Recently launched book “Manipuri Muslims: Historical Perspectives 615-2000 CE” authored by Farooque Ahmed, claims that Islam came to Manipur as early as 615 CE. If this is true, then this will place this region at par with Malabar, Sindh, and Gujarat as first places to receive the message of Islam in Indian sub-continent.
According to the report of the book release, Historian Farooque Ahmed writes in the book that a Muslim clan “sagei” traces its ancestory to Amir Hamza and Saad ibn abi Waqqas, both happen to be Companions and uncles of Prophet Mohammad (sallallaho alaihe wasallam). I have not read the book so I am not sure what evidence author has produced to support his claim. But if the story of Amir Hamza’s coming to India is correct then the premise of the story of Tilism-e-Hoshruba appear to be not that far-fetched.
Where is Manipur?
Muslims, who are also known as Pangals or Pangans in Manipur, are 7% of the population of the state. According to a report by the All-Manipur Muslim United Coordinating Committee (AMMUCOC), the literacy rate among Muslims is 58.6 percent (male 75 percent and female 41.6 percent) much below the state’s average of 70.5 percent (male 80.3 percent and female 60.5 percent). Muslims socio-economic condition is worse than rest of the state. There have been few clashes between Muslims and the youths of the Meitei community. And since 1993 a few armed Muslim groups have sprung up to take up the cudgels on behalf of the Muslims. This has given an excuse to armed forces to arrest and kill Muslim youth with impunity.
Here is an interview with Sitara Begum, an activist who is working on the ground among the Muslims.
Last year, TwoCircles.net North-East reporter Anjuman Ara Begum went on a trip to Manipur. I told her to bring pictures of some of the local mosques.
Sadar Bazar Jama masjid, Imphal
Hatta Masjid, Imphal
Ukhrul town masjid
The last picture was most beautiful and I especially marked it for later use. I was surprised to see the same picture on the cover of the book that prompted this blog post. It is a shame that publisher of the book has used this picture without asking our permission to use it.
Anyway, here is the same masjid from a less glamorous angle: