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Occupied Mandirs Exhibit 3: Katra Masjid

Katra, The Mosque of Lies… 

 

‘Katra’ literally means to cut (e.g Jebkatra, meaning pick pocket). The Katra Masjid was once a temple and dham where devotees could stay. Then it became a masjid and later the tomb of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan. Claimed to have been built in CE 1723-24, it is one of the largest mosques in the Indian subcontinent(largest in Bengal) and is located in the eastern side of Murshidabad.

Site plan of Katra.

Murshid Quli Khan was born in a Hindu Brahmin family and then bought by a Mughal noble named Haji Shafi. It is heard that after coming to age, once Murshid learnt about his Hindu lineage, he sought acceptance of the Hindu society(without returning to Hinduism). But upon facing rejection from the Hindu society, he rampaged dozens of Hindu temples out of rage. But for some reason he could not, did not destroy the temple of Lord Shiva, which still stands in the masjid premises as a burning testimony that this was a site of Hindu temples or a Hindu religious complex.
Some say that this is a testimony to his changed mindset, that in the end he wanted the acceptance of God, in his true form, Shiva or Allah… And he also sought penitence, hence he had himself buried in the stairs so that his mortal remains maybe trampled upon by the pilgrims of both religions.

Image 1: ©Deep Biswas ©Sriti O Chetona 2021
Image 2: murshidabad.net
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