In a provocative move, Taliban leader Anas Haqqani visited the grave of Turkic ruler Mahmud Ghaznavi in Afghanistan and praised him for destroying the Somnath temple. He referred to him in a tweet as a Muslim warrior and Mujahid who established a strong Islamic rule in the region. He further tweeted that he felt inspired and proud for visiting Ghaznavi’s grave.
Haqqani also shared pictures of him and other armed Taliban fighters visiting the tomb and paying their respects. Anas Haqqani is part of the Islamist terror group Haqqani Network which has umbilical ties to the Taliban and ISI. He is the youngest son of the founder of Haqqani Network and his brother is the new Interior Minister in the Taliban’s Cabinet.
Ghaznavi was the first independent ruler of the Turkic dynasty of Ghaznavids, who ruled northern Iran, Makran coast and parts of North-western India from 998 to 1030 AD. He ransacked the Somnath temple in 1026 AD. The chief deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. Ghaznavi specifically targeted Hindu temples, since they were the centres of wealth, economy and ideology for the Hindus.
As per history, the temple was destroyed 17 times but each time it was rebuilt. The last destruction was done by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669. He then ordered the Somnath temple to be converted into a mosque in 1706 but the Marathas resisted this move of his. The Maratha queen Ahalya Bai left the ruins of the old Somnath temple be where they are, and built a new Somnath temple a short distance from them.
After independence, Deputy PM Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on 13 November 1947 promised to rebuild the temple which was in ruins. The rebuilt temple was inaugurated on 11 May 1950 by the then President Rajendra Prasad. During the inauguration he said that, “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction.” This move of Sardar Patel to rebuild the temple and the presence of the President during the inauguration was interestingly opposed by Nehru on grounds that India is a secular country.