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arijit bhattacharya



arijit bhattacharya


Khusbagh - Garden Of Eternity

Khusbagh - Garden Of Eternity

12 mins 661 12 mins 661

I am staring at the teary eyes of Tiya. Cool morning breeze is blowing but inside I am being burnt with the agony of separation from my love, it is day of parting from my long-time inamorata, Aparajita whom I affectionately call Tiya. Tiya the delightful spinster whom I adore, whose never-failing beauty I always admire.

For the first time I saw her, I got infatuated. And I have been an ardent lover till now. Once I wished our love story to be immortal. She has been my enchantment, she has been the flame of my mind. But today on this cursed day, I am feeling quite destitute as Aparajita is leaving me forever. Her family has arranged her marriage with a successful businessman and they have been successful in compelling Aparajitā to respect their decision and abide by it. Seeing the tears of Tiya, I break into tears also. And the cool breeze along with the conscience prevailing in my mind remind me that this is going to be my last trip with Aparajita to Murshidabad-the city of the Nawabs, where history meets reality.

It is city of the fearless Murshid Kuli Khan. Decorated with splendiferous palaces like Hazarduari, Imambara, Nasipur Palace, picturesque gardens like Motijheel Park, Kathgolap Garden, Murshidabad is a resplendent ravishing city of the high-spirited steadfast ruler Alivardi Khan. Located on the eastern bank of the turbulent Hooghly River, the Riyaz-Us-Salatin credited the initial development of the town to a merchant name Makhsus Khan. Previously eminent for its sericulture and mangoes, its historical importance is highly acclaimed as it was the capital of Bengal once. In every nook and corner of this noted city, one can listen to the song of the history. In this distinguished city, Murshid Kuli Khan had set up an enchanting palace with a grand mosque adjacent to it. Now the mosque is known as the famous Katra Masjid. There was an influential Jain community engaged in trade and commerce. The Jagat Seth was one of the dignified banking families of Murshidabad.

Once depicted by Lord Clive to be ' much more enriched and wealthy than London' in its glorious days, Murshidabad is the city of the fearless gutsy but luckless ruler Mirza Muhammad Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal. Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah(Light of The State) before being the Nawab, in his early youth accompanied his maternal grandfather Alivardi in his military ventures against the Marathas led by the Bhaskar Pandit in 1746. Regarded as the 'fortune child' by his family, Siraj's bravery, determination and dauntlessness took decisive role of the victory of his favourite maternal grandfather. The Marathas were driven out of Bengal and the determination, audacity, valor and sevoir-faire helped him to earn the prestigious title of Hybad Jang (Horror in War). His father was Zain-Ud-Din Ahmed Khan, the Mughal Aristocrat, who was killed by the Afghans led by Ahmed Shah Durrani. Alivardi Khan announced his favourite grandson Siraj to be his successor in May 1752. That incident only aroused the envy of his aunt Mehr Un Nisa, well-known as Ghaseti Begum,his cousin Saukat Jung and Alivardi's subedar Syed Mir Jafar Ali Khan, ill-reputed in the history as traitor Mir Jafar who were keen on catching fish in a troubled water then.

The Mansur-Ul-Mulk (victory of the state) ascended the throne when one of the greatest tumults in Indian History was going about. Amidst deceit, chaos and treachery, Siraj's ascending the throne of Bengal, was an epic tale of rising against all odds.

He was the dauntless high-spirited grandson of Alivardi Khan, who subjugated the conspiracy of his evil-spirited aunt Ghaseti Begum and his cousin Saukat Jung who was ruling in Purnia. He subjugated the English force at Cossimbazar and vanquished the Fort William. During the rivalry of English and French East India Companies, he ordered the English to stop the extension of their fortification in Kolkata and the English got frightened. Since they were lacking a truly fearless and tactical leader who could counter the daring Nawab, they called up a strong-willed young Colonel from Fort St. George in Madras. This young Englishman had shown his marvelous tactics, skill and bravery previously many a times in South India during Karnatic wars and other expeditions. His name was the Robert Clive.

Although being a Shia Muslim, Siraj was fair-minded, unbiased to any religion. In his reign, Mir Madan was appointed as the Bakshi( paymaster of the army) in lieu of Mir Jafar and that incident infuriated Mir Jafar. In Alivardi's reign, Jafar Ali Khan coveted to be Nawab in the near future.

When Siraj ascended the throne, Mir Jafar was then the head of the armed forces, second only to the Nawab, and the elevation of a Hindu to a post above him was taken almost as a personal insult. It only added insult to injury.

Hindu Mohanlal was uplifted to the rank of Peshkar. So Amir Chand got enraged. So when Clive came, there was a diplomatic conspiracy going on at the young Nawab's court. There was a bad blood between the Nawab and the British also. The British Officials were desperate to dethrone the youthful, strong-willed Nawab.

Robert Clive and admiral Charles Watson came to Calcutta and recaptured it. Then forgetting about the conditions of Treaty of Alinagar, Clive attacked Chandernagar and ruthlessly plundered the French Territory. This whole situation compelled the young Nawab to take a stern action against Clive and his East India Company.

Clive fearing about being outranked by the superior force of Nawab, formed a conspiracy with Siraj Ud Daulah's demoted SipahSalah Mir Jafar, along with others such as Yaar Lutuf Khan, Jagat Seths (Mahtab Chand and Swarup Chand), Umichand,Rai Durlabh,Maharaj Krishnachandra and others. Siraj had French general St. Frais, whereas Clive had his counterpart, Major Eyre Coot. Hybat Jang had both skills and bravery, but he lacked the experience of his beloved grandfather late Alivardi.

But in the battle of Plassey(now it is Palashi), the Mansur Ul-Mulk was giving Clive a tough time and Clive and his forces were at bay due to the terror of Jahan Kosha Cannon. The valiance of Nawab's artillery as well as cavalry, was at its best. Major Eyre Coot was feeling like a fish out of water.

But it was the irony of fate of the Nawab. It was the irony of fate of Bengal. Soon situations got changed. Siraj had done a blunder in moving a large division of his army under the treacher Rai Durlabh and Mir Jafar, who were just spectators. But the remaining portion of the army was fighting brilliantly.

All of a sudden,came about a heavy rainstorm.

The British used tarpaulins to protect their ammunition, while the Nawab's army took no such precautions. As a result, their gunpowder got drenched and their rate of fire slackened, while Clive's artillery kept up a continuous fire. As the rain began to subside, the fierce English force began to dominate. Mir Madan's cannon burst and he breathed his last in the spot. And this incident gave Siraj a massive heartbreak. He sank into the ocean of sorrow. He lost all his conscience. Seeing their major rival at a loss, Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh advised the fortuneless Nawab to withdraw his army behind the entrenchment and rebound to Murshidabad with his beloved wife leaving the battle in the hands of his 'dutiful trustworthy' commanders.

Finally treachery and conspiration won. So on 23rd June,1757, the Sun of our beloved Motherland set in the western horizon for almost two years.A triumphant Robert Clive was received by Mir Zafar and his officers in the Nawab Palace. The traitor Mir Jafar was announced by the Nawab of Bengal by Clive and his East India Company whose hostilities will reach the zenith in the next century. The traders became administrators. And that's how under the leadership of Robert Clive(who was prone to fulfill his mission by hook or by crook always) gained a decisive victory at Plassey and consolidated its power in Bengal. Mir Jafar presented Clive with a plate of golden coins. Mir Jafar was just the puppet Nawab and Clive became the most influential political person in Eastern India.

A penniless destitute Siraj in an intention to make an escape to Patna, reached Rajmahal with his love and wife Lutfunnisa Begum, who was previously Rajkunwari,a Hindu girl. The treachery from the loved ones had yet not left Siraj. There in a garden, he was caught red handed by the the men of Mir Jafar and East India Company Officials.

Under the orders of Mir Meerun, the son of Mir Jafar, Siraj was assassinated by once his obedient Mohammad Ali Beg in Nemak Haram Deuri on 2 July 1757 as per the agreement between the British East India Company and Mir Jafar. His corpse was cut into pieces.

Now with my love, I am standing in the garden Khosbagh. Situated on the western bank of turbulent Bhagirathi, it is the garden cemetery of Nawabs of Afshar Dyanasty. The setting sun is bidding us good bye and the crimson red western horizon is looking classy. In this romantic twilight of the dusk, the garden is seeming much alluring. The soothing breeze is blowing, tranquilizing our mind and body, giving us a strange melancholic feeling. It is November, the dewy season, beginning of the cold season.

The concentrated nebula is enigmatic. This the garden where fortuneless young Siraj rests under the ground with two loves of his life. His beloved grandfather Alivardi and his favourite Rajkunwari, the Hindu girl who later became famous as Lut Funnisa, the empress of Bengal.

The deserted well-maintained garden filled with many types of radiant and fragrant flowers, is too much pulchritudinous, especially in the silvery moonshine.

The garden hosts the tombs of Siraj ud-Daulah and his favourite maternal grandfather Alivardi Khan, inside a square, flat-roofed mausoleum surrounded by an arcade verandah. The garden also tells the saga of never-failing faithfulness and friendship of Golam Hossain to the Mansur Ul Mulk.

The daylight was just fading away. And holding Tiya's soft hand, I sank into the history. My mind was occupied with immortal love story of Siraj Ud Daulah and Luft Unnisa.

Rajkunwari, was an alluring Hindu slave girl who once served Shorfunnisa, Siraj's grandmother. Later she became the primary consort of Nawab Siraj. Seeing her captivating exquisiteness, Nawab Siraj got infatuated. And soon with the changing circumstances and encounters in the artistic Heerajhil and romantic Kathgolap garden in the silvery sunshine and romantic rejuvenating cool breeze and due to the earnest efforts from two hearts that could feel the desire of each other, the infatuation turned into an immortal love story. Siraj finally confessed to his grandmother that he wanted the hands of Rajkunwari and soon his loving grandmother granted his begging. Siraj and Rajkunwari soon got married as almighty God had wished and Rajkunwari gave birth to Siraj's only daughter Shahzadi Umme Zohra Begum. Lutfunnisa's story is how fortune smiled on a poor, wretched, destitute slave girl and how she with the aura of her unique integrity, aroma of never-failing love and devotion towards her companion Siraj. She stood by the Nawab as his main support against all odds under diverse circumstances of treachery by his close relatives and loved ones.

After her dearest Siraj's death, the ill-famed Jafar Ali Khan and his son Meer Meerun, both were desperate to marry her. But she refused both. This event only increased Nawab Mir Jafar's wrath on her and as a result, she was confined in Jhinjira Palace in Dhaka with her daughter Zohra, who was the sign of her immense love for Siraj. But she never bent down. The flame of pure love for her fiancee, her inamorato Siraj was burning in her heart still her last breath.

Everybody has to pay for his action in this universe. And the Nemak Haram( traitor) Mir Jafar was of no exception. He died of leprosy. After his demise, Lut Funnisa returned to Murshidabad and there is a myth prevailing that she would live in this eternal garden of happiness, the Khosbagh. She would live near her loving husband's graveyard. And till her last breath, she would take care of this garden of Khosbagh herself.

Love has its own aroma. It is told by the locals that after her arrival, Khosbagh or Khusbagh, the garden of eternal happiness, turned out to be immensely beautiful that spring had arrived. Birds began to sing. Nature started to chant divine hymn in divine rhythm. And 108 varieties of rose started to bloom there. The surroundings got filled with their magical aroma. With the efflorescence of ambrosial blossoms, from the Heaven of gods, eternal happiness and true solitude gravitated in the garden.

Now I am preoccupied with this never-failing lovestory and it is darkening outside.

I feel my passion for Tiya rising its zenith. Just feeling a deep thrist to kiss her crimson red lips, to feel each and every of her heartbeats in warm embrace. Is it quite natural? A ghasty wind is blowing. In the eastern horizon, there is the silvery crescent moon. From the side of Bhagirathi, howlings of Jackals are coming. The whole environment is seeming quite mysterious now.

It is told that nobody can escape the wrath of the vengeful souls. And that came about to be true for all the persons who were involved in the conspiracy causing the downfall of Nawab Siraj. Mir Jafar died of leprosy, Mir Meerun succumbed being thunderstruck, Lord Clive committed suicide and Amir Chand who was himself object to another treachery after the war of Plassey,was paranoid and moonstruck.

So the each and every conspirator was ill-famed, darkness prevailed in their fate and their destiny was unnatural death.

After Lut Funnisa had passed away, many of locals noticed nebulous apparition of her spirit wandering about in the garden in the darkness of night with her consort Siraj. Some people also witnessed a strange forlorn lady wearing Burkha crying in heart-breaking ,grief-stricken tone beside the Nawab's tomb. Some locals tell only the remaining pieces of Nawab's body were buried here, most of the parts of Nawab Siraj's corpse were served to the terrifying royal hounds by Mir Meerun.

But now the revenge has been completed. It is said that to forgive is divine. I am pretty much sure that the wounded souls are now resting in peace. It is truly the garden of eternal happiness, Khusbagh which still tells the immortal lovestory of Nawab Siraj and his favourite Begum.

Now while standing at the beautiful garden in the silvery moonshine holding hands together, let us take the oaths and vows taken. Let us cherish the beautiful moment of love, ardor and passion altogether in solitude. I am stunned when Aparajita promises that nobody can force her being separate from me. This is the garden of immortal, magical, sensational love stories where you can listen to the voice of the history. This is the garden of Khosbagh.

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