Hyderabad: Mutawalli of Saidanima’s tomb sacked for forging documents

Hyderabad: The Telangana State Waqf Board (TSWB) here on Tuesday removed Syed Mohammed Ali Khan (son of Syed Ifteqar Ali Khan) as the Mutawalli (caretaker) of the Maqbara (mausoleum) Abdul Haq, popularly known as Saidanima’s tomb, located at Tank Bund. The action against the father-son duo can be seen as a major step in cleansing the TSWB of such irregularities.

The order was passed after it was found that Mohammed and his father had gotten themselves appointed in the position through forgery, and without verification by Waqf Board officials in the past. Mohammed’s illegal appointment was found after Syed Meraj Nawab, a descendant of Saida-bi-Ma Sahiba, known famously as Saidanima, lodged a complaint with the TSWB on October 21, 2021.

Meraj Nawab, in his complaint stated that Ifteqar Ali Khan got himself a appointed as the Dargah’s caretaker by preparing fake documents. Subsequently on that basis his son Mohammed Ali Khan was then anointed in the position. Both them of were also booked by the Abids police for forging documents in 2016, and a chargesheet was later presented against them in a local court in 2019.

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The court found them both guilty and stated they were liable to be punished for forgery. The Waqf Board’s order, issued by the chief executive officer, said that Mohammed Ali Khan is liable to be removed from his position, and directed the Inspector Auditor Waqf to take complete charge of the property (Saidanima’s tomb).

“The father and son were appointed based on fake ’book of endowment’. Telangana Waqf Board’s CEO Shahnawaz Qasim has done a great job. This has been a big success after a 12-year-old legal battle. Inshallah I will be appointed as the next Mutawalli by showing the original Muntakhab (book of endowment),” Meraj Nawab told Siasat.com.

Who is Saidanima

The tomb of Saidanima was built by Sardar Abdul Haq, who also bore the title Diler Jang (1853–1896). He was originally from the Bombay Province (run by the British crown) and rose to prominence in the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, in the late nineteenth century. Jang became the princely state’s home secretary and then changed course to become the director of the Nizam’s State Railways in 1885.

In this capacity, he traveled to England as well. Jang eventually built a tomb in memory of his mother, Saidanima, which is is located north side of the Hussain Sagar’s reservoir bund road, heading towards Secunderabad. It is somewhat in isolation from most historical monuments, and is a landmark monument which often goes unnoticed, unless one stops for a few seconds and notices his/her surroundings. 

The structure’s onion-shaped dome placed over an octagonal base marks the tomb, points out Sibgatullah Khan, an architecture student from the city who runs Deccan Archive. He pointed out that panels of geometric cut plaster stand between the lobed arches, which rest on double baluster columns. The upper chamber of the monument has arches which are clearly drawn from the Qutb Shahi era, whereas the ground floor arches appear to be of Mughal inspiration. 

The erstwhile state of Hyderabad, run by the Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, lasted from 1724 to 1948. It had seven rulers with the last one being Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh in line, who had his princely state annexed to India in 1948, more than a year after independence.

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