With the Allahabad High Court’s ruling on whether to go ahead with conducting a scientific survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) slated for Thursday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s off-the-cuff-suggestion during a TV interview has sparked off an interesting row. Although, neither Yogi per se nor his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is party to the dispute, Muslim clerics and other intellectuals, have started attacking him as they got an opportunity to settle scores with him as their ‘dominance’ in the state has been neutralized by the former ever since he came to power, more than half a decade ago. Surprisingly, the spokespersons of the religion look more than confident of the HC rejecting the Hindus’ demand that a scientific survey alone will pave the way for the dispute to be decided. What intrigued the Muslim leaders may be the posers of Yogi how come Hindu idols or symbols exist in the Mosque? He also proposed an amicable settlement by advising the Muslims to come up with an amicable solution to the dispute, instead of engaging in a prolonged legal battle, to ensure better co-existence of both communities in peace and tranquility. A similar suggestion was made by senior BJP MP and the architect of the Ram Janmabhumi verdict, Subramanian Swami. Though he did not represent the entire Hindu community, as a lawyer, he was instrumental in taking the disputed site arguments at Ayodhya to a logical conclusion, which none perhaps might have imagined in their lifetime.
And, Swamy, who is known as a litigant and opts to take up contentious issues related to the Hindu community as well as high profile political cases like J Jayalalithaa or Sonia and Rahul Gandhi over their money laundering cases, suggested to Muslims, for better co-existence, it would be wise for them to handover the major four temples – Ayodhya (now settled where the Lord Shri Ram temple is nearing completion), Kashi Viswanath at Varanasi (of Lord Shiva at the Gyanvapi), and Mathura (Lord Sri Krishna). Historical evidence indicates that thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed to construct the Mosques which later came into existence as great monuments (sic). In that context, the UP CM’s latest proposal appears to be in tune with that of Swamy. But, the Muslim community leaders view it the other way and consider Yogi’s admission as fear of the HC verdict going against the Hindus. That a spokesperson of the minority community in an English TV channel prime debate dare that his community is confident of a favourable verdict, not only surprised the anchor and his co-panelists, but maybe even the viewers. And a quick rebuttal comes from the BJP’s senior spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia. He is not only practices in the apex court, but a good debater, feels his co-panelist’s claim is nothing short of contempt of court. The ongoing conflict between the two communities took an interesting turn when Hindu devotees identified a Shivling within the precincts of a well (water body), which the Muslim members dismiss as a water fountain. It led to an initial survey by the ASI at a Magisterial Court’s directive which was, however, challenged in the HC, and later when the HC too gave a go ahead, the Mosque management moved the apex court, unravelling the existence of other Hindu idols and scriptures in the Mosque premises.
Hindus believe that it (the pond) was created at a time when even the holy Ganges had not descended to earth. Lord Shiva dug this well with his Trishul to get water for his puja. He then delivered a spiritual sermon to his consort Parvati. Thus, the well came to be known as Gyan Vapi. As a result, the dispute turned out to be a case of religious significance and ownership of the Gyanvapi mosque with local priests filing a petition in court in 1991 requesting permission, to worship within the mosque complex, claiming that it was originally a part of the Kashi Vishwanath temple demolished by Aurangzeb. The current structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1780.
Representatives of the Hindu community armed with archaeological and historical facts, which claimed to have been vetted by even Englishmen, during their colonial rule, ridicule the minority Muslims and argue that their religion has taken birth much later than Kashi Vishwanath temple was built. Against that backdrop, the courts have no other option, but to permit a scientific survey to ascertain hard facts, before it proceeds with the claims and counter-claims of both the religious leaders. The reason behind the Muslims is understandable as their fear is borne out of the fact that yet another acceptance to concede yet another monumental mosque, may lead to the growing rigid Hindu representatives to open up other temples across the country. Meanwhile, the Muslims counter that the Hindu kings have destroyed other faith’s worshipping places, like Puri in Odisha, where they claim the Jagannath temple was built destroying the Buddha’s monastery. But, Hindus claim that Lord Buddha was the ninth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu and their argument holds no water. Thus far the ongoing disputes between the two communities – the present majority of Hindus and multiplying population of Muslims menacingly to catch up with the minority with the latter’s determination to turn India into an Islamic nation by 2047, when India will set to celebrate 100 years of independence – bound to persist, unless the Indian courts judiciously set aside all claims and counter-claims. Yes, by permitting the available modern scientific surveys. Or else, the tensions between the two communities are bound to exist, and the judiciary alone has to take the blame for allowing such tensions to persist which pose a threat to peace and tranquillity in the society. Time has come for a better Gyan to prevail upon all and sundry, if India wants to emerge as a real superpower.