A forgotten Heritage

Mir Liyaqat Nazir

After the former J&K govt announced to reopen the historical Mughal road, it brought a ray of hope and joy on the faces of people in general and people living in the areas from where this road passes in particular. This road will not only make these areas accessible but will also play a pivotal part to improve their socio economical standard of life by connected them with the valley after their long demand and epic wait. The construction of this road will open the new windows of opportunities and usher them towards progress and prosperity after remaining in the paws of alienation, isolation and backwardness for so many decades. Earlier this road used to be the life line of valley till the great tragic partition occurred in the 1947, when tribal militia’s from the frontier province of Pakistan attacked Kashmir to free it from the clutches of tyrant Dogra rule. They couldn’t succeed in their gallant venture but forced the ruler of princely state to sign an instrument of accession with the union of India. This gave an opportunity to India to land its troops in the Kashmir and cease its border and blocked all the essential roads connecting the land locked state with its neighbours on the name of security risk.

It was a historical moment for the people of Kashmir when the former chief minster Mufti Sayeed announced to construct and restore this road again. Its reopening will provide an alternative road to remain connected and can boast the tourism as well. Because there are many old heritage structures located alongside the road built by the Mughal emperors time to time for their stay and the breath taking scenic beauty of Pir Panchal mountain ridge can lure the tourists. The road has its own history as it was used by the Mughal emperors to travel and conquer Kashmir during the sixteenth century. It was the route used by the emperor Akbar to conquer Kashmir in 1586, and his son emperor Jahangir who died while returning from Kashmir on this road near Rajouri. The Inns, tombs, small military forts and mosques built by Mughal emperors have been sidelined from the prestigious project due to bizarre reasons. It would have been the renaissance of Kashmir history if such places can be renovated as well as reconstructed simultaneously with this historical road. However there are no such serious efforts on the part of state government and the concerned department to protect and preserve these heritage sites. They are still neglected and are in horrible condition and have become an easy prey to the land grabbers and occupiers to dump and destroy this glorious past of Kashmir.

There is a one such historical place in the district Pulwama at the place of Shadimarg some 11 km away from the district headquarter, where a 16th century old Mughal mosque and a grand Mughal Inn is on the verge of extinction, thanks to the local administration and the archaeological department which have made the site Adams apple. Neither the authorities are in a mood to reconstruct this heritage site nor allowing the local people to build or renovate the mosque but have left it on the mercy of cruel hands of time. The grand inn adjacent to the mosque has been turned into stables, cowsheds and residential area by the local people who claim that we will leave the inn on one condition if the state government will provide us an alternative piece of land to reside. The mosque is in shambles and is about to collapse, though the local population has been allowed to build a separate mosque in front of it but are barred to touch the heritage mosque.

The Mughal Inn and its vast land is mostly occupied by the non Muslims living under the police protection and are consistently constructing small structures inside the Inn though it is illegal for the majority community.

Every nation has its glorious past they feel proud about and carve their future out of it, so is Kashmir having its glorious past that ironically lie neglect and on the verge of extinction.

Author is a student of Resistance Literature at Pune University.

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