THE GRANDEUR OF MASJID MARYIAM ZAMANI LAHORE
ITS REMNANTS WITH MISTAKEN IDENTITIES TO THIS DAY
All Muslims are warned by Allah not to impose on the rights of other religions. Allah says that if you want your way of life respected, do not question the way of life of others. We read about Guru Nanak with all due respects. He tried to reconcile two nations, the Muslims and the Hindus in a fresh equation. Obviously that would not work. But Guru Nanak sought the blessings of RAB and the word itself means a lot to us.
The Sikhs and the Muslims share a lot of things, and we here in Lahore, share Punjab as well as the city with historical narratives from both nations. We love our Sikh friends, and they love us. But history has not been kind to actions and reactions over the years. The criteria anywhere is TRUTH and truth should always prevail in any discussion. It is a fact that both nations fell into the deepest crevices at many moments in life. The fact is that with the advent of the Sikh capture of Lahore, there was a ban on AZAN in the city. The ban prevailed in the rule of the three Sikh Chieftains, as well as Ranjit Singh. It was there in Sher Singh times and the official record shows that the British tried to persuade him to undo the ban. It is a fact that about 2000 Muslims monuments, including mosques were brought down in Lahore, during the Sikh rule and most of the mosques were then only stables and ammunition dumps. In the post Abdalli period, we hear of pigs being slaughtered and thrown in the mosques by raiding Sikhs.
It goes back to the period of Jahangeer. Guru Arjun instigated the rebellion of Prince Khusrau against his father Emperor Jahangeer. The result political chaos as Guru Arjun was ordered to be obliterated by Emperor Jahangeer. All his belongings distributed to courtiers. The unrest went on into the times of Aurangzeb too. This up and down was there in 1947 too, when refugees fleeing India were slaughtered at the instigation of the Indian Prime Minister. Quaid e Azam promised the Sikhs a province of their own and they ended up in a trap laid by the Indian politicians. Their leader wielding a Sword declared animosity against Pakistan standing on the footsteps of the Punjab Assembly Lahore. Obviously we have forgotten that. We do not carry grudges. We respond to love with love.
Two incidents are worthy of being quoted here. One is the destruction of Masjid Shaheed Ganj and the other is the Hammam of Masjid Maryiam Zamani. Shaheed Ganj issue is for another blog. Here the Hammam of Maryiam Zamani Masjid. The identity of the Jamia Masjid is well known and is today occupied by car tyre sellers and iron merchants. Inside such a shop stands on a dome of Jahangeeri period. Dubbed by Sikh mythology as the Samadh of Bhai Mani Singh, it is not. It is a structure of Jahangeer period and in older maps of the mosque, it can be seen as such. The story of the martyrdom of Mani Singh is beyond my comphrension, for I have never heard of attempts to convert Sikhs here. But even if that is true, certainly this is no Samadh of the martyred hero. It is a plain hammam portion attached to the mosque. I covered it extensively in photographs and will put them on the net one day.
No going back, only moving forward. We support the Sikhs in their endeavour for their Identity. Indeed they require a homeland of their very own. They are emotional people like us and react to love and affection as much as we do. Let us now carve a love which will not be shaken by FASADI people. Learning from past mistakes, and not relying on melodramatic tales, we share our truths together.