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The Babri Mosque (Hindi:

,, Urdu: ) , Babri Masjid or Mosque of Babur

was a mosque in Ayodhya, constructed by order of Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India in the 16th century.[1][2] Before the 1940s, the mosque was called Masjid-i Janmasthan ("mosque of the birthplace").[3] The mosque stood on Ramkot ("Rama's fort") Hill (also called Janmasthan ("Birthplace")), It was destroyed by Hindu nationalists,[4] 150,000 strong, during a planned ceremony on December 6, 1992 despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court that the mosque would not be harmed.[5][6] Babur's commander-in-chief, Mir Baqi, destroyed an existing temple at the site, which Hindus believe was the temple built to commemorate the birthplace of Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and ruler of Ayodhya (see Ram Janmabhoomi). The Babri Mosque was one of the largest mosques in Uttar Pradesh, a state in India with some 31 million Muslims[7]. Although there were several older mosques in the city of Ayodhya, an area with a substantial Muslim population, including the Hazrat Bal Mosque constructed by the Shariqi kings, the Babri Mosque became the largest, due to the importance of the disputed site. However some non-mainstream historians claim that there was no original temple in Ayodhya (despite the fact that according to Ramayana, Ayodhya was the birthplace and capital of Sri Rama). In his booklet, Communal History and Rama's Ayodhya, Professor Ram Sharan Sharma writes, "Ayodhya seems to have emerged as a place of religious pilgrimage in medieval times. Although chapter 85 of the Vishnu Smriti lists as many as fifty-two places of pilgrimage, including towns, lakes, rivers, mountains, etc., it does not include Ayodhya in this list."[8] Sharma also notes that Tulsidas, who wrote the Ramcharitmanas in 1574 at Ayodhya, does not mention it as a place of pilgrimage.[9] After the demolition of Babri Masjid, Professor Ram Sharan Sharma along with Historians Suraj Bhan, M.Athar Ali and Dwijendra Narayan Jha came up with the Historian's report to the nation on how the communalists were mistaken in their assumption that there was a temple at the disputed site and how it was sheer vandalism in bringing down the mosque and the book has been translated into all the Indian languages.[10] However this view is not mainstream, and several archeological surveys including that by the Archeological Survey of India have confirmed the existence of a temple predating the current mosque by over a thousand years.

Architecture of the mosque Interior View under the right dome, with the octagonal fountain used for ablutions in the foreground. Under the Central dome (where the mihrab used to be) was placed an idol of Lord Rama separated from this area by a large canvas screen, for several years, before the mosque was sealed by the UP Government, both Muslims and Hindus offered prayers here. The rulers of the Sultanate of Delhi and its successor Mugal Empire were great patrons of art and architecture and constructed many fine tombs, mosques and madrasas. These have a distinctive style which bears influences of 'later Tughlaq' architecture. Mosques all over India were built in different styles; the most elegant styles developed in areas where indigenous art traditions were strong and local artisans were highly skilled. Thus regional or provincial styles of mosques grew out of local temple or domestic styles, which were conditioned in their turn by climate, terrain, materials, hence the enormous difference between the mosques of Bengal, Kashmir and Gujarat. The Babri Mosque followed the architectural school of Jaunpur. Babri is a mosque of a distinct style, preserved mainly in architecture, developed after the Delhi Sultanate was established (1192). The square CharMinar of Hyderabad (1591) with large arches, arcades, and minarets is typical. This art made extensive use of stone and reflected Indian adaptation to Muslim rule, until Mughals art replaced it in the 17th century, as typified by structures like the Taj Mahal.

The traditional hypostyle plan with an enclosed courtyard, imported from Western Asia was generally associated with the introduction of Islam in new areas, but was abandoned in favour of schemes more suited to local climate and needs. The Babri Masjid was a mixture of the local influence and the Western Asian style and examples of this type of mosque are common in India. The Babri Mosque was a large imposing structure with three domes, one central and two secondary. It is surrounded by two high walls, running parallel to each other and enclosing a large central courtyard with a deep well, which was known for its cold and sweet water. On the high entrance of the domed structure are fixed two stone tablets which bear two inscriptions in Persian declaring that this structure was built by Mir Baqi on the orders of Babur. The walls of the Babri Mosque are made of coarse-grained whitish sandstone blocks, rectangular in shape, while the domes are made of thin and small burnt bricks. Both these structural ingredients are plastered with thick chunam paste mixed with coarse sand. One of the columns of the Babri Mosque. Some Hindus say it came from a Temple under the site, particularly noting the two flowers (far top of photo) which they say are Hindu-associated lotus motifs. The Central Courtyard was surrounded by lavishly curved columns superimposed to increase the height of the ceilings. The plan and the architecture followed the Begumpur Friday mosque of Jahanpanah rather than the Moghul style where Hindu masons used their own trabeated structural and decorative traditions. The excellence of their craftsmanship is noticeable in their vegetal scrolls and lotus patterns. These motifs are also present in the Firuz Shah Mosque in Firuzabad (c.1354) now in a ruined state, Qila Kuhna Mosque (c.1540, The Darasbari Mosque in the Southern suburb of the walled city of Gaur, and the Jamali Kamili Mosque built by Sher Shah Suri this was the forerunner of the Indo Islamic style adopted by Akbar. The Babri Masjid with its bold and graceful style was universally praised and widely followed. [edit] Babri Masjid acoustic and cooling system "A whisper from the Babri Masjid Mihrab could be heard clearly at the other end 200 feet [60 m] away and through the length and breadth of the central court" according to Graham Pickford architect to Lord William Bentinck (18281833). The Mosque's acoustics were mentioned by him in his book 'Historic Structures of Oudhe' he says for a 16th century building the deployment and projection of voice from the pulpit is considerably advanced, the unique deployment of sound in this structure will astonish the visitor. Modern Architects have attributed this intriguing acoustic feature to a large recess in the wall of the Mihrab and several recesses in the surrounding walls which functioned as resonators; this design helped everyone to hear the speaker at the Mihrab. The sandstone used in building the Babri Mosque also had resonant qualities which contributed to the unique acoustics. Pictured is a six-foot (2 m) window grill of the Babri mosque. These were six in number and so positioned to allow cool air to sweep through the mosque. The grills were a fine example of Islamic two-dimensional geometry. These together with the thick walls and high roof kept the interior cool. A large number smaller Roshandans were installed only for light with intricate geometrical patterns The Babri mosques Tughluquid style integrated other indigenous design components and techniques, such as air cooling systems disguised as Islamic architectural elements like arches, vaults and domes. In the Babri Masjid the high ceiling, domes, and six large grill windows (see picture) all served as a passive environmental control system that brought down the temperature and also allowed in natural ventilation as well as daylight.

[edit] Legend of the Babri Mosques miraculous well The reported medicinal properties of the deep well in the central courtyard have been featured in various news reports such as the BBC report of December 1989 and in various newspapers. The earliest mention of the Babri water well was in a two line reference to the Mosque in the Gazette of Faizabad District 1918 which says There are no significant historical buildings here, except for various Buddhist shrines, the Babri Mosque is an ancient structure with a well which both the Hindus and Mussalmans claim has Miraculous properties. Ayodhya, a pilgrimage site for Hindus has an annual fair attended by over 500,000 people of both faiths, many devotees came during the annual Ram festival to drink from the water well in the Babri Courtyard. It was believed drinking water from this well could cure a range of illnesses. Hindu pilgrims also believed that the Babri water well was the original well in the Ram Temple under the mosque. Ayodhya Muslims believed that the well was a gift from God. Local women regularly brought their new born babies to drink from the reputedly curative water. The 125 foot (40 m) deep well in question was situated in the South Eastern Courtyard of the large rectangular courtyard of the Babri Mosque. There was a small Hindu shrine built in 1890 joining the well with a statute of Lord Rama. It was an artesian well and drew water from a considerable distance below the water table. Eleven feet (3 m) in radius the first 30 feet (10 m) from ground level were bricked. It drew water from a reservoir trapped in a bed of shale sand and gravel; this could explain the unusually cool temperature of the water. The water contained almost no sodium explaining its reputation that the water was sweet. To access the well one had to climb on to a three foot (1 m) platform, the well was covered with planks of thick wood with an unhinged trapdoor. Water was drawn by means of a bucket and long lengths of rope and due to its claimed spiritual properties used only for drinking. The Babri Mosque Arcade. Following the traditional hypostyle plan imported from Western Asia, this opened to a large walled courtyard with a deep drinking water well. Even though the medicinal properties of artesian wells can be explained by the high amount of calcium and mineral content in the water it, is significant that Hindus and Muslims in Ayodhya considered the Babri Mosque Complex a haven of peace and spiritual tranquillity. Many people in the area, of both faiths, had a profound belief in the miraculous properties of its cold and pure underground water. Folklore is said to contribute much to the legends of the healing waters. [edit] History [edit] Hindu account According to Hindu historians[who?], the Muslim emperor Babur came down from Ferghana in 1527 and overcame the Hindu King of Chittodgad, Rana Sangrama Singh at Sikri, using cannons and artillery. After this victory, Babar dominated the subjugated Hindu population. His general, Mir Baqi, was in charge of the region. Samrat Shri Ramachandra is revered by some Hindus as a god, also referred to as Lord Rama, believed by Hindus to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Mir Baqi allegedly destroyed this temple at Ayodhya, built by the Hindus to commemorate Rama. Mir Baqi built a mosque at the site of the destroyed temple. This was called the Babri Masjid Mosque, named after King Babar. The claim of the destruction of this temple and the erection of a mosque in its place is also mentioned in the Encyclopedia Britannica.[11] [edit] Jain account According to Jain Samata Vahini, a social organization of the Jains, "the only structure that could be found during excavation would be a sixth century Jain temple".

Sohan Mehta, the General Secretary of Jain Samata Vahini, claims that the demolished disputed structure was actually built on the remnants of an ancient Jain temple, and that the excavation by ASI, ordered by Allahabad High Court to settle the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi dispute, would prove it. Ayodhya was the place where five Jain teerthankars, Rishabhdeo, Ajeeth Nath, Abhinandanji, Sumati Nath and Anant Nath, stayed. The ancient city was among the five biggest centres of Jainism and Buddhism till 450 years ago, Mehta asserted quoting writings of 18th century Jain monks.[12] Jain body jumps into Ayodhya dispute, claims disputed site-Press Trust of India[13] [edit] Muslim account Muslims sources say that neither history nor fact can come to prove the Hindu case as claimed above.[citation needed] They claim that is clear that the allegations, on which, the demands of RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Hindu Munnani are based for laying claim to Babri Masjid are biased against Islam. According to the District Gazetteer Faizabad 1905, it is said that "up to this time (1855), both the Hindus and Muslims used to worship in the same building. But since the Mutiny (1857), an outer enclosure has been put up in front of the Masjid and the Hindus forbidden access to the inner yard, make the offerings on a platform (chabootra), which they have raised in the outer one." Some Hindus[who?] in 1883 wanted to construct a temple on this chabootra, but the Deputy Commissioner prohibited it on January 19, 1885. Raghubir Das, a mahant, filed a suit before the Faizabad Sub-Judge. Pandit Harikishan was seeking permission to construct a temple on this chabootra measuring 17 ft. x 21 ft., the suit was dismissed. An appeal was filed before the Faizabad District Judge, Colonel J.E.A. Chambiar who, after an inspection of spot on March 17, 1886, dismissed the appeal. A Second Appeal was filed on May 25, 1886, before the Judicial Commissioner of Awadh, W. Young, who also dismissed the appeal. With this, the first round of legal battle fought by the Hindus came to an end. During the "communal riots" of 1934, walls around the Masjid and one of the domes of the Masjid were damaged. These were reconstructed by the British Government. On mid-night of December 22, 1949, when the police guards were asleep, idols of Rama and Sita were quietly brought into the Masjid and were planted. This was reported by constable, Mata Prasad, the next morning and recorded at the Ayodhya police station. The following morning (December 23, 1949), a large Hindu crowd made a "frantic attempt" to enter the Masjid on in order to offer puja to the deities. The District Magistrate K.K. Nair has recorded that "The crowd made a most determined attempt to force entry. The lock was broken and policemen were rushed off their feet. All of us, officers and men, somehow pushed the crowd back and held the gate. The sadhus recklessly hurled themselves against men and arms and it was with great difficulty that we managed to hold the gate. The gate was secured and locked with a powerful lock brought from outside and police force was strengthened (5:00 pm)." On hearing this news Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru directed UP Chief Minister Govind Ballabh Pant, to see that the deities were removed. Under Pant's orders, Chief Secretary Bhagwan Sahay and Inspector-General of Police V.N. Lahiri sent immediate instructions to Faizabad to remove the deities. However, K.K. Nair feared that the Hindus would retaliate and pleaded inability to carry out the orders. [edit] Babur

It is generally thought that the Mosque was built by Babur because an inscription on the mosque records his name. Although there is a detailed account of the life of Babur in the form of his diary (Babur Nama), the pages of the relevant period are missing in the diary. But it is also alleged that the Mosque already existed before Babur, who may only have renovated the building. The contemporary Tarikh-i-Babari records that Babar's troops "demolished many Hindu temples at Chanderi". [edit] ASI report Main article: Archaeology of Ayodhya In 2003, The Archaeology Society of India conducted a study and an excavation to ascertain the type of structure that was beneath the rubble.[14] The summary of the ASI report [15] indicated definite proof of a temple under the mosque. In the words of ASI researchers, they discovered "distinctive features associated with... temples of north India". The excavations yielded: stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of a divine couple and carved architectural features, including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broke octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge structure" [16] [edit] Fallout The Muslims strongly criticized the report, claiming that it pandered to certain interests and made no remarks on evidence in support of Muslims such as bones unearthed with tool markings on them.[17]. This view was shared by many Muslim religious groups including the Sunni Waqf Board and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Examining the ASI's conclusion of a mandir under the structure, the VHP and the RSS stepped up demands for Muslims to restore the three holiest North Indian mandirs to Hindus.[16] [edit] The Ayodhya Debate Main article: Ayodhya Debate The Ayodhya debate is a political, historical and socio-religious debate that was prevalent especially in the 1990s in South Asia. [edit] Timeline of the Babri Mosque and the Ayodhya debate The date of the construction of the Babri Mosque is disputed. Before the 1940s, the Mosque was called Masjid-i Janmasthan. Although there exists a detailed account of the life of Babur in the form of his diary, the pages of the relevant period are missing. The construction of the mosque subsequent to the demolition of the temple is speculated to have occurred anywhere between 1194 and 1528 (with the Ghorid conquests having reached Ayodhya in 1194). [edit] Demolition of Babri Masjid On 6 December 1992 the mosque was destroyed by Hindu nationalists,[4] 150,000 strong, during a planned ceremony, despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court that the mosque would not be harmed.[5][6] [edit] Inquiry into the demolition On 16 December 1992, Liberhan Commission was set up by the Government of India to probe

the circumstances that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It has been longest running commission in India's history with 48 extensions granted by various governments. Finally, the commission has submitted its report to the PM Dr. Manmohan Singh on 30th of June, 2009, more than 16 years after the incident. [18]. [edit] Reaction to the demolition More than 2000 people were killed in the ensuing riots following the demolition. Riots broke out in many major Indian cities including Bombay, Delhi and Hyderabad.[citation needed]