Die indischen Epen als Gegenstand archäologischer Forschung: Graben im Dienst des "Hindutums" oder: "Digging for God and Country"

  • Martin Brandtner (Autor/in)

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The recent discussion about the alleged destruction of a temple (commemorating the divine hero Rama’s birth) at Ayodhya by Muslims in the 16th century was promoted largely by archaeologists and historians. In the present paper an attempt is made to analyse the foundations of an increasingly politicised archaeology which sought to provide arguments leading ultimately to the destruction of the mosque (said to have been built over the ruins of the Rama temple) and to communal riots all over the country. Especially scrutinized are the highly dubious methods and arguments of scholars involved in the so-called „Epic Archaeology“ who try to prove the historicity of the two Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana - the latter relating the story of Rama and therefore of great importance to the Ayodhya debate. It becomes obvious how in this field an academic discipline becomes a matter of faith and presents itself as a propaganda tool for communal forces.