Feb 21, 2010

Vastupal and Sheth Jagdusha built mosques

AHMEDABAD: Can you imagine a non-Muslim building a mosque in 21st century India? May sound impossible today. But, two far-sighted Jains built one of the earliest mosques in Gujarat, a state that has seen some of the worst post-independence communal riots.

And, all this for the sake of business. Between 1178 and 1242, Vastupal and Sheth Jagdusha built mosques in Cambay and Bhadreshwar in Kutch to attract Arab and Turkish traders, who would bring in foreign exchange. While Vastupal was the commissioner of Cambay port, Jagdusha was a merchant of Bhadreshwar port in Kutch. Jains have been an important business community from the earliest time till today.

‘History of International Trade And Customs Duties In Gujarat’, a book by historian Makrand Mehta, says Vastupal encouraged Muslims to settle down in Cambay and Anhilwad Patan, the capital of the Solanki-Vaghela rulers of Gujarat.

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