Tuesday, December 6, 2022

From SSB base camp to deserted fields, Madarsas and Mazars cropping up everywhere between UP’s Balrampur and Jarwa border in Nepal: Ground Report


Several recent ground reports by OpIndia have shown that demography is changing rapidly along India’s border with Nepal. The number of mosques and madarsas is constantly increasing. From August 20 to 27, 2022, an OpIndia team visited several areas in Nepal bordering India to observe the ground situation. What follows here is the tenth episode of the series of reports documenting the facts noticed by the OpIndia team.

We also travelled to the border areas of the Balrampur district to find out more about the mosques, madarsas, and mazars that are rapidly growing there. You can read our report on the problems brought about by the growing Muslim population in the urban areas of the Balrampur district here. OpIndia’s Hindi report on the same can be read here.

When we were reporting in the border regions, we focused on Tulsipur, the last and largest market on the Nepal border in the Balrampur district. From here, we acquired information regarding the places of worship that could be seen along the borders of the Barhni, Jarwa and Shravasti districts.

Mosque seen at a distance of 1 km from SSB base camp

As we travelled towards the borders in the direction of Tulsipur from Balrampur town, the headquarters of the paramilitary SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) camp, whose jawans are 24X7 guarding the Nepal border, we noticed a sizable mosque on the main road itself. The mosque was strategically positioned in between the SSB camp and the Kotwali police station, which was quite surprising. There are also important institutions like the District Court around this mosque.

Mosque seen at a distance of 1 km from SSB base camp

Shiva Nagar area has two mosques

Nearly 5 kilometres from Balrampur city, as we travelled in the direction of Tulsipur, we noticed two mosques in the Shiva Nagar neighbourhood. The distance between the two mosques was approximately 1 km. One of them was built right in the centre of a vacant field and was clearly visible from a distance. It is worth noting here that this route also connects the international border like Barhni and Jarawa with Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.

One of the mosques in Shiva Nagar

The second mosque is clearly visible just a few meters away from this mosque.

Second mosque is just a few meters away from the first mosque

Mazar right next to the main road

We saw a mazar after travelling a little further along this path. On the road leading to the tomb, some cows were spotted. The mazar’s state gave the impression that colour and light had been restored to it. However, no one in the area knew its history.

2 Mosques situated in the Laukahawa village

We came upon the settlement of Laukahawa while travelling along the Jarawa border, around 4 kilometres before Tuslipur market. From the main road itself, we could see 4 towers in this settlement. According to CP Mishra, a local resident, the area is predominately Muslim and has both mosques and madarsas.

Mazar and mosques in Laukahawa village

Madrasa as soon as you enter Tulsipur Block in Balrampur District 

The Devipatan Temple at Tulsipur is a very famous and highly revered temple in the district. Devotees continue to travel here from all over the world. We noticed a madarsa as soon as we arrived in this temple town. The madarsa named Jamiat Banat Al Salahit Sin was situated on the main road heading to the border village of Jarwa.

Madarsa in Tulsipur

At the entrance to Tulsipur market, we noticed another madarsa as we moved toward Jarwa. This madrasa was known by the name Madarsa Ahle Sunnat Faizul Uloom. The green-painted madarsa was shut and none of the students was present.

Madarsa Ahle Sunnat Faizul Uloom

On the main road outside Tulsipur market, we saw another building, on which something was written in the Arabic language. However, we could not find out what the building was used for.

Many shrines and places of worship on Tulsipur-Jarwa road

As we moved from the Balrampur-Tulsipur route to the Tuslipur-Jarwa road, we spotted several mosques, madarsas, and mazars along this roughly 15 km long stretch leading to Nepal. Here, it was notable that while the people’s homes were in shambles, the mazars and mosques were in immaculate condition.

Mosque on the Jarwa road

We spotted numerous Idgahs (places of worship) at isolated places, where there were no inhabitants nearby. When we asked the people walking by who frequented these places of worship, some stated that there were weekly fairs held there, while others indicated it happened once a month.

An Idgah situated in an isolated area

We noticed a dargah on the outskirts of Tulsipur as soon as we left the market. We were told that the dargah is visited by more Hindus than Muslims. We were also told that the monthly turnover of incense sticks, chadarposhi, and other items at that dargah is in lakhs of rupees.

Dargah situated outside Tulsipur market

While driving towards the Jarwa border, we could see pucca and new mazar structures coming up in open and deserted areas.

Another distinguishing aspect of these mazars was revealed to us by the locals who told us how initially a concrete structure was constructed in the location. Then, a large amount of the surrounding area was paved expanding the area of the mazars. Most of the time, this construction can be seen practically reaching the main thoroughfare, the locals informed.

An Idgah seen right next to the main road

On our way to the Jarwa border, we noticed that shrines were not only placed along the route but also in the middle of settlements. We noticed such mosques in a number of villages.

Mosques situated bang in the middle of the villages
Madrasatul Muda

We also noticed many madarsas along the Jarwa border road. Many students were present as well at these madarsas.

A creeping Islamisation of Nepal and its border areas appears to be underway, with Islamists steadily establishing their foothold in distant villages, including those on the Indian border. In the first four parts of this series, OpIndia documented the demography change ongoing in Nepal, as well as the worrying surge in the number of mosques and madarsas in the Himalayan nation’s border villages. Additionally, we also spoke about the rising incidences of love jihad in Nepal, as well as its Delhi connection and smuggling and various other notorious activities that are threatening India’s border with Nepal.

The first report in this series can be read here in Hindi: कभी था हिंदू बहुल गाँव, अब स्वस्तिक चिह्न वाले घर पर 786 का निशान: भारत के उस पार भी डेमोग्राफी चेंज, नेपाल में घुसते ही मस्जिद, मदरसा और इस्लाम – OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Demographic change hits other side of the border too, Mosques and Madarasas mushroom in former Hindu dominated areas in Nepal: Ground report

The second report in this series can be read here in Hindi:  घरों पर चाँद-तारे वाले हरे झंडे, मस्जिद-मदरसे, कारोबार में भी दखल: मुस्लिम आबादी बढ़ने के साथ ही नेपाल में कपिलवस्तु के ‘कृष्णा नगर’ पर गाढ़ा हुआ इस्लामी रंग – OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Islamic flags flying atop houses and mosques, madarsas influencing businesses: The creeping Islamisation of Nepal’s Krishnanagar

The third report in this series can be read here in Hindi:  नेपाल में लव जिहाद: बढ़ती मुस्लिम आबादी और नेपाली लड़कियों से निकाह के खेल में ‘दिल्ली कनेक्शन’, तस्कर-गिरोह भारतीय सीमा पर खतरा – OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Rising cases of love jihad in Nepal and its Delhi connection, smuggling plaguing India’s border with Nepal: Ground report

The fourth report in this series can be read here in Hindi: बौद्ध आस्था के केंद्र हों या तालाब… हर जगह मजार: श्रावस्ती में घरों की छत पर लहरा रहे इस्लामी झंडे, OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Steady rise in mazars and madarsas adjoining Buddhist places of worship in UP’s Shravasti near Indo-Nepal border: Ground report

The fifth report in this series can be read here in Hindi: महाराणा प्रताप के साथ लड़ी थारू जनजाति बहुल गाँव में 3 मस्जिद, 1 मदरसा: भारत-नेपाल सीमा पर बढ़ती मुस्लिम आबादी का ये है ‘पैटर्न’ – OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Rising number of mosques, madarsa along Indo-Nepal border: Ground report on Islamisation of village of Tharu tribe that fought along Maharana Pratap

The sixth report in this series can be read here in Hindi: बौद्ध-जैन मंदिरों के बीच दरगाह बनाई, जिस मजार को पुलिस ने किया ध्वस्त… वो फिर चकमकाई: नेपाल सीमा पर बढ़ती मुस्लिम आबादी – OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Dargah and mazar built around Buddhist and Jain temple premises, illegal mazar once demolished surfaces again: UP’s Shravasti near Nepal border

The seventh report in this series can be read here in Hindi: हनुमान गढ़ी की जमीन पर कब्जा, झारखंडी मंदिर सरोवर में ताजिया: नेपाल सीमा पर बढ़ती मुस्लिम आबादी, असर UP के बलरामपुर में – OpIndia Ground Report

The same report can be read here in English: Muslim encroachment of temple land, Karbala built in temple compound, and more: Ground report on Islamisation underway along the UP-Nepal border

The eight report in this series can he read here in Hindi: पुरातत्व विभाग से संरक्षित जो जगह, वहाँ वक्फ की दरगाह-मजार: नेपाल सीमा पर बढ़ती मुस्लिम आबादी, मुसीबत में बौद्ध धर्मस्थल – OpIndia Ground Report

The same can be read here in English: Mazars built at places protected by Archaeological Department along India-Nepal border, Buddhist shrines in trouble- OpIndia Ground Report

The ninth report in this series can he read here in Hindi: 2 मीनारों वाली मस्जिदें लोकल, 1 मीनार वाली अरबी पैसे से… लगभग हर गाँव में मदरसे: नेपाल बॉर्डर के मौलाना ने बताया इसमें कमीशन का खेल – OpIndia Ground Report

The same can be read here in English: Mosque with two minarets funded locally, another one funded by Saudi Arabia, Maulana at Nepal border speaks about construction mafia, foreign fundings and more

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