Ayodhya dispute written again in NCERT books, new name of Babri Masjid, know what all has changed

Ananya Shroff
8 Min Read

New Delhi: NCERT's revised book for Class 12 Political Science has been released in the market last week. There are some changes made in the NCERT book related to the Ayodhya dispute and Babri Masjid. The revised textbook does not name the Babri Masjid, calling it 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 the BJP's Rath Yatra from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya; the role of Kar Sevaks; communal violence after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992; President's rule in BJP-ruled states; and the BJP “expressing regret over the Ayodhya events”. The Indian Express had reported about the changes in the NCERT textbook in the month of April. Now that the book is out in the market, let's take a look at the important changes made in the book.

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Three-domed structure at the site of the Babri Masjid

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

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New paragraph added

Two pages of the old book describe the mobilisation of “both sides” after the locks of the mosque were opened on the orders of the Faizabad (now Ayodhya) district court in February 1986. It mentions communal tensions, the Rath Yatra organised from Somnath to Ayodhya, the Kar Seva undertaken by volunteers for the construction of the Ram temple in December 1992, the demolition of the mosque and the communal violence that broke out in January 1993. It mentions how the BJP “expressed regret over the Ayodhya events” and mentions the “serious debate 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 It has been replaced by a paragraph: “In 1986, the situation relating to the three-domed structure took a critical turn when the Faizabad (now Ayodhya) district court ruled to open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 of the temple was laid, further construction was banned. The Hindu community felt that their concerns regarding 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, after the demolition of the structure, some critics argued that it was 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 – which was 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, which upholds the inclusive spirit of the Constitution. The Supreme Court's verdict was widely welcomed by the society. This is an excellent example of building consensus on a sensitive issue which reflects the maturity of the civilisationally rooted democratic ethos in India.'

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Photo of newspaper articles removed

The old textbook had pictures 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 blunder.' Now, all the newspaper clippings have been removed.

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Mention of new decision in place of old hearing

The old book carried an excerpt of the observations made by the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Venkatachalaiah and Justice GN Ray in their October 24, 1994 judgment in 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 “maintain the dignity of law” and saying “since the contempt raises larger issues affecting the very foundations of the secular fabric of our country, we also sentence him to symbolic imprisonment of one day.” It has now been replaced by an excerpt from the Supreme Court judgment of November 9, 2019, which said: “…every Judge of this Court is not only entrusted with the duty to uphold the Constitution and its values ​​but is also sworn to hold that all forms of faith, worship and prayer are equal… It is thus concluded…that the faith and belief of the Hindus both before and after the construction of the Mosque has always been that the birthplace of Lord Rama is the place where the Babri Masjid was built, this faith and belief is proved by documentary and oral evidence.

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