In News: Supreme Court took note of the account of three European travellers namely Joseph Tieffenthaler, William Finch, and Montgomery Martin while delivering Ayodhya Judgement.

About the travellers:

Joseph Tiefenthaler

  • He came from Italy during the 18th Century and stayed in India for 27 years.
  • 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.
  • He also stayed at Awadh for over five years , in which Ayodhya is located.
  • In his book 'Description Historique Et Géographique De L'inde' he gives details about his travels to Ayodhya.

Robert Montgomery Martin

  • He was an Anglo-Irish author and civil servant
  • He  had practised medicine in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), East Africa and Australia.
  • He played an important role and helped found the paper ‘Bengal Herald’. 
  • He later returned to England where he wrote about the British Empire.
  • He wrote the three-volume work ‘History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India’ in which he talked about the worship of Lord Ram in the Ayodhya region and destruction of temples and the erection of mosques.

William Finch

  • He arrived in India with Sir William Hawkins in 1608 at Surat.
  • He is said to give the earliest English language account of Kashmir, as well as trade routes connecting Punjab and eastern Turkistan and western China.
  • He didn’t  find any buildings of importance of Islamic origin when he visited Ayodhya between 1608 and 1611.
  • His account has been recorded in the 1921 book ‘Early Travels in India (1583-1619)’ by the historiographer Sir William Foster.

Ayodhya Judgement:

  • The court has held that the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya shall be handed over for the construction of Ram Mandir. 
  • At the same time an alternative 5-acre land in a prominent place in Ayodhya was allotted for the construction of a mosque.
  • The SC has clearly mentioned in its 1000-odd pages judgment that since the matter relates to immovable property it has adjudicated the claims in the title dispute purely on the basis of evidence and not on the basis of faith or belief.
  • As a result, since the evidence from various sources including Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) findings, textual sources (Ram Charitra Mamas, Ain-e-Akbari ) etc,  the claim of the Hindu plaintiffs to the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence produced by the Muslim plaintiffs, the disputed land is handed over for the construction of the temple.