The Supreme Court in the road to its Ayodhya verdict travelled through ages of text that led it to state that the faith of the Hindus in Lord Ram was undisputed.
A verdict that the nation awaited with bated breath was delivered on Saturday. The Supreme Court paved the way for the construction of the Ram Temple, while directing the government to allot five acres of land at an alternate site to the Muslims.
One key observation by the five judge Bench was that the faith of the Hindus in Lord Ram was undisputed. Broadly the Supreme Court said that there is a continuity of faith of the Hindus.
When the court spoke about faith, they speak about the continuity and there is not a single account where the judgment contradicts the same.
The Hindu faith was continuous:
It was argued in court that despite all that Mir Baqi, Babur’s commander, tried to do with the temple, the land continued to vest in the possession of Hindus and they never surrendered their possession over it.
The Asthan never went out of the possession of the deity and his worshippers. They continued to worship him through such symbols as the Charan and Sita Rasoi and the idol of Bhagwan Shri Ram Lalla Virajman on the Chabutra, within the enclosed courtyard of the building directly in front of the arched opening of its Southern dome.
The court then went into the question whether the disputed structure is the holy birthplace of Lord Ram as per the faith, trust and belief of the Hindus.
Ayodhya, which is associated with Ram is treated a holy city by Hindu scriptures. In Brihad-dharmottara Purana, Ayodhya is referred to as one of seven holiest cities. Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Haridwar), Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika (Ujjain) and Dvaravati (Dwaraka) are seven most sacred cities.
It is submitted that Valmiki Ramayana, which is a composition Before Christ also refers to Ayodhya as birthplace of Lord Ram. According to this, Lord Ram was born at the palace of King Dasharatha at Ayodhya.
‘Ramcharit Manasa’ by Tulsidas has also been referred to wherein the birth of Lord Ram at Ayodhya is mentioned, which is being celebrated on Chaitra Navami, Shukla Paksha every year.
The counsel appearing for the Hindu parties submitted that travellers’ account, which relates to the period prior to 1858 as well as after 1858, which are in form of published books, are relevant and can be relied by the Court under Section 57 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Further, the counsel also submitted that the evidence proves the faith and belief of Hindus that the disputed site is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
He submitted that Valmiki Ramayana refers to birth of Shri Ram in Ayodhya, which is the epic of the East and considered to have become the foundation of the culture and tradition of our country.
Skanda Purana is of 8th Century AD, which provides ample proof of faith that is instilled in the heart of Hindus, i.e., visit to birthplace of Lord Ram, which is of extreme merit which, for Hindus, is nothing but moksha. It was further submitted that repeated assertions and right to worship by the Hindus in the disputed premises and the various fights by Hindus is ample proof of their undying faith that disputed site is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Before the Christian Era:
The court observed that religious scriptures, which are main source of Hinduism are the foundation on which faith of Hindus is concretised. The epic Valmiki Ramayana is the main source of knowledge of Lord Ram and his deeds. The composition of Valmiki Ramayana dates back in the period Before Christ (BC).
The Valmiki Ramayana is of a period earlier to Mahabharata and Srimad Bhagwadgita. The period in which Valmiki Ramayana was composed is much prior to beginning of the Christian era.
For the purposes of this case, it is sufficient to note the statement of Suvira Jaiswal, a witness. She in her statement said, “The period of Valmiki Ramayana is recorded as 300 BC - 200 BC. Various scholars and others date the Valmiki Ramayana to a much older period, but it is not necessary to dwell in the said question since for our purpose, it is sufficient that Valmiki Ramayana was composed in an era Before Christ.
Valmiki Ramayana contains ample description of birth of Lord Ram as incarnation of Vishnu, as son of Dasharatha and Kausalya at Ayodhya. Shlok 10 tells about birth of Lord Ram as son of Kausalya, which is extracted as below:
“Kausalya gave birth to a son who was the Lord of the whole world. He was a person adored by all the people. He was invested with divine symptoms. It was not birth of an ordinary man. Ayodhya was blessed with the arrival of the Lord of the whole world”, even then Aligarh historians say that Ayodhya was never sacrosanct because of the birth of Rama.
Faith and belief:
The court took into account the faith and belief regarding Janma Asthan during the period 1528 AD to October 31, 1858. During this period, “Sri Ramacharitmanasa” of Gosvami Tulasidasa was composed in Samvat 1631 (1574- 75 AD).
The Ramacharitmanasa enjoys a unique place and like Valmiki Ramayana, is revered, read and respected by Hindus, which has acquired the status of an Epic in Hindu faith.
Gosvami Tulasidasa in Bala- Kanda has composed verses, which are spoken through Lord Vishnu. When Brahma appealed to Vishnu to relieve the Devas, Sages, Gandharvas and earth from the terror of Demon Ravana (Raavan), Lord Vishnu said that I will take a human form and be born to Dasharatha and Kausalya in Kosalapuri. After Doha 186, Bala-Kanda in following three chaupaiyas (Verses), Lord Vishnu says:
“Fear not, O sages, Siddhas and Indra (the chief of gods); for your sake I will assume the form of a human being. In the glorious solar race, I shall be born as a human being along with my part manifestations.”
“The sage Kasyapa and his wife Aditi did severe penance; to them I have already vouchsafed a boon. They have appeared in the city of Ayodhya as rulers of men in the form of Dasharatha and Kausalya.”
“In their house I shall take birth in the form of four brothers, the ornament of Raghu’s line. I shall prove the veracity of all that was uttered by Narada and shall descend with my Supreme Energy.
The Supreme Court said that the above chaupaiyas does not only refer to Vishnu taking human form in Avadhpuri, i.e., Ayodhya, but the verse specifically mentions that he will take human form at the house of Dasharatha and Kausalya.
The above verses do not only refer to birth of Ram at Ayodhya but points out to “a place”, where he will take human form, which is clearly depicted in the words “tinha ke grha” (in their house of Dasharatha and Kausalya).
The definition of facts, which the court must take judicial notice is not an exhaustive definition. The phrase “on all matters of public history, literature, science or art” are wide enough to empower the court to take into consideration gazetteers, travelogues and books. Gazetteers are nothing but record of public history.
The above provision is with a rider that if the court is called upon by any person to take judicial notice of any fact, the court may refuse to do so until and unless, such person produces such book or any document. Both the parties have cited several judgments of this court, where this court had occasion to consider admissibility of gazetteers and other books in evidence and the value, which is to be attached on statements contained in gazetteers, travelogues and books.
In view of the above discussions, the law as noted above clearly establish that court can take into consideration the gazetteers under the Evidence Act, 1872, even though, the statement in gazetteers will not be treated as conclusive evidence but the presumption of correctness of that statement attached to it. The admissibility of books and travelogues cannot be denied in view of Section 57. Section 81 of the Evidence Act also contemplates a presumption of genuineness of every document purporting to be any official gazette or the government gazette, the court also noted.
Father Joseph Tieffenthaler visited India between 1766-1771 A.D. He wrote historical and geographical description of India in Latin. All the Latin work was translated to French. English translation of the work was filed before the high court as Ext. 133 (Suit-5) and has been extensively relied on. In the description of the Province of Oudh, the following is stated:
“But a place especially famous is the one called Sita Rasoi i.e. the table of Sita, wife of Ram, adjoining to the city in the South, and is situated on a mud hill.
Emperor Aurangzeb got the fortress called Ramcot demolished and had a Muslim temple, with triple domes, constructed at the same place. Others say that it was constructed by ‘Babur’. Fourteen black stone pillars of 5 span high, which had existed at the site of the fortress, are seen there. 12 of these pillars now support the interior arcades of the mosque. Two (of these 12) are placed at the entrance of the cloister. The two others are part of the tomb of some ‘Moor’. It is narrated that these pillars, or rather this debris of the pillars skilfully made, were brought from the island of Lance or Selendip (called Ceylan by the Europeans) by Hanuman, King of Monkeys.
On the left is seen a square box raised 5 inches above the ground, with borders made of lime, with a length of more than 5 ells and a maximum width of about 4 ells. The Hindus call it Bedi i.e. ‘the cradle’.
The reason for this is that once upon a time, here was a house where Beschan was born in the form of Ram. It is said that his three brothers too were born here. Subsequently, Aurangzeb or Babur, according to others, got this place razed in order to deny the noble people, the opportunity of practicing their superstitions.
However, there still exists some superstitious cult in some place or other. For example, in the place where the native house of Ram existed, they go around 3 times and prostrate on the floor. The two spots are surrounded by a low wall constructed with battlements. One enters the front hall through a low semi-circular door.”
The court said that the book Hadith-e-Sehba was written by Mirza Jaan in the year 1856. In the book it was mentioned that the place of worship called as birthplace of Lord Ram which was adjacent to ‘Sita-Ki- Rasoi’, the Mosque was constructed by Babur in the year 923 Hijri.
The book said, “The above mentioned place is called seat of father of Lord Rama. Places of idol worshiping situated here were demolished and even a single piece of any Idol of Hindu religion was left there un-demolished.”
“The place where was a big temple of Hindu people, a big Masjid was constructed and the place where was a small temple of Hindu people, there a small Masjid was constructed. The place of worship is called birthplace of Lord Rama and the place which is adjacent to it, is called "Sita Ki Rasoi" and Sita is called wife of Lord Ram. At that place Babur Shah constructed a very big masjid under the supervision of Sayyad Musha Ashiqan in the year 923 Hijri and its history is still maintained. Today the above-mentioned "Sita Ki Rasoi" is called the Masjid.”
The Supreme Court said that the sequence of the events as noticed above clearly indicate that the faith and belief of Hindus was that birthplace of Lord Ram was in the three-dome structure mosque which was constructed at the janamasthan.
It was only during the British period that a grilled wall was constructed dividing the walled premises of the mosque into the inner courtyard and outer courtyard. Grilled iron wall was constructed to keep Hindus outside the grilled iron wall in the outer courtyard. In view of the construction of the iron wall, the worship and puja started in Ram Chabutra in the outer courtyard. Suit of 1885 was filed seeking permission to construct temple on the said Chabutra where worship was permitted by the British Authority.
Faith and belief of the Hindus as depicted by the evidence on record clearly establish that the Hindus belief is that at the birthplace of Lord Ram, the Mosque was constructed, and the three-dome structure is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The fact is that Hindus were, with the construction of the iron wall that divided the mosque premises, kept outside the three-dome structure. The worship on the Ram Chabutra in the outer courtyard was symbolic worship of Lord Ram who was believed to be born in the premises.
It is thus concluded that the faith and belief of Hindus prior to construction of the mosque and subsequent thereto has always been that Janmaasthan of Lord Ram is the place where Babri Mosque has been constructed. The faith and belief is proved by documentary and oral evidence discussed above.
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