Gyanvapi Mosque: Fading minorityism and zealots’ last stand – Yuvraj Pokharna

Gyanvapi Mosque back wall made of ancient temple building.

Yuvraj PokharnaWe as a civilisation date back to time immemorial but as a nation-state are fairly young. But that doesn’t mean that we will bow to the vested interests, backed by Western powers and unseen hands, that often tend to sermonise Bharat. – Yuvraj Pokharna

Turning on the news these days usually entails listening to shrieking voices over the Gyanvapi Mosque in Kashi. The mosque’s name is said to have come from an adjacent well, known as the Gyanvapi or the Well of Knowledge. The fact that it—ostensibly—is the only mosque in the world with a Sanskrit name eschews human logic, but it is what it is!

The present-day debate over the Gyanvapi Mosque is not the first. Since 1194, the masjid has been a bone of contention. The so-called ‘flag-bearers’ of Nehruvian secularism, the ‘devotees’ of the Constitution and the ‘believers’ of Islam, especially the ‘chieftains’—the clerics and ulema—have been caught on the wrong foot this time. Part of this trepidation arises from the fear of losing the veto they have enjoyed hitherto. Part of this nervousness comes from the fact that the Constitution is being followed verbatim, upholding its true spirit—with no compromises. Using acrimonious and obscene language on national television no longer suffices to gratify the Muslim clerics, so they must laud and extol the gory Timurids—also known as Mughals—and their grisly Islamic invasion. This is the very cabal that has an uncanny scorn and loathing for anything and everything—invariably and inexorably—innately indigenous. Simply put, anything and everything that has Hindu roots. Both A.S. Altekar and Hiuen Tsang’s historical accounts, which were documented under the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, mention a temple and a hundred-feet-long Shiva Linga. As per Altekar’s 1937 book History of Benares: From the Earliest Times Down to 1937, which was written when he was the dean of Banaras Hindu University’s Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, the Gyanvapi Mosque is said to have been mounted in 1669 under the reign of Aurangzeb, who ordered the razing of the ancient Vishweshwar Temple and the erection of a mosque in its place.

Aurangzeb's firman ordering the demolition of the Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi in August 1669 A.D.

James Prinsep's 1832 plan of the ancient Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The thin dotted line shows the portion of the temple occupied by the present Gyanvapi Masjid.

On May 14, 1937, Professor Paramatma Sharan, a Banaras-born historian, made a declaration on behalf of the British government wherein he cited portions from Maasir-I-‘Alamgiri, written by the historian during Aurangzeb’s period, which claimed that Gyanvapi Mosque was a temple in the 16th century. The temple’s plinth was unharmed and served as the mosque’s courtyard. One of the walls was saved as well, and it became the qibla wall, the mosque’s most elaborate and essential wall facing Mecca. The mosque was constructed using materials from the fallen temple. There was no temple on the site for more than a century after the mosque was constructed.

In the 18th century, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore built the current Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the south of the mosque. It has become one of the most important and beloved Hindu religious centres over the years. Instead of facing the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, an antique sculpture of the Nandi (bull) within the enclosure of the current Kashi Vishwanath Temple faces the mosque’s wall. It is said that Nandi stands facing the old Vishweshwar Temple’s sanctum sanctorum. Many Hindus have long believed that during Aurangzeb’s invasion, the original lingam of the ancient Vishweshwar Temple was hidden by priests in the Gyanvapi Well, which has sparked a desire to perform puja and rites at the pious site where the mosque now sits.

Nandi facing original Kashi Vishwanath Temple sanctum (now in the Gyanvapi Mosque). The seven foot statue was allegedly gifted by the Raja of Nepal. Photo by William Carpenter  ca. 1860-1880.

Gyanvapi Well is the original holy well between the temple and the mosque.

The vehement contempt against Hindus and their culture isn’t the making of the RSS or the BJP, as it is made out to be by the Lutyens’ cabal and their comrades. And so, this case isn’t entirely new either, for it was filed in the district court against the British government by then Muslim groups to avail the right to offer namaz in the entire Gyanvapi complex in 1936. Despite the fact that seven witnesses appeared on behalf of the claimants while 15 appeared on behalf of the British government, the right to offer namaz in the Gyanvapi mosque was granted on August 15, 1937. Alas, this date is a game of fate! It was further explicitly stated that such prayers couldn’t be offered anywhere else in the Gyanvapi complex. On April 10, 1942, upholding the decision of the lower court, the High Court dismissed the appeal.

On October 15, 1991, Pandit Somnath Vyas, Dr. Ramrang Sharma and a few others petitioned the court for permission to build a new temple in Gyanvapi, as well as the right to worship. In 1998, Anjuman Inazaniya Masjid and the UP Sunni Waqf Board, Lucknow had two petitions filed on their behalf against this order. Vijay Shankar Rastogi, former district government advocate, was appointed as a litigant in this case on October 11, 2018. An order was issued to carry out an archaeological survey in the complex on April 8, 2021, which began on April 14, 2022.

What is even more hard to digest is that invaders who lived in tents and never erected a structure claimed to have built magnificent marvels in India. It is indeed a charade concocted and peddled by the Left-Liberals, which conceals and obliterates the fact that no matter if it is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Ram Mandir, the Kali Temple of Kashmir, the Krishna Temple of Mathura, the Atala Devi Temple of Jaunpur, Saraswati Temple of Bhojshala or the temple found under the mosque in Mangaluru, all Islamic structures stand on desecrated places of worship of the indigenous inhabitants of Bharat, the Hindus.

Notwithstanding India being a Hindu-majority country which bequeathed its land to create the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Bangladesh, different litigations on matters of faith and places of worship have gone on for almost 70 years since Independence. Here too, the votaries of ‘orthodox’ Islam often suffer from selective amnesia: hailing the parliamentary mandate through the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 but rejecting the duly passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act by Parliament. Leveraging court verdict on Taj Mahal survey appeal while repudiating the apex court decision on right to alimony for Shah Bano. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) supremo Akbaruddin Owaisi dismissing the apex court verdict on Ayodhya Ram Mandir is yet another example.

Joint secretary of Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid Syed Mohammad Yasin took jibes at the judicial process and asked, if the law orders them to get beheaded, should they comply. However, he wouldn’t expect any suo moto action, but the judges involved in the case have raised concerns over their and family’s safety. Unsurprising, right? But what is even more ironical is that amid all this Akbaruddin Owaisi finds time to visit the tomb of Aurangzeb, a plunderer known to slaughter Indians, when the controversy around Gyanvapi is brewing. Isn’t this an attempt at rabble-rousing and provocation? Time is propitious to remember Dr. Ambedkar who rightly called this the “gangster’s method of politics”, characterised by never-ending and ever new unreasonable demands, followed by acrimony, denunciations, street rioting and victim-playing. The Islamic cavalry pontificates secularism, believes in mobocracy and perpetuates riots!

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. … Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India alone,” American writer Mark Twain had once said. India’s history and culture are vibrant, dating back to the dawn of civilisation. It all started with an enigmatic civilisation that developed around the Indus River and in agricultural settlements in India’s southern states. By the end of the fourth millennium BC, India had become a very advanced society. Bharat, the most modern state in existence today, is the epitome of syncretic polytheism. India is and has been a land of pluralism par excellence. “The distinguishing characteristic of Indian civilisation is its capacity to absorb synergistically the culture of foreigners,” Daniel Patrick Moynihan, US ambassador to India from 1973 to 1975, is believed to have said.

Religion per se came to Bharat thanks to the Islamic invasions. Steven Ian Wilkinson of Yale University notes that the rising ethic violence in Bharat stems from the augmented confessionalism, a specific religion-based power sharing arrangement in a democracy, and that no such arrangement can satiate the groups and will eventually lead to resentment. We as a civilisation date back to time immemorial but as a nation-state are fairly young but that doesn’t mean that we will bow to the vested interests, backed by Western powers and unseen hands, that often tend to sermonise Bharat. – News 18, 16 May 2022

Yuvraj Pokharna is a Surat-based educator, columnist, and social activist. 

Gyanvapi Mosque as Victory Monument : Emperor Aurangzeb left a portion of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple standing and incorporated into his new mosque to remind Hindus that they were dhimmis, a subjugated people who had lost their most important place of worship on the Ganga.

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  1. First picture of the Gyanvapi mosque area where Shivling was ‘found’ – TN National Desk – New Delhi – 16 May 2022

    Varanasi: Times Now has accessed the first picture of the area in the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri temple complex where the Hindu side Monday claimed a Shivling was found during the videography survey. The videography survey concluded today and the court-appointed commissioner is expected to submit the report in a Varanasi district court by tomorrow.

    The court, meanwhile, today ordered the District Magistrate of Varanasi, Kaushal Raj Sharma, “to seal the area where the Shivling was found and to bar people from going to the place”. The court said the DM, the Varanasi Police Commissioner and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandant, Varanasi, will now be responsible for the security of the sealed area in the Gyanvapi masjid complex.

    Earlier, a Hindu petitioner in the case, Sohan Lal Arya, told the media that the court commission responsible for the videography survey had discovered a Shivling inside the complex.

    Arya was present during the survey along with the court commission members and later told the media that they have found “conclusive evidence”.

    “Shivling … jiski Nandi pratiksha kar rahi thi. … The moment things became clear the chants of ‘Har Har Mahavdev’ resonated in mosque premises,” he claimed.

    Vishnu Jain, a lawyer for the Hindu side, told Times Now exclusively that a Shivling was found during the survey and he moved the court so that the area could be sealed and protected.

    “Shivling was found there, I have through my eyes seen the ancient Shivling. It is located in the middle of the Waju Khana and it was hidden with the help of walls built like a well,” Jain said.

    He corroborated the claims that the Shivling was located in front of the idol of Nandi bull.

    “Shivling is located right in front of Nandi. The height of the Shivling is about 3 feet and it covers an area of 12×4 feet,” he added.

    Jain, while narrating the events of the morning, said during the videography survey, the pond was emptied and the commission members and representatives of both sides entered the empty pond using a ladder.

    “We found the Shivling and cleaned it before recording the evidence,” Jain said.
    The survey was concluded today and it was carried out as per the orders of the Varanasi Civil Court despite objections from the mosque authorities.

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