Tuesday 15 January 2013

The Saint who is buried at two places

He was a Sufi saint of the mediaeval ages and he counted the Khilji Emperors of the Delhi Sultanat, Jallaluddin and Ala-ud-Din, as among his followers.
A man of miracles, he drove away all the flies from a city when he saw that the people were being bugged by flies and mosquitoes.  When the people demurred and began grumbling, saying that he had done too good a job, the saint-hurt and angry-brought them back a thousand fold.  
Today, this prominent city is known all over as the world capital of flies and mosquitoes. The people in the city good naturedly grumble that there are at least 10,000 flies for every one of them.
Apart from bringing back the flies to bug his fellow men, the saint is also known for one last astonishing miracle. He is perhaps the only holy man or Sufi saint in India to have been buried at two places.
Today, two cities claim to have the tomb of the saint and they perform the urs and other religious functions at both the structures. This saint is so well-known in both the cities that people from all walks of life, irrespective of their caste, class or religion flock to his tomb.
This Sufi saint is Bu Ali Kalandar (Qualandar) and his two tombs are in the cities of  Panipat and Karnal, both in present day Haryana.
Born in Ganja in Azerbaijan  in 1209, he came down to India and settled first at Panipat. He was a Sufi saint of the Chisti order.
When at Panipat, he had decided to stand in the Jamuna as he did not want to wash his feet and hands every time he wanted to pray. Thus, he stood in the Jamuna, praying and meditating.
Days passed into months and months into years. His legs, which were always under water, became stiff and small fishes gnawed at the flesh of his feet.
After standing in the water for seven to 36 years-depending upon whom you believe- the saint decided to come out of the water and head to Panipat. But, he found that his legs had become stiff and it paned him even if he lifted his leg.
He then prayed to the Jamuna to move back seven paces. The River Goddess, in a hurry to oblige the saint, moved back seven kms away from Panipat (Even today, locals will show you the place where the river Jamuna flowed close to the city).
The saint then walked back slowly to the city of Panipat. People flocked to him and sought his blessings.
When Bu Qualander noticed that flies were a nuisance for the people, he drove them away with his magical powers. Overnight, Panipat was rid of flies. But this did not please all the people and many of them began grumbling. Incensed about their ingratitude, the saint ordered the flies back into Panipat thousand fold.
Today, India’s textile powerhouse of Panipat is facing  a major challenge in tackling flies and mosquitoes. Wherever you go, whichever locality you visit, you cannot help but fell the bite of a mosquito.
The flies are in millions and people will tell you that Panipat is the world capital of flies. Oh, the curse of the saint.
Coming back to the story of the saint, he travelled to Delhi where he was put in charge of  teaching Islamic law and he was also given the post of a Mufti. He stayed in Delhi for 20 years and preached near Qutb Minar.
When these two jobs left him with no time for his Sufism, he relinquished the post and came back to present day Haryana. 
After he died in 1324, he was buried at Karnal but the people of Panipat claimed his body. They then decided to construct another tomb for him at Panipat.
They took some bricks from the grave at Karnal for building the foundation of his grave at Panipat. When they symbolically buried a coffin in Panipat, they were astonished to find the body of the saint.
So today the saint has two graves or mausoleum-one at Panipat and another at Karnal.
The saint is also known for his beautiful verse he composed on Hazrat Ali (Hazrat Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad. He was the first male convert to Islam). They go as follows,
“Haiderium Qalandaram Mastam
Banda-e-Murtuza Ali Hastam
Peshwa-e-Tamaam Rindaanam
Ke Sag-e-koo-e-Sher-e-Yazdaanam.”
His darga or mausoleum at Qalandar Chowk in Panipat was constructed by Mahabat Khan, a General of Mughal emperor Jahangir.  Mahabat Khan’s own tomb in red sandstone is adjacent to the saint's mausoleum.
The tombs of Hakim Mukharam Khan and the famous Urdu poet Altaf Hussain Hali (1837-1914) are also located within the enclosure. His famous long poem, Musaddas-e -Hali is still very popular. It looks into the state of social and moral degradation prevalent in the then contemporary Muslim society. His prose treatise, Muqaddama-e-Shair-o-Shairi, is a pioneering work of literary criticism. It dwells on the limitations of the traditional ghazal.
There is another tomb of the saint at just outside Karnal. This structure is made of marble and it was built by Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq, the Emperor of Delhi and founder of the Tughlaq dynasty.  The Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, built a reservoir with fountains inside the structure.

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