ANIMALS DESTROYING CULTURAL LEGACIES
WHO IS ACTUALLY FUNDING THE RASCALS?
Pakistan will tackle these movements
Living persons fight with living persons. Living cultures fight with living cultures. You do not fight with dead cultures. The dead cultures are lessons to us, of why civilizations rise and why they fall. The Quran tells us to study the rise and fall of civilizations. Who are these barbarians trying to start campaign to malign Islamic values. Co-existence is must in the way of Allah.
We also hear of the desire of these imbeciles to bring down the mosque of Al Aqsa as well as the Holy Kaaba. Does that reflect the way of Muslims? Of course not.
Brilliant strategists and destruction planners want to build the Temple of Solomon for world rule. Instead of destroying it themselves, let so called Muslims destroy it for them. Brilliant planning can lead to fatal flaw of not being able to predict the outcome of such a move. World catastrophe will lead to gain of no one. Let Jews, Christians and Muslims learn to co exist with each other in peace. Respect values of others and they will respect yours.
IN SEARCH OF SHAH RAUSHAN BRIDGE
ANOTHER MISSING MONUMENT OF LAHORE
Can we place its whereabouts?
Dr Muhmmed Baqir discovered a unique manuscript of Lahore. It recounted travelogue of a Lahorite on his way to find a job in Delhi. It happened in the times of Bahadur Shah, more commonly known as Shah Alam One.
The traveller Abdur Rasool in the MS NARANG ZAMAN……… mentions two points in Lahore, one Masti Gate and the other the Shah Raushan phul (bridge). He comes out of Lahore through Masti Gate and crosses the bridge in his travelogue.
In 1707 we must realize that the river flowed outside the walls of Lahore. Aurangzebi Bund had been built and the new diversion made. Even in our lifetime we saw the river Ravi as well as BUDA DARYA. An old painting of Lahore shows us some thing of this bridge. We also have a fallen bridge near Ferozewalla telling us the nature of this bridge.
Who was Shah Raushan? If this bridge was near the Masti Gate, it means that it was nearby. Obviously the bridge must have been pulled down by the British when the Badami Bagh Railway Station was made (separate blog). Dara Shikoh tells us that Ali Hujveri was buried in the corner of the Lahore Fort and a secret grave still exists there. Can we believe that the Shah Raushan bridge is no more than a bridge going to the Mazar of Ali Hujveri Data Darbar which was there at that time. See our blog on the subject.
THE FAMOUS RAMA TIRATH POET SWAMI OF LAHORE
TWO NATIONS ASSERTING THEMSELVES IN INTELLECTUAL LAHORE
The boy Tirath and M.A. Rahman Chughtai
The man Rama was born in 1873 in Muraliwalla near Gujranwalla and then came to Lahore for his education. Even at his birth, he was found to be of exceptional intelligence. With hardly any money, he made his inroad in Lahore and attended the Forman Christian College, Lahore. Excelling in languages and mathematics, it was not enough for him. Clearing his Bachelors and Masters, he started teaching in Lahore. Besides Mission College, he also got a job in Oriental College, Lahore. Extremely poor, he was supported by many, including the Principal of the College. He was married here and had children, and he lived inside the city at the Har Charan ki Pohrian (Stairs of Lord’s feet), inside Bhatti Gate, Lahore. One of his best friend was Khalilur Rahman, B.A, whose untimely death pained the Swami to a great extent.
One day the world famous Swami Vivekananda of Calcutta was in Lahore and addressed the huge number of the turbanned masses at the hall of Dhiyan Singh havelli in Lahore. People were carried away and became an inspiration for the people of Punjab. Rama Tirath was carried away too. That was start of his Swami career. He usually wore Khaddar cloth, but he became interested in discarding clothes. He could hear music that others could not hear. He burned in the love for Krishna. He started seeing visions, and then traversing the banks of the river Ravi and shouting the ecstasy of KRISHNA all the time. At times he felt himself to be god too. In Lahore he took out a magazine by the name of ALIF, the first letter of Urdu alphabet. Finally he left Lahore, and his students and well wishers sang his own poem at the Railway Station, Lahore. A scene remembered by many as memorial of highest order.
With no money, he could travel to the USA as well as Japan in 1902, and found friends everywhere. He returned in 1905, and went to the mountains, walking around naked, with a diet of red chillies and milk only. Very soon after that he died in 1906. He made a name for himself as a Swami which still exists today, in form of many books that he wrote in his times.
In similar times, Dr Allama Iqbal was preaching his messge to the Muslims of Lahore. Lahore was indeed the center of the two nations trying to assert their ideology here. In those days the Chughtai brothers heard Dr Allama Iqbal at Sheranwalla Gate School, as well as in Mochi Darwaza, Lahore. But things get more and more interesting.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai joined the Mayo School of Arts in 1913, for two year course diploma in Photolithography. With him joined another boy, a Hindu, who became one of his best friend. This boy was known as Tirath. His father had left him long ago and the mother had reared him up and they lived inside Bhatti Gate Lahore. The friendship became so close, that Chughtai used to visit the home of Tirath and Tirath’s sister used to cook chapattis for him to eat. They were very close to each other. And here is the most interesting aspect of it all. This boy was none else than the son of Swami Rama Tirath, a family left behind by the Swami in Lahore. Strange coincidences take place and this is one of them. One obsessed with Dr Allama Iqbal, the other having memories of his Swami father. Two nations asserting themselves in new way. More on that later.
THE FEMME FATALES OF LAHORE
ZUTSHKI SISTERS GLAMOROUS
Fashion starters and Civil disobedience hand in hand
Where there was dearth of women on roads, on streets or in clubs, there were some amazing citizens of Lahore. The Zutshki sisters were one of them. Excellently dressed, up to their mark, they had no hesitation with boys, who grovelled around them. They forced their admission in Government College Lahore, and could startle most people. Mostly seen in Arab hotel opposite Islamia College Lahore, as places on the Mall, was beyond the financial reach of this kind of crowd. Arab hotel was run by owner Bhai Aboud, who was lest bothered about the paying abilities of the entrants, and the intellectual elite frequented it. That is why people thronged the hotel, to eat the relishing kababs, smoke their heart out, and perhaps come cross the Zutshkis themselves. One could find there journalists, writers, artists, as well as all those who could provoke a laughter in the people. A literal festive mood of the IN people, perhaps replaced later in times by the Pak Tea House near Nila Gumband, Lahore.
In one such incident a journalist relates, how Abdur Rahman Chughtai was transfixed when the Zutshki sisters entered the room. He was spell bound and perhaps thinking of some new creation of his. As Paul Drury would say that the artist had memory bank of faces from where he could issue cheques at will for his works. My uncle Abdur Raheem Chughtai had tales to tell about Zutski sisters too. The mother Lado Rani Zutshki loved to display her daughters, all dressed up, at various places.The beguiling charm of the three sisters, namely Manmohini, Shyama and Janak was extraordinary. They were on the desire tips of Lahore.
The funny thing is that these were amongst the first women in Lahore who were able to get their B.A degrees. Remarkable for that period. More remarkable they joined hand with Congress and started civil disobedience movement against the Government of British India. They made salt at River Ravi and in general meeting, Nehru was seen dancing with them. All the 2000 volunteers at the camp near Ravi was dancing of all dances, the PATHAN dance. Sardar Mangal Sngh was GOC Congress at that time, and we present an image of him too.
Finding images of people, who were once famous and then forgotten, is not an easy job. I always wanted to do a piece on Zutshki sisters but could not find an image. Strangely the images come from the scrap book of a student of Government College who was doing his Masters at that time. It seems that the Zutshkis had cast a spell on him too and he had cut some pictures from magazines, newspapers etc, to keep afresh the beguiling charms of an era gone bye.
BASHING GENERAL ZIA UL HAQUE ALL THE TIME
IN HIS OWN WAY HE DID MOST FOR CULTURE
Brought Ideology back into fashion lore
The civil servant Masud Nabi Noor Sahib was Secretary Culture and he called at the museum. The President wanted to inaugurate a show of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. I was impressed, but I did not accept the idea. The Military Secretary to President Zia ul Haque rang us many times. Desire that we publish special edition of our book for the President’s gift policy to other countries and Heads of State. In India an auction house is selling copy of Amal e Chughtai gifted by President Zia to someone in India, at a phenomenal sum of Nine lakh rupees. But I knew more.
He inaugurated exhibitions at Alhamra. He organized show of Pakistani paintings at Hirshorn Museum in USA. He visited Metropolitan Museum and requested Stuart Cary Welch to open a Pakistani room there for which President Zia promised the museum a cool million dollars. Stuart Cary Welch visited the President in Islamabad who presented him with a carpet. A committee was made here to receive the American scholar in town (Hilton Hotel), enlist his support for propagation of Pakistani culture. Yasmeen Lari was there and would remember it well, as was B.A. Qureshi Sahib . And everybody starts bashing President Zia, as a paragon of Anti-Culture.
Tell me one thing about Art and Culture that recent democratic regimes did here for Artists. Nothing! And yet three Martial Law regimes fascinated with Pakistani Art, did more than all the others. Although the approach of all three was different in their own way. We have short memories. We remember what the media wants us to remember, we forget the rest. President Zia ul Haque was presumably son of a mere Maulana of a mosque. That he could adapt himself, and see so much, which was normally beyond his capacity, is a credit to him and his memory.
Why is there so much venom against him? He brought the term Pakistani Ideology back into the forefront. He achieved an unparralleled victory in neighbouring country by driving out foreign forces, but he also gave Pakistan a memory of its past. The education of Quaid e Azam and Zia ul Haque was vastly different, and strangely in their obsession for an Islamic State, they were both not that different. The foreign lobbies like to paint Jinnah Secular and Zia a villain. Both were not that, and most of us know that too. No time to pick up arguments with well paid and well prepared real villains of Pakistan. People who want to rob us of our Islamic Identity of life.
Support to Sadequain artist
The generosity of General Zia to artists can be guaged from the fact that a contract of ONE Lakh RS given by Zulfiqar ali Bhutto to Sadequain for decoration of Mangla Dam was unilaterally
converted by Zia into EIGHT Lakh Rupees contract. I think governmental history is not full of such generosity towards art.
FAIZ AHMAD FAIZ AND M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
POLES APART AND YET INTERACTIONS MANY
GEOGRAPHY VERSUS IDEOLOGY A DIVIDING LINE
M.A. Rahman Chughtai never became controversial ever. He was the greatest painter of the region of his times and the world had acknowledged that. But he was also a thinker, a philosopher, deeply ingrained in the teachings of the Holy Quran. About twenty years spent in the shadow of Dr Allama Iqbal, he could be nothing else. At those times even before primary school, children went to the mosque for Quranic education and Chughtai was a student of the Quran from day one. In fact his desire to be a Hafiz ul Quran like his elder brother Muhammd Hussain, could not be fulfilled in his life time., He had memorized the Quran, about half of it, but could not complete the venture as he was involved in so many other things. Pakistan, unlike others, was a dream come true for M.A. Rahman Chughtai.
Jawaharlal Nehru lured many Pakistanis towards India and some did migrate there after partition. Some had both feet in both areas. One foot there, one foot here. The feet of M.A. Rahman Chughtai was firmly implanted in Pakistan. It was a sad thing that controversy surrounded Faiz Ahmad Faiz in many ways. We need not comment on that for the present, but Faiz Ahmad Faiz was in Jail in Hyderabad Sind. No doubt about that. As he was in jail, M.A. Rahman Chughtai did not let him down, and wrote a letter to him. The reply, initially torn by Jail Authorities, and later sent to the artist. It is part of our many archives and we felt we could share that. M.A. Rahman Chughtai designed many dust covers of books of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Known by some, not known to others. But this letter I do not think anyone has ever seen. We like to share it with the public. Writing a letter to a person in jail and designing his dust covers with obvious hints was not an easy task. It was an act of courage. And Chughtai naturally had it.
Lobbies try to project the image of the Intellectual as an incessant smoker and drinker. It is a proud fact to state that M.A. Rahman Chughtai, forgetting about alcoholic consumption, did not even touch a plain cigarette in his whole life time., His mind was free from the smoke of life. That is why he clearly saw Pakistan as the first step towards an Islamic State. Through peace be a mover and shaker of Pakistan was his goal in life, and he achieved that and remained free of any negative remarks about his life.
NO INVASION OF VIJAY NAGAR IN INDIA
ONLY MUSLIM CULTURE INFLUXED INTO HINDU EMPIRE
Startling imagery of Muslims on Hindu Temples
Not much has been written on Vijay nagar. It is in a remote area, non accessible to most. Nobody owned to go that far in India. The earliest account is of the Portuguese Nicolo Conti and then the account of Abdur Razzak, who called with an embassy from Persia. Yes, the Muslims were there and battles did take place, and reconciliations done, but mostly it was ruled by Hindu Rajas. Considered as the bulwark of Hinduism against Muslim conquest, little was known about it.
The most sensational is the story of PERTAL, the daughter of a farmer from Mudkhar, on whose level battles started between the Muslim and the Hindus. The King of Vijay nagar was DEVA RAYA II, and he fell madly in love with the girl. When marriage was offered, Pertal did the strangest thing possible at that time. She refused a proposal from the King himself. The result literal anarchy as the King went into rage.The farmer sought protection of Sultan Feroze Shah and a great battle took place, and the General involved was AHMAD KHAN KHANAAN. The Hindus were defeated and in spirit of reconciliation (either lose the Empire), Deva Roy II much against his will, consented to give the hands of his daughter to the Sultan. This proposal of the girl had brought peace and allowed Deva Raya II to retain his throne. The girl was married by the Sultan to his nephew Hassan Khan. The great General Ahmad Khan is still there in Vijay nagar both with his tomb as well as the Mosque he built there.
Modern research has hounded scholars with Muslim imagery in Vijay nagar as well as in famous Temples in it from 1400 to around 1600 A.D, and the Muslims there represented are various types, including Arabs, Turks, Central Asians and even Bahmani Sultans. No history exists about this but the monuments themselves. Less this is written off as mere heresy, there is for instance the Tomb and Mosque of certain Ahmad Khan. There is an inscription highlighting it as the Mosque of Ahmad Khan and dated around 1439 A.D, in the reign of Hindu Raja Deva Raya II (1419 AD to 1444 AD). Other Muslim forms of Architecture are visible both in gates of Forts as well as Arches in the Palaces itself. But the most astounding imagery is of Muslims in friezes in Temples as well as life size imagery of Muslims riding fantastic beasts in the Temples themselves. The friezes tell us about various professions of Muslims there. There are Muslims taking care of Horses and animals. There are Muslim delegations paying homage to the Rajas. And the funniest part is Turkish dancers entertaining the Raja himself with Muslim dances.
All this shows the huge flux of Muslim Culture in forgotten Hindu empire. The Rajas could resist the conquest of the place but could not resist the lure of Muslim Culture in their own lives. And at times where the written word becomes meaningless, the visual imagery becomes most important in preserving lost times. These things were noted by famous scholars of our times but the first to point it out was DR Hermann Goetz of Germany and he wrote an article on it. Various other scholars have contributed to same over the years. The researcher Anna L. Dalla piccolla has done most for it in recent times. The fact is that historians have given various twists to history and the interaction of Hindus and Muslims in the region did not always mean war. The so called invaders were accepted as any other nation by the Hindu Rajas of that time.
THE FARCE OF BALOCH INSURGENCY
FEUDAL SARDARS OR PEOPLE OF BALOCHISTAN
Vested media twisting facts all the time
A long time back there were injustices. Some people with physical powers got away with subjugating the masses. These sweet people ruled ruthlessly by their feudal Sardars had no options but to surrender their every right. Holdings were taken away. Their women and children were subject of atrocities. The solution was to lick the boots of the lords in servility. This was an international phenomena and that is why we have Robin hoods fighting with the Sheriffs of Nottingham. Islam gave the world emancipation and the concepts of equal rights. So when Pakistan came into being, the prospect was to remove feudal lords from the scenes and bring in an egalitarian society.
Jawaharlal Nehru was an intelligent man. He got rid of the power of the Maharajas as well as feudal lords. This was being done in Pakistan too and feudal reforms brought in curtailment of feudal powers by fixing land hording. I remember Agha Sahib of Classic Books telling me once, NO ONE SURRENDERS POWER WITHOUT A FIGHT. The Feudal lords waged a war against emancipation. This is the root cause of the Baloch Insurgency.
The so called enlightened West as well as so called Indian leadership would not like the Balochs to prosper and wish to take them back to medieval times to be roasted by the Sardars till eternity. Whereas the Pakistani politicians failed, the military tried its level best to bring in reforms for the people of Balochistan. Who is more important? A handful of tyrannical Sardars or the people of that region. Sardars who are open murderers of their own people. I remember one Sardar who murdered a Lahori girl and three her in the compound of United Christian Hospital, Lahore, in a moving car, and he escaped to Balochistan. He was never caught for his crime. His father reputedly killed his first man at eight years of age to reinforce his strength in poor people.
Missing people hype goes on all the time! Western satellites are capable of looking down at movement everywhere. They could see President Saddam taking his tea all the time? Why has the survellance satellites of USA, India, as well as Europe not scooped down and see the fate of these missing persons? Is it because they are themselves responsible for all this? A London group of insurgents were caught by the Pakistan Army and then pardoned by the graciousness of General Zia ul Haque. The Pakistan Army is saviour of the people of Balochistan, not the feudal Sardars. I am a PAKISTANI MUSLIM. Let us start being proud to be Pakistanis, the first step of progressive Islam in the world.
Let us not forget that a working GWADAR PORT is a death knell to many other ports in the region. Money is being poured inside Balochistan to stop the growth of Pakistan, especially so that the people of Balochistan can never flourish in any way. Now who is actually wrong? Missing persons is a tactic to cheat on both sides. Bring tragedy to Balochistan and defame our sacred Pak Army! A certain gentleman namely Khattak Sahib is doing a documentary on this issue. Let this be represented in it too, for actual ideas to be taken into account.