BAHADUR SHAH OF MOCHI GATE
THE FIRST ANTIQUE DEALER OF LAHORE
An amazing man in history
History itself has a short memory. What is known as fact in one age, becomes a mere legend in another. Every day we get things. Only the great events are left to remember. And then those events have interpretations.
My uncle used to talk about Bahadur Shah of Mochi Gate Lahore all the time. He had a shop, and he had a thought. He knew how to collect things and he needed to sell them. My uncle used to tell me that England as well as Europe are full of things supplied by Bahadur Shah. And the record is easy, for his seal ‘Bahadur Shah Mochi Gate’ is on back of many of those things.
There were two ancient astrolabes in our house. And somehow Bahadur Shah got wind of them. He persuaded my grandfather Kareem Baksh Mimar to give both to him. They perhaps lie now in some foreign collection, unknown as to the source of them. As Kareem Baksh belonged to the family of Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahori, what to say was the background of both the astrolabes?
We even now have miniatures with the seal of Bahadur Shah on them. A photograph of his exists in international archives. He is worth remembering. He was a man of vision. A 7th century rarest mathematical manuscript of Euclid was with him and lies now in a foreign collection. Another famous manuscript with five Behzad and Behzad School miniatures was with him too. Then the same was bought by Jalal ud din and Elahi Baksh publishers of Kashmeeri Bazaar Lahore. It went places till it is said to have reached the collection of Mian Fayyaz, the famous UBL banker, who became a collector in Lahore. People are remembered by what they did. Dealing in historical artifacts, Bahadur Shah stands forgotten with time. This is homage to the memory of a man long gone from the history of Lahore.