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Hindu Masjids

In 1403 AD Ibrahim Naib Barbak ordered all
Hindus to quit the city so that only Muslims could live there


11. Ataladevi Masjid

Frontage of Ataladevi Masjid at JaunpurDuring the period of Government of Sultan Ibrahim, the Hindus were prohibited from openly worshipping idols, sounding nakus, and leaving their houses in the rainy season for the purpose of burning their dead onthe banks of the river near the city. He also levied a tax on them, and at length, in the year of the Hijri 806 or AD 1403-04 ordered them to leave Jaunpur, and to take up their residence in its vicinity. Their houses were given to the professors of the faith, and the Hindus, being without friend or assistant, were obliged to abandon their homes and to reside in the circumjacent villages. This is quoted from Khair-ud-din's History of Jaunpur translated by Pogson and reported by Cunningham.

The reason for Cunningham's referring to the holy city of Mecca was to stress his conviction that the Muhammadans did their work of destruction with unusual completeness. Now, there is no trace whatsoever of any old Hindu temple standing. As is well known, the holy city has no place of worship other than mosques. Nor are any non-Muslims allowed to enter Mecca.

Khair-ud-din, in his History of Jaunpur, observed that the Sultan then gave an order for the destruction of the Dewal (temple) Atala, the Dewal of Bijay Mandal and the Dewal of Chachakpur... He also commended mosques should be built on their foundations. He continued that Bijay Mandal be converted into Khalis-Mukhlis and Chachakpur into Jhanjhari (chain like) masjid.

The Gazetteer of Jaunpur district dated 1908, written by HR. Nevill, the district collector of Jaunpur, confirms that the temple was demolished by Ibrahim Naib Barbak, the brother of Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq who erected the Jhanjhari masjid in honour of a saint called Hazrat Ajmali. Not far from Jhanjhari is what is popularly known as the Atala Devi masjid. On two sides, in front of this rectangular edifice, are rows of two-storeyed cloisters. Opposite the mosque is also a similar cloister,  which now houses a madarsa. According to the gazetteers there stood an equally large temple built by Raja Vijaya Chandra of Kannauj, the father of Jaichand

The temple was demolished by Khwaja Kamal Khan in 1364 AD and the mosque was completed by Ibrahim in 1408 AD. Several dates were inscribed on the pillars which, incidentally, are the same as those that belonged to the temple. The cloisters on all the three sides with an 174 square feet courtyard in the middle, belonged to the temple. Nevill has quoted Cunningham.

Yet another temple turned mosque is the Char Ungli, four fingers or Khalis-Mukhlis masjid. On the left of its main gate is the space for a small stone wherein exactly fit the four fingers of any hand, whether that of a child or a grown-up. It was believed to have miraculous powers whereby wishes can be fulfilled and curses come true.The original stone is.missing and the space has been filled by a substitute.

Mukhlis and Khalis were in turn governors of Jaunpur under Ibrahim Naib Barbak, who was anxious to build an edifice for the residence of a celebrated saint named Saiyid Usman of Shiraz, who had fled from Delhi during Timur's invasion. In 1908, when the gazetteer was published by Nevill, the descendants of the saint still resided near the mosque. The style of architecture is not very different from that of the Jhanjhari masjid. The roof stands on ten rows of Hindu temple pillars. According to the gazetteer, the mandir had been built by Raja Vijaya Chandra.

The river Gomti flows through the city of Jaunpur and there is an impressive bridge across the river. It is a massive stone  structure built in the 1560s. The bridge does not rise towards its centre but is flat. It is an original construction. The only feature that mars its originality is a colossal stone lion standing over a small elephant. According to Nevill, it bears the stamp of ancient Hindu workmanship and must have adorned the gateway of some building erected by the Raja of Kannauj.

To the west of the northern end of the bridge is the big fort of Jaunpur, built in the time of Ibrahim. But Firoz Shah Tughlaq is credited with having rebuilt the  fortress on an old structure inherited from the Hindu era. Evidence of the legacy is the masjid inside the fort, built on temple pillars of various shapes and designs. Nevill has remarked that some of the pillars are upside down which supports the theory that a number of temples in Jaunpur were destroyed in order to provide stones required to build the fort; the inner face of almost every stone bore carvings, which had decorated Hindu temples.

The author's visit to Jaunpur turned out to be a tragi-comedy of errors. He went to see the temple built by Jaichand and, instead, came back after seeing the iconoclastic exploits of Ibrahim Naib Barbak and Firoz Shah Tughlaq. He wonder what could have motivated medieval rulers to perform such acts of vandalism? His dismay deepened when he read the gazetteer written by an English Christian namely Nevill. He lamented that the work of demolition was so complete that hardly a vestige remains of this early epoch; but it is clear that Jaunpur must have been a place of considerable size, at any rate in the days of the last Hindu kings of Kannauj.


Hindu Masjids
Prafull Goradia
The Challenge
1. The Conflict

Shuddhi in Stone
10. Christian Tears
11. Ataladevi Masjid
12. Four Vandals, One Temple
13. Bhojshala Masjid
14. Seven Temples Kept Buried
15. Adina Masjid
16. Jungle Pirbaba
17. Mandir and Dargah in One Building
18. Shuddhi by Govemment
19. Iconoclasm Continues in pakistan, Bangladesh and in Kashmir
2. Shuddhi by British
20. American Professor on Temple Desecration
3. Incomplete Shuddhi
4. Spontaneous Shuddhi
5. Waterloo of Aryavarta
6. Reclaimed Temple at Mahaban
7. Qutbuddin And 27 Mandirs
8. Instant Vandalism
9. Ghazni to Alamgir

Anti-Hindu Hindus
21. Ghazni and Nehru
22. Is A Communist Always Anti-Hindu?
23. Are Some Intellectuals Perverse?
24. Are Some Eminent Indians Anti-Hindu?
25. Ambedkar, a True Hindu
26. Swaraj Meant Saving the Khalifa
27. Archaeological Surveys
28. Hindu Future after Black Tuesday

Acknowledgements
1. Annexure I
2. Annexure II
3. Annexure III
4. Annexure IV

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