THE REMARKABLE SULTANATE HAND GRENADES OF LAHORE – A FISH SHAPED AESTHETIC BEAUTY OF AN ATISH-HUQA (BOMB)

THE REMARKABLE SULTANATE HAND GRENADES OF LAHORE
A FISH SHAPED AESTHETIC BEAUTY OF AN ATISH-HUQA (BOMB)
A NORMAL ATISH HUQA

Many things are associated with Lahore, and it is normally forgotten that Lahore has seen war on many fronts. Battles have been waged in Lahore and won as well as lost. There were times when Lahore was in ruins and there were times when it was a city of splendour. The normal information about the Sultanate period is lacking. But now and then fresh information comes to light. Atish hukas are a study in themselves.

FISH SHAPED ATISH HUKA

We know that battles were waged with bows and arrows, swords, maces, spears and what not? But to open doors of a fort or to tackle enemies outside the fort, hand grenades were used. These were made of heavy black clay (thick walls) and small fish like monograms as well as stars were onĀ  the normal ones. Other symbols are on them which have no meaning for us. Plenty are still found in the depths of Lahore. Some intact, some bursted with use. Gun powder was used to fill these up and an oiled cloth wick (chord) to ignite them. Held in hand the wick was lighted, with proper timing, and then thrown with hands down the walls of the Fort or the gates of the Fort itself. Some blasted, some remained unblasted. Metal containers (as well as heavy earthen ware) of gun powder were also there and some have been recovered in the past.

Front view Atish huka

However this singular fish shaped Atish-huqa is something all its own. It is a splendour of design and use. It easily fits in the hand and the embossed portions are such that it does not slip the hand in the act of throwing it at the enemy. Just looking at it gives you the thrills of the artists who ventured to design such a thing.

P.S.
For many foreign scholars, the discovery of these things, found in Ghazni as well as other areas of Afghanistan spelled Perfume bottles to those who knew not their use. It was our own great scholar, who showed us the lime light of Atish-hukas and their use in life.
Dr Syed Zafar Haider:
Huqqah-i-Atish
Huqqah in Arabic means a box and Atish is Persian for fire. A box of fire with a chord in it. Page 258 Islamic Arms and Armour. Bahadur Publishers, 1991.
Side view Atish huka

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