Babri Masjid Issue

“Congress not opposed to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya”

Bangalore: A pro-Hindutva Belgian scholar, Koenraad Elst said while speaking on ‘Ayodhya Verdict: a historian’s overview’ at Theological Society here on 15 December that Congress is not against building of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and two of its former prime ministers, i.e., Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao had supported Hindu cause in Ayodhya. He said that both these Congress leaders were keen to find a solution to Ayodhya problem during their tenures. About Congress he said that it would not be proper to call Congress a staunch secularist party and an opponent to Hindu cause, adding that rebuilding of Somnath Temple in Gujarat was at the behest of India’s first President, Rajendra Prasad. He said that following this tradition, Rajiv Gandhi wanted to find a solution to the Ayodhya dispute at the earliest. While holding the post of prime minister, he wanted to strike a bargain with Muslims. He pointed out that one should remember that when Chandrashekhar was the prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi had laid great emphasis on having a debate in Parliament for bringing to light all the historical facts for a solution to Ayodhya problem and was trying to publicise historical facts and figures about Ayodhya.

Elst further said that 1986 was the most appropriate time for the building of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya because Rajiv Gandhi wanted to appease Hindus. Supporting Allahabad High Court’s recent verdict on Ayodhya, he said that contrary to what many intellectuals and historians think, this verdict was not based on aastha or belief but on facts because one of the important factors on which the verdict was based was that at one time there really was a temple on the Babri Masjid land prior to its construction which has been proved but it is very difficult to prove the actual place of birth of Bhagwan Ram. He said that no one can bring the birth certificate of Shri Ram or when and where he was born. He said that stories and legends about Ram’s birth mentioned in history cannot be considered undeniable facts but since it is common belief that Bhagwan Ram was born there, everybody respects that belief. He said that the common belief of a vast majority of people is the factor which guided the Court’s verdict, otherwise undeniable or unquestionable proof about his place of birth has not so far been forthcoming. Referring to pages of history Elst said that Moghul rulers also had accepted the truth that Bhagwan Ram’s place of birth is in Ayodhya and that that place belongs to Hindus.