People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 22, 2003
Ayodhya Excavations: VHP Lies Exposed
Ayodhya Excavations: VHP Lies Exposed
a packed press conference Professor Prabhat Patnaik introduced the
disntinguished panel of historians (Professor Irfan Habib and K M Shrimali) and
archeologists (Professor Suraj Bhan, Supriya Verma, Nadeem Rizvi and Jaya Menon)
who had come to discuss the on-going excavations at the site of the Babri Masjid
complex. The Press Conference was organised by SAHMAT.
Patnaik referred to the two ‘alternative’ strategies being talked about by
the government --- ‘the negotiated settlement’ and the ‘legislative
solution.’ Both in his view are unconstitutional and would lay down dangerous
precedents that violate the rule of law. According to Professor Patnaik
negotiated settlement would allow room for arm-twisting and the weaker party
will stand to loose.
Irfan Habib emphasized that the excavation order to ‘find out whether a temple
existed or not’ was unscientifically formulated. The on-going excavation
reflects this basic weakness. Archeological finds are not being documented or
evaluated rigorously. He asserted that the excavation, by the demolition of the
entire Babir Masjid complex has ‘completed’ the process of demolition which
was started by the kar sevaks with the demolition of the mosque in 1992.
excavation has shown that the so-called ‘pillar-bases’ and other anomalies
referred to by the Tojo-Vikas team that led to the order to excavate proved
unfounded as nothing of significance was found in the areas indicated by them.
What are being called pillar bases today are brick-bats that are neither
load-bearing nor in any way associated with the tradition of temple
architecture. The broken pillar pieces found are those of the demolished Masjid
and have been found in its debris. Further, small animal bones with cut marks
and Muslim glazed ware suggested habitation by a meat-eating population. The
presence of graves, which unfortunately are not being measured, the skeletal
posture noted, or documented, makes it an unlikely site for a temple.
of the negotiated settlement and the stipulation that a mosque may be
constructed outside of a ten km radius from the original site, Professor Habib
pointed out that the nearest main mosque is only one-and-a-half kms from the
Babri Masjid site. The mendacious ‘restriction’ on mosques being proposed
violate constitutional provisions and existing parliamentary legislation
concerning the protection of places of worship.
Suraj Bhan pointed out that computer generated graphics of the site that have
been published in sections of the media were doctored, incomplete and
misleading. He stressed that finding a temple is not a matter of finding some
antiquities of indefinite age and context. A temple is a structure and there is
no evidence of such a structure in the excavations. Three levels of flooring
have been excavated between which filling containing material only from Mauryan
and Kushan periods is found. All three levels are mosque floors, (plastered with
chunaum and surkhi), the upper two being of the Babri Masjid and the lowest one
of an earlier smaller mosque, probably of the sultanate period, on which the
Babri Masjid was built.
far as the inscribed slab being talked about is concerned, Professor Suraj Bhan,
who like all the other archeologists at the conference, has visited the
excavation site and examined the materials and their locations, said that he
observed it to be “lying upside down along with kankar stones in a deep
filling in the pit. The pit seems to have been filled at the time of the
renovation of the Babri masjid in the 19th century.”
A six page statement by Nadeem Rizvi countering point by point the tendentious reporting on the excavations finds in the weekly magazine Outlook was also issued at the press conference.
Following is the full text of the statement released at the press conference:
Archaeological Survey of India’s excavations at the site of the Babri Masjid,
Ayodhya are now drawing to a close, though the ASI has sought the High Court’s
permission to continue the work till the end of this month, apparently to enable
them to excavate two or three trenches in the so called “Sanctuary” where
the Ram Lalla image is now placed. By
this time the ASI has dug up and destroyed what the karsevaks had not
demolished, namely the floors and foundation walls of the Masjid.
In any archaeological operation elsewhere such treatment of monumental
remains would be deemed totally unprofessional and impermissible.
this has been done in the expectation, enflamed by the earlier Tojo Vikas
International’s geo-physical survey report (undated), on the basis of which
the Allahabad High Court ( Lucknow Bench) was pleased to order the excavation.
This report spoke of “anomalies” and ‘pillars’ below the Babri masjid,
and so suggested that structural remains would be found beneath the mosque. It
may be recalled that SAHMAT issued a statement on March 8 doubting the
credentials of this Company, questioning its surveying methods, and finally its
interpretation of the data. SAHMAT pointed out that the Company itself provided
for a wide range of possibilities from the data, but selected for specific
mention only such of these as might please their employers.
It was, on the face of it, a thoroughly unprofessional piece of conduct
on their part.
pursuit of Tojo-International’s predicted pre-masjid structures the ASI dug up
82 trenches by June 5, 2003. Except for a small area around Ram Lalla the entire
area of the Masjid complex including
Ram Chabutra has been dug upto depths of several meters. The ASI submitted its
first progress report to the High Court on work done till April 24, 2003 when as
many as 52 trenches (4 x 4 metres each) had been excavated. SAHMAT in another
statement on May 6, showing that the only structural remains the ASI had
actually found were those associated with
the construction of the Mosque or of the period of Muslim habitation. The
pervasive presence of animal bones with cut marks and Muslim glazed ware, and
the entire absence of even a trace of anything that could indicate structural
remains of a temple. The ASI report seemed only to clutch at straws, which on
close scrutiny could be seen as
contrary to the details it had itself provided.
have become definitively clear with the ASI’s latest progress report that
deals with the latest period, May 22 to June 5, covering 30 new trenches, so
that now the entire mosque complex and much of the surrounding area has been
trench after trench, no structural remains below the mosque’s floor level have
been found at all. The structural remains found in some trenches are all of
construction associated with the mosque, viz, brick walls, mosque-floors, lime
mortar, etc. The “structural bases”, which were mentioned with some
enthusiasm in the first progress report, but were, alas, found to be uniformly
of brick-bats and so neither load-bearing nor in any way associated with any
known tradition of Hindu temple architecture, are now termed “pillar bases”.
Only seven have been claimed to be
found in six trenches, out of the thirty excavated. No alignment or uniformity
of level is claimed for them.
ASI’s report also lists finds yielded by the excavation. It needs to be noted
that in trench F3, the 1.61 metre high decorated black stone pillar (broken)
with Yaksha figurines on four corners” is one of the black pillars which had
belonged to the Babri Majsid and was broken up when the Babri Masjid was
destroyed by the karsevaks. It has been retrieved from above the Babri Majid
floor, and is, therefore, no new discovery and has nothing to do with any
possible temple remains below the Mosque. On the other hand, all other finds
suggest either Muslim habitation (Arbic inscription of holy verses’, glazed
tiles) or ordinary medieval occupation .
view of all this, the VHP and its supporters are now falling
back on “faith”. Bu they are unable to produce any scriptural
authority or any documents to show that Lord Rama was really born exactly at
this spot. In other words, the “faith” they are talking about is only faith
invented by them.
of the BJP camp faced with the debate that the excavations have placed them are
speaking of “compromise”. The conditions of this “compromise”, so far
appearing in the press, are that (I) Muslims can build a Mosque 10 k.m. away
from the Babri Masjid site and (2) the Hindu claims on Mosques at Varanasi and
Mathura will not be pursued.
does not understand whom these proposals are expected to fool.
The present main mosque of Ayodhya is itself barely 1 and half k.m from
the Babri Masjid, and there are other mosques in the town.
Any one who owns land can build a mosque at any distance from the mosque
so what is the sense of the 10 km restriction?
any change in the religious status of a place of worship from what it was on
August 15,1947 is barred by an Act of Parliament, 1991. What the proposed
compromise suggested that this too is an open issue, which it is not.
what is forgotten is the heinous crime carried out on December 6, 1992. No talks
of compromise has any meaning when the perpetrators of that outrage walk not
only free, but are in control of the state itself. They must, above all, be
first brought to book.