As the court-ordered videographic survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi has been completed, a lawyer privy to the proceedings made a shocking revelation before reporters that not only was a Shiva Linga spotted inside the well where legend says a priest jumped into during the Muslim invasion in 1669 but the Muslims built the mosque in a manner that the deity gets drenched with soiled water from their act of wuzu — in an apparent bid to add insult to injury directed at Hindus whom the Mughal king Aurangzeb, who had ordered the partial demolition of Kashi Vishwanath temple, intended to humiliate.
Nearly 65% of the video had been shot yesterday while the Shiva Linga was found in the wuzukhanah, the lawyer said. A wuzukhanah is the place assigned for Muslim devotees to wash their hands and legs before performing the namaz (salah), generally found at a corner of every mosque. In the recent times when Muslims have begun occupying public places for namaz, they use a corner of the area where they pray for the act of wuzu.
Lawyer Vishnu Jain said on national television that a Shiva Linga was found inside the well — testifying in favour of the history that says a priest had jumped with the linga into the well when the army of Mughal king Aurangzeb had come marching in AD 1669 to destroy the ancient Kashi Vishwanath temple. The lawyer said he would go to civil court to seek protection of the relic.
The part where the discovery of Shiva Linga was made has been sealed off for protection from tampering.
The Shiva Linga is 12 feet 8 inches in diameter. An advocate from the Hindu side, Madan Mohan Yadav, claimed that it faces Nandi, as it is supposed to be in every Shiva temple.
Heavy security was deployed as the court-appointed committee reached the spot to conduct the survey.
On the western wall of the Gyanvapi Masjid, the remains of Hindu temple demolition are visible and the pictures which are the biggest proof, will be surveyed. For this, the fourth lock was opened today, while the first three rooms were opened during the survey yesterday.
Gyanvapi Masjid: Insult to Hindus since 17th century
Gyanvapi Masjid, adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, is currently facing a legal battle. A court in Varanasi has directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to probe the structure of the Gyanvapi Masjid.
Five Delhi-based women — Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu and others — moved the court with their plea on 18 April 2021, seeking permission for daily prayers before the murtis of Hindu deities on its outer walls. They also sought to stop the opponents from causing any damage to the murtis.
The site where Gyanvapi Masjid stands today originally had a Vishweshwara temple, established by Todar Mal in conjunction with Narayana Bhatta, the head of Varanasi’s most-famous Brahmin family, sometime around late sixteenth century. Vir Singh Deo Bundela, a close associate of Jahangir, appears to have had refurbished the temple in the early seventeenth century.
Precise details about the temple and the history of the site are debated to an extent.
In 1669, Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple and commissioned the construction of Gyanvapi Masjid in its place. The plinth of the temple was left largely untouched and continued to serve as the courtyard of the mosque; the southern wall — along with its cusped arches, exterior moldings and toranas — was turned into the qibla wall. These surviving elements attest to the influence of Mughal architectural style on the original temple — a deliberate marker of Hindu subjugation in the hands of a Muslim ruler.
The name of the mosque is derived from an adjoining well, the Gyan Vapi, literally meaning the well of knowledge.
Western scholars and their Indian followers in academia by and large deny the role of religious bigotry or zealotry in the deliberately incomplete demolition of the temple and construction of the mosque over it. They justify Aurangzeb’s action by claiming the rebellion by zamindars of Varanasi with the help of Brahmins of the city had angered the Muslim emperor.