The present book is my last contribution to the literature on what is known in India as ‘communalism’, meaning the conflict between the different religions, principally Hinduism and Islam. Some of the authors whose works were published by Voice of India, notably Prof. Harsh Narain and Sri Suhas Majumdar, had only started speaking out on the communal question in the very last years of their lives. We must be grateful to them that they were willing to sacrifice their years of well-earned rest to a diagnosis of this unpleasant problem. I am very fortunate in having discovered the problem at an earlier stage of life and being offered a forum where I could contribute to the research into and reflection on its causes. In terms of my own potential, I feel I have exhausted the topic and I now intend to move on (or return) to more fundamental subjects of philosophy and religion.
My first book in this sphere of interest was Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid: A Case Study in HinduMuslim Conflict (1990). I now find it a somewhat clumsy attempt to understand the Ayodhya controversy, but at the time it served a good purpose, viz. to break the false impression that the world of scholarship including Western Indologists was united in certifying that the Hindu claim to the disputed site in Ayodhya was historically unfounded. in the subsequent years, evidence has been piling up in favour of the Hindu claim. Coming full circle, I have included in this book a compilation of papers on various aspects of the Ayodhya debate written by me between 1995 and 2002. Its main focus is the argumentation and view of Hindu-Muslim history offered by the anti-temple party.
My thanks are due to Yamini Liu, Gopi Maliwal, Krishan Bhatnagar and friends, Satinder Trehan, Tushar Ravuri and Vishal Agarwal, and to the Voice of India publishers.
Antwerp, 25 January 2002 KE