LUTUFULLAH’S CIRCUMCISION DATE OF SULAIMAN SHIKOH SON OF DARA SHIKOH – CIRCUMCISION AT EIGHTEEN YEARS SPEAK OF AMBIVALENCE TO MUSLIM PRACTICE OF CIRCUMCISION AT AN EARLY DATE UNDER FAMILY DISPLAY OF “JASHAN SUNTAN”
The ritual of male circumcision was considered a festival of great importance in the Muslim tradition. The earlier it was done, the better it was considered. It was becoming a Muslim. There were simple circumcisions and there were concepts of “Wadian Suntan”. In these festivals most of the family used go sit in a circle, and a barber surgeon was called, who would circumcise the child. A tray of sand was put underneath to stop the bleeding. Nothing medical about it. I once witnessed such a festival in a havelli in Mochi Darwaza Lahore, where we the children were allowed to watch from above the designated hall, through the big opening in the roof. The young boy knew nothing and was led astray with a meaningless assertion, “Look at the bird on the roof”. And the surgery done, with application of alum on the cut part of the genitals. Music and dance came in. Later on a huge dinner was on the anvil, and everybody rejoiced with the idea, that the child had become a Muslim with this operation. This takes us to pages of history.
Sulaiman Shikoh was active with his father Dara Shikoh in the fight between the two brothers. He was hiding in Srinagar, but betrayed by the Rajah’s son, he was bought back. Imprisoned at Gwalior fort, he showed great courage, and same was appreciated by Aurangzeb himself. Not much is known as to the happenings, but it seems that he was put to death in the prison itself. With his valour he lasted many months in prison. But ended in the ‘Traitors graveyard’ in Gwalior fort. It is not traceable at present in the list of inscriptions of the graveyard of Gwalior Fort. In appreciation of his courage, Aurangzeb Alamgeer allowed the marriage of his daughter Salima Banu to his own son, Muhammed Akbar. The love of Salima with Akbar is so well known.
Lutufullah Ahmad Muhandis who was very close to Prnce Dara Shikoh attended the circumcision practice of Sulaiman Shikoh. He gives the date of the same as 1064 AH, that is 1653 ZAD. This means the Prince had his circumcision done at 18 years of age for he was born in 1635 AD. This is all a record in the Diwan of Muhandis, which exists both in manuscript form (Chughtai Museum has a number of copies, in original and in copies), and printed copies, and has a number of other dates too. A direct record.
This circumcision practice in Lahore as elsewhere becomes more and more complex. As foreskins were considered signs of manhood, foreskins were collected from the dead bodies of enemies. And not only that, they were also replaced with figurines of same. We find these figurines in Israel, but we find them in Lahore too. The ones in Israel are depicted as uncircumcised, while the ones in Lahore are circumcised in imagery.
The Torah speaks of the continued policy of cutting the foreskins of dead enemies and keeping it as a relic, along with necessitated figurines of same. In relation to the biblical story of David and Goliath, as elucidated by the Quran too, in terms of Hazrat Daud and strong man Jaloot. In fact, Kind David is reputed to have presented 200 foreskins to Herod for the hand of his daughter as told to us by bible:
“David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.”
“The Old Testament is awfully big on foreskins (e.g. Genesis 34 and 1 Samuel 18:27). In particular, the Israelites are fond of collecting the foreskins of their enemies, usually after they have been slain, but occasionally beforehand.”
But making figurines of the genitals is a brand new concept, discovered in Israel as well as in Lahore. And the foreskins collected as relics. A related practice is the keeping of the ‘Chand’, after the birth of a child. That is portion of the child’s first hair which were cut, and the umbilical cord with it. History has strange turns and twists in it.