Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Imambara Zadibal and its Persecution



Imambara Zadibal- Symbol of ‘Satyamev Jayate’( Truth Prevails)
By Prof.Mazhar Naqvi

image of imambara Zadibal
Image result for imambada zadibal srinagar photosImambara Zadibal in Kashmir is probably the first and most persecuted shrine dedicated to martyrs of Karbala .A study of its history exemplify as to how it braved the test of times to emerge as a true symbol of  ‘Satyamev Jayate’( Truth Prevails). Located in Zadibal area of Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state, the Imambara has witnessed many attacks by intolerance and oppressive forces like the shrine of Imam Husain at Karbala. Its history, therefore, carries horrifying tales of destruction, plunder and loot and makes it unique among all the imambaras. Founded in 1518 by Kaji Chak, who held the post of minister in the army of Sultan Mohammad, the imambara was destroyed and set ablaze several times by fanatic and disruptive elements but the followers of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad and his household (Ahle-Bait) always re-erected it with renewed enthusiasm. The Imambara not only managed to surface from rubble and ashes as an impressive edifice after destruction but also continued to serve as center for observance of Muharram rituals.
Historians have recorded the desecration of the Imambara by fire on eleven occasions between 1548 AD and 1872 AD. Communal intolerance prompted Mirza Haider Kashgari Douglat set the Imambara Zadibal on fire for the first time during the reign of Sultan Nazuk Shah in 1548.Three years later in 1551, Zafar Kupawari set it afire at the behest of the enemies of Ahle-Bait. Even during the otherwise peaceful regime of Mughal emperor  Shah Jahan, the imambara was not spared and burnt down again in 1635 by the supporters of ‘Yazidi school of Islamic doctrines’.
In 1682 AD, the Imambara Zadibal was set on fire again during the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb. Its fifth destruction occurred in 1719 AD when the Mukhtawi Khan conflict swayed the Kashmir Valley. Unknown raiders burnt it for  6th time  in 1748 AD and then again anti- Hussaini forces  set the Imambara on fire in 1763.During the Afghan rule, the Imambara witnessed its destruction by fire  on June 14,1801 on ‘Shabe- Ashura’ (the eve of Yauma-E-Ashura-10th day of Muharram).
The Imambara faced destruction on July 29, 1830 once again. The assailants also once again remained unidentified. This destruction surprise many a historians even today as this unfortunate incident not only took place during the regime of non- Muslim  Sikhs but a large number of Hussaini admirers were also brutally massacred in Zadibal for the first time after the destruction of Imambara.
At this crucial juncture, Hakim Mehndi Ali Khan, the powerful minister of king Naseer-Ud-deen Haider of Lucknow, came forwa4rd for the reconstruction of Imambara. He transferred adequate funds to Haji Baqar Khan Irani for the purpose who entrusted Hatim Mir with the responsibility of re-erecting Imambara with grandeur. Frustrated over the reemergence of imambara as a center of azadari, separatist forces once again set it on fire during the rule of Dogra King Ranbeer Singh in 1872.Hurt over the incident, the Dogra ruler doled out Rs. 3 Lakh from state exchequer for the reconstruction of Imambara.
Since then, Imambara has remained safe from the enemies of Ahle-Bait. The State Government ensures its safety not only during Muharram but also throughout the year. It is no longer considered to be just a shrine but also one of the major tourist attractions. In 2004, decision was taken to give a facelift to the Imambara on the pattern of Persian architecture. Considering the religious and archeological significance of  Imambara, the government also spent Rs. 9 crores for beautification and enlarging the complex to accommodate 32000 devotees at a time.
Thus, the imambara has showed to the world the unyielding stand taken by Imam Husain in Karbala that resulted in the victory of good over the evil. The re- erection of Imambara at a much larger scale after eleven destructions and massacre has only strengthened the eloquent message of Imam Husain that has melted the hearts and minds of countless people with sorrow for the past 1376 years. The Imambara offers sense of hope to all those who are suffering persecution anywhere in the world. Its history and edifice gives just one message that injustice and oppression can’t last forever and truth surely prevails after outsmarting all hurdles and persecution.
Image result for imambada zadibal srinagar photosMajlis-e-aza organized especially during the month of moharram