Renowned historian and political scientist- Dr Meenakshi Jain is among the 118 individuals who have been awarded with the Padma Shri, fourth highest civilian honour of India. While the honour was long overdue, it is only appropriate that she has been bestowed with this honour months after the Supreme Court pronounced the historic Ram Janmabhoomi verdict, thus paving the way for the construction of the grand temple at Bhagwan Ram’s birthplace in the historic city of Ayodhya.
Jain is particularly credited for her works about the Ram Mandir issue that had strongly put forth the case for a temple at Bhagwan Ram’s birthplace. In fact, it is not possible to understand everything she has contributed without really going into her extensive works about the issue. “Rama and Ayodhya” and “The Battle for Rama” are her two main works about the Ram Temple.
In her book “Rama and Ayodhya”, she has made the best possible use of her academic skills and experience. Rarely expressing her opinion, she has relied on historical factors and proofs in order to put forth the case for Ram Mandir.
The entire book has a vast collection of proofs about everything one needs to know about Rama, Ayodhya and the Ram Janmabhoomi case. It makes reference to literary sources in the form of ancient Indian scriptures that mention Bhagwan Ram and also the travellers’ accounts about Ayodhya over the ages.
In her work, Dr Meenakshi Jain has also given a vivid description of sculptures that document Bhagwan Ram and the historic city of Ayodhya. Then, there is also epigraphic evidence in the form of written verses about Ayodhya and Bhagwan Ram.
Her work actually demolishes the arguments of those who refused to accept the fact that Bhagwan Ram existed. The left historians have traditionally refused to give enough weight to Bhagwan Ram and Valmiki Ramayana. They have tried to project Buddhist and Jain Ramayana to the Valmiki Ramayana and the core of their argument is that Bhagwan Ram’s worship itself is an 18th-19th century phenomenon- an argument which clearly has no merit.
The vast array of historical proofs given by Dr. Jain in “Rama and Ayodhya” firmly establish Bhagwan Ram’s centrality. It is a strong rejection of the idea that Bhagwan Ram’s worship is an 18th-19th century phenomenon.
In fact, in one of her talks, Dr. Jain also stated that all such points about Bhagwan Ram’s worship having started only in 18th-19th centuries can be contradicted and refuted on the basis of the works by Sanskrit scholars. She argued that as per these scholars, the Ram Katha was being recited orally since several centuries before the Common Era. Valmiki Ramayana too was written several centuries before the advent of the Common Era.
In her book, the historian has also gone into the details of the Janmabhoomi conflict. She has described how a small temple always existed at the site and fairs were organised on Ram Navmi and Diwali, which fell around 6 months apart.
She also gives a description of how caretaker of the Mosque was given land elsewhere, the revenue proceeds from which were to be used on the maintenance of the Mosque itself. However, it was not in use and was cleaned only on Fridays.
In her book, Dr. Meenakshi Jain has also exposed the eminent historians and their contradicting position in media and court. She read the 5,000 pages long judgment of Allahabad High Court, and found that these eminent historians deny the existence of Mandir in media and deny the knowledge about the subject in courts.
The following tweet notes the nine instances of 9 surreal testimonies from left historians on Ram Janmabhoomi in court under oath.
Her extensive work goes on to reveal how four ’eminent’ historians- R. S. Sharma, D.N. Jha, Suraj Bhan and Athar Ali, whom court observed ‘lack of requirement to qualify (them) as expert’, ‘reckless and irresponsible statements’, ‘lack of proper investigation’ and ‘failure to inspire confidence’ etc. from their court testimonies were amongst the loudest critique of Ram Mandir movement, and the mainstream media, based in Delhi, reported their claims widely.
Dr. Meenakshi Jain has been instrumental not only in bringing out the vast inconsistencies in the what the left historians said in the public and their versions before the Allahabad High Court, but has also effectively countered their contention that the Ram Temple was not destructed for the construction of Babri Mosque.
In a talk where Jain went on to reveal possibly every minute detail on the subject of Ram Mandir, she made a reference to a large number of histories written in the 18th and 19th centuries about the issue. According to her, these histories written largely in Persian and Arabian languages and later in Urdu language. According to her, all these history books state that Babar had ordered the destruction of Ram Temple and the construction of Babri Mosque. Not a single book states otherwise.
Dr. Meenakshi Jain is well-known for her works about the Ram Mandir, which have again come into limelight after she got honoured with the Padma Shri. However, while her works on Ram Mandir have come into spotlight, not many seem to know about yet another wonderful work by the historian- “Flight of Deities and Rebirth of Temples”.
In this research based work, she describes the details of some well known and not so well-known temples that were destroyed over an 800 year long period. A peculiar feature of the book is that it brings out the reality of how temples once destroyed were contructed again and again and sometimes vandalised all over again. It documents a history of struggle against such acts of vandalism and destruction that we often tend to overlook.
In all her works, Dr. Meenakshi Jain has relied on extensive research. Her ability to rely upon historical facts and back them with strong proofs is what sets her apart. The Padma Shri to Dr. Jain therefore heralds a new era for India, where we recognise and honour the real historians.