Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Khwaja Khizr or Zinda Pir

Cousens wrote in the Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of Sindh, 1897, "Upon the upper side of Bukkur, and joined to it at low water, is the compact little island upon which, under the cool shade of some large trees, is the famous shrine of Zinda or 'Jind' Pir. The island has been raised and protected against the corrosion of the river by retaining walls of strong rubble masonry all around. The great gateway facing Rohri is a far more imposing structure than the mean little domed shrine itself. The latter occupies the centre of the island, and is a remarkable plain small square building surmounted by a low dome..."

Opposite Rohri is a small island of which about half an acre remains above water at the height of the inundation. This has been enclosed with a wall and contains a shrine to which Muslims and Hindus come together in thousands from all parts of Sindh in March and April, the Muslims to honor Khwaja Khizr and the Hindus, 


Jind Pir

Jind is a corruption of Zinda Zinda Pir means the Living Saint). Eventually the possession of the shrine became a bone of contention between Hindus and Muslims, but the matter was settled when the Hindus abandoned their claim and set up a shrine of their own to Jind Pir on the Sukkur bank of the river. The Public Works Department, under resolution No. 55-W-1 650 of 10 April  1894, sanctioned a piece of land measuring 16.50 ghuntas approximately to the Panchayat (Council) of Sukkur for the use of the Jind Pir Fakirs trust, i.e., after executing a trust deed in favor of Bhai Balo, the leader of the Fakirs at that time. According to the trust, he and his successors would receive Rs 15000 for discharging certain duties in connection with the shrine and monuments. The Muslim legend is that a Delhi merchant by the name of Shah Hussain (Saiful Muluk) was traveling down the Indus by boat with his daughter, Badu.-i-Jamal, on their way to Mecca. On their arrival in the city of Alore, Daluraj, the Hindu King, who had heard of the great beauty of Shah Hussains daughter, demanded her in marriage. He was refused, being told as a reason that it was impossible for the daughter of a follower of the Prophet (PBUH) to wed a Hindu. Not content with the reply, the king determined to carry her off by force; but as the girl was offering prayers to Khwaja Khizr, the saint directed her father to cut loose the boat. As soon as this was done, the course of the Indus changed and the stream began to flow towards Rohri, carrying to safety the boat and its passengers. In gratitude for this miraculous deliverance, Shah Hussain resolved to erect a shrine in honour of the saint who had thus befriended them. In answer to his prayer he was directed to carry out his purpose on a small island a little to the north of Bukkur, and here he built a mosque and a mausoleum, in honour of the saint, which in later years was enlarged by wealthy votaries who were said to have covered the door of the original tomb with sheets of silver. Unfortunately there is no trace of either of these buildings.


The Hindu identify Khawaja as Jind Pir (properly Zinda Pir), i.e. the living Pir who is no other than the incarnation of the river Indus, elsewhere called Uderolal, Darya Shah, etc., to whom they burn a light. The central building with the silver doors, be it tomb, temple or cenotaph, contains a niche which is the seat of the saint and above which a slab of stone clumsily built in to the wall bears a Persian inscription which has been translated thus:

When this court was raised, be it known that the waters of Khizr surrounded it; Khizr wrote this in pleasing verse." Its date is found from the Court of the High one. The words Dargah-i-Ali, give the date 341 which correspond to AD. 952. To the south-west of the shrine is a ruined brick masjid with an inscription which gives the date AH 1011 (AD 1602).The mujawars (guardians) of Satyan-jo-Asthan and of Khwaja Khizrs shrine were holding lands as khairat (charitable grant) before the British conquest, discharging certain holy duties around the monuments and shrines in their charge. Sir Charles Napier continued the practice.