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has 10 domes visible outside over the roof and supported inside by vaulted arches running lengthways and transverse between the walls and the four stone pillars which stand along the centre of the interior.
“The marginal sketch shows the style of the arches and the character of the central pillars. In the west wall there are three ornamental recesses intended for the leaders of devotion, the central recess being for the Imām. The building is 54 feet long by 45 feet broad : the walls of brick are 7 feet in thickness; at a distance the building has an unsightly appearance, looks in fact like a queer-shaped barn of red brick. The following rough sketch may convey an idea of its form, but I bave not attempted to show the fillagree ornamentation of greatly varying patterns and details with which the walls on all four sides are covered and which are carved apparently out of the brick. Some of these patterns are extremely elegant. I venture to reproduce a few of the easiest on the margin and also a specimen of the favourite device which, with innumerable variations of details is repeated again and again all round. Over the central door is an inscription of which I annex a copy. It runs to the following effect :
"May God pour down his blessings on the Prophet who said :The man that maketh a seat for God on earth shall find in turn a seat made ready for him in Heaven by God. The founder of this Jumah Masjid was a great and benevolent Emperor who was also the son of an Emperor. He was victorious in all worldly and religións affairs :- Abool Muzaffar Nuzrut Shah [ Abu-l-Muzaffar Nusrat Shāh], son of Shah Sultan Hosseinul Hosseinee [ Sulţān Ḥusain-al-ựusaini]. May God keep him and his country and his empire for ever in safety. The year 930 (of the Hegira)."
“There is great difficulty about ascertaining the real facts connected with the erection of this building and the acquisition of the surrounding lakhraj property by the Khondakors of Bagba. In the year 1815 the Board of Revenue directed the then Collector to make enquiries about the Bagha Estate, but it was found that no accurate information was forthcoming, and that only incorrect information was furnished by the Khondakors who were afraid of measures being taken for the resumption of their lakhraj.
“ The following is the popular story about Bagha. An emperor of Gaur on his way to Dacca encamped near Bagha. As fire was wanted men were sent out to find a house. Coming to a jungle from which smoke was ascending, they found a fakeer who, though fires were burning and tigers were roaring round him, went on quietly with his prayers to God. The men seized up some fire and rushed back with it to the camp where they told the Emperor what they had seen. The
Emperor, filled with curiosity, went forth and visited the fakeer and found him as has been reported. Then the Emperor waited on the fakeer whose name was Shah Mahamed Doolla ( Shāh Muhammad Daula] and besought him saying, "O man of God, shall thy servant advance to Dacca or wait here." Then the Fakeer answered and said, “Wait thou here one day." So the Emperor waited. And it came to pass the very same day that there came messengers to him from Dacca saying, “Behold, the fighting is over, and the victory is thine." Then was the Emperor greatly pleased and said, “Behold here is a great man,” and he offered unto him many lands, free of rent, but these the man of God would not accept, saying, “ Nay, my lord; but thy servant cannot hear of this thing. For he that once hath turned his back upon the world, how shall he not be averse to the vanities thereof. But let thy favour be showed unto thy servant's son." And the name of his son was Hazrut Moulana Danesh:Mund [Hazrat Maulānā Dānishmand]. To him, therefore, did the Emperor give a royal grant of two and twenty mauzahs of rent-free land. This Maulana Danesh-Mund was the father of Abdool Waheb who, according to another account, was the person to whom the Emperor of Delhi, Shah Jahan on a tour in this district awarded the rent-free tenures round the musjid, as a reward for his great learning, in the year 1033. It is said that in the Sunnud ( Sanad) no other provision was made and that the lands were given solely for the support of himself and his descendants, that the descendants considering that the Lakhraj, as assigned, might be liable to resumption, altered the grant, so as to make it appear that half was to be devoted to religious services, and that it was to be enjoyed only by men of learning and religion in the family. Abdool Wahib's ['Abdu-l-Wahhāb's] son Mahamed Ruffik [Muhammad Rafiq] was the first Roish [Rais] or Sebait of the musjid.
“At the north end of the building are 3 tombs, said to be those of the Darogahs who took part in building the masjid, and in the neighbourhood are cemeteries in which all the members of the Bagha family when they die are buried, but there is nothing architecturally striking about their tombs.
“ The chief representatives of the family are now minors and their properties are under the management of the Civil Court. Near the mosque is a large tank in a very dirty state and over-grown all over with weeds."
Long before the present territorial aristocracy of the District of Rājshāhi-the Thākūrs of Putiyā, the Rājās of Nātor and Dighapatiyā-bad acquired their Zamindāris, the part of the country in
which the Jāmi' Masjid and the big tank of Bagha are situated formed a part of the Pargana Lashkarpur, which again according to the Āin-sAkbari was included within the administrative jurisdiction of Sarkār Bārbakābād. The Qaşba-i.Bāghā is situated in Bilmāriã (or Lālpur) Police Circle, under Nátor Sub-division, to the South-east of RampurBoalia. According to the Statistical Accounts of Rājshāhī, the Muḥammadan rent-free tenures and aimas are most numerous in the police thānās of Bilmāriã and Nätor.
The following is the Arabic text of the inscription in beautiful Tughrā Character-1
(1) قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم من بني مسجداله في الدنيا بني الله له بيت
الجنة بني هذا المسجد الجامع السلطان (2) المعظم و المكرم السلطان بن السلطان ناصر الدنيا و الدین ابوالمظفر (3) نصرت شاه السلطان ابن حسين شاء السلطان الحسيني خلد الله ملکه و سلطانه في سنة ثلثين وتسعماية *
The Prophet, upon whom be blessings and peace, says—"He who maketh a Masjid for God on earth, will have an abode made for him by God in Heaven like it.” This Cathedral mosque was built by the exalted and benevolent Sultan, the Sultan son of a Sultan, Nāşiru-dDunyā wad-Din, Abu-l-Muzaffar Nuşrat Shāh the Sultan, son of Sultan Husain Shah-al-Ḥusainī,---May God perpetuate his kingdom and rule, in the year 930 (A.H).
Sultān 'Alā'uddin Husain Shāh, who was a contemporary of the Delhi Emperor Sikandar Lodi, was succeeded by his son Abu-l-Muzaffar Nāşiru-d-Din Nußrat Shāh. The latter reigned from A.D. 1518 to 1532, corresponding to A.H. 925 to 939. During the reign of this monarch, in the year 930 A.H. or 1523-4 A.D., the beautiful Masjid at Bagha was constructed and a tank excavated. Not far from Bagha, at Makhdūmpur, lived at that time 'Ala Bakhsh Barkhurdār Lashkari: the ruins of his house can still be seen. He was at once a great man and a Royal Jāgirdār of Pargana Lashkarpur, which yielded an annual income of Rupees three lakhs and sixty thousand. This Jāgir he had received from Husain Shāh.
About this time came from Baghdad Maulānā Shāh Mu'azzam Dānishmand, who is known by his more familiar name Shāh Daula. He married Zibu-n-Nisā, daughter of the Jāgirdār. Their son was that renowned scholar and man, Maulānā Hamid Dānishmand, whose life and fame cast an additional lustre on the family. His son Shāh 'Abdu-l-Wahhāb got in 1033 A.H. from Shāh Jahān, son of Emperor Jabāngir, forty-two mauzas, with an annual rent of Rs. 8,000 as a Jāgir. This Jāgir, was given by that prince, while as it appears from history, he held temporarily the Dictatorship of Bengal, having rebelled against his father. In 1032 A.H. (1662 A.D.) a bloody battle was fought between the Şübahdar Ibrāhīm Khan Fath-Jang and that Prince, in which the faithful Şabahdār died fighting. This grant, so it appears, was subsequently ratified and reaffirmed by Emperor Jahāngir; thus the Bagha Jāgir was not, as it is said, conferred by both of them under separate Sanads,
1 The inscription is in 3 lines, 24 inches long, and 54 inches broad.
% The Persian titles · Dānishmand' and 'Shāh Daula,' clearly show that the Maulana did not come direct from Baghdad, where only Arabic titles are used.
In the year 1047 A.H. (1637 A.D.) Shāh Muḥammad Rafiq, son of 'Abdu-l-Wahhāb, made a waqf of the eight-annas share of the property, the remaining eight annas remaining with the sons of his brother, Nūru-1--Arifin. The Mutawalli of the Estate, who is styled Ra'is, performs all the duties of his office, e.g., the celebration of the 'Urs looking after the Madrasah, the Masjid and the Musāfirid (wayfarers) &c., &c. The first Ra'is was Mu'inu-l-Islām, eldest son of Shāh Muhammad Rafiq, the donor. The second and third Ra'ises were respectively his son and grandson, Shamsu-l-Islām and Sharifu-l-Islām. The fourth Ra'is was Faşihu-l-Islām, brother of Sharifu-l-Islam. Faşihu-l-Islām's son, Faizu-l-Islām, who was the fifth Ra'is, died without leaving any male issue. He was, therefore, succeeded, by his son-in-law, Nür ‘Alam, as the sixth Ra'is. Khundkār 'Abdullāh, the son of the latter, was elevated to gadi, as the Seventh Ra'is.
Shāh Muḥammad Rafiq's second son, Badru-l-Islām, and grandson, Amiru-l-Islām, were not Ra’īses, as Rafiq's eldest son, and the latter's descendants, succeeded one after another, till the time of the fifth Ra'is, Faşihu-l-Islām, who died leaving no male issue. As 'Abdullāh, like his father, was not descended from the male line of the donor, and as also not qualified for the post of Mutawalli, Amiru-l-Islām's son Musāfiru-lIslām instituted in 1805 A.D. a suit in the Şadr Dīwāni 'Adalat, Calcutta, to establish his rights as a Mutawalli. The case being decided in his favour, he was installed in 1806 as the eighth Ra'is, when 'Abdullāh had to retire. Musāfiru-l-Islām's two sons, Muzaffaru-l-Islām and 'Azizu-l-Islām succeeded one after the other as the ninth and tenth Ra’īses. The latter having lost a grown-up son, declared as his successor to the Riyāsat his other son, Tansiqu-l-Islām, who succeeded him. The present or the twelfth Ra'is, Amiru-l-Islām, is a brother of Tansiqu1-Islām.
The family of the Bagha Khundkars has enjoyed till lately great
respect. It is said, that Shāh Daula was descended from the 'Abbāsi Khalifa, Hārūn-ar-Rashid of Baghdad. Shāh Daula ran away from Baghdād, and married the daughter of 'Alā Bakhsh Barkhurdār, Jāgirdār of Lashkarpār or Putiyā. His family has been known as a half family, because according to the proverb "a man is but half a man till he gets a wife" he came to Bengal alone or without a wife.
The author of the Riyāzu-s-Salātin states that Rājā Kans, among his other tyrannical acts, had killed Shaikh Badru-l-Islām 'Abbāsī, owing to the latter not showing sufficient respect to him. Khundkār Fazl-i-Rabbi in his “ Origin of the Musalmans of Bengal,” and in the “ Taşdiqu-n-Nihād,” endorses this account, and states that Shaikh Badru-l-Islām was a disciple of the saint Nür Qutb-i-'Alam, and that Sultan Ibrāhīm Sharqi of Jaunpur came at the special request of the saint to punish Kans. As the founder of the Khundkār family of Bagha flourished during the reign of King Nusrat Shāh in the beginning of the Sixteenth Century A.D., and Rājā Kans reigned almost a centuryand-a-half before that, either the fact stated is untrue, or the person said to be killed has not been identified.
The income of the big aima Estate has been variously estimated. Mr. Adam, in his Report on Education, states that its income, according to the Collector of Rājshāhi was Rs. 30,000. According to my information its income was over Rs. 18,000 per annum, As the estate is not well managed, its income must be of a fluctuating nature.
In the earthquake of 1897, the Jāmi' Masjid was severely damaged. Its walls on three sides are still standing: the front or Eastern wall and the roof have fallen. During the famine of 1897 A.D., the Government began re-excavating the big tank as a relief measure, but it was stopped as the rains set in, and has not since been resumed. It is to be regretted that this 'fine mosque, one of the few handsome ancient buildings in the District,' should be allowed to remain in this dilapidated state, while there be an endowment of land for the maintenance of the same and other charitable works, 1
A religious fair is held at Bagha to celebrate the 'Id. i-Ramazan on the termination of the fastings,
" The next Building I have to mention is the mosque at Kusamba in Manda Thannah in the north of the District. It is of the same shape
1 The mosque has been inspected by me on behalf of Government in October 1903, and its restoration has been sanctioned. All the domes have fallen, but the walls are still fairly intact, with the exception of a portion of the Eastern facade. In all details, the mosque is almost a duplicate of the famous Tantipara Masjid at
J. I, 15