THE POETESS BAQANA THE CRYING MUGHAL LADY FROM LAHORE
THE DISCOVERY OF AN UNKNOWN DIWAN OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN
THE LURE OF LAHORE TO REBELS EVERY WHERE
Little is known about the end of Empress Nur Jahan. No solid information? The tussle between brother and sister finally led to the victory of the brother. Nur Jahan had plotted to put Prince Shahryar on the throne. Her brother Asif Khan obviously preferred his son in law, Prince Khurram, later Shah Jahan. The maneuvers were swift and obviously ruthless. No quarters were given. But the end of Nur Jahan was not like the normal end of those who intrigued against the state. A pension of Two lakh rupees per anum was sanctioned for her by Shah Jahan himself and she settled in Lahore.
History does not tell us anything that happened in Lahore. It is all dark. We know that she was building her own mausoleum but according to historian Ali uddin in his Ibratnama, she was never able to complete her mausoleum. It was unfinished till the end. Close proximity to both her brother and her husband, and then further ruthlessness.
One enters the underground chamber of the Mausoleum of Nur Jahan, and you find two broken chain kundas swinging from the ceiling. The solid lead and iron coffins long gone. Reputation as well as historians point out that in search of treasures, the Sikhs dug deep in Muslm remains. But Ranjit Singh wanted to see the remains of the most beautiful woman of the world. Reputation had it that her body was still intact. What was found? Historian Lateef points out that the bones were found and local reputation has it that they were not reburied. But thrown to the wolves and dogs to eat. The pathos of Nur Jahan did not end with the defilement by the Sikhs. Obviously the Sikhs tore the monument apart for stealing of Marble for their own use in religious and domestic monuments. The cruel spin was finally rendered by the British who took the Railway track through the mausoleum and separated Nur Jahan from her brother and husband again.
Nur Jahan after the death of her husband stopped wearing make up or fashion of any kind (although she pioneered fashion in her own days) and started wearing white plain clothes. The story of her getting the coffin ready for her death is narrated at many places. And we here recite that again. While constructing her mausoleum, Nur Jahan also had her coffin made. Special cloth was imported from Isaphan and embroidered here in Lahore (Kinari bazaar) with Quranic verses. Then the coffin was sent to various religious sites all over the world for ziarat, including Mecca. There the coffin was dipped and washed in the water of underground source, zamzama. To safeguard the sacredness of her coffin, even a Darogha was appointed to keep it safe and intact from others.
Nur Jahan was involved in many charity works. It is reputed that she had supported the marriage of more than 500 orphan girls with gifts of dower from her. Widows were on her help list. Every month she would hold a Khatam Quran at her residence and praying for her forgiveness. Perhaps she pioneered many such charity works that we hear are so common about to this day.
The pathos and tragedy of Nur Jahan is still visible. But remarkably another thing happened very recently. The discovery of a pocket diwan in the manuscript world. Bound in red leather, with naqashi patterned design, the 206 pages diwan gives us the takhallus BAQANA. Now what does BAQANA actually means. It means CRYING. The takhallus tells us the frame of mind of the most famous Mughal lady of all times. It is in very difficult script writing but there is waver in the hand, so it shows that it was written at an advanced age. One finds name of Jahangeer in it, as well as Shah Jahan. Dilawar Khan is in it, as is the Bagh Dil Gusha, which she was irrigating on her own. There is also mention of Masjid Nahr Wali, from which she was able to obtain relevant manuscripts. We are analyzing it and will get it professionally done with time. Suffice that it is a major Mughal discovery of the times. Nur Jahan died in Lahore on 18th December, 1645 AD, and was buried in her mausoleum. Her sarcophagus was still present in 1843 AD, when Baron Huegel had seen it there. More on that later.