child-God – Ram Lalla, or Balkishan – was an important ingredient of defiance against organized religion. The Hindu appropriation of Ram Lalla, she argues, is therefore the greatest anomaly in the case, and this is the anomaly, she suggests, that historians should have focused on.]

Archaeologists are divided over the issue of whether a Ram Temple at all existed under the dome of the Babri Masjid and the Muslim theologicians are divided over whether the Babri is a legitimate mosque at all because in Islam if a mosque is built over a heathen’s structure of worship then it is not fit for prayers. Historians from JNU are almost universally concerned that whatever the archaeology is, the mosque should remain intact as a historical monument. The secularists are upset that the fictitious Ram Lalla be accepted as a party to a dispute and every structure of the Muslims could be pulled down on the flimsiest belief that the land archaeologically belonged to the Hindus. Such a judgment would then be a precedent in pulling down every mosque in the land and may even cast aspersions on the continued existence of the Taj Mahal and Red Fort !! I, too share similar concerns.

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