After Gyanvapi in Kashi and Idgah Masjid in Mathura, the debate over Delhi’s Qutub Minar is heating up. The Ministry of Culture has confirmed that it has not yet ordered the excavation of the Qutub Minar’s premises, despite the ongoing dispute. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been directed by the Ministry of Culture to excavate the Qutub Minar complex and obtain the iconography of the idols found there, according to previous reports.
On Saturday, Culture Secretary Govind Mohan paid a visit to the Qutub Minar complex. There were reports of orders for excavation in the area after that. At the same time, certain Hindu organisations have recently demanded that Qutub Minar be renamed Vishnu Stambh. A petition claiming the freedom to worship in the Qutub Minar complex has been submitted and was heard on 24 May.
Hearing has been completed in Delhi’s Saket court on the petition for the right to worship in Qutub Minar. A bench of Justice Nikhil Chopra has reserved the verdict on the petition seeking the right to worship the Hindu side. The verdict in this case will come on 9 June. The court has asked both the parties to submit a brief report within a week. During the hearing, the court asked whether the appellant has been deprived of any legal right. At the same time, it was also said that if the deities are present there without worship for the last 800 years, then let them remain like this.
However, during the hearing, the Archaeological Survey of India consistently opposed the petition seeking the right to worship at Qutub Minar. In the affidavit filed in the Saket court on Monday, it was also said that Qutub Minar is not a place of worship and its current status cannot be changed.
Actually, the argument of the Hindu side was that the mosque has been built by demolishing 27 temples, whose remains are present there. Therefore the temples should be rebuilt there. On the other hand, the Muslim side says that the ASI has stopped the prayers in the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque.
In this context, it is important to understand the whole issue from history to current developments.
Qutub Minar’s history:
Qutub Minar was constructed between 1199 and 1220. Qutbuddin-Aibak began the construction of Qutub Minar, which was finished by his successor Iltutmish. Some historians, however, believe it was built by Vikramaditya in the 5th century as a Vishnu pillar.
The Qutub Minar is one of the country’s most important historical structures. It’s in the South Delhi neighbourhood of Mehrauli. With a height of about 238 feet, Qutub Minar is India’s highest stone pillar. Qutub Minar is bordered by a number of other monuments, together known as the Qutub Minar Complex.
Lightning and earthquakes damaged the Qutub Minar in the 14th and 15th centuries. Firoz Shah Tughlaq had already repaired the top two stories. Sikandar Lodi had it extensively renovated and the upper two floors added in 1505. An earthquake struck Qutub Minar again in 1803. Major Robert Smith of the British-Indian Army repaired the afflicted areas in 1814.
What is the recent Qutub Minar controversy?
The remark of former ASI regional director Dharamveer Sharma is the source of the latest issue surrounding Qutub Minar. According to Sharma, the Qutub Minar was built by King Vikramaditya, not Qutubuddin Aibak, as is written in history books. Qutub Minar is a sun tower built by Vikramaditya of the Gupta Empire in the 5th century, according to Dharamvir Sharma. He asserted that I had a great deal of proof in this area. According to Sharma, the Qutub Minar’s minaret has a 65 cm tilt from its vertical axis. This is due to the fact that it was created to study the Sun. When the sun moves its position in the sky on June 21, the shadow of Qutub Minar does not fall on that location for half an hour. This is a scientific and historical reality. According to Sharma, Qutub Minar is a separate structure unrelated to the adjoining mosque. Its doors are actually facing north, therefore the pole star can be seen from there at night.
The origins and builder of this monument have been disputed on various occasions. The National Monuments Authority (NMA) had urged the ASI in April to remove two Ganesh ji idols from the Qutub complex and find them a befitting home in the National Museum. After that, the case was taken to court. A Delhi court ordered that no action be taken and that the idols be kept in the compound until the case is resolved.
This isn’t the only source of contention for this World Heritage Site. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or VHP, has also weighed in on the issue. According to the organisation, the 73-meter-high edifice was a Vishnu pillar. Parts of it, he believed, were afterwards erected by Muslim kings. According to VHP national spokesperson Vinod Bansal, the historical structure was built on the Lord Vishnu temple during the reign of the Hindu king. According to Bansal, Muslim rulers damaged 27 Hindu and Jain temples and rebuilt portions of the city.
A petition has also been filed by the United Hindu Front. According to the petition, the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque at Qutub Minar was created by razing 27 Hindu and Jain temples. In such a case, idols should be reinstalled and worship should be permitted. Qutub Minar, according to Bhagwan Goel, International Working President of the United Hindu Front, is a Vishnu pillar built by the great king Vikramaditya.
Right-wing activists demonstrated outside the Qutub Minar complex two weeks ago, reciting Hanuman Chalisa and demanding that it be renamed Vishnu Stambha. Thirty demonstrators were arrested during this time. A substantial portion of the centuries-old temples is included in the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. On the pillars and walls surrounding the courtyard, deity sculptures and temple architecture can still be seen.