ABDAL MALEK NAQASH AND MUHANDIS ARCHITECT OF MASUDI PALACE – GEM OF GHAZNI CITY AT THE HANDS OF A GRAND ARCHITECT OF HIS TIME

ABDAL MALEK NAQASH AND MUHANDIS ARCHITECT OF MASUDI PALACE
GEM OF GHAZNI CITY AT THE HANDS OF A GRAND ARCHITECT OF HIS TIME
History of palace from 1121 to 2019 AD
Masudi Palace Ghazni

The palace was built in 1121 by Mas’ud III (reigned 1099-1114), son of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, on a site to the southeast of the walled Ghaznavid capital. It suffered many calamities, from being burnt down to actual demolition by the Mongols of Genghis Khan. Incredibly the ruins were excavated by an Italian team, but to no avail, as the Afghan war inflicted further damages to the site.

Mehrab-of-Sultan-Masud-1112-AD
Ghazanavid palace 4

“The excavated foundations show a palace with a roughly rectangular outline, its corners placed roughly on the cardinal axes. Fortified walls of 120 to 150 meters in length enclose the palace and a bazaar street located to the its northwest. The bazaar, which spans the entire length of the palace, is entered from gates located at either end (northeast and southwest), and contains the palace portal. The portal opens into the northwest iwan of the palace courtyard. Thirty-two meters wide by fifty meters long, the courtyard is enveloped by four central iwans and thirty-two arched niches. The grand iwan to the southeast leads into the throne room, which has an oblique rear wall abutting the exterior wall of the palace. An inner courtyard, entered via a passageway from south corner of the courtyard, adjoins the throne room to the southwest. The hypo style palace mosque was excavated at the western corner of the main courtyard. It is three bays wide and five bays deep and is entered from four niches along the southwest courtyard wall. Its interior walls were built at a slight angle with the rest of the palace in order to align with qibla.”

Ghazanavid palace 2
Ghazanavid palace 5

And its description is further told to us as:

“The walls of the palace courtyard were adorned with an exceptional marble dado, consisting of an estimated number of 510 panels around the courtyard, each about 70cm high. The panels formed three distinct bands. The wide central band contains carved arabesques on a floral entrelac and sits above a narrow band of interwoven scrolls. A narrow band of floriated Kufic script tops the dado. About a tenth of the panels were found in situ during the excavations, allowing a reading of the Persian inscription. Composed in the mutaqarib meter, the verses offer praise to Masud III’s predecessors and in particular, to Mahmud of Ghazna. The letters were originally painted in lapis lazuli blue, with a red or gilt background. A marble footpath, about five meters wide, encircles the courtyard below the dado.”

Ghazanavid tile 1100 AD

Many of the items recoverd were later stolen during the Afghan crisis and it is unknown where they exist now. The Afghans are really famous for this kind of plunder and could have sold them anywhere in the world. Western collectors offer much higher prices than third world countries, otherwise many could have landed in Pakistan itself. I remember a complete graveyard tombs with stone inscriptions were offered for sale here. No takers of graves however.

Ghaznavid tomb

The Architect is known as well as the Prince’s own design interests in same

 
Masood Palace

There is a detailed account of the Prince and the Architect in the History of Bayheki, and we reproduce the whole page of same. The personal interest shown by Prince as well as his mathematical calculations are told to us and the enormous amount of money spent on it. The interesting part is the designation as Muhandis and Naqash. It seems instead of the term Mimar, this was the term in vogue at that time. In fact this term is also used for Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis of Lahore in the 17th century. Also descendant of Ustad Yusuf Burkurwdar Herawi of same place. Read:

WE HAVE GOETHE, SAID HITLER. WE HAVE IQBAL, SAID CHUGHTAI. – MEETING OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI WITH ADOLF HITLER 1937.

WE HAVE GOETHE, SAID HITLER. WE HAVE IQBAL, SAID CHUGHTAI.
MEETING OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI WITH ADOLF HITLER 1937.
MARC stayed at Hotel Tempo Berlin 1937

The European tours of M.A. Rahman Chughtai in 1936-1937 were phenomenal in many ways. We wrote a book on it that is entitled EAST MET WEST and it is available as a download on our blog. We researched from our documents and tried to give a true picture of the two European tours for the first time. A Swiss friend of mine resented the mention about Adolf Hitler in it. This is not a political statement from us, it is history, and history we do not hide or confuse with narratives of our own. What happened we know and as a historical truth, we recalled it in the  best way possible. It was an extra ordinary event and there is every reason to give the correct version of same.

Address of Hotel Tempo
Adlon Hitler banners

The Paris show of 1937 was an international event and all countries had their stall and show cases. Germany too had a very big presence there. The artist was visiting the Paris show, where he met a German lady, who was most interested in knowing more about him. She invited him to Berlin, and that was the artists next stop. The artist was stating at Hotel Tempo in Berlin and we have old visuals of same. Adolf Hitler had his residence in those days at the famous Hotel Adlon, and granted audience to visitors. A special five minute meeting was authorized for M.A. Rahman Chughtai with Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler the soft side
Many aspects of Adolf Hitler

M.A. Rahman Chughtai records his first impressions of Adolf Hitler. He said that there was some mesmerizing effect in the eyes of Hitler, that one could not accost him with the radiance of his eyes. The eyes were like balls of fire. Luminous and full of strength. The German lady was there with them. The artist recalled that Hitler talked about their national poet Goethe with great fervour. Chughtai talked about Dr Allama Iqbal with equal fervour. The talk centered about India and Indian art, and Chughtai talked about the Muslim renaissance in the Indian region. Of course Dr Allama Iqbal represented all that, and Hitler understood the Muslim content of same. It is a fact that Muslims of Indian region always had a soft corner for the German leader.

Hitler relaxing on chair
27th JUNE 1937 tribute to CHUGHTAI ARTIST in Berlin

Not much is known about the detailed contents of the talk but it talked of cultural matters. Hitler was fascinated with Goethe, and Chughtai was equally radiant about his close relationship with Dr Allama Iqbal. In fact in the 1932 meeting in London of Dr Iqbal with others, the talk centered on  Muslim state in India, and Chughtai had witnessed all that in the hotel room.  The resultant World war obliterated all records but on 14th August, 1947 Pakistan came into being as an Islamic State, heading towards Iqballian concept of a Progressive Islamic country made in the name of Allah. People tried to persuade Chughtai to permanently stay in England as he was included and accepted in the artist’s group there. A memorable sentence uttered then and is written in his memoirs too. My country is awaiting me and calling me back. It is to be understood we are not talking of India here, but Pakistan, and Pakistan had not come into being at that time. It was to be the first step towards introducing Islamic way of life to the world. And the dream of Dr Allama Iqbal and M.A. Rahman Chughtai is still throbbing with  newer life.

Hitlers paintings
German Pavillion Paris show 1937

NUR ULLAH AHMAD ARCHITECT AND CALLIGRAPHER ROYAL SHAHJAHANI – TWO IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPTS IN COLLECTION OF CHUGHTAI MUSEUM

NUR ULLAH AHMAD ARCHITECT AND CALLIGRAPHER ROYAL SHAHJAHANI
TWO IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPTS IN COLLECTION OF CHUGHTAI MUSEUM
Dalal ul Khiarat By Nur ullah Ahmad Lahori

Lahore shines! Nur ullah Ahmad was youngest son of Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahore. The Jamia Masjid Delhi carries his name on the inscribed couplets in praise of Emperor Shah Jahan. He was a master of the SATH QALAMS or the seven pens, but also a working architect, and many Mughal buildings are attributed to him. He carries with him the title of Mimar as does his father, architect of the Taj Mahal of Agra and Red Fort, Delhi. He is also the father of the much acclaimed Holy man, Qaleem ullah of Delhi, whose mazar is visited buy thousands every day in that city. Various references are found in various manuscripts, including an abridged Masnavi Maulana Rum edited for him by his elder brother Lutuf ullah Ahmad Muhandis. The mausoleum of Muhammed Salih Kanbo as well as his petite mosque inside Mochi Gate, Lahore, is attributed to him. A lost inscription on that portal too carried his name like the Jamia Masjid Delhi.

Exclusive calligraphy by Nur ullah Ahmad Lahori
Ms Khazana by Nur ullah Ahmad Lahori
Ms Khazana by Nur ullah Ahmad colophon 1056 AH

Unlike his other family, who specialized in mathmatics and astronomy, this fellow was Master of architecture and calligraphy alone. Of course like others in his family, he concentrated on poetry too.

Jamia Masjid Delhi
Nurullah Ahmad Katba Jamia Masjid
Seven pen stone on grave of Prince Baiqara

THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE “HOLY SINNER” SADEQUAIN – AS RECORDED BY HIS DISCIPLE ANWAR IQBAL IN “JHANG”

THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE “HOLY SINNER” SADEQUAIN
AS RECORDED BY HIS DISCIPLE ANWAR IQBAL IN “JHANG”
Roz nama Jhang Juma edition

Somebody coined the term “Holy Sinner” for Sadequain artist. It was coined to reconcile the two different aspects in the character of the artist. In a very objective way it can be understood from the fact that in the times of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Sadequain was making so called erotic art, and there was much resentment when these works were exhibited in Lahore. Even anti riot police had to be called to quell the demonstrations. When President Zia ul Haque came into power the same Sadequain was writing Islamic calligraphy. It was the ingenuity of the artist to change complexions all the time. In the foot steps of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, Sadequain worked on Ghalib, Iqbal as well as Omar Khayyam. No problem with any of that. But the Holy Sinner made strange comment both on PTV as well at other places. Calling his art the art of the gutter which takes out the dirt of the society, he proclaimed that he was not a drawing room artist. No issue there too. All these statements are documented facts.

Last moments Sadequain
Written will of Sadequain

The last moments of Sadequain are recorded by his fan and disciple Anwar Iqbal, and in detail he lists the same. Sadequain had written his will and his desire not to be buried in Karachi or Amroha. No one heeded to that. Also not heeded was his last moment desire for the liquid of his choice and said to Anwar you will be responsible for my death, if you do not bring it in hiding to me. All this is recorded in Daily Jhang Juma Magazine and we print it for the reference to our viewers. Nothing from us, everything from him. But it is sad that addictions destroy creativity of life. At a very early age of 63, Sadequain died between the night of 9th and 10th, January, 1987. Ina lillah hai wa ina illa hai rajoon!

Sadequain as fasting Buddha
Autograph Sadequain 1971