Your father expects things from you. You are afraid to fail him. Your mother expects other things. You are handicapped not to fail. Your sisters, your brothers! Your friends! Everyone. But all these you can perhaps forgo, but can you forgo Allah? I think the acutest embarrassment is in thinking that you might fail Allah.
It is not fear of hell, it is not fear of Fire that matters. It matters to feel that Allah gave us a challenge in life and we failed him. It would be acute shame to be there somewhere and to be told that you never did what was expected of you. And there is the ultimate matter, failing yourself.
History moves with a momentum all its own. A Turk boy slave bought in Ghazni by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi grew up with talents surpassing many of the royals of his times. Sultan Masood sent him as a chaperone, with his son Prince Majdud to administer Lahore. In a short period Ayaz had made Lahore a city of Culture. Everything which went in the Muslim world came here. Intellectuals, poets, artists, calligraphers, wood carvers, carpenters, architects, lace makers , in fact Baiqai list 200 types of professionals who came to make Lahore, Lahore.
A lady, we do not know her name, but we are told that she was either a sister or a cousin of Ayaz was invited also to come to Lahore. It was she who gave the ladies touch to the cultural developments here. Sultan Mahmud was very much in love with her but his courtiers had advised him not to marry her. History does not tell us if the marriage took place or not. At that time the environment of Lahore was full of lions. The Lahore Fort of Mahmudabad also had a collection of lions and lion tamers. It is said that this Turk girl used to ride a lion on her way to the court and as she would pass the street, people would cheer her up. It was a Royal custom of the times. People would shout SHER DE BACHI, that is daughter of lion. This phrase is such a stereotype in our culture, that even today, any brave girl is referred as Sher de Bachi.
Today Lahore boasts of all types of women population. From the extreme conservative to the extreme modern, we have all of therm here. Where Saudi Arabia does not allow women to drive cars (very anti-Islamic), we have women of Lahore driving motor cycles, including police women. Not many but they are there. Lahore girls have been not only flying aeroplanes, but also teaching flying to pilot learners. They are in the fore-front of the women revolution of Pakistan. Indeed they are Sher de Bachis in all ways.
COW RIOTS IN LAHORE 1845
BUTCHERING THE BUTCHERS OF LAHORE
Mohalla Kasab Delhi Gate area
The KOOKA sect was formed by one Baluk Ram in the year 1845. A carpenter named Ram singh inherited the position. They were interested in going back to the Pristine qualities of their religion. The Sikhs and the Hindus joined hands in this tirade and in 1845 a number of Butcher shops were raided in Lahore and some Butchers put to death. The aim that there should be no dispLay of beef meat at Butchers shop as it was against their principles. The British were in a quandary as what to do. Full control of Lahore was not in their hands yet. The young puppet Dallip Singh was being groomed for complete take over. The Cow riots as they were called were becoming more and more destructive.
An ultimatum was issued to the KOOKAS to mend their ways and they kept quiet for some time. But it was a mum before a storm. By 1871 the riots had spread to Amritsar, and a group of 12 Kooka assassins butchered again a group of Muslim Butchers. The British were in no mood to accept the challenge to their authority, and the Kookas were ruthlessly pursued and captured by them. Out of perhaps a following of fifty thousand Kookas, 300 kookas weree taken into custody, and quickly executed by the authorities. Everybody believed that it was an excess but that excess unless controlled would have left a scar on the reigning policy of thew British. Anybody disturbing the status quo was a risk to their rule.
The people who think that there is no Two nation theory, should wake up to the fact, that even in Lahore, there were separate Mohallas of the Hindus and the Muslims, and nobody dared to traverse the domain of others. And this division was always there. The theme of the Hindu mohallas was very different from the Muslim ones. The ‘SHARM’ or ‘HAIYA’ we talk of was alien to the Hindus living here, and strangely it is reported by many people of that time, that literally the Hindu girls were naked from the top and wearing flimsy dress from the bottom. It was indeed a threat to the culture of the Muslims. And this invasion of the undressed person is something we see in our media today, and forget that it was always so. Sex was one of the way to reach the Divine reality in that religion. In the Muslim area the approach was totally different. That is why Quaid e Azam gave us the famous saying about the two nation theory, which we will repeat later on of the people.
SULTAN MAHMUD AND AYAZ ABU-NAJM
THE CALUMNY OF IRANIAN SOURCES
Sacred turned profane by propaganda
Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi was a puritan Muslim. He is termed a Hanafi, termed also as a Karramite, and even a Shafite in the school of Islamic thought, but essentially he was a kind of Muslim, whose only reference was the Quran itself. This was resented by many.
In 1005, a band of slaves were brought to the market in Ghazni. There was a sick Turk boy in the lot, and Sultan Mahmud felt great compassion for him. Not only was the boy bought, but sent for care and education under his supervision. The boy Ayaz Abu-Najm was son of Ademaq, and very adept at things. Very soon he acquired great proficiency in everything and became an asset for Sultan Mahmud.
It was after the death of Sultan Mahmud, that his son, Sultan Masud also patronized Ayaz, and recognizing his great skill, sent him as a chaperon (could a characterless person have been chosen for this) to his own son, Prince Majdud to Lahore. The Prince was a young child of eight years,, and it was Ayaz who governed Lahore. Within a short span of time, he made Lahore, Lahore, and to this day his contributions stand up in time. The fact is that many sources count Ayaz as the founder of Lahore itself.
There was a sister of Ayaz Abu-Najm (some historians think she was a cousin), and Sultan Mahmud was in love with her. He consulted his courtiers on the possibility of marrying a slave girl and the courtiers advised against this union. The history of Baihaqi is lost in many volumes, otherwise we would have learnt more about this girl. There is a great possibility that Sultan Mahmud may have married the sister of Ayaz Abu-Najm. This girl used to ride a lion in Lahore and is remembered as SHER DE BACHI to this day. A figurine of hers is in the collection of Chughtai Museum. More about her later.
The Iranians resented the advancement of Islamic values made under Sultan Mahmud. The Caliph of Islam had himself patronized Sultan Mahmud and bestowed many titles on him. The world had rejoiced at his victories. Not being able to speak for 500 or 600 years, the Iranians could restrain themselves no longer, and innovated the calumny of a homosexual relation between Sultan Mahmud and Ayaz Abu-Najm. A more ridiculous thing cannot be imagined by any sane mind. The character of both was without blemish, and this kind of accusation, to be made after five or six centuries is fit for laughter only.
The character of Ayaz Abu-Najm was so much without blemish, that he is loved to this day in Lahore. A mausoleum destroyed by the Sikhs, where only a grave was left, was repaired by some persons on a private scale, and today his ‘barsi’ death anniversary is commemorated by a dedicated group of people. If there had been a blemish in his life, today after a 1000 years, people would not have loved him as much as they do today.
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.