A classroom lecture on the riverine security force for Taj MahalDear Friends,
Good Morning! Today I am going to discuss a lesser-known but very interesting fact associated with Taj Mahal. All of you know that Taj Mahal is the most popular and most discussed architectural monument of India. But even then, there are many details of the grand monument which are not known to most of us. For example, how many of us have heard the names of Ismail Afandi, Ustad Isa, Puru, Qazim Khan, Chiranjilal and Amanat Khan? I think, very few. They were the main architects, sculptors and calligrapher of Taj Mahal.
Similarly, almost none of us know about the riverine security force which used to protect the Taj and other neighbouring residential buildings during the time of Shahjahan and the initial years of Aurangzeb. It is astonishing but true. Let us know about this interesting force and its commander.
If we go through Badshahnama, written by the court historian of Shahjahan, Abdul Hamid Lahori, we come to know that Shahjahan issued a special firman (order) to create a post of 'faujdar-i-nawahi' (Police Officer of the River, i.e., River Yamuna). The mandate of the Officer was to protect the Taj and the riverfront around it. Under this Officer, a special riverine security force used to operate. This force consisted of a very strong naval fleet with boats, sailors and heavily armed soldiers. This force controlled and regulated traffic around River Yamuna and used to protect the Taj and the havelis (residential buildings) of very high-level officials of Mughal Durbar from the pirates and other criminals.
Now, some of us will be very curious to know who was the 'faujdar-i-nawahi'. Badshahnama also mentions his name. The officer was Agah Khan, who had earlier been the security in-charge of the jenana-mahal (ladies' quarter) of Shahjahan. After his promotion to the post of commander of the riverine security force, Agah Khan built a massive haveli on the bank of River Yamuna which had a vast landing ghat for his force. Agah Khan held the position until his death in 1656. After his death, the force was slowly disbanded.
We can still see the ruins of 'Agah Khan ki haveli' (the mansion of Agah Khan) on the bank of Yamuna in Agra.
That's all for today. I hope you have enjoyed it.
(Entry for Classroom Lecture contest)