Dujana caught in utter neglect

The once grand principality of Dujana between Rohtak and Jhajjar is in ruins, thanks to the indifference of government and locals

Dujana caught in utter neglect

The nawabi-era buildings and other structures are in ruins. Photos: Ranbir S Phaugat

Sunit Dhawan

Dujana, a former princely state, lies in a state of utter neglect. Characterised by magnificent mosques, grand nawabi havelis, architectural marvels and heritage buildings like Khurshid Palace and Bagh Wali Kothi, majestic wells and ponds in its heyday, the place has changed beyond recognition.

After the last nawab of Dujana migrated to Pakistan along with his family at the time of Partition, the erstwhile capital of Pathan Principality got reduced to a village along National Highway 352, between Rohtak and Jhajjar. Nevertheless, the relics of the nawabs’ havelis, some still-intact mosques, an old baoli and dilapidated remains of some grand old buildings remind one of the bygone era.

Founded by Baba Durjan Shah, a fakir, Dujana was given away by the British, along with other territories, to Abdul Samad Khan (1764-1825), a soldier of fortune, in 1806, as a reward for the services he rendered. Thus, Khan became the first nawab of Dujana. He was succeeded by Nawab Muhammed Donde Khera Khan, who remained on the throne from 1825 to 1850. The tenure of Nawab Hasan Ali Khan, the third Nawab of Dujana, spanned from 1850 to 1867; Nawab Muhammed Saadat Ali Khan (1867 to 1879), Jalaluddin Nawab Muhammed Mumtaz Ali Khan Bahadur Mustaqil-i-Jan (1879 to 1908), and Jalaluddin Nawab Muhammed Khurshid Ali Khan Bahadur Mustaqil-i-Jan (1908 to 1925). The last nawab of Dujana , Jalaluddin Nawab Muhammed Iqtidar Ali Khan Bahadur Mustaqil-i-Jan, took over the reins in 1925. He migrated to Lahore along with his family at the time of Partition.

Nobody’s baby

After the departure of the last nawab and his family, the heritage property was handed over to the Education Department. But neither the Education Department, nor the Department of Archaeology and Museums paid any attention to Dujana, which could have been easily showcased as a heritage village of Haryana.

Due to the lack of maintenance, the nawabi-era buildings and other structures are in ruins — the villagers use these heritage sites to rear cattle and prepare dung-cakes. Local residents maintain that if the authorities concerned had taken care of Khurshid Palace, Bagh Wali Kothi, mosques, wells, ponds and baoli of Dujana, these would have been still intact.

“People continue to encroach upon these sites and take away wooden, marble, stone and glass fittings with impunity,” laments Naveen Ahlawat, a resident of Dujana.

Apart from the government apathy and indifferent attitude of the villagers, the floods in 1995 also caused much damage to the heritage buildings and structures.

Of the 30-odd mosques located in Dujana, only the Lal Masjid, where some scenes of the Aamir Khan-starrer Bollywood movie Mangal Pandey: The Rising were shot, has been maintained well by the Haryana Waqf Board.

Gradual decay of heritage

“Dujana has witnessed a gradual decay of heritage-value property over the past decades. Several buildings of the nawabs’ time are on the verge of collapse. The memorial tombs of the family members of the nawabs and a graveyard located adjacent to the kachehri are in a pitiable condition,” observes Haryana’s noted cultural historian Ranbir S Phaugat.

He points out that the Dargu Walah well in Dujana, which is probably the largest well in the state, is also lying in a state of neglect. “Only the fine masonry buildings of a school and a hospital are noticeable now.”

In what can be termed ‘better late than never’, the Haryana State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums has now pulled up its socks and started the exercise to take over some heritage buildings and structures of Dujana for restoration.

“We have initiated the process to take over Lal Masjid, Bagh Wali Kothi and Dargu Walah well and the adjoining baoli for restoration,” reveals Dr Banani Bhattacharyya, Deputy Director at the state Directorate. The move of the Haryana Government comes as a ray of hope to revive the nawabi-era grandeur of the erstwhile princely state.

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