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Gujarat: 450-year-old Mosque Lies in Ruins

| Updated: December 16, 2021 1:18 pm

Jamalpur MLA Imran Khedawala has taken up the cause for restoration of the 450-year-old Ek Toda Masjid at Daulatkhana in Khadia. He claimed that it is a privately-maintained structure and hence the AMC is not using heritage grants allocated for restoration of historical sites. Lying now in ruins, the mosque was built in 1570 by Sheikh Mohmmed Gaus, the spiritual guide to Mughal emperor Humayun. The civic body is faced with apathy charges despite Ahmedabad being declared India’s first World Heritage City in 2017.

“The last three years have been spent in making several requests to the AMC Commissioner and the specially created heritage cell to look into such matters. However, no one seems interested. The heritage grant allocated to AMC remains unused,” he stated, adding that for some reason, the mosque is not included in the heritage list. It is currently owned by Matwali Sajada Nashin Pirzada Sayed Nayar Ahmed Trust.

In 2018, the old structure’s 60-feet minaret was damaged after being struck by lightning. Thereon- adjudged unsafe, its remnants were brought down by the AMC. The then AMC Commissioner Vijay Nehra had declared restoration work with a Rs 1 crore outlay. But no efforts have been made since. The exterior is made with sandstone and lime and each brick taken down has been preserved.

Experts say if immediate measures are not taken, the heritage would be lost forever. They point out that there are three different types of heritage structures in the city: those maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), those looked after by the AMC and a few others are private properties, with no clarity on its management. The AMC has made a provision for heritage TDR (transferable development rights) for maintenance of heritage structures in the walled city. However, this seems to be a failed move.

The minarets of the Ek Toda Masjid were taken down after numbering the stones. The mosque is a private property managed by a trust. As such, AMC cannot provide grants for its restoration. We tried to rope in some corporates, but no one was interested.  

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