News Analysis

Problematic Places of Worship Act & Kashi Vishwanath Temple

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Archaeological Survey of India has decided to excavate Gyanvapi Mosque in Kashi. This action has raised many eyebrows and has brought the focus back on Places Of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. Let us know what is this act and its implications. (Further referred as ‘the Act’) 

The Act bans conversion of religious places into a place of some other religious denomination. The act enforces a positive obligation on the state to maintain the religious nature of a place as it was during the Independence. 

However gives exemption to ‘Ayodhya-Babri Masjid Site’ in order for its trial to proceed. But this provision makes the problematic

The Act by its provisions makes three dangerous assumptions: 

  1. The state will protect a monument of religious denomination irrespective of how that monument came into existence thus protecting monuments whose nature was changed by religious violence. 
  2. The state only recognises convenient wrongs on society such as caste discrimination however turns a blind eye towards pogroms 
  3. Only Ayodhya is the important religious monument of Hindus which might be corrected but others are not. (To hell with Kashi Mathura baaki hai) 

Thus, the act in actuality protects several religious wrongs inflicted on a certain community by the other. Be it Aurangzeb’s demolition of Mathura Temple, Demolition and conversion of Temples into Churches, by the Portugese. 

However we will focus on the Kashi Vishwanath Temple for now.  Vishwanath Temple is located on the banks of Ma Ganga and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The history of the temple is filled with blood shed, violence and multiple demolitions. 

-It was first demolished by Qutubuddin Aibak in 1194 A.D

-It was demolished again by Hussain Sharqi of Sikander Lodi during their reign 

-It was demolished again by Aurangzeb in 1669 

(As per the official court records of Maasiri Alamgiri – Demolition of Vishwanath Temple was carried in accordance with Aurangzeb’s orders) 

  • Book Reference: Presenting the Past: Anxious History and Ancient Future in Hindutva India, Pg. 99 

It was recently built by Devi Ahilya Rani Holkar and the Gold for the Kalash was donated by  Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

How Liberal-Secularists & Marxists narrate their version

“Aurangzeb was going on an expedition to Bengal, one of the queens of his Hindu Generals was kidnapped. After a thorough search she was found in a room which was exactly beneath the plint of Lord Jagannath – Thus enraged by this episode Aurangzeb ordered demolition of the temple”

  • B.N. Pande, working chairman of the Gandhi Darshan Samiti and former Governor of Orissa.

However, this honourable fellow fails to give any date or reference or any proof backing this episode.  A same version if found in Dr. Pattabi Sitaramaiyya’s Book The Feathers and the Stones. However, the documentary evidence or any evidence quoted to support this episode is – A story narrated by a friend of Mr. Sitharamaiyya, and this friend had this story written on some manuscript. 

These are the strong documentary evidences on which these people are relying to white wash the image of Aurangzeb. 
All said and done, the this excavation project by ASI is an appreciated move to dig out the REAL History of India!

Courtesy: We extend our courtesy to ‘The Dharma Dispatch’ for their extensive article on this subject.

Categories: News Analysis

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