Outside Bombay in the Arabian sea lies a deserted Island Fort. The fort was made by Sidhi Salur Khan, an Abyssinian in 1511. Reinforced with lead and granite, it was a fort which could not be captured by any one. The Abyssinian captain and his Sidhis provided safe package to various Hajis going to Mecca and were rewarded by the Adil Shahis. Emperor Jahangeer also gave the Sidhis the authority to govern the place.
The palace of Sidhi Salur Khan is known as Mah Ruba or the Fort of the Moon. There are mosques and inscriptions still on it. But everything is deserted. No one even comes near it and it is difficult to visit by any one. Fishermen row their dhows past the place in loving memory of a time gone by. The famous Hindu warrior Shivajee tried to conquer the Fort many times but could not succeed. He even unsuccessfully tried to dig a tunnel to the Fort but of no avail. It was a Fort which legends say was the strongest Fort of its kind. Today it is an island of solitude and peace.
FOREIGN LOBBIES WASTING THEIR RESOURCES IN TRYING TO BUY MUSLIM IDENTITY
MUSLIMS MAY WAVER HERE AND THERE BUT RENOUNCING IDENTITY IMPOSSIBLE
THE WORDS OF THEIR PROPHET ETCHED IN THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS
There is always a two pronged strategy. One is to create a secular camp in which you demean religion like nothing else. Modern knowledge tells them that there is no room for God or biblical stories. On the other hand you create priesthood, which will cannibalize all your enlightened views. Thanks Allah, Pakistanis are very enlightened people. Intelligensia has rejected both. Obviously it started with the teachings of Dr Allama Iqbal himself and executed by none other than, Quaid e Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah. The mantle picked up by thinkers like Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz, Dr Abdul Wadud, Rafiullah Shehab, and so many others.
We are proud to be Muslims and we are proud to be Pakistanis, where eventually the Islamic Concepts are going to be tried for the very first time in a thousand years history. Ijjtehad is going to come flying in and we bid farewell to alien thoughts and Ideology. For in the final analysis we face Allah and Allah’ commands. The earthly thinking meaningless. The Prophet PBUH said for us:
“Oh my uncle! If they place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left, to force me to renounce my mission, I will not desist until God manifests His cause or I perish in the attempt.”
IN SEARCH OF MEHRI ARAB THE POETESS AT MUGHAL HOUSEHOLD
COMPANION OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN WHO WAS HER GUARDIAN
LITTLE BY LITTLE INFORMATION PILES UP IN HISTORICAL RECORD
Mehri is not an unusual name. It is an actually abbreviated form of Mehr, and for that matter Mehr unnisa was the name of Empress Nur Jahan herself. Little bits and pieces are known. It should be clarified that there were at least three Mehri poetess in those times. One was Mehri Khanum, a Turkish poetess, who wrote both in Turkish and Persian. Then there was Mehri Herawi, from the city of Herat, whose work was also known here. And then there was Mehri, the poetess attached with Empress Nur Jahan herself.
One strange aspect is that little of Mehri’s verses have survived and copies of a Masnavi or two exists in the famous Berlin library as well as Bombay University library. Nowhere else the same is known. It is called as the SARRAPA I MEHRI , and is just of a few pages. Enlarged writing makes it 14 pages, condensed writing just four pages. Some verses here and there in tazkhiras. But the funny aspect is that she is known a a PERSIAN POETESS but in the collections which saves her writing, she is written as MEHRI ARAB. A strange contradiction. We have a story of Emperor Akbar in Afghanistan who met a group of 200 Arabs in Afghanistan and and treated them with honour. We have the legend of Hamida Begum who brought a group of 300 Arabs back to Hindustan from her Haj trip to Mecca. In that respect we have the famous ARAB SERAI in Delhi. And on one of the Eastern gates, there is written MEHR BANO QADIMI JAHANGEER SHAH. Some scholars believe this Mehr to be an eunuch in the service of Emperor Jahangeer. Other believe it to be the name used of Nur Jahan herself. But the inscription very strangely written, and not the normal elegant inscriptions of Empress Nur Jahan. It is too brief and too vague to have other meanings. Perhaps the small Arab girl Mehr was part of these Arab travellers and Empress Nur Jahan liked the child and adopted her as her own. We do know that this Mehr was married to Khawaja Hakeem of the Mughal Court.
An interesting episode is related by Tazkhira writer Sher Khan Lodi of Bengal. He says that one day Nur Jahan and Mehri were standing on the balconey, when Khawaja Hakeem passed from underneath. Nur Jahan asked Mehri to summon Khawaja Hakeem, and the man got so nervous, that he started walking with an unusual gait. Nur Jahan asked Mehri to recite some verses on the stupid walk of her husband. And Mehri said these extempore verses:
“MARABA TO SARE YARI NUMANDA,
SARE MEHR OH WAFADARI NUMANDA;
TORAH ASZAF OH PEERI QUWAT OH ZOAR,
CHUNANCHAY PAY BARADARI NUMANDA.
In the couplet Mehri complains to her husband that due to old age and weakness, he does not have even the ability to walk forward, so the possibility of good marital relations has diminished considerably and no loyalty was to be expected.
Empress Nur Jahan was highly amused and as expected from an Empress, rewarded the poetess in a proper manner. Everyone calls Meri a Persian poetess raised by Nur Jahan but references show her as Mehri Arab. Further research obviously required in the life of Mehri.
AND THE DIWAN BRINGS NEW LIGHT ON HISTORICAL INCIDENTS
THE MENTION OF SHER AFGHAN IS THERE IN THE DIWAN
The strangest part is that Mughal history is tainted with stories made by various petty writers with twisted minds through the ages. If we go through contemporary records, the events turn out to be totally different. In this way legends and romantic tales woven around Jahangeer and Nur Jahan are numerous in all ways. After one writer has done his venom, another picks up, and twists the facts to newer levels of degradation. The story of Sher Afghan and Nur Jahan is all romantic imagination of twisted minds. Professor Shuja uddin was the very first to separate stories away from factual history.
Ali Quli was a Turk who worked with Iranian Shah Ismael. After the death of the Shah, he came to Hindustan and found patrons here. In 1594 he came to Lahore and was rewarded for his valour by being allowed to marry the 17 year old Mehr un nisa (the future Nur Jahan). Emperor Akbar deputed Ali Quli to be with Prince Saleem against the launched Mewar campaign. Both were hand in hand in struggle and Al Quli fought a tiger singlehandedly and was given the title of Sher Afghan (by Jahangeer himself). When Prince Saleem rebelled against his father, Emperor Akbar, Sher Afghan first sided with the Prince, and then deserted him thinking it wiser to do so. When Jahangeer ascended the throne, he not only forgave Sher Afghan but also handed over a lucrative territory as his jageer, in Burdwan Bengal. There was no rivalry or dispute between the two. Mehr un nisa stood nowhere between them.
Reports were coming in that Sher Afghan was planning some rebellion. Jahangeer appointed Qutb uddin as Governor of Bengal, and asked him to check the rumours and send Sher Afghan back to court if they turn out to be true. Qutb uddin was foster brother of Jahangeer and he invited Sher Afghan to join him but Sher Afghan was aghast at that and rebelled against the Governor. Such rebellions were not taken lightly. When the Governor went to see Sher Afghan, an open fight developed within the two. Sher Afghan assaulted Qutb uddin without cause and killed his eunuch Amber Khan, before he himself was cut to pieces by the soldiers of Qutb uddin. This happened in 1607 and his wife and daughter were sent to the Mughal Court as it was proper to do so, where they served Saleema Sultan Begum, wife of late Emperor Akbar. So from 1607 to 1611, that is a four years sojourn of the lady. Again Meh un nisa stood nowhere.
It was fashionable to create stories about the Emperor and the visiting Englishman William Finch maligned Jahangeer with Anarkalli, who he proclaimed to be the wife of Emperor Akbar and accused Jahangeer of having an affair with his step mother. How cheap were the minds of these visiting missionaries of evil? Like the Nur Jahan’s tale, the twisted tale of Anarkalli also gained credence through the writings of twisted minds. But there are too many versions. No version match another. That itself is proof that there is no veracity in it all.
In fact the family of Mehr un nisa, that is her father Ittemad ud daula, brother Muhammed Shareef and cousin, all were planning an open rebellion against Jahangeer in connivance with Prince Khusrau. When caught Ittemad ud daula was forgiven but the brother and cousin were executed at orders of the Emperor. And Mehr un nisa could do nothing about it. She had no hold over the Emperor.
In 1611 Jahangeer saw Mehr un nisa in a Meena Bazaar and was very impressed with her personality, and asked her to join his harem. The very same year he married her. What could be the lust between a 42 year old Emperor (who had seen the best of women) for a 34 years old widow with a daughter of her own. Elegance was the key to the impression. Mehr unnisa was a woman of many talents and Jahangeer recognized that immediately on seeing her.
Sujan Rai hated Nur Jahan and would not even mention her mausoleum in Lahore (when he mentions that of Jahangeer and Asif Khan). From there many twisted tales started including that of the murder of Sher Afghan at the instigation of Jahangeer. Other writers wrote one drama after another about that. But we now have the Diwan of Nur Jahan herself. In it she laments not only Jahangeer but also finds room to recall her late husband Sher Afghan. She talks of Sher Afghan at least five times. She writes about DANGEROUS DECISIONS, BLOOD, and DAGGERS. Proper research will take more time.
Both her husbands were two extremes. Sher Afghan was brave, bold and reckless. Strong but without any reserve or sensitivity. He was merely fit to be a petty officer and all that he was. His clash with Qutb uddin could have been avoided but he was too reckless to see reason. Jahangeer on the other hand was a sensitive soul, poetic and fascinated with the delicacies of life. In fact Nur Jahan experimented the two extremes. One she confronted as a 17 year old virgin, the other she confronted as a 34 years old widow. It was a combination of vinegar and sugar. Only she could have tackled both. Left as Sher Afghan’s wife, she would be part of no history. But as Jahangeer’s wife she became an icon of Lahore.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai made National presence felt in 1920, but in 1924 it was the world in the Wembley Show in London, where millions saw the exhibition. International Art magazines were reviewing his work after the publication of Murraqqa i Chughtai in 1928. The trip to Europe in 1932 introduced him to Western Art circles all the more. He was now an internationally recognized artist and accepted artist by Western critics. The British Authorities understood that well and ready to recognize talent at the earliest.
In 1933 an idea of knighthood was being floated, but opposition from Sir Shadi Lal prevented its completion, although records in the Civil Secretariat show that development. B.A. Qureshi Sahib had explored those files. In any case the title of KHAN BAHADUR was approved by the Committee and Sir Herbert William Emerson, Governor Punjab put his stamp on it. The award ofcourse was sanctioned by Viscount Willingdon himself. All that record is there and we share some of it for the very first time. Enjoy!
THE USE OF WORD INTELLIGENCE BY INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
IS THE WORD INTELLIGENCE BEING PROPERLY USED OR MISNOMER
DEGRADING THE QUALITY OF INTELLIGENCE IN HUMAN BEINGS
WE always heard the phrase “CUNNING AS A FOX”. Well that animal must be cunning indeed and Aesops fables define the quality of various animals to us. Indeed even a “CLEVER CROW” is well known to us. Albert Einstein is considered to be the world’s most intelligent man, and we can wonder if he could have ever functioned as an Intelligence Agent in any way. So why use the word Intelligence for Information gathering and Intelligence Agencies as the top in the world. The gaffes of Western Intelligence Agencies are well known to us. Even ordinary people have outsmarted them many times.
Nowadays we openly hear discussions on TV saying that the Rickshaw Driver of USSR and USA ended up as an agent of MI 6, and that agency is behind that fat sick body to this day, with the intention of dismembering Pakistan. I do not know the truth or falsehood behind it, nor is it my job to know, but this I know that there is an old saying that “IF YOU DIG GRAVES FOR OTHERS, YOUR OWN GRAVE IS DUG UP TOO”. This Europe referendum is pointing out to the possibility of UK breaking into four countries, as Scotland and Ireland do not want yo be with them anymore. Indeed we never sent any ISI agent to break UK, although our loyal Pakistani helped UK to stay together by cajoling the Scots. So when we mean well for them, why do they not mean well for us? And they are supposed to be intelligent and rational people.
Recently a mouse attacked a small finch of ours. We are trying our best to nurse the finch back to health. We do not have the capacity to hurt anybody, and yet intelligent people are playing havoc with the world, with millions of death just in recent years. Which imbecile goes and bomb innocent people out of existence? Carrying hatred to the extent of elimination. We are not rats and dogs to be trained by Pavlovian experiments. We are human beings. We have a mind and a soul, and Allah teaches us CO EXISTENCE by living in PEACE AND HARMONY on Planet Earth itself.
We are not dogs who salivate by looking at a bone. We are sensitive human beings alive to the responsibility of a stable world, where all can optimize their life. We are egalitarians. Regardless of cast, colour and creed, we are the soul of the world. Satans will do their best, we will over come them towards a better future for our world. On vulgar assumptions to destroy the world is playing havoc with our own selves. Maybe we need to balance Intelligence Agencies with Emotional Agencies to teach us the value of love and compassion again.
It was funny. Reference to two Ravi daryas always accosted us. The River Ravi and Buda Darya, the older course of river Ravi. We were always amused to think that there could be a river which had the nomenclature of being old. Of course the river Ravi is very very old, but these references dated in the last few centuries. We needed not refer to the times when there was no Lahore and the river flowed and the NAU GUZZAS came from Iraq to settle here and there and bought the Jewish culture with them. Punjab the land of five rivers and home to various civilizations always stood proud of its heritage. Many dead civilizations are found on river beds and banks. But Lahore was a living culture all the time.
Strangely Nur Jahan in her Diwan (recently discovered in Lahore) talks of the danger of the river as well as floods which made the Jahangeeri complex an island of its own. She uses the word Darya, Khatra and Jazeera as news of inundating River Ravi. We know that a large portion of the Mausoleum of Jahangeer was damaged in the course of time. The threat became so acute that the river was routed away again and again.
The first big attempt was of Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb ordered a bank to be built around Lahore for its protection. Wells were dug from Masti Gate to Mahmood Booti, and wooden planks thrown inside. On top of it a high wall was made and embankment which was tested with time. In recent years one could still see signs of it near the village of Bhogiwal, as well as outside Masti Gate. In extension of Lahore more and more of past being obliterated with time. The Mughal courtiers were so fond of the BAND I ALAMGEERI that they built their gardens on it for enjoyment in floods themselves.
The British also tried their best to give the river a new route. We have a map dated 1877 in which tree spurs were used to block the river from going to unwanted places. No tree spurs near the mausoleum of Jahangeer, because they were not bothered with same. After Pakistan was made huge floods were witnessed and Lahore was inundated with water for days. Our own house was safe and we reached school in time, but many could not make it. The old bed of River Ravi on Mohni road and Ravi road were full of river water as well as Badami Bagh area. The river was remembering old times. We have photographs of those floods and will find them.
It was on a boat on river Ravi that Emperor Aurangzeb came to inaugurate the Badshahi Mosque Lahore, and a mad man, threw bricks at him. The Emperor was safe and instead of having the assailant beheaded as would be done today, he was caught but set free. Those Monarchs were really democratic people while our democrats are Monarchs unlike the Mughals, and more like tyrannical Hindu Rajas of the past. It s a resentful word people comparing the present rulers to Mughals. The Mughals were so fond of INSAF that even today INSAF I JAHANGEERI is a household word in our city.
DAUGHTER OF AN EMPEROR LIFE DEDICATED TO COMMONERS
MOTHER BURIED IN TAJ MAHAL, SHE BURIED IN SINGLE GRAVE
Books can be written on Jahan Ara and books have been written, but she herself wrote books and also wrote verses. No Diwan has come out so far, but her takhallus was BEGUM SAHIBA and verses have been recovered from various sources. Some of her books are found here and there, mostly on Muslim Saints of our region. Chughtai Museum is proud to possess one of her books, written probably by Dara Shikoh himself and the final copy, her presentation to her father Emperor Shah Jahan in Jamia Masjid, Delhi. All this is recorded on the manuscript itself.
The calligrapher is AINEE. No Ainee is known, but we do know that due to her love for brother Dara Shikoh, she used to call him Ain, or in more personal terms as Ainee. The reference to Dara Shikoh in the book is written simply and she in her own hands has corrected the attributes, which shows that Dara did not regard his name in a royal way and she corrected it.
The Manuscript of Munis Arwah is only one of three 17th century manuscripts known to exist. As the book was written in 1049 AH 1640 AD, the two others found are different. An Autograph copy is known to exist in Lucknow but of a later date. There is a beautiful Ms in Azamgarh dated 1068 AH. But ours is the earliest Manuscript known and is dated 1051 AH, although the presentation part to Emperor Shah Jahan is later, both in Ajmer as well as in Jamia Masjid Delhi. Ours stands as the rarest and very very beautiful and elegantly written.
A lot is said about Jahan Ara and we will write more but where we introduce a rare manuscript of hers, we also reproduce the verses she wrote on the death of her father:
“Oh thou Sun of mine that hast hidden thyself from my eyes,
Will there ever be a morning to this night of separation.
Thou monarch of the world and qibla of existence,
Open thine eye of mercy and behold our condition.
I cry in sorrow and it availeth me nothing,
I burn like the candle in anguish and there is smoke in my head.”
Jahan Ara is the epitome of our women hood and to this days fathers love to name their daughters after the spiritual goddess of Mughal kingdom.
PSYCHOS MUMBLING THINGS AGAINST PAKISTAN AND ITS IDEOLOGY
SATISFYING LOBBIES FOR THEIR REQUIREMENT OF THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
ALCOHOLIC CONSUMPTION BECOMING RAMPANT IN PAKISTAN
Someone should pay attention. Someone should do something about it. Alcohol consumption rising in Pakistan. And when it rises, people become addicted to it. And more so for free alcohol. And who provides it. Foreign lobbies bent upon taking our rational minds away.
A psychological study in USA was done long ago and we have its report. It says a rat realizes that he is not a lion and consumes alcohol to present himself as one. And after consumption he becomes a lion for some time and when the effect withers away, he realizes he is actually a rat. So he drinks again to become a lion, and the obvious circle starts again and again., The result total loss of rationality of mind. The result morality gone down the drain. A soul sold and bought by Satan. Even our religious priests do not protest at all, for they are themselves part of this devilish consumption. In fact once a famous religious scholar was known as Maulana Whiskey. A Prime Minister could present naive honesty by saying that he takes alcohol now and then, better than taking halwa all the time. The shame is abundant.
We have seen upright fellows ruined by bad company. And slowly the malaise follows and there are no solutions. When regular consumption goes out of the pocket, the smiling saboteur steps in with his presents of bottles. And for those who may believe this is not so, we have seen the evidence with our own eyes. In the 1970s, diplomats carried crates of Vodka in their big black cars. Dinkies used to be opened in front of people and they wold be asked to pick up the bottles of their choice. We are witness to this, we have experienced this. And we have proudly said NO to all this.
The Western image of the artist as a a habitual cigarette smoke and drinker is there and told to us all the time. That creativity requires consumption of devilish drinks. This is not so. Our Islamic artists have abstained from such things. In fact they used to start their day in a wozoo like way, with clean clothes, bath, having a prayer like attitude with clean presentation. Our history of creativity is not based on drinks. The artist Abdur Rahman Chughtai roamed the world but never fell into this trap anywhere. He never smoked all his life, nor did he ever drink even a drop alcohol. His life was as clean as a baby and it reflected in the magnanimity of his face. He was a lion and he never wanted to become a rat.
So remove this devilish drink from our fe and we will see more and more patriotic people, sincere to our Ideology and our country. If not then by Laws of Allah, such people do die early deaths in utter shame. A famous poet of Pakistan died such an alcoholic death at Mayo Hospital and the doctors gave a verdict that alcohol had eaten all his inner self. A famous Pakistani artist could claim in a PTV show that he cannot draw Quranic calligraphy till he has consumed alcohol. No Hazrat Umar here to take action. Just smug faces of many faced people and bureaucrats out of their mind. Make Pakistan Pakistan. Outlaw this mischief to our souls!
GROWING UP IN PAKISTAN WITH AMERICAN LEGENDS
FASCINATING WORLD OF COWBOYS, INDIANS AND DETECTIVES
Nothing parochial about Pakistan with universal view sight
The One thousand and one nights is our fascination of the past story telling in full depth. Alif Laila tales are those we grew up with craze in our mothers laps. Then we graduated to comics and there were plenty to choose from at book stalls. For those of us who could not afford to buy all new stuff, there were second hand vendors to satisfy us with expenditure of few annas at one given time. And then we shifted to Western novels, and the dream of riding the sunset into a new town of bandits with our six-guns intact at all times. The yippie of the Wild Red Indian would be behind us. Not contented with that we jumped to Detective novels and there was no better spin master than Mickey Spillane himself. Yes we went further into a world of Carpetbaggers with Harold Robbins or absorb the failure the American dream with Norman Mailer. And finally could suck the world with Robert Frost and the Road not Taken. We traversed this journey with an open mind and heart. Contrary to the hulla balloo of today, we loved Americans and American outpours.
Who can fault the Idealism of the American Constitution? It moves even those who cannot be moved by mere words. Read George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln and you move into a world where human values are cherished as ends to their own self. You had thousands of people from different cultures enter the United States of America to become the melting pot of the world. And then the Neo-cons took control of the American values. Imperialism invaded America. It made Field Marshal Ayub Khan speak of the USA in terms of FRIENDS NOT MASTERS. The American people lost track and control of those who governed America, The sacredness of the American Constitution was questioned by the Neo-Cons and they tended to flout it all the time.
It is actually for the Americans to realize that vested lobbies have taken over the American dream and made it into an international inferno. Bring American values to America. Even the Americans have no control over America. The democratic process is no longer in their hands. Satan is destroying all of us from within. The Islamic Ideal of World Peace is all that is there to follow.