At the slanderer’s tomb, keep the footwear handy (Feature)

July 30th, 2010 - 10:58 am ICT by IANS  

By Asit Srivastava
Datvali (Uttar Pradesh), July 30 (IANS) Shoes and ‘chappals’ in hand, people stand barefoot in a queue waiting for hours for their turn to hit a 500-year-old tomb here. Believers say it wards off bad luck.

Chugalchi ka Maqbara, the tomb of the slanderer, attracts hundreds of visitors every day. It is the tomb of a courtier, Bholu Sayeed, who was held responsible for a clash between two ancient Indian kings that left a trail of death and destruction more than five centuries ago.

Situated on the outskirts of the Datvali village in Etawah district, 300 km from state capital Lucknow, the tomb has dilapidated walls around it that bear intricate designs. But visitors don’t seem to care for its architectural aesthetics, as shoe after shoe slams the aging monument’s walls.

“We believe that by hitting the tomb at least five times with shoes or chappals, a tragedy could be averted,” Laeek Ahmad, a resident of the Datvali village, told IANS on telephone from Etawah.

“Moreover, if the beating is carried out daily for at least a month, it would bring good luck to not only the person hitting the tomb but also his family,” added Ahmad, 64, who owns a tailoring shop in the village.

Unlike other tombs, where devotees offer prayers, ‘chaddar’ (a cloth sheet), coins and flowers, the Chugalchi ka Maqbara is not considered a holy place.

Legend has it that Bholu Sayeed, who worked for Raja Sumer Singh in Etawah, once went to meet the rulers of the Bhind kingdom in present-day Madhya Pradesh. At that time Raja Sumer Singh had friendly relations with the rulers of Bhind.

“During the visit, Bholu is said to have come up with an evil plan to become rich overnight and poisoned the ears of the Bhind rulers, saying Sumer Singh was planning an attack on their kingdom,” said Mushtakeem, 71, another resident of the village.

“After receiving the ‘information’, the Bhind rulers handsomely rewarded Bholu, who then misinformed Raja Sumer that his friends in Bhind would attack soon. This too he did for a reward,” said Mushtakeem narrating a story that has been passed down for generations in the village.

“Bholu’s lies led to a war between the kings, who were once friends. The clash resulted in destruction and many lives were lost,” he said.

But Raja Sumer came to know about the role of Bholu Sayeed. It was also revealed that Sayeed was sowing seeds of hatred among other rulers as well.

“Raja Sumer was shocked to learn the truth. He ordered his officials to kill Sayeed by beating him with shoes,” said Shahnawaz, another resident.

According to locals, afer Bholu’s death, he was buried on the outskirts of Datvali village and a tomb was built on the directions of Raja Sumer.

The king also issued a ‘farman’ (royal decree) that anyone passing through the area must hit the tomb with shoes at least five times.

“Gradually it became a custom in this village and the belief grew that it would avert accident, disaster and destruction of the kind that the common people had faced during the war,” said Shahnawaz.

“You can stand in front of the tomb to pray to the almighty to solve your problems. After that, you just need to beat the tomb with a shoe to get your wishes fulfilled,” he said.

(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |