Delhi has been ruled by several kings and queens who were descendants of different cultures. Many of them left their mark on this city in one form or another. The glorious historical monuments present all around Delhi still narrate their stories. Shershah Suri, an Afghan, ruled Delhi from 1540-45 and established Shergarh. Shergarh was surrounded by walls and several gates one of which was later cursed and given the name of “Khooni Darwaza”.
Just when you think that the“Red Wedding” in Game of Thrones was the bloodiest massacre you have witnessed, you will be shocked and horrified to know the gruesome details of gory massacres that this monument had to watch.
Its because of these multiple events happening one after another, the once famous “Lal Darwaza” was declared cursed and christened as “Khooni Darwaza”. While India gate instigates a patriotic fervor amongst every Indian visiting, Khooni Darwaza fills our heart with deep sorrow for those violent and unfortunate events. The article brings back 5 such heartbreaking stories that took place here.
Jahangir’s execution of Abdur Rahim Khan-e-khana’s two sons
Rahim Khan was the son of Bairam Khan who helped and acted as Akbar’s regent after Humayun’s death. Akbar assigned Rahim Khan as one of his Navratnas. He was a respected figure in the Empire. He was even considered to have an equal claim to throne.
Thus, Jahangir developed a certain disliking towards him, which intensified when Abdur Rahim supported Jahangir’s eldest son Khusrau’s claim to the throne after Akbar’s death. He was also instrumental in garnering the support of Raja Man Singh and Mirza Aziz for Khusrau.
However, Jahangir still became the emperor of India and in order to get back at Rahim Khan, he had both his sons executed at Khooni Darwaza. Their bodies were left hanging there for days to make an example out of them.
Another bloody massacre for the claim to the Mughal throne
Another heartbreaking story started with a bitter struggle for the imperial throne between siblings. Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan was declared as the heir by the king himself. But, Aurangzeb, younger brother of Dara rebelled against him and led him to a war. Aurangzeb had the support of Murad, another son of Shah Jahan. Both of them fought against Dara and defeated him.
Later, Dara was captured, assassinated and beheaded in full public view. His head was hanged at Khooni Darwaza for several days.
British suppression of rebellion through gruesome public murders of Mughal princes
Bahadur Shah Zafar was accepted as the emperor of India by the rebels of the mutiny of 1857. A poet at heart, Zafar still took the reins from Delhi. He named his eldest Mirza Mughal as the commander of chief. However, inexperience and indiscipline of Indian soldiers led to their defeat. British forces suppressed the rebellion in a gruesome manner. Zafar also surrendered along with other members of the family.
16 members of his family were being transported when they were surrounded by 3000 Muslim men near Khooni Darwaza. In a fit of rage, Captain Hodson exhibited his audacity by murdering two sons and a grandson of the Delhi king in front of the gathering. Later he striped the bodies and hanged them near Chandi Chowk police station.
Murders of innocent citizens in widespread communal riots during India’s partition
The partition of India and formation of Pakistan, once again initiated a series of unfortunate communal battles where hundreds of refugees were hacked to death by rioters at Khooni Darwaza. It is said that these people were trying to take refuge at a camp near Purana Quila but instead met a group of rioters.
Another blot on Delhi before Nirbhaya
Delhi has always been unsafe for women. Nirbhaya wasn’t the only instance when people shouted slogans and performed dharnas against government apathy. Long before that, a medical student from Maulana Azad Medical College was raped at Khooni Darwaza, which brought back the memories of wicked incidents happened here.
The monument is under the aegis of ASI and lies unprotected. The monument, in the vicinity of Maulana Azad College, was used as safe house by three youths for this notorious crime. The incident sparked much uproar all around the country. The prime accused of the case has been served with a punishment of life imprisonment.
With such history, the gate is now believed to be haunted by the ghosts of the very people who died here. Some people claim witnessing blood on the walls of the structure during daytime. Stories and rumors will keep on coming and this piece of history will forever be cursed, if steps for its protection and restoration are not taken soon.
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