Building of the historic mosque of Kalam

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Oral history Kalam—Part I

Building of the historic mosque of Kalam

Interviewee: Namroz Khan of Yajgal, Kalam

Interviewer and translator: Muhammad Zaman Sagar

Year: 1998

Kalam bazaar’s current famous historical mosque was built some seven to eight generations ago. If we count each generation as 25-30 years, then it becomes 200-240 years ago. That mosque was built by our forefathers. That place where the first mosque was built, that place was called the village of Khar. Soon after building that mosque the people of Kalam realized that it was not a suitable place for mosque. This place was situated near the Gammon Bridge. From there that village shifted to (Dhangal Laam) means the destroyed village.

View of Kalam mosque–photo by Muhammad Zaman Sagar (2005)

When the Dhangal Laam destroyed by the earth quack, one infant boy left alive cuddled in his mother’s armpit but his mother was dead. On seventh day people took him out of there. After the destruction of that village the people came to the present village and settled here.

After settling down in new location, the residents of Kalam came together to decide the new location for building the mosque. The place where the mosque was built was the property of Kadaror Khel, the sub-clan of Jafalor Khel. In that clan one man was called Anayat Khan. He was the prayers leader (pesh imam) of the mosque. That time river was flowing in the front of the mosque. Some people complaint about the location as it was right on the edge of the river. But anyhow the people have decided to build mosque on that place. One wall of the mosque was built on the river in Ser. After that, people decided to bring the beams for mosque.

One day a man called Ghulam Shah went to forest with an axe. In the evening he came back to house. He said that in the roof of Dober (it is called to the junction of roofs of twelve). He called a Jirga there. The people of Kalam gathered on those roofs for Jirga. He told to the people that he had cut a deodar tree and from that tree they could make two pillars and a Siray, a support from pillar to beam. People asked him how he had cut a tree while he had gone there just a while ago. Actually he had cut the tree near the bridge of Och, on present Utrore road.

Sirai and beams of Kalam mosque front side–photo by Muhammad Zaman Sagar (2005)

Young men of Kalam went with him and they made two pillars and a Sirai. Then they pulled them and drop them to the Utrore river. Those pillars stopped after flowing for a while on the bank of the river. Now the people had no idea as how they could pull them out. The truthful peoples of that time told the religious leaders (mullah) that they should recite the verses of holy Quran. When the Molvis were reciting, in a short while heavy rain poured in. As it was springtime, therefore, the water of river aroused and flooded. The next morning when the people got up, they saw the Sirai and both pillars were lying near to the water mill in Ser. From there people brought them to the mosque. The pillars and the Serai of verandah brought by Ghulam Shah. One beam brought from backside of the village, too.

That beam was brought from Moosh Gaa. When the people were bringing the beam on their shoulders, in the way, the shoe of one of the workers, Haji Ghazan Khan’s grandfather, stuck in stones. Being under the heavy beam the people could not stop and he was killed by the stampede caused by the heavy beam on the shoulders of the people.

These are belonging to the old mosque and the beams and pillars of the new mosque were clipped after the burning of that old mosque. The present mosque was built in the time of our great grandfathers. The beams brought by Nilior. The middle beam brought by Daray Khel the door side beam brought by Nilior and the beam of verandah brought by Jaafalor, and the backside beam brought together by all clans. The small beans were also brought by all clans.

Elderly Gawri people sitting in front of the mosque and shared their stories–photo by Muhammad Zaman Sagar (2005)

The Sarai was made by a man called Dilbar, who belonged to Silmanor Khel. One other man Gharib of Silmanor also made the Sarai. When they failed to make that Sirai then they brought a Torwali man. That man put a stone under the Sirai and made it rotate. This way the Sirai came to the right place. In our time when we were thinking to renovate the mosque my father told us that we should cut the pillar because it was rotten from the bottom and thus it might break the saw. He told us that one of the round shaped stones is still there under that pillar. When they kept the Sirai and put the beam on it then with force the stone pressed in. The stone pressed in as if below was a rotten pumpkin. He told us that if we cut that pillar then your saw would break because of the stone inside.  He told us that we should cut the pillar up from the rotten place. This surprised people. When people took out that stone, the weight of that stone was around two kilo grams. This was round shaped and was blue in colour collected from the river bed. The Torwali man was keeping the pillar on that stone and was rotating on it like the stone of a watermill. With the force of the beam the stone was pressed inside the soil.

Main gate of Kalam mosque with good woodwork on deodar timber-photo by Muhammad Zaman (2005)
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