THE PROVERBIAL ICON OF LAHORE M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI,
MISSED MENTIONS ARE DELIBERATE OR MERE IGNORANCE
Ms Tania Qureshi is an esteemed lady, writing about Lahore and fresh to this complicated field. We have always found her responsive to new information. Some time back she wrote an article on Kocha Chabuk Sawaran Lahore and mentioned many residents there. But missed mentioning the most famous resident of that Kocha, that is artist Khan Bahadur M.A. Rahman Chughtai. It was very surprising for us. But a day or two back, a new article on important people of Lahore and again name of Chughtai is not there. Obviously if we write a letter to the editor today, editorial people have no room for putting such facts down. I personally think Ms Qureshi is well informed and that there is some bigoted editorial assistant who is allergic to Chughtai artist.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai is no ordinary citizen of Lahore. It is a Lahori family from more than 400 years. Chughtai was born in in Lahore on 21st September, 1897, and died in Lahore on 17th January, 1975, and lived his entire life in this city. He put Lahore on the Art map of the world again. This is Chughtai’s Lahore, who put the word CHUGHTAI ART in the Urdu Encyclopaedia. We can say a thousand things, but one is enough. This is injustice to the memory of an icon of Pakistan and also an icon of the Art world. We are there to correct wrong.
THE NEW BREED OF CULTURAL TERRORISM
REVITALIZE DEAD CULTURE NOT LIVING ONE
THE ENIGMA OF THE PAKISTANI MORON
In 1947 the name of M.A. Rahman Chughtai was the most respectable name in the Art in the Indian region. All recognized it. India did not want to let Chughtai go and tried their best to shift him to India. The artist was Iqballian and knew the PAKISTAN IDEA well, having been with Dr Allama Iqbal for nearly twenty years. But that is a different story. The choice of Pakistan was as natural to Chughtai as anything else.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai was speaking to an audience at Alhamra and whereas many were listening to him, there were others who were sent to needle him. A stupid paid moronic jerk got up and claimed that his Art was not Pakistani Art but Indian Art. He asked Chughtai simply WHAT WAS THE NAME GIVEN TO YOUR ART BEFORE PARTITION? Not to be needled by such morons, Chughtai reply was simple, CHUGHTAI ART. The man who traced his descent from artists and architects of Central Asia, Herat and Turkey, to make and align him with Hindu Art was a ridiculous question. All done with purpose.
Governor General Ghulam Muhammed joined the frey of saboteurs by inaugurating the exhibition of M.A. Rahman Chughtai at Karachi in 1952 and then advising the artist to SHUN THE PAST AND COME INTO THE FUTURE. He was red faced when he saw the subjects of the paintings. Most modern subjects of Pakistani girls, hostels and college compounds. He should have drowned himself there and then in a cup of water, as traditions demand. Why were such things being said? For a want of better word, we can simply say it was CULTURAL TERRORISM to deviate Pakistan away from the Idea of its inception.
Could any power on Earth have deviated Chughtai from his mission of National Identity! Of course not. But morons keep on trying, for they are paid to do so, and they know their next bottle of alcohol would come from such tainted money. And then these rats would pretend to roar like lions.
In our 43 years of struggle we too faced such imbeciles. A famous poetic icon suggested to the Chief Minister Punjab, to cognize that we were not in a strong position and to FINISH US BEFORE WE GAINED ANY STRENGTH. The man went to the grave with his mission to undo Chughtai unrealized and his family keeps his mission alive. But they too realize by now. It was not done and it cannot be done. For we were standing not on a tempest torn sea, but granite blocks of National Identity based on Islamic values. My mother used to recite her favourite verse to me:
AAY THAY JO SANG RAH BAN KAR,
SUB UR GAYE BARG KA BAN KAR.
She always told me be strong, no power on earth can topple you in your tracks. I never faltered. When doubt tried to touch me, the spirit of my mother regained my composure. With such prayers with me, who could stop me? And why? We are in the best interest of Pakistan and we subscribe to an Islamic Pakistan based on Quranic values. Pakistan Forever!
THE BEAT OF CURRENCY WARS BEING FELT IN LAHORE
OBVIOUSLY OUR ART AND CULTURE WILL SUFFER MOST
The company Daewoo was in full swing in Lahore some years back. The owner’s son had died in a car crash in Korea and his mother vowed to keep his memory alive by building a museum in his name. In that respect a Director of Daewoo Korea called on me and we had a straight forward discussion. We talked of his country and ours. He told me that we were very lucky and they were not. In times of war they had no access to food and that is why they lost the war. He told me you have all kind of eating things with you. You can survive any catastrophe. I was amazed at his analysis. Many years back I was attending a course on Economic and the Professor Charles Ratcliffe simply said that they have put a value on human life, and that they do dump wheat in the sea to stabilize market prices and they cannot afford to give this as gift to under privileaged countries as in starving Africa. The result is obvious.
The Quran tells us that Allah will not allow any other system to prevail for long and capitalism is a rebellion against Allah. It was obvious that Communism collapsed and as it was not in accordance with Divine principles. And that the turn of Capitalism would come. We knew it all along and now the internet and rumours mongering is all full of the collapse of intentional monetary system. Should it scare us here in Lahore? An etching by M.A. Rahman Chughtai, namely Dead Shrines tells us the story of wealth.
There are good hard working people all over the world. And that is not true for any single place. Humans know the value of toil. Whether it is Americans, Russian, Chinese or anybody else. Value of hard work is recognized. See the etching by M.A. Rahman Chughtai, namely Kashmeeri Woodcutter. It is hard work personified with dignity of the woodcutter. Nothing like caste, colour, creed or gender comes here. But there are those like King Midas (a great number of our politicians and anchors) with greed running through their DNA and blood. People who like to amass wealth with even realizing that it does nothing for them beyond a certain amount. These people have a lot to worry now.
Currency wars are coming to our country. It is not the Midas who will survive. It will be the hard workers who will continue to work with resilience to carve out a new and peaceful tomorrow.
A VIDEO ON THE MAUSOLEUM OF SUFI SAINT IN LAHORE FORT
FOR THOSE WHO HAD NO ACCESS TO SAME IN RECENT TIMES
Prince Dara Shikoh son of Shah Jahan claims that Hazrat Ali Hujweri is buried in the Lahore Fort. He saysthat he had a beautiful white chaste marble sarcophagus made on it. His munshi Chandar Bhan Brahman goes further and claims that the mausoleum was built all new.
Chandar Bhan Brahman, Munshi of Prince Dara Shikoh visited Lahore on leave of absence from the Emperor and mentioned various things. Originally from Lahore himself, he even had his own house here. The first thing he did here was to visit the Mausoleum of Ali Hujwiri for spiritual blessings. And about the Mausoleum complex of Hazrat Ali Hujwiri in Lahore, he 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 (buzurgan i rah i haqiqat), the Thursday gatherings at the blessed tomb of that knower of mystical stages, Pir Ali Hujwiri, creates an especially remarkable commotion. Darwishes and other free spirits, literati, poets, and all manner of people gather there to observe the spectacle of Divine Creation.”
No mention of general public, but Chandar Bhan Brahman goes on to say another remarkable thing. He reports that one Ishwar Dass, the Minister of Architecture “had demonstrated his great competence and excellent taste with respect to every heavenly building”. An Hindu administrator for upkeep of every Mughal monument in Lahore, and as a consequence not only the upkeep but the making of these complexes with excellent taste, including the Tomb complex of Pir Ali Hujwiri. In other words Prince Dara Shikoh had Ishwar Dass make the entire Tomb complex of Pir Ali Hujwiri and overhauled it, and as Dara Shikoh himself says, that he gave it a chaste white marble sarcophagus for same. In other words we can think of that white marble sarcophagus in line of tombs like Emperor Jahangeer as well as that of Tomb of Sahib Jamal (Anarkali). But for a Prince to change a sarcophagus only, was obviously not enough. Surely he had the building of the Mazar made again, or even relocated at some place.
Unfortunately the place for all this is not specified in any way. If a Mughal Tomb complex was designed in the 17th century, where is it now? Where is the grave stone of same? Disappeared in thin air. Although according to Mufti Ghulam Sarwar 2000 buildings in Lahore disappeared under the Sikh rule here, and a number of Mazars are recorded as having suffered the same. But Ranjit Singh was enamoured with Pir Ali Hujwiri. In fact three visits (1833, 1837, 1838) are on record, and he presented Rs 125 as ardas for the beggars and friars of the complex, along with amounts for Chajju Bhagat complex, and Mastan Shah. He is recorded as having prostrated at the grave at one time. One of his wife had even repaired the complex on her own.
But things get more interesting in the next year 1839. There was a need to rebuild the Gates and for added protection trenches outside the gates were to be made. A need was felt to clear the Bhatti Gate area. Outside Bhatti Gate was the area and mohalla of another famous Sufi of Lahore, that is Syed Shah Sharaf, on which was the mausoleum and mosque of that saint too. The mohalla was not that populated in Sikh times, and it was decided to clear the Bhatti Gate area, so both the mausoleum and Mosque of Syed Shah Sharaf were demolished under the orders of Ranjit Singh himself. Faqeer Aziz uddin was given the task of taking the body out of the learned Syed and then reburying it in the Hata of Haji Muhammed Saeed in Dulla Wari area, where the body is still there under a small construction.
In same year (after death of Ranjit Singh) orders were given by Kharrack Singh to vacate all areas within half a mile distance from the Gates and Wall of Lahore (one does not know how many came under the demolition drive, probably many), and as a result orders were also given to demolish the mausoleum and mosque of Shah Muhammed Ghaus Qadri outside Delhi Gate Lahore. An European Delaurax dismantled the mosque and started with the mausoleum. There was a huge hue and cry in the city (strange for Shah Ghaus and not for others), and it is reputed that Kharrack Singh died that very night. And people believed that it was the spiritual might of Muhammed Ghaus which did the same. But all this gives us no view about the Hujwiri quarters in Lahore. The same is also very near Bhatti Gate, and it is probable that this too was cleared. What happened?
Graves relocation is normal in history. It happened with Shah Bilawal of Shah Jahan’s time, too. When the present site of Pir Ali Hujwiri was made recently (only a few years back), a number of graves of holy men were dismantled and relocated elsewhere, and the whole process was done in the night. A number of graves within the site were just cleared and the tombstones sold in the market. How sad that how ruthless can administrators become? No compassion anywhere. But so many other mazars were cleared during the night, ruthlessly. Nothing seems to have changed. Ruthlessness has no religion.
The mystery deepens. Dara Shikoh mentions the grave of Pir Ali Hujwiri in the Lahore Fort. Chandar Bhan Brahman mentions a Tomb complex somewhere. A proper mausoleum made about 1861 (and remade over time) exists to this day. What are the secrets of Pir Ali Hujwiri? Only time will tell or it will never be found. No one really knows! I have seen manuscripts written at the tomb of Pir Ali Hujwiri, and two of them are in our library, one 17th century, and the other 18th century, but again no area is given in the colophon. One of them is by the Mujawir of the complex. Till something comes up, nothing definitely can be said by anyone. Speculation cannot be enough.
But that is a theory only. Research may bring more facts. But complexity remains. Obviously such mischief is left out of the pages of history.