The last day of Ayodhya hearing made it to the news specially because of the behaviour exhibited by the Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan’s tore up the map shifted by the parties representing Hindu Mahasabha. CJI displayed displeasure on his behaviour and Rajeev Dhawan was unapologetic whatsoever.
What was the map? Why was it significant?
The man who prepared a pictorial map showing the Ram Janmasthan, ex-IPS officer Kishore Kunal, isn’t surprised that lawyer Rajeev Dhawan, representing Muslim petitioners in the Ayodhya title suit, angrily tore off the page depicting its contours before the five-judge Constitution bench.
“As a lawyer Dhawan knows if the map is handed over to the court, he’d lose the case,” Kishore Kunal told in an interview yesterday.
Kishore Kunal born in 1950 is a retired officer of the Indian Police Service, and a Sanskrit scholar from the state of Bihar, India.
During his police career, he was appointed as the Officer on Special Duty (Ayodhya)in 1989-1990 by the prime minister V. P. Singh to mediate between the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Babri Masjid Action Committee on the Ayodhya dispute. He continued to serve in this position during the premierships of Chandra Sekhar and P. V. Narasimha Rao.
Kishore Kunal stated that he is confident of the fact the map, published in his 2016 book ‘Ayodhya Revisited’, is “conclusive proof” about the exact spot at which Ram was born. All along, he said, the argument of those opposing the temple has been that the Hindu claim about Ram’s birthplace was based on “belief or imagination that Ram was born there” and that the Allahabad high court in its 2010 verdict too had stressed on this “belief”.
Ayodhya dispute and Kishore Kunal:
The Government of V. P. Singh established an ‘Ayodhya Cell’ in 1990 under the leadership of the Minister of State for Home Affairs for handling the Ayodhya dispute. Kunal was appointed as an ‘Officer on Special Duty’ to assist in its functioning.
The cell continued under the Government of Chandra Sekhar (November 1990–March 1991), during which time Rajiv Gandhi suggested that historical and archaeological evidence should be taken into consideration for deciding the Ayodhya issue.
The representatives of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) met under the banner of the Ayodhya Cell, and decided to exchange their respective evidence.
Kunal stated that he had forwarded the submitted evidence to the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Director General of Archives for verification and submitting reports. Both VHP and BMAC had also nominated ten experts each to examine the evidence.
The four key historians nominated by the BMAC, R. S. Sharma, SurajBhan, M. Athar Ali and D. N. Jha, asked for six weeks to examine the VHP’s evidence. The VHP did not agree to the demand. The negotiations ended after this.
Kunal later published his own analysis of the evidence submitted by the parties, and other evidence that he unearthed on his own, under the title Ayodhya Revisited.
Ayodhya Revisited (PrabhatPrakashan, 2016).
In this 800-page book,KishoreKunal has analysed the historical documents to draw the conclusion that the Babri Masjid was built by Emperor Aurangzeb, not Babur. He blames the surveyor Francis Buchanan for erroneously crediting Babur. Kunal also states that a Ram temple existed at the disputed site which was demolished by Aurangzeb’s governor Fedai Khan in 1660 AD. Reviewer Kuldeep Kumar has remarked that the book deserves a close reading by professional historians.
In May 2017, Kunal had indicated that he would submit a petition to the Supreme Court of India presenting his evidence and analysis and “become a party to the dipuste”.
Five pieces of evidence were used by him to prepare the map, “which fits to scale”, with the help of architects, Kishore said.
- The first was a police complaint filed in 1858 by Babri Masjid’s muezzin, Syyed Mohammed Khatib, when a team of 25 Sikhs from Punjab tried to capture the masjid. The complaint, Kishore said, noted that “in the middle of the mosque is the nishaan(marker) of janmasthan, which Hindus worshipped for centuries”.
- The second piece was the Latin account of an Austrian Jesuit priest, Joseph Tieffenthaler, who visited the Awadh region circa 1760. According to Kishore, Tieffenthaler described the “koti and kasauti pillars”, two of 12 retained from the original structure “to support the mosque’s interior arcades”, and wrote that on the left of these two pillars “at the entrance” stood a square called the “Bedi (cradle)” by the Hindus because “this was where Vishnu took incarnation as Ram”. The priest provided exact specifications of the “square box”, Kishore said: its borders made of lime, it was “18 ft 9 inches in length, 15 ft in width and 5 ft in height”.
- The ex-official has in his book also quoted Tieffenthaler’s work to profess the theory that the Ram temple was destroyed neither by Babur nor by his general Mir Baqi in 1528 but by Aurangzeb in 1660. Kishore said the Austrian priest had stated that “though Aurangzeb had demolished the place to deprive Hindus of their faith, they still came there, did parikrama (circumambulation) and prostrated on the floor”.
- The fourth source used to delineate contours of the map was Faizabad assistant commissioner P Carnegy’s description in the 1870s which said “the janmasthan is near Sitarasoi”, and the fifth was Francis Buchanan’s 1813-14 survey of the area.
Kishore, at the same time, disputed the claim of historian D N Jha that he and three other historians who had visited Ayodhya and prepared a report were independent historians. He said the four historians – Jha, R S Sharma, SurajBhan and Athar Ali – were nominees of the All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee when he, as officer on special duty, had asked both sides to the dispute to give a list of 10 experts who could produce documents and speak during negotiations.
The SC in September this year refused to give credence to the historians’ report and called it “mere opinion”.
Kishore had termed their report as “one-sided” and added it had “found fault only with Hindu documents and not commented on the AIBMAC’s claims”.
“There are a lot of documents on the Janmabhoomi which haven’t been explored. Those that I referred to are part of the India Office records in the British Library, London, the Baroda Oriental Research Institute and the Benaras library,” he said.
Rajeev Dhawan being a senior advocate was visibly upset over this proof, and even when his behaviour received backlash Dhawan was adamant that he did so because CJI said he could tear the evidence into pieces. The developments yesterday was clearly indicate that party opposing Ram mandir are not happy with the evidences submitted.
Dr. Sindhu Prashanth