Gaji Shah was a disciple of Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro who was the founder of Kalhora dynasty in Sindh (1681). The Kalhoras ruled over Sindh from 1681 to 1783. Gaji Shah was also a general of Mian Nasir Muhammad. He belonged to the Khosa tribe. A lot of people believe that he was a Syed because of the second half of his name, Shah.
During the famous Mianwal movement of the Kalhoras, every important person was given the honorific title of Shah. Before the birth of the movement, the title was invariably associated with the Syeds who then held religious power. It was Mian Nasir Muhammad who began bestowing the title on to his distinguished disciples. For example, Panjo Dahote came to be known as, with the blessings of Mian Nasir Mohammad Kalhoro, Shah Panjo; Abdullah Abro alias Godrio became Abdullah Shah or Shah Godrio; Hyder Faqir Leghari became Hyder Shah; Yousaf Faqir Chhajro became Yousaf Shah; Nangar Faqir Magsi became Nangar Shah; Wasao Faqir Chandio became Shah Wasao; Bahar Faqir Kaloi became Baleel Shah; Rodan Faqir Chandio became Rodan Shah; Bahoo Faqir Leghari became Shah Bahoo; and Ibrahim Faqir Marri became Ibrahim Shah. Among all of these, Gaji Shah Khoso was very close to Mian Nasir Muhammad.
The shrine of Gaji Shah is located some 35kms southwest of Johi in Dadu District. Gaji Shah took part in many battles fought against the Mughal troops and was victorious almost in every one of them. Apart from that, he also fought against Gursha Bulfat Khoso who was then the landlord of the area. Gursha Bulfat had killed one of his disciples Dilshad Faqir Khoso. In retaliation, Piyaro Khoso supported by Gaji Khoso, killed Gursha Bulfat. The death of Gursha created friction between the two clans of the Khosa tribe. Gaji Shah ordered his soldiers to kill their enemies wherever they saw them. Legend has it that the soldiers of Gaji Shah killed many people of the Khosa tribe. This prompted many Khosa families to change their castes to escape from further persecution. Some families of the Khosa tribe living near the present village of Haji Khan distributed gur to publicly announce that now they’re not Khoso but are Gur Leghari. Afterwards, those families came to be called Gur Lagharis.
But the timely involvement of Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro prevented them from further bloodletting. Mian Nasir Muhammad ordered the supporters and descendants of Gursha Bulfat Khoso to leave Kachho (part of Johi tehsil).
Gaji Shah’s heroic stories are known to all those who know about the region. According to local accounts, Mian Nasir Muhammad sent Gaji Shah and Shah Panjo Sultan Dahote (a lineage of Rathore Rajputs) to get his female disciple liberated from the clutches of Bakhtiar Khan, then ruler of Sibi. He was loyal and supportive of Mughal king Akbar and was an adversary of Mian Nasir Muhammad Kalhoro and his movement. In order to weaken his movement, the Mughals and their supporters used to attack and kidnap Mianwal Faqirs. One day Bakhtiar Khan kidnapped Mai Shamul, a female disciple of Mian Nasir Muhammad. Bakhtiar Khan imprisoned her where she used to remember her mentor and sing songs in his praise. When the news of the kidnapping reached Mian Nasir Muhammad, he ordered Gaji Shah and Shah Panjo Dahote to get Mai Shamul liberated. Following the order, they surrounded the fort of Sibi and liberated Mai Shamul. Later on, those songs which Mai Shamul sang in prison became known to the Mianwal Faqirs as MianJiSami or Samri which is still sung at the shrines of both Kalhora rulers and their disciples.
Gaji Shah died in the battle against the Brohi tribe at Lohi in Balochistan in 1691. Later on his body was brought for burial to Lak (pass) Tando Rahim Khan where he had been posted by Mian Nasir Muhammad. Today the shrine of Gaji Shah is greatly revered by both Baloch and Sindhi tribes.
According to local accounts, the canopy over the grave of Gaji Shah is believed to have been built by Mian Yar Mohammad Kalhoro (1700-19) who had commissioned several other buildings, mainly three-domed mosque and tombs located near the canopy of Gaji Shah.
The shrine of Gaji Shah Khoso is visited by his tribesmen. During the time of Mela, his shrine is seen bustling with his disciples and devotees and resonates with slogans of Allah Tohar (in God we trust or absolute dependence on God), which is the slogan and identity of the Mianwal movement.
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