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 rapidly increasing in the area. 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 thirteenth report of the series of reports documenting the facts noticed by the OpIndia team.
In the previous report, we looked in greater detail into the drastically rising number of mosques and places of worship springing up along the road from Balrampur district headquarters to Nepal’s Jarwa border. We emphasised how the entire 50-kilometre area from UP’s Balrampur district headquarters to Nepal’s Jarwa border is plagued with several mosques, mazars, and madarsas. After touring the Tulsipur market region, which borders the Balrampur district headquarters, our team chose to travel to the Barhni border, which is one of Nepal’s busiest border areas. This path is also approximately 60 kilometres long.
Mazars and madarsas on the highway
We came to an Islamic site of worship as we drove from Tulsipur market to the Barhni border. The shrine was painted green, and there was complete silence. This shrine had a minaret and a pucca structure built around it. It was only around 50 metres away from the highway.
We must have gone about half a kilometre from this mazar before we spotted a madarsa signage on the left side of the road. ‘Madarsa Arabiya Ahle Sunnat Qadriya’ was inscribed on the board. The madarsa in Purushottampur, a village in the Kapilvastu District of the Lumbini Zone on the Indo-Nepal border, was recognised at the elementary level, according to the signboard. Maulana Nasruddin Qadri has been operating this madarsa since 2001.
After moving no more than two kilometres from this madarsa, we noticed a mosque with one minaret built in the heart of the market. There was a row of shops outside the mosque. Here one must recall, that in one of our previous reports in this series, we highlighted how Maulana Barkatullah Khan had revealed to us that Saudi Arabia has provided funding for almost all of the mosques that have been built over the years along the Indo-Nepal border. The mosques with two minarets were built with funds from Indian Muslims, he explained, whereas the mosque with just one minaret was funded by Saudi Arabia.
We passed another madarsa on our left as we drove towards Badni on the main highway. The name of this madrasa is ‘Darul Uloom Habiba Faizan Tajjushariya.’ his madrasa is built at a place named Matehna.
On the main highway after Matehna, there is Kewalpur market. We came across a dargah built right next to the road. A small gathering was also visible at the dargah. Something was inscribed in Arabic on the entry gate of the dargah.
After travelling a maximum of 100 metres from this mazar, a mosque appeared at Kewalpur. It was situated about 200 metres from the road. This mosque featured two minarets.
After travelling no more than 100 metres from the mosque, we spotted the gate of a madarsa. The gate was on the main road that led to the connecting road. The name ‘Madarsa Darul Uloom Sadyehq Naimiyan’ was inscribed on the board. This village was called Rajabagh, and it was located near the Gainsari border.
We hardly even walked one kilometre when we saw another madarsa near the main road. This madarsa was named ‘Madarsa Khadijatul Kublial Banat.’ This madarsa had a white-painted boundary and was enclosed on all sides.
We’d just passed the previous madarsa when we noticed another. This was located on the road leading to Fatima Degree College in the Gainsri neighbourhood. Like the aforementioned madarsa, this too was situated on the side of the road. It was named ‘Madrasa Maculiya Zohra.’ Some people dressed as clerics were spotted teaching while numerous children were seen studying inside the madarsa. A government tap was installed right in front of it.
As we drove through the Gainsri neighbourhood toward the Pachpedwa market, we noticed a big mosque. The mosque was located alongside the road in the heart of the main market. Another little road connected to the Nepal border from here, and the mountains beyond the border of Nepal are clearly visible from this market. This mosque had two minarets as well.
SK Mishra, a local resident, told us that there are more shrines or madarsas situated within the villages than can be seen from the road. Mishra described the Pachpedwa mosque as the most important centre of worship in the neighbourhood.
As we passed through the Pachpedwa market on our way to the Badhni border, we noticed another mosque at the Judikuiyan intersection. We had to only travel one kilometre to reach this point. This mosque was plastered white and like all others was also situated merely a short distance from the main road. There was a puncture shop in front of the mosque.
Islamic worship places present in every single village
We passed another masjid as we travelled barely 2 kilometres from the Judikuiyan roundabout. This mosque had two minarets and was located in the village town of Shankarpur Kalan in UP’s Balrampur district.
We must have travelled no more than one kilometre from Shankarpur Kalan village when we came upon another mosque in Vishnupur village. This mosque was on our left. The mosque was located alongside a road close to a railway line. This railway line connects Delhi to the Nepalese border station at Barhni. This mosque also had two minarets.
All of the previous markets and villages we visited were very close to the Nepali border. The Nepalese border is only 10 kilometres away from all of these locations. After leaving Vishnupur, we reached Narayanpur village. In this village also we saw a mosque beside the road. The most notable and distinctive feature of Narayanpur village was the presence of mosques with single and double minarets built side by side.
We reached the Laxminagar police checkpoint after travelling a little further away from Narayanpur, which is under the Pachpedwa police station in the Balrampur district. Another madarsa is being built on the opposite side of this police picket line. This madarsa is known as ‘Fazal Rahmania.’
We must have driven for not more than 2 to 3 minutes from this madarsa before seeing a large mosque on the left side. This mosque had a minaret, which was surrounded by Islamic flags.
Mazars crop up under recently constructed overbridges and bridges
During our trip, we saw something peculiar. On the roadway from Balrampur to Barhni, we spotted multiple Mazars and Karbalas positioned beneath recently constructed overbridges. The fresh paint and plaster on it spoke to the fact that these were newly built. However, no one in the neighbourhood was willing to talk about it.
On the route heading to Barhni, there is an overbridge just in front of the village of Bishunpur Tantanwa. When we took a view of the surrounding from this overbridge, we noticed a green-coloured prayer hall in the village approximately a half kilometre away.
When we took a closer look around, we noticed another shrine not far from the first. Both places of worship were nearly the same distance from the overbridge on the highway. The second mosque we saw had two minarets. Local people of Bishunpur Tantanwa hamlet also told us that a madarsa is all operating in that village.
As we approached the Pachpedwa police station, we noticed a new mazar by a bridge. This mazar was located near Banjariya village. The distance between the tomb and the road bridge was hardly 100 metres. There was complete silence and no sign of habitation. Several Islamic flags were placed atop the mazar and a large platform was constructed around the tomb. There was also a pond beside the tomb. We met Arbaaz, a native of Kohandora village, but he couldn’t tell us anything about the mazar’s history.
As soon as we crossed Gainsari Bazar, we saw an overbridge on the highway. A recently built mazar could be seen just below the overbridge. Some called it Karbala. This mazar was almost as far away from the overbridge as Pachpedwa’s tomb was from the road bridge. This mazar’s colour and size were comparable to the previous mazar’s. Islamic flags were also flying over it. A river ran alongside this mazar.
On the highway between Tulsipur and Gainsari Bazar, we observed another mazar erected beneath another overbridge. Gainsari is around 5 kilometres away. This tomb was similar in colour to the other ones. A number of green flags were placed around the tomb. The locals were unable to provide us with much information regarding this mazar.
This process of discovering mazars and mosques proceeded all the way to the border. Balrampur district ended at the Pachpedwa boundary, and Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharthnagar district began. What we noticed in this district will be detailed in the following report.
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 incidents of love jihad in Nepal, as well as its Delhi connection and smuggling, and various other notorious activities that are going on along 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 tenth report in this series can he read here in Hindi: SSB बेस कैंप हो या सड़क, गाँव हो या खेत-सुनसान… हर जगह मस्जिद-मदरसे-मजार: UP के बलरामपुर से नेपाल के जरवा बॉर्डर तक OpIndia Ground Report
The same can be read in English here: From SSB base camp to deserted fields, Madarsas and Mazars cropping up everywhere between UP’s Balrampur and Jarwa border in Nepal: Ground Report
The eleventh report in this series can be read here in Hindi: हिंदू बच्चों का खतना, मंदिर में शादी के बाद लव जिहाद और आबादी असंतुलन के साथ बढ़ते पॉक्सो मामले: नेपाल बॉर्डर पर बलरामपुर जिले में OpIndia Ground Report
The same can be read here in English: Circumcision of Hindu children, love jihad, increased POCSO cases and more: Ground report from UP’s Balrampur district along Indo-Nepal border
The twelfth report in this series can be read here in Hindi: गाँवों में अरबी-उर्दू लिखे हुए नल, UAE के नाम की मुहर: ज्यादा दाम देकर जमीनें खरीद रहे नेपाली मुस्लिम – OpIndia Ground Report
The same can be read here in English: Muslims buying Hindu land at higher price, building ‘Saudi-style’ mosques, installations with details inscribed in Urdu and Arabic- Ground report from UP-Nepal border areas