Dr. Veda Pratap Vaidik
We cannot speculate on the Court’s ruling on the Gyanvapi Masjid case, but one should know this issue is no way similar to the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. No lawyer or petitioner or Hindu organization has demanded the demolition of Gyanvapi Masjid to reconstruct any temple supposedly existing in the same site. Such claims have been treated as redundant since 1991, thanks to the Places of Worship Act.
The Act that was passed in parliament in 1991 prohibits conversion of religious nature of any place of worship and any place of worship in existence on 15 August 1947. Section 3 of the Act prohibits the conversion of a place of worship or a part thereof into a place of worship of any other religious denomination or other denomination. The Act also imposes an affirmative obligation on the State to maintain the religious nature of every place of worship that existed at the time of independence. So it is the duty of the State to ensure that the Mosque remains in its present form with no alteration or damage. Hence the speculation about a conspiracy to knock down the Gyanvapi Mosque is totally unfounded and spread with ulterior intentions.
A few women had filed a joint petition in the local court with a limited prayer for offering pooja and parikrama in the Gauri Shringar Mandir situated outside the boundary of the mosque. This age-old ritual was disallowed by the managing committee of the mosque for the past few years. Accepting the petition the local court ordered the inspection of the mosque complex. The findings of the investigation were leaked and that led to the escalation of communal commotion.
Certain self-styled Hindu spokespersons claim that remains of a temple have been hidden in the mosque. They allege the Mughal invaders destroyed the temple and built a mosque on it. The Muslim organizations construe such claims as part of a deep rooted conspiracy to demolish the Gyanvapi Masjid.
The truth is that not only the temples of Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya, but hundreds of temples were demolished by foreign invaders and built mosques there. This has happened not just in India, but in many countries like Spain, Turkey and Indonesia. The power hungry barbarian rulers had demolished hundreds of thousands of temples and churches across the world, ignoring theprinciples of Prophet Muhammad, just to satisfy their haughtiness. The Prophet who respected and revered the almighty Allah had equal regard for others.
I have seen mosques in Iran that were demolished by Muslim rulers from neighbouring countries. A Jama Masjid in South India was demolished by a Muslim emperor of Agra, as there were three great means of establishing the power of an emperor- enslaving the women of the defeated kingdom, plundering property and desecrating their places of worship. If a temple, mosque or church is built on the debris of the places of worship of other religions, can anyone be proud of such a structure?
No true devotee will ever accept or approve of a place of worship built by destroying a place of worship of another faith. Even mentioning about demolishing any religious place is like stirring the hornet’s nest. Let the status quo be maintained. Such structures will remain as monuments of the monstrosity of the ruthless rulers. A devout soul will never segregate between different faiths or places of worship. For him God is Omnipresent. The God in the temple and the Allah in the mosque are one and the same.
Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti (There is only one truth and learned persons call it by many names)
*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educationalmissions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.