In a small village community outside Mograpara, the place that many believe to have been the first capital of the early Islamic rulers of east Bengal, stands a well preserved, black stone tomb, encased in fine railings, in an immaculately maintained small enclosure, the grass carefully trimmed, paths well paved, and two fine seats for resting. Perhaps, in fact, the best kept space around an ancient monument in the whole of Bangladesh.
Described, in a rare explanation board, as the tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Azam Shah, interpreted as sultan Giash Uddin Azam Shah, large, handsomely worked sarcophagus is dated at 1410 CE. On the commentary board he is described as the rebel son of Sultan Shikander Shah, who appears in the records as, variously, the second or third ruler of the Iliya Shahi dynasty of rulers of Bengal, ruling from 1342CE, to 1415CE, and again from 1437CE to 1487 CE.
The father’s name is also an interesting one, supporting the view that these early Islamic invaders came from Afghanistan, where the army of Alexander the Great, left behind many traces, including the common use of a local variation of his name. It seems that the Greek traditions were apparent even a thousand years later!
Other records, however, report Sultan Ghiyasuddin as the third ruler of his dynasty, ruling from 1390 to 1416. Some of those reports also have him being responsible for the death of his father in battle. Some family quarrels are evidently more lethal than others!
So, who was the man interred in this rural tomb of such outstanding quality? And, within the enclosure stands a second, plainer red coloured tomb, said to be that of Kazi Sirajuddoula, named as ‘Chief Justice’, which presumably identifies him, through title and proximity of his resting place as, at very least, a close friend and companion to the Sultan. Both, it seems, died as young men.