THE URS OF DATA DARBAR ALI HUJWERI IN LAHORE
CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES THROUGH THE AGES
I was just a small child and my aunt Mehri took me for Salam to the grave of Data Darbar. She entered the Mazar and washed her hands with Rose water and started doing things, which I could not identify myself in any circumstances. Later on I read one day of the visit of Ashfaq Ahmad the writer to the grave of Data Darbar, and he writes that when he kissed the marble of the grave, he went into rapture, which not even the kiss of Hollywood heroine Marilyn Monroe could give him in actual life. Amazing then, amazing now! Mythical stories keep on floating day and night and it is surprising how naive the people of this region are in all ways. Carried away by fantasy of the Arabian Nights and 1001 stories in same.
Yes, Ali Hujweri migrated to Lahore from the Ghaznavid Empire, and settled in the city. Yes, he died in the city, and yes, he preached here. He wrote many books, of which mainly Kashf ul Majbub survives to this day, while another Risalah is also attributed to him. Like a typical person of his period, he hated women, and never liked marriage. But he himself says (in his own book) he succumbed to the charms of probably a Lahori girl, and repented as such. We are not taking into account the fantasy tales of how the Qiblah of the mosque he built was set wrongly, and he corrected it same, with his spiritual powers by uprooting the mosque and placing it in the correct position, in one night. His worshipers seriously believe all this. Good luck to them! Everyone has a right to believe things but no one should or can interfere in faith and beliefs. I believe in Allah and I believe that Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was his last prophet. And I believe that after the Quran, the communication with Allah expired, and it can be only one way process from us. We can say anything we like to AL-MIGHTY. He speaks to us only through the Quran.
But this is not about Ali Hujweri. This is about his Urs. Rafiullah Shahab wrote one day in a newspaper that the Urs is not Ali Hujweris. It is a commemoration that Ali Hujweri himself held every year to coincide with the chelum of Hazra Imam Hussain. That is why the Urs of Data Darbar and Ali Hujweri are on the same day every year. Few people know this! But Ali Hujweri seems to have escaped historical account, for there is little mention of him in history. Prince Dara Shikoh was a big fan of Hazrat Miyan Meer as well as Baba Lall of Benaras. In his book on the life of saints, he mentions the Dargah of Ali Hujweri and places it inside the Lahore Fort itself. He proudly tells us that he had a brand new SARCOPHAGUS made for his grave, which was of pure white marble. Chandarban Brahman, the Munshi of Dara Shikoh tells us an additional thing. He says the Dargah as well as Lahore Fort was under the superintendence of the Hindu administrator Ishwar Dass. He further describes the Dargah of Ali Hujweri in a few words and says:
“Even though there are yearly and monthly impromptu performances throughout the city’s precincts, especially at the tombs and shrines of the giants along the path of esoteric Truth, the Thursday gatherings at the blessed tomb of the knower of mystical stages, Pir Ali Hujweri, creates an especially remarkable commotion. Darwishes and other free spirits, literati, poets, and all manners of people gather there to observe the spectacle of Divine Creation.” Rajeev Kirna’s translation.
We do find literature and diwans of all kind written at the Dargah, and we ourselves, have a few of them. For instance a Khadim of Pir Ali Hujweri, son of Sheikh Yar Muhammed wrote a Majumah Sultani at the Dargah in 1092 AH. In it we find the versified Risalah Qirat of Lutufullah Muhandis too. Lutufullah Ahmad was alive at that time and living in Lahore too.
Maharani of Ranjit Singh took a fancy to the Dargah of Ali Hujweri and contributed extension of the building. But at that time the environment was totally different. We are told that prostitutes used to dance every week on Thursday at the grave of Ali Hujweri. And what about today? Headlines of wrong doings. A Mutavalli tried to poison a feudal lord for his cash in a brief case and ended up poisoning his own son by mistake. The most famous serial killer of more than a 100 children roamed the area all the time, and seduced runaway children. You see pickpockets, thieves, seducer of innocent village women roaming the shrine most of the time. Seduction is a fair game here. Sexual antics in the basement. But even RAW the intelligence agency of India left its mark here, when the famous Duval, talked about Raw agents in the shrine. Bomb blasts galore here. A thousand precautions but no safety for visitors. The shrine is in disarray and the crores of rupees in cash collected by the administrators. For instead of trusting the Laws of Allah, people believe in the silliest things possible. A person told me that Ali Hujweri was very fond of almonds and if you give a plate of almonds at the shrine, you may get in return the gift of a house in DHA. Unimaginable hopes of every day people. No faith in laws of Allah, but in the charisma of a man dead long ago. We are indeed Grave Worshipers of all kind.
The Mela is dead too. To put a stall on the main road requires payment of bribes to many people. The persons who occupy the houses. The Municipal staff. The police staff. It is no longer feasible for the mela shops to put a shop for three days and profit by it. Blackmail abounds. Ruffians run in the crowd, teasing women, jostling the villagers, running away with their pags (head dresses) and what not? What is supposed to be a sacred gathering has become in reality a mirror of profanity. No one bothered with anarchy.
My friend tells me that a faqeer alim came and performed KASHF and saw hundreds of angels sitting there. I wonder what the angels were doing in an arena which no longer, or never upheld the principles of Allah. The Muslims are in deep hibernation, the angels must be feeling same.