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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

A spot of shining white

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 18, 2012
First Published: 00:13 IST(18/11/2012) | Last Updated: 00:16 IST(18/11/2012)

Zooming on Mansingh Road from IGNCA towards Akbar Road, there is a spot of shining white - with a neat reflection in the water channel besides it - just after you cross Rajpath. Partially hidden behind looming trees, shadowed by its leafy branches is the Masjid Zabta Ganj.

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It now forms an integral part of the Central Vista complete with the arterial Rajpath and two parallel water channels on its either side.

The heritage structure was constructed by Najibud Daula's son Zabta Khan in 1740. Zabta Khan rose to power during the reign of Shah Alam II. Zabta Ganj was a cluster of seven small settlements around here stretching all the way up to then Raisina village, now the seat of Indian democracy.

Barring this mosque, the area was acquired by the English for New Delhi and people were resettled in villages across Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. "After the people were shifted, this remained as an abandoned ruin till late 1960s.

When Dr Zakir Hussain became the President, he took proactive interest and started the use of the ruins for prayers," said Asad Khan, the current Imam at the mosque, second after his father Jallauddin was appointed the first Imam in 1976.

The building has seen some changes but retains most of the original structure. It now also houses a Madarssa Arabia Shah Jahania that was started in 1995 and has about 30 students.

But the best thing is, although situated on a busy road, it still offer a quaint peaceful spot.

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