The Ambedkar Park, synonymous with BSP founder Kanshi Ram and Mayawati, may soon accommodate the statue of Suheldev Rajbhar, the warrior who is said to have killed Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud, the nephew of Mahmud of Ghazni. The Uttar Pradesh government said today that the Ambedkar Park, along the banks of the Gomti river here, may soon get a Suheldev Rajbhar statue that would be taller than the statue of BSP chief Mayawati that stands there. The sprawling park, a brainchild of the BSP supremo, presently has huge statues of several Dalit icons, including Dr B R Ambedkar. “If all goes as per the plan, then the statue of the legendary warrior will be at least a couple of feet taller than the statue of the former UP chief minister (Mayawati),” cabinet minister Om Prakash Rajbhar told PTI here.
Yesterday, I inspected the park and found 13 vacant spots that could accommodate new statues, Rajbhar, minister for Backward Class Welfare, said. “I feel statues of other eminent personalities from Indian history like Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharaja Suheldev should be installed, so that the young generation can draw motivation from their heroic feats,” he said. The minister said that during the Assembly elections, he had promised voters that a statue of Suheldev would be installed at the park. Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, an alliance partner of BJP, said he will meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and discuss the issue before sending a proposal to the government.
Several Hindu nationalist groups have characterised Suheldev Rajbhar as a Dalit Hindu king who defeated a Muslim invader. According to the folklore in and around Shravasti, 175 km from here, Suheldev was the eldest son of King Mordhwaj. Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud (born 1015), a nephew of Mahmud of Ghazni, invaded India at the age of 16. He crossed the Indus river, and conquered Multan, Delhi, Meerut and finally Satrikh (located in modern day Barabanki district).
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The local Raja of Bahraich and other Hindu kings formed a confederation, but an army led by Masud’s father Ghazi Saiyyed Salar Sahu defeated them. In 1033, Masud himself arrived in Bahraich to check their advance.
Masud inflicted several defeats on his enemies, until the arrival of Suheldev Rajbhar from Shravasti. Rajbhar’s army defeated Masud, who was killed in a battle in 1034, the legend says.