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The cellar under the temple and the queen found in it… Pattabhi Sitaramayya, who was Congress President, wrote this story of Gyanvapi Mosque


New Delhi : The Gyanvapi Mosque, adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Banaras, is in the center of discussion these days. It is being claimed that the mosque was built by demolishing the ancient temple of Bholenath. Last year, 5 women reached the court and demanded a survey with permission to worship at the Shringar Gauri temple in the mosque premises. There are different stories about the demolition of Vishwanath temple and the construction of a mosque. Most of the talk is about ordering the demolition of the temple at the time of Aurangzeb. However, when it comes to reason, the book of Pattabhi Sitaramayya, who was the Congress President, gets the most mention. While in prison from 1942 to 1945, he wrote a prison diary. In 1946 it was published under the name Feathers And Stones. In this he has written about Gyanvapi Masjid in two pages. However, the Hindu side calls his talk about the Kashi Vishwanath temple as fake and concocted. Pattabhi made a big claim referring to the manuscript of one of his Maulana friends. In the book ‘Feathers and Stones’ by Pattabhisitaramaiah, it is written about Aurangzeb’s order and reason for the demolition of Vishwanath temple.

Pattabhisitaramaiah has written,
Once Aurangzeb was passing near Banaras. All the Hindu courtiers came to Kashi with their families to bathe in the Ganges and visit Bholenath. When the group of people returned after visiting the temple, it came to know that the queen of Kutch was missing. Searches were made inside and outside, east, west, north and south but no information was found about them. A thorough search was conducted and a cellar was found there. People came to know about the secret place under the temple. Usually that temple was visible from the view of two storeys. The passage leading to the basement was found closed, so it was demolished. There the queen appeared without jewellery. It was learned that here the Mahant used to bring rich and ornamented devotees to the basement in the name of showing the temple and looted the jewelery from them. What happened to his life after that, I don’t know. However, an intensive search operation was carried out in this case and the queen was found.

A page from Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s book.

When Aurangzeb came to know about this black act of the priests, he was very angry. He declared that where such robbery takes place, it cannot be the house of God. And the temple was demolished. But the queen who was saved talked about building a mosque on the rubble and a mosque was built to please her. This is how the mosque came into existence next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple…. This story of the Banaras Masjid was recorded in a rare manuscript with an eminent Maulana in Lucknow.’

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Maulana had told about this to a friend of Sitaramayya and said that he would show the manuscript if needed. Later Maulana died and Sitaramayya also passed away. But he could never tell the name of his friend and Maulana of Lucknow.

Confusion spread: Hindu side
The Hindu side maintains that Pattabhi Sitaramayya’s book has spread confusion and similarly some historians have justified the demolition of Aurangzeb’s Kashi Vishwanath temple. Hindu side and saints say that during the time of Aurangzeb almost daily incidents were documented but nowhere is there any mention of any incident like rape or looting of the queen. Some saints also say that there is no mention of Aurangzeb’s visit to Bengal and Banaras in history, so how did Pattabhi Sitaramayya come to know? It is believed that Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple in 1669, after which the foundation of the Gyanvapi Mosque was laid. However, the Muslim side denies that the mosque was built after demolishing the temple.

Hindu side claims about Gyanvapi Masjid

  • Marks and artifacts related to Hinduism are visible in the walls of the mosque complex.
  • Ram Prasad, a journalist by profession, did a story on the Gyanvapi Masjid in 1991-92. They were allowed to enter the premises. He tells that there were stones placed on top of the stone. If they are removed, then there will also be broken Shivling and deities of deities. At that time we were not in a position to lift.
  • Ram Prasad had also seen the cellar inside Gyanvapi. He says that on the left side there is a huge amount of ruins of the original structure of the temple lying there. Some are tall pillars. Whatever artifacts have been made on those stones, the same artifacts are still visible in the original structure of the temple.

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