Ayodhya: Amid daily hearings by the Supreme Court on the issue of the Babri Masjid-Ram temple in Ayodhya, a book written by a former IPS officer has claimed that the Ram temple was not demolished during the reign of Babar, but of Aurangzeb.
The book brings forth old records of the British era, ancient Sanskrit texts and reviews from archaeological excavations, to prove that a temple did exist at the place of birth Lord Ram in Ayodhya before a mosque was built on it.
Titled "Ayodhya Revisited", the book is written by Kishore Kunal, a retired IPS officer of the 1972 batch.
Kunal hails from Bihar and is known for his stints there as a police officer as well as an administrator and president of the Bihar Board of Religious Trusts. He was Officer on Special Duty in the Home Ministry and was officially associated with the Ayodhya dispute in 1990, before the disputed structure was razed to the ground.
After retirement, he was appointed vice chancellor of KSD Sanskrit University in Darbhanga.
Former Chief Justice of India G.B. Patnaik has written the foreword of the book in which he says that the author has given a "new dimension to the history of Ayodhya" and establishes several facts, which are contrary to common beliefs as well as opinions of several historians.
The book says the "demolition of the temple" did not take place in 1528 AD (during Babur's regime), but in 1660 AD when Fedai Khan was the Governor of Aurangzeb in Ayodhya.
"It is wrong to say that Babar ordered the demolition of the Ram Janambhoomi Temple at Ayodhya. He never visited Ayodhya. The claim of historians that Mir Baqi, the then governor of Awadh, got the Babri mosque constructed in 1528 is fictitious," says the book.
It insists that the inscriptions on the disputed site are fake and therefore the conclusions drawn by many historians based on these are wrong.
It goes on to argue that Mughal rulers right from Babur to Shahjahan were quite liberal and extended patronage to all religions.
"All the Mughal emperors from Babur to Shahjahan were magnanimous and liberal rulers and the Bairagis of Ayodhya enjoyed patronage of the first four nawabs of Awadh. However, it was during the long rule of Aurangzeb, the the country got engulfed in the fire of fanaticism," it says.
The book says that Babar never visited Ayodhya or ordered demolition of the Ram Janambhoomi Temple there.
The book also quotes from the account of Father Joseph Tieffenthaler, an Austrailain traveller who visited India and stayed here for more than two decades.
Quoting Sanskrit, English and French scholars, Kunal has tried to establish that a temple did exist at the site in question in Ayodhya. The author has heavily relied upon literary sources of travel accounts of foreigners and archaeological excavation reports.
In the foreword, Patnaik says the accounts of Western scholars Thomas Herbert, Joannes De Laet and C. Mentelle have also been produced for the first time while writing the history of Ayodhya.
"It is a historical fact that until the British takeover of Avadh administration in 1858, both the Hindus and Muslims used to perform puja and offer namaz respectively at the site," he says.
The author has expressed hope that this book, first published in 2016, will remove misconceptions on the Ayodhya issue and transform the thinking of people.
In September 2010, a three-judge bench of Allahabad High Court, comprising Justices S.U. Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D.V. Sharma, had ruled that the disputed land be split into three parts. It had said that the portion below the central dome under which the idols of Ram and other gods were placed, belonged to Hindus.
The matter is now in the Supreme Court.