The mystic beauty of Jogi Rampura attracts the devotees from all over the world. Away from the maddening crowd and confusion of city life this island of spirituality lies in the Bijnor District of Uttar Pradesh. It is a surreal destination that had been a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity and founded upon the common traditions and beliefs since the time of Emperor Aurangzeb.
The Dargah of Imam Ali (Jogi Rampurah)
It is also known as ‘Najaf-e-Hind.’ Najaf is a holy city of Iraq and situated about hundred miles south of Baghdad. The shrine of Imam Ali (AS), the fourth Caliph of Islam is located here. Million of pilgrims visit the place and offer prayers and salutations here to God and seek His intercession. Najaf is considered sacred by both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. The mausoleum of Hazrat Ali (AS) offers a breathtaking view with its gold gilded dome, visible from miles and miles that rises majestically over the Imam Ali Mosque.
The Najaf seminary is one of the most important teaching centers in the Islamic world. Ayatollah Khomeini, the religious scholar and revolutionary had taught the Islamic Jurisprudence in Najaf from 1964 to 1978.
The famous editor of famous Weekly ‘Current.’ D. F. Karaka had remarked after his visit to Najaf, “I have sat and wondered at the marbled splendour of our Taj Mahal, the tomb which Shah Jahan built for his Empress Mumtaz Mahal, but despite its beauty, the Taj appears insipid in comparison with this splash of color at Najaf. The tomb surpassed anything I have seen in gorgeous splendor. All the great kings of the world put together could not have a tomb as magnificent as this, for this is the tribute which kings and peasants have built together to enshrine the mortal remains of the great Ali.” D. F. Karaka was a Parsi. Many historic traditions relate the city of Najaf with Prophet Abraham and Isaac.
The hamlet of Jogi Rampurah, as the name signifies, was a Hindu remote village nestled in the jungles, abutting the Kumayun Hills. Syed Raju, a senior member of Moghul Court had once sought refuge there. He was a pious, disciplined scholar and was esteemed as a strong character by Emperor Shahjahan. The ruler appointed him as the ‘Care Taker’ of the Agra Fort. In the 1658, the rebel army of three princes namely Shuja, Aurangzeh and Murad had surrounded and seized the fort. The hard restrictions were made and even water and food was disallowed for those immured inside. Emperor Shahjahan was caught, impeached and incarcerated.
Syed Raju was close to Shahjahan. He disapproved the ‘coup de tat’ of Aurangzeb and went underground. He escaped from Agra and took refuge in Jogi Rampurah. A Hindu priest was his old friend living there and he sheltered him near his place. Syed Raju was a profound devotee of Hazrat Ali and used to recite the famous and popular ‘Ya Ali Madad.’ One day when the Hindu Priest was engaged in his agricultural errands, a troop of army came to him. They asked him to accompany them to their Commander who was camping nearby. The face of the commander was covered with a veil. The commander welcomed him and asked him to convey an important message to Syed Raju – “Tell Syed Raju that he would out of the harm’s way and no one would tough him now. Ask him to erect a memorial nearby in our name.”
The priest went back to Syed Raju and narrated the pleasant encounter. The listener’s joy knew no bounds and he rushed to the spot described by the Hindu Priest. There was no one there except the freshly splattered froth of horse mouth and the imprints of horse shoes upon ground. Syed Raju was disappointed that he couldn’t meet his benefactor. However, he collected the imprints and froth and consecrated these marks in a shrine. The news of this miracle spread throughout the regions and people began to visit to seek the blessings
In the middle of last century Nawab Hamid Ali Khan, the late ruler of Rampur Riyasat, built the splendid Dargah and an Imam Bargah adjacent to Dargah. In 1952, the great Shia scholar Shams-ul-Ulema Moulana Syed Shamsul Hasan Saheb establised the yearly week lecture tradition that continues till date.
The new building are the replicas of original mausoleums of Imam Ali, his wife Bibi Fatima (SA), Imam Hussain (AS), Hazrat Abbas –
The mausoleum of Bibi Fatima (SA)
The place is the center of healing for all kind of diseases – physical , mental and psychological. There is a Hammam (bathing place) near Syed Raju’s tomb where people rub the lumps of its earth on their body. It is believed that this soil has the therapeutic properties.
Looking at the traditions and way of the life of both Hinduism and Islam, one can assume their ideology and cultural behaviors have fused together in many ways. This assumption derives from the manner in which concepts of each religion have been shared or transferred through art and literature.
The battle of Karbala took place on the 10th day of Muharram in 680 AD in Karbala, now located in present day Iraq. On one side were supporters and relatives of Prophet’s grandson Hussain ibn Ali, while on the other side was a military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad Caliph. It is generally believed that Hindus had also participated in the battle and sided with Imam Hussain – the grandson of Prophet of Islam (PBUH). Their progeny survived and called ‘Husseni Brehmans.’ Sunit Dut was one of the descended of those warriors.
Colonel Ramsarup Bakshi (retd), a member of this community, had told in an interview to ‘Pune Mirror’ that there certainly is an “element of surprise” when he introduces himself as a Hussaini Brahmin. “The employees in the factory I run now were taken aback when I told them about my community. ‘Asapan asta ka?’ (Is it so?) they exclaimed.” Bakshi said his community remains proud of its ancestral links to Imam Hussain, and they recall this bond on Ashura with great reverence. “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.”
Most importantly, Bakshi emphasised, “We symbolise the centuries-old bond shared by Hindus and Muslims in this part of the world.” Noted lawyer-activist Netraprakash Bhog, also a Hussaini Brahmin, said he is proud of his community. “Hussaini Brahmins hold a special place in the history of Islam. Our ancestors fought alongside Imam Hussain for the cause of truth and justice. We still cherish those sacrifices made by our community.”
Bopodi Road resident Colonel Ramsarup Bakshi’s family is one of the 125 families which belong to the Hussaini Brahmin community.
The gist of the story is – We have much more in common to love each other than ugly divides to hate!
Text and Images By: Naim Naqvi