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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024

Ayodhya dispute rewritten in NCERT books, new name for Babri Masjid, know what has changed

New Delhi: NCERT’s revised book for Class 12 Political Science has been released in the market last week. Some changes have been made in the NCERT book related to Ayodhya dispute and Babri Masjid. Babri Masjid has not been named in the revised textbook, it has been called a ‘three-domed structure’. The Ayodhya section in the textbook has been reduced from four to two pages. Also, important details from the first edition have been removed. These include BJP’s Rath Yatra from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya; the role of karsevaks; communal violence after the demolition of Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992; President’s rule in BJP-ruled states; and BJP expressing “regret over the events of Ayodhya”. The Indian Express had given information about the changes in NCERT’s textbook in the month of April. Now that the book has been released in the market, let’s take a look at the important changes made in the book.

Three-domed structure in place of Babri Masjid

The old book introduces the Babri Masjid as a 16th-century mosque built by Mughal emperor Babur’s general Mir Baqi. Now, the chapter refers to it as a ‘three-domed structure (built) at the birthplace of Shri Ram in 1528’, but the structure’s interiors and exteriors had clear displays of Hindu symbols and relics.

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New paragraph added

Over two pages in the old book described the mobilisation on “both sides” after the locks of the mosque were opened in February 1986 on the orders of the Faizabad (now Ayodhya) district court. It mentioned communal tensions, the Rath Yatra organised from Somnath to Ayodhya, the Kar Seva undertaken by volunteers for the construction of a Ram temple in December 1992, the demolition of the mosque and the communal violence that followed in January 1993. It mentioned how the BJP “expressed regret over the events in Ayodhya” and mentioned “serious debates on secularism”. It has been replaced by a paragraph: “In 1986, the situation relating to the three-domed structure took a critical turn when the Faizabad (now Ayodhya) district court ruled to open the structure, allowing people to worship there. The dispute had been going on for several decades as the three-domed structure was believed to have been built after demolishing a temple at the birthplace of Shri Ram. Though the foundation stone for the temple was laid, further construction was banned. The Hindu community felt that their concerns related to the birthplace of Shri Ram were ignored, while the Muslim community sought assurances of their possession of the structure. Subsequently, tensions between the two communities escalated over ownership rights, resulting in several disputes and legal conflicts. Both communities wanted a fair resolution of the long-standing issue. In 1992, following the demolition of the structure, some critics argued that it posed a major challenge to the principles of Indian democracy.

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Mention of Supreme Court’s decision on Ayodhya dispute

The new edition of the textbook adds a subsection on the Supreme Court judgment on the Ayodhya dispute (titled ‘From legal proceedings to amicable acceptance’). It says that ‘conflicts are inevitable in any society’, but ‘in a multi-religious and multicultural democratic society, these conflicts are usually resolved following due process of law’. It then mentions the 5-0 verdict of the Supreme Court’s constitutional bench on November 9, 2019, on the Ayodhya dispute. That verdict set the stage for the temple – inaugurated in January this year. ‘The verdict allotted the disputed site to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust for the construction of a Ram temple and directed the relevant government to allot a suitable site to the Sunni Central Waqf Board for the construction of a mosque. In this way, democracy gives space for conflict resolution in a pluralistic society like ours, upholding the inclusive spirit of the Constitution. The issue was resolved following due process of law based on evidence such as archaeological excavations and historical records,’ the textbook says. The Supreme Court’s decision was widely celebrated by the society. This is an excellent example of building a consensus on a sensitive issue which reflects the maturity of the democratic ethos that is civilisationally rooted in India.’

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Removed picture of newspaper articles

The old textbook had photographs of newspaper articles, including one from December 7, 1992, titled ‘Babri Masjid demolished, Centre sacks Kalyan govt.’ Another headline from December 13, 1992, quoted former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as saying, ‘Ayodhya was BJP’s biggest mistake.’ All the newspaper clippings have now been removed.

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Mention of new decision in place of old hearing

The old book had an excerpt of the observations made by then Chief Justice of India Venkatachalaiah and Justice G N Ray in the October 24, 1994 judgment in the case of Mohammed Aslam vs Union of India, holding Kalyan Singh (UP Chief Minister on the day of the demolition) guilty of contempt of court for failing to “uphold the dignity of law” and stating that “since the contempt raises larger issues which affect the very foundations of the secular fabric of our country, we also sentence him/her to symbolic imprisonment of one day.” This has now been replaced by an excerpt from the November 9, 2019 Supreme Court judgment, which said: “…every judge of this Court is not only entrusted with the task of upholding the Constitution and its values, but is also sworn to it. The Constitution does not differentiate between the faith and belief of one religion and another. All forms of faith, worship and prayers are equal…It is thus concluded…that the faith and belief of the Hindus before and since the construction of the Mosque has always been that the birthplace of Lord Rama is the place where the Babri Masjid was built, which faith and belief is proved by documentary and oral evidence.

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