Social Scientist. v 25, no. 284-285 (Jan-Feb 1997) p. 11.

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Subsequently a host of historians and archaeologists (Y.D. Sharma, R.C. Agrawal, etc.) joined the bandwagon of B.B. Lal and S.P. Gupta (Ramajanmabhoomi: Ayodhya, New Archaeological Discoveries, 1992). A critique of the "discoveries" reported from the digging by the Karsewaks and the debris of the Babri Masjid in 1992 has been published by D. Mandal (Ayodhya: Archaeology after Demolition, New Delhi, 1992), and needs no recapitulation here.

A glance at the above facts would show that there is a pattern in the construction of a myth with the support of archaeology. The first stage in the creation of tradition is evidenced by the attempt of B.B. Lal to identify the Painted Grey Ware Culture and the ancient sites yielding it with the Mahabharata story, Fortunately, A. Ghosh, Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, warned against such an attempt lest it defame official archaeology. But the situation changed after 1970.

The publication of the Vivekanand Commemoration Volume by Lokesh Chandra, S.P. Gupta, et. ah, with the patronage of the Central Government, undercut the roots of scientific research in archaeology. Hindu nationalist spirit was given a boost by glorifying the expansion of Indian people, Indian culture and Hinduism abroad. B.B. Lal who had shifted from the Archaeological Survey to the Gwalior University after attaining the highest position in the Archaeological Survey of India was 6nce again attracted to text-based archaeology. There was no improvement seen in methodology to deal with an emotional subject like the Archaeology of Ramayana Sites.

There was no A. Ghosh to check the new found zeal of a sanskritist imbued with religiosity. In fact the Archaeological Survey of India fully supported the execution of the project. The learned scholar once again came oiit with pseudo-scientific conclusions. The results were faulty because his assumptions were wrong.

The third stage in the growth of communalisation of archaeology was reached in 1990 when the same senior scholar (B.B. Lal) published an article in Man than, an R.S.S. magazine and embarked on a spree of lectures all over the country propagating the evidence from Ayodhya discussed above. The archaeological evidence was fully utilised by S.P. Gupta, the BJP and its front organisations in their communal propaganda and the result was the inevitable destruction of a historical monument, the consequent alienation between the two important communities of the Indian nation, the outbreak of riots, and grave damage to the good name of the country throughout the world.

The question arises, why B.B. Lal chose these subjects for investigation and interpreted his data the way be did? Perhaps in the first stage he was guided by his traditional Hindu ideology and viewed the effort as a service to the/aith and values which he cherished most and could not rise above to

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