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Synthesis: Uttar Pradesh's gift to Tamil Nadu

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Post by Guest Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:31 pm

CHENNAI: When the Tanjore king Achuthappa Naik (1560-1614) was bedridden after he suffered a paralytic stroke, many believed it was due to some black magic. The matter was informed to a visiting saint who eventually restored the king to health. Whether one believes in miracles or not, Nagore still thrives on it.

"Nagore is known for its religious harmony for more than 500 years. It is all because of the saint Qadir Wali who is enshrined there in a place widely known as Nagore dargah to which people of all religions throng with faith and problems. The miracle has been happening since 16th century and it still continues," said A S Mohamed Rafee, author of the recently released book, "The Ocean of Miracles: Life of Qadir Wali".

Qadir Wali travelled to many parts of the world and stayed in Mecca, Medina, Turkey and Palestine for many years before he came to Nagore where he lived for 28 years. "At a time when the world is facing serious threats in the name of religion, it's remarkable that Nagore still survives on harmony, a reason why more sandal smeared heads are seen in the Sufi dargah. Wali served the people of all religions with his miraculous powers," said Rafee, who is associate professor at the Mazharul Uloom College, Ambur.

Qadir Wali was born in 1504 in Manikkappur, a town established by Firoz Sha Tughluq in Uttar Pradesh, some 60 km from today's Ayodhya. His parents, Hasan Guddus and Fatima, were descendants in the lineage of Prophet Muhammad and Abdul Qadir of Jilan, a great saint of the 12th century in Iraq.

Nagore dargah was built on land donated by king Achuthappa Naik. Many important parts of the dargah were built by the generous donation of non-Muslims, a reason cited why it's a symbol of religious harmony. "The dargah has five minarets and the tallest one is called Periya Minar. It is 131 feet high with ten storeys. It was built by king Pratap Sing of Tanjore (1739-17633) after his wish for a son was fulfilled by praying to Wali 200 years after his passing away. The Peer Mandapam was built by the Dutch.


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Post by Guest Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:32 pm

TIRUCHI: E Karthikeyan, a Chennai businessman, never fails to make his annual trip to Nagore, a small, crowded pilgrim town in Nagapattinam district. Once in Nagore, Karthikeyan, accompanied by his family, drives straight to the Hazrat Syed Shahul Hameed dargah, popularly known as Nagore Dargah, where he offers a heavily brocaded chadar' to the Muslim saint's tomb. "The ritual of presenting the chadar (blanket) started around the year 1900 when my great grandfather Palaniandi Pillai took his family for the Khanduri festival and presented a chadar," says Karthikeyan.

Karthikeyan is one among the thousands of Hindus who visit the Nagore dargah during the annual Khandhuri festival. The majestic tomb, more than 500 hundred years old, flanked by five minarets towering over the town is an epitome of harmonious co-existence of the two religions.

"Not just during Khanduri festival, Hindus visit the dargah throughout the year to get the blessings of the holy saint. Here, it is the soul of the person that matters and not the religion," says S Syed Kamil Sahib Qadiri, president of the Nagore dargah, taking a break from a meeting with police officials to discuss security measures to be adopted in the pilgrim town on the eve of the Ayodhya verdict. Even Hindu devotees from Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka visit the dargah regularly, he said.

"I have been visiting the Nagore dargah for the past seven years,'' says Sivasubramanian, a 39-year-old father of two, who works in a tea shop in Tiruchi. Hazrat Syed Shahul Hameed or Nagore Andavar', as the devotees call the saint, lived in Nagore in the 16th century. He was also popularly called Meeran Sahib or Qadir Wali.

Palaniandi Pillai, the great-grandfather of Karthikeyan, supposed to have overcome a debt problem after praying at the saint's tomb. As a mark of gratitude, he built many of the gates at the dargah besides making liberal donations. Besides businessmen like him, the Naik rulers of Thanjavur and the Marathas during the later period have also patronised the dargah. The Maratha king of Thanjavur, Tulasi Maharaja, donated 4,000 acres of agricultural land for the maintenance of the dargha. "Where comes the question of religion when all are brethren?" asks Syed Kamil Sahib Qadiri.


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