BARFI VERSUS DHOTI
AN INTERESTING TALE OF 1965 WAR
Happenings in Lahore
The 1965 war with India was a chapter in the history of Pakistan which will never go away. Tricked and invaded in the stealth of night, the Pakistani forces reacted with a reaction of which songs are spun to this day. The war involved not only the fighting forces but the entire population of the country. Crime rate dropped to literal zero, and everyone was willing to contribute everything of their own for the welfare of the country. The bravado of Lahore can be understood from the fact that with empty streets, boys came out to play cricket in the heat of battle. Spectators of the dog fights of jets over Lahore were on all roofs. People cheered the Pakistan jets like it was a boxing spree in a round in a ring. In fact the Pakistan Air Force had to issue a request for people not to be on the roofs as fighters feared for their safety when firing on the enemy. Sufi Tabassum made history by writing the most patriotic songs ever and Nur Jahan sung them with a candour, which sent ripples of martyrhood through the Army on the front.
An incident is unrecorded by any person, and it is befitting that it is recorded here for posterity. There was an ancient Havelli inside Mochi Darwaza Lahore, by the name of Havelli of Nathu Sonay wala, and it was inhabited by at least five of his sons. One was Qamar-ud-din. Qamar-ud-din had out of his savings bought a new DHOTI for himself from the Azam Cloth Market. He was very proud of same. As he passed the shop of MAHTAB HALWAI near the Mosque of Muhammed Salih Kanbo, people were discussing the war that was going on. President Ayub Khan’s speech had roused the sentiments of the people and they were talking about it. Then one person out of the blue said that there was a possiblity that Lahore may fall, and then all the citizens may be taken prisoner. Qamar-ud-din became so sad, when he realized that he would never be able to wear his brand new Dhoti and it was of no use to him at all. He hurried back to the bazaar and sold the dhoti at a much lesser price than its cost. Then he hurried to Mahtab Halwai and bought barfi (sweet-meat specialty) for himself for the amount and sat down to eat and relish every piece of it. Somebody asked him what he had done and why he did that? His reply was simple and pragmatic. He said, “The Dhoti I may never end up using, being dead before that, or even a prisoner. But here is something I am relishing, right now, and nobody can take this pleasure from me.”
Lahore is composed of many kinds of people. The melting pot of many cultures and many different characters. Here is the one aspect of the Pakistani spirit which has not been seen, or written before, by anyone else.
ART GIMMICKRY IN PAKISTAN
NEW HEIGHTS IN POLITICAL ISLAMO-BASHING
Success at all costs
We love Pakistan. When Pakistani artists do good out side their country, we love them too. Success for artists is success for Pakistan. All patriotic Pakistani should be cheering those people who bring a good name to their country. Period. Good name!
The cult of Malala Yusufzai has taken another turn. Our dear friend Jalees Hazir wrote an excellent article on her. Well done, Jalees! Who on Earth could criticize dear Malala, but sooner, than later, we realized words coming out of her mouth, were not her own. She was being told to say things which are sweet not to her own country, but to other countries. An innocent child victim of the ambitions of her father and the people who surrounded her to bash her country. Look at the quantity and quality of the education received by females in Pakistan. Nothing but the best. The highest in the world. And instead of a peripheral small group (not knowing whom), the Pakistani nation is being picked up as an aggressor to her. Is the criteria for leadership being a victim of aggression?
A group of artists are doing the same. For promotion of their names, their favourite subjects are Pakistani as swell as Islamic bashing. This is political art gimmickry taken to new heights, as never experienced in Pakistan before. We have nothing against art nor any allergy to its contents. But Art means praise for Art itself, its craft, its style as well as its aesthetics. Political messages are not Art related, even when they become part of it. No one likes the Mullahs, but in disguise of Mullah bashing, starting to bash Islam itself, is not fair, for people who believe in FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION . After all freedom is for both sides, the sending side and the receiving side.
We wish Pakistani artists all the best. Live and prosper. But be concerned about your Identity. You are being patronized because you are PAKISTANIS. If you were not, no one would even look at you, lest your art. And the other side of the picture is clear too. Who is financing these Mullahs themselves? Not us, of course. The circle of deceit is miles long.
MASJID BHAGWAN DASS
A HINDU JAMIA MASJID FOR THE MUSLIMS
STORY OF EMPEROR AKBAR’S LAHORE
Raja Bhagwan Dass (Raja Bhagwant Dass) was son of Raja Bihari Mal Kuchowa. He was a courtier in the darbar of Emperor Akbar. Raja Bihari Mal was the first Hindu Rajput to join Akbar’s cabinet and was the first to give the hand of his daughter to Akbar himself. That daughters name was Maryiam Zamani. In a similar way Raja Bagwan Dass also married his daughter to Prince Saleem in 993 AH in Lahore. The wedding took place with great pomp. Sultan Khusrow was born from this lady. When Khusrow rebelled, the lady was very ashamed of the behaviour of her son, and sided with her husband in the consequences. Raja Bhagwan Dass died in Lahore in 998 AH. When Raja Todar Mal died, Raja Bhagwan Dass was there at his cremation ceremony in Lahore.
RAJA BHAGWAN DASS MADE A SPLENDID JAMIA MASJID FOR THER RESIDENTS OF LAHORE AND IT WAS KNOWN AS MASJID BHAGWAN DASS. Historians have recorded this incident. This Jamia masjid no longer exists but it is speculated that as Todar Mal lived near on Grand Turk road near Lahore Mint, Bhagwan Dass must have lived near by. Historian feel that this mosque would have been situated in and around DHARAMPURA, an area inhabited by Akbar and given the same name by him.The area still exists today without anyone knowing about the Masjid Bhagwan Dass.
In any case the Masjid of Maryiam Zamani is still there in Lahore with all its glory. It is speculated that the Masjid of Bhagwan Dass must have in many ways looked like the mosque of his sister, mainly the Queen of Emperor Akbar, and mother of Emperor Jahangeer.
A BIZARRE TALE OF DATA DARBAR
MURDER IN THE COMPOUND
Mutavallis on rampage
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.