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

The Forgotten Characters Of Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid Dispute

More from Mir Raza Naqvi

The apex court has reserved its verdict on Ayodhya dispute, and all eyes are fixed what will be the conclusion of India’s ‘biggest dispute’.

As the countdown begins for the verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, with bated breath of people across the globe, it is time to remember the forgotten characters of the incident that changed India’s history forever. It is just ironical that their names did not figure prominently in the heated arguments placed before the apex court by the lawyers of the parties concerned.

On the midnight of 22 and 23 December in 1949, some idols were placed in Babri Mosque to facilitate the Hindutava forces to occupy power.

Abhiram Das (born as Abhinandan Mishra) should have been a household name, but nobody knows that it was his ‘daredevil’ entry into the Babri Mosque with an idol of Lord Rama, which converted the mosque into a temple and also paved the way for litigation that has been posing a threat to India’s secular fabric for the past seven decades. It is further tragic that the verdict on the issue is likely to be pronounced on the 150th year birth centenary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi in whose murder, some of the Hindutava forces, having direct links with Abhiram are believed to have been involved.

It was Abhiram Das’s ‘daredevil’ entry into the Babri Mosque with an idol of Lord Rama, which converted the mosque into a temple.

It can be assumed that Abhiram’s soul must be watching the developments with astonishment as to how his forged entry into the mosque has been exploited politically to occupy the highest level of offices despite having no role in the conversion of the 16th-century mosque into a temple.

People are aware of only Ramchandra Das Paramhans and Hashim Ansari, or for that matter Justice Devinandan Agarwal as the initiators of the long-drawn legal battle, but they don’t know about Abhiram and his two cousins who placed the idols at the behest of Parmahans.

Abhiram was born in Rarhi village in Darbhanga district of Bihar and was illiterate. He left home when his father married his little sister to an older man. In his opinion, it was like ‘selling’ his sister to a 40-year-old man. With no one to support him, he happened to reach Ayodhya where he found shelter in Hanuman Garhi. He became a disciple of Mahant Saryu Das and succeeded in occupying the seat of his guru after his death. He was fond of wrestling. He could grapple with several persons simultaneously—a qualification that made him famous in Ayodhya and can be described as a reason for his selection for the incident that posed much heartburn to secular India recovering from Hindu-Muslim divide after partition.

The timing of placing the idols was perfect, India was about to adopt its constitution a month later, and Mahatma had been slain by those who perceived him as pro-Muslim. These forces always wanted India to be declared a Hindu Rashtra, and they were desperate to make their presence felt after maintaining a low-profile following the assassination of the father of the nation, in which the popular faces of Hindutava agenda were accused.

Abhiram had no knowledge about what he was going to do; he only knew one thing: as a devout Hindu, he should liberate the birthplace of Lord Rama. He wasn’t aware he was being used as a pawn in the larger game of politics aimed at ruling India, under the garb of ‘democracy’. He faced arrest, got himself bailed out and then went into seclusion. Abhiram died unheard and immersed in the water of Saryu, according to the age-old customs.

Akshay Brahmchari, a true Gandhian who opposed the forcible conversion of the mosque into a temple.

Another forgotten character is Akshay Brahmchari: a true Gandhian who opposed the forcible conversion of the mosque into a temple. He went to fast unto death both in Ayodhya and Lucknow but failed to evoke the desired response of the then Chief Minister Govind Vallabh Pant, Home Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, and District Magistrate K.K. Nair.

Brahmchari’s efforts could get the disputed site attached by the district administration under the Section 145 of CrPC and handing over its custody to the then municipality chairman Priya Dattaram. He also had the DM removed from elite service, but he always regretted that he could not ensure justice to Muslims. He also suffered at the hands of fanatics who thrashed and forced him to leave Ayodhya and died silently in 2010 in his ashram near Chinhat on Lucknow-Ayodhya road.

The third and final character is Mohammad Ismail. He was the last muazzin (person who gives azaan) of Babri Mosque. The apex court was never told about him by lawyers in reply to the claim that prayers were not being offered in the mosque except for Fridays. It was Ismail who spotted Abhiram chanting ‘Jai Siya Ram, Jai Siya Ram’ and holding idols of Lord Rama under the centre dome of Babri Mosque.

He immediately raised alarm and tried to overpower Abhiram; however, the Mahant’s accomplices pounced upon him and thrashed him mercilessly. They carried him outside the structure and dumped him profusely bleeding. After the incident, Ismail was forced to leave Faizabad, and he went on to offer his services in Paharganj Ghosiyana, an area on the outskirts of Faizabad. Nobody knows when he died and why his name did not figure in the list of witnesses in the charge sheet filed on the basis of FIR lodged by Ramdev Dubey.

It is worth mentioning here that the first civil suit was filed in 1885 in Faizabad. Nirmohi Akhada asked for the maintenance of the site in 1959, and Sunni Waqf board joined the battle in 1961. In 1986, the district judge KM Pandey ordered the opening of the locks at the disputed site. The issue was transferred to Allahabad High Court, which in its judgment gave one-third (each) of 2.77 acres of land acquired by Narsimha Rao government to the three contestants in September 2010. All appealed against the judgment, and now the apex court has reserved its verdict with all eyes fixed what will be the conclusion of India’s ‘biggest dispute’.

You must be to comment.

More from Mir Raza Naqvi

Similar Posts

By Kamal Singh

By Zahira Bano

By Ishmeet Kaur Mac

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