Row of Gyanvapi: the politics of demolition and construction

The Supreme Court, while transferring the Gyanvapi Mosque dispute to the Varanasi District Judge, ordered that the case be heard on a priority basis. The Supreme Court will hear the case in the second week of July. The district administration should maintain the status quo until then.

This is just the beginning of a legal battle, and the case will not stop at Gyanvapi. From Mathura’s Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi to Delhi’s Qutub Minar to Agra’s Taj Mahal and MP’s Bhojshala, many disputes are pushed aside and brought to the fore. Are we about to experience another period of turbulence, like the one we experienced from 1989 to 1992? Those who believe that one religion is to blame for everything should remember that in our country members of different faiths fought each other long before Jesus and Muhammad founded Christianity and Islam respectively. According to legend, Chanakya left his disciple, Emperor Chandragupta, and his court for a brief period. The reason? The young ruler had been influenced by the Jain muni, Bhadrabahu.

Back to Gyanvapi. Aurangzeb, who destroyed the temple of Lord Mahadev, contributed financially to the construction of Apparnath Math and Tekra Math in Kashi. The demolition of the Vishwanath temple and the construction of a mosque were resisted by Baba Aparnath. So what prompted this mighty king to do this? Was he planning to sow confusion by eliminating one religious focus while supporting others to put down the rebellion? Or was he trying to create a situation where different Hindu sects fight each other?

It must be remembered that Aurangzeb made a proclamation when he was a prince. “Abul Hasan (the warlord stationed in Varanasi) should know this…it has been decided by our holy legislation that the existing temples should not be demolished and new temples should not be established,” the text reads. , which is in the Bharat Kala Bhawan of the Hindu University of Benares. “Some people are tormenting Brahmins in Benares and its adjoining areas because of wickedness and enmity, according to news which has recently reached our most ideal and holy court. Moreover, the guardians of the temple are seeking to remove the Brahmins from their positions, which may cause the discontent of the sect.Therefore it is my royal order that as soon as the Farman appears, you will be warned that in future, Brahmins and other Hindus will not be subject to any form of injustice. In this way, people can all go about their business in peace and worship in the kingdom given to us by the grace of Allah (which will last forever). This should be considered as soon as possible. »

It is therefore the policy of demolition and construction, but the story does not end there.

The argument is that many temples, including those of Hinduism’s three holiest shrines, have been razed and mosques built in their place. As a result, a majority of the population has good reason to express sadness and outrage. How to soothe their feelings? During the Ram Mandir movement, Bharatiya Janata LK Advani party leader and late Ashok Singhal of Vishwa Hindu Parishad said that if Hindus get Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi, no further demands will be made. This assurance is something in which Muslim politicians and religious leaders have no confidence. Even if they accept this promise, they believe there is no guarantee that 3,000 Muslim shrines, which are believed to be in dispute, will remain unchanged for years to come. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board demanded that the law passed by Parliament on September 18, 1991 be followed. The Places of Worship Act prohibits the conversion of any place of worship and ensures that the religious character of the building remains as it was on August 15, 1947 (with the exception of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site).

There can be common ground if we examine the landmarks of our shared culture and history. One was how a feud ended in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhojshala, where Hindus worship on Tuesdays and Muslims offer namaz Fridays. However, a lawsuit has been filed to prevent the erection of a statue of Saraswati and the practice of namaz the.

Obviously, the problem is not limited to places of worship. We have to bridge a wide gap. For centuries, emperors and politicians have used various methods to create divisions in society. Why would the responsible citizens and leaders of the country not act to end this? The relationship between Japan and the United States (US) should serve as an example for us. The United States responded with atomic bombs to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor; 200,000 Japanese were killed, but the two countries moved on, leaving their mutual animosity behind. Thanks to the cooperation and assistance of the United States, Japan was until recently the second largest economy in the world.

Here I remember the scholar, Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, who said: “Those who do not understand history become history itself”. It is now up to us to decide whether India in the 21st century wants to make history or be held back.

Shashi Shekhar is Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan

Opinions expressed are personal

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