The vast and spacious courtyard
(of the Jama Masjid Dillee) inspires the spirit with worship and is a
sanctified and hallowed location.
-Inscription on the east-facing Inscription on the
Pakistan, or at least the inspiration behind it has been
vindicated by communalists coming to power in Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is
time for a backward look.
Twenty-five years ago and earlier India was an idea, a concept and
an ideal which had a universal spread. It had a vast extending area from the
Amu Dariya (the river Oxus) in the North to Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) in
the south. The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea marked its Eastern and
Western limits. The abundance of riches spewed forth by its fields, rivers
and mines attracted all manner of peoples and tribes who came and settled
here. They melded together and gave the country a history sonorous with the
names of philosophers and poets, heroines and heroes and a culture of many
The beauty of the country, its riches and the climate gave the
inhabitants a quest for knowledge and the leisure to pursue ideas through to
their logical and philosophical conclusions. Humanity was enriched by zero,
infinity, place value, the decimal system, algebra, chess, rice, pepper, the
rasa theory (of art, literature and music), Buddhism, Jainsm, the
Upanishads and great mystic poetry dating back to the pre-Christian times.
Seekers of the news in the world of ideas came here as pilgrims because the
then Indians were concerned about the problems of being and becoming.
Trivial pursuits did not take up all their time, effort and energy.
Today the word India has been reduced to a mere geographical
dimension. It is, if you please, a 'sub-continent.' Most rulers of this
erstwhile great 'country-become-a-mere-subcontinent' are culture fractured
apes of the British.
They are men and women of 'little brain' which cannot carry the
weight of concepts and ideas. Those who lead the breakaway movements and
made a new state they called 'Pakistan' (or the land of the pure, the clean
and the sacred), were afraid of democracy. With Hindus in a numerical
majority, they feared the one man one vote system. They thought it would
keep them out of power. Their alternative was an 'Islamic' state. This they
(mostly Urdu speaking UP Muslims) thought would bind all Muslims in the
silken meshes of the revealed laws. The first whiff of democracy saw the new
state burst asunder and fragment. The majority of Pakistanis who were
Bengalis broke away to form Bangladesh. The UP Muslims are now a
discredited, embattled and unwanted lot in what remains of Pakistan. Hindus
and Sikhs were butchered after Partition, and escape to India saved the
lives of millions. These refugees such as Lal Krishna Advani want to return
the compliment by sending Indian Muslims to Pakistan. They are the mirror
images of Muslim Leaguers, Hizbees etc. Their victory in Gujarat and
Maharashtra shows that Jinnah was not alone, and is not dead.
The communal Hindu exulting in the carnage and blood letting
occurring daily in Pakistan (10 or 12 killings per day) has forgotten that
the Sikhs were doing as well in disposing of unwanted Hindus in the Punjab
not so long ago. Just as the Sikhs want a Hindu-free Punjab where they will
not follow the Hindu Code Bill which forces them to give a share to the
daughter, the Hindus want a Muslim and Christian free India. In this
Hindu-Pakistan everyone will be uniformly, dully, boringly Hindu. The
visible manifestation will be provided by khaki shorts in memory of
the RSS shakhas with all of them trained in Muslim hatred. Only
perceptive observers will notice that these Pak-Hindus are wearing khaki shorts
on their minds as well!
The Bharatiya Janata Party / Vishwa Hindu Parishad / Bajarang Dal
know that the days of transfer of population are over. They therefore want
to cajole, bully, harass and frighten the Muslims into 'integrating' joining
the mainstream. The first step is to destroy any visible manifestation of
'deviation.' The mosques built from 1192 to the 19th century offer a target
of high visibility. If they can be razed to the ground everyone can see who
is in power.
Thus the time, effort and money put into converting the Babri
Masjid into the Rama Janmabhoomi (the temple of the spot where the birth of
the Lord Rama is said to have taken place) had paid off. Some of those
revanchist Hindus who took a leading part in this most successful movement
had to renege on their faith. For example, the Arya Samajists. This Hindu
sect mirrors the Wahabi Muslims and rejects and reviles idol worship. Its
hatred of Muslims enabled it to swallow the idol worship inherent in putting
up a temple to an incarnation of the Lord Vishnu.
Today the Babri Masjid is an uneasy scar on the consciences of the
Hindus who have not been coarsened and desensitized by Muslim hatred. For
Muslims, it is an ulcer, an unquiet wound which oozes fear, pain and hatred.
The Hindu communalists are troubling the waters to fish in them for future
catches. A great big lie is doing the rounds, not of slums and shanties, but
of the drawing rooms of the apolitical elite. The pride of Dillee, the
Masjid-i-Jahan Numa (the mosque from which you can see the whole wide world)
the Jama Masjid, build by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, in 1649-1655 as
the fim final master-stroke to complete his city of Shahjahanabad and give
it a skyline to make it the envy of the world is alleged to stand at the
site of an earlier temple demolished to make place for the mosque and to
provide material for it. Another and greater lie caps this one by asserting
that the inscriptions on the mosque provide the details of the demolition.
Before this mischief proceeds further readers should acquaint themselves
with the truth of the matter through the translation of the inscriptions is
The inscriptions on the Jama Masjid Shahjahanabad Dillee are
eleven in number. The mosque dalaan (covered area with openings) has
10 doorways, five on each side, and a high central doorway leading to the
Qibla or the niche which points the direction to Mecca (Makkaa Sharief).
As these inscriptions are in Persian (one, the most central is
Arabic; Yaa Haadee: O Lord Guide!), they can be misconstrued to
mislead the gullible. The photograph shows the text so that shoe who can
access the original can read it for themselves. The English Approximation
would be something like the following:
"Created or built by the order of the Emperor who is
ruler and Lord of the entire universe; of time present and past with
dominions extending to the limits of the earth. He is all conquering,
ever-victorious, Lord of fate and fortuen and powerful as the heavens and
promulgator of laws which bestow justice with fairness. He is the master
of all knowledge, endowed with a nobility of nature and is suprene in
command. He is the repository of all wisdom, nobility and grace. Favorite
of fortune, he is a firm in his determination as heaven itself.
"All glory surrounds him. His armies are as numerous as
the stars in heaven. His magnificence is like that of the Sun, the light
of the world, and his court is as spacious and sublime as the etheral
The second panel continues the eulogies:
"It is through the Emperor that the devine power has
been made manifest; he is the deputy or representative of God upon earth.
His greatness is beyond the limits of time. He is the inspired interpreter
of God's words, the Quran; the propounds the true faith (Millat-i-Baiza).
For other rulers and kings he is both refuge and support. He is the
khalifa (viceroy) or God upon th earth. The most supreme and just, most
glorious and begin lord; Abul Muzaffar (father and progenitor of
victories), Shaabuddin Muhammad Sahib-i-Qiran Saani (lord of the
auspicious constellation, equal of the Amir Taimur) Shah Jahan Badshah
Ghazi - God is ever aiding him and his kingdom. (May his standards, flags
and pennants never dip or droop and and may his enemies be annihilated).
Truth stands unveiled and visible to him. He has been inspired and
enlightened by the verse 'verily those who believe in God and the day of
judgement rises mosques (for the worship of God). "
From the third panel the praises of the mosque take over from the
praises of the Emperor-builder.
"The emperor's soul mirrors truth because of his belief
in the Hadith (Tradition of the Prophet): 'To God the most favored
monuments on earth are mosques.' This mosque, founded by piety and fear of
God, raises to the very heavens in its magnificent grandeur. Its
foundations are firm and strong as the mountains; its arched galleries are
solid as if to illustrate the verse of the Quran which says 'God has
placed mountains upon the earth to weigh it down and prevent it from
quivering and to save it from tremors.' The splendour of the domes and the
minarets which transforms the skyline can be seen across the vast spaces
of the firmament. The domes merge with the celestial spheres."
The fourth inscription continues in the same vein:
"At night the arcade and the domes of the mosque become
like the consellations and draw a line of beauty across the firmament and
horizon. The arches and domes cannot be likened to any work of human hands
and has to find comparisions in the work of divinity which created the
heavenly bodies. It can be said that in a way these arches and domes are
superior to the stars in heaven.
"The shamsa (sunburst motif) of the central
portico is more brilliant than the shining lamps of heaven and the klasha
(finial in metal) bestows a glow of radiance upon the celestial lamps of
"Its mimbar (pulpit) of dazzling white marble is
a symbol of the ladder which allows worshippers to access the courts of
heaven like the mosque of Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. (Here the reference is to
the Miraj or the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, to
The next inscription continues in the aura of this event:
"Behold! God is very close and near, the arch of sublime kindness and
concern (benevolence) is visible and manifest at a distance of two cubits
and less. Like unto the dawn which heralds the day, relevation showed the
right path to believers. The gates (both to the Mosque and to heaven) are
open to believers and it is proclaimed upon the high that God Almighty
desires his people to enter heaven which was bestowed upon them.
"The stupdendous minarets of this mosque rise into the
sky and penetrate the nine heavens to proclaim the truth of the divine
words which promise heaven (jannat) for those who practice virtue and
perform meritorious deeds. The high roof is the alighting point of angels
who descend and rejoice."
The sixth panel gives more praise and records dates.
"The vast and spacious courtyard inspires the spirit with
worship and is a sanctified and hallowed location. Breezes of holiness
waft through it and incenses of divinity perfume it to make it like the
gardens of paradise.
"The central marble tank with its crystal clear water is a place
which holds the reflection of the heavens as if to foreshadow the beauty
and virtue of the spring Sal-Sabil (A spring tank in heaven). On Friday,
the 10th of the month of Shawwal 1060 Hijri corresponding to the fourth
year of the third cycle of the august accession to the throne of the
Emperor Shah Jahan in an auspicious hour' and at the moment considered
most opportune (by astrologers) the foundations of the mosque were
The inscription continues in the seventh panel
"-- and within a period of six years by the unceasing
efforts of deft and highly trained and skilful artisans and masterbuilders
under the supervision of devoted and sincere, loyal nobles and officials
who gave wholehearted help and assistance, and by the expert guidance to
the minutest detail of the most renowned and experienced architects, at
the cost of a total sum of Rs 1 million and was completed on the Id-ul-Fitr.
The eighth panel records the first worship in the mosque:
"This most elegant and splendid function was crowned by
the arrival of the Emperor, the shadow of God upon earth who graced the
occaison and led the congregation in the performance of the first prayer
in this mosque. It was the Id-ul-Fitr prayer.
"Henceforth and throughout the ages to come this mosque
becomes a place of ultimate pilgrimage for offering worship for believers,
like unto the sacred Masjid of the Holy Ka'aba on the Id-ul-Zuha. This
mosque will promote Islam. Those who have traversed the earth and seen
with their own eyes all the wonders of the world will not come across any
monument more beautiful, majestic or glorious than the Jama Masjid which
is the symbol of man's efforts to produce a perfece specimen of the glory
of God. It is surpassingly beautiful and supremely sacred."
In the ninth panel the inscription reads
"No poet, writer, historian or learned man of this or
any other age can be expected to describe this mosque in all its glory.
May the Lord Almighty God preserve this marvel of building which dazzles
the eye with its grandeur."
The concluding inscription says
"May the glories of this mosque be recited forever, and
may the echoes of their rhymes, cadences, and melodies rise to the temples
of the heavens themselves. May God protect and preserve the pulpit of the
faithful. May he prepetuate the long and prosperous reign of the great and
mighty emperor who created this mosque for he is the administrator of
justice and the defender of the true faith, and his reign has ushered in
an era of peace and tranquility.
"By divine grace, and in the cause of righteousness inscribed by (the
Thus, all that the inscriptions record are paens of praise, richly
deserved, of the mosque, its grandeur and the good taste of its builder,
Shah Jahan. There is no mention of the destruction of any Hindu temples.