Saturday 8 December 2012

The Sufis who fought against the British

It was raining a few days ago and I was just coming out from a commercial complex in Cottonpet. The rain was not particularly heavy but the traffic was maddening.
I decided to take shelter near a complex. When the rain showed no sign of stopping, I decided to go inside and check out the building,
I saw that the building belonged to the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs and that this organization was managing the two shrines in the building.    
The name of the complex - the Hazrath Hameed Shah Khadri and Hazrath Muhib Shah Khadri Dargha (HHS & HMS complex ) triggered my interest.
When I went inside and met the priest, I was stunned by what he told me.
The shrines belonged to two Sufi saints of Bangalore- Hazrat Hameed Shah and Hazrath Muhib Shah These two Sufis were prominent residents of Bangalore during the reign of Tipu Sultan.
Tipu was himself a Sufi and he gathered about him  a large number of Sufis. After the fall of the Bijapur and Golconda Kingdoms, the Sufis had migrated from there towards north India.
When Hyder Ali and Tipu rose to power, many Sufis made Bangalore, Mysore and Srirangapatna their home.
Hazrath Hameed Shah and Hazrath Mujib Shah were close to Tipu and advised him on matters of state and religion. Tipu, it is believed, went by their advice.
When Tipu took on the British, these Sufis deemed it their duty to join hands with him in throwing the British out of India. The Sufis joined Tipu in the war against the British.
Both lost their lives in the battle. Hazrath Mujib was beheaded by the British. He head fell close to the nearby temple of Dhamraraya. The head was retained and the body buried.
AS the Sufi saint was buried headless, there is no roof above the shrine of Hazrath Muhib Shah.
The two shrines are located in a building just behind the Ulssorgate police station. It is Halsoorgate now. Halasoor was the original name of the locality where a large number of Tamilians settled. They called it Ulsoor.     
The building housing the shrines of these two Sufis is in excellent condition. Unfortunately, not even Bangaloreans are aware of the sacrifice of these Sufis and, hence, not many visit them.
The priest told me that students and visitors from abroad., including Japan and US, come to the shrine. Unfortunately, there is no such Indian who comes here to study the monument.
 The shrine is managed by a eleven-member committee formed by the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs.
By the way, these two are not the only Sufis who attained martyrdom.
In the crowded City Martket area is the dargah of Mir Bahadur Shah Almarukh, popularly known as Hazrat Syed Pacha Shaheed. This revered Sufi was the commander-in-chief of Tipu Sultan's army. He singlehandedly braved the British and fought so ferociously that even Lord Cornwallis was impressed by him.
He was also the Khilladar of Bangalore and he held the British at bay for 21 days before succumbing to a superior force. Legend has it that anything wished for at the dargah will come true.
Unfortunately, none of the books on history or Bangalore have highlighted the contribution of these people. Today, even Bangaloreans do not seem top care. They pass by the structures, without a thought for their heroic deeds.  

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