WHEN THE RAVI GOES ON RAMPAGE AGAIN AND AGAIN – FLOODS IN LAHORE DURING LAST FEW CENTURIES

WHEN THE RAVI GOES ON RAMPAGE AGAIN AND AGAIN

FLOODS IN LAHORE DURING LAST FEW CENTURIES

Darya Khatra and Jazeera Nur Jahan
Darya Khatra and Jazeera Nur Jahan

THE STORY OF BUDA DARYA

It was funny. Reference to two Ravi daryas always accosted us. The River Ravi and Buda Darya, the older course of river Ravi. We were always amused to think that there could be a river which had the nomenclature of being old. Of course the river Ravi is very very old, but these references dated in the last few centuries. We needed not refer to the times when there was no Lahore and the river flowed and the NAU GUZZAS came from Iraq to settle here and there and bought the Jewish culture with them. Punjab the land of five rivers and home to various civilizations always stood proud of its heritage. Many dead civilizations are found on river beds and banks. But Lahore was a living culture all the time.

Tree spurs saving river Ravi from rampage
Tree spurs saving river Ravi from rampage

Strangely Nur Jahan in her Diwan (recently discovered in Lahore) talks of the danger of the river as well as floods which made the Jahangeeri complex an island of its own. She uses the word Darya, Khatra and Jazeera as news of inundating River Ravi. We know that a large portion of the Mausoleum of Jahangeer was damaged in the course of time. The threat became so acute that the river was routed away again and again.

River Ravi flows near Jahangeer Mausoleum
River Ravi flows near Jahangeer Mausoleum

The first big attempt was of Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb ordered a bank to be built around Lahore for its protection. Wells were dug from Masti Gate to Mahmood Booti, and wooden planks thrown inside. On top of it a high wall was made and embankment which was tested with time. In recent years one could still see signs of it near the village of Bhogiwal, as well as outside Masti Gate. In extension of Lahore more and more of past being obliterated with time. The Mughal courtiers were so fond of the BAND I ALAMGEERI that they built their gardens on it for enjoyment in floods themselves.

River Aurangabad like Lahore
River Aurangabad like Lahore

The British also tried their best to give the river a new route. We have a map dated 1877 in which tree spurs were used to block the river from going to unwanted places. No tree spurs near the mausoleum of Jahangeer, because they were not bothered with same. After Pakistan was made huge floods were witnessed and Lahore was inundated with water for days. Our own house was safe and we reached school in time, but many could not make it. The old bed of River Ravi on Mohni road and Ravi road were full of river water as well as Badami Bagh area. The river was remembering old times. We have photographs of those floods and will find them.

The flow of river Ravi
The flow of river Ravi

It was on a boat on river Ravi that Emperor Aurangzeb came to inaugurate the Badshahi Mosque Lahore, and a mad man, threw bricks at him. The Emperor was safe and instead of having the assailant beheaded as would be done today, he was caught but set free. Those Monarchs were really democratic people while our democrats are Monarchs unlike the Mughals, and more like tyrannical Hindu Rajas of the past. It s a resentful word people comparing the present rulers to Mughals. The Mughals were so fond of INSAF that even today INSAF I JAHANGEERI is a household word in our city.

Ravi flowed sparse in 1839
Ravi flowed sparse in 1839

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