Photos and story by Mir Rameez Raja –
Srinagar: A 17th century Mughal era mosque located between Beehama and Malshahi Bagh, the idyllic villages of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, is in sheer dilapidation due to indifference from the officials of the J&K Wakf Board.
Locally known as Jinn Masjid, Malshah mosque was built by Dara Shikoh, the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shahjahan, who constructed it for his spiritual master and saint Mullah Shah Badakhshi.
However, at present the place is in ruins and has, according to the locals, become a hub of gamblers and drug addicts. In fact, many use the mosque compound to tie and tend to their domestic animals.
“The name of our village (Malshahi Bagh) comes from this sacred mosque but look at its condition. Day by day it is simply fading away from us,” said Samad Bhat, 63-year-old resident of the village.
The historic mosque which comes under the aegis of J&K Wakf Board is a sheer example of how indifferent the Muslim body is in upkeeping and saving the architectural wonders of the valley.
Interestingly, the Mosque is in the middle of a 360 kanal apple orchard. Though the Wakf gladly accept the returns, it hardly cares about the heritage site.
Locals say that the Wakf Board hardly spends a penny for its maintenance.
“I have never seen anyone from the Wakf Board paying visit here,” said Abdul Khaliq Bhat, a 45-year-old resident of Malshahi Bagh.
Abdul Salam Bhat, 78, another local too blamed the Wakf board for the deplorable condition of the mosque.
“In the past, several international organisations showed interest to restore the mosque to its original glory and take care of it but the Wakf board ignored them,” said Bhat.
The monument has developed large cracks owing to centuries of snow and rain.
Besides, the government has allowed the irrigation department to construct a drainage right through the middle of the mosque, which has further damaged the structure.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Chief Executive Officer, Mufti Mohammad Fariddudin, said he along with a team of other officials are visiting the monument today.
“We will review its condition and see if we can hand it over to the Archaeological Survey of India,” he said.
In J&K, the Central Wakf board presides over 133 mosques and shrines which generate an annual income of Rs 26 Crore.