ASI and planned death of history
Bijamandal Temple at Vidisha is one of massive dimensions comparable with Konarak in Orissa. It was desecrated again and again since the days of Sultan Shamsuddeen Iltutmish who first indulged in his iconoclasm at this site. Then followed Allaudin Kilji. His record was bettered by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Finally came Aurangazeb Alamgir a renowned champion of human compassion and deathless humanity.
During one night in the monsoon of 1991, there was heavy rain at a small town called Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, 40 kilometers from Bopal. The downpour was so heavy that it washed away the wall that was concealing the frontage of the Bijamandal Mosque established by Aurangazeb in 1682. This Masjid is a centre of attraction for the Muslims. The Muslim clerics called it Alamgir Masjid. But for the common people of the area it was known as Bijamandal Mosque.
The broken and capsized wall following heavy rains in 1991, completely exposed and brought to public light so many Hindu idols that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was left with no pseudo-secular choice for further concealment and consignment into oblivion.
The fact to be noted is that for more than 300 years, these Hindu idols were buried under the platform on the northern side, which was used as the Hall of Prayer conducted especially on days of Eid.
The District Collector having control over this town in 1991, came forward to offer protection to the Surveyors of the ASI, who were always exposed to the ever present risk of violent wrath of bigots.
Exquisitely beautiful treasures of sculpture were retrieved by the ASI. Many of the statues were particularly splendid, with some of them being as high as eight feet. But the patent fact which must be noted by all enlightened citizens in India today is that the ASI within a month received instructions to stop further work. The officer of the ASI working on the excavations as well as the Collector were transferred. There was widespread public belief in all the villages around Vidisa that this was done at the behest of the then Human Resource Development Minister at the Centre Arjun Singh, a deathless champion of "secularism".
Is he not trying vigorously to re-write Indian History in order to hide well-known facts relating to Islamic terrorism in India after 1000 AD?
As a lover of history, I was reading a report of inspection of this site by Sir Alexander Cunningham who was the first Director of the Archaeological Survey of India established by Lord Canning, the Viceroy, in 1862. He visited this site in 1874 and 1876. This is what he wrote in Volume X of the ASI Report: “Inside the town there is a stone Masjid called Bijay Mandir, or the temple of Bijay. This Hindu name is said to have been derived from the original temple Bijay Rani. The temple was thrown down by the order of Aurangazeb and the present Masjid erected in its place; but the Hindus still frequent it at the time of the annual fair. By the Musalmans it is called "The Alamgiri Masjid", while Bhilsa (earlier name of Vidisha) itself is called Alamgirpur. The building is 781/2 feet long by 261/2 feet broad and the roof is supported on four rows of plain square pillars with 13 openings on front”.
So much by way of non-saffron, non-communal documentary evidence in favor of the Hindu origins of this famous Mosque in Vidisha. It was Aurangazeb who destroyed the temple known as Bijay Mandir and converted it into a Mosque called Bijay Mandal Mosque in 1682. Royal celebrations were held at the site to commemorate the visit of Aurangazeb to the area and he took the opportunity of renaming Vidisha as Alamgirpur.
Though it had been known for a long time that Bijamandal was originally a temple, namaz at Eid time continued right up to 1965. In 1965, Dr. Dwaraka Prasad Misra was the Congress Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. It was his government which banned Muslim worship in what was a protected ASI monument. It is not surprising that Dr Dwaraka Prasad Misra earned the gratitude of most Vidishans and others in Madhya Pradesh. It was Dr D P Misra who displayed the requisite moral courage of halting namaz in the edifice. The Madhya Pradesh government gave a grant of Rs 40,000 for the construction of a separate Idgaah nearby.
About 150 years before Aurangazeb's wanton act of destruction of the Bijamandal Temple at Vidisha, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, captured the town of Vidisha in 1526-27. The first thing he did after capturing the town was to desecrate the Bijay Mandir, proclaiming that the conquest of Bhilsa (Vidisha) was in the service of Islam. This fact is recorded in Mirat-I-Sikandri. About 200 years before him, another great humanist called Sultan Allaudin Kilji in 1293 had also enjoyed the "devout" and "dedicated" pleasure of damaging the Bijay Mandir. But the supreme credit of being the Columbus of destruction of this temple in 1234 goes to Sultan Shamsuddeen Iltutmish.
Much of the factual information in this article is based on a brilliant article called Four Vandals, one Temple by Gargi. To quote Gargi in this context: “Few temples have had the misfortune of getting desecrated four times. Being a huge structure, built in solid stones, it was able to survive and be restituted as a Mandir, three times. The ASI is still to undo the damage perpetrated finally by Aurangazeb in 1682. Excavation work by ASI which was stopped by Government of India in 1993-94 is yet to be resumed. It is no doubt difficult to redeem the pristine glory of Bijay Mandir, whose scale and dimensions are reminiscent of the Konarak Temple, but it would be a shame if independent India allows its architectural treasures remain in a state of desecration and buried without an attempt even to redeem them. It is all the more unfortunate that the ASI is not being allowed to work on the site despite pressure from local citizens”.
The credit of having converted a neutral public service organization like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) into a slave of Congress-sponsored historical negationism and anti-Hindu pseudo secularism goes wholly to the Congress Party in India after independence.
Let me contrast the shameful record of the Congress Party in India after independence in the matter of preservation of our cultural heritage and ancient monuments with that of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India during 1899 to 1905. He took special interest in the Archaeological Department. It was he who was responsible for the passing of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act in 1904.
Lord Curzon is remembered for the care he gave to India's great monuments, not only to the new ones celebrating the British Raj, but also India's ancient heritage, many of which were in desperate need of conservation. He showed great sensitivity and refinement in his appreciation of Hindu and Muslim art.
He was determined to ensure that the beauty of the past should be preserved and those monuments of historical interest and aesthetic value in India be restored and preserved. He brushed aside the specious argument that it was not the duty of a Christian Government to preserve the monuments of pagan art or the sanctuaries of an alien faith. He believed that art and beauty and the reverence that was owing to all that had evoked human genius or had inspired human faith, were independent of particular creeds and insofar as it touched religion, were embraced and united by the common religion of all mankind.
Lord Curzon wrote emphatically in this context: “There is no principle of artistic discrimination between the Mausoleum of the Muslim despot and the Sepulchre of the Christian or Muslim Saint or a Hindu monument or temple. Whatever is beautiful, whatever is historic and whatever that tears the mask off the face of the past and helps mankind to read its riddles and not the dogmas of a primitively combative theology these are the criteria by which a responsible Government in India must be guided in its approach to preservation of monuments. I cannot conceive of any obligation more strictly appertaining to a supreme government than the conservation of the most beautiful and perfect collection of monuments in the world, or one more likely to be scamped and ignored by a delegation of authority to provincial administrations.”
The conservation work done by the dedicated Officers and men of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1862 to 1947 was indeed remarkable and glorious. It could well be described as the golden age of Archaeology in India. The British Officers and men of the ASI conducted their work with complete objectivity. Regardless of whether it was a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian monument, their efforts to preserve were the same and their description was always impartial.
All these great traditions in the field of preservation and conservation of ancient and timeless monuments were destroyed by pseudo-secular men like Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao with consummate skill and organized pseudo-secular unscrupulousness. Today this great responsibility of destruction of our cultural and spiritual heritage is being jointly shouldered by a Catholic Christian & a Pseudo-secular Pagan—I mean the immortal and indispensable Sonia Gandhi and mortal and dispensable Arjun Singh!!
To conclude in the beautiful words of Gargi: “A visit to Vidisha would enable any enlightened visitor to emotionally understand and appreciate that there is a lingering below the surface resentment against the Government treatment of what they believe to be their dearest treasure, architectural as well as sentimental. The moral of a pilgrimage to Vidisha is that no purpose would be served by hushing up what is a naked history.”
1) Never Forget History @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/01/25/forgive-but-never-forget-%e2%80%93-history/
2) Censoring History?? @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=238&page=28
3) Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam @ http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.org/books/negaind/index.htm
4) Whitewashing History @ http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/india-usa-blog-column43.htm
5) Don't play with History @ http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_050405.htm