Shah Sultan Mahisawar (R)

Shah Sultan Mahisawar a saint lying buried at mahasthan in Bogra district. The history of Shah Sultan Mahisawar, coming down only through tradition, is lost in obscurity. It is said that he was the son of a certain king of Balkh, and hence he is also known as Balkhi. Shah Sultan, preferring an austere life, gave up the throne he had inherited and became a disciple of Shaikh Taufiq of Damascus.

The pir ordered him to go to Bengal to preach islam. Shah Sultan came by sea and reached Sandvip on the mouth of the Ganges. From there he came to Hariramnagar, a place which possibly stood on the sea and was ruled by Balaram, a Kali worshipper. The Raja opposed Shah Sultan and was killed while his minister embraced Islam and saved his life. Shah Sultan then proceeded to Mahasthan, and the local king Parasuram and his sister Siladevi opposed him. In the battle that ensued, the king was killed and Siladevi drowned herself in the river Karatoya.

The account about the arrival of Shah Sultan and his wars with the kings Balaram and Parasuram have come down only through traditions. He is popularly called Mahisawar (fish rider) perhaps because he came on a fish-shaped boat. Such stories are found in Bengal about some other saints also and traditions of Mahisawar saints are popular in this country. It is difficult to identify Shah Sultan Mahisawar, but people regard him as one of the great saints with spiritual attainments.

In the year 1096 AH/1685 AD in the reign of aurangzeb, a sanad was issued to three persons, Sayyid Muhammad Tahir, Sayyid Abdur Rahman and Sayyid Muhammad Reza, confirming their rights in the lakhiraj (rent-free) lands attached to the dargah of the saint. The sanad bears the seal of Kokultash Muzaffar Jung and it was in the form of an order to the officials, mutasaddis, chaudhuris and qanungoos of the Pargana Silbari of Sarkar Bazuha. The officials were directed to help the holders of the deed in enjoying the lakhiraj property of the saint. The sanad refers to earlier sanads and farmans granted by earlier rulers. So the dargah was an old one, but how old cannot be determined, because the earlier sanads and farmans have not been discovered. Shah Sultan Mahisawar is venerated by the local people who visit his dargah every day in large number. [Abdul Karim]