April 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination




THE CONTEXT: The Bhojshala/Kamal Maula Mosque complex, situated in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, has been a subject of contention between Hindus and Muslims due to its historical and religious significance.


  • Hindus believe it to be a temple of Goddess Vagdevi (Saraswati), while Muslims regard it as Kamal Maula Mosque.
  • The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued a directive on March 11, instructing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a ‘scientific survey’ of the Bhojshala complex within six weeks.
  • The ASI initiated the survey on March 22, forming a 15-member team accompanied by local police and district administration officials.
  • Despite the sensitive nature of the site, arrangements were made to ensure security during the survey.
  • The Muslim community continued their Friday prayers at the site amidst tight security arrangements.
  • Additionally, the customary practices of Hindu worship on Tuesdays and Muslim prayers on Fridays were assured to continue undisturbed by the local authorities.
  • The ASI utilized modern technologies such as GPS and carbon-dating equipment for the survey, as directed by the High Court.
  • These technologies are crucial for scientific assessments of historical sites, aiding in accurate data collection and analysis.

Legal Challenges and Supreme Court Petition:

  • While the survey was underway, a Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed by the Muslim community in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order.
  • However, due to scheduling, the SLP was not taken up for an urgent hearing and was listed for April 1.
  • There were concerns raised regarding the absence of authorized Muslim representatives during the survey.
  • ‘Shahar Qazi’ Waqar Sadiq highlighted historical records and court responses affirming the site’s identity as a mosque.
  • He referred to ASI reports from 1902 and 1903, which documented the site as a mosque, and cited previous court proceedings supporting this claim.

Historical Context and Legal Precedents:

  • Sadiq pointed out historical documentation and court responses dating back to 1998, which acknowledged the site as Kamal Moula Mosque.
  • He referred to a reply filed during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister, asserting the mosque’s existence and the mystery surrounding Bhojshala’s identity.
  • Despite setbacks in the Supreme Court, legal representatives expressed determination to pursue the matter.
  • Lawyer stated that since the Supreme Court did not hear the case, the survey would continue according to the High Court’s directive.

Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque Complex:

  • The Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex was originally a temple of goddess Sarasvati built by Parawara King Bhoja in 11th Century AD.
  • The mosque is built using structural members of the temple. The monument also retains some slabs inscribed with Sanskrit and Prakrit literary works.
  • Noted as a great patron of art and literature, King Bhoja is said to have established a school, now known as Bhojashala.
  • The controversy revolves around the original status of the site as a temple.
  • The petitioner cites an ASI report claiming that the original Bhojshala and Vagdevi temples were demolished to build a mosque. A survey was requested to determine the actual history of the site.

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/asi-starts-court-ordered-survey-of-disputed-bhojshala-complex-in-madhya-pradesh/article67981751.ece#:~:text=The%20high%20court%2C%20on%20March,calls%20it%20Kamal%20Maula%20Mosque.

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