The Varanasi District Court has restored the right of Hindus to worship in the Vyas basement located south of the Gyanvapi complex after 30 years. District Judge Dr. Ajay Krishna Vishwesh ordered the District Magistrate to get the worship of the idols and Raaga Bhog done in the basement from the priest appointed by the Kashi Vishwanath Trust. Also, asked to remove barricades and make other necessary arrangements within 7 days. According to Hindu side’s lawyers Sudhir Tripathi and Vishnu Shankar Jain, the barricading in front of Nandi Maharaj sitting in front of the bathroom for worship will be removed. According to the Hindu side, till 1993, Somnath Vyas’s family used to worship in the basement. After the Babri demolition in Ayodhya on 6 December 1992, the then Kalyan Singh government of UP was dismissed and President’s rule was imposed. After this, when elections were held in the state, Mulayam Singh Yadav became the Chief Minister. Mulayam government got Gyanvapi barricaded in December 1993. Worship, adornment and circumambulation of Gauri in the basement were stopped. Vyas’s grandson Shailendra Pathak filed a petition in District Court 2 on September 25, 2023, appealing for ordering the puja. Now the Muslim side will go to the High Court against the decision. At the same time, the Hindu side has said that it will file a caveat in the High Court.
It is noteworthy that according to the survey report released by ASI, a large part under the present building has been closed with walls, bricks and stones. ASI has written in the report that experts from the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) had conducted a GPR survey under the three domes of the building. The survey covered the South Hall, Southern Hall, Central Hall, Eastern Hall, North Hall and Northern Hall. Analysis of the data collected shows that there are three more layers with a one meter thick layer on the ground of the northern hall and northern corridor. This layer is up to 0.5 meters thick in the central and southern parts. The 3D profile shows that debris lies beneath the layer. The high pile of debris is dome shaped. There is a geometry to the debris, which is like a broken foundation and tower. ASI has written in the report that the entrance of the temple-like structure discovered was in the west, which has been blocked with stones.
Investigation of the cellars showed that the path to reach there was blocked by brick walls and debris. A door is clearly visible on the wall towards the east, which has been closed with bricks and stones. The northern entrance of the basement has also been closed with stone. The ASI map shows five basements in the east-north direction and three in the east-south direction in half of the complex. The status of the western half has not been clarified. There is said to be debris in this part only, over which there are rooms in the building. There are two stairs going down in the west-south and west-east part, but they have also been closed further. In this way, access to the lower half of the present building is closed. Vishnu Shankar Jain says that the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is in the closed part. The words Srimachha, Pa Bhriguvas, Vadvijatishya, Aay Arjani, Narayain Parop, Jaatibhi: Dharmagya: written in Sanskrit are inscribed on a relic found during the ASI survey.
ASI has described it as a relic of the 16th century. On one wall there is mention of Rudradya and Shravana in Sanskrit. All these words written in Sanskrit reflect the ancient history of the Gyanvapi complex. In the survey report of Gyanvapi, ASI has also prepared a map of the entire complex along with all types of constructions present there. Temple side’s lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain claims that this is exactly the same as in the book on Banaras written by East India Company mint official James Prinsep 200 years ago. The map made by ASI completely matches with the shape and type of Adi Vishveshwar temple located at Gyanvapi which is mentioned in the religious scriptures. Jains say that there is mention of octagonal temple in Gyanvapi in our religious scriptures. It had four pavilions in four directions along with the sanctum sanctorum. James Prinsep surveyed and prepared a map of Banaras in 1822. He also painted a series of watercolors of monuments and festivals in Banaras. It was sent to London in 1829 and published in the Banaras Illustrata between 1830 and 1834.
Ignoring the above facts and the sentiments of Hindus, the Muslim side is talking about challenging the right of worship given to Hindus after 30 years in the higher courts. They definitely have the right to challenge, but if instead of doing so, the Muslim side had taken the initiative to end this dispute through dialogue with the Hindu society, perhaps the situation would have been better. This place is of religious importance for Hindus, whereas the Muslim side seems to be only supporting the invaders, this is not in the national interest. The need of the hour is that the Muslim side should understand the sentiments of the Hindu society and take initiative to end the dispute, this would increase mutual trust and brotherhood.
-Irwin Khanna, Chief Editor Dainik Uttam Hindu.