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Controversy Stirs Up In Ayodhya As New Book Claims ‘Lord Ram Was Born In Pakistan’

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By Khabar Lahariya

KL Logo 2 (1)Editor’s Note: As part of Youth Ki Awaaz and Khabar Lahariya‘s collaboration, we bring to you this story from the hinterlands of the country’s largest state – Uttar Pradesh. Where was Lord Ram born? In Ayodhya that lies on the banks of the Ganga, or another Ayodhya in…Pakistan?

ayodhyaFaizabad District, Ayodhya town: Earlier this month, a fresh pinch of controversy was thrown into the Ayodhya pot. Abdul Rahim Quraishi, assistant general secretary and spokesperson of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), released a book in which he claimed that Ram’s birthplace was in a town in Pakistan and not in present-day Ayodhya. In his book, Facts of the Ayodhya Episode (Myth of Ram Janmabhoomi), Quraishi, drawing from research papers by Jassu Ram and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), reveals the presence of two Ayodhyas, both located in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. He says that Ram was actually born in Dera Ismail Khan district of Pakistan, in a town called Rahman Dheri, earlier called Ram Dheri. He challenges that nowhere in the Vedas and Puranas is it mentioned that Ram’s kingdom was in the Gangetic plain. Quraishi is also a key member of the committee formed by the AIMPLB to fight the on-going Babri Masjid case.

With the recent demise of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s [president and leader of the Ram temple movement] Ashok Singhal on Tuesday, the rise of the extremist Pravin Togadia (International Working President), a prominent face of the VHP, trying to rekindle the demands of the temple construction at the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri site is a concern. Ayodhya is a recurrent image in a corner of the national imagination, refracted through religion, politics and mythology. With this in mind, and the latest ‘dispute’ on the issue, KL reporters walked around the ghats and streets of Ayodhya to ask the people whose voices we seldom hear, what was their opinion on Quraishi’s claim.

From those who had traveled from towns in Bihar to immerse themselves in Ayodhya’s spiritual environs, to those who had set up businesses in its busy streets, our interviews overwhelmingly repeated platitudes about the unquestionable fact of Ayodhya as Ram’s birthplace. But as we ventured further from the ghats, into communities less interested and invested in the Ramayana or those more politically savvy, a refreshing hint of doubt and rationalism rang through (“Isn’t there an Ayodhya in Delhi too?”, “It’s one fact against the another fact – how do we know which is true?”) A train worth pursuing?

Watch this space as Khabar Lahariya reports from Ayodhya, in voices heard and less so.

Brought to you in collaboration with Khabar Lahariya.

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  1. Keti Zilgish

    Ktzh comment: The true and original polytheistic religion of the Arab world was carried away to India long before the Arabs thought of replacing it with their
    present monotheism but the Indians somehow preferred Buddhism, their indigenous contribution to human evolution and embraced polytheism only as a reaction to the monotheistic invasion of India. Theism eventually led to its more blatant version, imperialism.

  2. Keti Zilgish

    The true and original polytheistic religion of the Arab world was carried away to India long before the Arabs thought of replacing it with their present monotheism but the Indians somehow preferred Buddhism, their indigenous contribution to human evolution and embraced polytheism only as a reaction to the monotheistic invasion of India. Theism eventually led to its more blatant version, imperialism.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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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.

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