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A religious dispute threatens India’s most important minaret

This content was published on 02 Jul 2022 – 07:30

Michaela Viguera

New Delhi, July 2 (EFE) .- India’s iconic Qutub Minar minaret is embroiled in controversy following a controversial case to rebuild 27 Hindu temples destroyed to raise the complex of Islamic monuments around it.

Considered to be the tallest brick minaret in the world at 72.5 meters, Qutb Minar is consecrated as one of the most visited tourist attractions in New Delhi and according to its history, it was built in the late twelfth century to mark the victory of the Mongol invasion. century

The precincts of the minaret, which include the funerary buildings, the large alai-darwaza gate of the Indo-Muslim court, and two mosques, in addition to the sanctum, were established with materials from 27 temples of the Brahmin caste (priests). Vishnu, the revered Hindu god, now asks to be rebuilt.

“The shrine of Lord Vishnu was demolished, defaced, idols removed and desecrated. That is why we are demanding the restoration of our original cultural heritage,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Ranjana Agnihotri told Efe.

Math VS Tradition

The historic complex, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, is fueling concerns that other religious temples in the country will be reduced to pieces as they have recently been.

But Agnihotri clarified that they do not intend to “change the nature of the Qutub Minar” anytime soon, but rather “restore the heritage of the original process”.

The lawyer says that Brahmins (priests) carried out “geometrical and mathematical experiments”, changed their name after the Mongols came to power, demolished “many interesting symbols” such as goddesses, and Hindu temples. Shredded to humiliate Indian women”.

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“Muslims have never used it as a Muslim structure, to show the country’s cultural heritage,” he added.

However, the Qutub Minar presents a series of peculiarities that play against this claim: it was declared a protected national monument in 1914, and after India’s independence in 1947 its status was “frozen”, i.e. “whatever its status, it will continue to be that status, it will not change”. Expert architect KT Ravindran told Efe.

Although it is a work associated with the Islamic period, the architect admits that from a cultural point of view “it has always been a symbol of victory” and is far from any religious practice, so its status should not change.

Religious tensions

The demand has unleashed huge fears of a repeat of an episode like the one in 1992, when a mob of Hindu fundamentalists destroyed the Ayodhya mosque after being backed by leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). .)

The mosque, which stood on the site of the alleged birthplace of the Hindu god Rama, sparked riots in which 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.

The Supreme Court in 2019 decided the landmark case in favor of the Hindus and authorized the construction of the Hindu temple.

The controversial case is part of growing religious tension in the country, which has recently unleashed a fresh wave of violence in the country after the brutal killing of a Hindu tailor for religious reasons and offensive remarks by BJP spokesperson Mohammad. .

In this context, fundamentalist groups have been given the opportunity to register in court the destruction of mosques built on Hindu land.

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Last May, following a court order, an oval-shaped “lingam” of Lord Shiva, representing the Hindu deity, was found at the Gnanavabi Masjid in the holy city of Hinduism in Varanasi.

Controversy reached the iconic Taj Mahal after a few weeks after a member of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP asked a court to investigate the building.

If he loses the trial, Agnihotri will take the case to the final outcome, which will be announced at the end of August.

“If my case fails, I will approach the High Court and if I don’t win, I will definitely approach the Supreme Court to get justice,” he said.

Religious Affairs

According to Jayant Dipati, a lawyer specializing in heritage preservation, it is the political issues that are driving these Hindu groups to try their luck in court to change the country’s history to their liking.

“It is a recorded historical fact that a group of temples were demolished in that area and the ruins were used to build monuments in and around Qutb Minar, but that was 600 years ago,” he asserted.

Rabindran, in this sense, puts religious tensions aside and calls for “a broader view of history, a broader view of what these monuments are, and respect for their architectural merit”.

At the end of the day, he said, “architecture belongs to humanity.” EFE



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