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Modern Timeline of Ayodhya – Vatsal Tyagi

Modern Timeline Of Ayodhya – Vatsal Tyagi

In circa 1030 A.D. the famous historian Alberuni, who accompanied Mahmud of Ghazani in various military expeditions against India, wrote the well-known book “Kitab-ul Hind” wherein he refers to Ayodhyā and mentions the main story of the Rāmāyana with details on the Rāmasetu. He depicts many activities of Rāma and quotes the Vishnu-purāna, with reverence to Rāma, in the following words: “in Tretayuga, in the shape of Rama alone, for the purpose of spreading fortitude, to conquer the bad, and to preserve the three worlds by force and the prevalence of virtuous action”. Besides, he was aware of the fact that Rāma was an incarnation of Vishnu and idols were prescribed for his worship.

On 23rd October, 1093 the Gahadavāla King Chandradeva visited Ayodhyā on the occasion of a solar eclipse and after having taken bath in the Sarayū performed certain rituals. In c. 1130 A.D. Anayachandra, the Governor of Gahadavāla King Govindachandra at Ayodhyā, built the Visnu-hari temple on the Rāma-janma-bhūmi site. In c. 1150 A.D. Ayushchandra, another Governor of King Govindachandra at Ayodhyā, which had many towering temples and abodes, constructed thousands of wells, tanks, rest houses in the Sāketa Mandala.

In 1192-93 A.D. Makadum Shah Juran Ghori, the younger brother of Muhammad Ghori, invaded Ayodhyā with a huge army. Bartuh, probably the Governor of Ayodhyā, faced him valiantly and in the battle, more than one hundred and twenty thousand Musalmans were killed. Makdum Shah’s army could demolish only Jain Ãdinātha Mandir. It appears that he was killed there because there is a grave of Makdum Shah Juran Ghori at Ayodhyā.

In 1337 A.D. Ain-ul-mulk, Governor at Ayodhyā, supplied enormous quantity of provisions and money for relief to the famine-stricken people in the Doab area and in circa 1340 Muhammad bin Tughalaq appointed a Hindu, Kishan, the Governor of Ayodhyā.

In 1589 A.D. Muhammad Farmuli alias Kala Pahar was appointed the Governor of Oudh by Bahlol Lodi after the latter shifted the capital of Oudh from Jaunpur to Ayodhyā. Muhammad Farmuli was succeeded by his son- in-law Mustafa Farmuli. After Mustafa’s death his younger brother Bāyazīd was appointed the Governor of Ayodhyā by Ibrahim Lodi. Bāyazīd fought in support of Lodi but after Ibrahim’s defeat, he called on Babur to show his solidarity with him in July, 1526.

In August, 1527 Babur had sneaking suspicion about the activities of Bāyazīd and by January 1528 Bāyazīd along with Malik Biban and Maruf Farmuli rebelled against Babur. After successful Chanderi expedition, Babur went for hot pursuit of Bāyazīd and reached Lucknow in 21st March, 1528.

On 28th March, 1528 Bāyazīd, the Governor of Oudh at Ayodhyā, was near the junction of Ghaghra and Sirda at a distance of 115 Km. from Ayodhyā. On 2nd April, 1528 when Babur left for hunting, he was at a distance of 140 Km. from Ayodhyā in the thick forest and not in the vicinity of Ayodhyā.

Pages of Babur’s diary are missing from 3rd April, 1528 to 17th September, 1528. The so-called Baburi mosque is supposed to have been built in 935 A.H. which started on 15th September, 1528. Thus, only three days’ writings are missing from his diary of 935 A.H. and during these three days the mosque could not have been constructed. Moreover, on the opening day of the year 935 A.H., i.e. 15th September, 1528 Babur was at Agra in his imperial court.

Neither Babur nor Baqi Taskindi/Shaghawal had any occasion or reason to visit Ayodhyā. There was no Hindu Governor at Ayodhyā for long. The Governor of Oudh at Ayodhyā was Bāyazīd and not Mir Baqi. Bāyazīd was on the run and Baqi was a petty army commander of 1000 soldiers engaged in the expedition to kill or catch hold of Bayzid, Biban and other rebels.

On 13th June 1529 Baqi Tashkindi called on Babur and on 20th June 1529 he was dismissed from service or sent on long leave and he was never heard of again. In 1574 A.D. when Tulasi Das started composing the Rāmacharitamānasa at Ayodhyā on the Rāma-navamī day, Ayodhyā was the picture of vibrancy. Rāma shows his जन्मभूमि मम पूरी सुहावनी

In c. 1590 A.D.Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari wrote about the antiquity of Ayodhyā and incarnation of Rāma. He further added that there was a combination of temporal and spiritual authority in Rāma. On 28th March, 1600 the Mughal Emperor Akbar gave six bighas of land for the construction of the Hanuman Tila. In 1610 A.D. William Finch in his travel accounts of Ayodhyā wrote about the ruins of the great God Rāmachandra’s castle and houses, and recorded Indians’ statement that he was born in human form to see the tamasha of the world. He did not see any mosque in the area; rather he saw Brahmins there.

In 1631 A.D. Jonnes De Laet’s book ‘De Imperio Magni Mogolis Sive India Vera Commentarius’ was published and in its account on Ayodhyā he not only repeated the content of William Finch+ but also added that pilgrims came to this place from all parts of India and after worshipping the idol took away with them some grains of charred rice as proof of their visit. In 1634 A.D. the travel accounts of Ayodhyā written by Thomas Herbert were published in the book ‘Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique.’ Herbert mentions the existence of many antique monuments at Ayodhyā and states that the most memorable amongst them was the pretty old castle which Rāmachandra built 9,94,500 years ago.

In 1660 A.D. Fedai Khan, the foster brother of Aurangzeb and the Governor at Ayodhyā, demolished many temples of the holy city which included the Rāma-janma-bhūmi temple at Ayodhyā.

In 1672 A.D. Lal Das composed Avadha-vilāsa at Ayodhyā. He gave exact location of the Rāma-janma-bhūmi, but does not mention any temple. In 1714 A.D. a Hindu, Chhabile Ram by name, was appointed Governor of Ayodhyā by the Mughal emperor Farrukh-Siyar and remained there until October 1715. In 1720 Girdhar Bahadur, was appointed the Governor at Ayodhyā with subedari, faujdari and diwani power. In October, 1722 Girdhar Bahadur was transferred to Malwa as Governor. Thereafter came Sa’adat Khan and the era of Awadh Nawabs started.

On 8th July, 1723 Bairāgi Sādhu Abhayarāma Das got the renewal of six bighas of land granted by Akbar on 28th March, 1600 for the construction of Hanuman Tila. On 23rd February, 1759 the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao asked Dattaji Sindhia to talk to Awadh Nawab Shuja-ud-daulah and take over Ayodhyā, Kās´ī and Mathurā.

In 1767 A.D. when the Jesuit Austrian Father Joseph Tiffenthaler visited Ayodhyā, he wrote minute details of the disputed structure and its vicinity. His Latin book “Descriptio Indiae” is the first text which mentions the mosque. It clearly states that the mosque was built after demolishing the Ram Kot and the Bedi inside it is situated on the birthplace of Rāma around which people circumbulate. He does not mention any inscription in the mosque.

In 1775 A.D. Suja-ud-daulah shifted the capital from Ayodhyā to Faizabad. It made the exodus of bureaucrats and elite Muslim classes from Ayodhyā. It further facilitated Bairagi Sadhus to retrieve the alienated temples and construct new ones. In 1801 A.D. the French Scholar C. Mentelle wrote that the Svargadvāra and other temples at Ayodhyā were demolished by Aurangzeb, although some attributed it to Babur.

In 1813-14 A.D. when Francis Buchanan went to Ayodhyā for the survey, he found that the general perception of people was that Aurangzeb had destroyed the temples at Mathurā, Kaśī and Ayodhyā. Nevertheless, he was beguiled by a spurious inscription which indicated that the mosque was built by Mir Baqi at the command of Babur. However, the two inscriptions seen by him did never look exactly the same in subsequent incarnations.

In 1822 A.D. Superintendent of Faizabad Law Court Hafizullah submitted a document which stated that the mosque founded by Emperor Babur was situated at the birthsite of Rāma. Evidently, the newly floated inscription had swayed his report. In July, 1855 Shah Gulam Husain along with a group of 400-600 persons, armed with weapons, stormed the Hanuman Gadhi after spreading the rumour that there was a mosque built by Aurangzeb at the site. They were repulsed and chased by Bairagi Sadhus up to the Baburi mosque where a sanguinary battle took place and 75 Muslims and 11 Hindus were killed.

On 7 November, 1855 Ameer Ali led a group of jehadis to demolish the Hanuman Garhi. They started from Amethi but before they could reach Ayodhyā most of them were killed in a direct fight with the royal troops led by Captain Barlow. On 4 February 1856 the Kingdom of Oudh was arbitrarily annexed by the East India Company and on 2 August 1858 the British Government directly took over the administration of India except that of the Princely States.

In November, 1858 one Nihang Sikh from Punjab along with 25 fellow Sikhs captured the mosque and placed an idol in its central part near the pulpit and established a nishan (flag) outside the mosque. He performed puja and homa inside the shrine and wrote ‘Rāma Rāma’ with coal in all parts of the mosque. In December, 1858 on a complaint to the S.H.O. the Nihang Sikh was ousted from the mosque and thereafter the British Government did great injustice to the Hindus by banning their puja and rituals in the disputed shrine. They were provided a platform outside the mosque to perform puja.

On 10 April 1859 Vishnubhatta Godse Versaikar, the author of Majha Pravas (My Travels) i.e. “1858 The Real Story of the Great Uprising”, reached Ayodhyā and was present in the Rāma-janma-bhūmi premises on the Rāma-navami day. He saw around 8 lakh devotees present in Ayodhyā on that day. After staying for 22 days he left Ayodhyā. He has given a graphic picture of Rāma-janma-bhūmi and Ayodhyā in his Memoirs.

 In 1870 A.D. P. Carnegy published the book ‘Historical Sketch of Tahsil Fyzabad, Zillah Fyzabad’’ wherein he stated that the Hindus and Muslims were performing puja and namaz in the disputed shrine before its takeover by the British Government.

On 24th December, 1885 Pandit Hari Kishan, Sub Judge, Faizabad made a spot enquiry of the disputed mosque in the presence of both the Hindus and the Muslims, and found nothing except ‘Allah’ superscribed on its wall. He dismissed the petition of Raghubar Das, lest riot should take place. On 17th March, 1886 the District Judge Col. P.E.D. Chamier inspected the disputed mosque in the presence of all parties and found nothing except ‘Allah’ written there. He lamented the demolition of the premier Hindu temple but dismissed the petition of Raghubar Das to build a temple.

In 1889 A.D. Fuhrer found three inscriptions on the mosque. In one inscription the date was 930 A.H., i.e. 1523 A.D. instead of 935 A.H., i.e. 1528 A.D. and in another the name of the builder was Mir Khan and not Mir Baqi. In 1902 A.D. the District Administration placed markers for all important places of Ayodhyā. The first stone marker was fixed in front of the eastern entrance of the disputed mosque as “No. 1, Rāma-janma-bhūmi”. In 1906-07 A.D. Maulvi Shuaib submitted his Annual Survey Report wherein he mentioned three inscriptions in the disputed shrine. One inscription was dated 930 A.H. i.e. 1523 A.D.

In 1934 A.D. there was a serious communal riot at Ayodhyā. The disputed mosque was damaged extensively. Thereafter Muslims went to the disputed shrine only once in a week to perform Jumma Namaz. On 26th March, 1946 the Civil Judge of Faizabad S.A. Ahsan inspected the mosque in Faizabad Regular Suit No. 29/1946 and got the inscriptions read out. One inscription referred to the date 923 A.H. i.e. 1516-17 as the year of the construction of the mosque.

On the night of 22nd-23rd December, 1949 Rāmalalla was placed in the central hall of the disputed shrine by the Sadhus of Ayodhyā headed by Karpatri Maharaj. On 1st April, 1986 the lock on the main door of the disputed shrine was opened by the order of the District Judge Faizabad, Shri K.M. Pande. On 6th December, 1992 the disputed shrine was razed to the ground by the unruly Kār-sevaks. On 30th September, 2010 the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court pronounced the detailed Judgment.

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