The Archaeological Survey of India Report
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated the mosque site at the direction of the Allahabad Bench of the Uttar Pradesh high court in 2003. The archaeologists reported evidence of a large 10th century structure similar to a Hindu temple having pre-existed the Babri Masjid. A team of 131 labourers including 29 Muslims – who were later on included on the objections of the Muslim side- was engaged in the excavations. In June 11, 2003 the ASI issued an interim report that only listed the findings of the period between May 22 and June 6, 2003. In August 2003 the ASI handed a 574-page report to the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.
The ASI, who examined the site, issued a report of the findings of the period between May 22 and June 6, 2003. This report stated:
“Among the structures listed in the report are several brick walls ‘in east-west orientation’, several ‘in north-south orientation’, ‘decorated coloured floor’, several ‘pillar bases’, and a ‘1.64-metre high decorated black stone pillar (broken) with vaksha figurines on four corners’ as well as “Arabic inscription of holy verses on stone” Earlier reports by the ASI, based on earlier findings, also mention among other things a staircase and two black basalt columns ‘bearing fine decorative carvings with two crosslegged figures in bas-relief on a bloomed lotus with a peacock whose feathers are raised upwards’.
The excavations give ample traces that there was a mammoth pre-existing structure beneath the three-domed Babri structure. Ancient perimeters from East to West and North to South have been found beneath the Babri fabrication. The bricks used in these perimeters predate the time of Babur. Beautiful stone pieces bearing carved Hindu ornamentations like lotus, Kaustubh jewel, alligator facade, etc., have been used in these walls. These decorated architectural pieces have been anchored with precision at varied places in the walls. A tiny portion of a stone slab is sticking out at a place below 20 feet in one of the pits. The rest of the slab lies covered in the wall. The projecting portion bears a five-letter Dev Nagari inscription that turns out to be a Hindu name. The items found below 20 feet should be at least 1,500 years old. According to archaeologists about a foot of loam layer gathers on topsoil every hundred years. Primary clay was not found even up to a depth of 30 feet. It provides the clue to the existence of some structure or the other at that place during the last 2,500 years.
More than 30 pillar bases have been found at equal spans. The pillar-bases are in two rows and the rows are parallel. The pillar-base rows are in North-South direction. A wall is superimposed upon another wall. At least three layers of the floor are visible. An octagonal holy fireplace (Yagna Kund) has been found. These facts prove the enormity of the pre-existing structure. Surkhii has been used as a construction material in our country since over 2000 years and in the constructions at the Janma Bhumi Surkhii has been extensively used. Molded bricks of round and other shapes and sizes were neither in vogue during the middle ages nor are in use today. It was in vogue only 2,000 years ago. Many ornate pieces of touchstone (Kasauti stone) pillars have been found in the excavation. Terracotta idols of divine fugurines, serpent, elephant, horse-rider, saints, etc., have been found. Even to this day terracotta idols are used in worship during Diwali celebrations and then put by temple sanctums for invoking divine blessings. The Gupta
and the Kushan period bricks have been found. Brick walls of the Gahadwal period (12th Century CE) have been found in excavations.
Nothing has been found to prove the existence of residential habitation there. The excavation gives out the picture of a vast compound housing a sole distinguished and greatly celebrated structure used for divine purposes and not that of a colony or Mohalla consisting of small houses. That was an uncommon and highly celebrated place and not a place of habitation for the common people. Hindu pilgrims have always been visiting that place for thousands of years. Even today there are temples around that place and the items found in the excavations point to the existence of a holy structure of North Indian architectural style at that place.
In the January 2003, Canadian geophysicist Claude Robillard performed a search with a ground-penetrating radar. The survey concluded the following:
“There is some structure under the mosque. The structures were ranging from 0.5 to 5.5 meters in depth that could be associated with ancient and contemporaneous structures such as pillars, foundation walls, slab flooring, extending over a large portion of the site”.
Claude Robillard, the chief geophysicist stated the following:
“There are some anomalies found underneath the site relating to some archaeological features. You might associate them (the anomalies) with pillars, or floors, or concrete floors, wall foundation or something. These anomalies could be associated with archaeological features but until we dig, I can’t say for sure what the construction is under the mosque.”
The final ASI report of August 25, 2003 stated that there was evidence of a large Hindu temple having pre‐existed the Babri mosque. Midway into the excavations the courts ordered the removal of the head of the ASI excavations for not following the excavation norms.
Update 2nd Oct 2010
After the Ayodhya Verdict, some of the “Eminent historians” who are on the payroll of the left brigade have started questioning the ASI report. This is an old trick which has been played so so so many times by the Leftists that it has lost its effect. The ASI report was out in 2003 and was in public domain for 7 years and to try to create a circle of doubt over the report which is conclusive evidence is a part of their game.
The following newspaper reports on 2nd Oct are worth reading. Note that on 1st Oct, Economic Times which is from the same family of Times of India had printed an article raising doubts on ASI report…It seems good sense has now dawned upon them..and hopefully the good sense will prevail.
‘No loopholes in ASI evidence’
Abhinav Garg, TNN, Oct 2, 2010
NEW DELHI: “In our view, the conclusion drawn by the ASI in the project accomplished within an extra-ordinary brief period and with such an excellence precision and perfection deserve commendation and appreciation instead of condemnation.” — Justice Sudhir Agarwal.
Though criticized by a section of historians, the Archaeological Survey of India’s 2003 excavation report has been critical in allowing the Allahabad high court in reaching a verdict that years of negotiations and entrenched politiking had not yielded.
The ASI view that evidence pointed to the existence of a temple, forms the key material evidence relied upon by the court. Perhaps keeping in mind the criticism of ASI’s findings, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice D V Sharma in their comments have countered allegations of the report being influenced by powers that be.
They emphasized that the court controlled excavation was transparent. The charge that the finding of a huge structure preexisting the Babri Masjid, was “managed” has been addressed in detail. It had been alleged that the report was “biased and imagined” and failed to faithfully reproduce the actual findings.
But the judges have decisively recalled the facts of the case. While Justice Agarwal pointed out how representatives and lawyers of each party in the suit were permitted to shadow ASI officials during the actual excavations, Justice Sharma highlighted how “even Muslim members have also signed the report of ASI.”
“The court has taken full care and issued specific directions to maintain transparency. Two judicial officers remained posted there. The excavation was conducted in the presence of the parties, lawyers and their nominees. Nobody can raise a finger about the propriety of the report on the ground of bias,” Justice Sharma observed, rejecting pleas that the report be discarded.
The court said that the ASI report contains all the details including details of stratigraphy, artifacts, periodisation as well as details of structures and walls. The pillar bases mentioned in the report establishes beyond all doubt the existence of a huge structure.
In addition to above, existence of circular shrine, stone slabs in walls with Hindu motifs and more particularly sign of Makar Pranal in wall No. 5 (wall of disputed structure), divine couple and other temple materials, etc. conclusively proves the existence of a hindu religious structure, the judges have argued.
Another grievance related to ASI allegedly ignoring key evidence thrown up in the form of bones of animals found from the sites. This, it was argued, disproved that the structure below was a Hindu one since animals couldn’t have been killed there. But the judges countered by relying on a host of ancient literary Hindu texts sanctioning animal sacrifice.
“It is a well known fact that in certain Hindu temples animal sacrifices are made and flesh is eaten as Prasad while bones are deposited below the floor at the site itself,” Justice Agarwal noted, upholding the ASI findings that a Nagara style northern Indian temple existed prior to the disputed structure. HC was also surprised to note the “zeal” in some of the archaeologists and historians appearing as witnesses on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board who made statements much beyond reliefs demanded by the Waqf.
CHENNAI: Artefacts found by archaeological excavations at the disputed site in Ayodhya proved that it had been a sacred place and not merely a human habitation, according to archaeologist R Nagaswamy. He had given expert advice to the Allahabad high court’s Lucknow bench that heard the title suits in the Ayodhya case. The oldest structure for which evidence was dug up belonged to the 3rd century BC, said Nagaswamy, former director of archaeology in Tamil Nadu.
“The excavations done by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) brought to light several carved stones that indicated the presence of a sacred place. Some of the material unearthed included pillars with engravings on them, an outlet for water in the form of a crocodile mouth,” he said.
While the ASI carried out excavations on the HC’s orders in 2003, Nagaswamy presented a report to the court, explaining in detail the artefacts unearthed by the ASI. “The artefacts proved that they belonged to a sacred place and not just any human habitation. The existence of a shrine was one of the crucial pieces of evidence presented to the judges,” Nagaswamy said.
Showing an array of photographs of various artefacts, the expert said the excavations were carried out to a depth of 50 to 60 feet below the surface. “The ASI found several layers of artefacts belonging to different periods and there was evidence of a massive stone religious structure belonging to the 10th century AD,” Nagaswamy said.
The ASI carried out two types of excavation. The first was an electro-magnetic survey without any digging, and later, it carried out site excavation in the presence of the parties to the case. “The time given by the court to the ASI was only three months, and within that time, it came out with some important findings,” he said. “The judges asked me to explain as to how I arrived at the conclusions on various artefacts and I gave them all the details and explained my conclusions to them,” he said.
Among the pieces of structural evidence that the ASI found were an ‘amalaka’, a stone disk-like piece normally found in N Indian shrines, and some terracotta figures showing human busts adorned with jewellery.