Shahabuddin asserts that Muslims cannot possibly have destroyed any
Hindu temple, because "pulling down a place of worship to construct a
mosque is against the Shariat"; claims to the contrary are all
"chauvinist propaganda." Arun Shourie confronted this claim with the
information given in the official court chronicle, Maasiri Alamgiri,
which records numerous orders for and reports of destructions of
temples. Its entry for 2 September 1669 tells us: "News came to court
that in accordance with the Emperor's command his officers had
demolished the temple of Vishvanath at Banaras."
today, the old Kashi Vishvanath temple wall is visible as a part of the
walls of the Gyanvapi mosque which Aurangzeb had built at the site.
the face of such direct testimony, it is wiser not to challenge facts
headon. It is better to minimise or to justify them. Thus, Percival
Spear, co-author (with Romila Thapar) of the prestigious Penguin History of India,
writes: "Aurangzeb's supposed intolerance is little more than a hostile
legend based on isolated acts such as the erection of a mosque on a
temple site in Benares."