The Ram Janmabhoomi issue revisited
(I can't do better than post this link for the background and history of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement.)
I was appalled today to read the newspapers. Kalyan Singh has "claimed responsibility" for damaging the Babri mosque. Immediately, the Congress party stated that they would not associate with him in order to assuage their muslim votebanks. Muslim groups said they would "not forgive" him for his role in damaging the mosque, and all of India's sickening self-loathing Hindu-bashing was on free display throughout the day. I will talk about the mosque in question, but let me introduce the topic to my western readers.
When India was under muslim rule, over 10,000 Hindu temples, large and small, and of varying religious significance, were demolished, desecrated (almost always by slaughtering a cow at the spot where the Hindu idol stood) and replaced with mosques. We don't have to speculate upon this - the muslim rulers themselves recorded their acts as those of great piety, and considered themselves "Ghazis" (Islamic holy warrior) for destroying the temples of the Hindus and replacing them with mosques. As but one example, here is the inscription at the site of the first mosque built in India - the Quwwat ul Islam mosque in Mehrauli, built with the remains of 27 Hindu temples.
"This fort was conquered and the Jami Masjid built in the year 587 by the Amir, the great, the gloriuous commander of the Army, Qutub-ud-daula wad-din, the Amir-ul-umara Aibeg, the slave of the Sultan, may Allah strengthen his helperes. The materials of 27 idol temples, on each of which 2,000,000 Delhiwals had been spent were used in the construction of the mosque."
To western readers, the image of the Turks conquest of Constantinople will come to mind. Sultan Mehmet's first act upon entering the city was to convert the Hagia Sophia - eastern christendom's greatest church - into a mosque. And so it has been everywhere Islam has conquered. Islam takes great joy in desecrating and destroying places of worship of other cultures, and then replacing them with mosques. This continues to happen - the Taliban destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas also comes to mind.
Back to the Hindu temples. Sita Ram Goel co-authored, along with Arun Shourie and others, 2 books entitled "Hindu Temples - What happened to them, parts 1 and 2." He also wrote a short article in the Indian express called "The tip of an iceberg" recounting just some of the evidence for the destruction of thousands of Hindu temples.
Among the temples destroyed during muslim rule, and replaced by mosques, were the 3 major temples of North India. The temples dedicated to Shri Ram at Ayodhya, Shri Krishna at Mathura, and Shankar at Kashi Vishwanath. The first of the these was destroyed by Mir Baqi, a general of Babar, the first Moghul emperor. The last of these was destroyed by Aurangzeb, and a mosque built at its site. We have his own court chronicles that detail this destruction.
Babar's autobiography, the Babar-nama, contains this couplet in Persian, translated into english below:
For Islam’s sake, I wondered in the wilds,
Prepared forward with Pagans and Hindus,
Resolved myself to meet the martyr’s death,
Thanks be to Allah! A Ghazi I became.
According to Islamic theology, a ‘momin’ (believer) becomes a "mujahid" (holy warrior) when he wages wars against the infidels, and becomes a "Ghazi" when he kills them.
The 1922 English translation of the Persian autobiography of Babar Nama by Annette Beveridge contains the following in relation to the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple:
"Babar, a devout Muslim, was impressed by the dignity and sanctity of the ancient Hindu Shrine at the Shri Rama Janmabhoomi"... "as an obedient follower of Muhammad, Babar regarded the substitution of the temple by a Mosque as a dutiful and worthy action".
Now consider this - over 10,000 temples destroyed. Some estimate as many as 30,000. And yet, till 1992, most Hindus made no demand for any of them to be returned. The most "extremist" of the Hindu groups requested that muslims had over the 3 major temples only, and that as a gesture of goodwill Hindus would bear the full cost of relocating the mosques built at these 3 holiest sites of Hindudom. Even this request was turned down by the other side.
Remember, the request was ONLY for the three holiest sites. The Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem for Hindus, if you will. Even the most "extremist" Hindu groups did not ask for any compensation for the 10,000 other temples destroyed. And these "extremist" Hindus offered to build grand mosques just a few kilometers from the Hindu shrines. Compare this to Islam - non-muslims are not even allowed to enter Mecca!
When finally all failed, a large crowd of Hindus who had collected at the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi lost their patience and damaged the mosque. A decrepit mosque where no prayers had been offered for years. A mosque of no religious significance to muslims. A mosque whose ONLY purpose was to humiliate Hindus and show them their status as subjugated Dhimmis under Islamic rule. Yet, such was the collective furore against this action that the leader of the "Hindu party" - the BJP - stated that this was the "darkest day of my life."
Just think of this for a little while. Hindus, after 1300 years of being slaughtered, enslaved, forcibly converted, having their temples destroyed, and being the object of the most unimaginable barbarism at the hands of Islam, make a most humble request - give us back only 3 of our holiest shrines. We will bear the entire cost of relocating the mosques you have built at their site. When even this is rejected, a few Hindus damage the mosque, and the entire country (82% Hindu) is outraged.
Would this have happened with any other civilization? Had Islam been a defeated and conquered civilization, and the Kaaba been demolished by their conquerors, and a few muslims damaged the imposed structure - do you think muslims would have risen in mass outrage? No. The people who damaged the structure would be heroes in Islamic countries. (I must say though that Europe now seems to be going the way of the Hindus, just judging by the capitulation to Islamic intimidation that I have witnessed there in the past few years.)
The Hindu capacity for taking punishment at the hands of Islam, and for condemning those Hindus who display even the slightest fight against this, is shocking. So ingrained is our dhimmitude and our lack of self-confidence that we feel compelled to condemn our own for standing up for us!
I want to end with two quotes that speak to these issues. The first speaks to the issue of the usurped shrines.
"Mosques built after destroying temples are the sign of slavery and Muslims should hand over the same to Hindu Society" - Mahatma Gandhi in 'Navjeevan' dated July 17, 1937.
The second quote tells us what the other side thinks of us, precisely because of our refusal to stand up for what is sacred to us.
"Hindus profess secularism because they are cowards and are afraid of Muslim countries." - Syed Shahabuddin - Convenor of Babri Masjid Coordination Committee (BMCC) in 'Sunday' dated March 20, 1983.
Related Posts: For a history of the six destructions by Islam, and reconstructions by Hindus of another iconic temple - Somnath - please read my post Islam's six destructions of Somnath.