AMANAT KHAN SHIRAZI
CALLIGRAPHER OF TAJ MAHAL
Not much known or remains
When partition happened the lines were drawn regardless of the position of places. The BRB canal took the Eidgah and Sarai of Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan to our side, and the Serai of Amanat Khan Shirazi to the other side. I was standing and photographing the Serai of Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan, when an ex-ranger offered that he could take me on the other side. The Serai was something we were eager to see. But rational sense always prevails. I would never break any international laws for my enjoyment of a Mughal monument. As a little boy, I had stood on the second storey of the mausoleum of Ittemad ud daula in Agra, and recited the English poem of ‘Bundle of Firewood’ loud and clear, for my mother and father on the down floor.
My father used to repent that nobody paid attention to the life of artists and architects and we know hardly anything of those people. So little is known about these important people. Amanat Khan Sherazi has left his writ for us rarely. The inscriptions on the Taj Mahal are there, as well as writings on the tomb of Akbar himself. An inscription in Aurangabad on a mosque. A beautiful manuscript. A Quran written in his own hands in 1050 AH. And multiple books with his SEAL on it, as librarian of the Mughal’s kitab-khana.
Amanat Khan Sherazi lies buried in a small mausoleum near the Serai which he made in the memory of his brother. He loved his brother so much, that after his death, this calligrapher retired from life in total, and spent the rest of his life in prayers. Love and dedication surrounded his life. It seems working on a monument of love for the Emperor Shah Jahan, he worked on a monument of love all his own. Sincerity and passion was part of their lives. After the death of his brother, he chose to retire to Lahore. Just outside Lahore he built a Serai in the name of his brother and it is known as the Serai Amanat Khan. Unfortunately the canal has separated us from the Serai and mausoleum of one of the greatest calligraphers of all times. Certainly his decision to retire to Lahore was due to the presence of his friend, Ustad Ahmad Lahori in Lahore, the architect of the Taj Mahal. Lahore is the greatest city of art and culture of the entire region.