Srinagar. Around midnight on Tuesday Ghulam Hasan Wani, 56, a fireman deputed at the Khanqah-e-Moula, in Srinagar, was awakened by a loud bang.
As he peeked outside of his small shack near the shrine, he could see smoke rising from its rooftop. Wani sprung up towards the revered place.
The spire, a few hundred metres high was a challenge, even for Wani and his experience in firefighting. He immediately alarmed the nearby fire services of the incident. They reached in around 10 minutes.
Wani then flapped on his camouflage shirt, the only ‘gear’ he possesses. He then dashed right up the shrine, into the flames. He was the first one to reach the burning spire, a few hundred metres high.
“I thought we may not be able to control it. I was in the middle of the fire,” says Wani, his face still beaming of the heat he pushed himself through for a few hours. Seeing the flames upping, his associates on the ground thought that Wani wouldn’t make it.
However, they all were relieved seeing him hosing the water right towards the flames. “It was a miracle that he managed to move up the water hose that high,” says Bashir Ahmad, another but younger fireman. He along with others followed him dousing the fire in a few hours. “By around 3 am, the fire was over,” says Wani, still drenched and covered in black soot.
“We did not allow the fire to spread even though the shrine is all wooden. All the relics, by the grace of Allah, are safe,” he adds.
A man posted on-the-spot and a quick response from the fire services saved what would have been a massive tragedy. Khanqah-e-Moula, the epitome of Islam and its arrival in Kashmir, is deeply revered by everyone in Kashmir.
The wailing and shocked people, who reached the place as early as 1 am, made that affection felt.
The place for its essence for over seven centuries has a significant historical value too.
Built in memory of renowned Muslim saint, scholar and preacher Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (RA), the shrine mosque is highly revered as it stands out in reverence to the saint whose teachings helped spread Islam in the valley.
Kashmiris reverently call Mir Syed Ali Hamadani “Amir-e-Kabeer” (Great Commander) and “Shah-e-Hamadan” (King of Hamadan).
He was born in Hamadan, Persia, in 1314 and breathed his last in 1384. The saint’s mausoleum is in Khatlan, Tajikistan.