Amroha and The Patriotic Uprising 1857

It was a bolt from the blue. Order to use Enfield rifle with the greased Cartridge did hurt deeply the feelings of both Muslims and Hindu soldiers. They refused to fire the bullet. The spark of the unfired bullet caused an explosion that ballooned up in the form of Mutiny 1857. Invariably it failed to change the course of history but added a glorious chapter of sacrifice, valor and love for the motherland.

On the 11 th day of May 1857, sixteenth of Ramadan, rebel soldiers from Meerut landed in Delhi and were joined by Delhi regiments. Soon the walled city of Delhi was on fire. The jubilant deserters  were furiously looking for their white masters and putting them to sword. This evening Delhi was in control of Indians. True, there was loot and plunder all over the Moughal capital. By midnight a 21- gun salute from Royal Moughal Cannon announced the restoration of Moughal Empire. Bhahdur Shah Zafar was declared as the Commander-in Chief of Rebel forces. It was a new dream – a beginning of a new end.

The ripples of rebellion reached the shores of Amroha by 12 th May. There were three British officers posted in Moradabad region namely C.B. Saunders – the magistrate, J.J. Compbell – Joint magistrate and J Cracroft Wilson – the judge. Gursahay Jat was the Nazir in Collector’s office. Mr. Wilson was there in Amroha for 17 years. He was well posted in local affairs.

Please note that this scribe, by no means, is trying to produce a scholarly document that would satisfy the masters of historiography. This narration may or may not conform to the merits of experts. It is a simple narration as I read and heard in my journey to explore my roots. It is a short story of valiant attempts of ordinary Amrohvis who fought against the most powerful state  upon earth of their time.

The ancient Moughal capital was under intense turmoil now. News of rebellion at capital had warmed the blood of simple denizens of Amroha. On 17 th May 1857, the descendants of Dewan Syed Mehmood and Durwesh Ali Khan Saheb called a meeting of important dignitaries of the town inside the Dargah of Syed Sharfuddin Shah Wilayat. Public  gathered patiently outside the wall of dargah to learn the decision made by 30 city fathers. Majority of leaders wanted to stand up against the Raj and capture the reins of local administration. Some participants advised to use discretion, wait and watch. The decision to rebel against the usurpers was taken by majority vote and the meeting called off. On 19 th May mutineers broke the central jail of Moradabad and freed all the prisoners. Syed Gulzar Ali was the proud leader and commander of Amroha-Uprising. He arrived at Amroha with a group of freed prisoners. People gathered at short notice in the courtyard of Syed Ramzan Ali (Mohalla Katra) to chalk out the future strategy. Another meeting followed at the residence of another Ramazan – Sheikh Ramazan Ali (Moh Darbar Kalan). The clarion call was made there. The die was cast. Amroha was now a city of rebellion. Meer Madad Ali  and Shahmat Khan were Thanedar and  Jamadar of police department respectively at that time.

The appeal of Syed Gulzar Ali inspired thousands of young men and an ill equipped army of amateur soldiers attacked the police station and Tehsil of the town. Seventeen thousand rupees were confiscated from the government treasury. Thana and Tehsil were razed and put on fire. Many police officers were gunned down. Their graves are still lying undisturbed opposite the building of Old Thana near Mohalla Kali Pagri. Amroha was now in the hands of mutineers. The town munsif Saad Ullah Khan was rescued by Ali Muzaffar Khan who brought him home with his office.

This uprising is also the story of our weakness, disunity and conflicting motivations. It is also  the story of ordinary mortals caught in an extraordinary situation. It is story of human greed. It is a story of Jaichands and Meer Jafers.

On 25 th May 1857, Wilson arrived with a strong force that ruthlessly crushed the nascent revolt. The leaders of local revolution had to beat the retreat. They went underground.  The houses of Syed Gulzar Ali and other freedom fighters were razed to ground. The dream of freedom ended in smoke.

Government promoted Gursahay Jat as Chief Administrator and Amroha was given in care of a  Rampur Royal Nawab Abdul Ali Khan to soften the bruised contours of proud Amrohvis. Gursahay was rewarded a big Jageer (11 villages) by British masters. He was given the title Raja and there after referred officially as Raja Gursahay.

What followed later was a bloody, vicious and awful suppression. Heaps of dead bodies scattered around the police stations and streets. Homes were broken down and sacked. The ordinary town folk were falling victims of British ire. It took another 90 tediously long years to write the new chapter.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The Bridge Over the River Sot

Once upon a time, many years ago, in fact around fifty years ago, Amroha was a beautiful town of  mango and guava orchards, lush green fields, holy dargahs, ancient temples, caravan sarias, takias, khanqahs, wonderful lakes and enchanting pools. People used to enjoy their morning and evening walks at Lipton Road known as Thandi Sarak (Winter Street). The life was simple – no big frills attached. You would see a lot of  amateur fishermen sitting patiently by the lake side with their fishing rods dangled in silent water, waiting for the catch. Now, all those pastimes are gone forever. As the generations pass their stories and memoirs can no longer be heard. Only a few stories of human interest, bits of wisdom, family histories and humorous happenings are left for future generations to enjoy. However, two lines are common in all of them: Amroha is situated at the banks of River Sot. Amroha is located near the River Sot. Unfortunately that river does no longer exist. There is no water; the river bed is a parched dry land. There stands a lonely bridge that reminds a gruesome old story.
Hundred years  back a train fell into the river as the bridge caved in. All the travelers were killed.

Several images conjure up when someone asks you to remember the childhood. Every one of us has too many wonderful stories and memoirs to narrate if someone touches the emotional cord. According to individual psychology people don’t recall the events that happened to them correctly but they recall them in a way that best describes their subconscious state of mind. As a child we wanted to grow up but now we realize that broken toys and lost pencils were much better than broken heart and lost friends.

This one is a blast from past.

I can still vividly recollect the distant sound of train gracefully passing over the solitary bridge of River Sot in the dark nights. The trundling sound was gentle and often furious. I would get up in my bed and ask my father, “Why the whistle of the engine is so strident? Why the train makes so much sound when it passes over the bridge?” My father was a systematic man who would never get irritated with my most idiotic questions. He would promise me to give the answer in the morning and instruct me to sleep.”

“The train moves against the wind. First, it’s the wind that generates the sound. Second, the sound is due to stress which is created between the wheels of train and iron track. Third, the vibrations of the compartments also create noise. The combined effect is that intensity increases aided with the water below the bridge. Vibrations are absorbed by the earth when the train moves on track on the land. I don’t have to explain the noise of the whistle.” Since my childhood the technical explanation often helped me in winning appreciation of my peers and the admiration of elders – a reason to remember my father in difficult times.

Drina River, Serbia

Drina River in Serbia.

Tower Bridge spans over River Thames in London. It is the only bridge in the world which could be raised from its middle section to permit the large vehicles to pass through it. There is another bridge which always brings back the memories of distant past – “The Bridge On the River Drina.” It was built  by Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic. Construction of this bridge began in 1566 A.D. and it took five years to finish it. It connected Sarajevo pashaluk (the territory of present day Bosnia and Herzegovina) to rest of the Turkish Empire. He was a Serbian child and was taken away from his mother as a part of levy by the Turkish rulers. His mother followed him wailing until they reached the river where they parted and the boy boarded the ferry. This boy, in the years that  followed, showed extraordinary talents. In due course of time he became the Grand Muslim Vazir. He assumed the name – Mohammed Pasha Sokolovik. Yet, his childhood memories had always haunted him and he ordered to build a bridge at the specific spot where he was snatched away from his mother.

Sot River has no such rich past to boast. The bridge over the River Sot was built by Britishers.

Come Shab-e-barat and groups of believers would walk down the river front, early in the morning, to plop into the water an AREEZA from the bridge – a kind of written supplication to Living Imam. There would be lots of fireworks by the river side and prizes were often awarded for the best firework. All is gone now into folk- lore. Now, no one visits Sot for spiritual reasons. The story of ‘tragedy- of-Sot’ had been kept alive by stray Dastango – the traditional itinerant story tellers.

Long before the advent of theaters and films, the minstrels used to practice this medieval art of story- telling. They would engage the public at street corners with stories of adventures, romances, tragedies, djins, fairies and prophesies. A baton in the right hand and a wrist full of iron bangles was the instrument to provide the background music. “Dastan Ameer Hamza” was one the favorite topic.

The narration of the tragedy of River Sot was so impinged upon my memory screen that I have carried it all thorough my life. According to Dastango, the river looked best at dawn. It was the time the train met its preordained  fate. Sit down under the bridge even today and you couldl hear the cries of unfortunate travelers. Listen to the faint whistle of train and you won’t miss the last shriek of Hameeda – the unfortunate groom who had rebelled against society to marry a craft- man who was lower in ranks. The first time she was going her Susral. The couple had put on their wedding dress. As the train slipped down every traveler including the newly wedded couple  disappeared into ocean and with them died the dreams and ambitions of that great caravan.

The story had some unbelievable segments but it was always listened in pin drop silence with awe and agony. Absolute concentration was the name of the game.

I can recollect just one couplet of dastango:

“Sot naddi pa mehshar bapa ho gya,
Bhai se bhai juda ho gya.”

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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What Is Moharram ?

Rāyyan bin Shabeeb, who says that I went to meet Imām Ali ar Rezā (a.s.) on the first day of the month of Moharram. Imām Rezā (a.s.) asked me,

O son of Shabeeb! Are you in the state of fasting today”?
“This is the day when Prophet Zakariyyah (a.s.) prayed to his Lord thus
“Lord grant me from unto Thee a good offspring, Verily Thou art the Hearer of Prayers”

Then Allāh accepted his Prayers and commanded His Angels to go and give him glad tidings regarding the birth of his son Prophet Yahyā (a.s.). The Angels came and called out to him while he was engaged in Prayers in the niche. Hence the one who fasts on this day and asks for his desires from Allāh, his prayer will be answered as was of Zakariyāh.”

Then Imām (a.s.) said,

“O son of Shabeeb! Moharram is such a month that the Arabs of the age of ignorance (pre-Islāmic) too respected it’s sanctity and forbade oppression and blood-shed in it. But these people (the umayyads) did not honour the sanctity of this month nor of their Prophet. In this month they killed the son of the Prophet and imprisoned the women-folk after looting and plundering their belongings, verily Allāh will never ever forgive this crime of theirs.”

“O son of Shabeeb! If you wish to mourn and lament over anyone, do so upon Husain bin Ali bin Abi Tālib (a.s.) for he was beheaded like a lamb. Eighteen persons from among his family, who were unparalleled in the earth, were also killed alongwith him. The heavens and the earth lamented the death of Husain. Four thousand Angels descended from the heavens to aid him, but when they reached there they saw that he had already been mar-tyred. Thus, now they all remain near his blessed grave with disheveled hair covered with dust until the rising of the Qaem (Imām al Mahdi). Then they will all aid him and their slogan will be: Vengeance for the blood of Husain.”

“O son of Shabeeb! My father (Imām Moosā al Kazim) has related from his father (Imām Ja’far as Sādiq), who has related from his grandfather (Imām Ali Zainul Ābedeen), that when my grandfather Imām Husain (a.s.) was mar¬tyred, the sky rained blood and red sand.”

“O son of Shabeeb! If you weep over the afflictions of Husain (a.s.) such that tears flow from your eyes and fall upon your cheeks, Allāh will forgive all your sins whether big or small and less or large in number.”

“O son of Shabeeb! If you desire to meet Allāh the Glorified in a state purified of all sins, then go for the pilgrimage to the grave of Imām Husain (a.s.).”

“O son of Shabeeb! If you desire that you may abide in the palaces of Paradise in the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his Progeny, then invoke Allāh’s curse upon the murderers of Imām Husain (a.s.).”

“O son of Shabeeb! If you desire to earn the reward of those who were martyred alongwith Imām Husain (a.s.), then whenever you remember him, say: I wish I had been with them, then I too would have attained the Great Triumph.”

“O son of Shabeeb! If you desire to reside in the exalted status of Para¬dise alongwith us, then bemoan our sorrows and sufferings and rejoice in our happiness and remain attached to our love. For even if a person is attached to a stone in this world, Allāh shall make him arise with it on the day of Qiyāmah.”

Reference: Tradition No. 1 Nafasul Mahmoom
Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbalā, Vol. 1 By Hāj Shaikh Abbās Qummi (a.r.)
Translated By Aejaz Ali T Bhujwala (Al Husainee)

Burning holy books is akin to religious madness

‘The American people do not want the mosque there and, of course, Muslims do not want us to burn the Quran,’ said Terry Jones. The imam has agreed to move the mosque. We have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday.

SOMETIMES BACK this author had written about the insensitive, irrational and idiotic idea of putting a mosque near Ground Zero. “Unnecessary Provocation” is not the way of Islam. The irony is that the followers of all religions, when they delve into the faith of their interpretation and imbibe, the more fanatic and unreasonable they become.

Jews believe themselves to be the most religious and today they are committing the most inhuman heinous crimes against Palestinians. The fanatical Muslims around the globe are leaving no stone unturned to make the world believe that Muslims can’t live in peace and harmony with others.

Christians have done no better in Bosnia and elsewhere.

Buddhists hang their heads in shame when they talk about the Pre-Second World War atrocities of Imperial Japan in China and other parts of East Asia. Pol-Pots are not the old story.

Back home, we have our own Gujarats and Orissas. Recently, the world was about to witness the most inglorious and maddening spectacle – a drama that was pregnant with the possibilities of centuries of new fights between Crusaders and Ghazis.

The Christian minister of a small church in Florida had announced to burn The Holy Koran to protest against the building of mosque near Ground Zero. He has now canceled on Thursday his plan to burn copies of the Quran that had been scheduled for Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The planned protest had sparked angry demonstrations by Muslims around the world. The Reverend Terry Jones announced his change of heart at a news conference late Thursday in front of his church in Gainesville, Florida.

And here is what Sarah Palin the Republican contender of Vice Presidential post of U.S. last election said: “Book burning is bad. But the Muslim cleric who is running for parliament in Afghanistan is calling for the murder of American children in response to scorched Korans, which is worse. Where is the media’s focus?

Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero. I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance.

Don’t feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.

Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don’t need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society. In this as in all things, we should remember the Golden Rule. Isn’t that what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?

President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and numerous religious leaders around the country spoke out against the planned protest and urged the previously obscure Florida minister to abandon the idea. Jones also poke to Defense Secretary Robert Gates shortly before his news conference. Pentagon officials say Gates urged the minister not to go ahead with his protest on Saturday, arguing that it would put the lives of U.S. soldiers serving abroad at risk.

Pastor Terry Jones said he called off the Quran burning protest because he had secured an agreement with Muslim leaders in New York City to move the location of a controversial planned Islamic center and mosque away from the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks known as Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

“The American people do not want the mosque there and, of course, Muslims do not want us to burn the Quran,” said Terry Jones. The imam has agreed to move the mosque. We have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday, I will be flying up there to meet with him. I get a little bit emotional,” he said. “This has been, of course, for us a very, very difficult, trying time. We have been in very much thought and prayer over this whole period. A lot of times we were asked, what would it take to call this thing off.”

Jones said an idea came to him while praying that he would call off the planned burning of the Quran, if Muslim leaders in New York City would agree to move the site of Islamic center away from site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan.

“The American people, as a whole, do not want the mosque at the Ground Zero location,” said Jones. “That if they were willing to either cancel the mosque at the Ground Zero location or if they were willing to move that location, willing to move it away from that location, we would consider that a sign from God. I will be flying up there on Saturday to meet with the imam at the Ground Zero mosque. He has agreed to move the location.”

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Lack of professional courses at Amroha

This is nice to see a portal up and running which is specifically for Amroha and surroundings.

This is going to be my first post on Amroha Blog.

we have mostly courses related to teaching profession only like B.Ed

Lack of professional courses at Amroha

I still don’t see much options if we talk about professional courses, people have to go to near by places like Delhi/Ghaziabad or Moradabad, where we have some fine institutions.

Other then that we don’t have anything at Amroha; we have mostly courses related to teaching profession only like B.Ed which mostly degree colleges does have that these days like anything and interestingly every body is willing to do also, quite strange  🙂

Even we don’t have any education counseling centers which can guide them to do something related to his/her interest while considering bright future in their domain. Luckily these days we have good amount of internet awareness even in Amroha, I still remember those days where we had not seen even computers so often in the colleges or anywhere around.

And now days we have so many folks around the worlds in most of the domains which is quite good and encouraging Amroha’s youth to do something extraordinary in their fields.

I really look forward to see more people coming in and contribute, discuss and give ideas to make it more interactive.

Mohammed Arif

Mohammed Arif

He is 29 and work as a Senior Interactive Developer for SapientNitro, a leading consultancy based in Gurgaon, INDIA. He is a Web Standards supporter by day and by night. Being a Web Standards supporter, more into Front End Development, Usability and Accessibility. He believes that the new era should be leveraged by web standards where all user agents could behave almost similar.

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Your initiative can improve Amroha

There is no doubt that Amroha is an incredible town. But as usual I wanted to attract the attention to the harmful activities in our beloved city. This is one of the things which I am going to discuss and put the matter in front all of you.
May be sometime, somewhere some authorized or responsible people see this dialogue and take an appropriate action, so that things can be improved.

In my outlook one of the biggest unconstructive things is, whenever we visit Amroha there is at least one “A” Grade certificate movie posters pasted on the walls around the whole city.

In today’s scenario Amroha known as a fast developing town on the map of our country. New business opportunities & lots of new government offices are coming in Amroha. Due to this lots of new visitors from outside, comes in our town every day.

This “A” Grade certificate movie poster really spoils our youth, culture, our society and also gives very bad impression to the new visitors.

These posters are badly messing up the image of our favorite town.

Everybody has to feel embarrassed whenever he or she moves outside with his family (Brother, Father, Mother, Sister)

Friends, I believe that this is our moral responsibility to come forward and raise our voice against this system. I personally met with the DM (District magistrate) of Amroha and raised this issue in front of him.

If this thing can be remove from our city, Amroha can be great town.

I request to all of you to raise their voice against the same and take a strong stand in this regard.

Syed Khamis Ali

Syed Khamis Ali

Syed Khamis Ali S/o Late Jb. Mohd Munawwar Naqvi Moh. Darbar-e-Shah wilayat (Lakda) Amroha. Currently residing in Zakir Nagar, New Delhi, founder 'Capra India' and ' ShahWilayat Goat Farms' worked with Larsen and Toubro Ltd. as a chemical engineer (Oil & Gas sector).

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