By Firoz Bakht Ahmed, IANS,
I am worried that unless the Akbarabadi Masjid row near Delhi’s Jama Masjid is nipped in the bud, it might become Babri Masjid-2.
Some smalltime politicians are trying to politicize the entire matter by instigating the masses at the site where foundations of a mosque were discovered while digging for Delhi Metro July 6. At the same time, motivated elements from Hindu communal groups are trying to create tensions.
Amid all this, the judiciary needs to be complimented for handling a sensitive issue in a manner most competent.
One thing that I see is that most people from both the communities have not really cared too much about this deadlock as they have had enough of Babri Masjid and Ram temple row.
The local legislator, Shoeb Iqbal, has been trying two things.
For the last seven years, he has been after various civic agencies asking them to build the Akbarabadi mosque which it was known once existed.
When its remains were recovered during Delhi Metro work, he reportedly met the Delhi chief minister twice.
Despite her assurance that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) should be allowed to determine the historicity of the findings at the site, Iqbal started building the mosque himself.
Akbarabadi Masjid’s history goes back to the times of Shahjahan. Aizaz-un-Nisa Begum or Akbarabadi Begum was the second wife of the emperor who got the mosque built in 1650.
The mosque assumed importance as the Urdu translation of the Quran was done at this very place for the first time during the Mughal era.
It was also a centre for mutineers from all faiths and walks of life in 1857. It is said that important decisions taken here were finally stamped at Jama Masjid, just behind it. When the first war of indepenedence was crushed, the English took revenge by destroying, among other things, the Akbarabadi Masjid.
The nearby Jama Masjid was occupied by the English, who turned it into a huge barrack. British soldiers often entered it wearing shoes.
The Fatehpuri Masjid about a kilometre away was auctioned for Rs.29,000 along with the many shops attached to it. It was restored to Muslims when senior citizens of Delhi met the Viceroy in 1893.
That would not have happened without the efforts of secular Hindus like Rai Bahdur Seth Chhunnamal, Lala Hadhyan Singh as well as Pandit Roop Saran Upadhyaya.
Whatever is constructed or deconstructed at the present controversial site following the ASI report, the decision should be accepted by one and all.
(27-07-2012 – Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on social and political matters. He is a grandnephew of Maulana Azad. He can be reached on [email protected])