Qutub Minar not a place of worship: ASI

What is the News?

Archaeological Survey of India has submitted a report in a Delhi court stating the Qutub Minar complex is not a place of worship and its character cannot be changed now.

What is the case?

A plea has been filed in court claiming that 27 temples were demolished to build the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutub Minar complex. The plea seeks “restoration” of Hindu and Jain temples on the Qutub premises. But the plea has been dismissed under the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

This is because the Qutub Minar complex comes under the purview of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958. The ASI, submitted that the Qutub Minar complex was not a place of worship when it was first notified as a protected monument in 1914.

Further, the ASI said remains of 27 temples were procured for the mosque by spending 2,00,000 Deliwals (coins) on each. The ASI added that nowhere in the records does it mention that these remains were retrieved by demolishing temples.

How does the character of a monument get decided?

The character of a monument is decided on the date when it comes under protection. Following this, objections from the public are invited for two months. This is how several places where religious practices were being conducted came to be protected under the AMASR Act.

About Qutub Minar complex

Belong to: These are monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate

Located in: Mehrauli in Delhi.

Phases of construction: The Construction of the Qutub Minar “victory tower” in the complex was begun by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. He later became the first Sultan of Delhi of the Mamluk dynasty.

It was continued by his successor Iltutmish, and finally completed much later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, a Sultan of Delhi from the Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1412) in 1368 AD.

Named after: Religious figure Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki

Famous structures within Qutub Minar complex: Qutb Minar, the Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Darwaza gate, the Alai Minar and the Iron pillar.

Note: The iron pillar of Delhi was constructed by Chandragupta II. It is famous for the rust-resistant composition of the metals used in its construction.

Tombs present in the complex: Iltutmish, Alauddin Khalji and Imam Zamin.

Source: The post is based on the article “Qutub Minar not a place of worship: ASI” published in The Hindu on 25th May 2022.

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