Ayodhya case: Historians hard pressed to wrap up in 6 weeks


New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) “We were given only six weeks’ time for the entire study. Pressure was being repeatedly exerted, so, we submitted our report without going through the excavation work done by B.B. Lal,” said Suraj Bhan in his examination as an expert witness for Sunni Waqf Board before the Allahabad High Court.

This has been recorded in the High Court judgement in 2010 in the Ayodhya title dispute.

Professor B.B. Lal conducted a more intensive and revealing study of the disputed area in 1975-76. Lal excavated the mound of the Babri Masjid. He concluded that the occupational phases of the mound appear to have continued up to circa third century A.D., and it represents several structural phases. In the Janmabhoomi area a massive wall of bricks was observed, which he concluded may perhaps be identified as a fortification wall.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to give credence to a report by four historians in 1991 cited by Sunni Waqf Board during the ongoing arguments on the vexed title dispute. The historians had opined that the disputed Babri Masjid – Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya was not the place of birth of Lord Ram before 1850 nor there was any proof of a temple being destroyed to construct a mosque in 1528.

The top court has referred it an opinion and held back from giving it any evidentiary value. This report in the shape of letter was written by four well-known historians on May 13, 1991. The historians are — R S Sharma, retired professor of Delhi University and also the first chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research; M Athar Ali, retired professor of history in Aligarh Muslim University and former president of Indian History Congress; D N Jha, former professor of history of DU and a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research; and Suraj Bhan, a professor of archeology in Kurukshetra University.

Jha did not sign the report. Bhan was the only historian from the lot who was examined as an expert witness for Sunni Waqf Board before the Allahabad High Court.

“It is true that I am not a specialist in history. I do not know that my testimony in this litigation has been only as an archaeologist,” said Bhan in his examination.

He also told the court that out of the four impartial historians, two had not gone to Ayodhya. Bhan told the court that recorded history, too, was not his subject, nor was he a specialist.

“I am also not a specialist in art history but I have general understanding of it”, Bhan told the court. Bhan also claimed though he was an M.A. in Sanskrit language, but cannot speak in the language and often faced difficulty reading it.


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