ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rajasthan : Restoring Order

Asind in Bhilwara district in southern Rajasthan, like so many small towns across the country, has played host over the generations to both Hindu and Muslim pilgrims. Its Sawai Bhoj temple spread over a large area of land is only a kilometre or so from Badia Dargah where two Sufi saints, Sultan Shah Baba and Ghaffar Sahib Baba, are believed to be buried and where annually people gather to celebrate a three-day Urs. The path to the dargah passes through the temple property, which also houses a ‘qalandhari’ mosque, built typically without a roof and with only a prayer wall with minarets and a small platform. The mosque has been there, according to historical sources originating from the temple, from the 16th century, built for Akbar’s retreating army which had chosen to camp in Asind. By 1957, according to local Muslim leaders and the state Waqf Board, under whom the mosque is listed, prayers at the mosque had ceased, but the structure continued to exist, with the temple trust even taking up its repair when one of the minarets had been damaged. Meanwhile, year after year pilgrims to the dargah during the Urs have been traversing a path through the temple grounds and putting up tents nearby where the faithful sing and organise ‘qawwalis’.

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