IT WAS OBVIOUS MUGHAL LADIES WOULD INDULGE IN PAINTING, BUT FEW SIGNED WORKS PRESERVED OF THEIR CREATIVE EFFORTS.
There must be many works done by Mughal lady artists, but protocol demanded that names be not given openly in the public. Even then we come across references, as well as signed names of Mughal miniatures. Some are copies of divergent Western art, as a stimulation for these ladies. But the greatest artist of Mughal household looks like Sahifah Bano, artist supreme. Not only there is a study of Shah Tahmasp by her, but also a work, in which she shows herself drawing and painting a miniature. Look at the standard of work of this artist. Wonderful!
Painting is associated with the name of Nur Jahan herself. But nothing signed of her has been discovered. This is not a complete list of those artists, but an indication of the work behind them. We will work on it more as time goes by. Till then enjoy the well-known works by them.
AN UNKNOWN EUNUCH OF MASJID WAZEER KHAN LAHORE
THE ENIGMA OF FAMILY OF MULLAH YUSUF KASHMEERI
NAZAK YUSUF KASHMEERI IN TRADITION OF YAQUT MUSTASIMI
A walk inside the Wazeer Khan Mosque Lahore reveals many names. A number of calligraphers are there. One is Mullah Yusuf Kashmeeri, who was also probably the first muezzin of the mosque and the same is mentioned in the letters of Imam Rabbani. Yusuf Kashmeeri was son of Ustad Haider Mimar, who had constructed a famous garden in Kashmeer for Empress Nur Jahan. The name is in an inscription on the garden itself. The family seem to have moved to Lahore. Yusuf had three sons, all famous calligraphers of their time. One was Muhammed Zaman, another Abdul Kareem and the third was Muhamed Saleh. Their names are on many manuscripts as well as inscriptions on Mughal Monuments. The name of Muhammed Saleh is inside the dome of the Gulabi Bagh mausoleum, attributed to Dai Anga. No problem there.
A hand written Quran dated 1071 AH , precarious condition due to water soiling, but the name of the calligrapher is intact. It cannot be read clearly in the way that the calligrapher has tried to hide his gender in same. It looks like it says that it is Faqeer Haqeer Nazak bin Yusuf Kashmeeri. But careful reading tells us something else. It can read as:
Al Faqeera Haqeer Nakzal bin Yusuf Kashmeeri
Al Faqeer Al Haqeer Nazak bin Yusuf Kashmeeri
Al Faqeera Haqeer Nazli bin Yusuf Kashmeeri.
But the simplest reading is that of NAZAK KASHMEERI. Nazak is not a proper name for a man, it can be a proper name for a woman, like Nazakat. But then it should say BINT YUSUF KASHMEERI. The solution lies in only one thing. This fifth child of Yusuf Kashmeeri was an eunuch and in the tradition of Yaqut Mustasimi, one of the greatest calligraphers in our Islamic history, doing his best within his gender. It is said that Yaqut used to write his Qurans siting on top of the minaret of a mosque in Baghdad. Perhaps our Nazak used to write Qurans on top of the minaret of the Wazeer Khan mosque Lahore. Allah bless his/her soul!
MUGHAL ARCHITECTURAL GEM NEXT MASJID WAZEER KHAN: THE MAUSOLEUM OF IMAM GHULAM MUHAMMED IMAM GAMU; STILL STANDING ALTHOUGH MANY OTHER GRAVES ARE NOW GONE.
From the year 1044 AH to this day, various people were associated with the Masjid Wazeer Khan Lahore. Obviously the most important is Nawab Wazeer Khan himself. But the more we study contemporary documents, the more of an enigma this man becomes in historical survey. The first surprising fact is revealed by the farman of the Wazeer Khan itself, when it says that Wazeer Khan was asking Asif Khan for donations for building the mosque. And other contemporary source of that very time, tells us that he was a thoroughly corrupt person and there was no transaction in Lahore, in which a percentage was not given to him. All this is documented. We are shown the house of Wazeer Khan through a documented photograph at Cambridge University, which was there till 1904 or something. In any case we are told that Nawab Wazeer Khan used to sit in the Bageechi of Wazeer Khan mosque. There were many graves of Mutavallis of the mosque on it, and we are told that they are now gone for mehfil of qawallis.
The one grave still standing is the mausoleum of Imam Ghulam Muhammed son of Imam Siddique. Although one source gives his date of death as 1237 AH, the year 1244 AH is given in more places. The date of death comes to 1828 AD. It can be presumed that the building on it was constructed at the same date, but the historian Kanaya Lall informs us that the building was constructed by a well-wisher of the Imam at the start of British rule. That would mean anything from 1846 AD to 1849 AD. But the building is not constructed just like that. It is perfect example of a miniature Mughal mausoleum. In fact, it has more affinity with the Mausoleum of Dr Allama Iqbal in the Hazuri Bagh area. An analysis of same is required.
It is not a haphazard construction. It has Euclid principles in its construction. Even the wooden door is based on older models of geometric carving. The balancing act of small pillars on the corners is based on the Taj Mahal itself. The dome is basically recalling the dome of the Nawan Kot mausoleum, presumed by many as Mausoleum of Zeb un nisa, which it is not.
Certainly, the Mimar knew all about Mughal construction. The naqashi on the inner side of the shades itself is very interesting, and recalls that of the mosque itself. But the grave is surrounded by exquisite naqashis on the four walls. The sarcophagus recalls those of older Mughal ones.
The dome of Imam Gamu is outstanding in its shape. To my knowledge only two mausoleums carry this shape. One is the mausoleum at Nawan Kot often confused as the Mausoleum of Princess Zeb un nisa (which it is not). The second is the mausoleum of Hazrat Mian Meer sahib. Both are outstanding developments of Euclidian principles from the double dome of the Shah Jahan era. It is a mixture of Bangla roof with double dome principles. The curve in it is unbelievable charming in all ways. Surely a creation of Lahore architects. The naqashi inside the dome itself placed in perfect harmony. The muqarnas naqashis well formed. All remind us of decorative works done in manuscripts of that period.
It is in total neglect as most things like these come to the end. But a few new inscriptions, both outside and inside show care. One inscription gives the name of many descendants long with their phone numbers. But these people attribute the mausoleum to Imam Farzand Ali, who was the Imam of Wazeer Khan Masjid, around 1900 AD. That is not so. The mausoleum was built by admirer of the Imam at the start of the British rule, that is 1846 AD to 1849 AD. Imam Allah Baksh was the Imam at that time. Who thought about it? One does not know, but it is naturally built out of love and reverence. Umar Din Naqash was the famous Naqash of the time, sitting in his hujra in the mosque itself. He was grandson of Mian Salah Mimar. All this looks like love of a family. Remember that Imam Gamu wrote verses in Punjabi and the greatest Punjabi poet at that time was Baba Hiyadatullah also of Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran. All things are interconnected, but we do know that Mian Salah Mimar was the only architect in Lahore at that time who knew the advanced principles of Mughal architecture. Ghulam Ali Mimar of Mausoleum of Maharani Gul Begum in Miani did not have the credentials to do this job.
Who was the architect at that time? Someone who was also associated with the Mosque as well as the Bageechi. Father and son of highest old talent lived nearby in the Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran. That is Muhammed Salah Mimar and his son Mian Raheem Baksh Mimar. The cousins had a hujra in the main mosque itself, practicing Naqashi from older times. The hujra of Umar Din Naqash is known to all. His son Baba Miran Baksh followed his profession.
It was here that the family of Mirza Izzad Baksh (last descendant of Wazeer khan), was seduced by Mirza Chajju Baig, who masterminded the theft of the Documents of Wazeer Khan, from the house of the Syed Hussain Ali (Bute Shah), the last official Mutavalli of Wazeer Khan Mosque. It was in connivance with Charles Aitchison, DC Lahore. The mosque passed on to Faheem un nisa and her husband Kareem Baksh, and endless litigation. But that is another story, for another time.
IN THIS HYBRID WAR THE VALUE OF TRUTH IS BEING DOWNGRADED; SOCIETY IN ITS QUEST OF ACCUMULATION THROUGH GREED HAS LOST, THE ESSENTIAL VALUES OF LIFE AS TOLD TO US BY ALL RELIGIONS.
We were taught many things at home. We were taught things at school too, but the home values out did them all. Our mothers told us the value of truth. Now social media teaches us to be street smart and not indulge ourselves in outdated norms of life. Are we better with them? Are we improving?
In fact, the society is crumbling into dust. We are told a tale of the Prophet (PBUH). A habitual sinner went to the Prophet and told him that he cannot leave all the sins he is donig but promised that he can leave one. The Prophet (PBUH) said that hold on to the truth, do not indulge yourself otherwise. The sinner promised to do that. The result with little time all the sins went away just be forming as habit of telling the truth. So truth is important essential of our life and the Quran starts our quest by assertig the value of truth. Hold on to the truth. It is our promise to our readers on this blog, that to the best of our knowledge, everything said here is the Truth and we are proud that we disseminate knowledge with truth.
What Quran says about the reward of Truth?
“‘This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness.’ For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment,” (Al-Ma’idah: 119).