Bodhan: Testimony of mediaeval Islamic bigotry and its continuation

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Bodhan is an ancient town in Nizamabad district of Telangana, with great history. The Indra Narayan temple, also known as 100 pillars temple, is a centuries old shrine situated here. Mohammed bin Tughlaq attacked Warangal, the capital of Kakatiya dynasty, in 1323 as part of Deccan Islamic invasion by Khilji rulers. The Indra Narayan temple was converted by Tughlaq into a mosque by carrying out alterations. The star shaped ground plan and larger constructions exists as original, but the roof was modified with domes, which are part of Islamic architecture. This shrine is known today as ‘Deval Masjid’ in the records of Telangana government and it is acknowledged as a mosque and not as a temple. The word Deval clearly indicates that it was a Hindu temple. The idols inside the temple were removed, intricate carvings on walls and pillars were defaced and a pulpit was created. Few Muslim graves also find place inside the structure today. This place is in bad shape and desperately needs restoration.

India got its freedom in 1947. But it has still not freed itself from the identity subjugation it has undergone owing to decades of foreign rule. Indra Narayan temple is a living symbol of this. This temple stands as a reminder of the violence on Hindus and Hindu places of worship by Islamic invaders. The spirit of freedom is not comprehensive if such places, which underwent historical destruction, are not liberated. Civil rights leaders need to see it as violation of people’s right. But the worst part is that intellectual hypocrites glorify Deval Masjid as a confluence of cultures than assault on Hinduism by Islamic bigotry.

Modern history has witnessed toppling of statues of ruthless rulers and dictators by people who considered it as their moment of reclaiming their lost dignity and virtues. Falling of statues of Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussain, Gaddafi and many others, who perpetrated atrocities on humans and cultures, are seen as milestones of modern day liberation and national pride. In an Indian context, violence was perpetrated on the nation and it’s people by a host of invaders, from early Islamic conquests to British colonial occupation. Ghazni, Khilji, Tughlaq, Taimur, Aurangzeb etc massacred thousands and destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples. The British created famines took thousands of lives and plundered Indian wealth.

If icons of Hitler and Saddam are taken down, bigger question is, how is removing statues of Robert Clive or renaming of road in the name of Aurangzeb not justified? Can anyone approve of having similar symbols for Dwyer who murdered hundreds in Jallianwala bagh or Khilji who caused Jauhar of Padmavati?

The concept of secularism or pluralism does not demand forgetting the wounds inflicted in the past and continue with the suffering. Indra Narayan temple is nothing but another living symbol of violence on Hindus. The Hindus of Telangana believe that it is part of their heritage and faith, violated by Tughlaq. Muslims in Telangana, should realize that any building built on atrocities on people of other religion cannot be considered as sacred. Any such action of capturing or destroying a religious shrine does not bring about any goodwill towards the Muslim community.

Telangana government is not doing any service to either the state or it’s people by continuing with such a legacy of violence and intolerance towards Hindus.

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