On Saturday (May 14), the Congress party courted controversy after it tried to give a clean chit to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for the destruction of the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
As the videography and survey of the disputed structure of Gyanvapi mosque is going on, popular Twitter handle (@IndiaHistorypic) had uploaded an old picture of a destroyed wall of Kashi Vishwanath temple on Twitter on May 12th. The image was sourced from the archives of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
“1890 :: Wall of Kashi Vishwanath Temple ( Temple Was Destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb) Now Part of Gyan Vapi Mosque , Varanasi,” the handle had tweeted, crediting ASI for the photo.
1890 :: Wall of Kashi Vishwanth Temple ( Temple Was Destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb) Now Part of Gyan Vapi Mosque , Varanasi— indianhistorypics (@IndiaHistorypic) May 12, 2022
( Photo – ASI Archive ) pic.twitter.com/LYlT14uGjE
Given that the picture and the associated caption portrayed Aurangzeb as a tyrant, the Congress party came to the defence of the Mughal ruler. The official handle of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Sevadal insinuated that the ancient Hindu temple was not destroyed by the Mughal emperor, by claiming how the photograph taken in 1890 can prove that Aurangzeb had destroyed the temple when the Mughal emperor had died almost two centuries ago.
“Aurangzeb died on 3 March 1707. How a photograph clicked in 1890 can show that wall which is allegedly broken by a person who died in 1707?” the tweet by Maharashtra Congress Sevadal read.
Allegations by Congress Sevadal junked
Twitter user ‘IndiaHistorypics’ refuted the claim by responding that the same destroyed wall is also seen in a lithograph made In 1834 by British scholar James Prinsep, which had mentioned that the temple was destroyed by Aurangzeb.
“Further you may take up the matter with ASI and British Library as the source belongs to them,” the popular handle told Congress Sevadal.
https://t.co/TpsNKAdxQB please see this link of 1834 Lithograph by James prinsep Which Shows the Wall of Temple and that Aurangzeb destroyed the original temple— indianhistorypics (@IndiaHistorypic) May 14, 2022
Further you may take up the matter with ASI and British Library as the source belongs to them https://t.co/Ogj6SEYzKx
In another tweet, it emphasised, “Same Wall of Destroyed Kashi Vishwanath Temple Shown In This Lithograph Made In 1834 by James Prinsep. It Also Says That The Temple Was Destroyed by Aurangzeb”
Same Wall of Destroyed Kashi Vishwanath Temple Shown In This Lithograph Made In 1834 by James Prinsep— indianhistorypics (@IndiaHistorypic) May 14, 2022
It Also Says That The Temple Was Destroyed by Aurangzeb
( Source – British Library / https://t.co/TpsNKAvH4J ) https://t.co/Ogj6SEHwIx pic.twitter.com/JzvUx8FmZZ
James Prinsep (1799-1840) was an architect and European scholar who holds the distinction of deciphering the edicts of the ancient Indian emperor Ashoka. He is credited for reforming the Indian system of weights and measures and introducing a uniform coinage system.
Congress Sevadal tried to dismiss the fact that Aurangzeb had destroyed the temple to build just because a photograph of the partially destroyed wall was taken decades later. But the fact is, it is an undeniable fact that the original Kashi Vishwanath temple was destroyed during the regime of Arungzeb and the mosque was built on its ruins. Even the Muslims don’t deny this fact, they only justify this by saying that Aurangzeb had ordered to demolish the temple after spotting some crimes by the priests in the temple.
The Congress asked “how a photograph clicked in 1890 can show that wall which is allegedly broken by a person who dies in 1707”, which is a baseless question. Because while the temple was destroyed, it was not completely demolished, as seen even now, parts of the demolished temple were used for the mosque. Therefore, the photograph posted by IndiaHistorypics showed a partially destroyed wall. Also, the tweet clearly mentioned that this is wall of original Kashi Vishwanath temple which is now part of the Gyanvapi mosque. Walls of the temple are seen on the mosque even today, but still Congress tried to question the fact.
Congress Sevadal continued to defy
Despite the clarification that the images are from ASI and British Museum and that the wall of the destroyed temple is now part of the mosque, Maharashtra Congress sevadal continued to question the well-known fact. Instead of conceding, they brought up the matter of the Bhagyalaxmi Temple, located next to Charminar in Hyderabad. They said that to prove that Gyanvapi mosque was built after destroying the Kashi Vishwanath temple, they need before and after photographs, which shows the place in different points of time. As an example, they posted two images of the Charminar in Hyderabad from different. The second colour photograph showed the Bhagyalaxmi Temple next to Charminar, while the first black and white photo does not have the temple. The temple was constructed in 1960s, and is a disputed structure, expansion of which have been stopped by Telangana High Court.
Congress brought a completely unrelated topic to defend Aurangzeb. The Bhagyalaxmi Temple is a completely different issue in a different state, and as the temple was constructed just a few decades ago, photographs of the place without the temple are available. But it bizarre to demand photographic proof of the existence of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple, which was demolished centuries before photography was invented. Moreover, there are physical proofs of the temple, as the forms of walls and other ruins in the mosque, and there are several historical and literary evidence, but still Congress party claims it is not enough to prove that Aurangzeb had demolished the temple.
For some reason, they also pointed out the Char Kaman near the Charminar in both the images. The Kamans were built in 16th century after the completion of the Charminar, and it is known what point Congress party wanted to prove by showing it in both the images.
Gyanvapi mosque dispute and survey
The Gyanvapi Mosque complex is a disputed structure built over the ruins of the desecrated old Kashi Vishwanath Temple by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after it was desecrated multiple times by Islamic monarchs such as Qutb al-Din Aibak and Aurangzeb.
To this day, parts of this ancient temple are clearly visible on the outer walls of the mosque, especially the western wall which has been kept intact. Even from afar, the statues of the bull Nandi and Maa Shringaar Gauri can be seen. Moreover, there are enough historical evidences of the demolition of the temple, building the mosque, and the rebuilding the temple at the current adjacent site.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex, which is adjacent to the disputed mosque complex and where devotees can do puja and prayers, was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.
A Varanasi court on May 12 allowed a videographic survey of the disputed structure. Varanasi’s Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar issued guidelines for the same and added that the survey will now be held and a report to be submitted by May 17.