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did not re-appear, the king went to seek him. He found him lying dead on the floor, strangled by means of his own turban. Beside him lay a leaf on which he had scratched some words with his finger-nail In these words the devoted minister instructed Joypira to inflate the dead body and using it as a float to escape with all expedition to the opposite shore. Penetrated with admiration, at this proof of attachment, Joypira hastened to obey his friend’s counsel, and reached his troops in safety. Eager to wipe off his disgrace, he made a sudden attack upon Arimuri, slew him, and left his country a depopulated waste.”
This last story thus contains no reference to the tradition that Arimatta was abandoned by his people after killing his father. Whatever story be accepted, the close connection of Arimatta, with the fortifications we have described is clearly indicated by the numerous different traditions in connection with them.
On the Antiquity and Traditions of Shāhzādpür.—By MAULAVI ABDUI, w WALI.
[Read January, 1904.]
Among the various methods, which the Society has adopted, for the study of the land and people of Asia, the decipherment and reading of ancient inscriptions, on old temples, tombs and other monuments, is one. Unfortunately, when some of these inscriptions are not accompanied by oral traditions or elucidatory notes, they give very little useful information. In the same way, mere traditions, unaccompanied by written inscriptions, are full of inaccurate hypotheses. In my opinion, tradition always has a substratum of facts which antiquarians can seldom disregard, and anthropologists never. It is to be regretted that since the death of the late Prof. Blochmann, our Society has not had the advantage of such an indefatigable researcher regarding Muhammadan Bengal. Thanks to the labours of a few workers, our knowledge of the early annals of the Europeans in Bengal is far more accurate now than it was before.
The traditions of Shāhzādpür—which I have collected—are of passing interest; inasmuch as they give us a glimpse into the troubles, privations, and hostilities, which the early colonists and comers had to contend against. History tells with what ease Bakhtyār Khilji became the master of a part of Bengal, but passes over the hardship which subsequently terminated his career. Our Society cannot, therefore, lose sight of monuments with no inscriptions, as also much of the legends and traditions of the past, for the fulfilment of its great objects.
Shāhzādpür, the headquarters of a thana and till lately of a Munsifi, is situated on the south centre of the great jute-producing sub-division of Sirâjganj, which forms the northern half of the District of Pabna, which, again, occupies the south-east corner of the Rājshāhi
* The popular notion that India fell an easy prey to the Musalmans is opposed to the historical facts. Hunter’s “Indian Empire,” 3rd edition, 1893, page 323.
Commissionership of Bengål." Shāhzādpür lies on the Harasägar river in N.L. 24' 0" and E. Long 89° 39'20," is famous for a superb Masjid, the mazārs of Makhdūm Shāh Daúla. “Shahid,” and other Muhammadans, and an annual fair. There is no written account of the early colonists. The deeds and papers are said to have suffered loss on account of the climate, fire, or carelessness. They are not, however, forthcoming. 1.—The Traditions.
Hazrat Mu‘āzz-’ibn-Jabal, the King of Yaman in Arabia, and a companion of the Prophet, had two sons and a daughter. One of these two Shāhzādas (princes) Makhdūm Shāh Daula, with the permission of his father, left his native land, on a religious expedition, for the spread of Islām, consisting of three of his nephews (sister's sons)—Khwāja Kalān Dänishmand, Khwāja Nür, and Khwāja Anwar, his sister, twelve renowned Darvishes, and a large number of followers. They sailed in ships 7 or 40 in number, on their expedition. Arriving at Bokhārā, Shāh Jalālu-d-Din Bokhāri-a saint of the place—welcomed the pilgrims, and presented a few ash-coloured (khākī) pigeons to the Makhdum Şāhib. After a long and circuitous voyage, the missionaries arrived at a place, now called Potăjia, two miles south of Shāhzādpür. The whole country at that time was under water and appeared as a vast ocean. The ships struck on a sandy bed, and consequently the expedition could not proceed up. The Bokhārā pigeons used, as usual, to leave the ships, in the morning, and return to them by the evening-tide. After a few days’ halt, the people on board noticed in the feet of the birds fresh clay and sand. On the following day a dinghi (boat) was sent towards the flight of the birds, and a newly forming car, subsequently named Shāhzādpür, was discovered. The ships being disentangled and removed, the party landed upon the car-land. Little by little when the water subsided, the little car was transformed into an extensive one. On this spot—to commemorate the landing—a mosque was built by order of the Makhdum Sâhib.
At that time, the country was under the Hindu Raja of Sūba-iBihār, who would not allow a foreign colony to be established in his dominion, and sent a large army to drive the colonists away. Then ensued a life-and-death struggle between the little band of foreign Muslims on one side, and the vast army of the native king on the other. Three bloody battles were fought, in two of which, the devoted followers of the Makhdūm Sāhib were victorious. In the third, the saintly prince was killed. Two of his nephews, the Darvishes, as well as a large
1 There is another Shāhzādpür in the Barisal District of Bengal.
number of his followers, too, were killed by stratagem, in one or other of these battles. The lady, who was the sister of the Makhdūm Sāhib, preferred death to dishonour, and is believed to have thrown herself into a water-pool and perished. A soldier of the enemy, who was concealed, cut off the head of the saint, while the latter was deeply engaged in saying his afternoon (‘agr) namāz. The man left at once, with the head, for the rājā of the Sübai-Bihār. The head being placed before the king, the latter perceiving in it celestial radiance and supernatural calm became very much astonished, and intensely sorry and ashamed at the conduct of the soldier. Having summoned the leading Musalmans of Bihār, the head was buried with due solemnity and a masjid constructed over the bricktomb. A fair is held every year near the place, ever since. & At Shāhzādpür, on the other hand, the head-less body was deposited into a stone-coffin, and buried by the surviving nephew, Khwāja, Shāh Nür, and his other followers, about ten rasis to the south of the
mosque." 2.—The Tombs.
As stated above, there fell in the struggle a large number of the Muslims. The shrine of the Makhdūm Sāhib “Shahid’’ (the Martyr) being in a low-lying tract, at some distance from the mosque, those who used to go there to perform ziyārat had to suffer discomfort or were exposed to danger, in wading their way through marshes in the rains, and on account of the suakes. The saint appeared to one of the faithful, and directed the coffin to be removed. Accordingly it was buried by the side of the mosque. The tombs or graveyards are all on the south of the masjid. Besides the shrine of the Makhdūm Sāhib and his nephews, there exist 18 other tombs, viz., the tombs of the 12 Darvishes, named—(1) Shamsud-d-Din Tabrizi; (2) Shāh Yūsuf ; (3) Shāh Khāng-sawār; (4) Shāh A'zmat; (5) Hasila-pîr; (6) Shāh Bodlā; (7) Shāh Āhmad; (8) Shāh Mahinid. The names of the other four are not remembered. The names of 6 other awlyā—who settled and died subsequently—are (13) Shāh Mastān,” (14) Shāh Habibullāh, (15)
I I am not informed who the Súba-i-Bihār Rāja was. “The lower Gangetic Valley, from Bihār downwards, was still [during the early Muhammadan invasion] in parts governed by Pal or Buddhist dynasties, whose names are found from Benares to jungle-buried hamlets deep in the Bengal Delta.”—Indian Empire, p. 322. Was he a real Rāja or a chief of the banditti, who ravaged the country in armed bands, like the Maghs and Bargis of the later times?
* Sometimes, in the dark night, it is said, a column of light, brighter far than the electricity, is seen ascending up from the sistāna of “Shāh Mastān" towards the sky, which phenomenon lasts a few minutes.
Shāh Madār, (16) Hādi Sáhib. The names of the other two are not known. The shrine of Khwāja Kalān Dänishmand is to the right side of that of the Makhdūm Sāhib the “Martyr,” and the shrines of his other nephews and of the Darvishes are hard-by. The shrines of Makhdum Şāhib, Khwāja Kalān Dänishmand, and Darvish Shāh Yūsuf are enclosed with walls; and lately a corrugated iron roof of octagonal shape has been put over them. Shamsu-d-Din Tabrizi was Makhdūm Sâhib's teacher. His tomb is enclosed with walls (4' 6" high). Shāh Yūsuf was a companion (ashāb). Out of the waqf estate, a few acres are set apart for the expenses of lighting the astāna of Shāh KhāngSawār and for looking after it. This is done by a paid servant. Hindus and Musalmans make offerings to Darvish Shāh Habibullāh's shrine. There are two ganj-i-Shahidān (literally “mart of martyrs,” i.e., two large pits, where a large number of martyrs were buried), besides the above tombs :— (1) by the side of the mosque—where respectable persons were interred, and (2) some ten rasis to the south of the mosque—where soldiers were buried, and where Makhdūm Sāhib himself was buried at first. The tombs have no inscriptions, The little water-pool, where the Makhdūm Sāhib's sister perished is called Sati bibär khāl (or the watery grave of the virgin lady). It lay close to the mosque. Pilgrims used to throw sugar and batasa, etc. into it to have their desires fulfilled. Owing to the encroachment of the river, the identical spot—where the virgin was drowned—cannot be ascertained. Consequently the practice of throwing sweetmeats has, of late, ceased. to 3.—The Place and the Population.
The place is called Shāhzādpür, after the title of Hazrat Makhdūm Sâhib, who was the Shāhzāda of Yaman. The Pargana. Yūsuf-Shāhi, in which is situated Shahzādpür, is called so, after the name of the Makhdūm Sāhib's companion “Yūsuf Shāh ’’l
The population of the place is about ten thousand souls. The Muhammadans are half as much again as the Hindus. Of the three
1 Most of the mahals (revenue free estates) situated in Sirajganj, are small and many of them are reported to be connected with the history of the Makhdūm Sâhib, whose cubit was the unit of measurement in Pargana. Yūsufshāhi, until the zamindårs introduced short measures there.-Hunter's Statistical Account of the Pabna District, Wol. IX, pages, 315-316.
The cause of the agrarian disturbance of 1873 was owing to the zamindårs of the Pargana. Yūsufshāhī “raising their rent rolls by decreasing the standard of measurement.”—Statistical Account, Pabna.