Basri Shah Mosque: The story behind this ancient structure

News Desk: Basri Shah Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in India. This mosque is included in the heritage list of Kolkata Municipality. There was an old mosque at this place before Calcutta was established. However, the present structure that we see today was built by a man named Jafir Ali in 1804 and named it Basri Shah Mosque. But who is this Basri Shah? How is it made?

The most reliable information about this is found in the book ‘Mosque in Kolkata’ by historian Piyushkanti Roy. Where the present day Calcutta is located, there were basically three villages, Sutanuti, Gobindpur and Calcutta. The zamindari of these three villages belonged to the family of Savarna Roychowdhury. These places were acquired by the British in the early 18th century and they started setting up settlements, factories and cities here. As a result, Bengali Hindu-Muslims from other villages also came and settled here. Within a few days, Muslims began to feel the lack of a mosque here. In this situation, they rebuilt an old mosque in Kashipur area, which was named Basri Shah Mosque.

Even a few years ago there was a 1804 foundation stone, which was later lost or stolen. From that foundation it is known that there was an old mosque in this place. Then in 1804 a man named Jafir Ali rebuilt this mosque and named it ‘Basri Shah Mosque’.

But who was Basri Shah? It is known that a Sufi preacher from the city of Basra in Iraq came to this country. He is known as “Basaria”. He lived in Calcutta from 180 to 1890. He was later buried here after his death. The ‘mazhar’ that still stands next to this mosque is known as “Basri Shah Mazhar”. It is also included in the Heritage List of Kolkata Municipality.

Many people think that the builder of the mosque Jafir Ali is actually another name of Nawab Mir Jafar. But this information is baseless as he died in 1765, long before the mosque was rebuilt. According to some sources, Syed Mohammad Reza Khan, an influential person of Murshidabad, who was also appointed as the Deputy Governor of Dhaka, was also involved in the construction of this mosque. The mosque is built in the style of Murshidabadi architecture. There are three domes and four minarets. There are 3 torans in front. There are flower drawings on the inner wall. The mosque was also renovated after it was included in the municipality’s heritage list.

Regular ‘namaaz’ still takes place in the mosque. However, Musallis are few in number. People of different religions come to the ‘mazhar’ located next to it. They offer flowers and money and makes ‘mannat’ so that their wishes and desires gets fulfilled.