ENGINEERING SCHOOL LAHORE 1853 UNDER ENGLISH ENGINEER; A LAHORI CHIRAGH DIN MIMAR ENLISTED SAME ON REGULAR PAY.
Tracing back Maclagan School of Engineering, nowadays Engineering University not an easy task. The college in Mughalpura was founded in 1921. The engineering school’s original name was Mughalpura Engineering College, which was renamed after Maclagan in 1923. But does one know that there was an Engineering School in Lahore inside Delhi Gate that existed as far back as 1853, and it was administered by an Engineer from Signals, namely Charles Marineau. This fellow had rented some rooms in Anarkalli around 1873 too. That shows a long stay here.
But the amazing thing is that this British engineer enlisted a local resident of Wazeer Khan Chowk for regular pay in his school, probably for work and teaching purposes, and this is in 1854. The man Chiragh din Mimar was related to Imam Bibi (perhaps father), who was from the famous Mimar family of Lahore. In fact, the certificate mentions a Kareem Baksh too. This could be Mian Kareem Baksh Mimar son of Mian Raheem Baksh Mimar, or Kareem Baksh Bindrigar, father of Azizuddin of Chowk Wazeer Khan, Lahore. Wedding nayondras in 1870s mention Chiragh Naqsha-nawees again and again, as well as Muhammed Khan Naqsha-nawees. And interesting an Englishman lives in the neighbourhood and attends the weddings too, and is known as Mirza Angrez. This is probably Charles Marineau. He has become like family to these people.
There is a letter related to Chiragh Din Mimar on a visit to build and restore a Bagh in the state of Jammu. On the back of the letter is a rough sketch of a Bagh. This is not dated, but certainly 19th century . That means this Mimar educated under a British engineer went far and wide in his work schedule. The request is allotment for land in Muzaffarabad for Shala Bagh, and there is mention of a British Colonel in it too. History is built on small documentation, when no one records it at that time. Interesting history of an engineering school in Lahore. Enjoy!
AN EXCEPTIONAL METAL ENGRAVER OF LAHORE NAMELY PIR BAKSH; MAKER OF FINE SWORDS AND POSSIBLY MAKER OF ASTROLABES TOO.
The end of 18th century as well as first half of 19th century was supposed to be a difficult period of Lahore. But we saw creativity blooming from 1750 to 1800 AD, and can wonder why? In many ways the troubled Sikh period of the three scavengers in Lahore were ruining the life of the citizens. But the streets of Lahore were named after professionals in various fields. Arms and ammunition makers abounded in Lahore. Bomb makers were here in form of clay grenades. Swords, bows, and arrows. Even gunsmiths making guns. This was before the British outlawed them and they shifted their working to the tribal areas. This may startle some people of the background of the gun making activity in tribal areas, originated in the city of Lahore, a place where even cannons were made in that period. Zam-zam is just one example.
Obviously, the best things were not made for common people but the elite of the city. A sword made on request of some Nawab Sahib is with us. The name of the Nawab has been erased for various reasons, but the mention of Nawab, ends with the name of maker as PIR BAKSH LAHORI. No date is written on same. There is an Astrolabe made by one Ustad Pir Baksh Lahore in 1841 in the Lahore Museum. He may be the same person and may be related to the famous Astrolabe family of in Mohalla Langar Khan, near old Anarkalli. We have manuscripts written in same mohalla in Mughal period.
In any case enjoy a rare sword with gold inlay. Unfortunately, someone has melted the gold and stolen it with time. But history remains intact minus the name of the Nawab who had the sword, who could be Nawab Adina Beg Khan himself. Enjoy!
A STRANGE CHARACTER WHO RAISED HIMSELF FROM ORDINARY LIFE, BY SHEER SHREWDNESS TO BE THE ACTING GOVERNOR OF THE PUNJAB DIRECT NEIGHBOUR OF MIMAR FAMILY IN MOHALLA CHABUK SAWARAN.
Governor for five months only. Little is known about Adina Beg Khan. A small 12-page manuscript supplies us with most of information about him. Very few have written about him. The article by Dr Muhammed Baqir is very illuminating, but the most information is collected by Dr Hari Ram Gupta Of F.C. College, Lahore. Interestingly it is literally impossible to even find this printed source on Adina Beg Khan. A very rare book of 55 pages. Some books in Urdu are romantic fictions. Sikh story telling is contrived history at most, for gullible consumption.
Adina Beg Khan was by caste an Arain, and born in Sharkpur in Tehsil Lahore, in the house of a common person by name of Channu. However due to reasons, he was brought up by a Mughal family and identified himself as a Mughal. His skills were extraordinary in every way and he knew how to manipulate people as well a situation. And his rise is very much due to his ability for manipulating things. It is reported that he married a Syed girl, but finding out that she was a Syed, he divorced her but gave her maintenance all his life. The truth looks different. It is said that he married a street girl and had a son and a daughter by her. The daughter was married to Khawaja Mirza Khan and the son tried to take his position after his death but failed, for he lacked the abilities of his father.
From the position of a Patwari, he ended up as the Governor of the province, by doing one thing or the other, and black mailing people into serving him. But he did enjoy the highest position in the Punjab and that for one year too. There were three strong parties. The Mughals, the Sikhs and the Mahrattas, and he played all three against each other, getting the best out of situations. The present governmental trait of buying land cheap and then selling same at high prices was his forte. It seems people today are direct spiritual descendants of Adina Beg Khan.
Stories are there about his character losing his outward calm at moments. The incident of the JAM seller grocer comes to mind. A grocer refused to sell jam to his servant. Adina Beg Khan sent another person to buy the jam and this fellow did as the grocer could not identify his link with the actual buyer. When Adina Beg Khan found out, he ordered the grocer to be burnt alive in oil. It was with great reluctance that he was cajoled to rescind his sentence. A life for a jam was at stake, as honour was involved in transaction.
We noticed in a deed to our house in Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran dated 1759 AD, as reference to land and property owned by Adina Beg Khan as a neighbor to the Mimar family of Lahore. We were truly surprised. Here was an information not recorded anywhere else of his holdings in Lahore. We decided to add the information to the history of Adina Beg Khan. We will research that document, and present the view of same.
It should be remembered that our people are in the habit of distorting history by presenting non provable versions of things. We use documents and books to present our case. Anyone willing to refute us, should present documentary evidence. Not family gossips for historical consumption.
LAST DAY OF ARTIST M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI; THE FIRST EFFORTS OF ARIF RAHMAN CHUGHTAI: FIRST CLARION CALL TO PRESERVE LEGACY OF ART.
It was totally unsettling. A note (now literally historical hours before his death) I wrote reminds me that M.A. Rahman Chughtai was not well. He called me in the morning to see me and shook hands with me, not letting my hands go. I was disturbed. I told him there is nothing wrong with him. A cup of coffee would drown his sleepiness etc. But he was sure that he was going. In the evening when we went for a doctor in Samna bad, and it became late, and when we arrived at home, lights were on. Our home servant Arshad Sadokee was there to tell me that my father was dead. Of all things I locked the car and went to my room and where I sat all night. Thinking. What to do?
Full credit goes to my school friend Pervaiz Ashraf who stayed with me all night. And he was also delivering messages to families and friends. It was he who went to the house of Abdullah Chaghatai and did not have the heart to tell him about the death. He just said that the health of the artist had deteriorated. It led to the confusion in the minds of uncle Abdullah Chaghatai that the date of death was 18th January, 1975, which certainly was not so. Perceptions lead to mistakes. Historians have no right to jump to conclusions.
The next day the burial took place as Amanat in the Miani qabarastan. No response from official quarters. We had requested the Government to give a national place for the burial of the artist and had suggested the Hazuri Bagh enclosure outside the Badshahi mosque Lahore. The next day there were gatherings in the house. A team from the Chief Minister Punjab had come to receive the Chief Minister Punjab Hanif Ramay. Indeed, Hanif Ramay came, said dawa for the artist, and WITHOUT MEETING ME OR MY MOTHER, left the place. It was an amazing condolence visit without meeting the bereaved family at all. The conspiracy was on foot.
A plan of action was in my mind. We would not take things lying down, and will fight against all odds. We will detail the happenings with the Federal government, the Government in Punjab and various issues eventually. But this is our reaction. On 23rd January, 1975, I wrote the note “The last breath”, and we sent it for publication the very next day. On 24th January, 1975, we were planning the letter form for our planned “Chughtai Academy of Arts”. We received the pamphlet on the 27th January, 1975, and we started distributing it from a room in our house. People came, each one had their own view. But the massive opinion was to submit to the highway bound dacoits and let them waste sixty years of my father’s work and preservation, nothing at all. A stupid relative with lowest IQ suggested that it was not my job to build museums, and if I had enough money, I would better give same to my poor relatives like him. His mouth was also watering in anticipation of trying to steal things including our property. A previous owner of a cinema on Mcleod road was suggesting that we give everything to India, as they will know how to care for same. I can only amaze myself as to suggestions I was receiving from such people. Nothing patriotic from them.
We were without resources. Our guts were being questioned. The future looked bleak in all ways. My mother had nothing, my sister had nothing and I had nothing. Most of the property was in alien hands. But the will was strong. We were not going to let waste my fathers efforts. I remember for two years as he was sick I used to give a ‘thapra’ on his back and tell him again and again not to worry. But he had already tried many, he had little hope of success from our side. Our determination he could not believe in results.
I had communicated his death to many known foreign heads of States and dignitaries. Response was received from many of them and our archives are full of their condolences. But under threat we sent TELEGRAMS to many of them, to save us from the tyranny of the times. Somebody listened. Somebody powerful nough to kick the butts of people in power. The struggle had begun. Two books are being planned. The first “Legacy of M.A. Rahman Chughtai”. The second the “Legacy of Chughtai Museum”. We hope we can print both for the future. Art and Culture is a minority affair these days. My father’s role was to make it more of a public affair. More people knew of Chughtai art, than any other artist in Pakistan. The word ‘Chughtai art” fell into Urdu lexigraphy as denoting something beautiful. In Urdu movies the hero used to praise his beloved by calling her as Chughtai art. An iconic legend within his life time, the legend of M.A. Rahman Chughtai is ever alive. And we are proud that we too had a hand in same against heavy odds.