Today we think of Landa Bazaar in certain terms of second hand things from abroad. But there were manufacturing units here of different kinds. One was the CHANDNI SWORD WORKS which manufactured swords for civilians as well as Army battalions. We have two swords, one for civilians and one for Army regiments stationed in Lahore. Interesting history.
Rudyard Kipling enfolds another role of the Serai of Mian Sultan. In his novel Kim, he points to the Serai as being meeting place of Spies. A certain Afghan spy met here in those times. And killings used to take place here. The interesting part is that the Serai was once the Market place of Prince Dara Shikoh and later as well the Serai of Nawab Wazeer Khan. Demolished by Maclagen in 1904 in Lahore. We have prints as well as photographs of same, which we will eventually share with others. The richness of the history of Lahore cannot be denied in any way.
THE MISSING LINK IN DISCUSSION ON THE FIVE ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES,
OF RAJA JAI SINGH: KHAIRULLAH KHAN MUHANDIS SON OF LUTUFULLAH AHMAD
The objectivity of present western research (forget about the Indian) is questionable. So much is written about the five observatories of Raja Jai Singh and plentiful images of same, but one most important name stands missing in most research, and that is Mirza Khairullah, known also as Abu Khair, and carrying with his name, the addition of Muhandis as well as Khan, which denotes a title from the Royal Court of Emperor Muhammed Shah.
The first credit goes to Emperor Muhammed Shah, who conceived the idea of laying the basis of modern astronomical tables, based on actual readings from observatories. Order was passed on to Raja Jai Singh for same and Raja Jai Singh was given the courtier Khairullah Khan Muhandis as adviser. Not only Khairullah Khan helped in the actual construction of the five observatories around 1724 AD, but was also part of the collection of the tables for same. Whereas ZIJ MUHAMMED SHAHI is famous as the tables of same, there is a SHARH written on same by Khairullah Khan. This Sharh is mentioned by various scholars,particularly Muhammed Hussain Jaunpuri in his JAMI BAHADUR KHANEE tables. The manuscripts of these researches are present in various libraries of the world. Pakistan also has a rich treasure of same as well as the archives of Chughtai Museum. As this is an exposition article, we need not go into the details here, but we will give some details of the various ZIJS later in another blog.
The interesting part is written by analyst Jayant V Narlikar, when he says:
“Jai Singh’s edifice of science did not survive for long. In 1764, the observatory was severely vandalised when Jawahar Singh, son of Suraj Mal, the Jat Raja of Bharatpur, plundered Delhi. Perhaps the most telling commentary on Jai Singh’s dedicated but largely irrelevant scientific enterprise comes from the rather disconcerting fact that his grandson converted the Jaipur Observatory into a gun factory and used his ancestral 400 kg brass astrolabe for target practice.”
By observation only, in his commentary on Zij Muhammed Shahi, Khairullah asserts:
“We have found the orbits of the Sun as well as those of all deferents, of elliptical form. Our argument is that whenever ewe calculate the different positions of the Sun and other planets in accordance with equations of the circle, they do not conform with the actual observed ones. On the contrary, when the equations are derived taking the orbits elliptical and calculating the positions, they generally conform with observations. Hence the orbits must be elliptical.”
By observation only Khairullah without ant knowledge of Keplers theory, is proving same with his intellectual prowess, in his commentary on Zij-e-Muhammed Shahi.
Khairullah was student of his elder brother Imamuddin Riazi, another Master scholar of his age, whose many books were text books in various madrassahs to this date. His many books are there in manuscript form in major libraries of the world. His father Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis another marvel of his time. A gifted Lahori family in all ways.
IN SEARCH OF ACTUAL VISUAL IDENTITY OF MIAN MUHAMMED SULTAN TEKHAYDAR
CONFUSION WITH INTRODUCTION OF A PHOTOGRAPH FROM AHMADIYA ARCHIVES
The link of Mian Muhammed Sultan is enormous to Lahore and its monuments. Whereas he demolished some of the priceless Mughal monuments of Lahore, he also made so many new monuments in the public interest. It is difficult to classify him but those were those times. It is not possible to assess them now in an objective way. You do not judge history like this. Mian Muhammed Sultan had no children and he died in 1876. A normal Muslim like most others in Lahore. It was in 1899 that some of his family members embraced Ahmadiya religion. Mian Sultan belongs to us all.
We approached Yahya Chughtai, a drawing draftsman of King Edward Medical College in around 1977. We were searching for records of Lahore. He told us that he had a photograph of Mian Sultan but it was lost in the floods of early 1950s. We continued our search. We found a published book with a miniature of Mian Sultan done in his lifetime and published in a book on Kashmeeri people by historian Muhammed Din Fauq in the early 1900s. Published 120 years ago somewhat. We reproduced it a few times. Recently we were given a supposed photograph of Mian Sultan from a devoted Aneeq Chughtai, part of the family of Mian Sultan, which came from Ahmadiya archives. There is vast difference between the two photographs. To us the most reliable is the miniature in Fauq’s book. Others may swear to the other version. We do not know. Our guess is that somebody introduced this photo as an after thought. Till we know more, the matter rests in abeyance.
One cannot even imagine the relics left in the world and their origin. A lamp presented to the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad by Emperor Humayoun has a strange history. The date of manufacture is 14th October, 1539 AD. It was made in Lahore and is the earliest design of its type in existence. It is 90 cm high and it was designed by Iskander son of Shukrullah in Lahore, and made by Daud, the Ustad from the Utensils market (pandaian wala bazaar) in Lahore. Strangely this bazaar is even now in existence in Lahore inside Rang Mahal, Lahore. This is very near the Chabuk Sawaran mohalla, where the house of artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai was in existence. Most of the utensils of our house came from the same place and we still have many of them. Very few utensils of that period are left. One other surviving example is an urn gifted to Ali Mardan Khan by Emperor Shah Jahan. We will talk about it too.
HAJI MUHAMMED SAEED LAHORI BURIED IN MOHALLA DULLA WARI,
SHARH OF DALAIL UL KHAIRAT WRITTEN BY HIS DISCIPLE OBAIDULLAH
Haji Saeed Lahori was a great name in Lahore. He and his khanqah were situated in Mohalla Dulla Wari Lahore. The chambers of Shah Chiragh where there is Auqaff department at present was close to the khanqah. He gained prominence when in the attack of Ahmad Shah Abdalli, he saved the people of his mohalla and Luky mohalla from the wrath of the Afghans, as Abdalli accepted the saint prominence. He died on 5th Rabi ul Awal, 1181 AH, and was buried there. Amongst others, lies buried his disciple Obaidullah.
There is a unique manuscript of Dalail ul Khairat in our archives, which is a Sharh as well as translation of the world famous text, with full illustrations done in Lahore, and as Haji Saeed Lahori was dead by 1181 H, so it means that this book was written before that in the life time of the saint. The quality of the illustrations are reflected of that period, not perfect, but agreeable in all ways. And to be able to describe the sacred journey of Haj as well as religious monuments can only be done, as both were Hajis themselves. In fact it is more strange that Obaidullah claims to be a direct descendant of the original writer of Dalail ul Khairat Sulaiman Al-Jazuli, done centuries ago, surely the writing before 1465 AD. . The manuscript is unique that it illustrates a khanqah of Lahore of that time. Rare pictorial representation of any facet of Lahore.
Dala’il al-Khayrat (دلائل الخیرات) or Dalaail u’l Khayraat Wa Shawaariq u’l Anwaar Fee Zikri’s Salaat Alan Nabiyyi’l Mukhtaar(meaning the Waymarks of Benefits and the Brilliant Burst of Lights in the Remembrance of Blessings on the Chosen Prophet) is a famous collection of prayers for the Islamic prophetMuhammad, which was written by the Moroccan Shadhili Sufi and Islamic scholar Muhammad Sulaiman al-Jazuli ash Shadhili (died 1465)
The Dala’il al-Khayrat is the first major book in Islamic history which compiled litanies of peace and blessings upon Muhammad. It is also the most popular and most universally acclaimed collection of litanies asking God to bless him. Among some Sunni religious orders, most notably the Shadhili-Jazuli order, its recitation is a daily practice. In others however, its recitation is a purely voluntary daily practice. The work begins with the ninety nine names of God, and then the a collection of over one hundred names of Muhammad.
We are Lahoris and our specialty is collecting material on Lahore. We have hundreds of printed books (on Lahore), hundreds of manuscripts related to Lahore, documents of various period including Mughal one, artifacts and clay work, etc. A catalogue and list will eventually be produced but we cannot hurry that up right now. Enjoy!
Sharing three colophons of Lahore in a difficult period:
1 – RISALAH written by Mahbub Shah for Muhammed Ishrat, Minister of Saifullah son of Abdul Samad Khan, 1135 AH.
2 – SHABISTAN NIKAT written by Haji Abdul Ghafoor, son of Mulla Zaman, in times of Governor Abdul Samad Khan, 1139 AH.
3 – MISC PRAYERS, written by Ranjha, son of Muhammed Ali Mimsr, Rajohri Mozang, Lahore, 1140 AH, plus other dates.