Illegal construction around an island near Mahim Dargah, also known as the dargah of Makhdoom Ali Mahimi, was demolished on Thursday by officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. But in reality, the Mumbai Police connection to the dargah goes back several centuries.
Makhdoom Ali Mahimi was a saint who lived during the Tughlaq dynasty and is said to be buried in Mahim; in his memory, the Mahim dargah stands as it is today.
There are stories among Mumbai Police that link them to Makhdoom Shah – one of which says that when the saint died, one of the police officers served him water in his cap just before his death, while another folklore talks about how the saint helped police fight smugglers in those times.
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According to some police historians, the location of the former Mahim police station was the residence of the saint. In fact, a room next to the cabin of a senior police inspector was dedicated to the saint, which had his chair and cupboard.
The ‘urs’ or the commemoration of the death anniversary of the saint begins only after the Mumbai Police pay its respects. During the ‘urs’, which is usually held in December, people from different faiths carry out a procession to the dargah.
On the first day of the ‘urs’, policemen from across the city gather at Mahim police station from where a procession is carried out to the dargah. The procession, including senior police officials, then makes its offerings at the tomb of Makhdoom Shah Mahimi, which marks the beginning of the ‘urs’.
This practice by Mumbai Police has been on since the ‘urs’ began. One of the largest flyovers in the city – JJ flyover – was also named after the saint around two decades ago.
Trustee of Mahim dargah, Suhail Khandwani, said the structure in question was actually a structure on top of the water, which is about 600 years old.
“This is at a distance of 100 m from Mahim dargah and Makhdoom Shah was educated there. This place, which is called Chilla, was also registered by the waqf in 2007; there is no dargah and there is no intention to make it like Haji Ali dargah, it is a historical and respectable place,” Khandwani said.
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