East gate of old High Court premises
Flowers for offering by the devotees
National Eidgah- view towards east
It is not clear about the identity of the person who is lying in the tomb inside old High Court premises. Many believe it to be the tomb of Islam Khan Chisti, the Mughal Subehdar who founded Dhaka as the capital of 'Subeh Bangala' and named it Jahangirabad.
Islam Khan Chisti (original name Shaikh Alauddin Chisti) won great fame because he succeeded, where his famous predecessors had failed in subjugating and bringing Bengal under Mughal control. Mirza Nathan son of Ithimam Khan, Mir Bahr (Admiral) of the Mughal fleet, came to Bengal with Subehdar Islam Khan Chisti in 1610 CE and took active part in battles. His accounts ‘Baharistan-i-Ghaibi’ is a unique and extensively documented source of contemporary history of battles, the political and social situation of Bengal, Bihar and Assam and the Mughal subjugation of the region. According to him, Islam khan Chisti stationed troops at a strategic location of ‘Toke’ (north of Kapasia south of Gafargaon of Mymensing district) and personally directed the battle to crush the rebellious ‘Koch’ Raja Parikhsit. Once the ‘Koch’ raja was defeated and captured, Islam khan pulled his troops back towards Dhaka. But, on way he suddenly fell ill at Bhawal and died there. His mortal body was brought to Dhaka with honour and buried in the Bagh-I-Badshahi (old High Court premises, Dhaka). Ramna area where he was laid still bears his name as ‘Muhalla Chistia’.
Other Historians however believe, Islam Khan’s mortal remain was initially laid to rest at Ramna Bagh-I-Badshahi, but later, upon instruction from Emperor Jahangir, his coffin was taken out and carried to Fatehpur Sikri for final burial beside his illustrious grandfather sufi saint Sheikh Selim Chisti. Emperor Jahangir and Islam Khan Chisti were playmate during childhood in the ‘Khanqah’ of saint Sheikh Selim Chisti. It is said that Emperor Akbar sought blessing of Saint Selim Chisti for a child to become heir of his throne. When a male child was born he was named Selim (after the name of Saint Selim Chisti) who later become Emperor Jahangir.
About the present tomb in High Court premises Nazir Hossain in his book ‘Kingbadantir Dhaka’ writes there is an inscription in the mazar gate that a saint by the name Hazrat Shah Khwaza Sharfuddin Chisti is buried in 998 H (1590CE). But, no other references of his whereabout are available anywhere. Noted historian Hekim Habibur Rahman during early 20th century saw the domical roof of the tomb in the midst of thick jungles in Ramna. British Govt. while making establishments in Ramna area leveled many tombs of saints in the Bagh-I-Badshahi. But, they faced resistance from local people- muslims and hindus alike- while dismantling the tomb of Chisti for construction of Viceroy’s residence (later old High Court bldg). Beside this, the old Mosque of Haji Shahbaz east of Teen Netar Kobor and Ramna Kali Mandir also escaped destruction at the hands of British rulers.
After Partition of 1947, the tomb of High Court premises became a place of reverence. Number of devotees increased and soon the place became 'akhra' of 'Fakirs' - ‘Nura Pagla’ being one of them. Govt took notice of it and took control of the tomb (Mazar) area for management. A Mosque and Library were built attached to the Mazar in 1960. The large waterbody east of Mazar was filled up in the ‘80’s to make it the National Idgah.