Monday, December 24, 2007

'Mazar' of old High Court Premises

East gate of old High Court premises

Flowers for offering by the devotees

Entry to 'Mazar'
portion old High Court premises (south side)
Once built as Viceroy's residence (old High Court now under Min of Defence)

inside Passage
The gathering place of 'Fakirs' underneath tree has been cleared up

Front side (east)
view from back (west side)

tomb inside room
room of Tomb and Mosque

Idgah 'Mihrab'

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.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating story, never knew about in such detail. Thank you very much!

Rehan said...

Ershad Bhai - Thanks for another great bunch of pictures. I always learn so much from your pictures. Your pictures remind of the poem "dekha hoe nai chokkhu melia ghor theke dui pa phalea ekti ghasher upor ekti shishir bindu"...

I regret that I didnt' see so many things that were around me when I was there and now that I am thousand miles away, I want to see those places and feel the atmosphere. I started a list of places and things for me to see and I got many of them from your posting. Thanks adn keep up the good work.

Ershad Ahmed said...

Thanks Rehan Bhai for your beautiful comments...

Shireen said...

"Ahsan manzil', I definitely want to visit some day, also the Chishti Mazar'. What intriguing History, thank you so much.

MysticSaint said...

Thank you so much for posting about the Mazar. Blessings.

Justice Rahman said...

The last part of the narration reveled a worng.Not the government took step to control the area rather his Lordship the then chief Justice of Bangladesh Mr.Justice Mustafa Kamal tok step to take the control of the mazar and formed Mazar Administration committee with the judges of the supreme court and local dignitaries who are still administering the mazar and the mosque.
Thanks Mr.Ershad for your endeavor.