Night of Shiva and the Well of Knowledge
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Night of Shiva and the Well of Knowledge

March 9, 2024

If war is too important to be left to the Generals so also history is too important to be left to the Historians. That was the mistake post-independent India’s first Congress government made when it decided to write the history of India. It chose mostly Leftist and Vote-Bank historians out to discredit the Indian (Hindu) rulers and heroes who shaped the  ancient Hindu India.

Post-partition India got a fractured freedom in 1947. There were many brave-hearts, who got martyred fighting the mlecchas and Muslim invaders, but scarcely found a place in our history books. During Congress rule, immediately after independence, the emphasis was on writing and teaching Mughal and British history of India  with a political  purpose in view. In fact, Nehru’s  Congress government got written a tendentious  history of our country that gullible Hindus read and believed till historians like Dr. Vikram Sampath and J. Sai Deepak appeared.

And worse, South of India was ignored. How much are we taught about Lords of the Deccan, the Chalukyas of sixth century CE and the Guptas and Mauryas of the 320 BCE? In the post-independent Indian schools and colleges, primarily, the history of India’s humiliation from about eleventh century CE was taught. It was a history of foreign invasion and wars where Hindu kings lost after many victories and lost because of traitors who betrayed. At last we hear voices demanding justice in writing India’s history without prejudice. To jest, history is bunk, but let it not be so when we ourselves write it. Did you get me Steve?

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If this is the story of post-independent India’s political history, there is also a similar story of post-independent India’s religious history. The way Hindu religious teachings were banned in schools under the Secular Principle made applicable only to Hindus (Sanatana Dharmis) and not to other minority religions is hurting Hindu conscience.

Similarly Hindu temples too were discriminated against. Sadly not much is done in correcting this wrong even after 2014 though we are seeing a kind of Hindu renaissance and Hindu religious resurgence — example, Ayodhya and Kashi.

Yesterday it was the night of Lord Shiva. And anyone who thinks of Shiva will think of Kashi. Kashi Vishwanath temple in UP being immersed not in River Ganga but in raging court cases, archaeological survey showing to the people with eyes the solid evidence and the reports about the controversy going viral in the social media, the Lord may bless the devotees with success as in the case of Ayodhya. It is but a natural aspiration of Hindus. After all, as Jesus said ‘Man does not live by bread alone but also by the word of God,’ meaning by his faith.

Kashi Vishwanath temple was built and demolished three times so far. It was first vandalised in 1194 by one Muizz of Ghurid dynasty. Once again it was demolished for the second time in the 15th century by Sikandar Lodi. And Hindus rebuilt it. But it was Aurangzeb who demolished it and in its place built the Gyanvapi Mosque in 1669. Chhatrapati Shivaji, who had successfully challenged Aurangazeb, was in power as Maratha King who died in 1680. Wonder what was his reaction. Hope Dr. Vikram Sampath, the ruling young historian, would throw some light on this. After all, he (Shivaji) had worshipped at the temple after escaping from Aurangzeb’s prison.

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Aurangzeb died in 1707, aged 88 years and Marathas had already made inroads to what was then the Mughal empire. Ahilyabai Holkar, Rani of Indore, belonging to the Maratha Confederacy, was the reigning dowager queen! She was born in 1725 and died in 1795 at the age of 70. Ahilyabai Holkar built the present Shiva temple in Kashi in the year 1776 (69 years after the death of Aurangzeb) adjacent to the Gyanvapi Mosque.

The belief and evidence is that the original Shivalinga is what is now found inside the Gyanvapi, Well of Knowledge, where it was hidden by the temple priests at the time of the temple’s destruction. When will we be able to worship the authentic Shivalinga? Only Shiva will know. Hindus have tolerated this historical wrong for the last 77 years after independence. Tolerance is a noble virtue in a society where tolerance is reciprocated.

The country was divided when its people belonging to two major religions could not live together in peace. But it is an irony for India that its majority Hindus are asked to be tolerant and live with the burden of past historical denials.

Om Namah Shivaya.

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