The Supreme Court has asserted that the views aired by historians on the Babri Masjid in a note shared in 1991 titled, ironically enough, “Historians’ Report To The Indian Nation”, is a mere opinion and cannot be considered as fact. The said report claimed that Ram Janambhoomi was not the birthplace of Shri Rama and neither was the existing demolished to build the Babri Masjid.
The report was written in May 1991 by four Far-Left historians: R S Sharma, M Athar Ali, D N Jha, and Suraj Bhan. Rajeev Dhavan, arguing for the Sunni Waqf Board, presented the report in the Court as material in favour of Babri Masjid in the ongoing day-to-day hearings in the Ayodhya Dispute. However, the Bench was not impressed.
The Bench said, “At the best, this report can be taken as an opinion.” It added, “The report appears to be a counterblast to VHP campaigns and claims in 1991. Neither the views of VHP nor that of these four historians can be treated as evidence. We have to decide this case on the basis of evidence on record. The Allahabad HC had refused to rely on this report as evidence.”
The Bench went on to puncture holes in the report compiled by the ‘Eminent Historians’. It said, “These historians did not have the benefit of the archaeological evidence. Had this report really been prepared after studying the data collected through an archaeological excavation by ASI (about the possible existence of a temple below the mosque), it could have had some meaning to it. But these historians have not examined the ASI data. The methodology they have adopted appears to be perfunctory, as was termed by the High Court.”
Even as early as 1978, thirteen years before the said report was written, the ASI had found evidence of a Hindu Temple buried under the Babri. Dr K.K. Mohammed, former Regional Director (North) of the ASI who was part of the said team, blames Left historians for the dispute not being amicably resolved.
“The Babri issue would have been settled long ago if the Muslim intelligentsia had not fallen prey to the brainwashing by the Leftist historians. A set of historians including Romila Thapar, Bipin Chandra and S Gopal argued that there was no mention of the dismantling of the temple before the 19th century and Ayodhya is Bhudhist-Jain centre. They were supported by historians Irfan Habib, RS Sharma, DN Jha, Suraj Ben and Akthar Ali,” he told Firstpost.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) confirmed in 2003 after an excavation that structures under the Babri had “distinctive features associated with temples of north India”. This was the excavation that the Bench referred to in response to Dhavan’s arguments today. Dr Meenakshi Jain, PhD from Delhi University who specializes in cultural studies, explained the mounting body of archaeological and historical evidence of a Temple that was destroyed at the site in this talk for the Srijan Foundation.