COLLECTING LOST CREDENTIALS AND TESTIMONIALS; MIAN RAHEEM BAKSH MIMAR IN HISTORY OF LAHORE.
Mian Raheem Baksh Mimar was grandfather of artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai. There are plans to write a detailed account of him. We came across a printed copy of testimonials of a society made in 1890 in Lahore, which printed testimonials of various craftsmen of Lahore. The printing was done by the Army Press in Lahore. Mian Raheem Baksh has a printed set of certificates issued by various British administrators in Lahore. Some of the certificates certify his attachment with the Railway Station Lahore under actual work, the first Freemason Hall, and even with the Punjab Regiment of that era. Worthy of study.
There are other records available related to the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, actual inscriptions to Katra Abdul Ghafoor, construction papers of Haveli Raja Dina Nath (now in Record Office), and many yet to be discovered with research. Even a lane in Old Lahore named after him. So enjoy the new discovery!
TWO NATION THEORY; IDEAS, NOT BLOOD MAKE REAL RELATIONS; STORY OF DARA SHIKOH AND AURANGZEB ALAMGEER
Take the two names and you will find immediately that people have taken sides. One group will eulogize Dara Shikoh and curse Aurangzeb Alamgeer as a bigot. The other group will curse Dara Shikoh and praise Aurangzeb Alamgeer. And the interesting part is that conclusions of both are not based in any way on the reality but literal media hype generated by vested interests. The father was Emperor Shah Jahan, the mother Arjumand Bano Mumtaz Mahal, and their literally thirteen children. The fourteenth one took the life of the mother. Yes, Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb Alamgeer are real brothers, with many common interests. Both are expert calligraphers, and yes, both feel that there is more to life than merely being Princes of the Mughal household. Spiritual matters affect both of them. Yes, strangely both calligraphed the Quran, and copies of the Qurans written by them are known to exist. Both are less or more obsessive readers of literature and both composed poetry and books. And both are devout husbands. Yes there are more wives, even mashooqs, but each is attached to one wife in particular. Dara Shikoh to wife Nadira Bano and Aurangzeb Alamgeer to wife Rabia Durrani. And wives of both are housed in mausoleums of their own, which exist to this day.
So how do we analyze both? Contrary to proper beliefs, the reality is very different. Take bravery for instance. When a mad elephant charged the royal enclosure, Aurangzeb only 15, stood his ground, while Dara ran away in fright. When Aurangzeb was sent on war missions, he fought tooth and nail, and brought results for his father. When Dara was sent on a mission to Kandahar, he miserably failed at his task. He hired Hindu magicians (who told him that given the blood of a homosexual boy for magic rituals they could win the war) to do magic rites so that he could become the victor.
Take courtesy for another. Aurangzeb was polite and loving to all, even to the extent that it was resented by father as for a Prince who could mix with courtiers and ordinary people. Dara was rude, arrogant and very callous to others. No one loved him for his rude behavior. He could ridicule the grandest of the courtiers. He never tolerated any alternative point of view.
Take religion and deen as a way of life. Aurangzeb could give his life for Islam and Islamic values. Dara amusingly came up with the thesis that the Holy Quran cannot be understood unless the Hindu sacred books are not studied. The Quran was not complete without the Bhagawat Puranas. Dara left prayers, fasts in ramazan and all other rituals of Islam. He started wearing the Prabhu ring on his hand,worshiping stone gods, even acted and dressed like a Hindu. In a population mostly Hanafi Muslims in Indo-Pakistan region, this was highly resented by people. And he started moving with homosexuals like Sarmad, who walked usually naked in public presence, and people made fun of his antics.
As far as his loyalty was concerned. The day Shah Jahan got sick, Dara openly took command as King and tried to eliminate all his brothers before hand. Aurangzeb resisted till the last. And only stepped forward when there was no other choice. And what a father? Blinded by his love for Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan went all the way to humiliate Aurangzeb and his way of life. The tyranny reached the extent when Shah Jahan made plans to have his son Aurangzeb killed, and the Prince only escaped the attempt by timely warning from his sister Roshan Ara Begum. One reason for his imprisonment.
Contrary to myths, Aurangzeb tried his best to keep his relation with Hindu subjects cool. He patronized them at court, gave them grants, and did his best for harmony. The temples he is reputed to have destroyed were the ones made by the STATE itself and was a political move to punish the Rajas who had rebelled against the State. Also to set them right for hampering education of Muslim children and interfering in their education. (Read Dr Ifftikhar, Dr Chaghatai, Maulana Shiblee and even Catherine Asher)
Aurangzeb did not murder his brother in any whimsical way. A war was fought and Dara Shikoh lost the war. He was presented before a proper tribunal with judges and they held him guilty of apostasy. And as a result he was sentenced to death. The accounts of Bernier, Manucci and Catrou are figments of their own petty imagination and has nothing to do with the truth. A sad thing to happen in all ways.
Aurangzeb patronized culture in all ways. The kingdom was no longer rich enough to do all things, but even then under him architecture flourished, a musavari khana (artists studio) was working, and contrary to myths the King was even fond of proper music. Miniatures exist in which he can be seen listening to song recitals with his family.
Aurangzeb did the impossible by making Fatwa-Alamgeeri, a modern text by top Muslim scholars of the time to codify Islamic laws. And he implemented the same. Only two persons had introduced the Islamic system. One Hazrat Umar, and the other Aurangzeb Alamgeer. He abolished all foolish royal customs, wore normal dress, and lived an austere life for the benefit of his people. A real dervesh King ahead of his times in all way. No small reason that our National Poet Dr Allama Iqbal had all praise for the Mughal King of the past.
(Excerpts from the forthcoming book on Dara Shikoh)
So is blood thicker than water? Yes, but ideas are thicker than any blood. When two communities lived in a region for more than 1000 years and could not reconcile to each other, then the solution became Pakistan. More on that later!
THE YEAR 1923 IS A VERY HISTORICAL YEAR IN THE HISTORY OF LAHORE FORT – PRESENCE OF ENGLISH GARRISON CAME TO AN END AND START OF THOROUGH RESEARCH FROM THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA MR R. HARGREAVES
The Hazuri Bagh was full of occupied British Garrison. In fact the father of E.D. Maclagan, the famous English diplomat, was an Army Engineering Officer, sitting in the structure above the Aurangzebi gate, and occupied the floor there in 1846. Captain Maclagan was doing things, sitting at a place a stone throw away from the Mandir of Loh. But imagine the rest. They had master minded the destruction of the Wall surrounding Lahore. And like the Sikhs before them, ruthlessly tore one monument after the other. The Army was stationed outside Lohari Gate, before being shifted to Mian Meer colony. Now imagine the Lahore Fort, full of British Army, with barracks everywhere. Caring no hoot for anything of historical interest. Breaking things whenever required. In fact in 1923 they said no to R. Hargreaves, Superintendent Lahore, of the Archaeological Survey of India. But then orders came and except for a small corner the whole place was given to the department. Which corner is open to research? All this is in the report of 1924, and we studied it properly. The fort was rescued by Lord Curzon and for him, the entrance was diverted from the main gate, and a new entrance made for his inspection. History is studied with such details.
“In 1923, with the abandonment of the fortress by the British garrison, the Archaeological Service of India, began the work of restoring, repairing, and preserving what remained of the ancient structures.”
“Before any decision could be reached as to the layout of the archaeological area, it was necessary to ascertain by trial trenches what ancient remains of the Mughal and Sikh period still existed underground. The operations go down and have revealed the existence of a large tank of unsuspected form, some of the fountains of the Sikh period, ruined hammams and other structures of which drawing have been made, the dismantling of the numerous modern additions to the historical buildings have yet to be undertaken. Th chief item of expenditure has been the six-foot iron railing to be erected around the historical area.”
A draftsman copied these excavations in a large number of drawings and these must be in some record office, perhaps the British library itself. Why is 1923 important to us?
The Hindu society Sanatan Dharma Yud Sabha was after the Superintendent Archaeological Survey of India, mainly R. Hargreaves, to excavate the so called Mandir of Loh (only they knew about it), and on 11th December, 1923, the Superintendent with a team of workers went with members of the Sanatan Dharma group to explore this site. It was filled with debris in a deep hollow and for two days, cleaning and digging the area, revelation on 13th December, 1923. And what was discovered were the bones of a GIANT of a person in it. Known as Nau-Guzza in Lahore. And that is a different story, and we will take it up next time. Enjoy solid information, instead of conjectures!
MANIPULATING HISTORICAL RECORDS INTO DIFFERENT VERSIONS; YES, LOH SON OF RAM CHANDAR NO WHERE IN HISTORY OF LAHORE.
It is very romantic to speak of the twin cities of Lahore and Kasur and link them to perhaps two brothers Loh (actually Lava) and Kasu (actually Kusa), son of the legendary god Ram Chandar of Hindu religion. Certainly, Loh is remembered as the son of Ram Chandar, but little is known of a brother Kasu. This Lahore idea was first floated by a Hindu writer Munshi Sujan Rai perhaps in 1691 AD (the amazing fact is that no old manuscript is known, and when it covers 40 years of Aurangzeb’s reign, all manuscripts have date of death of Aurangzeb too (years later), and the earliest manuscript is dated 1168 AH or 1754 AD and even that has some missing and replaced pages, and even more amazing of the five manuscripts known, not one has his name in it) in Khulasatul Tawareekh, as compared to simple statement of Lahori writer Ahmad Zanjani in Tuhfa Sawaleen in 1043 AD (648 years previous) which ridicules this conjecture. But nowhere was mentioned that his Mandir exist in the Lahore Fort. No mention of same even with Kanhaiya Lal in 1884, and up to the best of my knowledge it was Judge Muhammed Latif in 1892 AD, who narrated the existence of Mandir, and speaks of it being in a deep hollow which is descended by wooden stairs. Or rather ladder if you call it. Not very clear really. Made to mention but no image in his book.
Mian Muhammed Fauq is a well-known historian of our region and has written on Lahore too. Rare to find his books, we come across the in different conditions. But very strangely there is a strange mention in his book on Lahore, related to the Lahore Fort. Let us translate what he has to say in understandable terms:
“Besides the mosques in Lahore Fort, there is a Mandir in the fort, that even today proves the bigheartedness of the Mughals Emperors, This Mandir is in a space with a huge pit in it. It is said that this pit is that of Raja Loh, son of Raja Ram Chandar, who is responsible for making New Lahore. The level is same as the Fort, there is a reason for it that it is very old and Mughals left it intact. In reference to this Mandir, the society Sanatan Dharm Yudah Salba were having letters communication with the Government. So on 11th December, 1923, members of Yud Sahba, and Superintendent of Archaeology went to see the same, and this area was covered with debris, the same area was cleaned from all sides. Cleaning the Mandir or Samadh, and one can see a dilapidated dome (gum band) and under two feet one could see leaves and earth all around. This two feet deep one could see a flower. Its level is same as that of Hazuri Bagh. After cleaning and digging, on 13th December, 1923, there were discovered bones of hands which at present generation comparison, were very large, and the face had very sharp teeth which were also discovered there. After studying them it seems that at that time, humans were much taller and stronger at old days. These bones were taken into possession by Sanatan Dharm as being the bones of Loh, son of Ram Chandar. However, the Department of Archaeology thought that these bones were of pre-Buddhist times of some extra ordinary large person. “
Ahmad Hasan Dani, a world-famous scholar said the same in different terms:
In 1973 the legendary scholar of Pakistan Ahmad Hasan Dani delivered a lecture on “Al-Beruni” in the city of Kabul. Amazing that Kabul is seen as hosting a Pakistani scholar. But Kabul was a city of intellect and arts for a long time. Not surprising that it happened then. Dani Sahib in his erudite way explains everything. His dismisses the so-called connection of Loh son of Ram with Lahore and we attach the paragraph on same. Worthy of being read. But most interesting he isolates different Lahores and capitals and names. And he says that the city was founded near the river IRAWATI (present Ravi), and that is why it was called IRAWATIAWAR. It was later modified with use as RAVAWAR. He says Panini’s grammar tells us that RA and LA are interchangeable grammarian words, and that is why we have the word LAHAWAR, or presently LAHORE itself. Lahore is simply by tradition CITY ON RAVI.
If this had existed in Emperor Jahangir’s time, he would have built a grand mausoleum over it. It was certainly not a prehistoric structure and nor could one call it a Neanderthal grave. It was a combination of Sikh and British architecture for the various bricks used were of Sikh and British period. The Dome was naturally a poor fluted melon dome of the late Sikh period. It was so small in structure with a circular window on opposite end that it actually looked merely like a small well. The depth of the inside was not comprehended, and the inside floor was closed too. No one could enter it nor lit anything over it. No lingam there. It had no match with any Mandir in the world. But it was asserted as Mandir of Loh, thousands of years old. The structure was not even 150 years of age. Everybody wanted to jump to their own conclusions. The pressure of international lobby of Sanatan Dharm, founded by Bhadashi Maraj in Trinidad and Tobago in 1881, was very evidently there. The Hindu lobby was asserting itself.
Every day science is discovering missing links in human evolution. Very recently the DRAGON SKULL came out of China, and scientists excited over a new link to human story. One does not know what happened to the bones taken by Hindu lobby, but if there one could trace its DNA and finish once for all this absurd story about LOH and KASU related to Lahore. A silly hypothesis without any proof of any kind. And the amazing part is that these are the two same sons who fought with their father for questioning the fidelity of their mother after return from Shri Lanka. People do not read history, just follow directions of foreign lobbies.