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The following chapter hasbeen taken from the historical accounts of :
▪︎W.C. Benett (1877). Gazetteer of the province of Oudh. 2. North-Western Provinces & Oudh Government Press
▪︎Guru Sahay Dikshit Dwijdeen (1940). “Sri Suhal Bavani”.
▪︎Shahid Amin (2016). Conquest & Community: The Afterlife of Warrior Saint Ghazi Miyan. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-37274-7.
▪︎T Amish (2020). “Legend of Suheldev”.
▪︎Vinay, Lal (10 October 2015). “The Ghazi of Peace”. The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
▪︎Mirati Mas’udi by ‘Abdur Rahman Chishti.
▪︎A. K. Sinha (2003). Readings in Indian History. Anamika Pub & Distributors. p. 205. ISBN 9788179750360.
● Maharaja Suhaldev or #Suheldev was a ruler of the Shravasti Kingdom. He defeated the invading army of Ghaznavid Dynasty, killing Mahmud Ghaznavi’s nephew Ghazi Salar Masood who was involved in mass conversions of the indigenous population. In different versions of the historical accounts, Suhaldev is known by different names, including Sakardev, Suhirdadhwaj, Suhridil, Suhridal-dhaj, Rai Suhrid Dev, Susaj, Suhardal, Sohildar, Shahardev, Sahardev, Suhar Deo, Sahar Deo, Suhaaldev, Suhildev, Suheldev, Sohal Deo & Suheldeo. He is also mentioned in the 17th century Persian-language historical romance Mirat-i-Masudi.
Where most records describe Suheldev as a Dalit Hindu, some records also describe him as a Jain, Rajput, Rajbhar, Tomar, Nagavanshi etc. In order to extensively portray Ghazi Miyan as a Spiritual Saint & not an invader, political parties suppressed the influence of Maharaja Suheldev who killed Ghazi, in the Indian History books. This helped the politicians initially appease their local Muslim vote-bank untill April 1950, when Ram Rajya Parishad & Hindu Mahasabha Sangathan planned a fair at Chittora to commemorate Maharaja Suheldev. But Khwaja Khalil Ahmad Shah, a member of the Ghazi Miyan Dargah Committee, warned the district administration to ban the proposed fair. A riot ensued, the main instigators were jailed. After that, a princely state ruler of Prayagpur donated 500 bighas of land (including the Chittora Lake), where a temple dedicated to Maharaja Suheldev was constructed. On 16th Feb 2021, the foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial was laid in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh.
● Ghazi Salar Masud or #GhaziMiyan (1014 – 1034 CE) was a semi-legendary Muslim figure. He was a general of the Ghazi Army & a nephew of Mahmud Ghaznavi. He is reputed for inslamizing the depth of the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent. He was killed in 1034CE by Maharaja Suheldev in the Battle of Bahraich. He was buried with proper Islamic traditions by Maharaja Suheldev. In 1250, another invader Nasiruddin Mahmud constructed an archeological complex around his Tomb.
Despite being a nephew of Mahmud Ghaznavi, Ghazi Miyan finds no mention in the ‘Ghaznavid Dynasty Chronicles’. Historians concluded that, since he was defeated & killed by a non-Muslim, hence Muslim historians removed his name from the records to wipe out the shame. However, after his death he found many mentions in the other invading Islamic Dynasties in India.
The 13th century poet Amir Khusro appears to mention Ghazi Miyan’s tomb (dargah) in a 1290 CE letter. According to this letter, the “fragrant tomb of martyred commander” at Bahraich spread the “perfume of odorous wood” throughout Hindustan. In 1341, the Delhi Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq and the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta visited the Bahraich dargah. In Ziauddin Barani’s Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi (1357), written nearly three hundred years later, he mentions Ghazi Miyan as one of the heroes of Mahmud’s campaigns in India. The text was composed during the reign of the Delhi Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq, who considered himself to be a disciple of Ghazi Miyan. He also visited the Bahraich dargah in 1372. According to the Sultan’s court historian Shams-i Siraj ‘Afif, Ghazi Miyan appeared in the Sultan’s dream, and asked him to prepare for the day of the Last Judgment, and to propagate Islam by adopting a tougher policy against the non-Muslims. The next day, Sultan Firuz Shah Tughluq got his head shaved like a Sufi neophyte, and started spending his nights in prayers. Not all Sultans of Delhi held Ghazi in same reverence: in 1490, Afghan invader Sikandar Lodi banned the urs (death anniversary) at the dargah, because of the “unseemliness of the rites being performed there”. In the 16th century, an Indo-Afghan soldier Dattu Sarvani also claimed to have seen Ghazi Miyan in his dream.
The 17th century Persian language text Mirat-i-Masudi, written by the Sufi scholar Abdur Rahman Chishti, is the most comprehensive biography of Masud. The text is a historical romance, & the biography has a “gossipy feel”. The author claims that Ghazi Miyan appeared in his dreams, & describes Miyan’s various achievements & miracles. He states that his work is based on an “Old History” written by one Mulla Mahmud Ghazanavi. The author further claims that the 11th century Masud was a disciple of the 12th century Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti: the later historians have completely rejected this clear anachronism. According to Muzaffar Alam, Abdur Rahman Chishti’s objective was to glorify the Chishtiya branch of Sufisim, as a counter to the rising influence of the Naqshbandi branch at the Mughal court. Akbar, Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, Asaf-ud-Daula & many other Nawabs are claimed to have visited the #Bahraich shrine several times. Mirza Muhammad Qateel’s Haft Tamasha (1811–12) & Cazim Ali’s Barah Masa (1812) describe the ceremonies held to commemorate Ghazi Miyan. The Haft Tamasha mentions that an annual ceremony was held in Rudauli to mark Miyan’s death on the night of his wedding. A replica of Masud’s nuptial bed was made & brought out for ceremonial viewing. The Barah Masa provides a description of the Bahraich shrine, and the ceremony held there. However, neither of these texts describe his life. The most prominent among Ghazi Miyan’s followers were Meo Muslims (Mewatis), who are said to have been converted to Islam by him. Although the Naqshbandis, Wahhabis & some Islamic sects criticized his cult, his popularity still did not decline in the 18th century. The Punjabi Sufi poet Waris Shah named him among the five most venerated Sufi Pirs (saints).
Russian orientalist Anna Suvorova notes that the rituals of the Ghazi’s cult show some indigenous Hindu influence. The local Hindus revered Ghazi Miyan as “Bade Miyan” (Revered Boy), “Bale Pir” (Boy Saint), “Hathile Pir” (Obstinate Saint), “Pir Bahlim” and “Gajan Dulha”. In the 19th century, the British administrators were bewildered at the Hindu veneration of Masud. In the 2000s, the majority of the visitors to the annual fair held at Masud’s dargah were Hindus.