Ayodhya

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University of Leicester, UK Centre for the History of Religious and Political Pluralism Institute for the Study of Indo-Pakistan Relations South Asian History Academic Papers 9 ISSN 1475-178X General Editor: Professor Richard Bonney

University of Leicester Centre for the History of Religious and Political Pluralism Institute for the Study of Indo-Pakistan Relations Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK www.le.ac.uk/pluralism South Asian History Academic Papers 9 ISSN 1475-178X General Editor: Professor Richard Bonney bon@le.ac.uk © Individual Authors and Centre for the History of Religious and Political Pluralism / Institute for the Study of IndoPakistan Relations (INPAREL), University of Leicester, UK. 2003 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the Director of the Centre / Institute. Within the UK, exceptions are allowed in respect of any fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of the licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms and in other countries should be sent to the Director at the address above. This publication is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Ayodhya 1992-2003: The Assertion of Cultural and Religious Hegemony

Jan-Peter Hartung, Gillian Hawkes and Anuradha Bhattacharjee Leicester 2003

Table of Contents

Frontispiece. Cartoon of the Mosque Razers Introduction Professor Richard Bonney The Land, the Mosque, the Temple: More than 145 Years of Dispute over Ayodhya Jan–Peter Hartung Ayodhya: An International Perspective Anuradha Bhattacharjee The Archaeology and Politics of Ayodhya Gillian Hawkes Documents i

1

33 Cartoon of the Mosque Razers: 90
Uma Bharati (left), MM Joshi (centre), LK Advani (right) Artist: Arvind. Source: Ram Puniyani, Communal Politics: An Illustrated Primer (Delhi: Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, January 2001). Reproduced by permission of Dr Puniyani.

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Professor Richard Bonney

Ayodhya 1992–2003: the Assertion of Cultural and Religious Hegemony Introduction* Professor Richard Bonney

commentators have expressed their reservations.1 On 10 September 1991, anticipating problems on the vexed question of the conversion of religious buildings from one faith to another, the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, passed the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Bill prohibiting the ‘conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto’.2 On 6 December 1992, the Republic was ‘besmirched’, as The Times of India put it the following day, because of the destruction of the Bab[a]ri Masjid: ‘the worst was feared in Ayodhya and the worst has come to pass.’3 The precedent is a frightening one, because of the very large number of religious buildings which could potentially fall under the claim from the champions of another religion that at some point in the distant past they had enjoyed rights of worship at that location.4 On 7 March The preface to the Indian Constitution talks of the resolve of the constitution makers to ‘constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC’. The Republic Besmirched. 6 December 1992, ed. Anand K. Sahay (Delhi: Safdar Hasmi Memorial Trust, 2002), 70. Deepshikha Ghosh,...
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