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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


Sharga Park

A Mute Witness of our Freedom Struggle

By Dr. B.N. Sharga

The Sharga family occupies an important place in the history of Oudh. Shargas are the royal “Wasiqedars”. They belong to a Marshal race and their ancestors were brave fighters. They trace their origin from Mongolia, where a province, a river and a tribe exists by that name. In Mongolian Dialect the word “shargas” is used for a horse. Their ancestors were idol worshippers and came to Kashmir from Mongolia during the reign of the Emperor Kanishk via Asian-Silk Route and after settling down in Rainawari locality of the Srinagar district they adopted local Brahmanical order as their way of life.

Sharga Park

Shargas ancestor Pandit Narayan Kaul(1640-1712) was a famous historian of Kashmir. His son Zind Ram Kaul came to Delhi from Kashmir during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and got an employment in the Mughal Army. He became a Commander of its Mounted Regiment in the Lashkar of Moit-Ma-ud-Daula.

Zind Ram Kaul’s son Sahib Ram Kaul like his father also became a Commander of a Cavalry in the Mughal Army. When “Naib Wazir” Shuja-ud-Daula became the “Subedar” of Oudh in 1754 he brought Sahib Ram Kaul’s sons Laxmi Narayan Kaul Sharga and Nianjan Das Kaul Sharga from Delhi to Faizabad and made them Commanders of his elite Royal Mounted Guards responsible for the security of his main Palace. Both these brothers fought very gallantly against the British in the battle of Buxar in 1764 and saved the life of “Naib Wazir” Shuja-ud-Daula for which his Principal wife Bahu Begum granted them a “Wasiqa” a sort of hereditary pension of 200 Silver coins per month besides a Royal “Khilat” alongwith some “Jagirs” in the Farrukhabad district. When “Naib Wazir” Asaf-ud-Daula became the “Subedar”  of Oudh in 1775 he shifted his seat of Government from Faizabad to Lucknow. Consequently both Laxmi Narayan Kaul Sharga and Niranjan Das Kaul Sharga came to Lucknow and started living in Kashmiri Mohalla. Durga Prasad Sharga who was the son of Laxmi Narayan Kaul Sharga was an erudite Persian scholar and a tutor of King Wajid Ali Shah besides being an advisor of his mother Malka Kishwar and so he used to command a great respect in the Oudh court. When in June 1856 Malka Kishwar went to London with a 110 member delegation to meet Queen Victoria and to submit a memorandum against the dethroning of the King Wajid-Ali-Shah, Durga Prasad Sharga accompanied the former on this mission due to which the British stopped the payment of Wasiqa to Durga Prasad Sharga and confiscated his Jagirs as a punishment. His grandson Baij Nath Sharga(1850-1890) had to seek an employment outside Oudh in the Jaipur court and became a “Hakim” of Ganga Nagar district of that Princely Estate.

In 1884 Bishen Narayan Dar (1864-1916) went to England to study law against the wishes of the community members as sea-voyage was considered to be an unpardonable sin in that era due to which a sharp division in the community took place into “Dharam Sabha” and “Bishen Sabha”. A year later in 1885 a British ICS officer Sir Alexander Octavian Hume formed the Indian National Congress to fight for the constitutional rights of the citizens of the country.

Bishen Narayan Dar came back to Lucknow from London in 1887 as a young barrister. He was a great crusader and a champion of human liberty. He joined the Congress Party and started giving the electrifying political speeches. He was a great orator and so he became very soon a popular political leader of the masses. He sparked the freedom struggle and became its founding father. He was considered to be the most learned politicians of that era next to Rais Behari Ghosh.

He was the only person from Lucknow till date to become the President of the Indian National Congress in its 27th plenary session held in Calcutta in 1911. He became an honourable member of the Imperial Legislative Council in 1914. Due to his personal influence and stature many progressive minded Kashmiri Pandits living in Kashmiri Mohalla at that time became an active worker of the Congress Party.

Rai Bahadur Pandit Shyam Manohar Nath Sharga(1879-1952) who was a son of Baij Nath Sharga became a District and Sessions Judge during the British period. He was a great philanthropist, educationist and ardent lover of nature. Due to his zeal and untiring efforts Sharga Park came into existence in Kashmiri Mohalla around 1908 for which he donated land and a big amount of money to the then Lucknow Municipal Board whose Executive Officer was his close friend Pandit Maharaj Narayan Chakbast. He used to take a very keen personal interest in the proper upkeep and maintenance of this park. Sharga Park due to its ideal location in a densely populated area soon became a nerve centre of social and political activities of the local residents. Many stalwarts of our Freedom Struggle like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishana Gokhale, Dr. Annie Besant, Pandit MotiLal Nehru, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Dr Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Pandit Brij Narayan Chakbast, Pandit Brij Nath Sharga, Mrs.Dharajpati Bakshi, Dr. Hriday Nath Kunzru, Dr. Madan Atal, Pandit Jagat Narayan Mulla addressed their political meetings in Sharga Park as Jhandewalan Park in Aminabad was developed much later.

There was a time when this historic Sharga Park closely connected with our freedom struggle used to be the most beautiful and very well maintained park of the old city. It used to bag the first prize in the annual Flower Show competition being organized by the Garden department of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation. Unfortunately the bad days for this important landmark of our freedom struggle started just after the Indo-Pak war of 1965, when some misguided and mentally bankrupt officials of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation ordered the construction of a gigantic concrete overhead water tank in it after chopping off its lofty Ashoka trees on the land which actually belongs to the Sharga family much against the wishes of the local residents. This unwise step of the Municipal authorities not only destroyed the basic character of this historic Sharga Park but also encouraged undesirable elements to grab its precious land. Since then a number of illegal structures have come up on its land in total violation of the Municipal Rules and Regulations and in total contravention of the guidelines given by the honourable Supreme Court of India in this regard under the Gardens, Parks and Open Playgrounds Act of 1975. Now this park has no trees, no flower beds and not even a blade of grass. It has become a den of anti-social elements and “shohdas”. No respectable person likes to visit this park anymore.

The State Government has now decided to restore the old beauty and grandeur of Daya Nidhan Park in Lal Bagh which was developed in 1914 in memory of Pandit Daya Nidhan Ganjoo by his grandson Pandit Jagpal Kishen Ganjoo. It is hoped that the State Government likewise would take effective steps to restore the basic character of the Sharga Park in Kashmiri Mohalla which is a symbol of Lucknow’s glorious historical past and its rich cultural heritage. The State Tourism Development has recently introduced a Heritage Walk in the old city to make its citizens familiar with it’s past history and it’s heritage. The historic Sharga Park should also be included in this Heritage Walk and should be declared as a protected site because it is more than 100 years old and is closely connected with our freedom struggle. Zee Tv(Uttarakahnd & UP) has made a documentary on Kashmiri Mohalla directed by Nikhil Kumar highlighting the historical importance of Sharga Park which was televised on it’s network on 5th and 6th of August,2010 under its ‘Mati ki Mehak’ programme.

Kashmiri Writers B.N. Sharga


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