The news is everywhere of the conversion of the V logger Canadian lady Rosie Gabrielle and everybody happy over the incident. Well done Rosie! And perhaps people are missing an important point. She is holding in her hand a copy of the MEANING OF THE QURAN by Muhammed Asad. Real congratulations to her and the soul of Muhammed Asad. In his work Muhammed Asad transliterates (not translation merely) (yes, mahfoom) that this copy is for the thinking person.
Muhammed Asad himself converted to Islam, and so much impressed Quaid e Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, that the Quaid appointed him as an adviser and put him in the charge of the DEPARTMENT OF ISLAMIC RECONSTRUCTION, after going through his magazine the ARAFAT. The work of Allama Asad as well as Allama G.A. Pervez broke the shackles of perversion of ignorant minds. People will try to detract you Rosie from the path of truth. Hold on to the banner of ONE ISLAM without any sectarian or group issues. When you recite the Kalma, the Quran is enough for you, as vouched by Hazrat Umar (Blessings) himself. Well done!
THE CLAY MOULDING MASTERS OF LAHORE THE MIND BOGGLING DRAWING AESTHETICS
Lahore surprises us with clay figurines of exceptional talent. Certainly these were not meant for mere children, and their price and value would be totally different. We hear of COGOO GHORAS of Lahore. But those were simple clay models, repeated endlessly, without any real aesthetic value. But on other hand we come across figurines of exceptional merit, certainly done by Masters in their trade, as well as the drawing by equally important Masters. The subjects of such Ustads are endless. We have so many different ones and each one surprises us with their intensity of being moulded from clay. Clay must be exceptional too, by being hard as well as having capacity for nice detailing.
We present here a broken figurine of a tall man, very slim, with a bird on his shoulders. He is wearing a cap of some nature. Some writing perhaps on it too. What kind of a bird it is? Falcon, parrot, or some other species, and for what purposes? We hear of bird hunters and we try to guess that it is a figure of a bird hunter. Is the bird on his shoulder a decoy, companion, or a bird hunter too! One can only do guess work. The man has an exceptional face, nothing in routine or otherwise. A tall man with a bent back is indeed excellent perception. Did he exist or is it from mere Imagination? No one knows, but one can enjoy as an art observer, the detailing of a Clay Master of Lahore. Broken arms could have told us more things, or even legs. Maybe it was part of a bigger sculpture. One can only guess. But still enjoy!
ENIGMA OF BASQUE COUNTRY PEOPLE WITH AN ISOLATED CULTURE,
YES, DIFFERENT DNA, LANGUAGE AND YET WITH ISLAMIC INFLUENCE.
The ancient history of Basque people is still under research. Islam had spread over in Spain as well as parts of France, so it was natural that this county, between thee two countries, would receive Islamic influence in one way or the other. A dress code different from Europe was there in the 16th century and there is pictorial record of it. In any case research work starts from a little inkling and spreads else where. People with intact ancient language and different DNA, blood grouping is worthy of research, and it is being done. Researchers say:
“With their distinct genetic make-up and ancient language, the origin of
people from the Basque Country in northern Spain and southern France has long been an enigma. Previously thought to be a population of unmixed hunter-gatherers that survived the influx of farmers from the Middle East around 6,000 years ago, new genetic evidence suggests that things aren’t quite so clear-cut.
Instead, it appears that the Basques’ closest ancestors are early Iberian farmers who were descended from that first wave of Neolithic farmers, which then mixed with the local hunter-gatherers. The researchers think that the Basque people’s unique characteristics survived in isolation as, after this first initial mingling of hunter-gatherers and farmers, the Basque people became separated from subsequent waves of farmers, first from the East then from the South, and continued instead to mix further with the local hunter-gatherers.’
Probably the influence was there in Lahore from Turkish influx, but the Xavier could have brought it fresh from Basque itself.
The medieval state took form around the city of Pamplona during the first centuries of the Iberian Reconquista. The kingdom has its origins in the conflict in the buffer region between the Frankish kingCharlemagne and the Umayyad Emirate that controlled most of the Iberian Peninsula. The city of Pamplona was located amid a predominantly Basque-speaking area. In an event traditionally dated to 824, Íñigo Arista was elected or declared ruler of the area around Pamplona in opposition to Frankish expansion into the region, originally as vassal to the Córdoba Emirate. This polity evolved into the Kingdom of Pamplona. In the first quarter of the 10th century the Kingdom was able to assert itself.’
If one notices the said introduction means that Navarre was a Basque country, and its origin lies with the Umayyad empire, and was a vassal state to Cordoba Islamic Spain. And this takes us to the start of the relation between Basque and Lahore. The founders of Navarre included Ignace de Loyola and Francois Xavier. The third mission of converting Asia to Christianity started from Navarre and the grand nephew of Francois Xavier, that is Jerome Xavier, who stayed in Lahore from 1595 to 1598, and like his predecessors two missions, they too miserably failed to convert Emperor Akbar. Akbar was a full of fun and fond of political gimmicks and he enjoyed giving the impression of being convinced for conversion. But at the last moment he would decline same much to the chagrin of the missionaries. He did allow construction of the first church in Lahore. But he died a Muslim, and recited the Kalma before his death, as recorded by his own son, Nurudddin Jahangeer in his diary Tuzuk.
But here our emphasis is different. We notice some cultural connections between Basque county and Lahore. Recovered heads of figurines from Lahore show costumes which are very much Islamic in nature and direct resemblance to the Basque costumes found in history. Compare yourself and there is amazing similarities in same. Basque female costumes for any European country are truly amazing like our own costumes. Probably the origin for Basque and Lahore in form of costumes is same and need to be researched in total. If one looks at the 16th century Basque costumes, they look like the Burqas of our elderly women of yesterday.
Memories are short but not that short to tear pages from history books. The efforts of a group of Punjabi writers and poets decided to promote the Urdu Language. Obviously they wrote so well that it incurred jealousy amongst others. Particularly the lobbies in UP were against the fame gained by these Urdu writers. M.A. Rahman Chughtai consolidated them all through his designs as well as publications. For two years Chughtai took out the prestigious Art Annual Karawan from Lahore from his residence in Chabuk Sawaran, through his Jahangeer Book Club. So well received in Urdu circles but was difficult to maintain due to financial reasons. All these people you see tried their best to do this and were supported by Sufi Ghulam Tabbassum too, who was another honourable member. Probably there were others too, including the younger brother of the artist, Abdur Raheem Chughtai.
The group was so successful that in reality the adoption of Urdu language was also a result of their efforts. This was endorsed by Quaid e Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan. It had history. Urdu language was a product of request of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. A meeting was in progress under Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and many people were seated there. The list included Khawaja Hassan Sanjari, Khawaja Saeed Muhammed, Khawaja Saeed Mussavi, Khawaja Syed Rafiuddin Haroon, and Har Dev, along with his three relatives, Sumbal Dev, Chanel Dev, and Sunil Dev. Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia was of view that a language issue in addressing people of Hindustan was occurring, and it had to be resolved with a new communication tool. We have to devise a language which mixes local language with language of Muslims that Is Persian, and Turkish. Already inter exchange of words are taking place and people are familiar with same. And to teach this language I have written a small booklet by name of KHALIQ BARI. I want that a system of new language should be started and it should be call Hinduvta. But so that people can really know it, I want Amir Khusro to compose songs in same, so that not only people can talk and read it, but can also sing songs in it, so that it really becomes common with use. As Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia lived between 1238 AD to 1325 AD, so the birth of Urdu started in the 13th to 14th century. The language has a history of about 700 years and was avidly used in Hyderabad Deccan.
The British knew that to deflower the Islamic Ideology, the language was to be removed from the minds of people. Quaid e Azam knew that to promote Unity in Pakistan, one language was the requirement of the times. The crisis of Bengali language was master minded and the lovely Bengali people fooled into riots. The result is obvious to us all. The lament of the creation of Brown Sahibs has evaporated with advent of those who wanted to obliterate it. But Pakistan will rise. Do not be taken into this hybrid war. Our Ideology is intact and cunning low moral people cannot silence truth forever. Pakistan forever!
It all started with the painting of the Sistine Madonna by Raphael in 1512 and the depiction of two young chubby boys as little angels. When Raphael was painting the Madonna the children of his model would come in to watch. Struck by their posture as they did, the story goes, he added them to the painting exactly as he saw them. Another story says that Raphael rather was inspired by two children he encountered on the street when he saw them “looking wistfully into the window of a baker’s shop”. It caught on in Western art.
“In the Book of Ezekiel and Christian icons, the cherub is depicted as having two pairs of wings, and four faces: that of a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle . Their legs were straight, the soles of their feet like the hooves of a bull, gleaming like polished brass. Later tradition ascribes to them a variety of physical appearances. In Western Christian tradition, cherubim have become associated with the putto, resulting in depictions of cherubim as small, plump, winged boys.”
From such diverse imagery, plump boys, as Cupid shooting arrows for revelry. Cherubs started appearing everywhere. But the craze was set in the time of Queen Victoria as images in that period are Victorian Cherubs. And most of them are acting as Cupid with bow and arrows to strike the heart of lovers in revelry mood. These kind of silly chubby boys had no appeal for Mughals, neither the Emperors nor the public. To belittle the Mughal aesthetics, a lot of fakes were being created by the British in Bombay by the firm of Guzdar in the quest to appeal to the Western buyer. M.A. Rahman Chughtai the descendant of the Mughals, knew all this and pointed it out again and again. A worthy read is his book on the same.
The Saint Petersburg album contains assortment of works with fakes. Take the work of Bichiter, this painter had never seen a work of Bichiter to know his style. Input of Englishman, floating beard, and Cherubs to please a western audience. In some of these fakes even the Persian language genealogical tree was written in wrong direction. Even Stuart Cary Welch could see the 19th century border on the work, which is usually hidden from public view. A slap on Mughal portraiture and aesthetics, the work is refused to be judged by western analyst as fake. For a simple pigment test can tell us everything, but no on wants to belittle oneself by telling us that their eyes were closed on their previous judgements. These cherub are even introduced on actual works to belittle judgement. Complexes have started rage against history and facts. Feelings cannot be over turned by rationality. The core of hearts is disheartened by feelings of inferiority. Sad indeed! One should learn to appreciate anything of value and all civilizations have something of value. Their voices in art and culture must be heard by non biased persons.
A point worthy of note is that the group of local painters in Lahore Fort was noted by Van Orlich in 1842, on the pay roll of Maharajah Sher Singh. These people were traditional painters and known as Gumti Bazaar painters. A lot is known and written about them. But the most interesting part is that this group was led by Ustad Allah Baksh, son of Mian Izzat Baksh, who was a tall handsome man, always dressed in royal regalia and often called as the King of Delhi, even by the British residents. In British times he was In charge of all the paintings and naqashis done in the Lahore Fort, and that includes the period of John and Lena Login, and this group of painters is mentioned in the line of Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was getting work done from them. We will add more with time, but till then read Lena Login in Lahore Fort again in 1849:
Lena Login reports same:
“He has painters constantly employed near him at his work, which he watches with the deepest interest, and himself tries to draw and paint a little. I want you to send me out for him, a nice paint-box and material for his use, and a good book of instructions in the art of drawing and painting, till I can get him good lessons.”
Satisfying Duleep Singh was the requirement of that time.
All days a normal life with a normal person is punctuated with unknown happenings. A foot slips, and you hurt your ankle. Your hand gets caught in a drawer that is painful. A wasp bites you out of nowhere and gives you a swelling you cannot hide. Your walk is restrained by oil on the pavement. A tyre puncture drives you nuts. Caught without an umbrella on a sunny day and it starts raining. One can narrate a million things which happen ll day. And when you solve them, deal with them, you are learning the art of vigilance. This is Allah’s way of telling you that however smooth things may be, there is a storm lurking every where.
The Quranic teaching is always there. And then one cannot forget the eternal message of our Quaid e Azam in telling us about UNITY, FAITH AND DISCIPLINE. Walk on any road of ours and what do you see. Everybody trying to outwit and race with the other in the capitalist drive of some Wall Street. No one can cross a road for it looks like a disturbed jungle there, with the traffic wardens impotent of any traffic rules or regulation. Phones in their hands as phoning messaging on zig zagging motorcycles. Hell has broken on our roads for stress has made us literally mad. A vehicle strikes another vehicle and out comes the two drivers with abuses and coiled fists, exchanging blows, with no results. No one wants to stop at red light, no one wants to move on green light. Lazy bones or sick of authority we are all. This is the sour fruit of democracy. Making rich richer, and poor poorer. Anger is boiling in society as it has become an unfair society to all. Mostly the middle class people are harassed most. Why worry about hybrid war, for hybrid is beyond the average citizen of Pakistan. He is facing Reality war of politicians not giving a hoot to the people of Pakistan. Justice is something for which you need plenty of money. No one thinks of dying, the misery of living for some is enough. And the bloated stomach and over used genitals drive away all thoughts from the corrupt. Corruption seems a word coined ages ago and no longer relevant to present society.
And yet in all this misery, people are still laughing. Sickening news on media evoke no compassion at all. For Hazrat Umar a hungry dog would bring retribution from Allah for the Caliph. Here more the deaths, it is easier to rule. In fact Freemasons have a solution to the problem, curtail the population of the world by 75% and things would be fine and the devil will govern the world. Making slaves of the world and few elite to rule. The morons see the way out in usurping all the more.
So a four letter word to Hybrid war. Face the reality. The lv and compassion of Allah gives us the concept of eternal TAUBA. Tauba here will not come on its own. The RIGHT has to win over the WRONG and unfortunately, FORCE is necessary. One institution can do that. The politicians have failed us. If the Army does not rise, it will fail us too. And then not only geography will change, the Quran will be set aside for more centuries. So hold on to the Quran. Not with running the fingers on its lines, or kissing it, or putting it at a higher place in the house. Implementing its message. That is the Quran. Hazrat Umar implemented it long ago, but then Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgeer implemented it too. That is why he incurs the wrath of the kafirs. For he sought the Sarat ul Mustaqeem very well in our society, with the legal code of FATWA ALAMGEERI, and implementing it in letter and spirit. Quaid e Azam told us that Mussulmans do not lose courage in time of crisis. Come out and save Pakistan!
TRIBUTES BY HAFEEZ JULLUNDRI, DR JAMES COUSENS ETC
The book is in front of us. Poems of Tandra Devi. Printed in Lahore, published by the author from Kashmeer. A brilliant introduction written by famous critic Dr James Cousens, as well as a forward by our National poet, Hafeez Jullundri. Then it is illustrated by J. Patrick Foulds. Foulds a background in arts was a natural choice.
Tandra Devi has written other books too, like Village theatres and the Ten plagues of Civilization. She belonged to the Theosophical movement in India. Her esoteric poetry had appeal to special group of people and possibly never caught on with the public. But there is depth in her work. She writes:
O I sighed for a breeze
From the far-off mount to blow.
And I cried, because all these,
Beloved! should pain me so–
Because your loveliness
Must fade away from me.
And death and parting stress
Must drown us in their sea.
Years after her death, she still calls attention to essential feelings of love and parting. Allah may have mercy on her soul!
A UNIQUE GALLERY OF PAINTINGS ON WALLS OF LAHORE FORT AS TILE MOSAICS
NOTHING IN HISTORICAL NOTES BUT START TO PERIOD OF EMPEROR JAHANGEER
SHAH JAHAN’S COURTIER MULLA TUGHRA ATTRIBUTES TO USTAD AHMAD MIMAR
In 2015 we put up a blog on the Tile Mosaics of Lahore Fort, and like all others puzzled by some of its features. As there is no historical account, in recent years scholars did comment on same. But nobody got up on the rampants to study them in detail. Obviously it goes to the credit of Agha Khan programme for such restorations, that details have started coming up. Of course we have the original book of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1920 and the illustrations and writings done on same by scholar J. Ph Vogel, who indeed did a tremendous job at that time. There were some illustrations done of same in 1890, and some of them are even preserved today in the Cambridge University library. Foreign visitors never touched same or dismissed them like William Barr (1839) as being grotesque. Even today Yael Rice a modern researcher alludes to their lack of public visibility. Everybody approaches art and culture with the present spectacles of time. I was invited to mount the steel trappings and see them close, but it seems hazardous to me.
The most surprising newly discovered thing is that some of these tile mosaics have inscriptions. Not many but few are there. And two names appear on same. One is Hussain and the other Abdullah. In all cases name of two painters who drew the drawings or painted them (nobody would have the guts to put up their names for public consumption except painters themselves). A worthy addition to list of Lahori painters. There are two inscriptions on a panel of Calligraphers. One says Allah Baqi and the other says Ya-fatah, Allah Akbar. The surprising thing is that Abdul Baqi Adad was a famous calligrapher of that time, and Al-fatah too could be the name of a calligrapher, of Akbar’s time. Alluding such things was very true for Mughal artists.
Another surprising thing is that there are no panels related to Hinduism. A common theme (appear at many places) at that time were images showing a Simurgh attacking a Gaja-simha (a lion with elephant head). Simurgh is a bird from Islamic context and a Gaja-simha from Hindu symbolism. The appeal of that image was the Simurgh attacking a Gaja-simha showing the superiority of Muslim culture over Hindu culture. On the Lahore Fort the Simurgh is there attacking a dragon, whereas the dragon is having a fierce Garuda like face, the Simurgh not. So although Gaja-simha is avoided being shown here, the animal has particular connotations. And another clarity is absence of any Christian cherubs on the tile mosaics. The much proclaimed fancy of Jahangeer with images of Jesus Christ and Mary not there in any way. Researchers point to the perhaps image of an Englishman, and even with the greatest fancy, cannot understand his placement there. For some he could be Thomas Roe, when Jahangeer does not even mention once Thomas Roe in any capacity. Thomas Roe in dress of an ordinary worker belies all such claims, and with hands folded in obedience. Not worthy of being considered an ambassador here, looks more like a minor attendant. We will research on same.
Although there are male and female fairies, there are no female images on the tile mosaics. Why? The Mughals were fond of depicting women in various poses, and their absence points to the nature of decision making in making these tile mosaics. For public, for private or for royalty alone. One can only wonder. The angels are there in the Wazeer Khan hamam Lahore, and were also there in Gola Serai Lahore of Wazeer Khan, demolished by E.D. Maclagen for security purposes before 1910. Possible other tile mosaics too for Nawab Wazeer Khan was involved in the over haul of Lahore Fort and could have carried the painters to his serai too.
Research would continue but the tile mosaics have been terribly neglected by western art historians and critics for reasons unknown. Our family is linked with Lahore Fort as other Mughal monuments, for we are descendants of Ustad Ahmad Mimar, Chief architect of Shah Jahan, and he is on record as being attached in work to the Lahore Fort itself. Mulla Tughra (the famous diary keeper) was with Shah Jahan in Kashmeer and in a letter addressed to Ustad Ahmad, he tells him that Shah Jahan is about to depart from Kashmeer to Lahore and should complete the works are soon as possible in Lahore Fort but then says something fantastic;
“And the highly dignified Mulla Ahmad Mimar- that discerning appreciator of new ideas of the ‘PICTURE-GALLERY’, that master of resonant language of the ‘workshop’, that designer of Wisdom’s mansions, that writer of inscriptions on the pavilion of the Royal intellect, and that architect of the Holy Temple of benedictions- has rebuilt the exhausted spirit of this writer with the tranquil mortar of his friendship.” (published in Taj Mahal by Wayne Begley and Z.A. Desai)
This is direct evidence that our ancestor was responsible for the Picture gallery at the Lahore Fort from a writer courtier of Emperor Shah Jahan himself. Mulla Tughra was from Mashad and stayed with Shah Jahan throughout his life, and Shah Jahan was dethroned, Mulla Tughra retired to Kashmeer. His language skills were famous and he talks of things with symbolism of chess board. Skilled communicator of ideas, and surely friend of Ustad Ahmad Mimar, as others like Ustad Abdul Kareem, Makaramat Khan, and Amanat Khan Shirazi. We will add more, till then enjoy!
THE UNKNOWN MAZAR OF SUFI MASTER IN LAHORE FORT REVISITED
SOME RAREST PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AROUND FORTY YEARS BACK
The legend of the mazar in Lahore fort was strong, and my cousin volunteered to research on it. Photographs were taken at that time but misplaced in a diary for perhaps 40 years. Discovered again just yesterday. Important heritage was rebuilt without any archival record, which is a shame. No one cares for heritage. A quick way of earning money that is all. Greed abounds in governmental organizations.
Ali Hujweri is considered part of Lahore. But Ali Hujweri seems to have escaped historical account, for there is little mention of him in history. Prince Dara Shikoh was a big fan of Hazrat Miyan Meer as well as Baba Lall of Benaras. In his book on the life of saints, he mentions the Dargah of Ali Hujweri and places it inside the Lahore Fort itself. He proudly tells us that he had a brand new SARCOPHAGUS made for his grave, which was of pure white marble, or for that matter even black marble.
Chandarban Brahman, the Munshi of Dara Shikoh tells us an additional thing. He says the Dargah as well as Lahore Fort was under the superintendence of the Hindu administrator Ishwar Dass. He further describes the Dargah of Ali Hujweri in a few words and says:
“Even though there are yearly and monthly impromptu performances throughout the city’s precincts, especially at the tombs and shrines of the giants along the path of esoteric Truth, the Thursday gatherings at the blessed tomb of the knower of mystical stages, Pir Ali Hujweri, creates an especially remarkable commotion. Darwishes and other free spirits, literati, poets, and all manners of people gather there to observe the spectacle of Divine Creation.” Rajeev Kirna’s translation.
There is a diva metal stand with the grave, simple and looks very old. There seems to be a big black stone on the grave, does not look like a normal sarcophagus, but could be one. Perhaps writing on it. One does not know anything about it. The green kinari cloth is also old and full of dust. The entrances are sealed even then. Obviously in research, controversy is created with vested interests. We have no part in it. We are just recording documentations. Conclusions are for people not us.