THE ROYAL CHAMAR SWEEPERS OF SHAHJAHANABAD RED FORT – REAL OWNERS OF PROPERTIES INTERMINGLING WITH MUGHALS – A SMALL STEP TOWARDS RACIAL INTEGRATION IN THE REGION.
We normally talk of people with nobility background, and rarely see the big picture through the eyes of ordinary people. A stack of documents related to Shahjahanabad and dated variously, with an average of 1824, 1827, 1841, 1846, 1853, 1854, 1859, 1861, 1868, 1869, 1877, 1888, and 1898. The property ownership is basically with Mirza Awaiz Baig, Risaldar in Mughal regiment. Various people styled as Chamars and Changars are not only his tenants, but also owners of portions of the havellis mentioned in same. Documents exist under the seal of Mufti Kamal ud din of Shahjahanabad. The regiment is attached to some French army people. It may interest people to know that there was even a Chamar regiment made by the British in India.
There were large houses in Lahore which were occupied by the Sweepers of Lahore, but basically we hear about them in terms of being tenants to the house owners. Not much ownership here at all. Some of these houses were near the mosque of Mai Moran in Papar Mandi, Lahore. But being financially okay was not in the luck of Lahori sweepers. Then how did the Royal Sweepers of Shahjahanabad made it, where elsewhere it was not possible. The strangest thing was told to me by a resident of Shahjahanabad, who migrated to Karachi, after independence. His name Muhammed Yusuf. A very interesting and informed man, he was a very old man, when we communicated last. Not known if he is alive or not today. He told me that the Mughals in the Red Fort, regularly ate gold, with their meals. This was usually in the form of kushtas, as well as marabas. The marabas were eaten with hammer beaten gold as warqs on the same. This gold warq was used in manuscripts as well as miniatures, but here it was also food for the Mughals. The Sweepers knew this very well, and what they did was to collect the crap of the Mughals, pan it and took the gold out. This was easy as all the crap went through channels to singular places, here it was washed and gold separated from the rest. Even in today’s medicine world gold is recommended for many illness. It was fortunate that the attendants of Maharaja Ranjit Singh saved the Kohinoor from perishing, as Maharaja was advised by some hakeems to crush the Kohinoor (reputed largest diamond in the world) and as a remedy for his illness, for the Maharajah to eat the same. This is hundred percent fact, and not any illusion.
Men do the strangest things possible in times of crisis.
Chamars were basically people who worked in the leather industry, and as their work was such, that the profession entailed lots of obnoxious smells. Chamar is from Chamara workers. The name was given to all racial groupings which entailed bad smells in their work, and the shit cleaners smelled the worst. In 5000 years of Indian history, the segment of society ostracized from the rest. Massive conversions took place with the Christian missionaries patronizing them. At the turn of century many such people also embraced Islam under the Imam of Badshahi Mosque Lahore and there are registers of such conversions. We also possess some registers like like that.There was a complete record of various conversions done by the Imam of the Badshahi Mosque Lahore. A regular record was created, in which a form of conversion was given to the converted person, with the record of his old name, as well as the new one. On the back of the duplicate receipt was either the signature of the converted, or the thumb impressions, as well as a certificate of the Imam himself. Of the various record lost, the record for the year 1908 is still preserved with us. A total of 187 conversions at least in that year, with full record of them. We publish an image of one of these conversions. We will do more in future. It is one of the strangest record of all times.
Racial prejudice is all over the world. Islam came with the idea of total egalitarianism. But even the so called greatest democracies of the world have not honoured. The idea that BLACK LIVES MATTER is not enough. All lives matter. It is greed and capitalism which makes for distinction between races. With an economic programme to benefit all, racial prejudices will end too. That is the message of Allah! These are flesh and blood people, deserving love and respect. Let us give it to them.