1. Khwajasara Aitbar Khan and his tomb
2. Khwajasara Firuz Khan and his tomb
Aitbar Khan literally means-a trustworthy man. Perhaps this was the reason why Khwajasara Aitbar Khan was given the responsibility to manage the royal harem of Jahangir,
In 1663, Shahjahan son of Jahangir had revolted, but Aitbar Khan had refused to be an ally to him nor help him. Jahangir was very impressed by the loyalty of Aitbar Khan and presented him with the title “Mumtaj Khan’.
Aitbar Khan was made the Governor of Agra City, by Jahangir.
According to traditions of that era, Aitbar Khan who was in Agra at that time had got constructed his tomb. This tomb is present near a big lake called Guru ka Taal. In earlier time near Aitbar Khans tomb there used to be a Sarai and a Mosque also. But during the modern construction of Railway tract and Road, a major portion of this complex was destroyed and now only the Mosque and tomb structure remain.
Since this monument-tomb has 12 pillars, hence it is also known as ‘Barah Khamba’. The grave of Aitbar Khan is located in an accurate shaped tomb.
Guru ka Taal
On the outskirts of Agra, near Baluchpura Station and Sikandara is located the Guru ka Taal-a historic Gurudwara. This was commissioned by Sant Baba Sadho ji Muni. This hermitage was built to pay homage to the ninth Guru Shri Teg Bahadur ji. T
This Gurudwara has a pond which has historic importance because in this pond Guru Shri Teg Bahadur ji had kept his arms and thereafter surrendered himself to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Initially this pond had 12 extensively carved minarets but due to vagaries of nature only 8 could remain standing. The architecture of this Gurudwara is heavily influenced by Mughal Architecture. That is why this building strongly resembles Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Pilgrims from all over visit this Gurudwara every year.
As the trusted eunuch
Emperor Shah Jahan was a great Mughal ruler of India who built the famous Taj Mahal. He became ill In 1658 and was declared incapable ruling and thus was put on a house arrest by his own son Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan suffered a lot during his later life, his own son Aurangzeb put him to house arrest and declared himself as the new emperor. Aurangzeb hated his father like an enemy and made all possible attempts to make his life miserable.
Aurangzeb engaged an eunuch called I’tibar Khan (also known as Khoja Phul) to harass his father. I’tibar Khan was made in-charge of the Agra Fort where Shah Jahan was kept. I’tibar Khan troubled Shah Jahan and spared no chance of humiliating him.
I’tibar Khan was a male by birth. He was born in the province of Bengal in a very poor family. In earlier times the poor parents used to emasculate their sons and would employ them in the emperor’s royal harem to gain a source of income. I’tibar Khan was castrated as a boy and turned into eunuch and was employed as an escort and domestic servant in the Mughal royalty. This event caused a deep physical and mental impact on him. I’tibar Khan was a politically shrewd and cunning person. Soon he became the personal adviser of Aurangzeb. During the house arrest, I’tibar Khan troubled Shah Jahan and kept Aurangzeb updated about his moves.
On May 30, 1658, Shah Jahan’s elder son Dara Shikoh, was defeated by Aurangzeb in the Battle of Samugarh, and was ultimately beheaded. Aurangzeb murdered his own brother cruelly. It is said that Aurangzeb sent Dara’s head in a box at the hands of I’tibar Khan to the Agra Fort. That night I’tibar Khan waited until Shah Jahan sat for dinner. On the dinner table I’tibar Khan served Shah Jahan the box. When Shah Jahan opened the box he was shocked to see his son Dara’s head in it. He screamed and fell unconscious on the table. When Shah Jahan gained conscience, I’tibar Khan began pulling off the beard hairs from the severed head of Dara. As he plucked the hair, blood began to flow from the pores and I’tibar Khan enjoyed the whole act while helpless Shah Jahan cried in grief. Later I’tibar Khan narrated Aurangzeb and his sister Roshanara Beghum all the incident that took place. On hearing all this Aurangzeb and his sister rejoiced and listened with great amusement and laughed. Such was this cruel and inhuman eunuch I’tibar Khan.
On the advice of I’tibar Khan Aurangzeb gave Shah Jahan slow poison. I’tibar Khan would secretly mix dosage of poison in Shah Jahan’s food. This caused a great decline in the health of Shah Jahan and eventually he became bed ridden. I’tibar Khan once brought a poisonous massage oil and secretly ordered the royal masseur of Shah Jahan to massage that oil on Shah Jahan’s body. When this oil was applied on Shah Jahan’s body, it caused him severe itching. The pain was unbearable and within days his body had become cole black with puss filled boils and blisters. After all this pain and sufferings at the hands of his own son, Shah Jahan died on 22 January 1666. Aurangzeb didn’t attend his funeral. Shah Jahan’s body was buried next to his wife Mumtaz’s tomb inside the Taj Mahal.
Thus it is said that the emperor who built the beautiful Taj Mahal, himself became ugly towards the end of his life and died a very gruesome death.
Involvement of Khawajasara Itibar Khan in Kafur’s Mosque and Stone Horse
This small three-arched mosque surmounted by a dome, measures 13×10 feet. Behind it was a set of rooms which have now dwindled and the well near it has been filled up. On a chabutarah, near it, is a life-size red stone sculpture of a horse, and on another, a tombstone.
There is a Persian inscription carved in relief on three panels above the arches. It records that Itibari Khan, who had a noble status by the grace of king Jehangir, built this mosque for Khwajah Kafur on the road (From Agra to Delhi) in Hijri 1015/1605 A.D.
Itibar Khan Khawajasara was an important Noble and Nazir (Superintendent) of Jehangir’s Harem.
He was extremely loyal, true to his title ‘Itibar’, and Jehangir reposed total faith in him. Jahangir has mentioned him fondly several times in his memoirs. Itibar Khan was governor of Agra in 1622. With charge of the defense of the Fort and the Treasury.
In 1623 when the rebel prince Shahjehan tried to take Agra, Itibar Khan successfully defended it against him. He was given the new title of ‘Mumtaz Khan’ and mansab of 6000 Zat and 5000 Sawar. He died the same year.
It seems that Khwajah Kafur was a Sufi Saint and Itibar Khan built this mosque for him and also a few living rooms and a well. The Tomb near the stone horse seems, obviously, to be that of Khwajah Kafur and the stone horse, a replica of his pet horse.
Itibar Khan’s vast ‘Rauzah’ (Garden-Tomb) was also situated in the neighborhood. This monument is protected and conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (Government of India).
Shah Jahan’s Palace Harem Custodian-Khwajasara Firoz Khan
Khwajasara Firuz Khan was a noble of Shah Jahan. He constructed this tomb during his lifetime and named it Tal Firuz Khan. The monument is built in red sandstone and features a double storied main gateway on the eastern side. The terrace on the first floor has arched chambers and can be accessed using a broad staircase of thirteen steps.
The grave of Firuz Khan is on the ground floor, which has subsidiary octagonal stories. Four-pillared rectangular chaukhandis with pyramidal roofs on top are located on the northern and southern sides of the main building.
The main entrance to the ground floor, where the grave lies, is through the arched opening on the southern side. The roof of the building has a semi-circular dome, which is crowned by a kalash finial.
This 17th-century Tomb, is a signpost on the Gwalior Road, just 5 Km from Agra, indicates the turning to this unusual octagonal structure, standing on the edge of a lake in the village
Firoz Khan, died in 1647. This marks the spot where Khwajasara, Firoz Khan a natural-born castrate and the custodian of Shah Jahan’s Palace Harem, is buried.
The red stone edifice stands on a high plinth and has a gateway attached to the main building. Steps lead to the upper story where a central pavilion containing the grave is located. Highly stylized stone carvings embellish the surface. Interestingly, unlike other buildings of the period, there is an absence of calligraphic inscriptions.
If the tomb is closed it can be opened by contacting the village watchman.
Ek Khwajasara ki pukar………
Ek badnaam si aur adhoori si zindagi ka haqdar hoon,
Kya meri quahishein nahi, kya main insaan hi nahi hoon?
Kyon karun main intezaar agle purjosh janm ka, main koi qafir nahi,
Kya mere Khuda ko mere is haal mein hi, meri bandage qubool nahi?
Lagta hai meri bandagi qubool hui!
Aka ki nazar meherbaan hui!
Aaj daulat,rutba, kismet, sab mera qadam bosa karte hai,
Lekin shohrat mujhe milti hi nahi hai!
Kyon ki ek badnaam si aur adhoori si zindagi ka haqdar hoon!
Kaash ke qafir hota, toh mang leta, agle janam mein jindagi ek pursukoon…………………..
By yours truly…….
Muslim Slave System in Medieval India by K. S. Lal