By Prof. R Vaidyanathan.
It runs to more than 8000 pages and it is a marvelous set of documents. The judgment in the Ram Janma Bhoomi [RJB] case—delivered by the full bench Allahabad HC in october2010- is extraordinary. If one goes through it one gets insight in to our culture, history, and civilisational ethos. It dwells in to Persian sources, German writings, French observations, Urdu literature and of course Sanskrit evidence. It deals with Archeology, history, linguistics, anthropology, zoology, literature, puranas, jataka tales and many other subjects and disciplines. The sweep of the judgments and the canvas covered is mind boggling and it makes one proud of our judiciary which of late has to bear the brunt of allegations of corruption and nepotism. This judgment will be quoted discussed and dissected by legal as well as academic experts for several decades.
But of course our “eminent historians” are shamed and disgraced for their un-academic attitude and charlatan behavior. These “independent experts” historians and archeologists appeared on behalf of the Sunni waqf board and the special bench of three judges unamiously dismissed objections raised by the experts to the presence of a temple. It was Justice Sudhir Agarwal who put their claims to judicial scrutiny. Interestingly many of these “experts” have deposed twice in the court once before the ASI excavations and anther after. Before the excavations they asserted that there was no temple beneath the disputed structure and after it was dug up they began to claim that what was unearthed was a mosque or stupa. Not only that they found themselves withering under judicial scrutiny in spite of writing signed articles and issuing pamphlets and long public letters.
The judge asked pointed queries which might never been asked by their students since they are good at brow beating and collective coercion tactics. Actually the judge concluded that they exhibit ostrich like attitude.
In a statement by 61 ‘intellectuals’ led by the historian, Romila Thapar, that includes the cream of the left establishment and small time photographers self proclaimed food critics, the judgment was attacked for dealing yet “another blow to India’s secular fabric”. But why?
The cross examination covers several pages and a gripping reading. It shows the pathetic levels to which our academics have fallen and has become hand maidens of political machinery. Let us look at some of their shenanigans and shameful behavior not befitting being a researcher in any field.
Supriya Verma an “expert” who challenged the excavations done by the ASI had not read the radar survey report on ground penetration that led to the court order for excavation. Further read on about outright chicanery. Verma and Jaya Menon another “expert” were not present at the time of actual excavations but alleged that pillar bases at the excavated sites were planted. More interesting things to come.
Suvira Jaiswal says “ Whatever knowledge I gained with respect to the disputed site is based on newspaper reports or what others told .She also confessed that she “prepared a report on the Babri dispute after reading newspaper reports and on the basis of discussion with my medieval history expert in my department”,. Suvira Jaiswal made an important clarification: “I am giving statement on oath regarding Babri Mosque without any probe and not on the basis of my knowledge; rather I am giving the statement on the basis of my opinion.”
When opinion can be history why are they all screaming that “faith “cannot be the basis of history?
Archeologist Shreen Ratnagar admitted she does not have any “field” experience and has written an “introduction” to the book of another “expert “who deposed namely Professor Mondal. This expert witness for the Waqf Board, admitted he wrote his “Ayodhya: Archaeology after Demolition” without even visiting Ayodhya and with an eye to the presidential reference to the Supreme Court. Mandal also admitted that “Whatsoever little knowledge I have of Babur is only that Babur was (a) ruler of the 16th century. Except for this I do not have any knowledge of Babur.” The judge, Agarwal, was sufficiently moved to say about Mandal that “the statements made by him in cross-examination show the shallowness of his knowledge on the subject”.
Suraj Bhan was providing evidence based on Medieval history but another expert of Muslim parties namely Shirin Musavi says that Bhan is an archeologists and not historian.
The ASI report submitted to the court after excavation, had brushed aside the so-called Historians’ Report to the Nation authored by the professors R.S. Sharma, M. Athar Ali, D.N. Jha and Suraj Bhan released in May 1991. This document was a plea to the government of India “to include impartial historians in the process of forming judgment on historical facts”. As an example of this “impartial” history, it was argued that “the full blown legend of the destruction of a temple at the site of Rama’s birth and Sita ki Rasoi is as late as the 1850s. Since then what we get is merely the progressive reconstruction of imagined history based on faith”. But Bhan confessed that the grandly titled Report to the nation was written under “pressure” in six weeks and “without going through the record of the excavation by B.B. Lal”.
The earlier mentioned , Shireen Musavi, suggested that “the legend of Ayodhya being the birthplace of Rama is found from the 17th century, prior to which there is no legend about Rama’s birthplace in medieval history”. However, during cross-examination, Musavi admitted: “It is correct that in Sikh literature there is a tradition that Guru Nanak had visited Ayodhya, had darshan of Ram janmasthan and had bathed in the River Saryu.”
Prof. D Mandal retired from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, Allahabad University, who was appointed on adhoc basis as Lecturer in 1972 but prior thereto he claimed to have worked as exploration assistant since 1960. Initially he appeared as an expert to depose that there is no archaeological evidence to show either existence of any temple at the disputed site or that a temple was demolished before construction of the disputed structure. The statements made by him in cross examination show the shallowness of his knowledge and provide a sample about all these “eminences”
“I never visited Ayodhya”. “I do not have any specific knowledge of history of Babur’s reign.” “Whatsoever little knowledge I have about Babur is only that Babur was the ruler of the 16th century. Except for this I do not have any knowledge of Babur. I do not have knowledge of anything in 2nd Para of editorial preface to my book (exhibit 63) in which Romila Thapar has written that Vishwa Hindu Parishad, BJP and Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Shangh for the first time raised the issue of the Babri Masjid being located on the place which was earlier Rama’s birth place. I also do not know whether or not it is correctly written on page 10 of the afore-said preface that Ayodhya is a site of pilgrimage for adherents of Ramanand school.” “The Communist Party issues a red card, and I am its holder. It is true that I have no faith in religion.”
“It is true that I have not seen the disputed building as yet. I did not make any physical investigation of stone used in inscriptions carved out in the disputed building. Likewise, I also did not make physical investigation of basalt stone.”
“My finding in my book (exhibit 63) is not based on any article. My finding is based on materials written in this connection and given in the book (paper no.118C-1/35) filed in Suit No.5/89 and chiefly on the photograph (paper no.118C-1/36) depicting the excavation undertaken by Prof.B.B.Lal near the Babri Mosque. It is also correct
to say that I drew findings, taking the brief report of B.B.Lal as given in paper no.118C-1/35 (Ram Janam Bhumi: Ayodhya) and the reproduction of the photograph taken by him to be sacrosanct.” .Many of my colleagues inspired me to write the book (exhibit 63).”
“It is also true that I had requested one of them to write an introduction to my book, and the colleague thus requested was Miss Shereen Ratnagar.”
The learned Judge rightly observes that
“A bare perusal of the above makes it clear that he virtually made a critical analysis of the book that is Paper No.118C1/36, a small booklet published by Prof. B.B.Lal and beyond that made no further study/research etc. Only on that basis, he wrote a book, and analyzed the belief of the people whether the disputed structure was constructed after demolishing a temple or that there existed any temple of 11th or 12th century which was demolished before its construction. The own admissions and clarification this witness has given, we find that the entire opinion of this witness is short of the requirement under Section 45 of the Evidence Act, 1872 to qualify as an opinion of an Expert which may be considered relevant on a fact in issue, by this Court. “
The list goes on. Justice Agarwal refers to the signed statement of these experts and notes” instead of helping in making a cordial atmosphere it tends to create complications, conflict and controversy. The experts carry weight with public opinion and conclude that “one cannot say that though I had made a statement but I am not responsible for its authenticity since it is not based on my study or research but what I have learnt from what others have uttered.”
Now the critical issue is that these eminences have been shamed and exposed. They are not academics. They have brought shame on all academics. If it has happened in Physics or Chemistry or Medical or Accounting academic fields the concerned person would have been taken to task by their professions. Unfortunately the social sciences discipline in India is under the grip of left charlatans and Marxist mafia and it is not accountable to any. It is important that they are made accountable since they have the blood of thousands of Indians on their hand by their provocative and politically motivated writings which have wrought so much violence and bloodshed in the country in the nineties.
The respective Universities should initiate action to strip them of their doctorates if they have one and initiate action to remove them from their posts and also take disciplinary action against all the “eminences” for their academic charlatanism and skullduggery. The text books written by them /edited by them for schools and colleges should be revoked and other books of less eminent historians should be prescribed
They need to be made accountable and brought to book howsoever highly “linked” they are and howsoever “eminent” they are.
Is the HRD Ministry and Universities listening?
The views are personal and do not reflect that of his organization.