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nephews of the Makhdüm Şahib, Khwaja Kalan Danishmand was not married, and Khwaja Anwar died childless. Khwaja Nur, the only surviving nephew of the Makhdūm Ṣāḥib, married a Muhammadan Princess of Sonargaon. Their descendants are the present Mutawallis. With the Sonargaon Princess came a large number of persons, both Hindus and Muslims, who with the old survivals re-established the colony. The present inhabitants of Shāhzādpūr, are supposed to be their descendants. Shāhzādpur is divided into fourteen maḥallas or sections, according to the origin, profession, or rank, etc., of the emigrants from Sonargaon. The following are the mahallas :-(1) Haidarābād, (2) Qandahāri-pāṛa, (3) Pathān-pāra, (4) Mihtar-pāra, (5) Mughalhāṭṭa, (6) Kāghazi-tōla, (7) Qazi-pāra, (8) Mulla-pāra, (9) Cuniakhalipāṛa, (10) Katgaṛ-pāṛa, (11) Mutia-pāṛa, (12) Dhari-pāṛa, (13) Car-pāṛa, (14) Andhār-kotha.
The place whence earth was dug, and into which lime was deposited, for the construction of the buildings, is called Cunia-khālī, and the pāra, Cunia-khālī-pāra (or lime-tank-quarter). There was a jail or house of correction, where criminals used to be imprisoned and so called Andhār-koṭhā or "Black-Hole." Its traces can still be seen.
From it the quarter takes its name.
Area of the interior :-Length 51 ft. 9 in., breadth 31 ft. 5 in.; height 16 ft. 2 in.
Area of the exterior :-Length 62 ft. 9 in., breadth 41 ft. 3 in., height 19 ft. 10 in.
The wall is 5 ft. 7 in. thick. There are five door-ways, each measuring 7 ft. 5 in. in height by 6 ft. in. in breadth. The utmost height. of the domes-15 in number-from the floor of the temple is 20 ft. 9 in. The mosque is built of bricks and lime of cowries. The edifice is supported by 28 pillars of black basalt, one of which is a little dissimilar from others in colour. It is pressed, contrary to the Islamic Law, by women to their bosom, praying for the birth of children. Their vows, it is supposed, are fulfilled.
Attached to the western inner wall of the masjid-on a platform, measuring 6 ft. 10 in. in length, 5 ft. 6 in. in breadth and 6 ft. 8 in. in height is constructed the mimbar or pulpit, 5 ft. 2 in. high, having the same length and breadth as the platform beneath. An arched staircase, with seven steps, is so constructed as to touch the pulpit.
There is a brick āngna or platform in front of the temple. The floor of the latter is higher than that of the former by one inch. On both sides of the platform-north and south-walls have been built,
having an underground base of 4 ft. 6 in. The jambs of the doors are constructed of black basalt. Over the pulpit, and on the outer walls of the temple, are sculptured beautiful arabesques, consisting of foliage, fruits and other parts of the plant. Lengthwise on both sides of the walls there are half a dozen small false panellings made in plaster.
5.-The Waqf Estate.
The Shahzadpur mosque is endowed with 722 bighas of rent-free lands held direct from Government by trustees or mutawallis—who are descended, as stated above, from Khwaja Shāh Nur and the Sonārgāon Princess. Of these lands only 15 khadas are set apart for the service of the temple. The remaining lands were given away to the original settlers, many of whose descendants still enjoy lākhirāj, madad-i-ma‘āṣh and other kinds of tenures1.
There is a piece of stone upon which are inscribed certain figures (Plate No. ) which I could not decipher.
A mēlā or fair is held every year, close to the masjid-from the end of Cait to the beginning of Baisakh (April-May) which lasts for about a month. It is visited by Hindus and Muhammadans from far and near. The offerings consist of rice, fowls, sugar, and sweets, also pices for the cirāghi, for the fulfilment of their desires. The mēlā is visited by about seven thousand people.
The species of the Bokhārā pigeons-given by Shah Jalālu-d-Din Bokhāri and called after him Jalālī ka būtar—still survive, and can be seen in the precincts of the Shāhzādpūr mosque as well as in the neighbouring villages.
The above is a complete review of the past traditions and the present state of the mosque and tombs of Shāhzādpūr. The former raises the following issues: (1) Was Bengal colonized as long ago as the first century of the Hijri Era by the Arabs ? (2) Who was the Makhdum Ṣāḥib and his followers ?
Shāhzādpūr of the present is not in many respects the Shāhzādpūr of the past. Yet it tells the tales of a distant and dismal past-by its mosque and tombs. The site of a bloody battle-field is indicated by the
1 Makhdūm Ṣāḥib was a Muḥammadan prince, who came to Bengal and was allowed to colonize Yusufshāhī, then an uninhabited jungle Four sharers now hold the land, each of whom is honoured with the affix of 'Ṣāḥib,' while the Senior sharer is well-known as an influential zamīndār.-Hunter's Statistical Account of Pabna, pp. 315-16.
promiscuously buried remains of the martyrs. Despite its reclaimed marshes and dried-up swamps, we can reasonably picture a time, when the place was of an alluvial formation, fit for a petty trading colony. The Tsan-pu or Brahmaputra, the Indus and the Satlej, may be said to start from the same water-parting in the highlands of Central Asia. After receiving several tributaries from the confines of the Chinese Empire, and twisting round the lofty eastern Himalayan range, the Brahmaputra rolls down the Assam Valley. As the Indus with its feeder, the Satlej, and the Brahmaputra, convey to India the drainage from the northern slopes of the Himalayas, so the Ganges, with its tributary, the Jamuna, collects the rainfall from the southern or Indian slopes of the mountain-wall and pours it down upon the plains of Bengal.1
It is a well-known fact that this part of Bengal is annually, during the rainy season, inundated, and the wide stretches of country around look like a vast ocean as the name of the river Harasāgar indicates.2
In a remote period, we find that the whole ancient geography of India is obscured by changes in the courses of the rivers. Within historic times, many decayed or ruined cities attest the alteration in river beds. It is not, therefore, improbable that Arab coasting vessels came as far as the Gangetic Delta, and that Bengal was colonized in the first or second century of the Hijri Era by the Arabs. They, as also their predecessors, might have "followed the courses of the river."8 In 647 A.D only fifteen years or so after the death of the Prophet, Khalif 'Othman sent a sea-expedition to Thana and Broach on the Bombay coast. Other raids towards Sindh occurred in 662 and 664. An Arab ship being seized, Muḥammad b. Qāsim in 711 A.D. advanced into Sindh to claim damages, and settled himself in the Indus Valley.
1 Vide Hunter's "Indian Empire," Ch. I.
& The Padma as well as the other rivers, in this part of Bengal, have undergone, during the life time of man, great changes. The Padma that flows in the Pabna District is subject to constant alluvian and deluvian.
Dr. Hunter in the Statistical Account of Rangpur District, p. 162 says:Dr. Buchanan Hamilton wrote in 1809 that "since the survey was made by Major Rennel (about 30 years ago) the rivers of the District (Rangpur) have undergone such changes that, I find the utmost difficulty in tracing them. '
8 Indian Empire, p. 42. 4 Indian Empire, p. 311.
The general information with respect to the trade of the Arabians with India is confirmed and illustrated by the Relation of a Voyage from the Persian Gulf towards the East, written by the Arabian merchant in 851 A.D., and explained by the Commentary of another Arabian, who had likewise visited the Eastern part of Asia. This voyage together with the observations of Abu-zaid-al-Hasan of Siraf, was
According to Dr. Buchanan, "it is probable, indeed, that there were Muhammadans in this part (eastern) of Bengal, at a period long anterior to the conquest of the country by Bakhtyar Khilji in 1203.” Başra merchants, it is a fact, carried on an extensive maritime commerce with India and China, as early as the 8th century, and many of them settled in the countries they visited. Dr. William Robertson (Ancient India, p. 95) states that they were so numerous in Canton, that the Chinese Emperor (according to the Arab authors) permitted them to have a Qazi of their own sect, who decided controversies among his country-men by their own laws, and presided in all the functions of religion. In other sea-ports proselytes were gained, and the Arabic language was spoken and understood. There is reason to believe, from this circumstance, that Bengal was the seat of a colonyof Muhammadan merchants at this early period. This may be inferred from the extensive commerce it enjoyed with the countries of the West from early times. See J.A.S. Vol. XVI (1847) pp. 76-77.
Was Shāhzādpār-or rather Yusufshāhi-such a colony? Was Makhdum Shāh Daula "Shahid" at once the Vasco de Gama and the Clive of the expedition ? The tradition is told without regard for chronology. Native credulity has of course woven together exaggerated accounts.
The following biographical sketch of Muʻāzz-ibn Jabal whose son, published by M. Renoudat in 1718. The Relation of the two Arab travellers is confirmed by Mas'ūdī, who himself visited India.
The progress of the Arabians extended far beyond the Gulf of Siam, the boundary of European navigation. They became acquainted with Sumatra and the other islands of the Indian Archipelago and advanced as far as Canton. Nor are these discoveries to be considered as the effect of the enterprising curiosity of individuals ; they were owing to a regular commerce carried on from the Persian Gulf with China and all the intermediate countries. In a short time they advanced far beyond the boundaries of ancient navigation and brought many of the most precious commodities of the East directly from the countries which produced them. They noticed the general use of silk among the Chinese. They are the first who mention the celebrated manufacture of porcelain. They describe the tea-tree, and the mode of using its leaves, and the great revenue which was levied from the consumption of tea-Extracted from Dr. William Robertson's "An Historical Disquisition Concerning Ancient India," Section III, pp. 93–96, and Note XXXVI, p. 224.
1 As with the Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, and English, so with the Arabs of old, commerce was the first consideration that impelled them to seek adventures. Commerce was followed by colonizing zeal and missionary enterprise. Their long domiciliation in India led them to contract undesirable marriages with lowcaste native females, thus giving birth to a new race of Indo-Arabs, which produced slowly but surely, degeneration, deterioration and downfall.
J. I. 35
it is said, came to Bengal, is taken from the Iṣābah (Biblio-theca Indica edition), Vol. III, page 872:
"He was Abū 'Abdu-r-Raḥmān-al-Anṣārī-al-Khizrajī, an Imām of the Science of the Lawful and the Unlawful (Islāmic Law), and was present at the battle of Badr, at the age of 21. The Prophet (may God's blessing be upon him) deputed him to Yaman, gave him his blessings, permitted him to accept gifts and wrote thus to the people of Yaman: 'I send to you the best of us.' Mu'azz returned, during the Khilafat of Abu Bakr, from Yaman. In his Huliya, Abū Noem states that Mu‘azz-ibn-Jabal was a leader of the lawyers, and a store-house for the scholars. He fought at Badr, Aqaba, and other battles. By his meekness, modesty, and liberality, he was the best of the young Anṣārs. His body was symmetrical and he was handsome. Of him Ka'b-ibn-Malik says that he was handsome, brave, and the best specimen of his tribe. So says Al-Waqidi-that he was one of the handsomest men, took part in many battles. He recited several Hadithes from the Prophet, which have been quoted by Ibn-i-'Abbās, Ibn-i-'Omar, Ibn-iAbi Aufi-al-ash'ari, 'Abdu-r-Rahman-b-Samara, Jabir-b-Anas, and other tābi'in..
Mu'azz died in Syria (Shām) in 17 H. or according to many in 18 H., of Plague, at the age of 34."
I am not aware of what became of his children and grandchildren. It is probable that they emigrated to Mesopotamia or Transoxiana, as so many others had done.1
Saiyid Jalālu-d-din Bokhāri,3 during whose life-time the sea-expedition, it is said, was undertaken, was born at Bokhārā, came to India, and became a disciple of Shaikh Bahau-d-Din Zakariya of Multan. The latter read Ḥadith with Shaikh Kamalu-d-Din Muḥammad of Yaman, at Medina. It is a fact that Khwaja Qutbu-d-Din Bakhtyār Kāki, Khwaja Faridu-d-Din Ganj-i-Shakar, Khwaja Bahau-d-Din Zakariyā of Multan (cousin of the former), Saiyid Jalaluddin Bokhārī, Lāl Shāh
1 One of his sons died in his life-time, when the Prophet wrote to him a very celebrated letter, which has been translated and paraphrased in Persian by Shaikh 'Abdu-l-Haq Dihlavi (958-1052 H.) and is to be found among his collected epistles and miscellaneous treatises, printed at the Majtabāī Press, Delhi.
2 Saiyid Jalālu-d-Din Bokhari came and settled at Uchh in the Multan District, where he died. One of his grandsons was the famous Saiyid Jalālu-d-Din Husain Bokhārī, better known as Makhdūm-i-Jahāniyā. The latter was born at Uchh and died there in 785 H. He visited Bokhārā, the birthplace of his grandfather.
The names of the Makhdum Ṣāḥib and of his nephews show that they must have been born in Iran, or Tūrān. They were rather known by their soubriquets than by their proper names.