ICHR chief YS Rao stirs Ayodhya debate, says issue political
Calling sage Valmiki the “first historiographer”, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) chairman YS Rao said on Saturday that visiting Ayodhya gives the visitor the feeling that he was actually living in the times of the Ramayana.india Updated: Jul 26, 2015 00:42 IST
Calling sage Valmiki the “first historiographer”, Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) chairman YS Rao said on Saturday that visiting Ayodhya gives the visitor the feeling that he was actually living in the times of the Ramayana.
He was speaking at a seminar on the Ayodhya issue organised by the Itihasa Sankalan Yojana, the history wing of the RSS.
“I visited Ayodhya. I was passing through the streets of Ayodhya. Whether you are an intellectual or a common man, just walk through the streets and you will get the feeling of living in the Ramayana times,” Rao said, recalling his visit there when Sankalan Yojana organizing secretary Bal Mukund requested him to. He added that for the common man, no other evidence was required once he believed in Ayodhya and Ram.
Claiming that the controversy was not historical but political, Rao asserted that there was evidence of many mosques being built on temples in India. “If such is the case, will you agree to remove all of them?” he asked.
Commending Valmiki’s “objectivity”, Rao claimed that the sage said “everything objectively”. He contended that Valmiki cited sages calling Ram an incarnation but nowhere said so himself. Taking a dig at left historians, Rao said that they wouldn’t accept any evidence and to convince them was more difficult than convincing those connected with the mosque.
ICHR member Meenakshi Jain cited copious historical evidence — including accounts of foreign visitors — to argue that records showed that continuous namaaz wasn’t offered at the disputed site and that revenue and Waqf records did not show any evidence of Babri mosque. She also cited evidence of a structure under the mosque as found in excavations.
Jain, however, said that she wasn’t advocating an active policy on Ayodhya and believed that all parties should wait for the Supreme Court judgment and even after it try to settle the dispute through mutual consent.