Ayodhya Debate - Early Historical Surveys

Early Historical Surveys

In 1767, Jesuit priest Joseph Tieffenthaler recorded Hindus worshiping and celebrating Ramanavami at the site of the mosque. In 1788, Tieffenthaler's French works were published in Paris, the first to suggest that the Babri Mosque was on the birthplace of Rama, saying that "Emperor Aurangzeb got demolished the fortress called Ramkot, and erected on the same place a Mahometan temple with three cuppolas" reclaimed by Hindus through numerous wars after death of Aurangzeb in 1707 A.D like they earlier fortified it during Jahangir's rule as Ramkot.

During the 19th century, the Hindus in Ayodhya were recorded as continuing a tradition of worshiping Rama on the Ramkot hill. According to British sources, Hindus and Muslims from the Faizabad area worshiped together in the Babri Mosque complex in the 19th century until about 1855. P. Carnegy wrote in 1870:

It is said that up to that time, the Hindus and Mohamedans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple. Since the British rule a railing has been put up to prevent dispute, within which, in the mosque the Mohamedans pray, while outside the fence the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings. —

This platform was outside the disputed structure but within its precincts.

In 1858, the Muazzin of the Babri Mosque said in a petition to the British government that the courtyard had been used by Hindus for hundreds of years.

The British recognized the religious and political tension between the Muslims and Hindus. An early census, taken in 1869, found the Hindu people to comprise 66.4 percent of the total population in Ayodhya, and a little over 60 percent in nearby Faizabad. The British contended that the Ayodhya area was primarily Hindu, not in regards to this census, but to the chief spiritual significance for the birthplace of Rama.

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