Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dia - In Manjhanpur

towards Dia

Baithaka in Dia

A Persian poem hung in the mosque with the details about Hingan khan establishing the mosque and few names of his descendents could be read

Dia - Jamuna in the background

Tomb of Sultan Ahmad Khan

Another view of the tomb

Grave of Sultan Ahmad Khan with his wife

House in Dia

The mosque

Elder Brother of Afzal sahib
The way to the Main gate of Haveli

Inside view of the courtyard of Haveli

Inside the Haveli

Roof ( Wood logs )
Main Gate of Haveli


Gold coins of Mughal period

The village children along with Parvez Khan and M. Naseem
The village boys inside the Haveli posing for me

Today I am taking you to a village out of Pargana chail situated in Tehsil Kaushambi near Manjhanpur.
Dia is a well known village in the western part of district Kaushambi. It has been known as the seat of a big zamindari of Sherwani Pathans. In the doaba region we have very few authentic Pathan families. For instance, there is no Pathan family in the Pargana of Chail because Pargana Chail was almost entirely owned and dominated either by the Shaikhs & Sayyids and even today no Mughal or Pathan families could be found in Pargana / Tehsil Chail. In Tehsil Manjhanpur we have Dia and a few villages of Pathans are told to be in Pargana Kara.
Some of my friends had been insisting me to visit DIA since long. I too was intrigued to visit such a place which apart from a big seat of Zamindari was the lone reliable family of Pathan settlement in our area. Finally the day came when we started off for Dia, taking the road of Chail towards Purkhas and then after a lot of ups & downs the hills after criss-crossing a vast sandy land we reached the place. It seemed to me quite a beautiful location on the banks of River Yamuna.
Here I met Mr Pervez Khan s/o Mr. Afzal Ahmad Khan who after the due ‘khatir tawazo” took me round the village and showed the places associated with history. I met his elderly uncle as well who told me some very nice things.
Upon enquiry I was told that one Sultan Ahmad Khan of Kirah (Kirah is a place near Kabul ,Afghanistan) was a general in the Mughal army that came here with the royal army to take on a local rebellious Raja of Kaushambi in 16th Century. The Mughal army laid a siege around the fortress in Kaushambi for a long time but the Raja did not relent. Running short of food and funds, one day the Raja tried to escape through a tunnel in his fortress that opened on the banks of Yamuna in Dia. Sultan Ahmad Khan was stationed at Dia with the army .He caught the Raja at the banks of Yamuna and after a defensive battle between the royal forces and the loyalists of Raja, the peace was restored. The mission was over but Sultan Ahmad Khan had fallen in love with the place so much that he sought the permission to settle at Dia. Graciously Dia village was awarded to him and he along with his family started living here. The first mosque that he constructed can still be seen. This must have taken place between 1600-1700. The family had been serving the army ever since they settled here and till the beginning of 20th century each male member of the family was given the military training positively. The broken down tomb of Sultan Ahmad Khan and his wife still exists with a lot of graves of other family members around the tomb.It is a fine structure which should have been in a better condition , had it been noticed and taken care of by the Archaeological Deptt.
Now after 4/5 generations of Sultan Ahmad Khan we find the names of two sons of Farid Khan namely, Salar Jang Khan and Hingan Khan who were counted among the powerful men of the region. During the uprising of 1857, these two brothers were supporting Maulvi Liyaqat Ali Sahib’s mission and a letter sent to them by Maulvi sahib was caught in transit. Naturally the British were furious over the Dia Pathans. Incidentally at the same time, the villagers of few villages in Tahsil Mau in Banda rose in a body and attacked the Thanadar, Tahsildar and their whole amla and almost captured the treasury. The Tahsildar and Thanadar of Mau were close friends of Hingan Khan ,they called for help from Pathans of Dia. Mau was not far off across the Yamuna. These two brothers along with their fellow men crossed Yamuna to help their friends in Mau.They fought with the villagers and saved the officials made captive in the Tahsil. When they returned to Dia, they came to know about the disturbances in Manjhanpur Tahsili so they ran there and saved the Tahsil from being looted. When the British regained the control of the region, the Tahsildar and other officials came forward with a recommendation that Pathans of Dia should not be punished rather they should be rewarded as only because of them the Tahsil and treasury could be saved. The British were satisfied after verification and awarded them few villages in Tahsil Mau in Banda across the Yamuna.
District gazetteer of Allahabad ( 1911 ) confirms this information about them. A caption from the Gazetteer is here.
While visiting the mosque built by Hingan Khan in 1255 Hijri ,I could see a lot of old Arabic, Persian books of high learning related to Quran & Hadees kept in mosque testifying that pathans of Dia were educated people and not only they were wealthy, but they were Deendar (religious and pious )as well. Hingan Khan himself is reported to be man of great piety and devotion. I was told a few stories of his miracles there.
Hingan Khan constructed a huge Haveli that can still be seen in a tumble-down condition which is certainly deplorable. The present owners have shifted to Allahabad and Fatehpur for education and employment leaving it in the hands of nature to let it break down day by day. Mr.Parvez arranged for me the key of the said Haveli and thus I could enter into the huge mansion and could not help appreciating the architecture and beauty of the construction but at the same time I was reminded of the Quranic teaching that nothing is eternal. Everything is perishable. The wild shrubs and the grass have covered the wall, the plasters coming off, it was like a ghost’s villa. Inspite of all these carelessness, the mansion still bears a regal look and is maintainable, if tried.
Since the family is of Pathan origin and there are no authentic Pathan families in Chail, Manjhanpur and Karari, they used to have marital relations in Fatehpur, Gotni (Manikpur), Qaimganj (Farrukhabad) , Zafarpur in Kara areas out of their Pargana.
As for the land holdings, the Pathans of Dia held 16 Annas ( whole) of the following villages in Tehsil Manjhanpur
·         Dia
·         Chhekwa
·         Bhakanda
·         Jamalpur
Furthermore they held the following whole villages (16 Annas share) across the Yamuna in Tehsil Bara, Allahabad and Tehsil Mau in Banda.
·         Mankuwar
·         Obri
·         Murka
·         Bojh
·         Madha
One interesting anecdote I came to know here that Zamindars of Audhan used to go for hunting across Yamuna and they had to trek into these villages in Banda that were owned by Pathans of Dia. Zamindars of Audhan felt quite uncomfortable in poaching into others land so one day they approached the Dia pathans and purchased from them 4 Annas of land in Mankuwar village only for their hunting purposes. The Pathans of Dia confirm this to be true.
I could surmise easily that the Pathans of Dia were big magnates of the time but they have no air about their past, instead they are humble and modest. There was no bragging and no vain pride in them about their origin and zamindari etc at all.They are living in the present and trying to protect their lineage, identity, and of course the deen. Elders in the family are more inclined towards religious activities than management of lands etc. I found that their connection with Namaz and Quranic teachings have made them good human being than others. Surely our Deen brings very good changes in a person , provided he pays attention towards it. We can succeed in this world and hereafter only with our connection with Allaah swt and Rasool (Sallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) and not with wealth and lands…………

I returned from Dia with a feeling that we should work harder towards our Akhirat than our Dunia. People with wealth, lands, titles, mansions are no more and none of these could be any help to them. Our aamal counts more than anything else...........

Rahe Naam Allah ka.

Khalid Bin Umar - New Delhi


Anonymous said...


Alam Zamindar said...

Thanks very much for showing us our forgotten ancestry

Mohd Alamgir Zamindar
Toronto Canada

Zulfaqar Ahmed Khan said...

Thanks Indeed
May Allah glorify our ancestor and grant them Jannatul firdaus