Gyanvapi mosque: ASI resumes scientific survey of complex; Muslim side present

Gyanvapi mosque: ASI resumes scientific survey of complex; Muslim side present

Survey To Determine If Gyanvapi Mosque Was Built Over Temple Resumes

The Gyanvapi Mosque, located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, is a historic and controversial religious site that has been the subject of a long-standing dispute between Hindus and Muslims. The mosque was built in 1669 by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who ordered the demolition of an older temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, known as the Vishweshwar or Kashi Vishwanath temple. The mosque stands adjacent to the present-day Kashi Vishwanath temple, which was constructed in the 18th century by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore.

The Hindu side claims that the mosque was built over the remains of the original temple, and that some parts of the temple structure are still visible inside and outside the mosque. They have demanded access to worship at a shrine behind the mosque and other places within the complex. The Muslim side argues that the mosque is a Waqf property, and that the Places of Worship Act of 1991 prohibits any change in the religious character of the mosque.

In order to resolve this dispute, a Varanasi court has ordered an archaeological survey of the Gyanvapi mosque site by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The court has asked the ASI to conduct a comprehensive physical survey of the site and find out whether there is any evidence of a temple structure underneath or over the mosque. The court has also appointed a five-member committee of experts to supervise and monitor the survey.

The survey was initiated in April 2021, but was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It resumed on August 2, 2021, with the ASI team starting to drill holes in the ground around the mosque to collect soil samples for analysis. The survey is expected to take several months to complete, and its findings will be submitted to the court for further action.

The survey has been welcomed by some sections of the Hindu community, who hope that it will prove their claim and pave the way for the restoration of the temple. However, it has also faced opposition from some sections of the Muslim community, who fear that it will undermine their rights and lead to communal violence. Some activists and scholars have also questioned the legality and necessity of the survey, citing the Places of Worship Act and the historical consensus on the existence of a temple at the site.

The Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute is one of the most sensitive and complex issues in India's religious history. It has implications for not only the rights and sentiments of millions of Hindus and Muslims, but also for India's secular fabric and constitutional values. The outcome of the survey and its aftermath will have a significant impact on India's social and political landscape.

Source

(2) Gyanvapi Mosque - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyanvapi_Mosque.
(3) Gyanvapi masjid: India dispute could become a religious flashpoint - BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-61476741.
(4) Gyanvapi masjid: India dispute could become a religious flashpoint - BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-61476741.
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