Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Shaheed Meeran Khing Sawar & His Dargah


Interior View of Dargah Hazrat Meeran Khing Sawar

Dr.Mazhar Naqvi

Dargah of Hazrat Meeran Syed Hussain Khingsawar Mashhadi is a popular shrine of an Imami martyr on Taragarh hill near Ajmer-the city of Khwaja Ghareeb Nawaz. Hazrat Meeran Shah traced his lineage to Shah-E-Khorasan Imam Rida and ranks among the early propagators of true Islam in North India. He was martyred along with his companions by non- believers for preaching Islam in 1201 and his last rites are said to have been performed by Khwaja Ghareeb Nawaz whose magnificent Dargah is also at the foothills of Taragarh and ranks among the most popular place for pilgrimage in Indian Sub-Continent. Another legend says that Khwaja Syed Ali Hamadani who was sent to Hazrat Meeran to preach Islam in Gujarat arranged for the burial of the martyr on his return to Ajmer.
History reveals that Qutb- Uddin- Aibak, the first Sultan of Delhi Sultanate had stationed Hazrat Meeran as the presiding officer of Taragarh Fort and its adjoining areas. During his stay at Taragarh, he attracted a large number of devotees through his pious, simple but generous lifestyle. He served humanity by taking care of medicinal needs of those stricken with leprosy and epilepsy. His noble deeds and bravery propelled Meerat, Cheeta and Deswali communities to embrace Islam. His growing popularity caused much heart- burning among the non-Believers. They twice made attempt recapture Taragarh Fort that was one by Shah Meeran. But on both occasion their bid was foiled by Khingsawar. The raiders however succeeded in their attempt on 18th Rajab and martyred Shah Meeran while he was offering ‘Asr’ prayers.  
Though Shah Meeran attained martyrdom in 1201, his shrine earned popularity during Mughal period. Mughal Noble Ismail Quli Khan’s 19.5 meter high and 5 meter wide gate is the dominant feature of Khing Sawar’s Dargah. Surmounted by two chattris, the gate of Dargah is pierced by a single open entrance, whose top terminates in an exaggerated ogee point. Rectangular band of Quranic verse also frames the entrance Dargah. For over eight centuries, the dome over the holy Mazar (Grave) of Hazrat Meeran remained somewhat similar to the one that adorns the Mazar-e-Mubarak of Khwaja Ghareeb Nawaz still. But in 1992, the managing committee decided to develop the main enclosure of Dargah on the pattern of Imam Rida’s shrine in Mashhad. As a sequel to the endeavor, the dome over Hazrat Meeran’s grave appears to be a replica of Imam Rida’s Shrine.
It is recorded that Sher shah Suri who had ousted Akbar’s father Humayun from India, had also paid a visit to Dargah after defeating King Maldeo of Marwar. The scarcity of water at Taragarh hill greatly perturbed him and he ordered the construction of Chashma (spring) Hafiz Jamali. The traces of Chashma are visible even today. Akbar reportedly visited Meeran Saheb’s Dargah in 1570 AD and directed Ismail Quli Khan to raise the imposing gate of Dargah. Emperor Jahangir visited Dargah in 1614 AD. Empress NurJahan also accompanied him. The couple found the place so tranquil that they spent five years at the foothill of Taragarh after getting a spring (Chashma Nur) and Baradari erected there. Aitbar Khan,  Subedar of Ajmer, during Jahangir’s regime offered a very attractive’ Pinjra’ for Mazar of Hazrat Meeran out of his respect for him.
Dargah also enjoyed considerable patronage during the rule of Maratha over Ajmer. Maharaja Daulat Rao Scindia visited Dargah to pray for the peace and prosperity in his dominions. Guman Rao Scindia, a Maratha noble, built a beautiful courtyard at the shrine after he was blessed with a son as a response to his prayer at the grave of Hazrat Meeran. Aingla Rao not only paid a visit to the shrine but also ordered construction of an attractive building. Maharani Bija Bai also built a courtyard in 1225 Hijri to show her respect to the great martyr. Vitthal Das, a powerful Minister of shah Jahan, Maharaja Ratan Singh Merta, Nawab of Junagarh, Nawab Mulla Madari of Gwalior and Nawab of Hyderabad Sindh also held Hazrat Meeran in a great esteem and constructed new edifices at the Dargah. At present, Sikh owner of a U.K based export house is renovating the main enclosure of Dargah with beautiful brass work.
Dargah complex also contains the grave of Hazrat Meeran’s favorite horse Khing. In Persian, Khing means white horse. Khing too was fatally wounded in the attack. As Khing was much attached to Hazrat Meeran, he too was buried near the grave of his martyr. It is incumbent upon devotees to visit the grave of Khing with flower and pulses before presenting themselves before the Mazar of Syed Meeran.Dargah also becomes hub of Muharram ceremonies every year and Karbala adjacent to sahrine is also ne of the most picturesque in India.    (The article is based on the inputs provided by Janab Sagheer Abbas Saheb, secretary of the managing committee of Taragarh shrine. The blogger has also referred to Hindi booklet titled ‘Shuaa-e-Khing Sawar by Haji Syed Shahid Hussain for additional details.)