THE STRANGEST PERSONALITY OF DR ABDULLAH CHAGHATAI – BROTHER OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI, EXEMPLARY SCHOLAR.

THE STRANGEST PERSONALITY OF DR ABDULLAH CHAGHATAI – BROTHER OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI, EXEMPLARY SCHOLAR.

Dr Abdullah Chaghatai

As time passes history is often lost. When people do not write about events in their life, or in the life of the icons of the country, sooner or later facts turn into myths, and more often into a bunch of unrelated facts and figures. So much has been written about the artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai in his life time and afterwards, but the majority of information known today is based on the research of Chughtai Museum itself. Even the previous writers writing about him, knew some aspects and hardly knew more. The dearth of knowledge stands there.

So when Aleena Javed of the University of Punjab called here with a M. Phil topic on Dr Abdullah  Chaghatai, I realized how little is available on Dr Abdullah Chaghatai. The people who knew him are dead, the books he wrote no longer available at usual places, the articles in various newspapers totally  not traceable, and even his grave in Miani qabarastan untraceable by most. The two PTV interviews probably not saved at all. Not even one memorial volume or article on him. And the major reason was that his next generations were least interested in him. The reason he lived in his own house at 15 F Gulberg 2, Lahore, but he had no enormous bank balances to show for his life dedicated to history of Islamic Art and Architecture. And, certainly to the city of his ancestors, Lahore. In real terms his family in materialistic terms thought he wasted his life in needless pursuits.  They were not proud of his heritage is proven by the fact that obviously his library got sold (National Library Islamabad), but the other books, manuscripts, archives, correspondence, certificates, photographs, inscriptional direct copies (of most Islamic buildings in Indian region), real pack loads of material, disappeared in the air. His grandsons sold his shop in Urdu Bazaar for a huge sum. Some material given to kabarias, and his unsold books forsaken to radi walas. Not one family member can be approached to get information. The last living son a heart patient, no longer accessible to others. Can actually speak little. And himself sad at the state of affairs. This was immediately realized by Aleena Javed.
I feel sad in him being forsaken. There is no doubt that he was most dedicated to his subject and spent whatever he had on his mission to write a splendid history of Islamic civilization. All must salute him for that. But he was hot tempered, and made few friends in his life. In this extent his sibling rivalry with his elder brother was phenomenal. He opposed his brother throughout his life, can be understood from the fact, that when President Ayub Khan visited the house of the artist in 1959, Dr Abdullah Chaghatai could fume with rage and wrote against the visit in “Imroze” newspaper. Up to the best of my knowledge he did not talk with his brother for perhaps something like 30 years, a life time indeed. A few days before his death M.A. Rahman Chughtai made a personal request to him to come and pay him a visit and he did, and instead of being friendly and sympathetic, ended up fighting with him again, when he was literally on his death bed. I was a witness to all this and later on when on a visit to London, his son Ahad Chughtai told me a completely false tale, that Chughtai sahib had invited his brother to beg forgiveness for the trouble given to him and his wife all his life. That was indeed very malignant, when I knew better. That was the reason that M.A. Rahman Chughtai in a published book of short stories, ‘Kajal’ , directly accused his brother of always opposing his writings. But the opposition was definitely for a reason. The aim was that M.A Rahman Chughtai was without children and after his death, his property would be inherited amongst others, by Dr Abdullah Chaghatai himself. So, by fate of luck, M.A. Rahman Chughtai did get married and had children, it was a cruel blow to those who were planning otherwise. There was real resentment behind all this for the wrong reasons. In 1938 all three brothers shifted from the Chabuk Sawaran house to the new house, and lived together. But the brother’s marriage in 1944, prompted Abdullah to leave the house in actual disgust,  and went back to his ancestral house in Kocha Chabuk  Sawaran. Later he shifted to the residence in Gulberg, and the calamity fell on the house in Chabuk Sawaran, for a water tap was left open, the water filled the house, and finally the house collapsed one day. There were ancestral relics and things still in the house.

Dedication Kajal 1941

Not that other people who visited him came back enriched. He was reluctant to share books, share knowledge, or even give directions to others. He would borrow books, never to return them. Even Librarian Lahore Museum complained of this. He forcibly took a manuscript from Khalil-ur-Rahman Daudi, never to return. And even some archival material he could sell for peanuts, like the Iqballian letters he sold to Mumtaz Hassan. And,  he could be normally pleasant to some people but he was allergic to researchers, and felt that they were encroaching upon his basic rights. I myself know that he would mislead people who asked for directions to the South, to give them directions to the North. It is a fact, that more often he even misquotes references, so that others may not reach the same point. And sometimes create historical facts and dates, which can be proven in his books even. Not only was he wrong about dates, he could create dates when it suited him. He possessive about his knowledge, and he was never in a mood to share it. The antagonism of researchers like Khalid Mahmood, and Dr Anjum Rehmani is well known, and can be understood by their tirade against him in their writings, which I feel is unfair. He did help them in a way. He irritated Sir Akbar Hydari, Prime Minister of Hyderabad Deccan, and was Persona non Grata to that place for some years. He annoyed Dr Nazir Ahmad of Aligarh terribly for writing about his family. Helping me was unthinkable. Not me. When I asked him to show me a book, he showed it to me in his own hands. I was amazed at this ruthlessness of research on his part. All the more when I shared with him hundreds of my independent findings on common subjects. When I asked him for documents, he said they can never be found. When I found them, he was ever ready to use them with two unplanned articles in “Nawai waqt” newspaper, Lahore; without any intimation to me. It went to the extent that he never gave me a clue to some information he had, although I requested him many times. He died with that valuable information intact. And the finale was that he had his son Abdul Khaliq turn me away at the door, when I visited him, with materials to give to him. The son told me never to visit their house again. The funny part is that after his death after many years, the son came to the museum premises and apologized for that happening (in fact he came many times before his operation). I said nothing and said it was okay. I do not carry grudges on my shoulders. Felt it was sweet of him to do so. I would not even mention same. All forgiven! Like his family members, he is a very honest person. It requires honesty to tell me that the next generation cares nothing about their family past.

But this is getting too long for one blog. I feel that there has to be a few more on him. Just wait for first time revelations on him and his career and his personality. There is no doubt that he was utmost hard working, honest, dedicated to his mission, but so possessive with what he had, that he would die before sharing it with others. Dr Abdullah Chaghatai took pride in spending so many years with Dr Allama Iqbal, but he was not Iqballian in his thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, in the end very sectarian in his views. Allah bless him!  My view is that truth must be told before it gets lost in the annals of history itself. A scholar who was a Master of his subject, became controversial due to petty rivalries of his mind. With a walking stick in his hand, and a red Rumi topee on his head, he always made waves. We pray for him and his soul!

EXPLORING THE INSIDE OF THE DOME OF SAHIB JAMAL WIFE OF PRINCE SALEEM – DOME FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE REGION, LARGELY EMPTY, UNSEEN BOTTOM VIEW

EXPLORING THE INSIDE OF THE DOME OF SAHIB JAMAL WIFE OF PRINCE SALEEM – DOME FIRST OF ITS KIND IN THE REGION, LARGELY EMPTY, UNSEEN BOTTOM VIEW

Mausoleum-of-Sahib-Jamal

The initial date of the mausoleum (or year of death) is 1008 AH or 1599 AD, and the next one is given as 1024 AH or 1615 AD. A Mughal Prince in 1599, and a full-fledged Emperor in 1615. The sorrow remained fresh for 16 years, and proves that the sentiments of royalty were not fickle and went away with time. Catherine B. Asher writes that:

“The tomb….has several features that depart from those of other Imperial tombs. A central domed chamber follows a familiar plan.”

But what is unusual is that in most mausoleum, standing in the central domed chamber, we see the inside of the dome high up the ceiling. Although the top layer is camouflaged by lower layer, but the inside layer is as curved as the upper one. Here the shape of the lower dome is more Sultanate in style, and the upper dome more bulbous. The later bulbous domes reveal all that. But inside the upper dome is a huge empty space, that we usually do not see in other similar architectural designs. We know that it has been studied by so many professionals, but they have not pointed out this aspect of the design. In my opinion it shows that there was a mausoleum made by the Prince for his wife Sahib Jamal, and later as an Emperor, he had it enlarged in true royal size. The dates seem to confirm that. For 16 years is too long a time for a mausoleum like that to be built under royalty.

Different double dome Sahib Jamal

In 1847 a map was made of Lahore, and at number 42, it shows Anar Kullee. But amazingly at 41, it shows Anar Kullee Nullah, that is the nullah which came from River Ravi was named after Anarkalli. But later on, we have Purani Anarkalli, where we still have an ages old police station, recently restored. And then the modern Anarkalli bazaar, which made the myth of Anarkalli famous in the inhabitants of Lahore. Then the drama writers, film makers, song writers took over the romance of the tale of a Prince with a slave girl (modified from the original that the slave girl was the concubine of his father and mother of his step brother).

The Nullah from river Ravi, the first pathway, and then the new bazaar, who was responsible for all this. Why? We know there was a Bagh Anaran here, full of Pomegranate trees. But these renaming things is certainly a conspiracy of the Gora Sahib in implementing fake history in this region, and there are plenty of examples of this hybrid war through the centuries.

UTTER FASCINATION WITH THE MYTHOLOGY OF ANARKALLI AND WHITE VISITORS – OBSESSION WITH OEDIPAL, INCEST AND SEXUAL ABERRATIONS IN BAZAAR GOSSIPS.

UTTER FASCINATION WITH THE MYTHOLOGY OF ANARKALLI AND WHITE VISITORS – OBSESSION WITH OEDIPAL, INCEST AND SEXUAL ABERRATIONS IN BAZAAR GOSSIPS.

Young-Jahangeer

The Punjab was the last to fall in British hands. They had already occupied other areas through ruse and strategy. Came as the East India Company and picked up the whole region through ruthlessness of character. We talk of fifth and six generation wars now, those 5000 or so white visitors knew this beforehand. Debase the region’s concepts and sense of values. One was the cultural onslaught. The list is endless. Royal titles were given for most menial jobs like Khansama, Mahtar, and the like, and the Royal costumes given to the waiters and chowkidars outside their hotels. To undermine the culture and their way of life, iconic persons were put to target. One is the fascination with the story of Anarkalli.William Finch if he ever came to Lahore, never had access to the Mughal Court, all as a trader, he could sit in the bazaar and talk with common people. And he could weave stories of his own. Sigmund Freud has talked of people like him, with repressed sexual fantasies. Writers and film makers spun romantic tales of a Prince with a Slave girl, but that was not what Finch reported in his journal. He talked of a Slave girl namely Nadira, who was the concubine of Emperor Akbar, and father of one of his sons, Danyal Baksh. Prince Saleem, in whose front were the entire beauties of the region, could find no rest, except having an illicit relation with his mother. Can anyone in our culture even believe this concept? Mothers are the most sacred institution in our culture. In no way can we imagine a young Prince being so imbecile to have designs on his mother. But William Finch had a deep-rooted Oedipus Complex and sitting in Bazaar at Tandoors, all he could fantasize was such a relation. And he had the gall to attach it to a monument being built by Emperor Jahangeer to his beloved wife Sahib Jamal. And that thing stuck as an unknown act of self-defilement, sitting alone in his tent at night. It would have eroded with time.

Mausoleum-of-Sahib-Jamal-around-1846

But as men at that time, as well as men of this time or any time, vulnerable to being funded to control their research and viewpoints. Even if we look at things in our most objective way, we find humiliation of graves all the time. (that later)
William Finch records his views as this:
“Passing the Sugar Gonge is a fair Masjid built by Sheikh Fareed beyond (without the town, in the way to the Gardens) is a fair monument for Don Shah’s mother, one of the Akbar’s wives, with whom it is said Shah Selim had to do (her name was Immacque Kelle, or Pomgranate kernel, upon notice of which King Akbar caused her to be enclosed quick within a wall in his moholl, where realized, and the King Jahangir in token of his love, command a sumptuous tomb to be built of stone in the midst of a four square garden richly walled with a gate and divers rooms over. The convex of the tomb he had the willed to be wrought in works of gold with a large fair jointer with rooms overhead.”

Common sense dictates that how can a son have a sumptuous monument built for his mother as a beloved, with carved sentiments of love on it. It would promote the wrath of the people and they would have stoned him at every sight. But Finch is a WHITE MAN whose lies are acceptable centuries after his death. A psychologist told me that actually it shows William Finch as deeply in rooted in his own Oedipus complex. ANGREZ SACH BOLTA HAI. My foot. He needed psychological help and lessons in cultural history of this region. Let us see what Finch says about Islam:
“All this is nonetheless show as such with the King about Christianity he affirming before his nobles that it was the soundest faith and that of Mahomet lies and fables”.

Can you believe Jahangeer saying this in front of his nobles? There would be an immediate uprising in the Court itself. The political gimmick of his nephews embracing Christianity dissolved into air when they came back from Goa.

Now comes the question as to the body (bones) of Sahib Jamal. C. Grey was the first to write the story of Anarkalli, in the Punjab University Historical journal, and points out:
‘When the tomb was converted to a christen church in 1852, the body was removed and reburied the left-hand tower facing the mausoleum where it still remains, not far from the tombstone which ones covered the grave within the building”.

Now a historian like C. Grey writing this, it immediately came to the attention of people in power. Saadullah, the Keeper of Punjab Archives, a perfect gentleman, and a close friend of the Chughtai family, reacted to this sharply. I personally think it got the attention of even the Governor Emerson, who himself was very much interested in literature and history of events in Punjab. (Khan Bahadur title was given by him to Chughtai artist in 1934). A secret order (to avoid British embarrassment) was generated to remove the bones of Sahib Jamal from the left turret of the mausoleum and bury them properly in the middle where they belonged. In 1908 Tahir ud din, later Munshi of Dr Allama Iqbal, during repair of the tomb, had discovered another sarcophagus under 15 feet of the floor level, and both were placed side by side. . And we have a witness to this, that is a Master carpenter Umar Din, who was in his late eighties in 1981, when he was working at the Chughtai Museum. He himself saw the dug center of the mausoleum and saw a wall like construction about 15 feet below the surface (as all Mughal ladies are buried like this). He was probably there to make a coffin for the lady, and had tales to tell, but we were not able to listen to all of them. According to Keeper Archives, Saadullah this was done between 1934 and 1940. It is more possible to be around 1938, but it was not recorded. For in 1938 Dr Abdullah Chaghatai had returned from Paris with a PHD on the Taj Mahal, and gave a copy of his thesis to Saadullah for the archives. For a detailed analysis one would suggest that people should read the article on Anarkalli by Ahmed Nabi Khan, a Superintendent of Archaeology and he terms this as in all ways “Preposterous”.

 Journal of Central Asia Vol III, Number 1, July, 1980. The Tomb of Anarkali at Lahore: Dr Ahmad Nabi Khan.”A careful analysis of the above passage given an unmistakable evidence that the curious stranger who was completely ignorant of the trait and tempo of the local society was casually referring to a street gossip. As he had no correct knowledge of the royalty, and the other historical events, he commits several errors.”
Even C. Grey writes that:”That the European Finch and Terry are unreliable, one making several other errors of fact, and the other never having been at Lahore.”

People will always spin stories about Anarkalli and Prince Saleem, because it is a romantic tragedy and eulogized by writers, poets and film makers. The real Sahib Jamal would in no way look romantic to people. Our culture does not permit the announcement of an illicit relation by writing love sentences on the grave of a mother. But people who favour this have no links with the culture of our country, and are in deep rooted complexes themselves. Imagine a President of Pakistan talking about his Oedipus with his mother. People would stone him to death. There is no need to talk of this preposterous and moronic assumption.

P.S.
Some other legends:

  1.  A grave in Batala, Punjab, named after Anarkalli (Ilm-ud-din Salik).
  2.  A staircase in Fatehpur Sikri famous for having a wall where Anarkalli was interred by Akbar, and allowed to escape.

CHUGHTAI MUSEUM UNDER SIEGE FROM MALIGNANT FORCES – SAVING THE LEGACY OF CHUGHTAI ART NOT A SIMPLE JOB AT ALL.

CHUGHTAI MUSEUM UNDER SIEGE FROM MALIGNANT FORCES – SAVING THE LEGACY OF CHUGHTAI ART NOT A SIMPLE JOB AT ALL.

A fifty-year record memorable book is being written and we hope to issue it on 17th January, 2025. When M.A. Rahman Chughtai died on 17th January, 1975, he was torn about by conspiracies. I used to pat him on the back, when he used to panic about his legacy. Assuring him that his work will not be lost, but preserved forever. Not an easy promise to make, when both the Federal and Provincial governments were bent upon doing us wrong. Details will come but who can understand the anguish we went through, trying to do a job for the national good of Pakistan. There are too many details, which we need not go in here, but suffice to say, a national icon, who took the name of Pakistan all around the world. The father of Pakistani Art. Modern Master of Muslim civilization. And what not? Whose death was condoled by many foreign Heads of State, which included the Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, Queen Elisabeth of England, Vice President Nelson A Rockefeller of USA, President Walter Scheel of Germany, President of Azad Kashmeer, and even Dr Kurt Waldheim of U.N.O. And sorry to say that Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was at Chughtai’s house many times, could not condole the death of the National Hero of Pakistan. And his Cultural advisers started a tirade against us. Ms Marjorie Hussain often asks me, who saved me from the wrath of the politicians at that time?  Allah!
We are in siege right now. Conniving politicians turned new pages of tyranny. If Allah does not save us again, the museum will be history again. All that we can say is pray for us. Do whatever you can. We are good for our country. We are good for Pakistani art. And all those morons who take money from abroad to cast doubts on Pakistan and its legacies, to present foreign agendas of anarchy. Pakistan forever!

THE MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH IN OUR ARCHIVES OF A RELIGIOUS GROUP – INAUGURAL PRAYERS AT SIRIYAN WALI MASJID LAHORE, LOCAL AND MIANWALI.

THE MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH IN OUR ARCHIVES OF A RELIGIOUS GROUP – INAUGURAL PRAYERS AT SIRIYAN WALI MASJID LAHORE, LOCAL AND MIANWALI.

Muhammed Chittu Patoli

The complexity of Lahore is not understood by pseudo historians of Lahore. Everybody wants to jump in this terrain with superlatives, while not having any feelings for the philosophy of the city. Egalitarianism is one thing. A city in which Governor and beggar could be having adjacent houses is another. This capitalistic attitude of separating housing schemes due to materialism is not in inherent to old Lahore. Here we enter Lahore through the Phandaian (utensils) wala bazaar, in Rang Mahal, and some steps away, there are two lanes. The right one goes to Kocha Chabuk Sawaran, and the straight one goes to Siriyan wala bazaar. Nobody really can prove what this bazaar meant in ancient times, but the name is still there, even after ages. For some this small limited lane is a place where lambs used to be slaughtered and the Siri Pavay (heads and ankles) used to be sold here (no butcher shop here ever, and why only lamb heads). Others feel this place relates to the slaughter of people (or army), perhaps even by the Mongols, or even by the Sikhs, mainly the three chieftains of Lahore, who were responsible for the carnage in the city many times. Or perhaps it was a hanging place, where prisoners were beheaded. Even a long-lost cemetery of beheaded army people. All that is possible. In any case, there is not much of interest in this small lane, except that in this lane was the house of Muhammed Chittu Patoli (son of Sheikh Elahi Baksh), a leather merchant and maker of shoes, or more specifically ‘Patolis’, portion of shoes making. This havelli was once the havelli of Meraz Khan. Meraz is an Islamic word, and means ‘Gift of Allah’. It is even possible that this havelli belonged to Ifraz Khan, maker of Chinay wali masjid, and Meraz may be the son of Ifraz Khan. And in this way both havelli and masjid came into possession of Muhammed Chittu. Perhaps bought or inherited by him. A relation can be established. And his phenomenal love for the holy book of Quran, is proven by his sacrifice of expensive property, where even his own children were unhappy with Muhammed Chittu’s decision.

Waqftnama Muhammed Chittu

Ghulam Nabi was originally from a small village, namely Chakra, near Mianwali. He was a relatively young man, when he became custodian of the Chinay wali Masjid in Lahore, in Kocha Chabuk Sawaran. His date of birth is given as 1860 AD. He was given charge of this mosque somewhere around an age of 38, or perhaps 40 years. In the hujra of the ancient Aurangzebi mosque of Ifraz Khan, revelations struck him, and his study of the Quran, became intense. He hero worshiped Hazrat Umar, Peace be upon him, and his statement that the “Quran is enough”. To those who believed that Quran was not sufficient, he came up with the idea of Ijtihad, which was a Quranic term itself. For his views, he was kicked out of the Chinay wali masjid. Muhammed Chittu, a keen observer, and contrary to portrayal by some bigoted historians, was educated enough (perhaps highly educated) to understand all this. He offered his own house in Siriyan wala Bazaar to his iconic leader. Ghulam Nabi found fault with his name, and took the name of Abdullah Chakravali. A request was made to the Municipal administrator Mr. Tapp for permission to convert the house into a mosque, and it was accepted that this was a new sect in the Muslim fold, and it was named as Ahl-Quran movement in Lahore. The permission was initially refused but as more people joined the group (from initial 62 to hundreds later on), it is probably that the permission was granted for the same. Otherwise the house was just used as a prayer house. The Waqf-nama of Muhammed Chittu dated 10th March, 1905, clears many things. An invitation was extended by Abdullah Chakravali to his home town in Chakra, and delegations came from there for the inauguration prayers at the Mosque of Siriyan wali Bazaar. And the most amazing thing is that a group photograph was taken with the inauguration of the prayers at the Siriyan wali mosque. And even more amazing that a faded copy was there in the collection of M. A. Rahman Chughtai artist. From 1905 to 2020, a journey of 115 years.  Its colour was restored, but full restoration still far away.

There are many clues in the photograph. The building in front of which the group is standing, even today somewhat like that after 115 years. Plain wall with doors. There is a dari (carpeting) on the floor, for prayers. The main person Abdullah is sitting in front, and looks around 45 (or plus) years old. Behind him is his cute grandson Ismael, and on the other end is his son Ibraheem. Fancy jackets most of them from Mianwali, but the local people can be recognized as plain and simple and poor. Two old men sitting in front. One is obviously Muhammed Chittu, the other not known, but can be Munshi Umar Din, the designated Mutawalli of the new mosque. A historical epic left as a record. The photographer is not a very professional one, as people have been cut in the process of photography. And due to movement of some people, an old wooden box camera could not catch much in detail.  But it has expressions of various people. All serious and anxious faces (no smiles at all), except the relaxed face of Muhammed Chittu himself. We have tried scientific approach to our analysis, but we may be wrong in our attribution. If so, everybody is welcome to correct us. The present generation of Abdullah Chakravali is even allergic to his name and memory. I remember a famous American song, “Ghost riders in the sky”, and know that the ghost of the hero, Abdullah Chakravali will not go sway in wishful thinking. A popular scholar, he risked his already made reputation for his views, which looked outlandish at that moment in life. But only time reveals the truth. A seed is planted, and a full grown fruit tree takes it time. Abdullah Chakravali’s views became the first step in establishing Islam as a Deen, and indeed for later scholars, a challenge to religion itself. May his soul rest in peace!
POST SCRIPTPhotograph can be used only with quoting source of Chughtai Museum.

A SOCIAL DILEMMA OF HISTORICAL DISTORTION IN WHICH MASSIVE DECEPTION – SEES MANDIRS IN ICONS OF OTHER CIVILIZATIONS, FOOLHARDINESS NO REASON

A SOCIAL DILEMMA OF HISTORICAL DISTORTION IN WHICH MASSIVE DECEPTION – SEES MANDIRS IN ICONS OF OTHER CIVILIZATIONS, FOOLHARDINESS NO REASON

Birth-place-of-Lava-and-Kusha

I lived in Lahore all my life. We used to see Mandirs all around the city, deserted yes, but never brought down. Even the gold pinnacles were intact in most of them. But most of them were not old at all. Yes nineteenth century, some eighteenth century, not older than that. The reputed mandirs of Icchra were not that old at all, or perhaps remade over time. People stayed away from them. Then the Babari Masjid was brought down by a segment of Hindus, and in reciprocation, we saw massive destruction of many mandirs. But the mandir fixation did not stop. Just check your internet, you-tubes and other internet places, and you will find a bombardment of such silly statements. You will actually see some Hindus calling the Khana Kaaba as a Shiv Mandir and the Haj aswat as a Shiv lingam; others see a Mandir when they see the Taj Mahal. Conspiratorial minds keep on spinning ridiculous tales with proofs which archaeologists could laugh or people libel them out of pocket. And no one checks them. In fact paid writers from all sides support their preposterous innuendoes. Same is with the Loh Mandir in Lahore. Has anyone even tried to look at it, see the bricks, see the design, see the round holes on sides as well as the bottom, see the architecture, even see the size, but the virtue is not seeing anything at all. No mention in any history, no inscriptions, no references. A 20th century fancy creation. Is there any Mandir like that in the history of Hinduism. If so, please share it with me.

A reference supposed to be by Sujan Rai in 1691 (not proven at all in any way), ascribes Lahore and Kasur to Loh and Kasu, sons of Ram Chandar. Ram Chandar with links to Shri Lanka, has no links to Lahore and Kasur in any way., This is recognized by eminent historians like Ahmad Dani Khan as well as Anjum Rahmani. The names are not LOH and KASU, but LAVA and KUSHA. Where did the legend of same came to the city of Lahore and Kasur. For the first time, it was ascribed to the work KHULASAT AL-TAWARIKH by MUNSHI SUJAN RAY BHANDARI of Patiala. If we study STOREY work on Persian Literature, we find very few copies written in 18th century, and many of them are not complete. The work was written in 1695-96, but no one has researched on same. In the 19th century various translations were made and many manuscripts were found. It would be valid to see the reference of Lava and Kusa starts from where and ends where? Suffice it is a premise not mentioned before in history but later British writers and writers in British period were quick to adopt same. Information is tested not taken point blank without research. If it was said, Sujan Ray has quoted no authority for his statement. It is forgotten that Lava and Kusa fought against their own father Ram Chandar for doubting the purity of their mother. Who knows that? In our view Emperor Jahangeer would have enjoyed the enigma of LOH and would have instructed his architects to make a marvellous memorial to him. In fact the Mughal Minister for Architecture, Ishwar Dass, was in charge of renovation of all the Mughal monuments in Lahore under Shah Jahan, and would have done a wonderful job. But for 3000 years no knowledge or mention of same. But Hinduism speaks of their religion being two million years old and the Story of Ram Chandar perhaps 5000 years old.

In a book written by British writers, illusion is given at the end of 19th century, but the break through is with Judge Muhammed Latif, a British representative by any standards. On page one of his book, he writes:” A mandir, dedicated to Loh, may be still seen in the north western corner of the fort. The descent is by a wooden staircase”.
In the same book, we find mention of DEVA DHARMA SABHA, and its headquarters in Lahore, in Anarkali bazaar, which was founded years before. Its motto is given as:”Deva Dharma ki jai- Sakal pap ki chhai; Devattwa ka prachar- Bharat ka Uddhar.”Besides that a 12 point agenda is given, related to promotion of Hinduism. Some years back the place was ransacked in Anarkali, and various artifacts were found there. A person brought a statue of a cow with a Cobra on its head in black stone. It was so fearful chilling that I could not sleep that night. And these are the same people who wrote to the Superintendent of Archaeology, for research in the Mandir of Loh in the Lahore Fort. Communication through letters were going on for a long time. On 11th December, 1923, delegation from both sides visited the site, and started cleaning and digging the hollow in the corner of the Lahore fort. It seems that the whole structure was under debris. On 13th December, 1923, it was cleared and found that in the hollow were discovered bones of a GIANT of a person. The hands were of exceptional size and the teeth were still as sharp as ever. The whole skeleton was not there. Archaeology Superintendent felt that the bones were of Pre Buddhist times. This burial in no way matched with the cremation rites of Buddhism and Sikhism. Sanatan Dharma Sabha proclaimed that the bones were of Loh, son of Ram Chandar. Nobody investigated things properly. Who took the bones, no one knows? Is there a report, no one asks! But there must be mention in the Archaeological report of that year.
In our view very near to this place is the Chowk of Nau-guzza, famous to this day. Elders of the area talk of the grave of Nau-guzza being long and obstructing the path, and as such it was shortened to bearable length. Is it possible that some of the bones unearthed were transferred to this location by superstitious people, but that is another story, for another time. And we are investigating properly with documentation.

WHEN ALLAH GAVE US THE CHOICE TO CHOOSE OUR PATH OURSELVES – TO DIFFERENTIATE RIGHT FROM WRONG BASED ON THE QURAN ITSELF: – INTRODUCING FATALISM IN OUR WAY OF LIFE WITH PREDICTIONS GALORE – WORK OF AN ALIEN GROUP OF PEOPLE UNDERMINING QURANIC THOUGHT.

WHEN ALLAH GAVE US THE CHOICE TO CHOOSE OUR PATH OURSELVES – TO DIFFERENTIATE RIGHT FROM WRONG BASED ON THE QURAN ITSELF: – INTRODUCING FATALISM IN OUR WAY OF LIFE WITH PREDICTIONS GALORE – WORK OF AN ALIEN GROUP OF PEOPLE UNDERMINING QURANIC THOUGHT.

Shah Niamatullah Vali Shrine

We are supposed to be educated people. Not all of us, but at least people who address the public, should be knowledgeable enough to pursue the truth and write the truth. The media, according to Marshal Mcluhan is a message itself, and the message is a   big pack of lies. The Prediction mafia sweeps on us, as a Divine revelation, when it is far from the truth.  The Quran clearly debunks astrology, and clearly says that knowledge of “Kiyamat” is the privilege of Allah and he has shared this knowledge with no one else. Allah, according to the Quran, has given human beings investigative power through thinking and pondering, but he has not given us ‘Ilm Ghiyab’ at all. The Prediction game prevails in human beings. It started with a civilization which views things in a different way. Nostradamus great hype is reflected in even his prediction of murder of Kennedy. Whether honest or even charlatans stepped into the fragile minds of human beings. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls have something like that. The end is near. Repent. St John the Baptist was roaming everywhere with the same message, ‘End of the World’. The American cowboy world was also bombarded with these people, and the cowboys used to put tar and feathers on them, that is blacken them. Yes, people make capital of this frail world. A civilization revels to make a way of life by choice, as a way of life of decided destiny. Everyone forgets the Quran, for they cannot make capital of a Book of literal truth.

Shrine Shah Niamatullah Vali

The rage of Predictions centre around Shah Niamatullah Vali of Kirman. He was son of Mir Abdullah, and descendant of Imam Baqir. He was born around 730 A H,  and died in 834 A H, at the age of around 104 years. He has written a lot of books and Risalahs on various aspects of spiritualism and religious issues. But what is important is his DIWAN. People have forgotten that there are two important copies in the British Library in London, with numbers as Add 7811, and Add 7091. One is dated 962 A H and the other is 971 A H. There are various items in the manuscripts, and there is one Qasidah, talking about the state of world affairs, and the arrival of Imam Mahdi, to correct all the wrong in the world. NOTHING ELSE.

But there are three Qasidahs added to the Diwan. According to research Qasidah one is the work of another Niamatullah of Delhi. The other two in fact unknown. All three appeared for first time in print around 1850 AD, and continue to appear, here and there, with changes according to the requirement of the writer.  We need not go into details here, and anybody interested can read the exceptional research of C.M. Naim of University of Chicago, and is available as a free download on the internet. Various people have commented on these three Qasidahs, two of which make predictions about our region. Writers change the predictions whenever they go on a different track. It is amazing that the history of this region is predicted in detail. All the Mughal Kings are mentioned, the Sikh rule, as well as the British rule. Obviously making predictions about wars are easy to make, particularly when the qasidah writer belongs to the 19th century itself. And they appear changed with each period of calamity facing the Muslims. Full credit goes to C. M. Naim for giving all the details of the publications. And people have commented on this, like:

‘Much of the interpretation relies on saying that ambiguous names referred to certain people and countries, another common prophetic trick. To be fair, his hit rate with names is higher than other predictors, but this can be explained by him predicting the future of Muslims. Muslim culture is insular and has fewer names.’

‘Perhaps his boldest predictions involve India having reduced power on the world stage. This would not start until a century after his time. However, a cursory examination suggests that he did not like India. Predicting the downfall of your enemies is a common prophetic practice. On a long enough timeline, every culture has heights and declines.’

Not everything is clear. The King name is considered Habibullah at times, and at other times King James. Botched up predictions taken as truth. And educated people are confusing the public. The Quran debunks Astrology and the Predictions game of Ilm-ghayab. Are we to believe else-where for our spiritual guidance? Internet is bombarded with illusions, that no one, or hardly anyone dares to seek the truth. Predictions are anti-Islamic, simply satisfaction of our negative impulses. The universe is governed by the Laws of Allah, and obeying the Laws is our salvation. Allah gave us choices. We will make tomorrow according to our choices.

THE BEHEADING OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST (QATIL YAHUNNA) – DRAMA STAGED IN THE GARDEN OF MAH SINGH GUJARANWALA – ASSOCIATION OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI WITH CHRISTIANS

THE BEHEADING OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST (QATIL YAHUNNA) – DRAMA STAGED IN THE GARDEN OF MAH SINGH GUJARANWALA – ASSOCIATION OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI WITH CHRISTIANS

St John the baptist

The very first passion of M.A. Rahman Chughtai was in being a writer. His favourite past time was in writing plays, and parallel to being an artist, he wrote things all his life. The creativity of his art was also reflected in his writings. He was fond of saying that even before a painting is made, it comes to him in the form of a story. In a small wood selling shop in Yakki Gate, his creativity started in full swing. One of his earliest inspiration was a biblical tale of the beheading of St John the Baptist. That was the time when he was associated with the Punjab Religious Book Society in Lahore. This drama also published by them in book form and our copy was with Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, and the relevant copy with Mrs Najmuddin was unfortunately lost. We may find one in some discarded library. We try all the time.

In any case the drama staged at two places. One was at Malik Theater, Bhatti Gate, Lahore, where it is rumoured to have not been very successful. But it was also staged in the Sheranwala Garden of Mah Singh Mausoleum in Gujranwala. And there it was on for months and appreciated by the Christian community, as well as Muslim friends of the artist. This show led to the formation of BUT-KADA a film production house of M.A. Rahman Chughtai and that is a story we have already told in another blog. 

Khalil

One thing is certain here. The drama book calligraphed by Din Muhammed Katib has a childlike illustration on it related to SILVER KING of Agha Hashar. It has a sign in the corner saying ‘M R’. The illustration is related to a series of dramas published in Lahore around 1908-1915, and this is the SCHOOL period of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. There is every reason to believe that this illustration is also by M.A. Rahman Chughtai as a school child, and that matter is a matter of record too. THE FIRST DUST-COVER ON RECORD OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI. It seems to us to be so. He was doing covers for such small publications at that time. In the end he must have made at least 500 of them.

LUTUFULLAH’S CIRCUMCISION DATE OF SULAIMAN SHIKOH SON OF DARA SHIKOH – CIRCUMCISION AT EIGHTEEN YEARS SPEAK OF AMBIVALENCE TO MUSLIM PRACTICE OF CIRCUMCISION AT AN EARLY DATE UNDER FAMILY DISPLAY OF “JASHAN SUNTAN”

LUTUFULLAH’S  CIRCUMCISION DATE OF SULAIMAN SHIKOH SON OF DARA SHIKOH – CIRCUMCISION AT EIGHTEEN YEARS SPEAK OF AMBIVALENCE TO MUSLIM PRACTICE OF CIRCUMCISION AT AN EARLY DATE UNDER FAMILY DISPLAY OF “JASHAN SUNTAN”

Sulaiman Shikoh

The ritual of male circumcision was considered a festival of great importance in the Muslim tradition. The earlier it was done, the better it was considered. It was becoming a Muslim. There were simple circumcisions and there were concepts of “Wadian Suntan”. In these festivals most of the family used go sit in a circle, and a barber surgeon was called, who would circumcise the child. A tray of sand was put underneath to stop the bleeding. Nothing medical about it. I once witnessed such a festival in a havelli in Mochi Darwaza Lahore, where we the children were allowed to watch from above the designated hall, through the big opening in the roof. The young boy knew nothing and was led astray with a meaningless assertion, “Look at the bird on the roof”. And the surgery done, with application of alum on the cut part of the genitals. Music and dance came in. Later on a huge dinner was on the anvil, and everybody rejoiced with the idea, that the child had become a Muslim with this operation. This takes us to pages of history.

Lutufullahs verse on Sulaimans circumcision

Sulaiman Shikoh was active with his father Dara Shikoh in the fight between the two brothers. He was hiding in Srinagar, but betrayed by the Rajah’s son, he was bought back. Imprisoned at Gwalior fort, he showed great courage, and same was appreciated by Aurangzeb himself. Not much is known as to the happenings, but it seems that he was put to death in the prison itself. With his valour he lasted many months in prison. But ended in the ‘Traitors graveyard’ in Gwalior fort. It is not traceable at present in the list of inscriptions of the graveyard of Gwalior Fort. In appreciation of his courage, Aurangzeb Alamgeer allowed the marriage of his daughter Salima Banu to his own son, Muhammed Akbar. The love of Salima with Akbar is so well known. 

Circumcision at Mughal court

Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis who was very close to Prnce Dara Shikoh attended the circumcision practice of Sulaiman Shikoh. He gives the date of the same as 1064 AH, that is 1653 ZAD. This means the Prince had his circumcision done at 18 years of age for he was born in 1635 AD. This is all a record in the Diwan of Muhandis, which exists both in manuscript form (Chughtai Museum has a number of copies, in original and in copies), and printed copies, and has a number of other dates too. A direct record.

This circumcision practice in Lahore as elsewhere becomes more and more complex. As foreskins were considered signs of manhood, foreskins were collected from the dead bodies of enemies. And not only that, they were also replaced with figurines of same. We find these figurines in Israel, but we find them in Lahore too. The ones in Israel are depicted as uncircumcised, while the ones in Lahore are circumcised in imagery.

The Torah speaks of the continued policy of cutting the foreskins of dead enemies and keeping it as a relic, along with necessitated figurines of same. In relation to the biblical story of David and Goliath, as elucidated by the Quran too, in terms of Hazrat Daud and strong man Jaloot. In fact, Kind David is reputed to have presented 200 foreskins to Herod for the hand of his daughter as told to us by bible:

“David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.”

“The Old Testament is awfully big on foreskins (e.g. Genesis 34 and 1 Samuel 18:27). In particular, the Israelites are fond of collecting the foreskins of their enemies, usually after they have been slain, but occasionally beforehand.”

But making figurines of the genitals is a brand new concept, discovered in Israel as well as in Lahore. And the foreskins collected as relics. A related practice is the keeping of the ‘Chand’, after the birth of a child. That is portion of the child’s  first hair which were cut, and the umbilical cord with it. History has strange turns and twists in it. 

FROM USTAD AHMAD MIMAR TO MIAN KAREEM BAKSH MIMAR – MOVEMENT FROM EMPEROR SHAH JAHAN TO MAI HIRAN LAHORI

FROM USTAD AHMAD MIMAR TO MIAN KAREEM BAKSH MIMAR – MOVEMENT FROM EMPEROR SHAH JAHAN TO MAI HIRAN LAHORI

Masjid Mai Hiran Rang Mahal Chowk

In 1632 a most ambitious project of a mausoleum was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan and the project was given to his Chief Architect Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahori. The project was created with no financial considerations in mind. After 1900, there was a Mashki in Lahore, living in the vicinity of Gumti Bazaar. By Mashki we means a water carrier, and water was as scarcity in this city all the time. These water carriers were in great demand. The most famous Mashki of Lahore was Gulu Mashki, attached to the wife of Maharajah Ranjit Singh.  But an even more famous Mashki was Saqa, who saved the life of Emperor Humayoun, and was made Emperor of Hindustan for a day, at his own request. But let us get back to our Lahori Mashki. Toiling with water mashks all his life, the fellow died a natural death. This man had a very loving wife, who wanted his name to be remembered forever. There was a saving of Rs 500 in their house. Probably the house itself got converted. And as permission was required to construct a mosque, Mr Tapp, the Municipal administrator gave same willingly to her. Now was required a person who could execute the project in Rs 500. The lady sent for not only an able but reputedly a very honest man, Mian Kareem Baksh Mimar. This fellow promised to have the mosque made from start to finish within the 500 rupees. That included the design on paper, the passing from the municipality, bricks and mortar and everything. Start of the project started with the sacrifice of a lamb in the foundations of the mosque, which was the usual practice at that time.

Initially the mosque was hidden from sight, but I got interested in its story and we went to see it in 1977. At that time constructions in front of it had fallen and it was clearly visible in the chowk of Rang Mahal, Lahore. Well no barriers could hold my enthusiasm for a mosque built by my own grandfather. And I climbed and scaled every portion of it. Majeed Bhatti, the photographer was with me and he photographed many of these episodes of mine. I evoked a great passion in me. For emperors building things was one thing, for a poor woman another thing all to gather. Her love and her soul were in the mosque and so was the work of my grandfather. Such stories have to be told. Emperors get their stories written all the time. No one to write the story of compassion of poor people. I write it down with dignity and respect. But it is to be noted that the mosque has individuality, and architectural balance, which was the hall mark of Islamic architecture. Today all these aesthetics are gone with the new wave of totally illiterate Maulvis capturing the mosques.  If given free reign, they would destroy all our traditional mosques and replace them with horrendous structures of concrete and steel. The grace of Allah saved the Badshahi mosque from such a venture, when the Nawab Begum of Bhopal took control over its reconstruction. Allah bless the souls of the various Begums of Bhopal doing good for people.

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