THE ENIGMA OF MOHALLA CHAHAL BIBIAN LAHORE
SYED AHMAD TOKHTA AND HIS MAZAR IN LAHORE
Misplaced priorities in the historical context
A lady walked in the museum some years back. Very plain, very simple, wearing a traditional black burqa. Normally one would wonder as to why her need for a museum arose in the first place. And then she started speaking. Fluent English and expression. She had come from Washington DC , where she was a working psychiatrist, for the US government. Her vision grander than anybody else. The interesting part was that she would be normally considered to be from Mochi Darwaza Lahore, and strangely, she was from Mochi Darwaza Lahore. A lady from a prestigious family of Lahore, still in the garb of her old city. A Chahal Bibi of Lahore.
The Mimar family of Lahore was very attached to the residents of Mohalla Chahal Bibian. My grandfather Mian Kareem Baksh, and his father Mian Raheem Baksh, and his father Mian Salah frequented the place. The presence of this family itself can be proved from the inscription on the Mausoleum of Pir Nizamuddin Shah in Miani Qabarastan. All names are on it. But I was surprised to discover a manuscript of my ancestor, Mirza Khairullah of the 18th century, in which he says Sheikh Khairullah khadim Bibi Haj Taj. I think it is one of the earliest documents of the Bibian of Lahore.
Ghulam Dastageer Nami wrote a history of Lahore and named it TARIKH JALEELA. The house belonged to his grandfather, so when he rebuilt the place, he left the old grave intact. It was the grave of Syed Ahmad Tokhta Tirmizi who died in Lahore around 1208 AD or 605 AH (needs to be verified). When they were digging, they came across many bones, and even sign of two domes, which were now on the level of the ground. Under the grave of Syed Tokhta was a basement, where the actual grave was. They sealed the place out of respect. Miracles were associated with the place and we know the imagination of Lahore walas run riot all the time. Ghulam Dastageer dismissed the notion that the place known as Bibi Pak Daman was the mausoleum of a daughter of Hazrat Ali. The ladies were the daughters of Amad Tokhta and died probably in 1241 AD, as said by him. The full story is narrated in his book.
Prince Dara Shikoh in his writings speak of the graveyard of Bibi Haj and Taj. Little is mentioned anywhere else. One interesting fact that is missed is that in one of the histories, it is mentioned that of the many wives of Hazrat Hussain, one belonged to the area of Sindh. Who invented the Mausoleum of Haj and Taj and others, is that of persons fleeing the happenings at Karbala, one really does not know. But research can be done on that too. The earliest mention is probably Chisti, and Chisti has many tall tales to tell in his book. In any case Ghulam Dastageer thinks that the mohalla of Chahal Bibian was also a graveyard in olden times outside the fortified city itself. Grave worship has become our favourite past time, and it seems that the SARKARS are increasing every day in great count.