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Guide to the "Hum Sab Ayodhya" exhibit panels on the Ayodhya region and mosque, Uttar Pradesh, India, after 1993

Summary

Collection of 25 large paper sheets bearing reduced-size print reproductions of 83 panels forming a 1993 exhibit narrating the history, culture, and customs of the Aydhoya region in India, now part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Organized by the curator Ram Rahman and Sahmat, part of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, a Delhi-based collective of Indian artists and writers against communalism, the exhibit's focal point was the Babri Masjid mosque complex and the aftermath of its destruction by Hindu extremists in December 1992. The black-and-white and color reproductions, most without captions, document the origins and architecture of the mosque complex and Ayodhya's culture. They include 16th century paintings; regional maps; plans and large color photographs of the mosque complex; details of sculptures, scripts, and reliefs; reproductions of English accounts; and photographs of area inhabitants as well as individuals associated with regional politics. There are also several texts in Hindi. The sheets measure approximately 28 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches. Detailed information on the exhibit and its historical context is found in a 2012 publication on the exhibit available in the Duke Libraries.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11630
Title
"Hum Sab Ayodhya" exhibit panels on the Ayodhya region and mosque, Uttar Pradesh, India
Extent
2 Linear Feet, 2 oversize folders
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English and Hindi.

Collection Overview

Content Description

Collection consists of 25 oversize paper sheets bearing reduced-size print reproductions of 83 wall panels relating to the exhibit "Hum Sab Ayodhya" ("We are all Ayodhya") on the history and culture of the Ayodhya region and mosque, Uttar Pradesh, India. The creator and exact date of these reproductions are unknown.

The exhibit, organized by the curator Ram Rahman and Sahmat (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, a Delhi-based collective of Indian artists and writers against communalism), explored the complex history, geography, and cultural life of Ayodhya, or Saket, presently located in the district of Faizabad, in the State of Uttar Pradesh, India. It focused specifically on the Babri Masjid mosque complex, built in the 16th century and an important religious site for India's Muslims, as well as a site for clashes between Hindu and Muslim communities.

The exhibit was mounted in Delhi shortly after the destruction of the Babri Masjid by Hindu extremists in December 1992, and there was fierce controversy over its content.

The black-and-white and color illustrations feature 16th century illustrations; large color and black-and-white photographs of the mosque complex; photographs of its inscriptions, reliefs, and sculptures; images of deities; maps of the region; photographs of individuals connected with regional politics and activism; and 20th century photographic portraits of local Ayodhya peoples.

Exhibit texts include reproductions of several 19th century English accounts regarding the region's politics and geography, explanatory texts in Hindi, and an introductory title panel, also in Hindi.

The 25 sheets measure approximately 28 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches and are unnumbered, but the original sequence of the individual panels is given by numbers marked on the backs of the sheets.

Detailed information on the exhibit and its historical context is found in a 2012 publication on the exhibit available in the Duke Libraries.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], "Hum Sab Ayodhya" exhibit panels on the Ayodhya region and mosque, Uttar Pradesh, India, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Exhibit panel reproductions
(11 Sheets, Approximately 28 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches)
Oversize-folder 1
Exhibit panel reproductions
(14 Sheets, Approximately 28 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches)
Oversize-folder 2
 

Historical Note

The 83 panels reproduced on the paper sheets that make up this collection belong to an exhibit organized in August 1993 by Sahmat (Safdar Memorial Trust, a Delhi based collective of Indian artists and writers against communalism). The exhibit, entitled Hum Sab Ayodhya ("We are all Ayodhya"), was mounted simultaneously in twelve cities in India in August 1993, following the destruction of a large and important mosque in the Ayodhya region. The exhibit explored the history, geography, and cultural life of the people of Ayodhya. Ayodhya, also known as Saket, is presently located in the district of Faizabad, in the State of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is believed to be the birth place of the Hindu deity Rama, and the setting of the epic Ramayana.

The Ayodhya region became a focal point for disputes and violent clashes between the Hindu right and Muslims over the Babri Masjid, a large mosque built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Babur. Hindus claimed the mosque was built by demolishing a Hindu temple dedicated to Rama. The mosque was eventually destroyed by a coalition of Hindu extremist groups in December 1992.

In addition to the many illustrations and photographs, the exhibit included a 4-page text titled "Ram Katha" (the legend of the Hindu deity Rama), by a controversial Indian historian, Romila Thapar, which offended the Hindu right, and led to a fierce debate in the Indian parliament to ban the exhibit. The exhibit was seized by the Delhi police, but was later cleared by the court in response to a legal challenge by the organizers of the exhibit.

Related Material

Hum Sab Ayodhya, a book version of the exhibition of August 1993, was published in digital format by Issuu, Inc. in December 2012, on the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the Babri Masjid. Available online.

Muktnaad; Hum Sab Ayodhya: a selection of reports, editorials, discussions, comments from the press. Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, New Delhi, 1994. A compendium of commentary on the exhibit and related cultural programs. Available through the Duke University Libraries catalog.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The "Hum Sab Ayodhya" exhibit panels on the Ayodhya region and mosque, Uttar Pradesh, India were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Paula Jeannet, June 2018.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2015-0146.

Other Notes

The paper sheets are thin, very large and need careful handling. Please give the library staff advance notice before coming to use this collection.