by A.M.(Retd.) Inam H. Khan

To start with I would like to write about characteristics of Mohalla Nai Sarai (MNS) pucca houses  built nearly 200 years  around 1800 or earlier and still going strong.

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by Sardar Mohammad Fazley Haque Khan

My family came to India with Malik Hayder Ghazi, who laid the foundation of Bassi, on the outskirts of Sirhind City during the reign of Sher Shah Suri. 12 Tumans (Zais) came here, but many have become extinct and a few are left now. Their chief source was and is either agriculture or service. Some of them used to serve in Hyderabad Deccan even in pre mutiny days.The Afghans used to enjoy semi-independence till the cessation of Bassi to Patiala State and chose their own rulers. When the Moghul rule was nearing its end, the Afghans of Bassi were unable to defend themselves and they began to search for a Ruler who could defend them from the Sikh Invasion. Nawab Shamshair Khan Killewalla (Bassi), backed with the majority of Bassi Afghans, brought  an Ahluwalia Family related to the Maharaja of Kapurthala, to rule in Bassi,  while two families of Omarzai Afghans sided with Patiala. They on their own accord brought a Patiala Tahsildar to Bassi, against the wishes of the rest of Afghan community. The result was that the then reigning power began to torture them, their houses were looted and burnt, and men imprisoned (our Omar Zai ancestors). More than once Patiala Forces were sent to help against Kapurthala Forces. These two families were of Nijabat Khan (Muqueem Bhai’s ancestors in Katehra Mohalla across town from ours in Mohalla Nai Sarai and Ghous Khan (our ancestors)of Nai Sarai. Read more

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by Shehryar Ahmad

In 2004, my brother Salman and I visited the birthplace of my mother Shahine Habibullah Khan Ahmad in Bassi-Pathanan, near Sirhind in the erstwhile state of Patiala, now Punjab, India. The decrepit ruins of Ashraf Manzil, named after my great-great-grandfather (“per-nana”) Ashraf Khan, had such a powerful effect on me that I will never forget the moment of coming across this place.
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by A.M. (Retd.) Inam H. Khan

“ it is not the inch of land, what is important is your history, religion, social and cultural traditions, etc.”   –Allama Iqbal.

Omarzais of MNS were a middle class inward looking community having agriculture and services as the main source of income, only an odd person indulged in business or a profession. Jagirs/land were mostly awarded/allotted as Reya e Khas (special subjects) by ruler of Patiala  after Omarzais helped Bassi to be a part of his State, M Ghous Khan, his son Bhikan Khan (father of Namdar Khan) and Nijabat Khan (ancestor of General Fazle Muqueem Khan) of Kathera across the town were the main supporters  for Patiala against Rani Jindan of Kapurthala. Revenue tax  was also exempted for Reya e Khas.

The picture above was taken in 1935 outside a palatial house built by Choudhry M Ashraf Khan (Minister, Patiala State) for his father Choudhry M Namdar Khan, (Chairman Regency Council Patiala State in late 19th Century). Soon thereafter M Ashraf Khan expired at age of 96 years.

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