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Recently, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor in Varanasi. At this event, he referred to several historical episodes including the battle between Salar Masud and Raja Suhaldev, the conflict between governor-general Warren Hastings and Raja Chait Singh and contributions of historical figures like Rani Bhabani from Bengal.
About Maharaja Suheldev and Salar Masud
Who was Salar Masud?
Salar Masud was also known as Ghazi Mian. He acquired popularity as a warrior in the 12th century. He was the nephew of the 11th-century Turkik invader, Mahmud of Ghazni.
His tomb at Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh stands as a place of pilgrimage for a large number of Muslims as well as Hindus.
The most comprehensive source of information about Ghazi Mian is the Mirat-e-Masaud (Mirror of Masaud), a 17th-century Persian hagiography written by Abdur Rahman Chisti, a Sufi saint of the Chisti order.
Abdur Rahman had also asserted that Masud was the disciple of Sheikh Moinuddin Chisti, the founder of the Chistiya order of Sunni mysticism.
Mughal emperor Akbar is known to have made a land grant in 1571 CE for maintaining Ghazi Miyan’s shrine.
What is the link between Maharaja Suheldev and Salar Masud?
Maharaja Suheldev was the erstwhile ruler of Shravasti in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district who ruled in the 11th century. He is known to have defeated and killed Ghazi Salar Masud in battle in Bahraich in 1034 AD.
Warren Hastings and Maharaja Chait Singh
Maharaja Chait Singh was a ruler of the Kingdom of Benaras. He acquired the throne of Banaras in 1771 with the help of British authorities.
In 1773, the Maharaja transferred the domain to the East India Company, under the control of Warren Hastings.
Under British terms, the Maharaja was forced to contribute cavalry and maintenance grants for the company’s sepoy battalions. But he refused to comply with the British orders.
After this, British soldiers were deployed at the Raja’s fort at the Shivala Ghat. But the soldiers were killed in the conflict and the governor-general was forced to retreat.
Rani Bhabani was from Bengal. She was married to Raja Ramkanta Ray, the zamindar of the Natore estate in Rajshahi (present-day Bangladesh). After the death of her husband in 1748, the zamindari passed on to the hands of Bhabani, making her one among the very few women zamindars of the time.
Bhabani is remembered most for her philanthropic efforts. She is known to have built schools, roadways and water tanks across the Rajshahi district. She is believed to have built more than 350 temples.
She is also known to have built the Durga Kund Mandir in Varanasi. She also desired to build a Kashi in Bengal and, consequently, in 1755 a complex consisting of a dozen temples was built in Murshidabad.
Source: This post is based on the article “Explained: Salar Masud-Raja Suhaldev battle and other historical episodes that PM Modi spoke about in Kashi” published in Indian Express on 17th Dec 2021.