Skip to main content

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah 

Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.
The matter, the team says, came to light in October 2021, when a group of people entered the Roza Rozi dargah, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site situated in Sojali village along the banks of Vatrak river, about five kilometres from Mehmdabad town in Kheda district, and 40 km from Ahmedabad. A small temple-like structure, “allowed” to be built in 2014 inside the dargah compound, is said to be the reason behind the wild claim.
The group played music on loudspeaker, placed a photo of a Hindu Goddess (Matahji) inside the dargah and worshipped it – all of it captured in a video and circulated widely on social media, attracting outrage    from the Muslim community, said the report prepared by the fact-finding team consisting of Dr Ajaz Shaikh, Hozefa Ujjaini, Samina Malek, Khairunnisha Pathan, Latif Malek and Manish Manjulaben.
“This is not an isolated incident where a dargah or a mosque has been claimed to be a place of worship of Hindu deities”, the report asserts, calling it part of a “disturbing trend” widely prevalent in Gujarat even before the Babri was allowed to be replaced by Ram Temple.
Citing incidents of “vandalization and destruction” of non-Hindu heritage, even as “undermining” the syncretic tradition prevailing in the State, the report says, in Ahmedabad, during the 2002 riots, the mazaar of the famous poet, Wali Gujarati or Wali Dakhani, was razed, and the city authorities built a road on the top of it.
Then, in 2006, Vadodara city faced communal flare-up after razing of the ancient 14th century dargah of Sayed Chisti Rashiuddin, a medieval Sufi saint. And in 2019, in Dholka, “anti-social elements” spread the rumour that Tanka Masjid, situated in Dholka, about 100 km from Ahmedabad, was earlier a temple. The narrative led to communal frenzy in the area.
The Dholka monument, according to the report, was also targeted through a Twitter hashtag #ReclaimTemple, where a post claimed that the Tanka Masjid of Dholka is a Hindu temple. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad submitted a memorandum that the site previously was a Bhim kitchen and Pandavas’ school. Following civil society intervention, police provided protection to the masjid.
The report quotes Gujarati writer Saroop Dhruv, who has extensively written on different archaeological monuments, to point out that the Roza Rozi monument was built in the era of Sultan Mahmud Begada, a follower of Sufi saints. “Begda’s views are reflected in the art and structure of the established architectural sites during his rule. Roza Rozi is one such example”, it says.
“The site reflects the rich composite culture in India where Hindus and Muslims both come to pray and perform rituals according to their belief”, the report notes, giving details Rozi Roza: “During the reign of Begada, Hazrat Mubarak Saiyyad was a minister and his son Hazrat Pir Minar Saiyyad built the Roza as a memorial to his father. The Roza is also the resting place of Pir Minar Saiyyad and other members of the family. It is decorated with domes, arches, columns, and finely carved stone grills.”
It continues, “A little ahead on the opposite side is Rozi, which houses the memorials of the wives and other women of the family. The Rozi is a simpler structure in brick with some work on the inside of the domes. The original structure had two minarets of which one is still standing. One can see some work on the minaret.”
According to the report, in the occasion of Navratri, on Maha Ashtami (Atham of Navratri) October 13, 2021, a group of people, including women, adolescent girls and boys entered the gate of the Roza Rozi dargah under the pretext of offering puja in the small temple which came up in 2014 inside the compound of the dargah.
The land of the dargah site is very huge, and people with vested interests have an eye on the land for economic benefits
The mob, after entering the compound of the dargah, instead of going towards the temple, which is situated on the back side of the dargah in the same compound, entered the dargah. It danced throughout the procession, stopped in front of the dargah and played music on DJ set.
Meanwhile, the report says, “Some people from the mob entered the dargah and placed a photo of Hindu Goddess Khodiyar and performed aarti and sprinkled the gulaal and lit a lamp (diya). The video of the whole incident was recorded and it went viral on the social media.”
  Different groups, political parties and Muslim leaders raised the issue and submitted memorandum to the collector and the superintendent of police to take action against it. Officials, including the collector, visited the site. The police uninstalled the Goddess’ photo the next day and ensured cleaning up of gulaal in the dargah. Protection was given to the site.
Pointing out that the temple-like structure, which came up in 2014 inside the compound of the dargah, is dedicated to Goddess Khodiyaar, the report says, ever since the locals have been “claiming that the idol of the Goddess came up mystically at the site of the temple.”
Claiming that this marked the origin of the dispute and narrative, which led to stating that Roza Rozi was originally a temple, the report says, “Puja began being offered in the small temple on various occasions. Meanwhile, a separate entrance was allocated to access temple in the compound. Devotees wanting to access the temple offered puja began using this entrance.”
However, on the day of the incident, the mob entered the compound from another gate of the monument, and according to the caretaker (mujavar), he allowed them to enter in as he thought they were going to offer puja in the temple. The mob stopped in front of the dargah, played DJ and danced. Amongst them, one person went inside the dargah and performed puja after placing Goddess’ photo.
A Darbar (Rajput)-dominated village, Sojali has a population of 3,000, including 12 Muslim families and the three families of caretakers of the dargah. Following an earlier communal tension, a few Muslims left the village and settled in Mehmdabad town. However, they often come to the village to take care of their land.
The fact-finding team, following interview with the caretaker and villagers observes, “It appears that the incident that took place on October 13, 2021 was planned and provoked by the supremacist groups to disturb peace… It seems that the incident was part of a larger conspiracy by supremacist groups.”
Pointing to the presence of BJP MLA Arjun Singh in a programme prior to the incident, the report says, while may not be “direct evidence” of he behind the provocation, but the “coincidence can’t be dismissed entirely.”
The small temple came up in 2014, and there is “no ancient evidence” of presence of any Hindu temple in writing in any literature. “The land of the site is very huge and people with vested interests have an eye on the land for economic benefits. The communal dispute could be a smokescreen to capture the land”, it underlines.
Also, “Muslims have their own lands in the village. Supremacist groups are taking advantage of economic conditions of local villagers. They want Muslims completely washed out from the village and capture their property.”

Comments

Kevin said…
The Khan Masjid in Dholka to will be under attack. The local Bharwad community have started keeping their cattles in this campus. This practice has been going on for the last two years. They claim that the Muslim community come only of EID to offer namaz but they don't allow us to use it for our religious purposes.

TRENDING

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.