FIRST OFFICIAL SHOW OF PAINTINGS IN PAKISTAN, M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI,
INAUGURATION OF ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL KHAWAJA NAZIMUDDIN 1949
AMBASSADORS SPECIALLY FLEW FROM KARACHI TO VIEW THE SHOW
It was a grand event in the cultural history of Pakistan. It was well advertised and well known to people in and outside the country. Delegations came from all over the world. Chancellors from American Universities. Ambassadors flew to Lahore from Karachi. The Governor General of Pakistan, Khawaja Nazimud din to inaugurate the show. This was in conjunction with the inauguration of ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL. The idea discussed at the house of Begum Shahnawaz in 1946. An institution founded by M.A. Rahman Chughtai and he designed its first insignia, which is still valid to this day. He also gave it the name ALHAMRA. He set the whole tone for it. It was to reflect the kind of renaissance in culture which happened to Islamic Arts in Spain. Everything was forward looking.
The first foreign Head of State to visit Pakistan was the Shahinshah of Iran and he too visited the show along with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan. It can be seen in the press photograph too. The place Alhamra was like a second home to us and we visited it often. M.A. Rahman Chughtai even planted many mango trees there. The object to bring Pakistan to the fore front of the Art world.
Men of culture governed Alhamra. Then Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto thrusted it into bureaucratic orbit and nincompoops came one after the other, to loot the spoils of war. From the refinement of Fine Arts and Classical music, it was set for stage dramas of the most vulgar kind. Imtiaz Ali Taj must be crumbling in his grave as to what happened here. The place was used to rent out for Shadi ghars and what not? The making of the new building was so defective that the roof gave in one day. Even now we see work going on in the roof. Contractors busy at looting governmental money. Suffice to say we all understand that. There are those who deny even Chughtais association with the place. Documentary evidence speak otherwise. We wish Kamran Lashari, the best in his venture to upgrade Alhamra back into form. But like many other things in Pakistan, this is just another RAW deal.
THE POETESS BAQANA THE CRYING MUGHAL LADY FROM LAHORE
THE DISCOVERY OF AN UNKNOWN DIWAN OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN
THE LURE OF LAHORE TO REBELS EVERY WHERE
Little is known about the end of Empress Nur Jahan. No solid information? The tussle between brother and sister finally led to the victory of the brother. Nur Jahan had plotted to put Prince Shahryar on the throne. Her brother Asif Khan obviously preferred his son in law, Prince Khurram, later Shah Jahan. The maneuvers were swift and obviously ruthless. No quarters were given. But the end of Nur Jahan was not like the normal end of those who intrigued against the state. A pension of Two lakh rupees per anum was sanctioned for her by Shah Jahan himself and she settled in Lahore.
History does not tell us anything that happened in Lahore. It is all dark. We know that she was building her own mausoleum but according to historian Ali uddin in his Ibratnama, she was never able to complete her mausoleum. It was unfinished till the end. Close proximity to both her brother and her husband, and then further ruthlessness.
One enters the underground chamber of the Mausoleum of Nur Jahan, and you find two broken chain kundas swinging from the ceiling. The solid lead and iron coffins long gone. Reputation as well as historians point out that in search of treasures, the Sikhs dug deep in Muslm remains. But Ranjit Singh wanted to see the remains of the most beautiful woman of the world. Reputation had it that her body was still intact. What was found? Historian Lateef points out that the bones were found and local reputation has it that they were not reburied. But thrown to the wolves and dogs to eat. The pathos of Nur Jahan did not end with the defilement by the Sikhs. Obviously the Sikhs tore the monument apart for stealing of Marble for their own use in religious and domestic monuments. The cruel spin was finally rendered by the British who took the Railway track through the mausoleum and separated Nur Jahan from her brother and husband again.
Nur Jahan after the death of her husband stopped wearing make up or fashion of any kind (although she pioneered fashion in her own days) and started wearing white plain clothes. The story of her getting the coffin ready for her death is narrated at many places. And we here recite that again. While constructing her mausoleum, Nur Jahan also had her coffin made. Special cloth was imported from Isaphan and embroidered here in Lahore (Kinari bazaar) with Quranic verses. Then the coffin was sent to various religious sites all over the world for ziarat, including Mecca. There the coffin was dipped and washed in the water of underground source, zamzama. To safeguard the sacredness of her coffin, even a Darogha was appointed to keep it safe and intact from others.
Nur Jahan was involved in many charity works. It is reputed that she had supported the marriage of more than 500 orphan girls with gifts of dower from her. Widows were on her help list. Every month she would hold a Khatam Quran at her residence and praying for her forgiveness. Perhaps she pioneered many such charity works that we hear are so common about to this day.
The pathos and tragedy of Nur Jahan is still visible. But remarkably another thing happened very recently. The discovery of a pocket diwan in the manuscript world. Bound in red leather, with naqashi patterned design, the 206 pages diwan gives us the takhallus BAQANA. Now what does BAQANA actually means. It means CRYING. The takhallus tells us the frame of mind of the most famous Mughal lady of all times. It is in very difficult script writing but there is waver in the hand, so it shows that it was written at an advanced age. One finds name of Jahangeer in it, as well as Shah Jahan. Dilawar Khan is in it, as is the Bagh Dil Gusha, which she was irrigating on her own. There is also mention of Masjid Nahr Wali, from which she was able to obtain relevant manuscripts. We are analyzing it and will get it professionally done with time. Suffice that it is a major Mughal discovery of the times. Nur Jahan died in Lahore on 18th December, 1645 AD, and was buried in her mausoleum. Her sarcophagus was still present in 1843 AD, when Baron Huegel had seen it there. More on that later.
A PROFESSOR FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, I.J. PITT’S, IN 1942-44,
AMAZING REVELATIONS ABOUT THE HINDU MIND AND THINKING
CERTAINLY SUCH FREEDOM OF SPEECH NOT POSSIBLE THESE DAYS
It is worth reading. It is worthy of analysis. A Professor from Cambridge published his analysis of the difference between Hindu and Muslim mind. With pinpoint accuracy he has defined both nations and the very essence of the TWO NATION THEORY is upon us in his small pamphlet from a University, which can never do same today.
A small glimpse is here in our two selections, but the whole should be read in full. Perhaps we can put it in full on our blog. Happy reading to those who think the two nations are the same. Shame on such pseudo intellectuals is always evident.
AN UNKNOWN EUNUCH OF MASJID WAZEER KHAN LAHORE
THE ENIGMA OF FAMILY OF MULLAH YUSUF KASHMEERI
NAZAK YUSUF KASHMEERI IN TRADITION OF YAQUT MUSTASIMI
A walk inside the Wazeer Khan Mosque Lahore reveals many names. A number of calligraphers are there. One is Mullah Yusuf Kashmeeri, who was also probably the first muezzin of the mosque and the same is mentioned in the letters of Imam Rabbani. Yusuf Kashmeeri was son of Ustad Haider Mimar, who had constructed a famous garden in Kashmeer for Empress Nur Jahan. The name is in an inscription on the garden itself. The family seem to have moved to Lahore. Yusuf had three sons, all famous calligraphers of their time. One was Muhammed Zaman, another Abdul Kareem and the third was Muhamed Saleh. Their names are on many manuscripts as well as inscriptions on Mughal Monuments. The name of Muhammed Saleh is inside the dome of the Gulabi Bagh mausoleum, attributed to Dai Anga. No problem there.
A hand written Quran dated 1071 AH , precarious condition due to water soiling, but the name of the calligrapher is intact. It cannot be read clearly in the way that the calligrapher has tried to hide his gender in same. It looks like it says that it is Faqeer Haqeer Nazak bin Yusuf Kashmeeri. But careful reading tells us something else. It can read as:
Al Faqeera Haqeer Nakzal bin Yusuf Kashmeeri
Al Faqeer Al Haqeer Nazak bin Yusuf Kashmeeri
Al Faqeera Haqeer Nazli bin Yusuf Kashmeeri.
But the simplest reading is that of NAZAK KASHMEERI. Nazak is not a proper name for a man, it can be a proper name for a woman, like Nazakat. But then it should say BINT YUSUF KASHMEERI. The solution lies in only one thing. This fifth child of Yusuf Kashmeeri was an eunuch and in the tradition of Yaqut Mustasimi, one of the greatest calligraphers in our Islamic history, doing his best within his gender. It is said that Yaqut used to write his Qurans siting on top of the minaret of a mosque in Baghdad. Perhaps our Nazak used to write Qurans on top of the minaret of the Wazeer Khan mosque Lahore. Allah bless his/her soul!
A UNIQUE EVENT IN HISTORY OF PAKISTAN OF A HOME VISIT IN 1959
PRESIDENT AYUB KHAN VISITS THE STUDIO OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
NEVER BEFORE AND NEVER AGAIN SO MUCH IMPORTANCE TO AN ARTIST
Martial law was declared in Pakistan in 1958 and it all happened, for politicians even at that time, had become corrupt to the core. The advent of President Ayub Khan brought a sense of relief to the people. With wonder struck eyes, they cheered Ayub Khan into victory. President Ayub Khan immediately started a review of all policies and emphasis as placed on all professions in Pakistan. Islamabad was built by President Ayub Khan, as well as most of the Industry we talk of even today. Dams and barrages came up in the country. Sports flourished and Pakistan brought in Gold Medals from international victories. President Kennedy received President Ayub Khan at the airport. Jacqueline Kennedy thought it well to travel on her own. Pakistan was touching the sky.
In those days at the height of his unquestioned power, President Ayub Khan gave the first Pride of Performance for Arts to M.A. Rahman Chughtai in 1958. In 1959 it became Hilal Imtiaz. President Ayub Khan did not stop at that. In 1959, he paid a state visit to the HOUSE OF THE ARTIST. It was unheard off and never heard again. A President visiting the house of an artist. The Press seized the opportunity and carried the news at times as headlines.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai not only presented the President an original painting of his, he dedicated his magnum opus AMAL E CHUGHTAI to President Ayub Khan, but that is another story. Enjoy images of that occasion in 1959!
A GREAT ART EVENT IN PAKISTAN’S HISTORY 14TH AUGUST 1959
INAUGURATION OF KARACHI ARTS COUNCIL WITH ART WORKS
OF ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI NATIONAL ARTIST OF PAKISTAN
Media is nowadays suffering an amnesia about the past of Pakistan. All they can see is the worst of Pakistan and that they show at the behest of foreign lobbies, for those lobbies pay them enough to do things allergic to the Identity of Pakistan. Pakistan made great strides in the world even in its worst circumstances. Like the past Heads of State, President Ayub Khan also promoted the Arts in his way. Finances were released for the new ARTS COUNCIL building in Karachi and it was inaugurated with an Art show of the works of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. One of the biggest shows in the history of Pakistan with hundreds of works by the artist. The speech Ayub Khsan read is with us and we will give it another time. Till then just enjoy a vision of the show.
Art activities in Karachi started with M.A. Rahman Chughtai’s show. Previously in 1952 Governor General Ghulam Muhammed Khan had also inaugurated a show,. And in 1949 Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin at Arts Council Lahore. All Arts Councils in Pakistan were inaugurated with shows of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, including the one in Peshawer and in Dacca. More on that later. Enjoy!
THE ENIGMA OF MOHALLA CHAHAL BIBIAN LAHORE
SYED AHMAD TOKHTA AND HIS MAZAR IN LAHORE
Misplaced priorities in the historical context
A lady walked in the museum some years back. Very plain, very simple, wearing a traditional black burqa. Normally one would wonder as to why her need for a museum arose in the first place. And then she started speaking. Fluent English and expression. She had come from Washington DC , where she was a working psychiatrist, for the US government. Her vision grander than anybody else. The interesting part was that she would be normally considered to be from Mochi Darwaza Lahore, and strangely, she was from Mochi Darwaza Lahore. A lady from a prestigious family of Lahore, still in the garb of her old city. A Chahal Bibi of Lahore.
The Mimar family of Lahore was very attached to the residents of Mohalla Chahal Bibian. My grandfather Mian Kareem Baksh, and his father Mian Raheem Baksh, and his father Mian Salah frequented the place. The presence of this family itself can be proved from the inscription on the Mausoleum of Pir Nizamuddin Shah in Miani Qabarastan. All names are on it. But I was surprised to discover a manuscript of my ancestor, Mirza Khairullah of the 18th century, in which he says Sheikh Khairullah khadim Bibi Haj Taj. I think it is one of the earliest documents of the Bibian of Lahore.
Ghulam Dastageer Nami wrote a history of Lahore and named it TARIKH JALEELA. The house belonged to his grandfather, so when he rebuilt the place, he left the old grave intact. It was the grave of Syed Ahmad Tokhta Tirmizi who died in Lahore around 1208 AD or 605 AH (needs to be verified). When they were digging, they came across many bones, and even sign of two domes, which were now on the level of the ground. Under the grave of Syed Tokhta was a basement, where the actual grave was. They sealed the place out of respect. Miracles were associated with the place and we know the imagination of Lahore walas run riot all the time. Ghulam Dastageer dismissed the notion that the place known as Bibi Pak Daman was the mausoleum of a daughter of Hazrat Ali. The ladies were the daughters of Amad Tokhta and died probably in 1241 AD, as said by him. The full story is narrated in his book.
Prince Dara Shikoh in his writings speak of the graveyard of Bibi Haj and Taj. Little is mentioned anywhere else. One interesting fact that is missed is that in one of the histories, it is mentioned that of the many wives of Hazrat Hussain, one belonged to the area of Sindh. Who invented the Mausoleum of Haj and Taj and others, is that of persons fleeing the happenings at Karbala, one really does not know. But research can be done on that too. The earliest mention is probably Chisti, and Chisti has many tall tales to tell in his book. In any case Ghulam Dastageer thinks that the mohalla of Chahal Bibian was also a graveyard in olden times outside the fortified city itself. Grave worship has become our favourite past time, and it seems that the SARKARS are increasing every day in great count.
IN MEMORY OF MIAN SALAH MIMAR CHUGHATA
DIED ON 11TH MAY 1858 CHABUK SAWARAN LAHORE
LIVED FOR 120 YEARS, REMEMBERED EVEN TODAY
The history of the Mimar family of Lahore starts from Ustad Yusuf Burkurwdar, who was a student of Ustad Sinan in Turkey. Along with his friend Ustad Issa Mimar, the two architects travelled with Emperor Zahiruddin Babar and landed in Lahore. Ustad Yusuf got married here in Lahore and to him was born Ahmad, who later turned out to be Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahori, the prodigal architect, who designed the Taj Mahal of Agra. But here we are talking of Salah Mimar.
It was an age where sons often followed the profession of their fathers, or ventured into related fields. A lot of monuments of Lahore as well as other places, in the 18th and 19th century, owe their aesthetics to the marvel of this very simple man. Salah Mimar was loved and respected by people for his grasp of Islamic history, knowledge and civilization. He was a born story teller and he enriched the brains of his children with past tales of grandeur and patronage.
Salah Mimar had two sons, namely Elahi Baksh (Natha) Mimar and Raheem Baksh Mimar. Both qualified as architects too, in the city of Lahore. Raheem Baksh had two children, Kareem Baksh and Karam un nisa. Karam un nisa was married to cousin Baba Miran Baksh Naqash of Wazeer Khan Mosque. Kareem Baksh Mimar was of course the father of Abdur Rahman Chughtai.
An architect who surevived the War of Independence of 1857, must have died with the dream of seeing an independent Muslim nation again. Today Pakistan is a reality which he would have understood well. We pray for his soul 158 years after his death. Well remembered and well loved!
THE PATHOS OF SHAH ALAM AND HIS TIMES
A PUNJ SURA WRITTEN BY HIM BEFORE BLINDNESS
SURROUNDED BY MIR JAFFERS AND MI6 007 SABOTEURS
If you read even a few pages of the history of Shah Alam, you shudder with the complexities and pathos of that time. The backbone of all nations are the Armies and the enemy knows that to gain inroads to the nation, the Army as to be dismantled. Warriors of the Timurids like Zaheer ud din Babar were not puppets under any hands. Each King in succession had the Army in control. Prince Dara Shikoh lost his battles for he was not battle hardened in any way and sought the recluse of so called Black Magic to try to end the war in Kandahar. Obviously it was lost. Emperor Aurangzeb rose to prominence for he was battle hardened till the very end. At the age of 92 years, he was ready for war with all enemies, When Kings were left to indulge in the charm of the palaces, relish the foods, wear the fancy dresses, entertained by ladies, or sexual gimmicks, the end result is always the same. The rise and fall of civilizations always take place.
Even a brief look at the times of Shah Alam is beyond comprehension. Lack of rain, lack of food, earthquakes, meteor rain, revolt of Army for pay and salaries. Connivance of various Ministers to get to being the Regent of affairs. The end result in 1784 is that Shah Alam is thrown on the floor and his eyeballs removed to be blinded forever. Even a Court painter was called to record the historical scene . And then came the scourge of the Syed brothers, the Ghulam Qadir tyrant of all times. Ghulam Qadir was so cruel, that not only he got Shah Alam blinded, he starved to death member of the Royalty, placed the ladies on walls of the Fort to be observed by all, and to have even Royal Princesses stripped naked and fondled by his soldiers. He asked his soldiers to make them beget illegitimate warriors instead of the wimps they were producing as Mughal Royalty.
When Shah Alam’s eyeball;s were throw out, he was asked what he could see. And he said between him and the asking Minister he could only see the Quran. Strange words for an Emperor, and yet four years before in 1194 AH 1780 AD, the Emperor had finished writing an illuminated Punj Sura (Five surats of the Quran). Shah Alam is no more and yet the Punj Sura is still there. The result of his last years, a treasure of the future.
Ghulam Qadir was to die his consequential end. An historian writes of it like this:
“So Sindia ordered that Ghulam and the former superintendent of the imperial harem were to be tortured to death. Ghulam ears were cut off and hung around his neck. With his face blackened, he was paraded round the city in a bullock-cart. Next day, his nose and lips were cut off and again he was shown to the city. The following day his eyeballs were torn out and yet again he was placed in a cart and trundled slowly though the streets. He eyes were followed b his hands, and then by his feet. Finally his head was cut off and the corpse was hung upside down from a tree.”
His reward for what he had done to Shah Alam and can be recorded too:
“Screams of the tortured filled the harem. Servants were held over fires to make them disclose the whereabouts of hidden jewels. Others had boiling oil poured into the palms of their hands.. Eunuchs were beaten to death. Shah Alam was himself brought out of his prison and subjected to less extreme torture. He was made to sit in the burning sun without food or drink. He was continually threatened, and Ghulam would — without warning— fling his arm round the ex emperors neck and blow a cloud of acrid smoke into his face.
Finally the edge of madness when Shah Alam was thrown to the floor and his eyeballs taken out.”
What had been done to the Mughal ladies had never been done before. Many were starved to death in the eyesight of the people on the Fort walls. Also stripped naked and fondled by common soldiers in front of all. Humiliations were complete and Ghulam Qadir paid the price.
Who gained? First the French General De Boigne and then the British visitor Thomas Twining. Then Lord Wellesley stepped in for the advantages. General Perron took control of northern India. With a pension Shah Alam could stay in the palace, the rest was for the British alone. In fact substantial treasure fell into the hands of the French mercenary Lestenean, who left for British territory and later for Europe with his windfall. DIVIDE AND RULE AND 007 ASSASSINS all were there in full force. It was the Mughal Army which was fist brought down with discord. The House of Timur had finally fallen and Hindustan was left bare for centuries to come.
Did we learn any lessons! Today the situation is still the same. Foreign lobbies are working to throw our army in disarray and take our assets. Hatred destroys people. There is every reason to believe that there is unnatural hatred for Muslims primarily Pakistanis for our CODE OF LIFE. Anarchy is being generated for us but by the Grace of Allah, we will come out of this malaise and be Pakistan again. So be it!
ARAB MUSLIM SCIENTISTS OBSERVED A LIVE SUPERNOVA 1000 YEARS AGO,
THE RECORD OF THIS OBSERVATION EXISTS EVEN TODAY FOR THE WORLD
ARE OUR MADRASSAS DOING THE SAME THING TODAY WHAT THEY DID THEN?
Islam did not start from a scratch. Islamic Scientists realized that to go forward, they had to study the best of past achievements. Pure knowledge was in Greek language of the intellectual world. Immediately people were ordained to translate these texts so that there could be studies in perspective. Today many Greek masterpieces are known only by their Arabic translation. This process went on and on, over the centuries. Even in times of Emperor Aurangzeb astronomers were collecting the best sources of knowledge. Mutammed Khan was sent by Aurangzeb to Portugal to study astronomy there and translate their books from Portuguese into Arabic language. The same exits to this day. Other astronomers were sent to France by Aurangzeb. Amazing isn’t it, what love of knowledge can do to nations?
Even today Pakistani girls and boys excel all over the world in sciences and other disciplines. To have a free mind, you need not be bottled by Mullah doctrines, nor be secular anarchy. You need to be Muslims and for that knowledge comes first in the fulfillment of Allahs mission. Conquer the world with knowledge!
Ashes from a distant supernova are raining down on Earth: The planet is being pummelled by radioactive debris from an explosion 2,000 light years away
· The Earth is being bombarded with iron isotopes from nearby supernova
· They estimate iron-60 coming from a star cluster 2,000 light years away
· Iron-60 has been found in the ocean crust and was even used by bacteria
· Scientists also say an Arabic scholar spotted a supernova 1,000 years ago
By RICHARD GRAY FOR MAILONLINE
They are titanic explosions that fling out radiation and debris across space.
Now it appears the ashes of a nearby supernova – giant exploding stars – are showering the Earth with material, allowing scientists to reconstruct when and where they happened.
At the same time researchers have also discovered evidence ancient Arabic astronomers living around 1,000 years ago observed a supernova as it happened.