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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

A Place And Its Negative

Azamgarh's recent history shows it was primed to tip over. Is it the fate of our lost towns?

A Place And Its Negative
Nirala Tripathi
A Place And Its Negative
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
The Azamgarh You Don't Know...
  • The district owes its name to a Gautam Rajput prince who converted to Islam and became Azam Shah in 1665
  • Azamgarh is famous for its handwoven Benarasi sari
  • Home to many famous Urdu poets like Iqbal Suhail, Kaifi Azmi and Allahmah Shibli
  • A seat of higher learning, the Shibli Academy, is located here. It possesses a wealth of authenticated documents dating back to the 16th century.
  • The district is also the home of the renowned Madrassa-tul-Falah and Madrassa-tul-Islahi

***

Azamgarh's Infamy...
  • Out of 54 recent terror strikes, 44 are said to have links here
  • Dawood's wife hails from Saraimir block. Haji Mastan's two daughters were married here. Abu Salem is a native.
  • Since the '70s, it's witnessed an exodus to Gulf countries. This means huge foreign remittances, including terror funds.
  • Contract killings in Mumbai, including that of music tycoon Gulshan Kumar, executed by Azamgarh shooters
  • Bhamol block is known as an illegal firearms hub
  • One of the poorest districts, 70% children malnourished

***

Nearly 90 kilometres north of Varanasi lies Azamgarh, sitting on the same axis as Gorakhpur, Jaunpur and Mirzapur, a town founded by a Gautam Rajput prince who embraced Islam and took the name Azam Shah in 1665. Centuries later, Azamgarh once again faces a crisis of faith, in conflict with its past as well as the many identities that have sprung up over time. A town of poets, intellectuals, famed handloom weavers and merchants, it has now been branded by the "terror" tag—something reinforced with every shrill headline and soundbite.

In...
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