If this Basant Panchami, on February 12, passes off peacefully at the disputed Bhojshala site in Dhar district, the state administration may breathe easy for next 10 years.
It is only on January 23, 2026 when Basant Panchami will again fall on a Friday, keeping the hardliners of the Malwa and Nimar region away from the issue at least till that time.
After 2026, the Hindu festival will fall on a Friday in 2033 and 2040. There is very little tension in the region when Basant Panchami falls on any other day. In those years, usually a few hundred devotees turn up to offer pooja at Bhojshala, which is much less than the number expected this year.
“This is sad that people are facing this problem for last 10 years. The problem is being created by the administration and government but it can be solved even now. The politicisation of the issue also created a problem for Hindu samaj,” said Vijay Singh Rathore, patron, Bhoj Utsav Samiti.
Rathore believes that on Basant Panchami, Muslims should not be allowed to offer namaz as it will disrupt the puja of Goddess Saraswati.
“This problem will not be solved until both the central government and state government intervene and find a solution,” shahar qazi Waqar Sadiq told HT.
Bhojshala is a disputed 11th century structure that is claimed by both Muslims and Hindus.
Muslims say it is a mosque, and Hindus say it is a temple of Goddess Saraswati.
According to directives of the Archaeological Survey of India, which maintains this structure, Hindus and Muslims can offer prayers at the shrine every Tuesday and Friday, respectively. The structure becomes a flashpoint when Basant Panchami, also referred to as Saraswati Puja, falls on a Friday as it happened in 2003, 2006, 2013.