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We are proud of our Ganga Jamuni heritage
India has always maintained a cozy and special relationship with the trading tribes of Arabia and inhabitants of Central Asia. Trade relations were thriving between since ancient times. History has recorded many such trade visits of Arabs at Malabar region, ports of South of India.

It was the region where these Arab traders introduced Islam after they themselves converted to the new religion. The first ship bearing Muslims travelers, according to historians Eliot and Dowson, touched the south Indian coast around 630 AD. These Arab merchants and traders became the carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went.

However, in the 8th century, an Arab army led by Mohammad bin Qasim invaded Indian Sindh province. It was during the Umayyad Caliphate. In the first half of the 10th century, Mahmud Ghaznawi and at the end of 12the century Muhammad Ghori subdued the Indian Kingdoms and founded the Delhi Sultanate.

Apart from the ingress of these invaders, there were different kind of migrations which had nothing to do with empire building and battles. It was undertaken by those who preached Love, Brotherhood, Tolerance and Respect. History recalls them as spiritual harbingers of Islam - The Sufis. Most of them belong to Syed dynasty - the progeny of Imam Ali and Bibi Fatima (daughter of Prophet Mohammad P.B.U.H). For no fault, they were being regularly persecuted in the place of birth of Islam by either Umayyad Rulers and later by Abbasid Rulers.

The first recorded statement of love and respect for India is the message of Imam Hussain who had asked Yazid bin Muavih, the ruler of Islamic empire, to let him go to India. His request was rejected and he was martyred in the battle field of Karbala, Iraq. In India, since the Battle of Karbala (680 AD), a Hindu tribe had taken the prefix 'Hussaini' and they call themselves Hussaini Brahmins. According to the members of this community, one of their ancestors, Rahab Dutt, was a disciple of Imam Hussain and he had fought against Yazid along with his sons.

His sons were killed in the battle. Imam Hussain, before his martyrdom, conferred the title of Sultan upon Rahan Dutt and asked him to go back to his lovely land of Bharat. There is a noha (elegy) that is recited in many places in India during Mohrram - “Shabbir (Imam Hussain) Madine se Bharat men jo aa jate, hirday men sama jate, jeevan men jagha pate.” Dutt returned to Indian and the community to which he belonged and adopted the name of ‘Hussaini Brehmins’. They originally belonged to Punjab but they settled in Pune.

The famous Colonel Ramsarup Bakhi was the Hussaini Brahmin. According to Colonel – “We are a very, very small community in Pune, but this single piece of history is of seminal significance in our lives and binds us together, both Hindus and Muslims.” Noted lawyer-activist Netraprkash Bhog is also Hussaini Brahmin. Pune Mohiyal Samaj president, Jitendra Mohan claims: “Some of us converted to Islam. Those like us who remained Hindu Brahmins continue the martial tradition of our ancestors.” The famous film star Sunil Dutt was also a Hussaini Brahmin.

You can notice many Sadhus and Sadhvis at Shia congregations all over India where these saffron clad spirituals offer their homage to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Imam Ali, Bibi Fatima, Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain collectively called PANJETAN.

For a young Indian it may sound a bit odd to talk about Hindu contribution to the tradition of marsiya (poetic narration of tragedy of Karbala) and azadariat (traditions and customs during the mourning period of Moharrum) in a time when communalists in India are hell bent upon effacing every vestige of the Ganga Jamuni heritage of this country. Kalidas Gupta Raza, the critique ‘Raza’ had chosen title because of his devotion to Hazrat Imam Raza (the eight Imam we already discussed).

His booklet titled, ‘Shaoor-i-Gham’, which included marsiya pieces is one of the finest piece of love and respect to Imam. Sri Makkhan Das, and Balaji Tasambak with ‘Tara’, as his pen name are some other marsiya writers, who flourished in Deccan in the years that followed. Add to them the name of Swami Prashad who wrote marsiyas in Urdu under the pen name of ‘Asghar’, though he also wrote poetry in Persian and Hindi.

In Lucknow, the Hindu gentry were actively participating in the rituals of Muharram and Hindu poets ardently engaged in writing marsiyas. Better known among the earlier poets was Munshi Channoo Lal Lakhnavi, who wrote ghazals under the pen name of ‘Tarab’ and marsiyas under the pseudonym, ‘Dilgir’. In his later period, he wrote marsiyas alone and distinguished himself in the field. Tika Ram was a potter and out of his devotion for Imam Husain (AS) he had made a tazia of clay, which in its own way was a piece of art. This tazia was exhibited every year on the night of Muharram 10 and was always a centre of attraction for the mourners.

Today, a silent town ‘Samana’ of Patiala in Punjab is a symbol of feelings of love and respect among Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. It is a place many spiritual scholars of Arabia decided their abode in the beautiful land of Hindustan. This is the final resting place of Shahzada-e-Imam-e-Mashad Ali – a descendant of Propher Mohammad (PBUH). Earlier, it was a holy shrine that belonged to unknown saint.

However, in the year 2005, a delegation of Punjab Waqf Board consisting of Mr Sadiq Hussain and Dr. Nashir (Chairman – Department of Arabic and Persian, Punjabi University, Patiala) visited the shrine. They discovered the epitaph fixed deep buried and in fuliginous state. The tablet was scrubbed and washed. It revealed that the grave belonged to a son of Eight Imam of Shia Muslims (many Sunnis also believe) Hazrat Imam Moosa Ali Reza (AS). The Rizwi Sadat around the world are the descendents of Imam Ali Raza who is buried in Mashad, Iran.

{The epitaph read in Farsi: “Raoza Imam Mashad Ali Bin Imam Moosa Ali Reza (AS)… Ajaruddin Khan Tameer Kand (967 Hijri). }

Ajaruddin was a feudal lord of Emperor Akbar and he got the mausoleum renovated under emperor’s command in 16 th century. Further investigations revealed that Mohammad Ghori had got its construction done 450 years before Akbar. So, that tells about the reverence and greatness in which of the personality of the saint was taken by two emperors at different times.

In the period of Bani Ummayad and Bani Abbasid rulers, they tried their best to annihilate the Bani Hashims (The progeny of Imam Ali and Fatima) and forced them to migrate from the holy lands of Arabia to the land of tolerance of love – Hindustan. ‘Samana’ is one such town which welcomed those victimized tribes. ‘Samana’ is the name of one of the Holy Lady of this tribe.

Government of Punjab had declared ‘Samama’ a holy city and a handsome grant of Rs 21 crores was sanctioned for the development of the city. The Punjab ex-chief and now MP from Amritsar, Capt Arminder Singh had issued an order to start a fresh construction of mausoleum with a grant of Rs 68 Lakhs. In 2008, Chief Minister Sardar Prakash Singh Badal granted Rs 27 Lakhs which resulted in a through reconstruction of the Holy Shrine.

India is still a land of peace, love and harmony and it would remain so till eternity!

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