Between the Temple and the Mosque in Varanasi

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading Researcher, Centre for Indian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Affiliation: Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 4

The conflict in the Indian city of Varanasi caused by the request of the Hindus to be allowed to enter the territory of Gyanvapi mosque to perform their rituals is in the center of the author’s attention. The mosque was constructed in 1669 on the site of the demolished Hindu temple. In 2021 a stone cylinder, which is supposed to be the symbol of Shiva, was found in the water tank used by the Muslims to wash themselves before the Namaz. Nevertheless, the representatives of the mosque think the object is the basement of the fountain.

The case of Gyanvapi mosque received a wide public response and caused a surge of legal proceedings in the courts of the country. Radically concerned Hindu nationalists threaten to demolish the Gyanvapi mosque, as it happened in 1992 with Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly received delegations of Muslim communal leaders. He promised support for the protection of mosques and madrasas’ property and government assistance in educational programs for the Muslim youth. Nonetheless, Modi cannot stop people from applying to courts.

KeywordsIndia, Varanasi, Gyanvapi mosque, Vishwanath temple, Vishwa Hindu Parishad
Publication date14.06.2023
Number of characters19402
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