Dynasty of Another Kind
The privileged status enjoyed by the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid stems from religious rather than political power.
More often than not, a dynasty’s position is based on political clout. However, the Bukhari family which rules Delhi’s Jama Masjid is an exception to the rule. The privileged status enjoyed by the Shahi Imam largely originates from religious rather than political power.
The religious dynasty has its root in the Mughal era. According to historical evidence, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan appointed Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari to the position of Imamat-e-Uzma and conferred on him the title of Shahi Imam.
Since then, the Jama Masjid has been ruled by his descendants. Interestingly, the arrangement bears