Chapter

History as Holocaust

Vinay Lal

in The History of History

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195672442
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081929 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195672442.003.0004
History as Holocaust

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This chapter explores the debate over the Babri Masjid, a mosque in the city of Ayodhya which was brought down by thousands of people on 6 December 1992. It examines the manner in which historians joined the controversy as experts, judges, witnesses, and historians. It shows that the controversy reflects efforts to render Hinduism into a faith akin to the monotheistic religions. Here, both ‘secularists’ and ‘fundamentalists’ tried to validate their positions by looking to the verdict of history, digging deep into the past and marshalling concrete ‘evidence’, and even recruiting professional historians and archaeologists to lend respectability to their positions. The destruction of the mosque raised a number of questions, such as the role of the state in perpetuating this crisis; the ‘law and order’ aspects of the crisis; and the future of secularism in India as well as the nature of ‘communalism’ or ‘fundamentalism’.

Keywords: Babri Masjid; Ayodhya; Hinduism; history; historians; secularism; communalism; fundamentalism

Chapter.  20679 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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