Madarsah-i-Rahimiya was the most important Islamic research institution of India. It was established by Shaikh Abdur Rahim, a Sufi and great theologian of his time, father of famous Indian revivalist Islamic Scholar Shah Waliullah Dehlavi near Kotla Firoz Shah, New Delhi. After the death of his father, all responsibility came on his shoulder. Later this institute became the centre of Quranic learning and purification of Islam from Bidah (innovations) in India. In this Madarsa Shah Waliullah was the first to translate Quran to Persian language in India. First public Muslim and Christian debate also took place at this centre in India between Shah Abdal Aziz and a missionary, mediated by Sir Metcalfe.
Aftermath of Delhi Mutiny
British Army took the opportunity and after suppressing Mutineers in Delhi they decided to rout out best Islamic Institute of India. They further ordered to close the Madarsah-i-Rahimiya and sold it to Hindu Businessman. Ten years passed when few graduates of this institute decided to establish another Madarssa, they called it Nadwat-ul-Uloom. Below is description by Mirza Ghalib mentioned in The Last Mughal.
“The madarasas were almost all closed, and their buildings were again mostly bought up-and in time demolished – by Hindu moneylenders. The most prestigious of all, the Madrasa-i-Rahimiyya was auctioned off to one of the leading baniyas, Ramji Das, who used it as a store”.
The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple, page 463.
Here you can see two comparative photos of Jama Masjid, New Delhi. 1858 was taken by Robert and Harriet Tytler and 1860 photo was taken by Bourne. It is not difficult to imagine wrath of British Army on general population and scale of destruction.
Image Courtesy: The British Library, London