This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Prem. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Story Of The Hindu Priest Who Opposed The Demolition Of Babri Masjid

More from Prem

By Prem Ayyathurai:

In the 1991 documentary Raam ke Naam by noted documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, the then Mahant of the Ramjanmabhoomi temple is being interviewed. In spite of the overwhelming controversy around the Babri Masjid Ramjanmabhoomi issue at that time, the unshakeable faith evident in his views instills hope in our heart. He says in the film, ‘not only in Ayodhya but all over India, people should oppose this. We should never hurt the religious sentiments of others and break their hearts. Our religion doesn’t permit this. Ram’s political ideal was prosperity for all… Like when we eat, all parts of our body get fed, so all the people are our own, none are big or small.’

mahant laldas

Laldas was appointed by a court of law as the chief priest in the Ramjanmabhoomi temple in the year 1983 and continued in this position until the year 1992. Before being appointed as the priest, he used to oversee the work of the Ramjanmabhoomi Seva Samiti.

Throughout the years when he held this critical position in the very heart of the storm that was gathering around the Babri Masjid, he was a vocal opponent of the work of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — he vehemently demanded Lal Krishna Advani to halt his rath yatra and at the same time declared that Muslims from outside Ayodhya and Faizabad should also not politicize the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue. ‘The Hindus and Muslims of Ayodhya and Faizabad can resolve the issue themselves,’ he insisted. His fearless intervention must be understood in its context; in an interview to Madhu Kishwar in 1992, he pointed out that 50-60 mahants had been murdered all over Ayodhya. “I wonder how a person like me is still alive”, he said in that conversation.

All his attempts to resolve the situation peacefully failed. On March 1, 1992, he was removed from his position by the Kalyan Singh government. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid was destroyed. In these months, Laldas feared for his life and is reported to have approached the local administration in Faizabad seeking protection, but his request went unheeded.

In the night of November 16, 1993, he was shot dead under suspicious circumstances.

Why does the memory of this forgotten, lone voice become relevant to us today?

Going back to the interview in the film Raam ke Naam, a question that echoes almost verbatim the sort of question many Indians are asking today about the recent elections is put forward by the interviewer. He refers to the increasing support for the campaign to demolish the mosque in Ayodhya and asks Mahant Laldas, ‘Today there seems to be a wave in our country… where those who speak of hatred… get a bigger following than those like you who speak of love.’

Mahant Laldas responds calmly, ‘It’s not like that. When a flood comes, when there’s a cyclone, all the trees and buildings fall down… There’s a verse written in the Aranya chapter of Ramayana: When the rains are heavy, the grass grows so tall that it’s difficult to find the right path. But the rainy season is short. Afterwards, people regain their ability to reason. So today the kind of things people do, it’s a kind of frenzy. But when they’re faced with the truth, when they realize how they were misled, they’ll boycott their leaders.’

You can watch Raam Ke Naam, the documentary by Anand Patwardhan here:


M. Kishwar, I Wonder How I am Still Alive, Manushi (79) 10 (Nov-Dec 1993)

T. Setalvad, Murder Mysteries, Sabrang

Politics of Communalism and Secularism: Keeping Indians Divided 274 (N.S. Gehlot ed., 1995),

C. Jaffrelot The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics 452 (1993)

S. Trivedi, The Murder of Baba Lal Das Manushi (79) 2 (Nov-Dec 1993)

You must be to comment.
  1. vijay anand

    thank you man for writing this article and made me acknowledge with the truth which i couldn’t know till now..i appreciate this truth…

  2. vasim shaikh

    this is what I have been saying to all my friends all the time and recommending the documentary which is freely available on YouTube. But those who have hatred in their hearts and minds always look ways to blame and take revenge.
    some people just never understand and their eyes are always blind. but I am glad atleast I know the truth.

  3. Divyaksh Vashishth

    The religious fanaticism had been over ruling the right and just since ages. Dr. Ambedkar once said of the’Annihilation of Caste’ and I believe he was correct to a large extent. Not only casteism, there should be destitution of anything that associates one with any particular community. The human life ought to be led with a sense of humanism. And only it should be followed religiously.

More from Prem

Similar Posts

By Rini Ayndrila

By Sheeba Fathima

By Mark Twain

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below