Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ghazipur History__"Epitome of India."

Ghazipur culture __"Epitome of  India."
Ghazipur District (U.P.) is known for its unique cultural harmony and coexistence which is often referred to as the "Ganga Jamuni tehzib”.Its culture has, thus, been a composite one. A composite culture is that which successfully absorbs and harmonizes the impact of various ways of life and traits of civilization.
Ghazipur’s cultural history is stretched over several millennia. A subtle but strong thread of continuity has made it the "Epitome of the India." The diversity of geography, race, religion, language and regional traditions have never impeded its progress. The reason for this is that Indian culture has always been synthetic in spirit. Apart from self-knowledge, tolerance, familial integration and other aspects of  culture, its adaptability has helped culture to be universal in character.
Ghazipur also known as Lahura Kashi( Choti Kashi),is the microcosm of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by religion; it has always attracted a large number of worshippers from time immemorial.Being among the    holiest city of Hindus, the impact of the religion is found everywhere in the city- the chanting of bells, the recitation of Sanskrit hymns, the fragrant flower offerings, the colored powders sold in roadside shops. 
 The city is a holy site for sacred baths in the Ganga River. Ghazipur has also been a great center of learning for ages. It is associated with promotion of spiritualism, mysticism, yoga, Sanskrit,Persian,Urdu,Arabic and Hindi languages and is highly regarded as the Traditional cultural activities continue to flourish here. 
The city of Ghazipur is unique in the architectural, artistic and religious expressions of traditional Indian culture and is, even today, a living example of this culture. Since ancient times the natural and cultural landscape of the city has retained an active social role in contemporary society, closely associated with the traditional way of life.Numerous festivals are celebrated that preserve the traditional styles of classical and folk culture. 
 Built Heritage
The architectural heritage of Ghazipur is linked strongly since centuries, to the living cultural and religious traditions of three major religions- Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islamism .Ghazipur comprises of the old city area, central area and new area. The unique directional change of the sacred Ganga led to the development of the ancient city on the banks of the river, facing the rising of the sun and making thus the Ghats of Ghazipur sacred for all Hindu rituals. 

The Northern bank of the river,city side is marked by lofty palatial buildings built mostly by Nawabs and feudal lords from different parts of Ghazipur district in eighteenth and twentieth century. Stone steps flank the river on its bank and lead down from the city to the river water. 
These steps are called “Ghats” and although they seem to be a continuous stretch of stairs, they were built in different historical moments. There are around 18 to 25 stone steps on each ghat, depending on the height of these ghats. The area along the ghats is dominated by various shrines and temples. The ghats are marked by octagonal raised platforms built for public use and smaller rectangular platforms that are closer to the river, built for use by the Brahmins for religious rituals. This is where the ritual bathing of the pilgrims and the daily bathing of the inhabitants of the city take place. The ghats are also a place for sports, exercise, meditation, socialising and rest.

Natural Heritage
The Ganges considered the most holy river for the Hindus, is especially sacred in Ghazipur  where its course towards the Bay of Bengal suddenly turns to the north. From its source in the Himalaya to its mouth in the Bay of Bengal, covering a course of about 2442 km, only from Ghazipur to Mohammadabad does the Ganga river flow in a crescent shape meandering from south to north (length 18 km). This peculiar shape is the result of fluvial process through which the coarser sediments get deposited on its bank .
This unique geological formation has provided the base for the growth of the area in a crescent shape, symbolically described as crescent moon on the forehead of Lord Shiva. In terms of river ecology, this characteristic is also considered as the unique aspect of energy quantum and direction of the energy flow. In fact, this whole bed of the Ganga River is an example of natural heritage. The area along the right side is a flood plain, preserving the natural ecosystem. Thus the natural heritage of the city, in the form of the river, predominates and strongly influences the nature and characteristics of the religious and sacred importance of the city.

Artisan, Dancers
In Ghazipur, a mela or a fair is often a religious festival .Melas bring together ritual functionaries, artisans, craftspeople, dancers, musicians, speechmakers, dramatists, intinerant perfomers, sideshows operators, food vendors, merchandise hawkers, and throngs of parents and children. A fair provides the opportunity for people from different villages, towns and regions to meet and mix with others. It brings into contact people of various castes, classes, backgrounds and interests. Such people mix in a way not usually possible in isolation and relative homogeneity of their own home, neighbourhood, or social group. The word mela is itself derived from the sanskrit root, 'mil', denoting a meeting and mixing. At a fair, this mixing occurs by seeing each other, joining in processions, worshipping together, forming an audience for performances, eating food from a common kitchen, breathing open air, hearing the same sounds.
A mela brings together society and articulates it in geographical, cosmological and historical settings. The time of a mela is set by motions and positions of the stars, moon, and planets. The location is set by the occurance of rivers, streams, and trade routes of caravan. The particular site is determined by the activities of gods, heros and saints. These fairs, beside their religious fervour and importance, do contribute to a great deal in providing entertainment to the people who get profusely involved in festivities and games. At places, there are Nautanki tents, circus shows, besides cultural events organised by Bhajan-mandlis and qawwals
Artisans and craftspeople sell their works like toys, terracotta  figurines, icons of deities, painted potteries. At times, mela goers feel deceived  but people of  hurdly mind this.

Festivals and Fares 

Ghazipur  city and the villages are rich in tradition and their cultural heritage. They are famous for celebrating a variety of vibrant festivals and fares  throughout the year.In every parts  of Ghazipur’s  village festivals  and fares are celebrated with much pomp and cheerfulness and are considered some of the greatest events to enjoy. The villagers take these festivals as a platform for social communication and also as a way to get relief from the stress of their daily life.  

The major   city and village festivals include Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Jagaddhatri Puja, Holi, Ratha Yatra, Raksha Bandhan, Lakshmi Puja, Saraswati Puja, Christmas, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha , Moharram, etc. Apart from these, there are also a few other festivals celebrated by all villagers round the year. These festivals include Janmashtami, Bhaiya dooj, Shivaratri, Akshay Tritiya, Buddha Purnima, Janama Sthami, Vishwakarma Puja, , Kartik Puja, Basanti Puja, Ramnavami, Makar-Sankranti (also known as Tila Sankranti), Basant Panchami, etc. etc.
The village festivals are famous all over the district for their bright colours and lights. People from all over the areas visit there during the festivals to experience the villagers` wonderful style of celebration.
Muharram in Ghazipur
Ghazipur celebrates all its festivals joyously.
The general belief is that Muharram is a particular day. In reality, Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Calendar. It is considered very holy. The festival of Muharram is celebrated to commemorate the death of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein. He had given up his life at Karbala on the banks of the river Euphrates while resisting anti Islamic forces.

Prophet Mohammad himself advocated fasting in the month of Muharram. It is not morally binding, but the belief is that if you observe fast, you will be generously rewarded by Allah. However, it is particularly important to fast on Ashura, the tenth day of the month because it will yield great rewards. The people of Ghazipur
  generally observe a fast on this day.

On this day which is generally referred to by all as Muharram, the Muslims of Ghazipur are in a very generous mood. Their day begins with a bath. After putting surma in their eyes, they engage themselves in various charitable activities. The Nafl Salat prayers and the Surah Ikhlas are performed religiously. They vow to make friends with enemies and also spend quality time in the company of the Ulemas.
In the gatherings on the occasion of Muharram, Islamic leaders narrate the story of martyrdom of Hussein. The most important part of the festival is the processions. The taziyas or the colorful replicas of Hussein’s tomb are decorated and taken out and the followers mourn aloud the death of Hussein. In Ghazipur, the rites of mourning are observed with greater passion.

The time for celebrating Muharram is variable. It is celebrated according to the lunar calendar and so the time fluctuates throughout the season.
Sufi Saints Contribution in the Cause of Interfaith Understanding
In Ghazipur Islam was spread, upheld and revitalized by the Sufi saints. The people who loved these men often built beautiful structures around their tombs (dargah), sometimes with an adjoining mosque. These darbars are dargahs as they are called became places of homage and reverence by the Muslims and Hindus.
Sufism was primarily introduced in India for spread of Islam and the Sufi saints tombs emerged as a place of pilgrimage for spread of Islam.

The numerous Sufi religious establishments in Ghazipur  were the major means of spreading Islam and adapting it to indigenous cultural tradition. Of the various Sufi orders, Muslims of Ghazipur  prominently follow Chistiyya, Naqshbandiyya, Qadiriyya and Suhrawardiyya orders.
For centuries the Hindus accepted Sufi shrines as symbol of communal harmony. A large number of them offer prayers at the tombs of the Sufi saints.
The Sufi saints wrote in local language or even dialect and hence were much closer to the people. Popularity of these Sufi saints is indeed tremendous.
The famous Sufi saints who contributed greatly in propagating the message of Islam in Ghazipur District especially ,Hazrat Malik Mardan[ Shadiabad ,1029 A.H.],Malik Bahri,Sayed Tajuddin sabzwari [ Death ,Tajpur dehma .1264 A.D. ],Makhdum Tajuddin Abbasi [Saidpur bhitri . 1330 A.D.],Amir Masud Ghazi [ Ghazipur.1330 A.D.]Makhdum Jalal [1330 A.D.],Sayd Jamal susandwi [ 1331 A.D.],Sayd Jiraan shaheed urf Judan shaheed [ 1330 A.D.],Khwaja Moinuddin Qattal [Zahoorabad. 1330 A.D.], Shaikh Ghulam Mustafa Adhami [ Bahariabad.1332 A.D.],Shaikh Mohd.Saleem Muhammadabadi[1331A.D.],Makhdum shah Ahmad Bin jala [ Chaukiya.1335 A.D.],Shaikh Bandagi Fareed [Dhrammarpur],Shaikh Shah Shahabuddin chisti [Norruddinpura.722Hijree],Makhdum Aanand peer [ Shah nind ,Mohammadabad.1475 A.D. Death],Sayd Shah Numud [saidpur from holy man,sayd shah numud,Ain e Akbari, Blochman p.382,Oldham,part 1,P.81],Makhdum Abul Fateh Chishti [1510 A.D.],Makhdum Shah Ahmad zamanvi [1525 A.D.],Sayd Shah Barkhurdar abbasi [ Shamashan ghat,roohi mandvi.1510 A.D.],Shaikh Mahmood Faruqui [ 1512 A.D. ], Shaikh Fakhruddin Madari [1536 A.D.death],Sayd Shah Bahlol urf Phool shah [ zahoorabad,1490 A.D.],Shaikh Shah Mohd.Ghaus [ birh, Zahoorabad,1492 A.D.,Death Gawalior,1575 A.D. ],Shaikh Akhtiyaruddin [ Saroli urf pahetiya,1510 A.D. ],Shaikh Jamal Ahmad Makki [ Yusufpur Mohammadabad,1526 A.D. ],Shaikh Shah Junaid Qadri [ Saklenabad,1526 A.D. ],Shaikh Jamaluddin Ahmad [Sihani,dildarnagar,1526 A.D. ],Mulla Ruknuddin Bahariyabadi [ death 1684 A.D. ],Shaikh Samman [ death Saidpur,1527 A.D. ],Shaikh Yaqoob Chisti [ 1527A.D.],Shaikh Ishaaq chishti [ death Shahipura,Lautan imlee,1625 A.D.],Shaikh Usman Chishti  [ zamania,1610 A.D. ], Shaikh Roohulla sarolvi [Roohi mandvi,1621 A.D.],Shaikh shah Bandagi Jamal [ death saidpur bhitri ,1621 A.D.],Sayd Meer Hasan urf Miran shah Bal-jatti [ Mohammadabad ,1639 A.D.],Sayd Ahmad Bheekh urf Bilmeek Shah [ 1622 A.D.],Sayd Shah Mohd.Afzal Saidpuri alis Allahabadi  [ birth Bhitri 1628 A.D. –Death Allahabad ,1763 A.D.],Shaikh Salahuddin urf Dadan miyan [1650 A..D.],Sayd inayatullah nunahrvi [ 1625A.D.],Sayd Mohd.Waris Rasulnuma Nonahrvi summa Bnanrsi [ 1676 A.D. ],Shaikh Mohd.Fasih [ 1222 Hijri ],Sayd Shah Abul ghaus Garam Diwan [ death 1178 Hijree],Sayd Shah Fakhruddin [ Dhawa 1979 A.D.]Shaikh Ziauddin peer [ Mahajan toil,1810 A.D.],Shaikh zahorulhaq Mohd.Abdul Aleem Aasi [ 1832 – 1335 Hijri],Haji Didaar Ali Khan [ Barbrahna1295,Hijri].
Hazrat Abul Fateh Chishti and Hazrat Shaikh Yaqoob Chisti  who brought the Chishtiyya order and Hazrat Shaikh Junaid ahmad usmani  peer qadri ,who brought Qadriya order to Ghazipur and they are considered as the most outstanding Sufi saints  in eastern U.P.Both dargahs are the most holy places for Muslims. The Dargahs are equally holy for Hindus and other religion followers. The shrines are equally prayed by Hindus. ‘urses are a yearly celebration of the death date of  Sufi saints.

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