[Advaita-l] Re: Mosques in temples
Siva Senani Nori
sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed May 3 00:48:50 CDT 2006
"Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:
> Another long post consolidating responses...
> We have a mosque in every major temple today.
If by every you mean 2 or 3. Otherwise this is severe hyperbole.
From 1992, I have been hearing the RSS/VHP/BJP claim that 65,000 odd temples have mosques in them, but never took that figure seriously.
For various reasons, I had been visiting many temples recently, or more accurately I have been spending more time in temples just drinking in the atmosphere. I will give but three examples of not very famous temples in AP, which have mosques. First is vemulavada (a sivakshetra) in Karimnagar (historical name: sabbasayiramandalam) - this is not among the trilingas in AP, nor the pancharamas, but all the same a very old and revered temple in these parts. This is where Pampa composed the Kannada mahabharata more than 1100 years ago. Second, a temple in Gudi (temple in Telugu) Malkapur of Hyderabad, which is called gurralagudi (literally the horses-temple) because of the horses that are so prominent in the temple's architecture. The actual deity is Venkateswara. A road cuts through the temple premises, and a mosque has taken up part of the temple. The third is in a place called Kaluvabugga, on the Kurnool-Nandyal road (35 km from Kurnool). There is a wonderful temple of Lord
Siva, with some rare trees, complete with a mosque.
I still don't know the truth about 65,000 temples having mosques but my own limited experience is unsettling: it is almost as if any old temple which stands today must have a mosque in it. And this in a state, where muslim conquests were not generally bloody, or comparable to North India. The Delhi Sultans had their say in the state for 10, 15 years after the death of the last Kakatiya King in 1323, and a mosque in Rajahmundry to vouch for that.Then, local chieftains drove the Muslims back, and till the rakkasi-tangadi (or tallikota) battle of 1565, and the well-known sack of Vijayanagar that followed, we did not have any major pitched battles involving muslims. Later the Golconda / Hyderabad State fought very few battles (it actually lost a couple of wars to the Marathas), and survived on statecraft, rather than military might. So our major temples like Tirumala, Srisailam, Srikalahasti, Ahobilam and Simhachalam escaped Somanath-kind-of-damage. But, Telugu poems of 17th
century onwards addressed to the likes of Tirumala Venkateswara and Simhachala Narasimha give a very saddening account of the then state of affairs.
For those from the North, Qutb Minar is, I am sure, much visited. In the Qutb Minar complex, there is a mosque called Quwwat-i-Islam (Light of Islam) built by Qutbuddin Aibak. I was stunned to see the details on the pillars or columns of the mosque. They were distinctly Hindu, and in fact puranic, motifs. Later checking revealed that contemporary Persian chronicles mention that 27 Hindu temples were ransacked and the material from those, including the 'staffs', was used to build the magnificient mosque.
My considered belief is that extensive damage was done to temples in the last 1000 years in the country, and the assertion that 'every major temple has a mosque today' is nearer fact than hyperbole, severe or otherwise.
(Disclosure: I am not a member of any of the Sangh organisations. I did vote BJP for parlimant and TDP for assembly. Due to their electoral understanding the constituency where I live is normally alloted to BJP for parliament and TDP for the assembly)
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