Explained: Who are the travellers quoted in Ayodhya judgment?

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News:In the Ayodhya judgment, the Supreme Court has relied in part on centuries-old travelogues, gazetteers and books to provide an account of the faith and belief that the Hindus placed in the Janmasthan.

Facts:

About the travellers quoted by Supreme Court:

Joseph Tieffenthaler(1710-1785):

  • Tieffenthaler was an 18th-century missionary who travelled to India from Italy for 27 years.
  • In India,he was commissioned at the famous observatory of Sawai Jai Singh, the Raja of Jaipur and was later attached at the Jesuit College in Agra which was built with the patronage of Akbar.
  • Tieffenthaler had also lived in Awadh where Ayodhya is located for over five years.

William Finch (died 1613):

  • William Finch is known to have arrived in India in 1608 at Surat with Sir William Hawkins, a representative of the East India Company. 
  • He is said to be the earliest English language account of Kashmir as well as trade routes connecting Punjab and eastern Turkistan and western China.
  • William Finch’s account has been recorded in the 1921 book ‘Early Travels in India (1583-1619) by the historiographer Sir William Foster.
  • According to the book,Finch had visited Ayodhya between 1608 and 1611 and did not find any building of importance of Islamic origin.

Robert Montgomery Martin(1801-1868):

  • Martin was from Dublin in Ireland.He was an Anglo-Irish author and civil servant. He practised medicine in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), East Africa and Australia. 
  • He then went on to work in Kolkata where helped found the paper ‘Bengal Herald’.He later returned to England where he wrote about the British Empire.
  • He had written about the worship of Lord Ram in the Ayodhya region.He also refers to the destruction of temples and the erection of mosques during that time.