The battles fought for Ayodhya

Ayodhya means a place where there is no yudh (war). Yudh was brought into Ayodhya by the Mughals. It is a long-drawn fight for reclaiming Ram Janmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya ever since Mughal invader Babur’s general Mir Baki demolished the temple in 1528. The fight took all forms – physical, negotiations and legal – at different points.

In Babar Nama, the official accounts of Babur’s exploits, Baki explains how the demolition was carried out and how the local population responded. IN a nutshell, he wanted to send across a message to the people he was the ruler and his whims would be followed. Since Lord Ram is an integral part of India’ psyche, so demolition of his temple at his birthplace would send a powerful message to the locals, was the thought of invaders. Ayodhya being culturally and religiously significant for Hindus, Babur thought it would be a significant gain.

But continuous resistance from the then local population was something that Babur was prepared for. Although he wanted to build a grand mosque at the temple’s place, Hindus mounted continuous attacks. Finally, he hurriedly built a ‘structure’ that resembled a mosque; the minarets, place for ablutions and other essential structures of a mosque were starkly absent. The temple’s remains were used for constructing the mosque. Many disfigured idols were used for constructing the mosque.

Babur ruled four years: during that period he fought four battles with Hindus over the Ram Janmabhoomi. Babur was unable to build a grand mosque even after being the victor speaks volumes about the resistance he faced. After Babur too Hindus continued to wage battles with the Mughals. Till 1934 Hindus fought a total of seventy-six battles to regain control of the Ram Janmabhoomi site. Emperor Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb had to face the wrath of Hindus. Many Hindu sanyasis too got killed fighting wars with the Mughals. After India’s independence in 1947, this fight shifted to the courtrooms. So, while earlier the battles were bloody and violent with time it has now become judicial.

Though the long and bloody history of the Ram Janmabhoomi shows that for Hindus, it is more than just a fight for the property – it is a fight for their self-esteem and protection of swadharma. It is an issue of our cultural resurgence and identity, where Lord Ram has a prime place of importance. The Ram Janmabhoomi movement is an expression of the collective consciousness of the Hindu ethos, their honour and dignity. Apart from the temple, this piece of land is also revered by virtue of being the birthplace of Lord Ram. Any amount of interpretation of the Babri structure, it remains a symbol of slavery for all national-minded people.