BENGALURU: It’s a mouthful of a name: Astana e-Hazrath Tawakkal Mastan Shah Saharwardi Dargah. But this dargah that stands on a non-descript, tiny lane in Bengaluru’s Upparpete is a symbol of syncretic Sufism.
Members of all faiths are free to enter the dargah, which sees a daily footfall of over 1,000. Call it faith, call it superstition but many throng the dargah to rid themselves or their kin of phobias and illnesses.
Nisar Ahmed of the Muzavvar family, caretakers of the dargah for generations, is the priest of the dargah. A thread with pendant is the common panacea for all ills. Visitors come, sit in the corridors, pray for a while and leave.
Once the prayers are answered, they give vows (harake) to Mastan. Prashanth S, a bank employee and a recent follower , said, “There is a belief that if children suffering from some phobia visit this dargah, they will be cured. I have come here with my son who has been listless for some weeks. I have seen many people come for thanksgiving after their problems were solved.”
Roshan Ali, eldest son of Nisar Ahmed, says, “There is contribution from every community in the growth of the dargah. The locality has only around 10 per cent of Muslims. Majority are Hindus and Marwadis. We all live in peace. The residents here are our protectors and benefactors.”
Hyder Ali connection
According to Muzavvar’s family, the dargah is 300 years old. Nisar Ahmed says, “Tawakkal Mastan in search of opportunity to do business had come to Bengaluru with horses. He was also saintlike. Hyder Ali, the ruler then, wanted to reward Mastan for his good deeds. But Mastan refused and asked him to build a mosque instead. Work began in 1777 and Hyder’s son Tipu Sultan completed it in 1783.”
Incidentally, Hyder Ali was also advised by a philanthropist Dharmaraya to build a temple and mutt to make it a symbol of harmony. Hyder did so and named them after Dharmaraya.
To this day, the city’s biggest annual Karaga procession that starts from the temple and goes around Bengaluru makes a customary halt at the dargah here to pay obeisance to Tawakkal Mastan.