Saturday, December 20, 2008

Azampur: Graveyard of Dehi Sultanate

Some 27 kilometers from Gajraula in the plains of river Ganga, is situated a small village named Khawdi. Readers may think why I am talking about this distant hamlet, but surely you all will enjoy my tour to this historic place. Mandi Dhanaura was once an important trade place for agro products and specially the pulses and sugar. Situated on Gajraula- Bijnore road this place is 18 Km to west of NH24 and Khawdi is situated on a connecting road to Sherpur village.
During the battle of Mahabharata it is said that the ally of Kauravas and a great warrior Jarasamha was killed at this place to the hand of Bhim, a Pandava. Muslims have another reason to worship this place. It is the shrine of Baba Ratan Sen which attracts lot of devotees every year. He is said to be the first Indian to pay the pilgrimage to Mecca in the times of Prophet Mohammed. Locals proudly narrate a story. He was the witness to the event of partition of Moon by the holy Prophet. He was so amused to the event that he decided to visit the epicenter of the incident. In the quest to enquire the reality he reached Mecca and met the Holy Prophet, they say. For the local residents he is probably the first Indian Muslims.
This is not an end to the history. Mubarak Shah, the father of Abul Fazal and Faizi, the navratnas of Mughal Emperor Akbar settled t a place nearby, presently known as Azampur. Mubarak Shah had traveled all long from Persia. He established a Madaris here which has now been limited to ruins. People call it the Birbal ka school and they believe that the dust of the place has the supernatural power of intelligence. They use it as medicine for mentally challenged Childs. Abul Fazal and Faizi spent there childhood in this village only and received there primary education in this very, the Birbal ka school.
Later both the brothers due to their extraordinary skills found themselves employed with Mughal court. Later they summoned there teacher Mahboob Shah to the court and on their acknowledgement he was engaged as treasurer to the royal treasury. One can found a marvelous tomb in Azampur on the grave of Mahboob Shah.
Another legendry warrior of Akbar, Mir Syed Talib Ali Khan was also from Azampur Khawdi. Akbar himself attended his funeral and ordered to build a beautiful tomb on his grave. The tomb of Talib Khan and a mosque in a village have a foundation stone with inscriptions related to Jalauddin Muhammad Akbar, the emperor of Delhi. Another great legend from the village is Firoz Khan whose grave lie unnoticed out side the Akbar Mosque.
Actually I was in Mandi Dhanaura for my personal work when someone asked me to report something about Khawdi and Azampur in media. It may have been an awesome feeling to visit such an important place but sorry to say I was much disturbed. The inscriptions related to Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar were severely damaged by some ignorant people. The place was illegally encroached and as usually seen in India, no one was vigilant enough to stop the damage. The tomb of Talib Khan paid heavy price due to the Inscription in Persian and a Quranic scripture, as there was a rumor that this was an address to a treasure hidden by the former General of Mughal. Local Administration has no Idea about the place and locals are unaware about its importance. Only a warning signboard by Archeological Survey of India at the tomb of Mahboob Shah can be seen. Although what ASI has done here is also in controversy. One of the residents Rafiq Warsi told me that ASI had took over the place some year back and left their task unfinished. Also they demolished the outer boundary of the shrine of Mubarak Shah, the father of Abul Fazal and Faizi in the name of reconstruction. Till date no repair ahs been undertaken by ASI, despite many letters has been written by the family of Rafiq Shah.
One another upset came one year later. Again I had to visit a place for wrong reasons. On a call from one of my informer when I visited Khawdi, I found that on the shrine of Baba Haji Ratan Sen an annual Urs was being observed. On the occasion some dance party had been called and the whole night in the name of entertainment C-grade stuff was being offered. The bar girls almost naked were on the stage and the rest was below standard to be mentioned in words.
Now the locality is well known for criminals, the mafia and the hideout for anti socials. Everyday mourning is being observed by the souls of the demised legends of the place. May be they wish for the return of golden days of the past and moreover to end the bad days to their last resting place.

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