Arcot Wakf (Lodging) at Makkah, Saudi Arabia
Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah, Nawab of the Carnatic (1749 1795 A.D.) had purchased lands and constructed Rubats (Lodging) which are now known as the Arcot Wakf, in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for the benefit of the pilgrims, especially from South India.
This original wakf property was acquired by the Saudi authorities in 1986 and a compensation was awarded out of which a new 7-storeyed building ,was purchased in 1989. To this day, a number of pilgrims take advantage of the benefit offered to them by the present Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, who is the direct descendant of Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah.
During the ruling period of Nawab Wallajah, he had his own permanent staff stationed at Makkah and Madinah in the Hijaz in Arabia for the distribution of charity to the poor there. The Nawab supplied a ladder covered with gold and silver at Makkah to enable the pilgrims get into the precincts of the Kaa'ba during the Haj. He provided carpets and lights to the Holy Prophet's Mosque in Madinah (Masjid-e-Nabavi).
Nawab Wallajah purchased two ships, "Safinathullah" and "Safinathun Nabi" for commerce and trade, but they were mainly used for transporting Haj pilgrims from South India. So long as Nawab Amir-ul-Ulnra, Nawab Wallajah's second son lived, his charities poured into Makkah and Madinah without reserve.
Even today the same family, who were sent to the Holy Lands are looking after the Arcot Wakf at Makkah as 'Nazirs' (Caretakers) and the present descendant of the original Nazirs, Mr. Mohammed Ahamed Ibrahim Saab is looking after the 'Arcot Wakf', at Makkah.
The Mosque is a historical landmark in Madras city. It was constructed by Nawab Muhammad Ali Walajah, Nawab of the Carnatic (1749-1795 A.D.) The building is an imposing structure of symmetry and form of architectural magnificence with an imposing facade. The Mosque stands in extensive grounds, which are being used as a forum for religious and cultural activities. The Prophet's birthday is celebrated every year under the auspicious of the Meelad Committee in these grounds.
Adjoining the mosque is the tomb of the great saint Maulana Abdul Ali Bahrul Uloom, a divine scholar of the days of the Nawab Wallajah. In this enclosure also are the tombs of the late Nawabs of the Carnatic, the Princes of Arcot and other eminent scholars and theologians.
One distinctive feature of this mosque is that the chronogram engraved in stone and fixed on the inside of the western wall of the mosque is by a non-Muslim, Rajah Makkan Lal "Khirad", a Persian and Arabic scholar of repute, who was the Private Secretary to the Nawab. It may be mentioned in this regard that, as far as is known, no other mosque in the world has a chronogram composed by a non-Muslim.
On Eid-ul-Fitr (Ramzan) and Bakrid Days, a large number of Muslims gather in congregation to perform Eid Prayers in this historic Mosque. The Eid Prayer timing remains the same 10.00 a.m. since 1749 A.D. This historic mosque is under the management of H.H. The Prince of Arcot Endowments, controlled by the present Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul AIi, who is the direct descendant of Nawab Wallajah, the founder of the family and who now resides in 'Amir Mahal' at Chennai.
Higher Secondary School
A Madrasa was started in 1761, as a school for the education of the children of the Royal family of the Carnatic by Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah, Nawab of the Carnatic. Its scope was widened by Nawab Umdatul-Umra Bahadur and admission also to the sons of the noble men and officers of the State was given in the early nineteenth century. Nawab Ghulam Ghouse Khan Bahadur, the last Nawab of the Carnatic, threw open its doors to all children without any restrictions and for the development of Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages. It was after his poetic name "Azam" that this Madrasa came to be known as Madrasa-I-Azam.
The first Principal of the school was the great sage and savant Moulana Abdul Ali Bahrul Uloom of Ferangi Mahal, Lucknow. Among its early teachers was Lal Makkan Ram, a great Persian and Arabic scholar and a poet. Later Mr. Walter Joyce was appointed as the first European Headmaster.
The present abode of the Madrasa-I-Azam with its extensive and stately building called "Umdah Bagh" was the residence of Nawab Khairunissa Begum, the widow of Ghulam Ghouse Khan Bahadur Azam. The then existing oriental school produced only oriental scholars. Subsequently, with a view to providing modern education, the administration of the school was given to the Government. The vast ground became the playing fields of the school. A mosque was added to the school in 1909. In 1918, Government Mohammadan College (present Government Quaid-e-Milleth College for women) was started in the school premises.
The school caters to the needs of the Urdu speaking pupils without distinction of caste, creed or community. Urdu apart from being the medium of instruction, is also taught as first language and an English medium section was added with Urdu, Tamil under Part I in 1966-67. In 1978-79, the school was upgraded as a Higher Secondary School with Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Tamil, Hindi as languages.
Thousand Lights Masjid
This Mosque was built by Nawab Umdat-ul-Umrah in the year 1810. Before getting it redesigned as a Mosque, this place of worship has been a shrine for quite a long time. Holy quotations from Qur'an have been inscribed on the walls of the Mosque. This is located at Anna Salai.
Thousand Lights is the name of the area where this historic mosque is and Thousand Lights is what the mosque is called. The name derives from the tradition that one thousand and more oil-lamps used to be lit to light up an Assembly Hall that once occupied the triangular wedge between Mount Road and Peter's Road, that is now occupied by the Mosque.
The Hall was built around 1810 by a scion of the Wallajah family which owned much of the property in this area - for the Shia Muslims to assemble at Moharram. A Mosque was added to the hall not long afterwards and in the same 5 acre property, a still newer Mosque was added in 1981, with the two tall minarets and five inward curving domes showing modern West Asian influence.
One of the city's most important Mosques, the Thousand Lights Mosque is still a scene of the greatest religious activity during the annual Moharram festival. The old Mosque from inside the complex is quietly impressive in a way different from the new Mosque's grandeur. The mosque was renovated twice, the last time in 1936, but the outside walls are believed to date from the original hall.
The Prince of Arcot Endowments
Events Leading upto the Passing of Prince of Arcot Endowments Act
Tamil Nadu Act II of 1923
The Properties comprised in the Endowments originally were private and, the Endowments founded as an adjunct of the sovereign power of the Nawabs of Carnatic. The Mosques at various places now scheduled in Act II of 1923 were built by the Nawabs, both at Tiruchirapalli and Chennai. Nawab Muhammad Ali Wallajah, the Nawab of the Carnatic titled "Amirul Hind Nawab Wallajah", was administering the area in South India comprising Palghat in Kerala on the West and Kanyakumari in the South and Bidar in Karnataka and Nellore in the North from 1749 to 1795 A. D. He founded the Big Mosque and the Anwari Mosque at Triplicane and the Mamoor Mosque at Angappa Naicken Street in Chennai, besides many Mosques in the state of Tamil Nadu. He
displayed qualities of secularism, which resulted in his donation of large tracts of land to Christian Missionaries in Tiruchirapalli, which subsequently housed the Bishop Heber College, the St. Joseph's College, and to Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, a famous Hindu Shrine, even now called "Nawab Thottam" (Nawab Garden). Similarly, mosques were built at Tiruchirapalli.
However, in 1801, the British took over the military and civil administration from the Nawab and they were reduced to being titular heads of the Carnatic. Azim-ud-Dowla was installed by British Government on the 31st July, 1801 and he administered his private Endowments and the properties comprised therein. Regulation VII of 1817, brought into the statue book for the control of superintendence of Public Religious Endowments, did not include the Nawab's Endowments. Nawab Wallajah-III died in August 1819. After him, Azam Jah
Bahadur was Nawab Wallajah-IV till 1825. In 1825, Ghulam Mohammed Ghouse Khan Bahadur was installed as Nawab Wallajah-V and being a minor, Nawab Azim Jah Bahadur, acted as Nawab Regent till 1842. Nawab Wallajah-V died in 1855 A.D. with no male issue. The properties were placed under the control of a receiver, as the Doctrine of Lapse was applied to the succession of properties. However, by persistent fight and litigation with the British for restoration of charge of endowed properties and due to the intervention of British Parliament, Azim Jah Bahadur was created, by Royal Letters Patent, published in G.O. No.95/ 9.4.1867, "Prince of Arcot". Charge of villages, mosques and tombs as claimed by Azim Jah Bahadur were recognised by the Government and the right to management and other stipulations were in the form of a treaty. The right to the management of the Endowments was not vested by creation of trust, but as part of ancestral rights. Management was restored as an Act of State.
The High Court of Madras, in a judgement in O.S.A. NO. 103/1913, held that the Wakf was created not by a private person, but a sovereign. When in 1913 a scheme suit was filed at Tiruchirapalli in respect of the Endowments, the then Agent, Moulvi Mohammed Abdur Rahman Sahib 'SHATIR' with the Fatwa of prominent Muslim Ulama issued on 15-91921, was able to persuade the Government to enact the 'Prince of Arcot Endowments Act' and the private wakf was converted into a public wakf with the consent of the then Prince of Arcot. The Bill was piloted in the Legislative Council, Madras, by the then Law Member, Sir C.P. Ramasamy Aiyar with the main object of preserving the institution of the Prince of Arcot and preventing any move to remove the Prince of Arcot from the management of public charitable and religious institutions. The Act under Sec. 5 created a scheme for Trichy properties and the Act barred future invocation of reliefs under Sec.92(i) CPC, or reliefs specified in the Religious Endowments Act XX of 1863 in respect of religious and charitable trusts. This Act still continues in force for the governance and administration even today as unequivocally decided by the Bench of the Madras High Court in W.A.2204/1987.
Mr. U. Mohamed Khalilullah, a leading chartered accountant, is the present agent to manage the Prince of Arcot Endowments at Chennai and Trichy and other places outside Trichy district. His appointment is approved by the Tamil Nadu Government.
HARMONY INDIA, is a registered Association formed to promote secularism, communal amity and national integration. The Association was conceived and founded by Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, present Prince of Arcot, in the year 1990. He is the Founder Secretary General of the Association. Mr. N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, 'The Hindu', heads the Association as its President.
HARMONY INDIA was formally inaugurated in Chennai, on the 22nd November, 1990 by the then Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Surjit Singh Barnala. The then Hon'ble Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi presided over the inaugural function.
HARMONY INDIA is a broad-based Association with eminent persons from various walks of life and from different communities on its committee.
Such an Association has been the need of the hour in view of the communal tension in many parts of the country in recent times.
AIMS AND OBJECTS:
HARMONY INDIA will function as a national organisation with branches in every State.
The Association will support and supplement governmental efforts in maintaining and promoting harmony and strengthening secularism.
It will try to meet the aspirations of thousands of men and women for a better world, for a world of harmony and peace.
The Association will try to take all possible steps to avert situations which may lead to communal dis-harmony. It will also seek the assistance of the Government and concerned authorities in this connection.
HARMONY INDIA will aim at creating an awareness among the general public on the need for religious tolerance, unity and fraternal solidarity among people belonging to all communities.
The activities of HARMONY INDIA will include the holding of seminars, debates, symposia and arranging get-togethers to exchange ideas and share views in order to promote communal harmony. The Association will also develop a programme of social and cultural activities to promote secularism and national integration.
HARMONY INDIA will seek the support and co-operation of various leaders, including religious heads to spread its message of peace and oneness.
The Association plans to propagate its message of harmony among younger generation, particularly the students, by arranging competitions by way of debates, essays and paintings on the theme of communal peace and national integration.
HARMONY INDIA has conducted many public meetings on harmony, secularism and national unity in the past. The Association also conducted a sizeable procession of students from various schools and colleges to promote communal amity. We also held a public meeting to condemn the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 in the city of Chennai. We held International Peace Meeting in the city, by inviting the then Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Bhisma Narain Singh and also many diplomats from different countries, who are based in Chennai. We also used to issue statements to the Press as and when it is needed.On earlier occasions, HARMONY INDIA had invited many top religious head of eminence from different faiths of the world, which includes the Chief Imam of the Holy Ka'aba, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamy of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury, London, His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, Bohra Community Chief, the Chief Jathedar from the Golden Temple, Amritsar, the Chief Monk from Buddist community and many others have visited 'Amir Mahal', and spoken on universal brotherhood, peace and harmony. We used to invite general public on such occasions in large number, beside personal invitations, to have their blessings in person and to listen to them.
HARMONY INDIA had also conducted a public meeting to condemn the atrocities on Christians by the vested interests in the recent past.
Our Motto is, " India is one, Indians are one ".