JAJMAU: From the past to the present
KANPUR: How Jajmau got its name is quite hard to find out. Some link the name with a small village on the banks of Ganga while others point out it has got its name during British days. Therefore, the fact is still entangled between older Jajesmou to modern Georgemau. Frankly speaking, Jajmau’s historical evidence is either buried under its famous mound or whirling around the buffalo hide soaking pits in the tanneries. What exactly strikes the people of this area is the amalgamation of simple traditional things with the modern-day luxurious style of living. If there are existing marvellous buildings, there is no dearth of Kuccha mud houses here.
Along the banks of the Ganges, a very small village by the name of Jajesmou or Siddhapuri was supposed to be inhabited on the entire terrain spread over in olden days, as evidence point out. At that there might have been river route to enter this bordered area, there were enough wooded areas checking inhabitants’ free movement on all sides. Its existence as a hamlet has been found following the excavations were undertaken by the Uttar Pradesh State Archaeological Department in the two phases. First, it was conducted in 1956-58 and 1973-78 respectively and later in the year 2006. The digs uncovered facts dating back from 700 BC to 1600 AD. All the excavations were conducted during the construction of a new bridge and further in 2006 for widening the bridge highway. The Jajmau mound can still be seen from one end to another end. It is said to be the fort of Hindu king Yayati during ancient times.
Getting significant information about its history from the locals looked as if a jumpy exercise. But conventional details provided valuable historical specifics. What became known from them is a story about the mound regarded as relics of an ancient King’s palace which had been turned upside down by curse of the Sufi saint Hazrat Makhdoom Shah Baba whose mausoleum can still be seen. Historically, Tughlaq dynasty ruler Sultan Ferozshah Tughlaq built his tomb in 1358 AD. Besides, a mosque constructed by Kulich Khan in 1679 AD also stands.
Though a good part of the mound was blown up during the road bridge construction over the Ganges but what was unearthed from partial excavations of the mound indicated use of mud-bricks for making houses and also burnt-bricks to make streets, an iron artefact, red-ware, pottery, terracotta seals and house complexes in a quite unbroken condition. By its topographical expansion, it seemed this region had been developed during the medieval times.
Existing on this mound a very famous white Jinnaton Ki Masjid draws everyone’s curiosity. It was said to be completed in one night as the locals backed up. Not much ago an attempt to test out the Jinnats’ presence in the mosque’s precincts endeavoured and one member of the research team was slightly shuddered with out of the ordinary fear for a split of a second. He realised it as eager and enthusiastic viewers also found him in a quivering state.
The horizontal length of this mound (Tilla) on banks of the Ganges is still visible up to the hustle and bustle of the Massacre Ghat. Much has been changed with the requirements but Dupkeshwar Ghat site has earned enough publicity with the sudden surfacing of silver coins supposed to be of later medieval period months ago. This notable mound is certainly not wholly cut off from the army areas. Its location looks like that of the Vindhyachal region on a train’s journey while passing by Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.
Despite the very fact of the Cantonment area covering more than 28 acres of land, the suburb received its gradual identification following a treaty between Nawab of Awadh and the British in 1803 AD. A Convent school’s board tells of its establishment year 1899 in the Cantonment area. With the English authority over the place, the army settlements began to sprout up accordingly. It becomes apparent with whatever ruins or buildings surviving after the ravages of time, belong to the medieval and modern periods of the Indian history.
It can’t be denied that it was the British administration which understood its strategic position. It was later established the first leather harness factory in Jajmau area so as to pave way for the leather works. There is one desolated structure of mosque still standing in the army area while two mosques are intact.
At present, Jajmau is a densely populated place where the leather tanneries are scattered all over. As whatever scant information is gathered from the inhabitants, the localities were inhabited by the very vindictive Mallah community people in its uneven areas. By their severe unkind nature, their terror prevailed until the year 1992. Later, the city’s rich Muslim families started investing their money into buying the houses in both the settled colonies like Defence Colony and the KDA Colony.
The roads were not too good to move with speed in this area. Fright of robbers and dacoits stayed into the inhabitants’ minds till a longer time. Muslims’ surge became more vital because of their business directly or indirectly connected with the tanneries. Therefore, the population of the Muslims was fast started surging but they remained clustered to a very limited part of the suburb. What they in later days acquired were the pieces of the land of the closed tanneries which were spread still in a vast tract of barren Gram Sabha lands bought above half-a-century ago.
It is this suburb where the younger generation are dazed to find the older modes of transportation and several old-styled flour-mills, blacksmith and weekly Bazaar. It does not altogether mean that modern-day facilities are not available here. Buffalo-driven carts, horse-driven elevated carts, cobblers, flour-mills, and blacksmiths are the traditional activities still continuing. Leather goods and other heavy materials are also carried with the motor-driven carriers’ easiness.
Recollecting their past days a few senior citizens pointed out how they used to save five paise out of a small round twenty-five paisa coin from their parents for paying the wheat-mashing charge at the flour-mill. They devised tricks diligently to save five paise from that scanty amount. Those were the days when they used to cover school distance on foot. The condition of the flour-mills has not modernised because of the lesser income from these mills, as the owners point out.
Some vestiges of ancient temples are still found through ruins of the Ram Rai Sarai are hard to locate. It might have been the only Sarai which existed along the road moving towards Fatehpur direction. It is unclear whether this halting quarter was for the army or for the public. As we learn from the history that Sarai used to serve the purpose of stay and communication carrier in the medieval period.
Flowing slowly the river water is today not as pure as it used to be earlier. It is dirtier, polluted and contaminated but the JAJMAUites find here the benefits of spaciousness and freedom from hustle and bustles of the city crowded localities. In the past about fifty years, as older people maintained, this area has developed a lot in several ways and what not. Today, finer roads, nicer cars, quicker automatic teller machine cabins, brighter high-masts, more politicians, glassy beauty salons, well-equipped gyms, mall-type stores, banks branches, railways reservation centres, newer schools, higher buildings have cropped up in this suburb. Above all, construction of several marriage halls has completely ended the party organisation on the tanneries’ compounds in the area.