In a huge step forward, the Varanasi district court has allowed the ASI to conduct an archaeological survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex. The mosque itself has been erected over the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
A local lawyer, VS Rastogi had filed a suit in the district court demanding that the land on which the Gyanvapi Mosque stands be restored to Hindus since the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1664 had pulled down a portion of the 2000 year old Kashi Vishwanath Temple to build the Gyanvyapi Mosque there.
While the suit itself was contested by the Gyanvapi Mosque Committee, the Varanasi District Court has now allowed an ASI archaeological survey of the complex. According to reports, all expenses of the survey are to be paid by the Uttar Peradesh government.
Varanasi Court today gave its nod to survey of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Gyanvapi Mosque complex by ASI. The court directs UP government to bear cost of survey to be done by a 5-member committee comprising 2 members from minority community . @NewIndianXpress @TheMornStandard— Namita_TNIE (@Namita_TNIE) April 8, 2021
Reportedly, the Court has directed the survey to be done by a 5-member committee comprising of 2 members from the Muslim community as well.
The Gyanvapi Mosque and Aurangzeb’s reign of terror
No matter how much of whitewashing is done by the likes of Audrey Truschke, we are well aware that Aurangzeb unleashed a reign of terror. Temple destruction was unabated and Jizya reintroduced in his territory. According to the book ‘The Great Big Book of Horrible Things‘, 4.6 million people were killed under Aurangzeb’s rule and the Gyanvapi mosque stands as a testimony to the stellar contribution of Aurangzeb to the ‘composite culture’ or ‘Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb‘ of India.
Gyanvapi Mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after destroying the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The remnants of the ancient Hindu temple can be seen on the walls of the Gyanvapi mosque now. The temple was an earlier restoration of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple, which was destroyed and rebuilt several times in history. The current Kashi Vishwanath was built on a site adjacent to the Mosque in 1780.