Every tract of land conceals some account from the past. This is made clear by the recent controversy over the Hindi film “Padmavati”.
We also learnt of the permission to excavate the Kaurava’s Lakshagriha (house of lac) in Uttar Pradesh. This is the kind of resolve which is needed to search a mythological location.
However, instead of going down to that pre-historic site and further entangling into the Alauddin Khilji – Padmavati episode, why not explore the place called Jajmau on the banks of the Ganga?
Being a barren tract of land surrounded by a mound, this area attracted the attention of the British rulers. Though it appears to have been scantily used by the Awadh Nawabs, the British made use of this area for its shipping business.
The name Jajmau can be divided into two different parts – ‘Jaj’ and ‘mau’. According to the local people, while ‘Jaj’ supposedly refers to a British name, the word ‘mau’ is a synonym for ‘paddav’ or ‘chhavni’. It’s a fitting name since the area was apparently used as a ‘barrack’ by rulers like Aurangazeb and Sher Shah Suri. Though the first portion of the name may have lost its relevance, the second part still holds relevance, as parts of the region are still used as a cantonment.
Excavations may have brought several facts to light, but some areas still require adequate research work. Though this infertile tract had been used by the British mostly to cater to their army’s needs, its value in the pre-British era should not be overlooked.
However, the area’s importance when it came to military operations is still to be seen. In some ways, this area received more attention from the British rulers. It was they who established at least two tanneries for their needs, which later came to be the basis of the leather hub. Today, the whole area is famous for its leather business.
But the one sarai which was established in the area also tells something considerable. Moving forward through the Purani Chungi we reach Ram Rai Sarai, which once existed in the area. Unfortunately, nothing of this sarai can be traced.
Apparently, there was an old temple in the name of Shitala Devi around the sarai. Now, neither can the sarai be found, nor the temple’s remains, as the people confirm.
What stays in its place is a twice-a-week traditional bazaar, which fulfills the essential needs of the locality’s residents. The locality and the bazaar are describing its hoary past. The area’s people also said that most of the barren lands beside the Ganga were used for establishing big tanneries. The remaining lands came into the hands of the traditional boatmen, who also sold them according to their own convenience.
Strangely enough, after a gap of several decades, the old tanneries are making way for residential areas. That’s one reason behind Jajmau’s changing form, even though certain old landmarks still stay within the localities. Now, the densely-populated area is changing the ordinary facade of the past. This area is being given a fresh look. What was not available in this area can now be easily obtained here.
Today, even though malls may be opened in this particular area, it won’t be anything wonderful. After all, the residents did not throw themselves into this confusion just to roam about modern marketplaces. The people of Jajmau no longer spend their lives, by sticking on to old traditional ways. They are always seeking a higher quality of living – and this place is no Mars or Venus for them. They seem to have liberated themselves from the mires of the feeble concepts of the past.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.