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Waiting for Shiva: Unearthing the Truth of Kashi’s Gyan

Release date: 28 February 2024
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Few places in the world carry the heavy burden of history as effortlessly as Kashi, or Varanasi, ... Read More

Product Description

Few places in the world carry the heavy burden of history as effortlessly as Kashi, or Varanasi, has. The holy city embodies the very soul of our civilization and personifies the resilience that we have displayed over centuries in the face of numerous adversities and fatal attacks.

Waiting for Shiva: Unearthing the Truth of Kashi’s Gyan Vapi recreates the history, antiquity and sanctity of Kashi as the abode of Bhagwan Shiva in the form of Vishweshwara, or Vishwanath. Shiva himself assured his devotees of salvation if they leave their mortal coils in the city. The book delves into the history of this selfmanifested swayambhu jyotirlinga shrine of Vishweshwara, which for centuries has been both a refuge for the devout and a target of the bloodiest waves of iconoclasm. However, each time an attempt was made to obliterate the temple by demolishing it, it managed to rise and prosper. Every iconoclastic storm was followed by an episode of persistence, tenacity and stubborn resolve. Shrines fell and shrines rose, but the Hindus of Kashi never gave up—not even once.

Waiting for Shiva documents these cataclysmic events in the temple’s history. The final death blow was dealt in 1669 by the Mughal despot Aurangzeb, who demolished the temple and erected few domes on the partially destroyed western wall to call it a mosque. The temple complex was desecrated and left strewn with ruins as a grim reminder of the humiliation and insult that Hindus had to face as a consequence of their holiest shrine being torn down to smithereens. The area that is now called the Gyan Vapi mosque and the surrounding land that lies adjacent to the new temple of Vishwanath, which came up towards the end of the 18th Century, has always been one of intense contestation. Bloody riots overran Varanasi over this issue multiple times in the past. During the colonial era, the doors of the British courts were knocked at to settle the occupancy issue, and they adjudicated the matter several times. PostIndependence, too, the desire to ‘liberate’ the complex has been seething in the Hindu imagination. A new suit filed in 2021 before the Varanasi civil court reopened a longfestering historical wound. Despite several appeals right up to the Supreme Court to dismiss the plaint, a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was ordered, which would lay bare the truth in its findings by the end of 2023.

Vikram Sampath’s latest offering retraces the long history of this bitterly disputed site and the dramatic twists and turns in the checkered past of this hoary shrine. Piecing together numerous documents and accounts—Vedic and Puranic texts, Sanskrit literary sources, Agama shastras, Jataka tales, Persian accounts, travelogues of foreigners, archival records and copious legal documents detailing the contestation from the British era to modern Indian courts—the book recreates, for the first time with facts and cogent arguments, this stormy history right up to the present times. The longsuppressed secrets that lay hidden in Gyan Vapi finally finds a voice through this book.


Product Details

Title: Waiting for Shiva: Unearthing the Truth of Kashi’s Gyan
Author: Dr. Vikram Sampath
Publisher: BluOne Ink
SKU: BK0485665
EAN: 9788196737597
Number Of Pages: 328
Language: English
Binding: Hardcover
Country Of Origin: India
Release date: 28 February 2024

About Author

Dr Vikram Sampath is a historian based in Bangalore. He is the author of eight acclaimed books including Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars, Voice of the Veena: S. Balachander, Women of the Records and Indian Classical Music and the Gramophone, 1900–1930. His twovolume biography of V.D. Savarkar, Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1881–1924, and Savarkar: A Contested Legacy, 1924–1966, and his latest book, Bravehearts of Bharat: Vignettes from Indian History, have gone on to become national bestsellers. In 2021, Vikram was elected a fellow of the prestigious Royal Historical Society. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi’s first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the ARSC International Award for excellence in historical research in New York for his book My Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician. The book has been adapted for a play, Gauhar, by Lillette Dubey. He was among four writers and artists selected as writersinresidence at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015. Vikram has a doctorate in history and music from the University of Queensland, Australia, and was a senior research fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi (2017–2019). He was also a fellow of Aspen Global Leadership Network and Eisenhower Fellowships 2020 and a visiting fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2010. Currently, he is an adjunct senior fellow at Monash University, Australia. He has an engineering and mathematics degree from BITS Pilani with an MBA in finance from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. Vikram is also a trained Carnatic vocalist. He established the Foundation for Indian Historical and Cultural Research to promote original, primary source–based research on Indian history and the Archive of Indian Music, India’s first digital sound archive for vintage recordings. He is the founderdirector of the Bangalore Literature Festival and curates the ZEE Group’s cultural fest, Arth.

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