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Jaideep Shenoy | TNN | Mangaluru | Nov 29, 2019:: Karingamannu Kuzhiyil Muhammed aka KK Muhammed, part of first ASI team that excavated the historical site at Ayodhya averred that the Muslim community should now voluntarily come forward to hand over Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and Krishna Janmastham Complex in Mathura to Hindus. They missed a (good) opportunity to do so at Ayodhya thanks to the influence that the Marxist historians had on them, Muhammed averred.
In an interaction with Harsha Bhat at a session on ‘Excavating Truth’ at Mangaluru Lit Fest on Friday, said various excavations carried out at Ayodhya by ASI pointed to just one truth that a temple existed there. “When I did state this to the media first, uncharacteristic for government servant to do so, I did bear in mind that an archaeologist is speaking about the issue, and me being a Muslim, I had double the responsibility to speak only the truth,” he said.
“We must strive for united India rather than fight about it,” Muhammed, who retired as regional Director with ASI in 2012, said. Dwelling on his madarasa schooling, Muhammed said his open mindedness that Abubakkar, his Islamic teacher showed in exposing them to Ramayan that helped shape his personality. “Hinduism is a greatly tolerant religion and because India is a Hindu majority country, India remains secular in truest sense of the term,” he said.
Espousing the need for capsuled course on Indian art, culture, architecture, painting as part of Indian education system, Muhammed said a system bereft of these characteristics will not help the youth relate to their own culture. “We need to adopt Indian heroes such as Lord Ram, which Muslim countries have done,” he said, adding it was such references that excavations threw up which tipped Supreme Court in coming out with a ‘fair judgement’ on the case.
Expressing disappointment that the present BJP government had in a way belied expectation that one had about promoting Indian culture, Muhammed said it is imperative to market our heritage. Nepal and Sri Lanka are doing this far better than India with their world heritage sites, he said, adding that India with its Buddhist connections, can have half the world’s Buddhist tourists lining up on Indian shores if it follow’s Nepal and Sri Lanka’s lead.