Busting Secular Myths: Rama and Ayodhya

Rama and Ayodhya

Author: Meenakshi Jain

Publisher: Aryan Books, Rs 695

Meenakshi Jain’s book challenges the lordship of India’s ‘eminent’ historians who indulge in the worst form of negationism to forward their pseudo-secular viewpoints, writes Rohit Srivastava

“Before LK Advani converted an Indian icon into a Hindu deity as he flexed his nationalist muscles astride a makeshift chariot, he was on his way to the destruction of an unused 16th century mosque in Ayodhya to reclaim the mythical glory of his Mother India.” Thus wrote Jawed Naqvi, India correspondent of Dawn, Pakistan, in an article on humour in religious discourse. The Indian icon in question is Rama, the most popular incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the most beloved deity for at least two millennia.

Naqvi would have us believe that Advani’s rath yatra made Rama a deity. He cannot see the hollowness of his claim, for if Rama in his own view was already an Indian icon (a symbol of reverence and devotion), it means he was already a deity.

Naqvi, like others, is in the business of negating and mocking the civilisational memory associated with Rama, and believes his minority status confers upon him the privilege to do so with impunity. Yet, he would not dare satisfy non-monotheistic curiosity on a fundamental confusion of Abrahamic dogma: Did the patriarch Abraham offer his son Ismail in sacrifice to God, or was it his son Isaac? Christians and Muslims both accept the historicity of the event and agree only one child was offered. Which one?

Over the past two decades, several Left-wing historians have indulged in high-voltage propaganda that Rama was not a deity before Tulsidas wrote Ramcharit Manas in the 16th century. The purpose, of course, is to discredit the movement for reclamation of his birthplace. For if there is no proof of Rama and his Ayodhya, the movement falls into disrepute.

Historian Meenakshi Jain has given a robust reply to those who question the historicity of Rama as deity, and provided ample historical proof of Ayodhya as the city of Rama. Activists may question the memory of a civilisation with superficial and politically-motivated arguments, but the book, Rama and Ayodhya, has demolished their case.

Jain leaves no stone unturned in collating all historical and literary evidence relating to Lord Rama. She has covered a vast corpus of literature from the eighth century onwards. The Pratihara dynasty, which ruled western and central India from the ninth to the 13th century, claimed descent from Lakshman, younger brother of Rama, and considered themselves defenders of India from mlechha (barbarian) invaders, and were proud of their victory over them. For four centuries they gave an intrepid fight to invaders.

The book covers the popularity of Rama in antiquity in three long chapters, citing evidence from literature, sculpture and epigraphy. The author has compiled her evidence State-wise to conclusively prove Rama’s pan-national popularity throughout antiquity. The question of his becoming a deity only after the publication of Ramcharit Manas in the era of the Mughal emperor Akbar, has been answered with ample evidence to discourage even the most arrogant Leftist historian from repeating old lies again.

Some notable references include Varahamihira’s Brhatsamhita (sixth century AD) which formulates rules for making images of Rama. The Rama story finds mention in three early Buddhist texts, Dasharatha Kathanam (first-second century AD), Anamakam Jatakam and Dasharatha Jataka. The great poet-dramatist, Bhavabhuti (eighth century), a native of Vidarbha, wrote two dramas based on the Ramayan — the Mahaviracharita and the Uttararamacharity; the latter contained the earliest verbatim quotations of verses from theRamayan, according to Jacobi.

A Gupta period stone panel from Mathura shows Ravan shaking Mount Kailasa, a scene from the ‘Uttara Kanda’. A Gupta period brick temple at Bhitargaon, Kanpur (fifth century AD), has several terracotta panels, one of which depicts Rama and Lakshman seated and engaged in conversation.

M Zaheer, in his book on the Bhitargaon temple, mentions two terracotta reliefs showing scenes from the Ramayana: One has a woman offering alms to a giant man, clearly Ravan in disguise, while the other depicts a seated Rama and Sita.

The Rama cult was promoted by Madhavacharya Anandatirtha (variously placed between AD 1199-1278 and 1238-1317). He devoted seven chapters to the Ramayana story in the Mahabharat-tatparya-nirnaya and brought an image of the “world-conquering” Digvijaya Rama to the south. Similarly, Narahari Tirtha, probably the same as Narasimha, is recorded in a Telugu epigraph dated AD 1293, as having set up the image of Rama, Sita and Lakshman in the Vaishnava temple near Chicacole, Ganjam district.

The Vayu Purana and the ‘Uttara Kanda’ mentioned two Kosalas, with Shravasti the capital of Uttara Kosala and Kausavati of Dakshin Kosala or Mahakosala. The two Kosalas were once believed to have been under the suzerainty of Rama, who installed his son Lava in North Kosala and Kusa in South Kosala.

The book is additionally important for the detailed analysis of the Allahabad High Court ruling on the Babri Masjid case. The motives and scholarship of many of our famed historians are hilariously exposed during the court proceedings. The book shows how an exclusive club of historians (Leftists, of course) have been making false claims of expertise to perpetuate their own agenda, to the detriment of true scholarship. This helps us understand why history has been taught so poorly in our schools colleges and universities — the professors have been taking liberties with truth. No wonder, a nation with such a rich history has some of the dullest history departments!

The Allahabad High Court noted the links between the academics representing the Sunni Central Waqf Board. Suvira Jaiswal, former Professor of the JNU, told the court, “I have not read Babarnama… It is correct to say that I am giving statement on oath regarding Babri Mosque without any probe and not on the basis of my knowledge, rather I am giving the statement on the basis of my opinion… Whatever (information) I gained with respect to the disputed site was on the basis of newspaper or what others told, that is, from the report of historians. By historians’ report I mean ‘Historians Report to Nation’.”

Satyawati College lecturer SC Mishra intoned, “Prithvi Raj Chauhan was king of Ghazni; he (Muhammad Ghori) was king of its adjoining area… I have heard of jaziya tax… At present I fail to recollect when and for what purpose it was levied. I do not remember that the jaziya was levied only on Hindus…”

Little wonder the court observed, “He accepts of being expert in Epigraphy but… neither he knows Arabic nor Persian nor Latin, therefore he had no occasion to understand the language in which the alleged inscription was written… The slipshod and casual manner in which he made inquiry about inscription is further interesting.”

The Ayodhya debate reveals a disturbing aspect of the personality of pre-eminent historian Irfan Habib — he has not hesitated to cast serious aspersions on the integrity of academicians and institutions in disagreement with his views. This book challenges such lord chaplains of Indian history.

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40 Comments

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40 responses to “Busting Secular Myths: Rama and Ayodhya

  1. Vineet

    Very good article that reinforces how nehruvism combined with Gandhi’s dhimmitude has caused havoc with this country. Those who looted this country, killed hindus for religious reasons, raped and enslaved scores of women are showcased as “Secular Tolerant Benovalent” kings and joker like a NNaqwi dares questions Lrd Ram.

  2. Irfan Habib has a vision problem.He cannot see further than the invasion of India by Islam.

    • What is your educational qualification, may I ask? How qualified are you, especially in history to ridicule a internationaly reputed scholar?

      • kcsharma2012

        Those who try to avoid any mention of Indian history before Islam are no scholars in my view.Indian history does not begin with advent of Islam. It is many times older than Islam.

        • @kcsharma2012
          All I can say is that you haven’t read anything that Irfan Habib wrote.
          I have. So I conclude that your problem is not with what he wrote, or didn’t write, but with his muslim name.

          • kcsharma2012

            I am no historian.But I am intelligent enough to see the disgusting behavior of leftist/Islamist historians like Habib in the Ayodhya case.They tried to bull dose the Court not on facts but on manipulated history.It is an established fact that they want to negate any achievements that India had before the Mughal era.They want to white wash the killing of millions of Hindus at the hands of Muslim invaders and Muslim rulers.

            • I tend to concur with kcsharma2012. Indeed, leftist historians have tried to whitewash the atrocities committed by Islamic invaders against millions of Hindus over the centuries.

      • Anonymous

        @ cynical Internationally reputed scholar my foot. Even my dog claims to be an internationally reputed scholar. Irfan Habib’s father was Mohmmed habib was one among those negationist of historians who tried to whitewash the blood soaked history of Islamic invasion of India and Irfan being his son is no different.

        • ravi

          Habib identifies himself as a Marxist and uses Marxist historiography in his work.
          Irfan Habib has been criticized for negationism by concealing the record of Islamic invasions in India.
          He was among the historians at the Indian History Congress in 1998 when they moved a resolution against the saffronisation of history.

          To counter Irfan Habib Murli Manohar Joshi had released a book to rebuts the history of ‘‘Habib & Co.

        • karan

          Historical revisionism is either the legitimate scholastic re-examination of existing knowledge about a historical event, or the illegitimate distortion of the historical record such that certain events appear in a more or less favorable light. For the former, i.e. the academic pursuit, see historical revisionism. This article deals solely with the latter, the distortion of history, which—if it constitutes the denial of historical crimes—is also sometimes called negationism.

          In attempting to revise the past, illegitimate historical revisionism appeals to the intellect—via techniques illegitimate to historical discourse—to advance a given interpretive historical view, typically involving war crimes or crimes against humanity. The techniques include presenting known forged documents as genuine; inventing ingenious, but implausible, reasons for distrusting genuine documents; attributing his or her own conclusions to books and sources reporting the opposite; manipulating statistical series to support the given point of view; and deliberately mis-translating texts (in languages other than the revisionist’s). Practical examples of negationism (illegitimate historical revisionism) include Holocaust denial and some Soviet historiography. Contemporarily, hate groups practice negationism on the Internet.
          In literature, the effects of historical revisionism are usually described in science fiction novels such as Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell. Moreover, some countries have criminalised the negationist revision of certain historical events.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_revisionism_(negationism)

        • @Anonymous
          The very first two lines of your post tells me all about your education and upbringing. Thanks for letting me a peep into your history. Rest of your post is malarkey.

      • cnm

        @Cynical
        Which Irfan Habib are you talking of ? Is it that Irfan habib who has embezzled money in ICRH. If you are talking of that Irfan them I am sorry you are wrong. He is no internationally reputed Scholar but a fraud. Plesae Read Arun Shourie’s “Eminent Historians” to know the character of Irafan Habib and other ’eminences.”

      • cnm

        @ cynical
        Going by the Book of Arun Shourie’s “Eminent Historians” . Historians like Habib are embezzler of money in the ICHR.

        • Since when an allegation becomes a proof of culpability? I have in the past alleged that Arun Shourie stole two chapatis from my mom’s kitchen, but I couldn’t prove it. So Arun Shourie is not a thief, just as Irfan Habib is not.
          Get the point!!!

          • cnm

            Cynical
            since independence barring a few exceptions no politicians or top level bureaucrats have never been put behind bars on corruption charges, but there are very serious allegations against them. Does that mean they are all false simply because the prevailing rot in systems which punish a hungry person for stealing a chapati but miserably fail to punish the big fish. The wealth of many politicians like Mayavati and others have increased disproportionately to their income but have our systems succeeded to punish them. Shall then we say the allegations against them are false ? you always harp on this that none of us has studied your internationally reputed scholar Irfan Habib ,hence we can not reject him. But have you read Arun Shourie’s above book ?

            • cnm

              Read “Ever” not “never”( second line third word)

            • You are right. Sometime people get away with crime because because of rot in system. It’s unfortunate. But we have to stiil go by the laws of the land. I consider Irfan Habib is innocent, because the allegations against him has not been proven in a court of law. Just like Modi is considered to be innocent, since he has not been indited by a court of law.innocent

              • kcsharma2012

                Is this comparison valid? Is there any enquiry or court case going against Habib? Having an opinion, howsoever stupid is not a crime.

              • cnm

                AS you consider Irfan habib innocent so I consider him to be a fake historian or simply putting a marxist historian.

  3. JGN

    @ Cynical, there was no place called Indian sub-continent before the arrival of Islamic Invaders and European Christian Colonizers. While the Northern part of India was brought on Camel-back by the Arabs, the Southers parts were brought by the European Christian colonizers by ship. These “Sanghies” have no knowledge of History.

    My only doubt is what brought the Islamic Invaders and European Christian colonizers to a “god-forsaken” country like India. Was it their eagerness to civilize the unwashed Deshis? I will be highly obliged if you could enlighten me.

  4. JGN

    @ cynical: >>>>Since when an allegation becomes a proof of culpability? >>> why the same rule is not applicable to one Mr. Narendra Modi? Has any competent court of law found him guilty?

    The politics of the pro-Islamist Left is a politics of betrayal. Pl read this: Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2013/06/19/siding-with-the-oppressor-the-pro-islamist-left/

    • @JGN
      Now you are induling in the favourite tactics of the bigots; changing the goal post. We were on Irfan Habib, but when the rebuttal becomes a little uncomfortable to handle you bring Modi. Did I mention Modi? Stay on course. We can discuss Modi on a different ocassion if you so choose.

      • Sorry for the typo. Read, ‘indulging’ instead of ‘induling’.
        Thanks.

      • JGN

        Cynical, what is sauce for goose is sauce for gander also. Irfan Habib,is a Pro-Islamist Leftist. Why don’t you talk about the second part of my message or the link I had provided? That was not written by any “Sanghi”.

        I am just wondering why the “Commies” are eager to justify the Islamists. They would be the first victims under any Islamic dispensation. Over ten lakh Communists were butchered in Indonesia in 1966. Najibullah was hanged from a mobile crane and his supporters butchered in Afghanistan by the Taliaban. There is no Communist movement in any Islamic countries.

  5. Vineet

    Cynical is talking like a commie or a perfect monotheist. Just like monotheist say there god is true because there book say so just like that he is using a modified argument completely forgetting that every one with more than single digit IQ knows the stranglehold of commies/nehruvians on educational institutions. He ridicules a scholarly detailed work of Shourie because he knows he cannot question the detailed work by him.

    He will just not accept like commies that the history research in this country was biased and will negate anything we say. don’t waste time on him. He is an avatar of Vicjags of other thread

  6. JGN

    @ Vineet, Cynical is a Commie Bong named “malaydeb” while Vicjags is a Tamilian neo-convert. .Both have extreme views.

    • Indian Realist

      These commie bongs are the most vicious for Hindus. Their own backside is on fire — Muslims have captured border districts of W. Bengal and are making life of Hindu bongs hell, but commie bongs roam the rest of India like bards of yore, preaching secularism to Hindus (but not to monotheists who need this preaching the most). One Hindu bong woman told me recently: “Our men are stupid and cowards. We women face the consequences when Muslims descend on us in riots, but our men side with Muslims against us.”

    • Vineet

      Thanks JGN. Moot point both are two sides of the same coin.

      We should not waste our time and energy on these elements. Answer them yes, but then focus on spreading the word to our fellow citizens. Use social media, facebook etc to spread the good word.

  7. PDP

    i think this Cynical a**hole should just be ignored. He is just a big fart – avoid him/her/it.

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