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Stone writ could hold key to Ayodhya


NEW DELHI/PATNA: A 12th-century stone inscription recovered from the debris of the disputed structure at Ayodhya could hold the key to the resolution of the temple-mosque imbroglio.

Experts believe the 20-line inscription comprising 30 verses in Sanskrit said to have been embedded in the lower portion of a wall of the structure that was demolished on December 6, 1992 could provide conclusive proof of the existence of a Ram temple at the site in the 12th century and even earlier.

Although little has been heard of the inscription, believers in its "magical" power to resolve the dispute include hardcore Sangh Parivar elements as well as religious leaders among them Puri Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati who have been working for a solution to the problem outside the VHP umbrella.

A leading proponent of the "inscription as key" theory has been Acharya Kishore Kunal, who took voluntary retirement from the IPS recently and is now vice-chancellor of the Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University, Darbhanga. In his younger days as an IPS officer working in the Union home ministry, he acted as the Centre's negotiator for the Ayodhya dispute.

Acharya Kunal, who was behind the renovation of the Hanuman temple at Patna, has been arguing that the authenticity of the inscription could be verified by an independent organisation like UNESCO. Once that is done, he says, it would be easier to persuade the Muslim leaders for a solution.

According to an article published in the journal, Itihas Darpan, in 1996, the inscription is written in the Nagari script which was in vogue in the 12th century. The inscription (verse 5) pays obeisance to the "janmabhumi of that incarnation of Vishnu which possesses the highest and most desirable glory in this world and whose splendour was constantly enhanced by performing thousands of brave deeds". There could be little doubt about this incarnation being Ram.

The inscription (verse 21) refers to a temple of Vishnuhari built by King Nayachandra. It says that stone slabs, chiselled out of solid boulders brought from the mountain peaks, were arranged to form "a unique temple the like of which had not been constructed by any other previous king". It adds that the temple was crowned with a golden kalasa (copula) lending great beauty to it.

The inscription refers twice to the Gahadavala king, Govindachandra, who reigned in this part of the country from 1114 to 1154 AD. Nayachandra appears to have been a vassal of the Gahadavala king.

The 1.10m x 0.56m buff sandstone, found broken into two pieces from the debris of the demolished structure, was inspected by a team of experts from the Archaeological Survey of India in March 2000 under instructions from the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. It has since been kept at the Ram Katha Kunj under the seal of the high court. Ram Katha Kunj, which was the office of the VHP in the Janmabhumi complex, prior to the demolition, is now part of the land acquired by the Central government on January 7, 1993.

(With inputs from V N Arora in Faizabad)



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