Mughal-era monument in a shambles

A Mughal-era monument in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is in a shambles. Popularly known as Malshahbagh Masjid, the monument, according to historians, was built by Dara Shikoh— the eldest son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan— in memory of his spiritual master and saint Mullah Shah Badakhshi.

The place was used for prayers and gatherings during the Mughal era. The monument stands atMalshahbagh in the midst of 300 kanals of orchards owned by the Wakf Board, which is also the custodian of the monument. The WakfBoard, according to locals, has not spent a penny on the preservation of this monument.

Locals said that despite the tall claims and assurances by the successive governments and authorities concerned on preserving the historical heritage, this historical monument continues to be in a shambles.

According to the historians, the place was looked after by the Mughals during their rule. “However, later this historic monument was given to the Muslim WakfBoard for its upkeep and preservation.” They said that the place was used for Islamic gatherings and prayers during the Mughal rule.

A visit to the historical monument depicts its deteriorating condition. Locals said that although orchards of the monument generate a good amount of income, but the Wakf has failed to preserve and maintain it.

According to locals the authorities concerned including the Archaeological department and theWakf Board have ignored the monument.

“The building is of great Islamic and historic importance, so the authorities should wake up and take steps to preserve it,” Abdul Salam, a local, said.

Talking to GreaterKashmir, Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, ShafqatIqbal said that he will get the details of the matter and enquire into it. “The issue has come to my notice for the first time. It is an important issue and I will get all the details about it so that appropriate steps are taken for the preservation of this site,” the DC said.

He assured that the matter will be taken up with the ArchaeologicalSurvey of India and the Wakf authorities.

“Besides, I will also talk to Director Tourism in this regard so that the place can be developed.”