- Karachi’s Hanuman Mandir is 1,500 years old
- Temple trust gets back possession from squatters
- Renovation before Navaratri planned.
New Delhi: At a time when Supreme Court lawyer Rajeev Dhavan filed a contempt plea against an 88-year-old man cursing him for appearing for Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case, Hindus in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi have not only reclaimed but are also renovating a dilapidated Hanuman temple, believed to be 1,500 years old, at the same spot.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had, on Monday, agreed to hear Dhavan’s contempt plea against the angry octogenarian man, Professor N. Shanmugham, from Chennai who had, in a letter to the lawyer, accused him of disrespecting god and cursed him with physical disabilities for representing Muslim litigants in the case.
The apex court is currently hearing the Ayodhya case on a day-to-day basis.
Nearly 1,100 km from Delhi, however, Hindus in Karachi are busy renovating the Hanuman temple before the Navaratri Festival starts later this month.
According to a report in Pakistan’s leading English daily Dawn, recent construction work at the historic Shri Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir in Soldier Bazaar, Karachi, unearthed several idols and other artifacts. Many Hindus believed that the Mandir is the only shrine in the world with a naturally-created statue of the deity.
During his Vangaman (Exile), Lord Ram was believed to have visited this temple. Later, a blue-and-white, eight-foot-tall statue of Hanuman was excavated from here. Following this the temple was built at the same spot by devotees.
Over the years, however, most area of the temple and its surroundings had been taken over by squatters. “The squatters were both Hindu and Muslim, but after much hardship, the gaddi nasheen or trustee of the temple has managed to take back possession,” Ravi Dawani, Secretary-General of the All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat, said.
Meanwhile, the temple’s trustee Shri Ram Nath Maharaj said he got back the temple’s possession some three months ago. “We had cleaned the place but with the weeklong Navaratri festival on our heads around the end of September we thought of rebuilding our Mandir. We only started the work on Saturday (August 31) and so many idols have been unearthed,” he said.
“What is most surprising is that we didn’t have to dig too deep. We only dug two or three feet deep to find them,” he added.
Around eight to nine Hanuman statues, along with the buffalo-like Nandi Maharaj idols, the elephant god Ganesh idols, Sherawali Mata idols, along with some earthen pots, have been unearthed in the temple premises.
Recently, a 1,000-year-old Shivala Teja Singh Temple was reopened in Syalkot.
But a large number of temples and the Sikhs’ Gurdwaras have remained closed after the two communities migrated to India after 1947. Several temples were converted into commercial complexes Nearly 1,130 temples and 517 Gurdwaras were under the custody of the Evacuees’ Trust Board which has never been headed by a Hindu as was decided by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his Pakistani counterpart Liaquat Ali Khan.
At present, only 30 temples and 17 Gurdwaras are being run by the two communities in the entire Pakistan