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Mysterious Mazar inside 10 Janpath, can the Waqf Board stake claim to Sonia Gandhi’s official residence? Here is what we know

Does Sonia Gandhi live in a house that is a Waqf property? Whose mazar is inside the enormous compound at 10, Janpath? How real are the superstitions?

A few days back, a photograph of Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad surfaced on social media where he could be seen changing the cars while going for a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. A mysterious structure in the photograph that caught the attention of many. Netizens wondered if there indeed was a mazar inside the official residence of Congress President.

While many reports have published that there indeed is a mazar at 10, Janpath, there were very little details about it. OpIndia decided to take it upon itself to find out whose mazar is this. Usually, mazars, dargahs, masjids, madarsas are registered with the Waqf Board. Hence, OpIndia thought it would be wise to find out if the Waqf Board in Delhi has list of all such mazars in the national capital. Here is what we found:

Whose mazar is it anyway?

OpIndia reached out to the Delhi Waqf Board to find out if they have details. An email to the Board was left unanswered. Our calls, too, did not elicit any response. Hence, we depended on all the information the Internet had to offer.

First of all, it was essential to find out if Delhi Waqf Board has made records of properties available online. On the Waqf Board’s website, there is a section where a person can search for properties under the board across the country. On the state page under the property search section, in this case, Delhi, there is an option to search properties region wise.

On the search page, you can choose multiple criteria to find details of the properties. Just to point out the fact that there are 1,045 properties registered under the Delhi Waqf Board as per the website. We cannot verify if there are more properties under the board that have not been linked to the website yet. It is not clear whether the website is regularly updated.

Janpath region falls under New Delhi district. There are three sections under New Delhi on the website that are Chanakya Puri, Connaught Place and Parliament Street. We checked on all three regions but could not find any reference to a Mazar on Janpath or close to 10 Janpath. There is only one mention of Dargah Sheikh Karimullah Mazar in the list.

Source: Waqf Board Website.

If there are any further updates on this, we will update the report.

Mysterious mazar at 10, Janpath

As we hit a dead end on the Waqf Board website, the next logical step was to search for any information available about the said Mazar on the internet. During the research, we came across a report by DailyO, and things got very interesting. In the 2019 report, it was mentioned that the house Sonia Gandhi lives in, i.e. 10, Janpath, has been deemed as unlucky. It talked about a Mazar in the compound built under a tree.

The report connected the resident being unlucky with multiple incidents of the past. Important to mention former Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, lived in the same building. He had moved to 10, Janpath after becoming PM, and within two years, he was found dead in Russia. No one knows what exactly happened, how he died and who was behind the alleged murder. It was termed as death by a heart attack, but no one knows if the reports were true or not.

The next occupants of the house were Sonia Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, who moved there with their kids. At that time, VP Singh was the Prime Minister. Gandhi campaigned for the Lok Sabha elections from 10, Janpath. In 1991, he was assassinated by LTTE terrorists. Sonia Gandhi still lives in the building. Her son and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, though lived at Tughlak Marg, he had lived at 10, Janpath at one point in life and the struggle he is going through to maintain his image as a possible national leader is known to everyone. The same goes for Priyanka Gandhi. Interestingly, when Congress won Lok Sabha elections in 2004, Sonia Gandhi, resident of 10, Janpath, was set to become PM but could not the following uproar over her Italian background. One may call it superstition, but is it really a superstition when the chief of the grand old party struggle to save the party while living in an allegedly “unlucky” building?

In a 2014 report of Sunday Guardian, it was mentioned that many Youth Congress members from the time when the building was its office during Emergency had seen blood marks in certain areas. Before Rajiv Gandhi moved to the house, senior Congress leader KK Tewari stayed there for some time. His political career went south over time. It is also reported that mysterious blood stains would appear inside 10, Janpath. However, we are not sure if the mazar has anything to do with these rumours.

The notable superstitions that shocked us

During the research, we found a few notable superstitions linked to famous locations in Delhi, including Lutyens Delhi and Delhi Airport. A few of them need special mention here. The first one is the jinxed house at the address 33, Shamnath Marg. As per a report in the Sunday Guardian from 2014, senior BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana lived there for three years while he was Chief Minister of Delhi. He shifted to the house in 1993 and within three years in 1996 following Hawala Scam. Notably, his name was not involved in the scam.

Later then-Delhi Minister in Shiela Dixit’s government, Deep Chand Bandhu, shifted to the house. He died while being an occupant of the house. Since his death, the particular building has been considered inauspicious.

Another superstition linked to a famous location in Delhi is Qutab Colonnade. It is believed to be still haunted by the curse of girls and women who were abducted for the pleasure of Nawabs and senior officials. Those girls and women were kept captive and abused in the Qutab Colonnade. Those who live around its claim to hear screams during the night.

The Runway Dargah

Do you know there is a Mazar on Indira Gandhi International Airport’s premises? There is a belief that two Sufi saints, Hazrat Kale Khan (Bade Baba) and Hazrat Roshan Khan (Chote Baba) that were buried at the place, provide protection to the flights. The employees of IGI and several airlines regularly visit the Mazar and believe the ‘Peer Baba’ of the Mazar would protect them. The two saints were believed to be lived during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Also known as the Runway Dargah (a name given because of its close proximity to the runway), it is open to the public every Thursday for a few hours. A special bus is also provided by the airport authorities for the devotees that take them to the Mazar free of cost.

Once a Waqf, always a Waqf

Usually, when a property gets registered with the Waqf, it forever remains the property of the Waqf. In this case, it is not yet clear whether the mazar and the complex surrounding it, i.e. Sonia Gandhi’s official residence, are registered with the Waqf. Hence, it is not yet clear whether the official residence of the President of Indian National Congress is property of the Waqf or not.

Source: Waqf Board Wesbite.

Recently, the Gujarat Waqf Board had staked claim to the Surat Municipal Corporation building which is now property of the Waqf because the documents were not updated. As per Waqf, back during the Mughal era, the Surat Municipal Corporation building was a sarai and used during the Hajj travels. The property then belonged to British Empire during British rule. However, when India got independence in 1947, the properties were then shifted to government of India. However, since the documents were not updated, the SMC building then became Waqf property, and as Waqf Board says, once a Waqf, always a Waqf.

If you, as reader, have any information on whose mazar is there at 10, Janpath and/or whether 10, Janpath and/or the mysterious mazar inside its compound are Waqf properties, we would be happy to update the report. You may reach out on [email protected]

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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