Bhojshala was Saraswati temple but both sides should abide by HC decision: Archaeologist KK Muhammed

11:59 AM Mar 25, 2024 | PTI |

Gwalior: Noted archaeologist K K Muhammed has claimed the contentious Bhojshala/Kamal Maula Mosque complex in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district was a Saraswati temple and later converted into an Islamic place of worship.


He stressed that Hindus and Muslims should abide by the court’s decision and honour the Places of Worship Act 1991, and sit together to iron out differences over such places.

Muslims should also respect the sentiments of Hindus over Mathura and Kashi, he said on Sunday.

Following directives from the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is carrying out a survey of the disputed Bhojshala complex in MP’s tribal-dominated district.

Hindus believe it is a temple of Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati) and the Muslim community calls Kamal Maula Mosque.


“The historical fact about Dhar (Bhojshala) is that it was a Saraswati temple. It was converted into an Islamic mosque. But as per the Places of Worship Act 1991, the cut-off year is 1947. If it was a temple in 1947 then it is a temple and if it was a mosque, then it is a mosque,” said Muhammed, a former ASI official.

Muhammed was part of the first excavation team led by Professor B B Lal at Ayodhya in 1976-77. The Padma Shri awardee had earlier claimed to have first witnessed the remains of a Ram temple under the Babri masjid.

“Both sides should stick to the Act. The High Court will take a decision considering all facts. All should follow it (HC decision) as that will be the only solution,” he said.

There is no doubt the complex was a Saraswati temple, Muhammed said. He advised both sides not to do anything that could “create problems for all”.

On March 11, the HC had directed the ASI to carry out within six weeks a ‘scientific survey’ of the Bhojshala complex, a medieval-era monument. Sunday was the third day of the survey.

As per an ASI order of April 7, 2003, Hindus are allowed to worship inside the Bhojshala complex every Tuesday, while Muslims are allowed to offer namaz at the site on Fridays.

In reply to another question, Muhammed said that Mathura and Kashi are as important for Hindus as Mecca and Madinah are for Muslims.

“Muslims should understand the sentiments of Hindus. Kashi is associated with Lord Shiva and Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. The Hindus can’t shift them to other places but these are only mosques for Muslims, which are neither directly associated with Prophet Mohammed nor ‘aulias’. They (mosques) can be shifted elsewhere,” he said.

The eminent archaeologist said both communities should sit together to find a solution in these matters.

“The Hindus should also consider that they should not come with a list (of places of worship). We need to strengthen the country and take it forward and they (both communities) should sit together (for this),” he said.

It will be a big problem if both sides do not sort out the disputes, he cautioned.


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