Sunday , 24 September 2017
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Desecration of our culture and faith

 Junaid Malik

It’s a common practice in every country to preserve its cultural heritage by preserving its art culture architecture which is carried out institutionally both by the society and its governing agencies. Archeological survey of India is entrusted with the preservation of same heritage but it seems this institution is too selective in its approach which has set its own standards to either promote one culture at the dying heritage and desecration of faith of other. This growing indecency and desecration could either be the effect of new political culture in the country or the authorities at the helm of affairs are deliberately letting them to die their own death.

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India is a land of multicultural multi ethnic and Multi religious faiths with no state religion but it’s really sorry state of affairs that one faith is being patronized more vehemently which ultimately looses the essence of its secular character. This is quite evident from the fact that the institutionalized form of violence is on rife across the country wherein a select group of hardline ideology is thrusting its belief and practices over the minorities and caste groups of other faiths .but there is also another gory picture of this discrimination and deliberate neglect the way the ancient monuments and worship places of different faiths are being trampled in the name of preservation earning huge chunks of money both from the domestic and international visitors. The particular kind of neglect and open desecration is the way how the Muslim mosques are trembled in the name of preservation and heritage tourism.

Any common Individual who visits the ancient monuments tombs and worship places of different religious groups could find the ambience and serenity being maintained in and around these places to upheld their spiritual status. If the focus of study may be targeted around the national capital and its peripheries one could find lotus temple Bangla sahib  Gurudwara Akshardham temple and others are not only being maintained but a regular beautification work goes on round the clock but on the other hand if you visit the Jamia Masjid Delhi Moti masjid Humayun tomb Purana qibla mosque red fort Delhi and Agra and such other ancient places you can see how the cultural lineage, legacy and faith is being desecrated and trampled day in and day out. These monuments are the identity of our heritage and the mosques are the symbol of our peaceful religion which knows no bounds of geographical and cultural barriers.

Mughal empire, a dynasty which consolidated the modern India under which the status and stature  of India was raised through new practices of trade and commerce, better road connectivity and also laid the foundation of greatest military might through their advanced warfare skills are being today embarrassed by selfish and bigoted motives of extremist ideology of right wing groups and minority politics of our pseudo leadership. No sooner do you enter the Humayun tomb you can see the place abuzz with tourists in the sprawling lawns but you may feel pained and agonized when you enter the Isa khan mosque inside the tomb. The visitors enter the mosque laden with shoes draped in filth dust and what not. camera flashes illuminate the mosque with tourists taking selfies around in the middle of the mosque not even spring the walls and pillars dotted with Quranic verse all around. Not even a single hoarding or inscribed stone is around who can tell the tourists that the place is an ancient mosque which belongs to persons of faith and belongs to almighty Allah. Most of the employees around are Muslims but no one has the concern to forbid the visitors to enter the mosque with shoes, garbage and All those subjects forbidden inside the mosque.

A few hundred meters away from the Humayun tomb is old fort or the Purana Qila just adjacent to the prestigious national zoological park where the animals and birds are being kept for their conservation. The park is pollution with no human interference and no vehicular activity. You could be fined and even imprisoned for any cruelty to animals or any interference in their habitat. But just on the other side of the wall, thousands of visitors enter the sprawling and highly maintained lawns of old fort. The scene is replica of other tourist destinations of the capital but as soon as you go around the extreme left of the fort, one would find a magnificent ancient structure, another beautiful symbol of Mughal architecture; the qila-e-qunha mosque or the old fort mosque. The red stone at the very outset mounted on a steel rack gives the beautiful description of its art, name and few lines of its history. It is basically an ancient congregational mosque but in shambles now. This beautiful and serene mosque which once would have  been the place of solace and forgiveness for the believers is today being trampled under the feet of greedy and indifferent care takers. No one forbids anyone to maintain its spiritual stature. The facade, the walls , the pillars and the dome is all around inscribed in Quranic verses but Is now more identified with good background for the photographs and selfies of the visitors, tourists and love birds around. The lawns of the mosque are taken over by towering high grass and weeds and its compound wall used to throw bottles and trash. The back entrance gates and the passages emit foul and stingy smell which I found hard to explain in words. Readers can very easily understand as to what gives such a filthy odor when a place is left to its own care.

The tourists enthusiastically visit the Qutub Minar complex to see its grandeur and artistic beauty. The memorial structure is a testimony to the greatest period of Mughal sultanate. But here too the salt is added to the injury when the Quwat-ul-Islam mosque inside the complex which according to historians is the first mosque in Delhi is treated the same way as other worship places in the capital. The mosque in the middle of the complex is desecrated in the choicest ways of visitors. Neither they are told about its spiritual aspect nor stopped to maintain its holiness.

The grandeur and the magnanimity of Delhi sultanate could be gauged from the very first sight of Jamia Masjid Delhi. The structure is one finest symbol of Mughal architecture and hey days of Muslim rule of just and orderly society. Thousands of visitors of all faith throng the mosque and sit on its red stone staircases to enjoy the real feel of contemporary and classical edifice. The structure is too losing its sheen and aura due to neglect and apathy of both of its care takers and the government agencies, although these structures have been enlisted as world heritage sites and few other as national monuments but it seems that this exercise is limited only to its paper categorization. The JAMIA Masjid red stone is fast depleting with broken stairs and eroded pillars. The dirt pollution and human activity in and around is damaging this historical mosque. Once being the hub of religious and political activities is today in most tattered condition. The unplanned neglected and apathetic attitude of Muslim community and its hollow leadership has even deprived the commoners to have its open glimpse which once to be the star attraction of the empire. The mosque today is surrounded by garbage, filth, trash, smokers and drug addicts roaming around during the night.

The condition is replicated even in other cities around the national capital. Many of the mosques have got damaged with the time particularly with in tombs and palaces and few other have been turned just as visiting spots. The spectacular and engineering marvel of ancient Mughal period is Agra fort. Although preserves but here too the mosque fully constructed in marble in one corner of the fort for women and queens of that period has lost its spiritual character. The mosque is beautiful marble structure but today the visitors enter the mosque like other parts of the fort. You may find no where any inscription or any caveat for visitors not to enter the mosque with shoes or forbidden objects.

Muslims may cry and clamor for their identity and their fast loosing existence but some where we are responsible for our own destruction. our leaders are more inclined towards their vote bank politics and exploitation of their own. We lack behind in education jobs industrialization and lack of scientific temper. we have webbed ourselves in sects and issuing Fatwas over trivial and less important issues. We may issue hundred decrees how to fold hands how wear the trousers, how to divorce and who is real Muslims and who is the infidel but we will never discuss and deliberate how to standardize our educational system, how to give dignified and worthy life to Ulemas who roam house to house for few hundred rupees, our better participation in political and administrative arenas and shun the dogmas of parochialism and sectarianism on modern scientific lines keeping intact our culture and faith.

The state and central governments should too preserve the cultural and ethnic dignity of every sect and religion to erode the notion of exploitation of one faith over the other. The commissions and trusts should be regulated to upheld the cause rather than patronizing a select group of elites from amongst the religious and cultural groups. Keeping a special focus on the issue of discussion it is suggested that the governing councils looking after the ancient monuments should focus on the issue to restore the lost glory of our monuments and tombs thereby maintaining the sanctity of our mosques and worship places. it is particularly enjoined upon the religious groups and teachers to educate masses in congregations to offer due respect to our mosques whenever they visit such places and also educate the visitors about their past glory and function. If we can conserve the animals fearing their extinction in their natural habitats, why should not we come forward to preserve our cultural and religious identity which makes the nation and gives birth to civilizations.

 

Author can be mailed at malikjunaid22@gmail.com