A disturbing development: 'Akbari' masjid
#1
The third phase of Delhi Metro's expansion seems to have unearthed a Pandora's box. On July 6,2012, Metro officials at Subhash Park came across the remains of a Mughal-era structure that is being called the Akbarabadi Mosque. It is believed to have been commissioned by Akbarabadi Begum, one of Shajahan's wives. This discovery has generated a zeal for reconstruction of the purported mosque among the local Muslims. An MLA and his supporters managed to construct a qibla wall and offer prayers.True to form, Hindu fundamentalists soon stormed the site, protesting against the construction of a mosque upon what they believed was originally a Hindu temple. The ASI, however, is yet to decide whether the structure was indeed a mosque. Locals believe that the Akbarabadi Masjid was demolished( or 'martyred') by the British in 1857.

The name 'Akbari' mosque is being blown about by every breath of rumor. It evokes images of that other,ill-fated mosque, the Babari Masjid. The saprophytes among us- who love feeding off whatever is dead and decaying in our past- seem to be relishing the situation. The Maulvis,Pandits and Imams have found a new cause in order to remain relevant.

Old Delhi has scores of pressing issues that need to be addressed( civic apathy,lack of sanitation,overpopulation etc.). Remains of an obscure Mughal-era mosque should be the least of its problems. However, religious zeal has a way of perverting the faculties of its votaries. Add to this heady brew a deeply-entrenched sense of paranoia and persecution. A recipe for disaster.

Meanwhile, Metro expansion in the area has been put on hold. The unsightly behemoth of medieval thinking has once again succeeded in bringing real,palpable development to a grinding halt.Let us hope valuable resources do not get tied up in this absurd display of obscurantism and political opportunism.





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#2
Archaeology remains hostage to imagined shrines, heritage conservation is a casualty of clandestine shrines and infrastructure development is always hindered by makeshift shrines in India. Here's another disturbing development in the Charminar precincts in Hyderabad.

Mushroom Minarette :The ‘shrine’ by the Charminar offended for years as the city’s heritage bosses didn’t react , Madhavi Tata, Outlook Dec 03 2012

Quote:An 8-by-10-feet structure flanked by bamboo frames with a tarpaulin-covered roof almost stuck in front of the Charminar’s south-eastern minar, the controversial Bhagyalakshmi temple is protected by a 24-hour police checkpost, and is open from 5 am to 10 pm. A company of 85 RAF men, 20 APSP officers, and mobile police vans patrol the area.
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A well-known ASI stipulation prohibits the building of any kind of structure within 100 metres of a protected monument. But the Bhagyalakshmi temple seems to have slipped through such a stricture, helped, no doubt, by the apathy and negligence of authorities.
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