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Hindu Masjids

19. Iconoclasm Continues in pakistan, Bangladesh and in Kashmir

One evening in July, 2001, the author happened to meet in Delhi a young man working for the British foreign office. By an unusual coincidence, he happened to have looked through The Saffron Book by the author. He said he liked it, but for one of its sections entitled Humiliation. This section describes a few temple desecrations. It also claims that those temples, although converted into mosques, still look more like mandirs and should therefore be returned to the Hindus. This suggestion had seemed mischievous to the young man who incidentally had a fair idea of India. He was no one to deny the facts of history but asked: why dig up the past? How can medieval wrongs be righted with the help of modern retaliation? In any case, India has many socio-economic priorities. Surely getting temples back, is not one of them.

The author tried to explain to the young man the slavish mentality that afflicts some of us Hindus due to the trauma of atrocities committed by the invaders. Now we need to regain self respect and self confidence. He was evidently not registering any of the author's explanations. Mind you, a social gathering was not the best place to either discuss a book or a temple or a historic trauma. At the same time, his having raised the point, the author had to convince him especially because we might not meet again. The author therefore told him that his impression that temple desecration was only a medieval phenomenon was wrong. It is a continuing crime. Any number of temples have been destroyed, demolished or set on fire during the last one decade. At first, the British gentleman did not believe the author.

The author therefore had no choice but to get from him, his address. So that he could send him the actual details of the kind of havoc that fanatics have perpetrate on the temples in the subcontinent. In a way, this encounter with the young man was helpful. But for him, the author might not have compiled the list, and certainly not obtained details of desecration in Pakistan. A testimonial for what has been happening in Bangladesh was best given by the persecuted Ms Taslima Nasrin.

A Muslim lady certifying the desecration of temples in her own country was, for the fair minded British individuals more than sufficient proof. The author's quoting boots and records by Indians, especially Hindu, about the Kashmir Valley and Pakistan might not have been quite so readily convincing had he not been able to quote ad lib from Nasrin's Lajja. Little do people realise that Hindus have, seldom in history, recorded the destruction of their own temples. All contemporary records of the past were written by Muslim chroniclers. One of the first of these was Al-Beruni, who wrote at length about the exploits of the notorious iconoclast Mahmud Ghazni.

Subsequently, British archaeologists, surveyors as well as historians and soldiers began their yeoman's contribution to India's heritage, its discovery, descripbn aswell as significance. Very little of these invaluable records have been included in the books on Indian history, which have pretensions of scholarship. Some 3,000 temples, over and above the recent ones, that the author is going to mention, were desecrated. But very few of the episodes have found their way into books of history. About the only ones popularly known are Somnath, Benares and Mathura. Of the rest, temple destruction can be described as India 's ignored history.

Lest the author sound antagonistic towards either Bangladesh or Pakistan, let him begin with the destruction that has taken place in the Kashmir Valley since 1990. He is quoting from a book called Kashmir: Wail of a Valley by R.N. Kaul, Sterling Publishers, New Delhi. Amongst the prominent temples to be set on fire was the Dashnami Akhara in Srinagar. It is the mandir from where the annual summer pilgrimage to Amarnath begins. Ganpatyar temple has been attacked again and gain including by bombs. It has also been subjected to two separate rocket attacks. The Shiva temple at Jawahir Nagar, a well known locality of Srinagar, was yet another object of attack. At Anantnag, the targets of violence were the Raghunath as well as the Gautam Nag mandirs and the triple temple of  Lok Bhawan. The Wanpoh mandir which had been almost completely demolished in1986,  was again desecrated on 21st February, 1992. The Mattan mandir was instantly converted into a Muslim shrine by namaz, being said. In all, some 70 Hindu places of worship have been desecrated. This list is based on the information available in Kashmir: Wail of a Valley. The list is given in Appendix I that follows this chapter.

Another list of 46 desecrations which were perpetrated during 1986 or before is given in Appendix II. It is important to note that many of the temples which we have listed in Appendices I and II, were attacked long before the Babri edifice was demolished on December 6, 1992. Is it not surprising that hardly any protest was made or heard while these demolitions were taking place? Is it not even more amazing how much noise was made and continues to be made over a single edifice at Ayodhya? Evidently, a sense of proportion is not our virtue. However, credit must be given to the popular daily Hindustan Times for what it published on 8th July, 1985:

There was a mass exodus of the members of minority community from the state of Jammu & Kashmir to other parts of the country. This was a dangerous trend which should be stopped. There was indeed a sinister conspiracy to throw out the Hindus and Sikhs from the valley so that the designs of complete Islamisation were fulfilled.

Having established his bonafides, by first talking about Taslima Nasrin, the author has dealt with his own country, namely, the Kashmir Valley. He now proceeds to Pakistan, where a total of 244 places of worship were destroyed after the Babri Masjid incident. These include one gurudwara and one church. The provincewise distribution is: Sind 134, Baluchistan 42, NWFP 7 and the Punjab 61. The names and the locations of some places of worship desecrated are listed in Appendix III.

A slaughter house now operates from the site where once there was a Gurudwara at Ratan Tata Road, Karachi. The Gurudwara was reportedly destroyed long ago.

Coming back to Bangladesh, according to Ms Taslima Nasrin, 62 temples were destroyed in 1990, a clean two years before and not after the Babri edifi ce was brought down. In her words:

...they are angry when a mosque is destroyed, don't they realize that Hindus will be just as angry when temples are destroyed? Just because one mosque has been demolished must they destroy hundreds and hundreds of temples? Doesn't Islam profess peace?

On the morrow of 6th December, 1992, there was mayhem in many parts of Bangladesh. Quoted below is one list of the killings, damage and destruction compiled by Nasrin.

  • In Golokpur, thirty Hindu women were raped. Chanchali, Sandhya, Moni... Nikunja Dutta had died. Bhagavati, an old lady, had been so terrified that she dried of a heart attack. In Golokpur incidents of daylight rape were reported. Even women who had taken refuge in Muslim homes were being raped.

  • Fourteen hundred maunds of betel nuts belonging to Nantu Haldar were burnt to ashes at Das' Haat Bazaar.

  • The police magistrate and DC were mute spectators to the destruction of temples at Bhola city.

  • The jewellery of temples was openly looted.

  • A Hindu washermens' colony was burnt to cinders.

  • At Manikgunj, they destroyed the Lakshmi temple, the community Shiv temple, the goldsmith lanes of Dashara and Kalikhala and the big beverage and cigarette godowns of Gadadhar Pal.

  • Three truckloads of people raided the police stations at Twara, Baniajuri, Pukuria, Uthli, Mahadebpur, Joka and Shivalaya.

  • Three kilometres from the city, Hindu homes were looted and burnt in the Betila village.
  • The century old Naat mandir of Betila was attacked.
  • Jeevan Saha's home at Garpara was torched; three cowsheds were burnt to ashes; hundrds of mounds of paddy were lost in the flames.

  • Hindu shops at Terosree Bazaar under Ghior police station, and Hindu houses at Gangdubi, Baniajuri and Senpara were burnt down. At Senpara, a Hindu woman was raped as well.

  • The Kali temple of Pirozepur, the Debarchana Committee Kali mandir, the Manasha mandir, the Sheetala mandir, the Shiv mandir, the Narayan mandir, the Pirozepur Madanmohon Bigraha mandir, the Kali temple of Roykathi, the Krishnanagar Rai Rasaraj Seva Ashram, the Dumurtala Shreeguru Sangha ashram and mandir, the Kali temple at Suresh Saha's home in Dukheri Dumurtala, the Manasha mandir at Naren Saha's house in Dumurtala, the Manasha mandir at the ancestral home of Ramesh Saha, the community Kali mandir at Dumurtala, the temples at the homes of Sucharan Mondal, Gouranga Haldar, Harendra Nath Saha, Narendra Nath Saha, the Kali temple beside the Dumurtala high school, the Ranipur Panch Devi mandir, the community mandir of Hularhaat and Kartick Das' furniture shop, Kali mandir, the Kalakhali Sanatan Ashram, the Jujkhola Gour Govinda Seva Ashram, the Harisabha Sanatan Dharma mandir, the Kali mandir at the home of Ranjit Seal, the Jujkhola community puja centre, the community Durga mandir near the Gabtola school, the temple in Bipin Haldar's house at Krishnanagar, the community Kali mandir at Namazpur, the temple and math at Kalikathi Biswas's home, the Lairi Kali mandir, the community temple of Inderhaat, under Swarupkathi police station, the Durga mandir Kanai Biswas' home in Inderhaat, Nakul Saha's cinema hall, the Durga mandir at Amal Guha's home, the temple at Hemanta Seal's house and the Kali mandir at Jadav Das' house at Mathbaria police station were all set ablaze

  • The Shiv mandir at Mistripara in Syedpur was also destroyed.

  • The community temple at Rathdanga village of Narail district, the Ghona community mandir, the Kudulia community crematorium Nikhil Chandra Dey's family mandir, Kalipada Hazra's family temple, Shivprosad Pal's family temple, the family temple at Dulal Chandra Chakraborty's home in Badon village, Krishna Chandra Laskar's family temple, the Taltala village community temple, the family temples of Baidyanath Saha, Sukumar Biswas and Pagla Biswas at Pankabila village, the community temple at Pankabila village, the Narayan Jiu mandir at Purbapara Daulatpur under Lohagara police station were all ransacked and demolished.

  • Ten temples at Khulna were razed to the ground.

  • Four or five temples along with houses were looted and plundered at Raduli in Paikpara and at Shobonadas and Baka villages.

  • Two temples were destroyed in the Talimpur area under Rupsa police station. Hindu homes adjacent to it were also looted.
  • On the night of 8th December, 1992, three temples in the Dighlia and Senhati areas were burnt down.

  • A group of processionists raided thirteen homes in Sahadevpur village, Feni.

  • Twenty people were injured in the Jaipur village of Chagalnaiya.
  • At Langalboa village, Gobinda Prosad Roy's home was raided by two hundred people at the instigation of Moazzem Hussain. A person by the name of Kamal Biswas was seriously injured; it was possible he would succumb to his injuries.

Hindu Masjids
Prafull Goradia
The Challenge
1. The Conflict

Shuddhi in Stone
10. Christian Tears
11. Ataladevi Masjid
12. Four Vandals, One Temple
13. Bhojshala Masjid
14. Seven Temples Kept Buried
15. Adina Masjid
16. Jungle Pirbaba
17. Mandir and Dargah in One Building
18. Shuddhi by Govemment
19. Iconoclasm Continues in pakistan, Bangladesh and in Kashmir
2. Shuddhi by British
20. American Professor on Temple Desecration
3. Incomplete Shuddhi
4. Spontaneous Shuddhi
5. Waterloo of Aryavarta
6. Reclaimed Temple at Mahaban
7. Qutbuddin And 27 Mandirs
8. Instant Vandalism
9. Ghazni to Alamgir

Anti-Hindu Hindus
21. Ghazni and Nehru
22. Is A Communist Always Anti-Hindu?
23. Are Some Intellectuals Perverse?
24. Are Some Eminent Indians Anti-Hindu?
25. Ambedkar, a True Hindu
26. Swaraj Meant Saving the Khalifa
27. Archaeological Surveys
28. Hindu Future after Black Tuesday

1. Annexure I
2. Annexure II
3. Annexure III
4. Annexure IV

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