Monday, February 27, 2012

Behka - Pargana Chail

This is the turn that leads to Behka
The first sight upon entering the village
Some more journey ahead
The old remnants of Taluqdari Era
Remnants of Taluqdari era
Forlorn , alone , sleeping !
Here starts the population
This goes inside the village
Under construction house of Khalid Sb
Jb Khalid Husain with Farrukh 
Stairs lead to an old mosque
The Gateway
In the Courtyard
Designs have been white-washed 
The inscription above
The IbadatGahh built 200 years ago by the father of Maulvi Siddiq

The front view 
This is the inscription of 1217 Hijri
lying waste 
The Mazar of Shah Habeeb-Ullaah Siddiqi 
Enclosure of Shah Habeebullah Sahib
Is mod se aaage ...........

Behka Urf Pura Mufti

Bihka Urf Pura’Mufti is a village located just close to the Grand Trunk Road in Kaurihar Block of District of Allahabad. It had always been a part of Pargana & Tehsil Chail in District Allahabad before the formation of Distt Kaushambi.The distance from Allahabad to Behka is 17.6 kms. The Calcutta Delhi railway line passes about a mile to the south of the village in Manauri with a railway station thereon.

Pura Mufti is a hamlet of its main village Bihka beside the GT Road where a police station and post office is located and that gives it an edge over its prinicipal Bihka so much that today Bihka itself is known by the name of Pura Mufti. There used to be a Tahsil , Treasury,a small Jail Barrack for some time at Behka when the Tahsil was transferred here from Chail in 1857.

Near-by villages of Bihka are Manauri (1km), Madpur (1km), Akbarpur Sallahpur (1.9 km) Mardanpur (2.2 km), Kuswan (2.3 km)

The District Gazetteer of Allahabad (1911) mentions about Pura Mufti as follows:-


The original spelling and pronunciation of the village is Bihka but it is commonly called Behka. We learn from some old documents that it was known as Pura-e-Mufti and Mufti ka pura till about 150 years ago. It also denotes that someone who was a scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence (Mufti) from the Bihka family must have been granted the village some time in the past. Our apathy towards our own history Tareekh can be guaged from the fact that today nobody remembers or knows about that grand Mufti.

That it was an place of some importance and  was called Mufti ka Pura is confirmed from an old missionary journal published in USA in 1845 when the Presbyterian Missionaries came to India for their mission and had a discourse at Bihka on 8 Oct 1845. That excerpt is produced below:-

Book     - Journal of Rev AE Freeman- Foreign missionary chronicle
Authors - Western Foreign Missionary Society, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.


Behka has been a famous village and an important member of the Chail Zamindar Fraternity. The Zamindars of Behka were considered to be one of the premier families of Pargana Chail.

Going by the geneaology ,the Zamindars of Bihka are Shaikh Siddeeqi descended from one  Shah Habeeb-ullah Siddiqi who was a direct lineal descendent of Khalifa-i-Awwal Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddeeq Radi Allahu Anhu. Further enquiry reveals that Shah Habeeb Sahib settled at Bihka during the period of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan (1627-1658 AD). As per the family legend he was called to Hindustan by the Mughal Emperor himself who bestowed upon him the land-grants after a request to settle in Allahabad.

The word Pura Mufti also connotes that it was a granted piece of land by an higher authority to some Scholar or Saint. Such villages that are gifted or granted often use epithets like muafi (rent free), mufti, inayat (charity) etc. Deh Mafi, Puramufti, Sarai Inayat etc. present such example.

Shaikhs of Behka

The family lore suggests that Shah Habeeb’ullah (Rahima’humullahu) came during the Mughal Era at the istance of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan or Jahangir . If we compare the period passed with the number of bygone generations this lore proves correct.I was made to see an incomplete document similar to a shajra of Behka wherein the scribe mentioned that Shah Habeeb'ullah came here from Suraini Surnam in Arab after gaining victories in Punjab and met Shah Karak at Kara. This statement is wrong on account of several historical discrepancies ,(i) since Shah Karak was a 13th century figure and not of Mughal period (ii) there is no place in Arab with the name Surani Surnam (iii) the generations-count confirms that Shaikhs of Behka are here not more than 400 years at the most. Therefore anyone relying on this type of document will be mistaken in all his calculations leading him far from truth.

Another remarkable yet un-believable feature about Behka is that despite their claims and vanity for purity of blood, they do not have or rather did never have a complete Shajra-i-Nasab of Shaikh Habeeb-ullaah uptil Hadhrat Siddeeq-i-Akbar Radhi Allahu anhu. There are few papers with some names in tit-bits but no complete, comprehensive, well chained and documented Shajra could be found as far as I could go about. If there is one, I would love to have it at any cost. However there is no doubt that they are true Shaikhs of Siddeeqi descent as their lineage was confirmed by the elders of the Pargana centuries ago.

To summarise I can say that Shah Habeeb-ullaah settled in Behka during Shah Jahan’s reign and was given few villages for his sustenance. He had four sons.

1.    Shah Mardan Ali             – settled in Chail Khas (Village Mardanpur is named after him)
2.    Shah Sultan Ali              – Stayed in  Behka
3.    Shah Ismail Urf Mamhud Miyan      – settled in Umarpur Neewan
4.    Shah Naseeruddin Urf Badle Miyan -who inhabited village TIKRI – male line extinct

Shah Mardan Ali migrated to Chail Khas where his line of descendents are still found, for instance the family of Hakeem Anees Ahmad are descended from this line of Behka that migrated 300 years ago.

Shah Mohammad Ismail Urf Mahmood Peer– migrated to Neewan and we shall discuss this when I write about Neewan .

Shah Naseer-ud-din settled at TIKRI , a village close to Behka, but he had no issue and thus that line dried.

Shah Sultan Ali stayed back in Behka and his descendents used to live and flourish in Behka. After a gap of six generations came Badar-i-Alam and Khan-i-Alam and these two are supposed to be in main progenitors of modern Behka.

In the line of Khan Alam – came Ziaullah Urf Bhika Miyan and from him are Faizan Ullah, Ehsan Ullah,Saadat Ali Barkat Ullah, Rahmatullah , Nemat Ullah, Ahmadullah, Hikmatullah, Ateequllah etc. and from this line came the famous Wali of his time Muhammad Siddeeq Sahib Rahmatullahi Alaihi.

In the line of Badar-i-Alam came Raham Ali and then Haidar Ali, Safdar Ali, Afzal Ali, Muhammad Naeem. A lot of their descendents went without an issue from this line yet we find the names of Muhammad Husain, Faizullah, Mohammad Hadi , Ataullah, Fazal Azeem. 

After these men came  Inayatullah, Maseehullah, Aneesullah & Moizullah (Sons of Fazal Azeem), Habeeb-Ullah Urf Mashooq'ullah  Mohammad Fakhir, Muhammad Nasir, Iqbal Husain, Akhtar Husain, Saeed Ahmad, Hamid Husain, Khalid Husain etc Sahiban. 

From Inayatullah came Mushtaqullah and then Naseerullah who had Imtiyaz & Niyaz Ullah who had, Mumtaz & Sarfarzullah Sahiban.

From Maseehullah are Mahmoodullah who has Masroorullah, Masood & Maqsoodullah woh had Mashhood, Manzoor & Mujeebullah

From Moizullah came Habeebullah Urf Mashooqullah who had Dr.Abdullah, Hamdullah and M. Javaid(in Pak) & Asadullah.

With Dr.Abdullah
From Aneesullah came Iftikharullah, Wasiullah, Wajihullah and Ishratullah.

Mohammad Mohsin had Iqbal Husain, Mohammad Ahsan, Maqbool Hasan, Rafeeq Ahmad, Raees Ahmad, Laeeq Ahmad.

From Iqbal husain came Mohammad Nooh, Subbooh, Nasooh.

From Akhtar Husain s/o Mohammad Ahsan came Hamid Husain, Khalid Husain, Rashid Husain and Zahid Husain.

Rafeeq Ahmad had Mahboob, Parvez Mahfooz etc while Raees Ahmad have Anees, Raees & Shafeeq Ahmad. Laeeq Ahmad had Mohammad Aslam.

Today only a few families are living in Behka namely, Jb Khalid Husain & Rashid Husain s/o Akhtar Husain, Ateeq Ahmad, Rizwan Ahmad s/o Saeed Ahmad. A family of Dr. Abdullah Sahib s/o Habeeb-ullah Urf Mashooq-ullah is also residing there.Dr. Abdullah is a qualified Unani Doctor. 

In Allahabad live Wajeehullah advocate and his brothers Dr.Wasiullah etc to name a few. 

Amongst the luminaries is the foremost Shah Habeebullah Sahib but unfortunately we have no authentic information left to us that could be passed on.

In the last century Mukhtar Ahmad Alias Maulvi Muhammad Siddeeq was a famous saint [Wali} of Pargana Chail who was a disciple of Maulvi Abdul Karim of Ganj Muradabad. He left Behka in 1915 to settle amongst his maternals at Saiyid Sarawan whereas he passed away at Peepal Gaon after having a severe sun-stroke. His grave is located in Peepal-Gaon.Various stories about his pious and miraculous life is still a part of our folk-lore.

Maulvi Sabit Ali - As told earlier nitally Behka had been a family of men of learning and a number to Ulama would have passed from the family but what to say about our apathy towards record-keeping and lack of interest in scripting history we don't have any information about those gentlemen but a short notice is recorded in Tazkirah-i-Ulama-i-Hind about Maulvi Sabit Ali of Behka who lived in the last century but so sorry to state that today nobody knows him in Behka……..such a sorry state of downfall of our heart and mind.See the excerpt from that book.

Maulvi Muhammad Iqbal and Maulvi Junaid ur Rahman were also from Behka.


We do not have information about the initial marriages this family had but for the last two hundred years they primarily married into the other Aali Nasab but wealthy families of Chail. Primarily they married into the families of Chaudharis of Bamhrauli, Bisauna, Taludars of Asrawe Kalan, Sheikhs of Makhaupur & Chail Khas and Neewan as they were their own clan. Few marriages were contracted in Kashia, Pawan, Saiyid Sarawan and Mahgaon. They have maintained the standards of relation throughout the centuries.


As mentioned earlier a number of Shaikhs of Behka migrated to other villages at different periods of time and initiated a family that is now  a large family group in that particular village.

Shah Mardan Ali’s branch is found in Chail Khas, the family of Ehsan Ahmad, Hakeem Anees Ahmad, and Dr. Yasin etc represent that branch.

Shah Mahmud Miyan’s branch is found in Neewan and his descendents are found in abundance in the city of Allahabad e.g Manzar ul Islam , Khalid Neewani etc represent that branch of family.

After the uprising in 1857 Shaikh Mohammad Husain and his brothers were charged with grave seditious activities ,and since his brothers were absconding , only Mohammad Husain was left in the village. He found no option but to leave Bihka to save his life & honour, therefore he migrated to his in laws in Chail. He had one son  named Mohammad Yusuf and this Mohammad Yusuf had two sons namely Mohammad Fakhir & Mohammad NasirMohammad Fakhir continued to live in Chail. His sons Mohammad Shakir and Naazir were well known. From these two are descended Junaid Ahmad, Fazeel Ahmad, Mohammad Amin, and Mohammad Faseeh Sahiban who are living in Chail today. His other son Mohammad Nasir left Chail and founded a new village named Muhammadpur which I have discussed in the following paragraphs.

One Faizan Ullah s/o Ghulam Ali migrated to Pawan in Bakhri where he was married and they are known as tehsildar khandan.

Another Chamru Miyan s/o Manu Miyan was married in Bakhri at Pawan and he settled there at 1850s. Mohammad Mateen was from this family. In today's context Ausaf Siddiqi (Usmani ) in Kuwait represents the same family.

In the recent past Mohammad Faseeh Alias Mohammad Arab migrated to his maternals at Kashia and settled there.

Shah Mohammad Siddeeq Rahmtaullahi settled in Saiyid Sarawan.

Mahmadpur (Near Puraini)

The latest but an important off-shoot of Behka family are the Siddiqis of Mahmadpur adjacent to village Puraini. In 1901 the above-mentioned Mohammad Nasir s/o Mohammad Yusuf left his brother at Chail and moved on to inhabit and establish a new village named Nasir-Ganj after himself. At a later date, he renamed it as Muhammadpur after his grand-father, now commonly known as Mahmadpur.

He constructed a big house, laid orchards and got some water bodies done. He fathered four sons namely Anwar AhmadHaseen Ahmad AdvocateFazal Ahmad and Laeeq Ahmad. From these four came Ansar and Absar Ahmad bros, Haseen Ahmad had Nafees Ahmad Siddiqui, Nisar Ahmad, Waqar Ahmad, Noor Ahmad Siddiqi and Irfan Ahmad siddiqi while Fazal Ahmad had Habeeb Ahmad & Mahboob Ahmad , Laeeq Ahmad had Sibtain Ahmad and Ibn-i-Ahmad who represent the Mahmadpur family.

Habib Ahmad M.L.A , an icon in the post partition era of Muslim politics in Allahabad ,was from the same Mahmadpur family. Since no other zamindar family lived in Mahmadpur and nothing worthy of a note, Mahmadpur’s only claim to fame is being a home to this family.

Freedom Struggle and Behka in 1857

As we all know that Maulvi Liyaqat Ali of Mahgaon planned an organized uprising against the British hegemony and his closest and biggest aides were the Bamhrauli and Behka family. Chaudhari Shahabuddin from Bamhrauli and Shaikh Hadi and Shaikh Faizullah from Behka supported him enormously to the extent that they ruined their worldly fortunes for this participation.

Unsung Heroes of 1857 Struggle and our ignorance

It is noticeable that when trouble started, the headquarters of Tehsil Chail was shifted to Pura Mufti for some time in 1857. On 7th June 1857 Shaikh Hadi & Faizullah attacked and plundered the Tehsil along with the Treasury. It was a big blow to the already crumbling British control. The entire Pargana went out of the hands of local government. Naturally the British were furious to even listen to their names and they came down upon them heavily after they regained the control. See the excerpts below:-

Title Freedom struggle in Uttar Pradesh: Issue 1 of Series,  
Author Uttar Pradesh (India). Information Dept
Publisher The Dept., 1957

While we know the name of Maulvi Liyaqat Ali a lot , we are not aware of his ardent and closest supporters who ruined their material fortune only for the cause of the freedom. Shaikh Hadi, Faizullah and M.Husain and family are one of those families who went into hiding after ther debacle and their estates confiscated. They came down from being a Taluqdar to a mere peasent status but today we dont even their names. Same is the sacrifices of other familes of other villages in Chail for examples the Chaudharies of Bamhrauli who were the biggest land holders in the region were reduced to being a petty zamindars...


It is noticeable that when the pious and learned were asked by the ruler to settle in a remote area ,they were granted rent-free villages for their sustenance and similarly we learn that the family of Shaikh Habibullah were given villages  Meerpur, Tikri, Gopalpur, Fatehpur etc for their sustenance at that time. His family maintained their control over these villages till the Mughal Empire only.

When Aurangzeb died and the chaos erupted, The Nawab Wazir of Awadh became autonomous, the old system was revamped and Fatehpur and Behka were given to the family of Shah Abdul Latif of Daira at Yahyapur. This is confirmed form a farman preserved in the National Archives of India, the text is as follows:-

Book                 : National Register of Private Record-Issue 5
Publisher           : National Archives of India, 1973
Page                 : 205

It was not long that the eminence of Bihka family caught the attention of the Awadh Rulers and their luck smiled back .Around 1790 or 1800, a Taluqa was created with the name of Ahmadpur Asrauli and it was given to a Shaikh of Behka.Thus by the end of 18th Century , Behka transformed from a leading learning family to a leading proprietary family as Ahmadpur Asrauli ,the Taluka of 52 villages , was made over to Raham Ali who became a Taluqdar. Their fortunes rose and they became rich suddenly by a single stroke of luck.

Fifty years would have passed when Shaikh Hadi & Faizullah lead the charge during the plunder of Tahsil and Treasury of Chail and that cost the Taluqdar family heavily because when the British retook the district, they declared Shaikh Hadi and Faizullah and his brother Muhammad Husain as rebels and confiscated their part of Taluqa which was calculated to 29 villages and left the rest with the sons of Safdar Ali namely Khaleelullah and Shaikh Safi-ullah. Unfortunately these people could not maintain the Taluqa properly and with each passing year they had to sell their share owing to pressing needs and overpowering debts.

The situation was such at the beginning of 20th Century that the family of Lala Sanwal Das Khanna had purchased the entire Taluqa of Ahmadpur Asrauli except a two and half annas of share.Lala Sanwal Das Khanna was a wealthy person of Allahabad in the last century.

In 1920 --14 Annas of share of the Taluqa was with Lala Sanwal Das while only two annas was with Shaikh Safiullah and family. Safi Ullah died child-less and that small part also passed on to his collateral branch.

This information gets confirmed from the Indian Journal of Economics as the details follow:

Name                Indian journal of economics, Volume 4
Authors             Indian Economic Association, University of Allahabad. 
Publisher           Department of economics and commerce, University of Allahabad, 1924

Page 209

There is no remarkable building worthy of a note in Behka yet there is a mosque which seems to  have been a beautiful structure ,retaining a bit of the bygone style. It had a inscription on the front wall which could not be read due to the over-imposed painting & whitewashing but it vaguely reads that this house of Allaah was constructed in 1217 or 1211 AH by Shaikh Buniad Ali and that makes it almost 200 years old.

North of the village is the grave yard and here in an open enclosure lies Shah Habeeb-ullaah in eternal sleep. May Allaah swt shower his blessings upton him i

When I visited Behka, I found it a sleeping village with snores. I am afraid that still we do have that useless vanity that ruined us, that left us to nowhere. Our myopic view doesn’t allows us to come out of our shells. Indifference towards our history leaves us with no vision for the future. Serious neglect towards Deen and ilm-i-Deen have brought us at the deplorable stage where the so called deprived classes are living a better life than us.

Running away from Allah and running towards the deceitful material things leads us nowhere.

Our downfall is not due to Islam as some would have us believe but due to our own neglect of Islamic principles.

Behold ! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding.

Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth

“Our Lord! Not for nothing have You created (all) this! Glory to You!

Al-Qur’aan 3: 190-191

Khalid Bin Umar
New Delhi

1 comment:

Mohammad said...

Assalam_Aliekum Khalid sahib, this is Mohammad Ahmad (Shiekhu), I would like to thank you on behalf of all Shaikh/Siddiqi family of Behka for remembering us through your precious piece of work. All I can do at this moment is hats off to you. I went through all your precious work you did on Wirasat Pargana Chail and all of them are awesome I don’t have much words left to express my gratitude for your hard work. So please except my gratitude on behalf of all Pargana Chailies.

Also just let you know that I will be looking into more detail about his (Shah Habib-Ullah Siddiqi Rahmtaullahi) background (from where he came from and what was the actual cause of his migration), and also I am interested in couple generations detail before him in order to know if there same Shaikh family in other part of India or Arab.

There is also missing generation gap between Shah Sultan Ali and Badar-i-Alam. Is that right Muhammad Hussain (Grandfather of Muhammad Nasir of Mahmadpur) was son of Haidar Ali and grandson of Badar-i-Alam? Also I am curious after reading your write-up that who was the oldest among Muhammad Hussain, Shaikh Hadi and Shaikh Faizullah? seems like they were brother after reading through the write-up, and who was in charge Taluqedari at that time. Would you also elaborate on Muhammad Hussain’s grave seditious activities? Is this has to do with 1857 uprising? it is little confusing at one place you wrote that he was charge with grave seditious activities but did not mention if his brothers were charge as well, and part other part he was the rebellion along with his brother on event of 1857 uprising after which their Taluqa was given to their cousin (sons of Safdar Ali) by British Raj.

Since my childhood all I remember that our Great Grand Father Muhammad Hussain was in charge of Taluqedari and he took part in 1857 uprising after which Taluqa was taken away. Then our family struggle through a lot, his son Muhammad Yusuf stays in Chail khas and struggle through all his life in chail khas. After while when his (Muhammad Hussain) grandsons grown up Muhammad Fakir and Muhammad Nasir , they don’t have much inherited property from his father (Muhammad Yusuf) and grandfather (Muhammad Hussain). So that’s why Muhammad Fakir stays in chail khas and inherited the property over there and Muhammad Nasir start from scratch inhabited the village Mahmadpur.

My conclusion is we only remember the Iconic Maulvi Liyaqat Ali of Mahgoan but we don’t know and remember struggles and sacrifices of Shaikh family (Muhammad Hussain, Shaikh Hadi and Shaikh Faizullah) of Behka who lost their Taluqa and their family were scatter all over in vain and also the family of Chaudhari from Bamhrauli.

Thank you again for all your hard work, I will be looking into more intense research on this, also please add my concerns in your blog if that allows you. May!! Allah Swt bless you and your family, remember us in your prayer.

Warm Regards,

Mohammad Ahmad
(Son of Late Nisar Ahmad Advocate)