“The Judge noted, at the very outset, I must say that in the documents on the record, this Katra is described as Katra Keshavadeva, and in none of them, it is described as Katra Idgah. It is, therefore, a lie to say that this Katra is called Katra Idgah. This Katra Keshavadeva was at one time the site of a large and important Hindu temple dedicated to Keshavadeva. Aurangzeb levelled this temple to the ground and built a large mosque of red stone on the site thereof”. –A fourth prosecution (Case No. 547 of 1928) was filed by Rai Kishan Das (Plaintiff) against Abdulla Khan & others Defendants) – as quoted in Vasudeva Krishna and Mathura by Prof Meenakshi Jain, Aryan Books, New Delhi, 2021, p.166
The celebration of the Ram Lalla returning to His birthplace is taking shape worldwide – wherever there are Ram and Ramayana. Though considered unbelievable – the persistent efforts of all the cultural nationalists paved the way for the judicial way out. Now, two significant developments related to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and Sri Krishna Janmasthan in Mathura have occurred. On December 19, 2023, the Allahabad High Court rejected two petitions against the maintainability of the 1991 civil suit filed by Hindu worshippers, pending before a Varanasi District Court and three against the 2021 ASI survey order. Four days before, on December 15, 2023, the Supreme Court refused to stay an Allahabad High Court order allowing a court-monitored survey of the Shahi Idgah adjoining the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura. Though Islamists, under the garb of secularism, are trying to vitiate the atmosphere on social media, how can the character of the religious place be determined without a proper survey is the fundamental question.
There are more deep issues involved in these three places of national importance. Since the aggression of Muhammad Ghazni, these sacred sites were razed time and again by the barbaric invaders, and there is sufficient documentary evidence to support that. For more than 1200 years, Bharatiya society has been fighting and reclaiming these places time and again whenever the situation permits. Irrespective of caste, sect and language, people have been emotionally and culturally attached to these places. Was it just for a piece of land they were fighting for? Was it just a place of worship they were trying to reclaim? History tells the story otherwise. The present judicial proceedings may locate the issue either in the realm of places of worship or property ownership. On these fronts, the cases were obvious till we attained Independence. Like many other initiatives, we should have reclaimed these places immediately after the Independence as part of the decolonisation process. Invaders razed these places to crush the national consciousness, and people tried to reclaim it whenever they got a chance. In this sense, they have been the national symbols.
As happened in the case of Somnath Temple, Sardar Patel and KM Munshi set the process rolling in 1948 itself. Gandhiji immediately endorsed the proposal, with the condition that Government money should not be used in the reconstruction of the Somnath temple. Like what happened in the case of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, it was purely due to the people’s contribution. Nehru’s cabinet also adopted a resolution. Unfortunately, Nehru did not follow through with the resolution when we quickly lost Gandhiji and Sardar Patel. He called Munshi Ji communal and advised the then President of Bharat, Dr Rajendra Prasad, not to attend the consecration ceremony. Though Rajendra Babu did not budge, he had to pay a political price for not toeing the Nehruvian line. Since then, the Nehruvian hypocrisy, in the name of secularism, started calling the shots in the intellectual realm and policy making. Nehru Government halted the comprehensive cultural history project led by R C Mujumdar. The Marxist-Islamist combined followed the colonial construct of denying the real national identity of Bharat. Denying the true Itihasa and manufacturing history to deny the accesses done by the invaders became a fashion in the name of protecting minority sentiments. The reality is that the ancestors of these very minorities are the first victims of Islamic invasions. Instead of telling them the reality, our distorians (historians who excelled in the business of distortions) have taken pride in white washing the Itihasa.
The legal battle may revolve around the places of worship and ownership of property. Still, at the societal and intellectual levels, the discussion should be about reclaiming our Itihasa – the events that happened to save Dharma and the selfhood of Bharat.