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Sunday, December 4, 2022

2300-year-old Ashokan edict converted to Mazar: Sasaram, Bihar

A 2300-year-old Ashokan edict in Bihar’s Sasaram has been converted to a Mazar in a classic example of land jihad. The historical site which is said to be more than 2300 years old has been made into a Mazar over time with prayers being offered and the annual Islamic Urs festival also being conducted here. The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) declared the edict a protected monument in 2008.

The edict has been engraved in a natural cave in Kaimur hill range’s Chandan hill. It is located in Rohtas District’s headquarters Sasaram. It is one of the eight edicts in the country and has been embossed in the Brahmi script. Notably, it is the sole one in Bihar.

“The inscription has been encircled by unlawful construction around it. The inscription has been made a Mazar now by covering it with a green cloth after it had been coated with white lime. An annual Urs is also being organised there by declaring it as the tomb of a Sufi saint. The gate of the monument is kept closed following this illegal construction”, reports OpIndia.

The encroachers removed the conservation board put up by the ASI near the inscription at Kandara, situated about 20 feet below the top of the Ashiqpur hill in the Kaimur hill range between Sasaram city’s old Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) and the new bypass. The ASI had also directed the District Magistrate (DM) to remove the encroachments in 2008, 2012, and 2018. The DM then ordered the Sasaram SDM to take appropriate action in the matter.

PC: OpIndia

Following this, the Markazi Muharram Committee, which had illegally constructed the Mazar by encroaching the site, was directed by the SDM to immediately hand it over to the administration. However, the committee refused to oblige and a huge Mazar was illegally constructed on the site. The inscription was rediscovered during the British Raj and the ASI had asked the district administration to maintain the status quo.

In January this year, the construction of a mosque illegally in the iconic Raigad fort had come to light. In his letter, Yuvraj Sambhaji pointed out that followers of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had brought to his notice the construction of a mosque within the Raigad Fort premises. He also highlighted that it was illegal to raise such structures in places of historic importance. “It is unfortunate that illegal construction activities are allowed to go on in an iconic place like the Raigad Fort”, he wrote.

(Featured Image Source: OpIndia)

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