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Travelogues, gazetteers and books: From the Hon SC’s 2019 verdict

The following is an unedited excerpt from the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India’s 2019 verdict

560. Learned Senior Counsel appearing for the plaintiffs in Suit 5 placed reliance on the accounts of numerous travellers and gazetteers to highlight the religious importance attached to Ayodhya and the disputed site for the Hindus:

Exhibit 19 – Suit 5: William Foster [William Foster, ―Early Travels in India (1583-1619) ‖, London (1921) at pg 176 ] edited a book titled ―Early Travels in India (1583-1619) ‖ which contains narratives of seven Englishmen who travelled in northern and western India during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir. These travellers are:

  • ―Ralph Fitch (1583-91); John Mildenhall (1599-1606); William Hawkins (1608-13); William Finch (1608-11); Nicholas Withington (1612-16); Thomas Coriyat (1612-17) and Edward Terry (1616-19)

Among them, William Finch arrived in India in August 1608 at Surat with Captain Hawkins. According to the Hindu parties, the significance of the account of William Finch, who visited Ayodhya between 1608-1611 is that he did not find any building of importance of Islamic origin. There is a reference in the travels of William Finch to Ayodhya:

  • ―To Oude (Ajodhya) from thence are 50c; a citie of ancient note, and seate of a Potan king, now much ruined; the castle built four hundred yeeres agoe. Heere are also the ruines of Ranichand(s) castle and houses, which the Indians acknowled(g)e for the great God, saying that he took flesh upon him to see the tamasha of the world. In these ruins remayne certaine Bramenes, who record the names of all such Indians as wash themselves in the river running thereby ; which custome, they say, hath continued foure lackes of yeeres (which is three hundred ninetie foure thousand and five hundred yeeres before the worlds creation). Some two miles on the further side of the river is a cave of his with a narrow entrance, but so spacious and full of turnings within that a man may well loose himself there, if he take not better heed ; where it is thought his ashes were buried. Hither resort many from all parts of India, which carry from hence in remembrance certaine graines of rice as blacke as gunpowder, which they say have beene reserved ever since. Out of the ruines of this castle is yet much gold tried. Here is great trade, and such abundance of Indian asse-horne that they make hereof bucklers and divers sorts of drinking cups. There are of these hornes, all the Indians affirme, some rare of great price, no jewell comparable, some esteeming them the right unicorns horne.

The expression ―ruines of Ranichand(s) castle and Houses has appended to it a footnote stating: ―Ram Chandra, the hero of the Ramayana. The reference is to the mound known as the Ramkot or fort of Rama.

561. Exhibit 133 – Suit 5: Joseph Tieffenthaler wrote his travel account in Latin in his book titled ―Description Historiqueet Geographique Del‘inde ‖. Tieffenthaler was a Jesuit Missionary, reportedly proficient in Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit and visited India in 1740. His travels were between 1743-1785. 300 Jose K. John, The Mapping of Hindustan : A Fortotten Geographer of India, Joseph Tieffenthaler (1710-1785), Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 58 (1997) at pages 400-410

His visit to Ayodhya is described in the text, which was made available during the course of the trial in French. An English translation was furnished by the Government of India in pursuance of an order of the High Court. Tieffenthaler‘s account reads thus:

  • ―Avad called as Adjudea, by the educated Hindus, is a city of very olden times. Its houses are (mostly) made up of mud only; covered with straw or tiles. Many (however), are made of bricks. The main street goes from South to North and it has a length of about a mile. The width (of the city) is a little lesser. Its western side and that of North as well, are situated on a mud hill. That of north-east is situated on knolls. Towards Bangla it is united.
  • Today, this city has been hardly populated, since the foundation Bangla or Fesabad (1) – a new city where the Governor established his residence – and in which a great number (of inhabitants of Oude) settled in. On the South bank (of Deva) are found various buildings constructed by the nobles in memory of Ram, extending from East to West. The most remarkable place is the one which is called (2) Sorgadaori, which means: the celestial temple. Because they say that Ram took away all the inhabitants of the city from there to heaven: This has some resemblance/ similarity to the Ascent of the Lord. The city, thus deserted, was repopulated and was brought back to its earlier status by Bikarmadjit - the famous king of Oude (OUDH) [OUDJEN] (3)
  • There was a temple in this place constructed on the elevated bank of the river. But Aurengzeb, always keen to propagate the creed of Mohammed and abhorring the noble people, got it demolished and replaced with a mosque and two obelisks, with a view to obliterate even the very memory of the Hindu superstition. Another mosque build by the Moors is adjacent to the one towards the East.
  • Close to Sorgadoari is a building constructed lengthways by Nabairay_a Hindu, a formerly lieutenant of the Governor (proprietor) of this region (a). But a place especially famous is the one called Sitha Rassoi i.e. the table of Sita, wife of Ram, adjoining to the city in the South, and is situated on a mud hill.
  • Emperor Aurengzeb got the fortress called Ramcot demolished and got a Muslim temple, with triple domes, constructed at the same place. Others say that it was constructed by ‘Babor’. Fourteen black stone pillars of 5 (/) span (4) high, which had existed at the site of the fortress, are seen there. Twelve 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 skillfully made, were brought from the Island of Lanca or Selendip (called Ceyian 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(5) 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, Aurengzebe or Babor, according to others, got this place razed in order to deny the noble people, the opportunity of practicing their supersitions. 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 battlement. One enters the front hall through a low semi-circular door.
  • Not far from there is a place where one digs out grains of black rice, burned into small stones, which are said to have been hidden under the earth since the time of Ram. On the 24th of the Tschet month, a big gathering of people is done here to celebrate the birthday of Ram, famous in the entire India. This vast city is a mile away from Bangla at the east towards E. N. E such that its latitude also will be greater by about one minute than that of Bangla. The fortress constructed in square from situated on the elevated bank of the river, is equipped with round and low towers. The walls need to be repaired. It is uninhabited and is not protected. Earlier, the Governors of the province had their residence here. Sadatkhan frightened by a bad forecast got it transferred to Bangla. Today, it is destroyed from top to bottom.
  • In a space of 2 miles, from the place where the canons are planted up to ‗Oude‘, the Gagra takes its course towards east, making a double bend – one close to the western side of the city and the other, a little distance from there, towards the West. And bending from there towards the NE# and ¼ E, it washes the city in the West; after that, it returns towards the East, close to the northern side. But it has been changing its course almost every year. Its river bed is equal (in width) to that of Danube near the citadel of Ingoldstadt in Bavaria, but the volume of water is less. In rainy season, it increases breadth-wise in such a way that at some places, its breadth exceeds a mile and a half.
  • (Emphasis supplied)

Tieffenthaler‘s account was relied on by various Hindu parties as it emphasises the following features:

  • (i) It contains a reference to the belief of the Hindus that Lord Ram is the human incarnation of Vishnu (described as Beschan in the account). The account sets out the belief of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the site, the symbol of it being the ―Bedi ‖ or ―cradle ‖;
  • (ii) The account while adverting to the faith of the Hindus in Lord Ram makes a reference to other associated places of worship including ―Sorgadaori ‖ (Swarg Dwar) and ―Sitha Rassoi ‖ (Sita Rasoi);
  • (iii) The account contains a reference to the alleged demolition by Aurangzeb of ―the fortress called Ram Cot ‖ and the construction of a mosque with triple domes at the same place. Tieffenthaler however, also records that according to some the mosque was constructed by Babur;
  • (iv) Tieffenthaler‘s account contains a reference to the use of fourteen black stone pillars which had existed at the site of the erstwhile fortress. Twelve of them are stated to support the interior arcades of the mosque. Two are stated to be at the entrance of the cloister;
  • (v) He describes a square box raised 5 inches above the ground which according to the Hindus is the cradle (representing the birth of Lord Ram);
  • (vi) The account notes that in spite of the alleged demolition (by Aurangzeb or Babur), ―there still exists some superstitious cult in some place or other ‖ that continues to worship at the site. An example of that is stated to be the place where the ―native house ‖ of Lord Ram is thought to have existed, around which Hindus circumambulate (―go around ‖) three times and prostrate on the floor; and
  • (vii) The account makes a reference to the presence of a large gathering of people to mark and celebrate the birthday of Lord Ram.

Tieffenthaler‘s travels to Ayodhya were after 1740, which would have been a little over three decades after the death of Aurangzeb. His account makes a reference to the faith of the Hindu devotees and contains a reference to the alleged demolition, in his opinion most likely to have been at the hands of Aurangzeb, and the erection of a mosque on the site which is believed to be the birth-place of Lord Ram. The account adverts to the use of many black stone pillars in the structure of the mosque.

562. Exhibit 20 – Suit 5: Robert Montgomery Martin wrote the ―History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India ‖ in three volumes. Martin, born in Dublin in 1801, was an Anglo-Irish author and civil servant. { Robert Montgomery Martin (Biographical details) – British Museum} He spent ten years in medical practice in Shillong, East Africa and New South Wales besides working as a journalist in Calcutta where he established the ―Bengal Herald ‖ { F. H. H. King, Survey our empire! Robert Montgomery Martin (1801–1868), a bio-bibliography (1979) }

Martin‘s account on Ayodhya is as follows:

  • ―The people of Ayodhya imagine, that after the death of Vrihadbala, their city was deserted, and continued so until the time of Vikrama of Ujjain, who came in search of the holy city, erected a fort called Ramgar, cut down the forests by which the ruins were covered, and erected 360 temples on the places sanctified by the extraordinary actions of Rama, of his wife Sita, of his brother Lakshman, and of his general Mahavira. The only foundation probably for such a tradition is, that Vikrama may have erected some temples, and that in the Mahabharat the genealogy of the family is continued no lower than the time of Vrihadbala, as being foreign to the subject of the book; but in the sri Bhagwat Vrihadbala is succeeded by 29 princes, and in the Bangsalata by 24. These, taken according to the scales of Rama's predecessors in Valmiki and the Sri Ghagwat, would give 18 princes, and this will give us 279, or 558 years, according as we call these succesions reigns or generations, bringing the existence of the family down to the time nearly of Alexander; but none of the latter princes rose to considerable power, and they were vassals of the kings of Magadha. Their existence, however, throws a great doubt on the whole story concerning Vikrama.
  • This Vikrama is usually supposed to have been the personage from whom the era called Sambat is derived, and according to the reckoning used in Kosala, this ere commences 57 years before the birth of Christ, so that the city had been then deserted about 280 years. How the places remarkable for the actions of the God could be traced after such a long interval, and amidst the forest, seems rather doubtful; and the doubt will be increased, if we suppose that the latter Vikrama, the son-in-law of the Emperor Bhoj, was the person who constructed the temples at Ayodhya. This I am inclined to think was probably the case, for although Rama was probably worshipped before the time of the elder Vikrama, yet his worship, as that peculiarly distinguishing a sect of Bigots, seems to have been first established by Ramanuja about the time of the latter Vikrama, who may from thence be supposed peculiarly eager to discover the traces of the deity of his own sect. Unfortunately, if these temples ever existed, not the smallest trace of them remains to enable us to judge of the period when they were built; and the destruction is very generally attributed by the Hindus to the furious zeal of Aurungzebe, to whom also is imputed the overthrow of the temples in Benares and Mathura. ‖
Martin‘s account notes some inconsistencies as to the exact ruler who is said to have rediscovered Ayodhya and constructed the numerous temples. In his view the worship of Lord Ram in the region was likely carried out even prior to the time of Vikrama. Martin later refers to the destruction of temples and the erection of mosques ―on the situations of the most remarkable temples ‖ of which, he states that the mosque at Ayodhya has ―every appearance of being the most modern ‖. His account (at pages 335 and 336) is as follows:
  • ―The bigot by whom the temples were destroyed, is said to have erected mosques on the situations of the most remarkable temples, but the mosque at Ayodhya, which is by far the most entire, and which has every appearance of being the most modern, is ascertained by an inscription on its walls (of which a copy is given) to have been built by Babur, five generations before Aurungzeb. This renders the whole story of Vikrama exceedingly doubtful, especially as what are said to be the ruins of his fort, do not in any essential degree differ from those said to have belonged to the ancient city, that is, consist entirely of irregular heaps of broken bricks, covered with sol, and remarkably productive of tobacco; and, from its name, Ramgar, I am inclined to suppose that it was a part of the building actually erected by Rama.
  • Although, I do not fail to visit the place, and whatever the Hindus reckon remarkable, I did not choose to take any measurements, so as to draw with any accuracy a plan of the space which the ruins occupy, as the doing so might have given offence to the Government of the Nawab Vazir, in whose territory, separated from this district only by the river Sarayu, they are situated.
  • I may in a general manner observe, that the heaps of bricks, although much seems to have been carried away by the river, extend a great way, that is, more than a mile in length, and more than half a mile in width: and that although vast quantities of materials have been removed to build the Muhammedan Ayodhya or Fyzabad, yet the ruins in many parts retain a very considerable elevation; nor is there any reason to doubt, that the structure to which they belonged, has been very great; when we consider that it has been ruined for above 2000 years. None of the Hindu buildings at present existing are in the least remarkable either for size for architecture, and they are all not only evidently, but avowedly, quite, modern. that is, they have been all erected since the reign of Aurungzeb, most of them even within the memory of man. Although they are built on what I have no doubt are the ruins of the palace that was occupied by the princes of the family of the sun, their being built on the spots, where the events which they are intended to celebrate, actually happened, would have been extremely doubtful, even had the elder Vikrama built temples on the various places which had been destroyed by Aurungzeb, so that the spots selected by Vikrama might be known by tradition; but the whole of that story being liable to strong suspicion, we may consider the present appropriation of names of different places as no better founded than the miracles, which several of them are said to commemorate. It is said that in digging for bricks many images have been discovered, but the few which I was able to trace were too much broken to ascertain what they were meant to represent, except one at the convent (Aakhara) of Guptar, where Lakshman is supposed to have disappeared. This represents a man and woman carved on one stone. The latter carries somewhat on her head, and neither has any resemblance to what I have before seen. The only thing except these two figures and the bricks, that could with probability be traced to the ancient city, are some pillars in the mosque built by Babur. These are of black stone, and of an order which I have seen nowhere else, and which will be understood from the accompanying drawing. That they have been taken from a Hindu building, is evident, from the traces of images being observable on some of their basis; although the images have been cut off to satisfy the conscience of the bigot. It is possible that these pillars have belonged to a temple built by Vikrama; but I think the existence of such temples doubtful; and if they did not exist, it is probable that the pillars were taken from the ruins of the palace. They are only 6 feet high. ‖ (Emphasis supplied)

Martin‘s account adverts to the inscription on the walls of the mosque on the basis of a copy which was given to him and infers that the mosque was built by Babur. The mosque at Ayodhya, he describes as having ―every appearance of being the most modern ‖. It also refers to the alleged destruction of Hindu places of worship by Aurangzeb. Martin has also adverted to the presence of pillars in the mosque made up of black stone. The account narrates that these have been taken from a Hindu building which he infers from the traces of the images observable on some of the pillars, although, ―the images have been cut off to satisfy the conscience of the bigot ‖. In Martin‘s view, it is unlikely that the ruins rest on the exact spots where the historical events attributed to them occurred. To his mind the whole story is of greater religious and mythological significance than historical. Worship at these spots commemorates the significant events that are believed by the Hindus to have occurred there.

563. Exhibit 5 – Suit 5: Edward Thornton‘s Gazetteer titled ―Gazetteer of the territories under the Government of East India Company and the Native States on the Continent of India first published in 1858. { Edward Thornton, 1799-1875: A Gazetteer of the Territories Under the Government of the East-India Company, And of the Native States On the Continent of India, London: W. H. Allen (1854). }

Thornton‘s Gazetteer contains a reference to ―an extensive establishment called ―Hanumangurh, or Fort of Hanuman ‖, with an annual revenue of 50,000 settled on it by Shuja-ud-daulah, ―formerly Nawaub Vizier ‖. The revenues are stated to be dispensed to about 500 bairagis or religious ascetics and other Hindu mendicants of various descriptions ―no Mussulman being allowed with the walls ‖. Thornton‘s Gazetteer also refers to ―extensive ruins, said to be those of the fort of Rama ‖:

  • ―Close to the town on the east, and on the right bank of the Ghogra, are extensive ruins, said to be those of the fort of Rama, king of Oude, hero of the Ramayana, and otherwise highly celebrated in the mythological and romantic legends of India. Buchanan observes, ―that the heaps of bricks, although much seems to have been carried away by the river, extend a great way: that is more than a mile in length, and more than half a mile in width; and that, although vast quantities of materials have been removed to build the Mahomedan Ayodhya or Fyzabad, yet the ruins in many parts retain a very considerable elevation nor is there any reason to doubt that the structure to which they belonged has been very great, when we consider that it has been ruined for above 2,000 years. ―The ruins still bear the name of Ramgur, or ―Fort of Rama; ―the most remarkable spot in which is that from which, according to the legend, Rama took his flight to heaven, carrying with him the people of his city; in consequence of which it remained desolate until half a century before the Christian era, and by him embellished with 360 temples. Not the smallest traces of these temples, however now remain; and according to native tradition, they were demolished by Aurungzebe, who built a mosque on part of the site. The falsehood of the tradition is, however, proved by an inscription on the wall of the mosque, attributing the work to the conqueror Baber, from whom Aurungzebe was fifth in descent. The mosque is embellished with fourteen columns of only five to six feet in height, but of very elaborate and tasteful workmanship, said to have been taken from the ruins of the Hindoo fanes...
  • A quadrangular coffer of stone, whitewashed, five ells long, four broad, and protruding five or six inches above ground, is pointed out as the cradle in which Rama was….as the seventh avtar of Vishnu; and is accordingly abundantly honoured by the pilgrimages and devotions of the Hindoos. Ayodhya or Oude is considered by the best authorities to be the most ancient city in Hindostan. ‖ (Emphasis supplied)

This account notes that no traces of the ancient temples remain. The gazetteer relied on ―an inscription on the wall of the mosque ‖ to attribute the construction to Babur while also noting that the ―local tradition ‖ ascribed the destruction of the temples and the construction to Aurangzeb. The gazetteer has relied on the opinion of Buchanan.

564. Exhibit 123- Suit 5: Surgeon General Edward Balfour wrote the ―Cyclopedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Commercial, Industrial and Scientific: Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures ‖ 304. Balfour‘s text refers to Ayodhya:

  • ―AYODHYA, on the right bank of Gogra River, Near Fyzabad in Oudh, is in latitude on 26o 48‘ 20 ‖ North; and longitude 80o 24‘ 40 ‖ E. It has now a population of 7518 of Hindus and Mahomadans but in ancient times it was the capital of the kingdome of Kosala, the Modern Oudh, ruled over by the great King Dasarath of the Solar line, and father of Ram Chandra. At one time it is said to have covered an area of 12 yojana, equal of 96 miles. During Buddhist supremacy Ajodhya declined, but on the revival of Brahmanism it was restored by King Vikramaditya (AD 57). There are many Jain Temples and three mosques on the site of three Hindu shrines, -the Janmsthan on the site where Ram was born, the Swarg Dwar (Mandir) where his remains were burnt, and the Tareta Ka Thakur, framed as the scene of one of his great sacrifices. A mausoleum is here of the Babu Begum and is the finest in Oudh. ‖ (Emphasis supplied)

304 Surgeon General Edward Balfour, Cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Commercial, Industrial and Scientific: Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures, Third Edition, London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly 1885

565. Exhibit 6 – Suit 5: Alexander Cunningham, who was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India compiled the work titled ―Archaeological Survey of India - Four Reports Made During the Years 1862- 63-64-65 ‖ { Alexander Cunningham, Four Reports Made During the Years 1862-63-64-65, Archaeological Survey of India, Volume 1, Simla: Government Central Press, 1871 } Cunningham refers to Ayodhya thus:

  • ―There are several very holy Brahmanical temples about Ajudhya, but they are all of modern date, and without any architectural pretensions whatever. But there can be no doubt that most of them occupy the sites of more ancient temples that were destroyed by the Musulmans. Thus Ramkot, or Hanuman Garhi, on the east side of the city, is a small walled fort surrounding a modern temple on the top of an ancient mound. The name Ramkot is certainly old, as it is connected with the traditions of the Mani Parbat, which will be hereafter mentioned; but the temple of Hanuman is not older than the time of Aurangzib. Ram Ghat, at the north-east corner of the city, is said to be the spot where Rama bathed, and Sargdwari or Swargadwari, the ―Gate of Paradise. ‖ On the north-west is believed to be the place where his body was burned. Within a few years ago there was still standing a very holy-Banyan tree called Asok Bat, or the ―Griefless Banyan, ―a name which was probably connected with that of Swargadwari, in the belief that people who died or were burned at this spot were at once relieved from the necessity of future births. Close by is the Lakshman Ghat, where his brother Lakshman bathed, and about one-quarter of a mile distant, in the very heart of the city, stands the Janam Asthan, or ―Birth-place temple ‖ of Rama. Almost due west, and upwards of five miles distant, is the Gupta Ghat, with its group of modern white-washed temples. This is the place where Lakshman is said to have disappeared, and hence its name of Guptar from Gupta, which means ―hidden or concealed. ‖ Some say that it was Rama who disappeared at this place, but this is at variance with the story of his cremation at Swargadwari. ‖

566. Exhibit 49- Suit 5: P Carnegy, who was posted as Officiating Commissioner and Settlement Officer, Faizabad wrote the ―Historical Sketch of Faizabad With Old Capitals Ajodhia and Fyzabad { Historical Sketch of Faizabad With Old Capitals Ajodhia and Fyzabad by P. Carnegy, Officiating Commissioner and Settlement Officer, Oudh Government Press, 1870 } . Carnegy underscores the importance of Ayodhya to the faith of the Hindus:

  • ―Ajudhia – Ajudhia, which is to the Hindu what Macca is to the Mahomedan, Jerusalem to the Jews, has in the traditions of the orthodox, a highly mythical origin, being founded for additional security not on the earth for that is transitory, but on the chariot wheel of the Great Creator himself which will endure for over. ‖

Carnegy refers to the Janmasthan, Swarga Dwar Mandir and Treta-Ke-Thakur. He attributes the construction of the mosque to Babur in 1528, noting that it still bears his name. In Carnegy‘s opinion, many of the columns of an erstwhile temple have been used in the construction of the Babri mosque. These pillars as he states, are made out of Kasauti stone and are carved. Carnegy who was a settlement officer has adverted to the conflagration which took place in 1855 between the Hindus and Muslims. According to him, during the conflict, the Hindus occupied Hanuman Garhi while the Muslims took possession of the Janmasthan. The attempt of the Muslims to lead a charge on Hunuman Garhi was repulsed by the Hindus resulting in the death of 75 Muslims who are buried in the graveyard. The Hindus are stated to have then taken possession of the Janmasthan. According to Carnegy until then both Hindus and Muslims alike worshipped in what he describes as the ―mosque-temple ‖. However, since colonial rule, a railing was put up within which, it has been stated that the Muslims pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings. Carnegy‘s account is extracted below:

  • ―The Janmasthan and other temples.- It is locally affirmed that at the Mahomedan conquest there were three important Hindu shrines, with but few devotees attached, at Ajudhya, which was then little other than a wilderness. These were the ―Janmasthan, ‖ the ―Sargadwar mandir, ‖ also known as ―Ram Darbar, ‖ and ―Tareta-Ke-Thakur. ‖ On the first of these the Emperor Baber built the mosque which still bears his name, A.D. 1528; on the second Aurangzeb did the same, A.D. 16581707; and on the third that sovereign, or his predecessor, built a mosque according to the well-known Mahomedan principle of enforcing their religion on all those whom they conquered.
  • The Janmasthan marks the place where Ramchandar was born. The Sargadwar is the gate through which he passed into Paradise, possibly the spot where his body was burned. The Tareta-Ke-Thakur was famous as the place where Rama performed a great sacrifice, and which he commemorated by setting up there images of himself and Sita. ―667. Babar's mosque.- According to Leyden's Memoirs of Babar, that emperor encamped at the junction of the Serwu and Gogra rivers, two or three kos east from Ajudhya, on the 28th March, 1528, and there he halted seven or eight days, settling the surrounding country. A well-known hunting-ground is spoken of in that work, seven or eight kos above Oudh, on the banks of the Sarju. It is remarkable that in all the copies of Babar's life now known the pages that relate to his doings at Ajudhya are wanting. In two places in the Babari mosque the year in which it was built, 935 H., corresponding with 1528 A.D., is carved in stone, along with inscriptions dedicated to the glory of that emperor.
  • If Ajudhia was then little other than a wild, it must at least have possessed a fine temple in the Janamsthan; for many of its columns are still in existence and in good preservation, having been used by the Musalmans in the construction of the Babari Mosque. These are of strong close-grained dark slate-colored or black stone, called by the natives Kasoti (literally touch-stone,) and carved with different devices. To my thinking these strongly resemble Budhist pillars that I have seen at Benares and elsewhere. They are from seven to eight feet long, square at the base, centre and capital, and round or octagonal intermediately
  • Hindu and Musalman differences.-The Janamsthan is within a few hundred paces of the Hanuman Garhi. In 1855 when a great rupture took place between the Hindus and Mahomedans, the former occupied the Hanuman Garhi in force, while the Musalmans took possession of the Janamsthan. The Mahomedans on that occasion actually charged up the steps of the Hanuman Garhi, but were driven back with considerable loss. The Hindus then followed up this success, and at the third attempt, took the Janamasthan, at the gate of which 75 Mahomedans are buried in the ―Martyrs' grave ‖ (Ganj-Shahid.) Several of the King's Regiments wee looking on all the time, but their orders we not to interfere. It is said that up to that time the Hindus and Mahomedans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple. Since British rule a railing has been put up to prevent disputes, within which in the mosque the Mahomedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings. ‖ (Emphasis supplied)

The various Hindu parties placed reliance on the account of Carnegy to establish the belief of the Hindus that the Janmasthan was the place of birth of Lord Ram, and the Kasauti columns were used in the construction of the mosque. There is a reference to the carvings on the Kasauti pillars. Carnegy‘s account, which was published in 1870 has adverted to the incident which took place in 1855 involving a conflict between the Hindus and Muslims. He refers to worship being offered by both Hindus and Muslims ―in the mosque-temple ‖ prior to the incident and to the construction of a railing thereafter, with a view to prevent disputes. Carnegy notes that the railing was put up so as to separate the two communities, by allowing the Muslims to worship within its precincts in the mosque while the Hindus had outside it, raised a platform to make their offerings.

567. Exhibit 7 – Suit 5: Gazetteer of Oudh (1877): The gazetteer contains a description in the same terms as the account of Carnegy and therefore does not need any further elaboration.

568. Exhibit 8 Suit – 5: AF Millet‘s ―The Report of Settlement of Land Revenue, Faizabad District – (1880) ‖ broadly embodies the contents of Carnegy‘s account.

569. Exhibit 52 – Suit 5: H.R. Nevill, I.C.S. compiled and edited the work titled ―Barabanki: A Gazetteer being Volume XLVIII of the District Gazetteer of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh ‖ (1902). This contains an account of the clash between the Hindus and Muslims which occurred in the 1850s.

570. Exhibit 10 – Suit 5: ―The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Provincial series, United provinces of Agra and Oudh – Vol. II (Allahabad, Banaras, Gorakhpur, Kumaon, Lucknow and Faizabad divisions and the native states) ‖. The Imperial Gazetteer has the following account of Ayodhya:

  • ―Ajodhya was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala and contained the court of the great king Dasaratha, fifty-sixth monarch of the Solar line in descent from Raja Manu. The opening chapters of the Ramayana recount the magnificence of the city, the glories of the monarch, and the virtues, wealth, and loyalty of his people. Dasaratha was the father of Rama Chandra, the hero of the epic, whose cult has experienced a great revival in modern times. With the fall of the last of the Solar line, Raja Sumintra, the one hundred and thirteenth monarch, Ajodhya became a wilderness and the royal family dispersed. From different members of this scattered stock the Rajas of Udaipur, Jaipur, &c., claim descent. Tradition relates that Ajodhya was restored by king Vikramaditya of Ujjain, whose identity is a matter of dispute. Ajodhya was of small importance in Buddhist times, when Saketa became the chief city of Kosala. It is still uncertain where Saketa was situated, and it has been suggested that it occupied part of the ancient city of Ajodhya. Numismatic evidence points to the rule of a line of independent Rajas, in or near Ajodhya, about the commencement of the Christian era. ‖

Referring to the ―present town ‖, the gazetteer notes:

  • ―The present town stretches inland from a high bluff overlooking the Gogra. At one corner of a vast mound known as Ramkot, or the fort of Rama, is the holy spot where the hero was born. Most of the enclosure is occupied by a mosque built by Babar from the remains of an old temple, and in the outer portion a small platform and shrine mark the birthplace. Close by is a larger temple in which is shown the cooking-place of Sita, the faithful wife of Rama. A lofty temple stands on the bank of the Gogra at the place where Lakshmana bathed; and Hanuman, king of the monkeys, is worshipped in a large temple in the town, approached by an immense flight of steps, which bears the name Hanuman Garhi. Other noticeable temples built during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are the Kanakbhawan, a fine building erected by a Rani of Tikamgarh, the Nageshwarnath temple, Darshan Singh's temple, and a small marble temple built by the present Maharaja. Ajodhya also contains a number of Jain temples, five of which were built in the eighteenth century to mark the birthplaces of the five hierarchs who are said to have been born at Ajodhya. Besides the mosque of Babar, two ruined mosques, built by Aurangzeb, stand on the sites of celebrated Hindu shrines-the Swargadwara, where Rama's body was cremated, and the Treta-ka-Thakur, where he sacrificed. An inscription of Jai Chand, the last king of Kanauj, has been found in the latter. Three graves are reverenced by Musalmans as the tombs of Noah, Seth, and Job, and the two last are mentioned under those names in the Ain-i-Akbari. A large mound close by, called the Maniparbat, is said to have been dropped by Hanuman when carrying a portion of the Himalayas, while another tradition asserts that it was formed by the coolies who built Ramkot shaking their baskets as they left work ; it possibly covers a ruined stupa. ‖ (Emphasis supplied)

571. Exhibit 23 - Suit 5: Hans Baker wrote his work ―Ayodhya ‖ { Hans Bakker, Ayodhya, Egbert Forsten Publishers (1986) } in three parts. The introduction states that the first part deals with the history of Ayodhya, the religious movements which governed its development, the local context in which this took concrete shape and the manner in which it is reflected in the religious work, Ayodhya Mahatmya. Introducing his work, the author notes:

  • ―…two matters of great consequence became evident. First that the religious development of Ayodhya into a centre of pilgrimage took place in the second millennium AD and consequently the that the Ayodhyamahatmya in all its versions belongs to this period; secondly that the growth of the religious significance of the town was linked up with the rise of the worship of Rama as the principal manifestation of Visnu. ‖

The author traces the History of Saketa/Ayodhya from 600 B.C. to A.D. 1000 in Chapter I, noting that the site is situated on a curve of river Sarayu (Gogra) which encircles the modern town on three sides. He states:

  • ―In the centre of this site is an area of broken ground called the Ramkot or Kot Ramchandar, which today is occupied for a great part by temples and maths. Especially on its southern side, however, several artificial mounds are found that are hardly built on and are strewn with broken bricks and blocks of stone, especially the so-called Kubertila on the southwestern corner.
  • The site described above with a river surrounding it on three sides and an area of elevated ground in the centre, not far from a crossing of the river, seems to possesses all the essential physical characteristics of an ancient settlement. Two excavations in Ayodhya have been reported so far. ‖

Baker notes that from the middle of the first century A.D., the Dattas of Kosala were increasingly confronted with the Kushana power in the west which resulted in a siege of a capital by Kanishka. According to Baker, following the reign of Chandragupta - I in A.D 320 and the reign of his successor Samudragupta, Saketa was placed under the direct rule of Patliputara. There was a renewal of Brahmanical institutions and learning in the latter half of fourth century A.D. in the context of which it has been stated:

  • ―During the early Gupta period the evolution of the Brahmanic religion into Hinduism was accomplished. Along with the deification of the king the theory of god‘s avataras on earth – be it in the form of an idol or as a ‗historical‘ human being – gained solid ground. By this development, as we have seen, the way was paved for recognition of the glorious town of Ayodhya of yore as the city of Saketa. So forceful was this revival, that the Budhist pilgrim Fahsien, who visited Saketa under Samudragupta‘s successor Chandragupta II, hardly perceived anything of his interest in ―the great country of Shachi ‖ and its capital. What we accidentally learn from his account is that Saketa was a walled town. ‖
  • Tracing the history of the town in the fifth century, Baker notes: ―The fifth century would appear to be a crucial phase in the history of the town. It saw Saketa/Ayodhya in the heyday of its prosperity and ‗restored‘ to its ‗former‘ glory as capital of the illustrious Iksvaku kings. It is true, owing to the disintegration of the Gupta empire and the consequent general recession, that this prestige suffered a serious drawback in the following centuries, yet it safeguarded the town from the same destiny that fall upon the majority of the cities of the Gupta empire, namely a languishing existence after the Gupta age resulting in a final disappearance from the stage of history. Thanks to its recognition as the legendary town of the Iksvakus, and most of all as the capital of Lord Visnu himself in his incarnation of Rama, the town never fully disappeared from the purview of the Hindus, and consequently it could, when the circumstances were set for such a development, reappear as one of holiest places of North India. Like other holy places to come, Mathura and Varanasi, ―which were practically abandoned after Gupta times ‖, the city reemerged in the beginning of the second millennium. ‖

Baker has noted that the survival of Ayodhya can also be attributed to its central position in north India and its strategic value in the Gangetic plain. Under the Delhi Sultanate of the thirteenth century, Ayodhya was to once again become a provincial capital. In later times, its commercial and strategic importance came to be taken over by rival townships – Jaunpur in the fifteenth century, Faizabad in the eighteenth century and by Lucknow towards the end of eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. Ayodhya did not fall into decay and is stated to have witnessed a flourishing of the religious life in the city. Adverting to Chinese sources, Baker observes:

  • ―From Chinese sources as we know that King Vikramaditaya, i.e. Skandagupta, had the royal court installed in Ayodhya (According to Paramartha), or ‗country of Srasvati‘ (according to Hieun Tsang). It is beyond doubt that the ‗country of Sravasti‘ refers to Kosala, the capital of which was at that time Saketa/Ayodhya, not Sravasti. The possibility remains open that the royal court had already moved from Pataliputra to Saketa/Ayodhya during the reign of Kumaragupta. We have seen that the first inscription featuring the name of Ayodhya dated from the reign of this King. In the inscriptions preserved the last Gupta ruler to mention Pataliputra is Kumaragupta‘ father Candragupta II. ‖

Baker notes the prevalence of a local tradition in Ayodhya which ascribes the rediscovery of the town to Vikramaditya. This oral tradition was reported by Martin in 1838, and after him by Cunningham and Carnegy (1870).

Analysis of accounts of travellers and the gazetteers

572. William Finch (1608-11) makes a reference to Oude (Ajodhya) ‗a citie of ancient note, and seate of a Potan king now much ruined ‖. Finch notes of a castle built 400 years earlier and the ruins of ―Ram Chandra‘s castle and houses ‖ { Ram Chandra, the hero of the Ramayana. The reference is to the mound known as the Ramkot or fort of Rama. }. Finch acknowledges the religious beliefs associated with Lord Ram stating the purpose of his incarnation. Tieffenthaler (1770) refers to the association of Lord Ram with Ayodhya, and there is a reference to ―a temple in this place constructed on the elevated bank of the river ‖. Tieffenthaler states that the temple was demolished by Aurangzeb and was replaced with a mosque. Tieffenthaler has made a specific reference to the demolition by Aurangzeb of the fortress called Ram Cot and to the construction of ―a Muslim temple with three domes ‖ at the same place. Tieffenthaler‘s account also notes that according to some, the mosque was constructed by Babur. The account contains a reference to fourteen black stone pillars, twelve of which support the interior arcades of the mosque, two being placed at the entrance. His account also refers to the presence of a square box raised five inches above the ground ―with a length of more than 5 ells and a maximum width of about 4 ells ‖. The Hindus, according to Tieffenthaler, called it a cradle or Bedi based on the belief that once upon a time there was a house where Beschan (Vishnu) was born in the form of Lord Ram. Though, subsequently, Aurangzeb or Babur ―got this place destroyed ‖, the text contains an observation that in the place where the native house of Lord Ram existed, the Hindus ―go around 3 times and prostrate on the floor ‖. There is a reference to the gathering of devotees during the Chaitra month.

573. In assessing Tieffenthaler‘s account (and for that matter those of others) it is necessary to distinguish between what he may have heard from others from what he has actually noticed and observed. The former is hearsay. Tieffenthaler‘s accounts of the existence of the mosque, a three domed structure with black stone pillars is evidently based on his personal observation. His opinion that the mosque was constructed most likely by Aurangzeb is evidently based on what he heard and is not something to his personal knowledge. Similarly, any finding of fact that the mosque was constructed upon the demolition of a temple needs independent verification and cannot be based purely on Tieffenthaler‘s account. The account is certainly of significant value when it adverts to the existence of the faith and belief of the Hindus in Lord Ram and of the association of the place of birth in close-proximity to the three-domed structure where a ―square box ‖ was worshipped as symbolizing the cradle of birth. The account has a reference to the form of worship, by circumambulation and to the assembly of devotees at the site.

574. Hamilton‘s account in the ―East Indian Gazetteer of Hindustan ‖ (1828) refers to Oude, ―situated on the right bank of the river Goggra. Referring to the town, Hamilton notes that ―this town is esteemed one of the most sacred places of antiquity. ‖ He adverts to pilgrimages, ―where the remains of the ancient city of Oude, the capital of the great Rama, are still to be seen; but whatever may have been its former magnificence it now exhibits nothing but a shapeless mass of ruins ‖. He found ―a mass of rubbish and jungle among which are the reputed sites of temples dedicated to Rama, Seeta, his wife, Lakshman, his general, and Hunimaun (a large monkey), his prime minister ‖. Hamilton noticed the religious mendicants, performing the pilgrimage drawn from ―the Ramata sect, who walk round the temples and idols, bathe in the holy pools, and performed the customary ceremonies ‖. While Hamilton evidently adverts to the belief and faith in Lord Ram, to the temples at Ayodhya and to the customary forms of worship, there is no specific observation either about a Ram Janmabhumi temple or to the mosque.

575. Martin‘s account (1838) contains a reference to the destruction of temples at Ayodhya ―generally attributed by the Hindus to the furious zeal of Aurangzebe ‖, noting that ―not the smallest trace of them remains ‖. The mosque at Ayodhya which Martin‘s states ―has every appearance of being the most modern ‖ is ascertained by the inscription on its walls to have been built by Babur, five generations before Aurangzeb. Martin refers to the belief of the people of Ayodhya that after the death of Vrihadbala, their city was deserted until the time of ―Vikrama of Ujjain ‖ who came in search of the holy city and erected 360 temples on the places sanctified by the belief of Lord Ram. Martin while referring to ―Vikrama ‖, refers both to the originator of the Samvat era and to the latter day Vikram. According to Martin, it was likely that the worship of Lord Ram dates back to ―the time of elder Vikrama ‖ yet, his worship as a part of a sect must have been first established by Ramanuja. These are a part of Martin hypothesising on the origins of the city and its temples. That does not constitute evidence. Martin, while referring to the pillars in the mosque built by Babur, notes that these are of black stones and have been taken from a Hindu building, which is evidenced by the images on some of their bases which have been desecrated. According to Martin, these pillars would have been taken from the ruins of a palace. Martin‘s account, as the above analysis indicates, is inferential. While he has spoken of his own observations in regard to the mosque; of the faith and belief associated with Lord Ram; and the presence of black stone pillars the account contains largely an account of his own assessment of past history.

576. Edward Thornton‘s account in the ―Gazetteer of the territories under the Government of East India Company ‖ (1858) refers to ―extensive ruins, said to be those of the fort of Rama ‖. Thornton proceeds to cite extracts from a text attributed to Buchanan. He makes a reference to the lore surrounding the construction of 360 temples and to the belief of their demolition by Aurangzeb. His attribution of the construction of a mosque on the site of a temple is not proof of a historical fact. Thornton records what he heard: neither those who told him about their belief nor the author of the document are available to be assessed in the course of a cross-examination. Such an account cannot meet the rigorous standards of acceptable evidence as well as the more relaxed standard of a preponderance of probabilities which govern civil trials.

577. Mr Zafaryab Jilani, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Sunni Central Waqf Board, has stressed that in the above extract the gazetteer relies upon ―an inscription on the wall of the mosque ‖ to support the theory that the mosque was constructed by Babur as opposed to the local tradition which ascribed the construction of the mosque to Aurangzeb. There is according to him, no specific reference to the worship by the Hindus under the middle dome of the mosque. However, it is relevant to note that Thornton‘s observations are not personal and he has drawn an inference from the text of Buchanan.

The purpose of the colonial government was to offer to the British public in ―a cheap and convenient form ‖ authentic information about India in the form of a gazetteer. Bearing this caveat in mind, it is relevant to note that the above extract adverts to:

(i) The ruins of ―Ramgur or Fort of Rama ‖;

(ii) The presence of 14 Kasauti stone pillars in the mosque with ―elaborate and tasteful workmanship ‖ and;

(iii) A ―quadrangular coffer of stone ‖, believed to be the cradle in which Lord Ram was born as the avatar of Lord Vishnu.

578. Cunningham‘s ―Archaeological Survey of India ‖ (1862-5) refers to existence of ―several holy Brahmanical temples about Ajudhya ‖ and that the ―ancient temples were destroyed by the Musalmans ‖. The report states that ―in the very heart of the city, stands the Janam Asthan ‖, or ―birth-place temple ‖ of Ram ‖. The text refers for Ramkot, Swargadwari and notices that ―about one quarter of a mile distant, in the very heart of the city, stands the Janam Asthan or ‗Birth-place temple‘ of Rama. ‖ Mr Jilani contended that the reference to the Janamsthan or birth-place temple of Ram is not the same as the disputed structure and that it is located somewhere else. Cunningham‘s account notices a conglomeration of religious sites including Hanuman Garhi, Swarg Dwar, Lakshman Ghat and the Janmasthan.

579. P Carnegy as Officiating Commissioner and Settlement Officer has in ―A Historical Sketch of Faizabad ‖ (1870) underscored the importance of Ayodhya to the faith of Hindus, with a reference to the Janmasthan, Swarga Dwar Mandir and Treta-Ke-Thakur. He attributes the construction of the mosque to Babur in 1528 A.D. and notes that many of the Kasauti stone columns of an erstwhile temple have been used in the mosque. His account adverts to ―Ramkot the strong-hold of Ramchandar ‖ and that the fort was ―surrounded by 20 bastions ‖, each of which was believed to have been commanded by one of Lord Ram‘s famous generals. Carnegy adverted to the conflagration which took place in 1855 between the Hindus and Muslims and the resultant death of 75 Muslims who were buried in the graveyard next to the disputed structure. According to Carnegy, until then, Hindus and Muslims alike used to worship in what he describes as the ―mosquetemple ‖. However, since British Rule, a railing was put up to avoid future conflicts.

Within it, it has been stated, the Muslims pray, while outside the fence the Hindus raised a platform on which they made their offerings. Carnegy‘s account refers to three religious sites, including the Janmasthan. His account has attributed the construction of the mosque to Babur, on the site of the Janmasthan which he states, ―marks the place where Ram Chander was born ‖.

580. Carnegy has relied on Leyden‘s memoirs on the expedition of Babur, which camped at the junction of the Sarayu and Gogra river, taking notice of the fact that ―it is remarkable that in all the copies of Babur‘s life now known, the pages that relate to his doings in Ajudhia are wanting ‖. He noted two inscriptions on the mosque, attributing its construction to 1528 A.D. There is a reference to the Kasauti stone pillars used in the mosque, which to him, resemble Buddhist pillars. Based on them, he hypothesises that ―if Ajudhia was then little other than a wild, it must at least have possessed a fine temple in the Janmasthan; for many of its columns are still in existence and in good preservation, having been used by the Musalmans in the construction of the Babri Mosque. ‖

Carnegy provides an account of the conflagration of 1855:

  • ―Hindu and Musalman differences– The Janmasthan is within a few hundred paces of the Hanuman Garhi. In 1855 when a great rapture took place between the Hindus and the Muhammadans, the former occupied the Hanuman Garhi in force, while the Musalmans took possession of the Janmasthan. The Mohammadans on that occasion actually charged up the steps of the Hanomangarhi, but were driven back with considerable loss. The Hindus then followed up this success, and at the third attempt took the Janmasthan at the gate of which 75 Muhammadan are buried in the ‗martyr‘s grave‘ (ganj-i-shahid). Several of the King‘s Regiments were looking on all the time, but their orders were not to interfere. It is said that up to that time the Hindus and Mohomedans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple. Since British rule a railing has been put up to prevent the disputes, within which in the mosque, the Mahomedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings. ‖

Carnegy‘s account is about fifteen years after the incident of violence which resulted in the railing being put up by the British to separate the two communities in their areas of worship. Mr Jilani challenged Carnegy‘s account insofar as it refers to worship both by Hindus and Muslims within the ―mosque-temple ‖ prior to the incident. Carnegy is indeed cautious in the above extract when he observes that ―it is said ‖ that upto that time, Muslims and Hindus alike prayed inside the mosque. But the account indicates something on which there is no dispute namely, that the railing came up after the incident as a barrier which would separate the two communities in the conduct of religious worship – Muslims in the inner courtyard and the Hindus in the outer courtyard. Significantly, Carnegy‘s account links the construction of the platform by the Hindus to the construction of the railing outside the mosque. According to his account, the Hindus would have set up the platform outside the railing, faced with the exclusion caused from the erstwhile mode of worship as a result of the construction of the railing. As will be explored subsequently, the platform was constructed in close-proximity to the railing from where worship was offered and offerings were made to what the Hindus believe to be the birth-place of Lord Ram.

581. The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1908) refers to a ―vast mound ‖ known as ―Ramkot, or the fort of Rama ‖ and the existence at a corner of which is the holy spot where Lord Ram was born. The gazetteer records that most of the enclosure is occupied by a mosque built by Babur from the remains of an old temple. It refers the existence of Ramchabutra in the outer portion that ―marks the birthplace ‖ of Lord Ram. The gazetteer notices the presence of Sita Rasoi in close proximity.

582. The District Gazetteer of Faizabad, (1960) { U.P. District Gazetteer Faizabad by Smt. Isha Basant Joshi. (1960 Edition)} attributes to Chandragupta I the status of being the real founder of the kingdom ―which extended upto Saketa (Awadh) and Prayaga (Allahabad) ‖. The credit for restoration of Ayodhya is attributed to Vikramaditya of Ujjain identified as Chandragupta II. The gazetteer notes that the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang (630-644 A.D.) passed through Oudh and referred to the existence of ―100 Buddhist monasteries, more than 3,000 Mahayani and Hinayani monks and only ten deva (non-Buddhist god) temples, the non-Buddhist being but few in number ‖. According to the gazetteer, most of the area represented by the beliefs of the Hindus, to be the birth-place of Lord Ram is occupied by the mosque. The claim by the gazetteer is that the mosque was constructed on the remains of an old temple. It notices that in the outer portion, a small platform and shrine marked the birth-place.

583. On his analysis of the gazetteereers and travelogues during the course of the submissions, Mr Jilani formulated the following propositions:

(i) For the period dating from the construction of the mosque in 1528 until 1949, there is no evidence to establish the belief of the Hindus that the place of birth of Lord Ram was below the middle dome of the mosque;

(ii) There is no evidence to show continuity of Hindu worship inside the mosque onwards from 1828;

(iii) Ramchabutra is the birth-place of Lord Ram;

(iv) Ramchabutra as the birth-place is corroborated by the fact that in the Suit of 1885, the plaintiff sought no prayer with respect to the inner courtyard;

(v) It was only in Suit 5 of 1989 that the concept of a Janmasthan was introduced prior to which the belief that the central dome was the birthplace of Lord Ram did not exist; and

(vi) The theory of the middle dome marking the birth-place of Lord Ram only comes from the statements of witnesses in Suit 5.

The formulation of Mr Jilani that the Ramchabutra is the birth-place will assume significance from two perspectives: the first is that the entire site comprising of the inner and outer courtyards is one composite property, the railing being put up by the colonial government only as a measure to protect peace, law and order. The second perspective is that Mr Jilani‘s submission postulates: (i) the acceptance of the position that the birth-place is at an area within the disputed site (the Ramchabutra, according to him); and (ii) there is no denying the close physical proximity of Ramchabutra, which was set up right outside the railing.

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