ABDAL MALEK NAQASH AND MUHANDIS ARCHITECT OF MASUDI PALACE – GEM OF GHAZNI CITY AT THE HANDS OF A GRAND ARCHITECT OF HIS TIME

ABDAL MALEK NAQASH AND MUHANDIS ARCHITECT OF MASUDI PALACE
GEM OF GHAZNI CITY AT THE HANDS OF A GRAND ARCHITECT OF HIS TIME
History of palace from 1121 to 2019 AD
Masudi Palace Ghazni

The palace was built in 1121 by Mas’ud III (reigned 1099-1114), son of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, on a site to the southeast of the walled Ghaznavid capital. It suffered many calamities, from being burnt down to actual demolition by the Mongols of Genghis Khan. Incredibly the ruins were excavated by an Italian team, but to no avail, as the Afghan war inflicted further damages to the site.

Mehrab-of-Sultan-Masud-1112-AD
Ghazanavid palace 4

“The excavated foundations show a palace with a roughly rectangular outline, its corners placed roughly on the cardinal axes. Fortified walls of 120 to 150 meters in length enclose the palace and a bazaar street located to the its northwest. The bazaar, which spans the entire length of the palace, is entered from gates located at either end (northeast and southwest), and contains the palace portal. The portal opens into the northwest iwan of the palace courtyard. Thirty-two meters wide by fifty meters long, the courtyard is enveloped by four central iwans and thirty-two arched niches. The grand iwan to the southeast leads into the throne room, which has an oblique rear wall abutting the exterior wall of the palace. An inner courtyard, entered via a passageway from south corner of the courtyard, adjoins the throne room to the southwest. The hypo style palace mosque was excavated at the western corner of the main courtyard. It is three bays wide and five bays deep and is entered from four niches along the southwest courtyard wall. Its interior walls were built at a slight angle with the rest of the palace in order to align with qibla.”

Ghazanavid palace 2
Ghazanavid palace 5

And its description is further told to us as:

“The walls of the palace courtyard were adorned with an exceptional marble dado, consisting of an estimated number of 510 panels around the courtyard, each about 70cm high. The panels formed three distinct bands. The wide central band contains carved arabesques on a floral entrelac and sits above a narrow band of interwoven scrolls. A narrow band of floriated Kufic script tops the dado. About a tenth of the panels were found in situ during the excavations, allowing a reading of the Persian inscription. Composed in the mutaqarib meter, the verses offer praise to Masud III’s predecessors and in particular, to Mahmud of Ghazna. The letters were originally painted in lapis lazuli blue, with a red or gilt background. A marble footpath, about five meters wide, encircles the courtyard below the dado.”

Ghazanavid tile 1100 AD

Many of the items recoverd were later stolen during the Afghan crisis and it is unknown where they exist now. The Afghans are really famous for this kind of plunder and could have sold them anywhere in the world. Western collectors offer much higher prices than third world countries, otherwise many could have landed in Pakistan itself. I remember a complete graveyard tombs with stone inscriptions were offered for sale here. No takers of graves however.

Ghaznavid tomb

The Architect is known as well as the Prince’s own design interests in same

 
Masood Palace

There is a detailed account of the Prince and the Architect in the History of Bayheki, and we reproduce the whole page of same. The personal interest shown by Prince as well as his mathematical calculations are told to us and the enormous amount of money spent on it. The interesting part is the designation as Muhandis and Naqash. It seems instead of the term Mimar, this was the term in vogue at that time. In fact this term is also used for Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis of Lahore in the 17th century. Also descendant of Ustad Yusuf Burkurwdar Herawi of same place. Read:

WE HAVE GOETHE, SAID HITLER. WE HAVE IQBAL, SAID CHUGHTAI. – MEETING OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI WITH ADOLF HITLER 1937.

WE HAVE GOETHE, SAID HITLER. WE HAVE IQBAL, SAID CHUGHTAI.
MEETING OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI WITH ADOLF HITLER 1937.
MARC stayed at Hotel Tempo Berlin 1937

The European tours of M.A. Rahman Chughtai in 1936-1937 were phenomenal in many ways. We wrote a book on it that is entitled EAST MET WEST and it is available as a download on our blog. We researched from our documents and tried to give a true picture of the two European tours for the first time. A Swiss friend of mine resented the mention about Adolf Hitler in it. This is not a political statement from us, it is history, and history we do not hide or confuse with narratives of our own. What happened we know and as a historical truth, we recalled it in the  best way possible. It was an extra ordinary event and there is every reason to give the correct version of same.

Address of Hotel Tempo
Adlon Hitler banners

The Paris show of 1937 was an international event and all countries had their stall and show cases. Germany too had a very big presence there. The artist was visiting the Paris show, where he met a German lady, who was most interested in knowing more about him. She invited him to Berlin, and that was the artists next stop. The artist was stating at Hotel Tempo in Berlin and we have old visuals of same. Adolf Hitler had his residence in those days at the famous Hotel Adlon, and granted audience to visitors. A special five minute meeting was authorized for M.A. Rahman Chughtai with Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler the soft side
Many aspects of Adolf Hitler

M.A. Rahman Chughtai records his first impressions of Adolf Hitler. He said that there was some mesmerizing effect in the eyes of Hitler, that one could not accost him with the radiance of his eyes. The eyes were like balls of fire. Luminous and full of strength. The German lady was there with them. The artist recalled that Hitler talked about their national poet Goethe with great fervour. Chughtai talked about Dr Allama Iqbal with equal fervour. The talk centered about India and Indian art, and Chughtai talked about the Muslim renaissance in the Indian region. Of course Dr Allama Iqbal represented all that, and Hitler understood the Muslim content of same. It is a fact that Muslims of Indian region always had a soft corner for the German leader.

Hitler relaxing on chair
27th JUNE 1937 tribute to CHUGHTAI ARTIST in Berlin

Not much is known about the detailed contents of the talk but it talked of cultural matters. Hitler was fascinated with Goethe, and Chughtai was equally radiant about his close relationship with Dr Allama Iqbal. In fact in the 1932 meeting in London of Dr Iqbal with others, the talk centered on  Muslim state in India, and Chughtai had witnessed all that in the hotel room.  The resultant World war obliterated all records but on 14th August, 1947 Pakistan came into being as an Islamic State, heading towards Iqballian concept of a Progressive Islamic country made in the name of Allah. People tried to persuade Chughtai to permanently stay in England as he was included and accepted in the artist’s group there. A memorable sentence uttered then and is written in his memoirs too. My country is awaiting me and calling me back. It is to be understood we are not talking of India here, but Pakistan, and Pakistan had not come into being at that time. It was to be the first step towards introducing Islamic way of life to the world. And the dream of Dr Allama Iqbal and M.A. Rahman Chughtai is still throbbing with  newer life.

Hitlers paintings
German Pavillion Paris show 1937

NUR ULLAH AHMAD ARCHITECT AND CALLIGRAPHER ROYAL SHAHJAHANI – TWO IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPTS IN COLLECTION OF CHUGHTAI MUSEUM

NUR ULLAH AHMAD ARCHITECT AND CALLIGRAPHER ROYAL SHAHJAHANI
TWO IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPTS IN COLLECTION OF CHUGHTAI MUSEUM
Dalal ul Khiarat By Nur ullah Ahmad Lahori

Lahore shines! Nur ullah Ahmad was youngest son of Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahore. The Jamia Masjid Delhi carries his name on the inscribed couplets in praise of Emperor Shah Jahan. He was a master of the SATH QALAMS or the seven pens, but also a working architect, and many Mughal buildings are attributed to him. He carries with him the title of Mimar as does his father, architect of the Taj Mahal of Agra and Red Fort, Delhi. He is also the father of the much acclaimed Holy man, Qaleem ullah of Delhi, whose mazar is visited buy thousands every day in that city. Various references are found in various manuscripts, including an abridged Masnavi Maulana Rum edited for him by his elder brother Lutuf ullah Ahmad Muhandis. The mausoleum of Muhammed Salih Kanbo as well as his petite mosque inside Mochi Gate, Lahore, is attributed to him. A lost inscription on that portal too carried his name like the Jamia Masjid Delhi.

Exclusive calligraphy by Nur ullah Ahmad Lahori
Ms Khazana by Nur ullah Ahmad Lahori
Ms Khazana by Nur ullah Ahmad colophon 1056 AH

Unlike his other family, who specialized in mathmatics and astronomy, this fellow was Master of architecture and calligraphy alone. Of course like others in his family, he concentrated on poetry too.

Jamia Masjid Delhi
Nurullah Ahmad Katba Jamia Masjid
Seven pen stone on grave of Prince Baiqara

THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE “HOLY SINNER” SADEQUAIN – AS RECORDED BY HIS DISCIPLE ANWAR IQBAL IN “JHANG”

THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE “HOLY SINNER” SADEQUAIN
AS RECORDED BY HIS DISCIPLE ANWAR IQBAL IN “JHANG”
Roz nama Jhang Juma edition

Somebody coined the term “Holy Sinner” for Sadequain artist. It was coined to reconcile the two different aspects in the character of the artist. In a very objective way it can be understood from the fact that in the times of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Sadequain was making so called erotic art, and there was much resentment when these works were exhibited in Lahore. Even anti riot police had to be called to quell the demonstrations. When President Zia ul Haque came into power the same Sadequain was writing Islamic calligraphy. It was the ingenuity of the artist to change complexions all the time. In the foot steps of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, Sadequain worked on Ghalib, Iqbal as well as Omar Khayyam. No problem with any of that. But the Holy Sinner made strange comment both on PTV as well at other places. Calling his art the art of the gutter which takes out the dirt of the society, he proclaimed that he was not a drawing room artist. No issue there too. All these statements are documented facts.

Last moments Sadequain
Written will of Sadequain

The last moments of Sadequain are recorded by his fan and disciple Anwar Iqbal, and in detail he lists the same. Sadequain had written his will and his desire not to be buried in Karachi or Amroha. No one heeded to that. Also not heeded was his last moment desire for the liquid of his choice and said to Anwar you will be responsible for my death, if you do not bring it in hiding to me. All this is recorded in Daily Jhang Juma Magazine and we print it for the reference to our viewers. Nothing from us, everything from him. But it is sad that addictions destroy creativity of life. At a very early age of 63, Sadequain died between the night of 9th and 10th, January, 1987. Ina lillah hai wa ina illa hai rajoon!

Sadequain as fasting Buddha
Autograph Sadequain 1971

 

SOME LANDA BAZAAR RELICS IN ARCHIVES – A SWORD AND THE HEAD OF A MUGHAL STICK

SOME LANDA BAZAAR RELICS IN ARCHIVES
A SWORD AND THE HEAD OF A MUGHAL STICK
Landa Bazaar engraved Sword

Today we think of Landa Bazaar in certain terms of second hand things from abroad. But there were manufacturing units here of different kinds. One was the CHANDNI SWORD WORKS which manufactured swords for civilians as well as Army battalions. We have two swords, one for civilians and one for Army regiments stationed in Lahore. Interesting history.

Chandni Works Landa Bazaar Lahore

Rudyard Kipling enfolds another role of the Serai of Mian Sultan. In his novel Kim, he points to the Serai as being meeting place of Spies. A certain Afghan spy met here in those times. And killings used to take place here. The interesting part is that the Serai was once the Market place of Prince Dara Shikoh and later as well  the Serai of Nawab Wazeer Khan. Demolished by Maclagen in 1904 in Lahore. We have prints as well as photographs of same, which we will eventually share with others. The richness of the history of Lahore cannot be denied in any way.

Mughal stick lion head

THE MISSING LINK IN DISCUSSION ON THE FIVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES OF RAJA JAI SINGH: KHAIRULLAH KHAN MUHANDIS SON OF LUTUFULLAH AHMAD

THE MISSING LINK IN DISCUSSION ON THE FIVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES,
OF RAJA JAI SINGH: KHAIRULLAH KHAN MUHANDIS SON OF LUTUFULLAH AHMAD
Raja Jai Singh

The objectivity of present western research (forget about the Indian) is questionable. So much is written about the five observatories of Raja Jai Singh and plentiful images of same, but one most important name stands missing in most research, and that is Mirza Khairullah, known also as Abu Khair, and carrying with his name, the addition of Muhandis as well as Khan, which denotes a title from the Royal Court of Emperor Muhammed Shah.

Delhi Observatory
Ujjain Observatory

The first credit goes to Emperor Muhammed Shah, who conceived the idea of laying the basis of modern astronomical tables, based on actual readings from observatories. Order was passed on to Raja Jai Singh for same and Raja Jai Singh was given the courtier Khairullah Khan Muhandis as adviser. Not only Khairullah Khan helped in the actual construction of the five observatories around 1724 AD, but was also part of the collection of the tables for same. Whereas ZIJ MUHAMMED SHAHI is famous as the tables of same, there is a SHARH written on same by Khairullah Khan. This Sharh is mentioned by various scholars,particularly Muhammed Hussain Jaunpuri in his JAMI BAHADUR KHANEE tables. The manuscripts of these researches are present in various libraries of the world. Pakistan also has a rich treasure of same as well as the archives of Chughtai Museum. As this is an exposition article, we need not go into the details here, but we will give some details of the various ZIJS later in another blog.

Benaras Observatory

The interesting part is written by analyst Jayant V Narlikar, when he says:

“Jai Singh’s edifice of science did not survive for long. In 1764, the observatory was severely vandalised when Jawahar Singh, son of Suraj Mal, the Jat Raja of Bharatpur, plundered Delhi. Perhaps the most telling commentary on Jai Singh’s dedicated but largely irrelevant scientific enterprise comes from the rather disconcerting fact that his grandson converted the Jaipur Observatory into a gun factory and used his ancestral 400 kg brass astrolabe for target practice.”
Jaipur Observatory

By observation only, in his commentary on Zij Muhammed Shahi, Khairullah asserts:

“We have found the orbits of the Sun as well as those of all deferents, of elliptical form. Our argument is that whenever ewe calculate the different positions of the Sun and other planets in accordance with equations of the circle, they do not conform with the actual observed ones. On the contrary, when the equations are derived taking the orbits elliptical and calculating the positions, they generally conform with observations. Hence the orbits must be elliptical.”
D N MARSHAL REFERENCE

By observation only Khairullah without ant knowledge of Keplers theory, is proving same with his intellectual prowess, in his commentary on Zij-e-Muhammed Shahi.​

C A STOREY REFERENCE

Khairullah was student of his elder brother Imamuddin Riazi, another Master scholar of his age, whose many books were text books in various madrassahs to this date. His many books are there in manuscript form in major libraries of the world. His father Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis another marvel of his time. A gifted Lahori family in all ways.

Bayaz Khairullah

IN SEARCH OF ACTUAL VISUAL IDENTITY OF MIAN MUHAMMED SULTAN TEKHAYDAR – CONFUSION WITH INTRODUCTION OF A PHOTOGRAPH FROM AHMADIYA ARCHIVES

IN SEARCH OF ACTUAL VISUAL IDENTITY OF MIAN MUHAMMED SULTAN TEKHAYDAR
CONFUSION WITH INTRODUCTION OF A PHOTOGRAPH FROM AHMADIYA ARCHIVES
Mian Sultan

The link of Mian Muhammed Sultan is enormous to Lahore and its monuments. Whereas he demolished some of the priceless Mughal monuments of Lahore, he also made so many new monuments in the public interest. It is difficult to classify him but those were those times. It is not possible to assess them now in an objective way. You do not judge history like this. Mian Muhammed Sultan had no children and he died in 1876. A normal Muslim like most others in Lahore. It was in 1899 that some of his family members embraced Ahmadiya religion. Mian Sultan belongs to us all.

Mian Muhammed Sultan

We approached Yahya Chughtai, a drawing draftsman of King Edward Medical College in around 1977. We were searching for records of Lahore. He told us that he had a photograph of Mian Sultan but it was lost in the floods of early 1950s. We continued our search. We found a published book with a miniature of Mian Sultan done in his lifetime and published in a book on Kashmeeri people by historian Muhammed Din Fauq in the early 1900s. Published 120 years ago somewhat. We reproduced it a few times. Recently we were given a supposed photograph of Mian Sultan from a devoted Aneeq Chughtai, part of the family of Mian Sultan, which came from Ahmadiya archives. There is vast difference between the two photographs. To us the most reliable is the miniature in Fauq’s book. Others may swear to the other version. We do not know. Our guess is that somebody introduced this photo as an after thought. Till we know more, the matter rests in abeyance.

Read more here:
Sultans kingdom 1863

A BRONZE LAMP IN IMAM REZA SHRINE MADE IN LAHORE – PRESENTED BY EMPEROR HUMAYOUN TO SHRINE IN 946 AH

A BRONZE LAMP IN IMAM REZA SHRINE MADE IN LAHORE,
PRESENTED BY EMPEROR HUMAYOUN TO SHRINE IN 946 AH
Imam Reza Museum Mashad

One cannot even imagine the relics left in the world and their origin. A lamp presented to the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad by Emperor Humayoun has a strange history. The date of manufacture is 14th October, 1539 AD. It was made in Lahore and is the earliest design of its type in existence. It is 90 cm high and it was designed by Iskander son of Shukrullah in Lahore, and made by Daud, the Ustad from the Utensils market (pandaian wala bazaar) in Lahore. Strangely this bazaar is even now in existence in Lahore inside Rang Mahal, Lahore. This is very near the Chabuk Sawaran mohalla, where the house of artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai was in existence. Most of the utensils of our house came from the same place and we still have many of them. Very few utensils of that period are left. One other surviving example is an urn gifted to Ali Mardan Khan by Emperor Shah Jahan. We will talk about it too.

An old photo of Imam Reza Shrine
Humayoun in Iran
Brass Mashal made in Lahore
Designer Ibn Shukrullah Lahori

HAJI MUHAMMED SAEED LAHORI BURIED IN MOHALLA DULLA WARI – SHARH OF DALAIL UL KHAIRAT WRITTEN BY HIS DISCIPLE OBAIDULLAH

HAJI MUHAMMED SAEED LAHORI BURIED IN MOHALLA DULLA WARI,
SHARH OF DALAIL UL KHAIRAT WRITTEN BY HIS DISCIPLE OBAIDULLAH
Sharh Dalail illustrations full

Haji Saeed Lahori was a great name in Lahore. He and his khanqah were situated in Mohalla Dulla Wari Lahore. The chambers of Shah Chiragh where there is Auqaff department at present was close to the khanqah. He gained prominence when in the attack of Ahmad Shah Abdalli, he saved the people of his mohalla and Luky mohalla from the wrath of the Afghans, as Abdalli accepted the saint prominence. He died on 5th Rabi ul Awal, 1181 AH, and was buried there. Amongst others, lies buried his disciple Obaidullah.

18th century view of Khanqah Lahore

There is a unique manuscript of Dalail ul Khairat in our archives, which is a Sharh as well as translation of the world famous text, with full illustrations done in Lahore, and as Haji Saeed Lahori was dead by 1181 H, so it means that this book was written before that in the life time of the saint. The quality of the illustrations are reflected of that period, not perfect, but agreeable in all ways. And to be able to describe the sacred journey of Haj as well as religious monuments can only be done, as both were Hajis themselves. In fact it is more strange that Obaidullah claims to be a direct descendant of the original writer of Dalail ul Khairat Sulaiman Al-Jazuli, done centuries ago, surely the writing before 1465 AD. . The manuscript is unique that it illustrates a khanqah of Lahore of that time. Rare pictorial representation of any facet of Lahore.

Maqbara of Sulaiman al-Jazuli

Dala’il al-Khayrat (دلائل الخیرات) or Dalaail u’l Khayraat Wa Shawaariq u’l Anwaar Fee Zikri’s Salaat Alan Nabiyyi’l Mukhtaar(meaning the Waymarks of Benefits and the Brilliant Burst of Lights in the Remembrance of Blessings on the Chosen Prophet) is a famous collection of prayers for the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which was written by the Moroccan Shadhili Sufi and Islamic scholar Muhammad Sulaiman al-Jazuli ash Shadhili (died 1465)

The Dala’il al-Khayrat is the first major book in Islamic history which compiled litanies of peace and blessings upon Muhammad. It is also the most popular and most universally acclaimed collection of litanies asking God to bless him. Among some Sunni religious orders, most notably the Shadhili-Jazuli order, its recitation is a daily practice. In others however, its recitation is a purely voluntary daily practice. The work begins with the ninety nine names of God, and then the a collection of over one hundred names of Muhammad.

A DIFFICULT PERIOD IN LAHORE AND STRANGELY – ARTISTIC AND LITERARY ACTIVITIES ABOUND ALL

A DIFFICULT PERIOD IN LAHORE AND STRANGELY,
ARTISTIC AND LITERARY ACTIVITIES ABOUND ALL
We are Lahoris and our specialty is collecting material on Lahore. We have hundreds of printed books (on Lahore), hundreds of manuscripts related to Lahore, documents of various period including Mughal one, artifacts and clay work, etc. A catalogue and list will eventually be produced but we cannot hurry that up right now. Enjoy!
Sharing three colophons of Lahore in a difficult period:

1 – RISALAH written by Mahbub Shah for Muhammed Ishrat, Minister of Saifullah son of Abdul Samad Khan, 1135 AH.

Mahbub Shah Lahore 1135 AH

2 – SHABISTAN NIKAT written by Haji Abdul Ghafoor, son of Mulla Zaman, in times of Governor Abdul Samad Khan, 1139 AH.

Haji Abdul Ghafoor Lahore 1139 AH

3 – MISC PRAYERS, written by Ranjha, son of Muhammed Ali Mimsr, Rajohri Mozang, Lahore, 1140 AH, plus other dates.

Ranjha Rajohra Mozang 1140 AH

All about Art & Pakistan!