Indian Mutiny and auction of Fatehpuri Masjid:
Famous Fatehpuri Mosque was commissioned by Fatehpuri Begum of Shahjahan in the year 1650. This mosque is a land mark, you can find at the western end of Chandni Chowk road just opposite to Lal Qila, as if it is balancing spiritual and political power of Shahjahanabad (Delhi) at the different end of the main population of Delhi.
After suppressing Mutineers in Delhi this mosque was auctioned by British to a Hindu business man Rai Lala Chunnamal for 19,000 Rs, he used this mosque as a ‘godam’ to store his products. Later in the year 1877 it was exchanged for four villages and restored as a Mosque and Madarsa. This mosque still exists in working condition. Sir Sayed mentioned about this mosque in his famous work ‘Asar-us-Sanadeed’ but with three domes. At the moment we can see only one dome of the mosque. Below is an account from a book;
“The Fatehpuri Masjid, the second largest in the city, was also considered as a possible barrack for the main guard. The mosque and its platform were released for worship, but the quadrangle and shops below were sold by auction. This was rather as though the choir and sanctuary of Westminster Abbey were released for Christians worship, the nave and transepts being sold for nearly twenty years. Then, with the first Delhi Durbar in prospect, the Hindu owner was bought out and the whole building restored to the Muslims by order of Lord Lytton”.
Twilight of the Mughuls by Percival Spear page 221.
Below is an old painting of Fatehpuri Mosque from the book, The Golden Calm, an English lady’s life in Moghul Delhi by Emily, Lady Clive Bayley. This book is full of paintings of historical monuments of Delhi, commissioned by Sir Thomas Metcalfe.