As the entire country is witnessing heated arguments of reclaiming ancient Hindu temples which were destroyed and converted into Islamic religious structures by Islamic invaders, author-columnist Chetan Bhagat has come up with a bizarre suggesting to the issue, inviting ridicule and jokes form netizens. In a Times of India column published today, he suggested combining the temples and mosques co-existing at the same sites into single structure.
Chetan Bhagat has also coined a name for such ‘hybrid’ religious places, ‘Mosples’, combing the words Mosques and Temples. He also said that controversies like Gyanvapi can be avoided if Hindus and Muslims together celebrate their ‘conjoined past’.
The article is behind a paywall on Times of India website, but is available in the print edition, and Chetan Bhagat posted a image copy of the article on Twitter from TOI e-paper.
Hi all,— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) June 4, 2022
“Mosques + Temples = Mosples: Controversies like Gyanvapi can be avoided if Hindus and Muslims together celebrate their conjoined past,” my column in TOI.
Do read and share! pic.twitter.com/jWYfjWXfQ1
While there are lots of examples of temples and mosques, or places worship of other religions, located on adjacent plots, the suggestion of single hybrid place of worship for multiple place is definitely unusual, unprecedented, and bizarre.
While advocating this suggestio=n, Chetan Bhagat cites the example of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, claiming that it is a ‘church and mosque hybrid of sorts’. This is completely false claim, as the historical place not a combined mosque + church, which he may call ‘morch’. Hagia Sophia has been a Church and a Mosque at different points of time, but it was never the both at the same, it was never a hybrid Church + Mosque as claimed by Chetan Bhagat.
Hagia Sophia was a Church for most part of the history, but it is now a mosque. It was built in sixth century in the Turkish capital Istanbul, at the site of a earlier church destroyed by fire, which it turn was built after the first church was also destroyed by fire. The current structure was completed 537 as the Church of Justinian I, in the name of Emperor Justinian I who started its construction, and remained a church for hundreds of years, till the time the Ottoman forces invaded the city.
After capturing the city, Ottomans had converted the Church into a Mosque in 1453, just like Islamic invaders in India had destroyed thousands of temples and converted many of them into mosque. Invader Sultan Mehmed II had ordered to stop all Christian rites and prayers at the Church, and had ordered to immediately convert it into a mosque.
It remained a mosque till 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the first president and founder of the Republic of Turkey, after the fall of the Ottoman empire. Initially religious rituals were banned in the museum, but later in 1991 a pavilion was allowed to be used a prayer room and minarets were allowed to use for voicing the Islamic prayer Azan.
In 2018, the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his intention to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and it was officially declared a mosque in 2020. Thus, it is a mosque now, where regular Islamic prayers and rituals are held. Moreover, it is now not a ‘top tourist site’ as claimed Bhagat, because it is now a top Islamic site. While non-Muslims can visit the site as tourists, they are not allowed entry into prayer rooms, and have to follow usual rules enforced at Islamic sites.
Hagia Sophia was never a combined church-mosque as falsely claimed by Chetan Bhagat. Instead, it tells the familiar story of Islamic invaders occupying religious places of other religions to convert them into mosques.
The fact that there is no living example of a ‘hybrid’ place of worship for two different religions is a proof that it is a terrible idea. When two Abrahamic religions can’t co-exist in the same site, how two completely different religions can co-exist?
Even if such a site is achieved, it will be subject to constant disputes various issues, and will always remain covered in controversies.
Two different religions at the same site will obviously a logistical nightmare, with different rituals and festivals, many of which overlap. Ultimately, it will be virtually impossible to hold such events at such sites.
Finding the idea bizarre, several netizens mocked Chetan Bhagat for the ‘mosple’ suggestion. They used the same formula of combining two words to respond to it, like Chetan + Shut up = Chup, Vomit + Puke = Voke, Britain + India = Bridia etc.
Chetan + Shut up = Chup— Pratyasha Rath (@pratyasharath) June 4, 2022
Hagia Sofia in its mosque+ church phase was a museum. Now it has been changed into a mosque.
Try sharing these brilliant syncretic ideas with some regular folks before sending it to print. If they laugh, you know it’s best it stays in your head. https://t.co/ROEF3njCFx
I think the reaction to such pieces must be “voke” = vomit + puke. https://t.co/StYDsBFUgG— Sai Deepak J (@jsaideepak) June 4, 2022
Very good suggestion! Looking forward to Chetan taking part in jagrata at Jama Masjid next Friday. https://t.co/ofX1BP7kIH— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) June 4, 2022
Conjoined past, Mospels ??— Chandan 🇮🇳 (@CKSahay_) June 4, 2022
Looters and Invaders are getting mainstreamed through such words by morons like Bhagat. There is term for Hindus like him “Dhimmis” https://t.co/79NB95IO6E
IIT + IIM = This Joker🃏 https://t.co/e9W7GumYVu— Parasjainca (@Paras_Atin) June 4, 2022
In the article, Chetan Bhagat accepted that a large number of current mosques have been built after destroying ancient temples, and said that if we start studying each and every mosque, we would be opening a Pandora’s box. While he accepts historical wrongs were committed on Hindus, he is against touching the mosques, supporting the status cue as per the Places of Worship Act.
When Chetan Bhagat accepts that wrongs were done with Hindus and temples were converted to mosques, it is not clear what he means by ‘conjoined past’ of Hindus and Muslims. The Hindu-Muslim past of India is of invasion, of barbaric Muslim rulers destroying temples and slaughtering millions of people. How can it be called ‘conjoined past’, only Chetan Bhagat can tell.
Interestingly, Bhagat made two other suggestions in the same article, which was not highlighted by both Times of India and the author himself. Actually, the ‘mosples’ suggestion was the last of three suggestions, and other two are actually sensible and practical suggestions.
In the first, he has suggested that there should be an exemption in the Places of Worship Act for some temples which were converted to mosques to be converted back. He suggested to identify some sites which are of extremely high importance to Hindus, but the current mosques in those sites don’t have any special significance to Muslims, to reconvert them to temples. Although he said that perhaps the act should cover 99.99% of the sites and exempt the remaining 0.01%, it is a good starting point to resolve the disputes.
In the second suggestion, Chetan Bhagat has suggested one community can buy the sites from the other community which is currently occupying the sites. This is also a practical suggestion. While Waqf law bans sale of Islamic sites, if both sites agree, a way around it can be found, which was done in the case of Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, when a plot needed for the project was taken from the Gyanvapi mosque, and another plot was given in an exchange, circumventing the law governing Waqf properties.
Certainly, the Hindus can offer alternative sites to the Muslims to relocate the mosques built on the ruins of ancient temples. While radical Muslims will not agree to any of both these suggestions, these two are definitely better and practical solutions, compared to ‘Mosples’. While it is understood why Times of India chose the most controversial suggestion for the headline, it is not known why Chetan Bhagat also chose it while sharing the article on Twitter. Probably he thinks it is the best idea.