DOOMSDAY SCENARIOS, MORBID OBSESSION WITH PHONES, INTERNET; YES, SUBLIMINAL CUTS, BRAIN MANIPULATIONS, UNDERMINING ALL LIFE: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We hear that these are the time of hybrid wars. Okay, understood! But what agenda these hybrid wars are on? Territorial invasions. Ideological bashings. You name it, it must be there. But the actuality of hybrid war is climactic fight of Truth versus Falsehood, or simply engendering Satanic rule over not only Planet Earth, but the cosmos itself. Can there be a concept of Evil Genius? Does intellectualism obliterate sense of right and wrong. Allah tells us to think and ponder but also tells us the code of values deciding right and wrong. Animal kingdom has this concept built in them; human beings have this charter outside in form of the message of the Quran itself. The key to life is COMPASSION. The final revelation! Who will win?
Hundred percent Truth will prevail and will set us free. So, worry not. Indeed, think of it as another year, and indeed a Happy year. If it is not a happy year, through endeavour itself, we will make it a happy year. Happy New Year to all!
ON RAVI ROAD A CREMATION PLACE IN LAHORE FOR HINDU LADIES – WAS MS AMRITA SHER GIL CREMATED HERE? RESEARCH REQUIRED!
The ladies of the area recall the acute burning smell of human flesh in the area. It was a place made in 1901, for the cremation of Hindu ladies of Lahore. Opposite is the European Cemetery of Lahore, made after 1849, and having graves even today dating to 1852. On the other side in Minto Park, was the Towers of Silence of the Parsees in Lahore. The Zoroastrians graveyard. Then it was shifted to Gulberg, Lahore. Once upon a time the river Ravi ran right there and then it became stagnant, and was named as Buddha Darya. In the vicinity many years back a boat was discovered. On this bank was the area (takia) of the Patrangahs the dyers of clothes in Lahore. This was their work place on the banks of river Ravi. Their Mohalla was inside Bhatti Gate, Lahore. Once upon a time Emperor Akbar’s ships traversed the river Ravi. It was intact some years back, although inhabited by immigrants from India. A chabara of red stone in the front. There was an inscription on the main gateway. It specified its history as Radha Kund. The inscription is interesting reading.
It says that this cremation site was erected by Mohan Lal and Lal Chand, sons of late Rai Munshi Gulab Singh, in memory of their beloved mother Shri Mati Radha Devi, in the year 1901. Rai Munshi Gulab Singh was a famous publisher of Lahore, who published many books in different languages. In fact, there is even a medal named after him in the University of the Punjab, given even today. In a city with a recorded history of more than 1000 years, this is plainly a modern era. But can one imagine the thousands of Hindu ladies who were cremated here. For us there is a clear possibility that Amrita Sher Gil was also cremated here. After all this is Ravi road, and these are the banks of old river Ravi, and it was the main cremation place of Hindu ladies of Lahore. In fact, outside the city walls, one still comes across pots, filed with the ashes of the Hindus of Lahore. Amrita died on Saturday, 6th December, 1941, at 1.30 am. That means 12 pm had passed, and the new day had begun.
That very day there was an appointment Amrita had made with M.A. Rahman Chughtai, to see him in his studios. Chughtai Sahib waiting for her to appear, heard the news of her death. His condolences were published many places, basically in short it was:
“I did not believe that she had died. And I still do not believe it. She is living and will ever live.”
M.A. Rahman Chughtai was introduced to Amrita by her father Umrao Singh Sher-Gil. Umrao Singh was a valued and respected friend of the artist. In the meeting Dr Allama Iqbal was also there and he too, was introduced to Amrita. The father, Umrao Singh expressed high hopes for her. The father was a specialist on Omar Khayyam as well as on Sufi poetry and Chughtai had many discussions with him. When Amrita Sher-Gil came to settle in Lahore, and wanted to hold an exhibition here, people co-operated with her. And the show was held after her death. The death was on 6th December, the exhibition was held on 21st December, 1941. A rare exhibition show in Lahore. It is a strange anomaly that her dead body must have passed right in front of the house of the artist. In fact, a journey she could not make while alive, but her dead body traversed the same route. Indeed, a spiritual journey.
NIECE OF JAWAHAR LAL NEHRU AND COUSIN OF INDIRA GANDHI – MRS JANAKI KUMARI ZUTSHKI, LIVED AND DIED IN LAHORE IN 1997.
My uncle used to speak of the Zutshki sisters, and their glamorous stay in Lahore, as well as attachment to artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai. But I had no pictorial image of them. Then I came across a scrap book of an Air Commodore, who used to be a student of Government College, Lahore, and in 2015, I wrote two blogs on them. Obviously, knowledge of past is revealed by chance or through memories of old citizens. I will give a link to the first blog at the end of this blog itself. But here we traverse new material. Goulding road in Lahore, is a small road, looking like a lane itself. It is probably named after Colonel H.R. Goulding, who wrote a book on Lahore itself. At one end is the religious center of the Bhai faith, of which few hundred Bhais actually live in Lahore even today. Of Iranian origin, they worship their prophet Bahaullah of Persia. People used to visit our museum from Goulding road itself, and some of them, even gave me a booklet of the Bhai faith, as I recall today. The house of ICS officer, Dr Jalil Asghar was in this lane, and he fell in love with Janaki Kumari and she fell in love with him. The other Zutshki sisters left Lahore long ago, and got married in India. However, Janaki Kumari married a Muslim boy and moved to Pakistan in 1952. Some say it was a happy married life based on love, others say there was friction between the two people. Families of both were unhappy with the choices made by their children. But Jalil Asghar left his property in the name of his wife, as they had no children. After the death of Jalil Asghar, the lady was in financial trouble and had to sell her house. But she was allowed to retain two rooms in the house without any charges. Last reports tell us that there were two old ladies in those rooms, Janaki and her trusted maid. It is also reported that the iconic banker Agha Hassan Abidi supported the lady financially. Not much is known, but there are at least two interviews of the lady published in press. One in the 1980s in Urdu newspaper, Pakistan. In the other, she herself recalls:
In an interview a few months before her death, a bed ridden Janaki recalled: “My grandmother and Moti Lal Nehru were siblings. Indira was my cousin. I lost touch with her after my marriage. Her behaviour was different then the rest of the family. She genuinely welcomed me and was extremely happy to see me when I went to attend her son’s wedding.”
The lady was involved in a lot of social work, and her services were recognized by those in power. President Ayub Khan decorated her with an award of Sitara-e- Khidmat. Today leaders do not have even time to listen to the laments of the past, when they cannot handle laments of today. http://blog.chughtaimuseum.com/?p=1965
QUAID E AZAM’S COMMITMENT TO THE PALESTINE CAUSE – BATTALION ARMY, 250,000 GUNS and DIPLOMATIC BACK-UP
A veteran journalist Tariq Ismael Sagar (full respects to him) in an internet broadcast, mentioned the role of Quaid e Azam in helping the Palestine cause. Obviously, it required research, and our dear lady, Ms. Saleena Karim offered to do so. That will take time. Till then the news is like this.
E. Epstein a leading Israeli personality and diplomat in Russia corresponded with another diplomat, Editor of the Hindustan Times, namely K.M. Panikkav, in 1948, and it is also in the personal diaries of the Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion. It is suggested that these documents are also in the Government of Pakistan records but perhaps suppressed by those in power. The facts mentioned are the offer of a Battalion of Army to the Palestinians, guns 250,000 bought from Czechoslovakia, and three fighter planes to Egypt. Help was not mere words. It was an actual help. Why do we not hear more about it? Is the present set of leaders afraid of the past, and the solid commitment of our initial leaders to the Islamic cause and Identity? If Israel can document same, why cannot we? Till then, feel proud of those who made Pakistan. Is it not time to make Pakistan, Pakistan again! And get rid of these moronic, self-serving politicians, who have made mockery of our national life. Pakistan Forever!
UNKNOWN DASTUR KAIKOBAD MAHYAR AN INHERITED PARSEE PRIEST – SO PRESENT AT COURTS OF AKBAR, JAHANGEER AND PRINCE KHURRAM.
Some things are saved by chance. We hear of Zoroastrians contact with Mughal Court but there is little that is specific. By chance two poems in verse, one a petition to Emperor Jahangeer, and the other in praise of Prince Khurram, later Shah Jahan, survived the ages. Mostly in Parsee private records, the Persian texts were translated into English, and published as a book, by another Parsee gentleman, namely Dr Jivanji Jamshedji Modi, in 1930.
It looks that Dastur Kaikobad owed money to the Mughal court and was imprisoned. Because of his ailing health, he wrote verses one as a petition, and the other as a laudatory poem. This is around 1617 AD. It is a soul wrenching appeal to save his nephew, who went into prison in his alternative imprisonment. Wrapped in elegant language, the appeal made sense. And it seems that Dastur Kaikobad was released by the Emperor. For he was a free man, when he died a year or two afterwards. It is a rare mention from a rare book itself, and it is to put this on record for research purposes. The original is in the archives of the museum.
The Parsees are sweet people and as proclaimed by the first Parsee in this region, that they would be like sugar in a cup of milk. They will not take space but they will add sweetness to the region. And they did. We have known many Parsees in our life, and we dedicate this extract to Lady Parveen Yara, who was a senior, at our school in Lahore.
So much is lost in history and often cannot be regained. But at times some things survive and with help of learned scholars come to light. And then are lost again. Such is the personality of a Parsee priest, namely Dastur Kaikobad Mahyar, who was present at the courts of Emperor Akbar and Emperor Jahangeer. Not much is known about him but part of his writing around 1617 is preserved in some rare manuscripts and Parsee sources.
THE LITTLE-KNOWN MAUSOLEUM OF AMANAT KHAN SHERAZI – JUST SOUTH OF SERAI AMANAT KHAN TARN TARAN AMRITSAR
Two brothers who came from Sheraz, both of different faiths. Brother Shukr ullah (title Afzal Khan) was of Shia faith, and Abdul Haque (Title Amanat Khan given by Shah Jahan) of Sunni faith, and both brothers attained the highest position at the court of Emperor Shah Jahan. One became the Prime Minister, and the other the Chief Calligrapher of the Mughal Court, writer of the calligraphy of the Taj Mahal, Agra. One died in Lahore, and the other died near the border on Tarn Taran road, near Amritsar. One buried in Agra in Chini da Roza, and the other next to the Serai he had built for travelers on road from Lahore to Delhi. In fact, both mausoleums are in ruin.
Interesting the village Serai Amanat Khan is inhabited by perhaps 2500 Sikhs and they took the mausoleum seriously as that of a great man, and from their own expenses, repaired it, in their own halfhearted way. The neglect of monuments both in Pakistan and India is phenomenal. No one really cares about heritage. Not even for simple repairs to keep the monuments standing. The friendship of these two brothers with Ustad Ahmad Mimar, architect of the Taj Mahal, is well known. Professional discussions used to take place amongst the three scholars of their fields, particularly Astronomy. The mausoleum of Ustad Ahmad Mimar in Khuldabad, Aurangabad is still missing, after M.S. Vatts Superintendent Archaeology found it and wrote about it. The importance is of political might as long as they live. Then nothing!