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Ujjain Mosque Was Earlier A Shiva Temple Of Raja Bhoj Era, Confirms Archaeological Dept

Author: Swagata Banerjee
Publication: Republicworld.com
Date: May 11, 2022
URL:      https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/ujjain-mosque-was-earlier-a-shiva-temple-of-raja-bhoj-era-confirms-archaeological-dept-articleshow.html

Mahamandaleshwar Swami Atuleshanand Ji Maharaj had reportedly claimed that there is a statue of Lord Shiva and Ganesh inside a mosque in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain

A few days after Mahamandaleshwar Swami Atuleshanand Ji Maharaj reportedly claimed that there is a statue of Lord Shiva and Ganesh inside a mosque in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain, the Archaeological Department has now confirmed that there was indeed a Shiva temple earlier.

The archaeological department has shown the scattered and collected remains of the time of the attack in the mosque and the surrounding area, as well as pictures inside the mosque, have also come to the fore. This comes at a time when the Gyanvapi Mosque row is already making headlines.

While speaking to the media,Professor Raman Solanki of the Archaeological Department of Government Vikram University said, "Thousand years ago, there used to be several temples during the era of Raja Bhoj. There was also a university and the temple was a part of that university where the students used to worship. It was later demolished."

Earlier, Mahamandaleshwar and Akhand Hindu Sena's national president Sant Atuleshanand Ji Maharaj of Aawan Akhara reportedly started a new debate by claiming that there is an ancient Shiva temple and Ganesh idol inside the mosque of Ujjain. This mosque is located at Dani Gate. Atuleshanand Saraswati Maharaj claimed that in the year 2007, he himself had entered the mosque and saw the Shiva and Ganesh idols from the time of the ancient Paramarakal Raja Bhoj.

Gyanvapi mosque row

The Varanasi court on April 8 directed a five-member ASI team to study the entire premises of the complex, the cost of which will be borne by the Uttar Pradesh government. The order is based on Vijay Shankar Rastogi's plea which has contended that the entire premises belonged to the temple alone.

Asserting that the original Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built over 2,000 years ago, the plea has stated that the Gyanvapi Mosque was constructed after the temple was demolished by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1669. The temple was re-constructed by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar in 1780. Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which prohibits courts from entertaining any petition that would alter the status quo of a religious place is not applicable to this suit, he has contended. 

Republic Media Network also spoke to an expert on the ground who detailed the transition of the area through pictures back from the 16th century. The photos of the transition are expected to be presented before the court for further analysis. "You can clearly see in this photo from the 16th century how our temple was demolished under the direction of Aurangzeb. In this from 1970, you can see how a masjid (the white part) was joined to our temple which was already there. There is no foundation of the masjid, it is joined onto our temple," he said, showing a set of images.
 
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Author: Alka Dhupkar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 2, 2022
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/loudspeaker-lessons-for-india-from-a-maharashtra-village/articleshow/91259002.cms

The villagers of Barad have passed a resolution to stop the use of loudspeakers

Barad shows that strong-arm tactics are not needed to curb noise pollution; a simple matter of sitting across a table and discussing can do wonders

Barad is a biggish village in Nanded district of Maharashtra with a population of around 15,000. It is roughly 20km from Nanded city. Over time, the village has prospered and places of worship, among other buildings, have been renovated.

The village has 15 religious places — 12 Hindu temples and a place of worship each for Buddhist, Jain and Muslim communities. In some neighbourhoods, these religious places are in close proximity. No problem there.

It was only when these places started using loudspeakers to broadcast sermons, aartis and bhajans that the problem started. It became a veritable Tower of Babel — all noise and confusion.

“Since five in the morning, we used to play songs. In some places, one couldn’t hear the other’s songs or for that matter what was played in our temple,” says Suresh Deshmukh, a trustee of the local Hanuman temple.

For days on end, farmer Sharad Kawle’s 80-year-old grandmother couldn’t get a peaceful night’s sleep because of the rampant use of loudspeakers in the village.

But all this is in the past now. In charged times like these, Barad stands out as a model of communal harmony. Back in 2018, the villagers unanimously decided to remove loudspeakers from all religious places.

So, what happened in 2018?

According to deputy sarpanch Balasaheb Shankarao Deshmukh, sometime in December 2017, a Ganesh temple was using loudspeakers to broadcast maha aarti and a Buddha vihar nearby was playing religious songs. This went on till late at night.

“Groups from both sides started raising voices against each other, asking that the volume be lowered. Harmony in the village was completely disturbed,” he says. “Somehow we managed to cool tempers, but the tension simmered.”

But this wasn’t the only incident. A local school kept complaining about noise pollution to the Shiva temple trust and others in their area. The students couldn’t concentrate on studies because there was a kind of competition in using loudspeakers till late night and early mornings among all the religions.

The villagers were fed up. Some of them met after the tension escalated between Buddha and Ganpati followers. During a meeting with the local police, they discussed the proposal of removing all loudspeakers.

Thereafter, the villagers held a meeting with all the religious groups separately. Everybody accepted that the use of loudspeakers was a cause for concern and social discord. The religious trusts said if it was mandatory for all religious groups then they would also stop using loudspeakers.

After the consultations, a special gram sabha was called and a unanimous resolution was passed.

The villagers agreed to use sound boxes instead of loudspeakers. The only caveat: the volume of the sound box should be maintained at a pre-mandated level so the sound does not go beyond the walls of the holy place.

The gram panchayat has already installed around 40 small sound boxes for local announcements such as deaths, vaccination or other government programmes.

After the noise, peace

Yogesh Ratnparakhi, who runs Om Sai Coaching Classes in Barad, says, “In my centre, there are around 100 students and I can’t tell you how happy we all are that the loudspeakers have finally stopped. Earlier, students would use unending noise as an excuse not to study. Now, they properly focus on studies.”

Kiran Mahajan, a trustee of Chandra Prabhu Digambar Jain temple, says, “Ours is a private temple that is open to the public. We too had installed a loudspeaker because others installed it too. But after the removal of loudspeakers, we didn’t lose any devotees. Loudspeakers actually don’t matter.”

Sharad Kawle, the farmer, says, “Many of us in this village are followers of the Varkari bhakti movement. I believe that your religious activity should not disturb others. Keep it personal, so we all supported this proposal.”

His views are echoed by Sardar Sattar Khan Pathan of Jama Masjid in Barad. “We respect festivals of all communities. The kind of communal harmony we have maintained would not have been possible with loudspeakers at each religious place in the village.”

According to Vasant Lalme, a trustee of the Shiva temple, loudspeakers are not essential for singing bhajans or kirtans. “Devotion is a very personal feeling. It can be attained without loudspeakers. We have proved it.”

Model village

Deputy sarpanch Deshmukh, however, is disappointed that his village has not been given due recognition for the innovative solution to the menace of unchecked loudspeakers. The village doesn’t encourage the use of loudspeakers even for political rallies, weddings or other celebrations.

In other ways, too, Barad can be touted as a model village. It has received state awards for cleanliness and drinking water distribution management, open defecation-free status, success of ‘tanta mukti’ yojana (a scheme to clear local disputes at the village level) and other achievements.

The village has 20 CCTV cameras, which have helped curb theft, sexual harassment and other crimes. The village has developed a proper watershed system; a dormitory near a rural hospital is a unique feature of the village. It has also built a hostel for girl students, it has a zilla parishad school, multiple anganwadis, among other facilities.

As the noise over the use of loudspeakers at religious places grows louder and various state governments are using strong-arm tactics, perhaps it is Barad’s use of consultation that stands out more than its other achievements.