THE ENIGMA OF THE GRAVE OF USTAD KAMALUDDIN BEHZAD
TABRIZ OR HERAT:- DEFINITE PROOFS OF RESEARCH IN HERAT.
There is no doubt that Kamaluddin Behzad remains the iconic greatest Master of Islamic painting. Not many but still a number of books have been written on him. But one cannot say that the ultimate book is there. Locally scholars like Dr Abdullah Chaghatai, Abdur Rahman Chughtai and Razia Feroze have written on him with acute analysis on their part, for both were artists. The only published book is by Dr Abdullah Chaghatai. Chughtais’ book is there in manuscript form, in unedited form. Razia Feroze’s thesis is there, ready for print, but never printed because of her death. Western and Iranian scholars have done their debts in research.
Certain aspects are still open. For instance, we are told that Behzad died in Tabriz, and was buried there. Others have written that he died in Herat and was buried there. Usually, it is agreed that he died in 942 A H (1535 AD). Even in old writings this conflict is there. Then in the magazine “Kabul” Sardar Goya Ittemadi talked about his burial in Herat. Then Munshi Qazi Ahmad uddin Munir asserted same in his book. A photograph of the grave was published in Afghan journals. In 1976 Dr James Dickie (Dr Yaqub Zaki) visited Herat in search for the grave and found it on his own. But others seem to have evaded this rediscovery for reasons unknown. Dr Abdullah Chaghatai was given this information and photographs but did not use it fully for reasons of his own. It is our pleasure to give the published pictures of the grave. Behzad’s soul can rest in peace now!
THE LAHORE FORT BEFORE THE FORT BUILT BY EMPEROR AKBAR – SOME RANDOM DESCRIPTIONS, BUT WITH HARDLY ANY IMAGES
A city as important as Lahore, needed for its defense a solid fort. We hear of an inner fort, probably a mud fort, in and around Chuna Mandi. The present gates belong to the Mughal period and later, so that they cannot define Lahore well. Certainly, it was a walled city, and with its surroundings, we can only imagine today. We do hear of a fort in the Sultanate period, and if we imagine the Mazar of Qutb uddin Aibak on one hand, and the area of Chah Miran (Miran de khoi) on the other. Obviously, the Old River Ravi (Buddah Darya) is another clue to the outskirts of Lahore. Kashmeeri Bazaar is another clue, with the Mazar of the warrior saint still there. He was the one who was killed in battle with the Mongols. Then there is the Mazar Shaheedan of the Ghaznavi period, near Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran. And then we know that Masjid Wazeer Khan was built on the site of an ancient mazar (still there underground). The grave of the Nau-guzza in Lahore is another clue. And then there is the area Mahmood Booti which is taken as a dam built on the river by Mahmood Ghaznavi. The ancient Miani qabarastan is another clue to same. The Sultanate mosque in the Serai of Jahangeer’s mausoleum points to ancient times. Diggings in Lahore do confirm existence of ancient mud walls, as well as ancient tunnels and structures.
The most ancient Mughal structure in Lahore, still existing, is considered the Baradari of Prince Kamran Mirza, who also occupied Lahore, and even took out a coin in his name as the Emperor of Hindustan. In the same river Ravi are seen at times ancient Mughal structures fallen into the river in oblivion. A basic design principle can be seen. Emperor Babur had burnt the main shopping center in Lahore twice. No mention of any Fort. The miniatures done during the tenure of Akbar, shows him sitting in a tent or under an awning. No pictures of the mud fort are available. This is fort with central point of Chuna Mandi in Lahore. But coins of Ghaznavid period were found in Lahore Fort, including a very famous gold one. But then who knows what the structure was then?
Some of the images we were able to locate show the Fort in different light. Got instance the visit on 24th February 1555 of Humayun to Lahore, shows a very different Fort, with unclear entrance gate. The drowning of riders, when Akbar got through shows somewhat the same scene. We do know that Lahore was a ghost town without any inhabitants in 1420-21 AD, and the Sayyid brothers gave the go ahead to repopulate Lahore. We hear before that Sarang Khan defeated Sheikha Khokhar, around 1394 AD, and the next day conquered the Fortress of Lahore, and put his brother Kandhu, with the title of Adil Khan, as the Chief of Lahore. In 1420-21 Royal attention was paid to the deserted city of Lahore, and the restoration of the city was undertaken. Engaged in repairing the Fort and other buildings. Malik Hassan was put in charge of Lahore, and fought against Jasarath Sheikha and the fight is referred to be in the Lahore Mud Fort. So only a Mud Fort existed in Lahore at that time. Boundaries unknown but must be outside the flow of the river Ravi. The Mahmood Booti bund is one line, the Aurangzebi bund is another. In any case more and more will be discovered with time. Our view will go on enlarging with time.
THE FUTURE OF CHUGHTAI MUSEUM IN ABLE HANDS FOUR CUSTODIANS PAR EXCELLENCE TRAINED IN FULL
Many people ask me about the future of Chughtai Museum. On 17th January, 1975, the Chughtai Museum project was in doldrums. Nothing was certain as to what will happen then. Forty-six years later it is much more than it was in 1975. These four girls have seen the mess we are put in by lobbies allergic to us. Why allergic to us? For we are not obsessed with nincompoop Mullahs nor are we impressed with phoney Seculars. Both two sides of the same coin hating progress of the Islamic humane spirit. We are all in the Iqballian Spirit, and our heroes start with our beloved Quaid e Azam. And the splendid leadership that followed him. Today we see lack of leadership from above. The whole world is in a mess with third class leadership, and the countries we eulogized as ideals are no more that. After Pakistan we see emergence of Turkey and Malaysia on the same lines. The first steps towards an Islamic civilization.
For an Islamic civilization we needed a geographical location and our Quaid e Azam gave it to us. Similarly, for development of our national aesthetics we needed a place to work on same. And the idea of Chughtai Museum was formed by Abdur Rahman Chughtai. An artist who gave us designs and insignias in that light, to centers like Alhamra Lahore as well as the various Arts Councils of Pakistan; the Art departments like the University of the Punjab, and the vision generated by works presented to foreign Heads of State, visiting Pakistan, or by Pakistani Heads visiting outside world. But this kind of information is abundant on our blog and can be seen and read all the time. These four girls are determined by birth and by upbringing, about the importance of the LEGACY OF CHUGHTAI ART, and will do whatever in their capacity to keep the flag of aesthetics flying over Pakistan. The four girls are the Custodians of Chughtai Museum:
Mah Afroze Chughtai. Doing her PHD from Virginia, USA.
Jahan Ara Chughtai. Doing her MSc in Psychology from New York, USA.
Zebun nisa Chughtai. Doing her Degree in Conservation from Europe.
Arjumand Bano Chughtai. Mastering the Art of the language and the Internet.
And special thanks to Aliya Zia Chughtai, for rearing up the four girls in the Pakistani spirit, despite all the difficulties involved in the process. Sooner or later, it is realized that all the talk of modernism in the world is just talk and nothing else. That Right and Wrong springs from the Dictates of Allah as presented in the Quran, and through the process of Ijtihad, everything can be updated according to the requirements of the time. Our inspirations of the Quran come from elucidations of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Dr Allama Iqbal, Ghulam Ahmed Parvez, Muhammed Asad, Dr Syed Abdul Wadud, and others in the same spirit. Pakistani Spirit will last, yes Pakistan Forever!