A BIZARRE TALE OF DATA DARBAR

A BIZARRE TALE OF DATA DARBAR
MURDER IN THE COMPOUND

Mutavallis on rampage

"Data Darbar" by Master Miran Baksh
“Data Darbar” by Master Miran Baksh

Lahore abounds in bizarre happenings. Volumes after volumes can be filled with tales of Lahore. I recall a story about a murder that is worth telling again.

A land owner had sold his land for a huge amount of money and he carried the money with him to the Mazar of Data Darbar in Lahore. This was before the same had been taken over by Auqaff, around 1960, in the term of President Ayub Khan. The land owner sought the blessings of the Saint and met the Mutavalli with great reverence. The Mutavalli immediately realized that this man was carrying a lot of money, and entertained him with great honour. A manji (bed) was laid for the visitor with required blankets. Fresh from the village, there were a couple of cinemas just near the Mazar, and the land owner felt obliged to view a Punjabi movie then. Neelo and Nimi were the reigning film queens of that time. He took the money with him and decided to come back late at night.

The Mutavalli instructed his servant to put a glass of milk near the manji and put poison in it. It was said that when the land owner would come back, and drink the milk, he would die in the night and the money would be their own. According to instructions the servant did what was required of him.

The Mutavalli had one dear son and a manji was laid out for him too. Not realizing which manji was for guest, the son of the Mutavalli came and sat down on the manji of the guest. Looking at the glass of milk, he considered it as laid for him, and drank all of it. Then he went to sleep. And sleep he would for the rest of his life. The land owner came late at night, and saw another manji laid for him. He slept on it. He woke early in the morning and left back for his village, happy and contented with everybody.

The Mutavalli and his servant were rubbing their hands in glee. Nobody had moved under the blanket and they felt happy that their work was done. The Mutavalli raised a fuss about the guest and asked the blanket to be removed to  check the health of his guest. When it was removed, he saw the dead body of his own son.

In a matter of little time the Government of Pakistan nationalized all the relgious institutions of Pakistan and Auqaff took over the possession of the Mazar of Data Darbar. For his greed, the Mutavalli had lost not only his dear son, but also the hold on a money minting institution. and things would never be the same again.

The motto still stands when you dig the grave of others, perhaps you are digging your own.

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