BENJAMIN H OEHLERT
US AMBASSADOR AND ART COLLECTOR
Art in the Embassy programme
I was sitting in the American Ambassador’s house in Islamabad, and the Lady Ambassador brought a can of real fresh Coca-cola. No cans were there in the market then. It was a new experience, and brought by the President of the Coca-cola company of the world, honourably appointed as an American Ambassador to Pakistan. The Oehlerts were fond of Art and collected same from all over the world. They lived in Everglades Club, Florida, USA.
At the inauguration ceremony of AMAL-E-CHUGHTAI in 1968, done by President Ayub Khan, at Alhamra Lahore, the American Ambassador had come from Islamabad to be part of same. Oehlert initiated the ART IN THE EMBASSY PROGRAMME in Islamabad, and put paintings of Pakistani Artists in the embassy itself. All this was being done to win the heart and souls of Pakistanis.
The Oehlerts kept in touch with us even after retirement, and in 1975, after the death of the artist M A Rahman Chughtai, became Honorary Adviser to our Academy of Arts, later which turned into CHUGHTAI MUSEUM. The tradition of Americans in love with Chughtai Art was very long. Many American Presidents had Chughtai Art in their collection and archives. The US Department building itself has four Art works of M A Rahman Chughtai. The Kennedy Memorial in Boston has one painting. There are many others in American archives. The Art of M.A. Rahman brought peace and good will between the two countries all the time.
The stereotype has always been there. A person betrays his country, and instead of being rewarded is finally shot dead. The Angrez Sahib retorts, TUM APNI KOM KA NAI, HAMARI KOM KA KESAY BANO GAY”. Somehow this gets stuck in our psyche as being nothing else but the truth. So when a Brown Sahib starts ridiculing our faith in ourselves as ‘MAGNIFICENT DELUSIONS’, then we have to ask about the MEAGER ILLUSIONS of others.
All unsuccessful people afraid of losing their steps n the ladder of success, end up bartering themselves, not for the greater goodness of their country, or even for the world, but petty personal gains, of the most ordinary kind. An American once wrote that ‘Pakistanis would sell their mothers’ if required., We know that no Pakistani on Earth can even think that, but yes, Brown Sahibs can, they will sell anything to move forward in their perceived notions of success. A three piece suit would do, a late night sex rendezvous with a MAIM would do too. A bloated lecture on an audience, which must be laughing their hearts out at the arrogance of the imbecile in trying to convince them of his intellectual prowess. Sitting in a long limousine, and being refused entrance to the White House can be accepted too. That has happened in the past, yes, surely! The Quran says a darkness comes in front of the eyes of certain people and they are blinded from reality.
As a young child, we grew up with Americans coming to our house all the time. Friendly Americans, and we loved them. Yes, we stood by them all the time. They talked sense and sensibility, and we related to that. American diplomats frequented the house, both at Ambassador level, as well as other levels. I myself entertained seven full American Ambassadors. We had no problems with them.
One fine day Stephen Cohen was at our door steps in a large limousine car, which had all the trade mark of being American. I dispensed with other businesses to hear this modern intellectual of the United States, a leading think tank of his time. Cohen had a list of 100 people, and my name was in it. He told me that President George Bush had asked him to make a Foreign Policy matter for Pakistan, and before that he had to get an opinion of these 100 people. I asked him., ‘Why me, of all matters?’ He said he did not make the list. The list was given to him in Washington DC itself. No harm done.
Stephen Cohen knew more about myself and my doings than I would have thought. There was homework behind him. He asked him if he could do anything for me. I knew that such a question is always a trap and my retort was simple ‘THINK GOOD OF PAKISTAN, THAT IS ALL I ASK’. He was very perplexed and said that all the people he had visited were asking for some sort of favours, like Visas and concessions and other things. Why had I no such ambition to better my life? I could only smile, and he very well understood. I loved Pakistan, and I am proud to be a Pakistani.
We believe in PEACE. We want PEACE. We will strive for PEACE. We have nothing against anybody on Planet Earth. Let us live and let live. But do not try to grind us under your feet. No one likes that. We love FREEDOM. We want FREEDOM. We assert our SELF RESPECT. Give it to us. Do not let Brown Sahibs paint a MEAGER ILLUSION of us. There is nothing meager about us. We are the proud descendants of a magnificent civilization and culture. We are the proud embodiment of the reconstruction of religious thought in Islam. With ijjtehad, we are moving our civilization forward in time. Nothing can stop us.
WHERE IS ALI HUJWERI BURIED?
A SEARCH FOR DATA DARBAR
Concealed facts about Lahore
The ride to our school was in a Lahori Tonga, and the tonga-wala Barkat used to drive it. There was a group of students all headed for Saint Anthony’s School and Cathedral Sacred Heart School, Lahore. Shahbaz Shareef was in Cathedral Sacred Heart and Nawaz Shareef was in Saint Anthonys. The eldest of our lot included two brothers Sultan and Khaleel. And it was a carriage full of students of all ages. Sultan and Khaleel were discussing a news that had come in the national newspaper then. Animal remains had been discovered in the grave of Ali Hujweri, known as Data Darbar. And scholars were talking about it. And the ultimate reference came to the Safinat-ul-Aulia, a manuscript book of Prince Dara Shikoh, in which he writes about many Saints, and in reference to Ali Hujweri, he says that Ali Hujweri is buried in the corner of the Lahore Fort, and he contributed a brand new sarcophagus to the Saint’s grave, made of chaste marble and exquisite workmanship. Then from where has come the present burial location of the Saint?
What do we get from history? Of the many books written by Ali Hujweri, only one has come down to us. In this book Ali Hujweri himself tells us that he was brought in Lahore in chains, under the instructions of Sultan Masood Ghaznavi, and he was a prisoner here. This is not second hand information, this is a statement of Ali Hujweri himself. For many centuries we find no reference to Ali Hujweri. It is Dara Shikoh who spotlighted many of the Saints of Lahore, and re-kindled interest in Ali Hujweri himself. Then we have the writings of Nur Ahmad Chisti and Ghulam Sarwar Lahori. Nur Ahmad Chisti speaks of the two festivals at the Mazar of Ali Hujweri, all celebrated in Lahore. But does not specify the location. Interestingly he says that the Mazar is near the Takia of Qutub Shah, and that all sort of dancing girls and prostitutes assemble here for the festivity, and there are Mujras of the Dancing girls of Lahore there.
It is Muhammed Lateef in his ‘History of Lahore’ who specifies the present location of the Mazar in 1896. We do not have any specifics before that, although we are told that there was hardly anything there. The new domed mausoleum over Data Darbar was constructed in 1861 by Nur Muhanmmed Sadoo and the inscription to the same is still there. A mosque was built in 1878 on older models of architecture and it is not known who built it, although claims are made by the grandson of philanthropist Rasool Baksh Tarrar, that he attached this mosque to the mausoleum. . To search for truth is a must and we know that few are bothered about it.
My cousin Ejaz Sarwar is a brave person. I am not that reckless. He can jump in the deepest well, without even thinking how he will get out of it. We are world apart in our thoughts, but have things in common. I asked him to search the Fort for clues. With a journalist card from ‘Jhang’ group it was easy for him to do many things. First he had to gain access to the storey below the present storey level of the Lahore Fort, and then he had to use a ladder to get down a deserted well of the past. In the middle of the well and obviously pitch dark, there was a ventilator, and he had to slip the ladder to the other side of the well, to get even more down the same storey. Then through a window, into other rooms, he came across the hidden grave of a Saint there. I got invitation from him again and again to traverse the journey with him, but I politely declined. He took a lot of photographs and showed them to me too. My research was not limited to foolhardiness, in the dark nooks and corners of a forgotten time. But everything pointed out to the correctness of the grave. A thousand years is equal to about thirty feet of Lahore, as assessed by us in more places than one. We have found relics of the Ghaznavid period at thirty feet below Lahore. The thirty feet is also very evident in the Lahore Fort. The Saint buried in the Lahore Fort is no less than a 1000 years old.
Of course we are not the official research wing of anybody. We do things for we love Lahore, and that is our only reason. But the question we kept on asking to ourselves. How can the grave of Ali Hujweri move from the Lahore Fort to the present site? The answer was obvious. The grave was frequented by thousands of followers of the ICON OF PUNJAB, and posed a serious threat to the security of the British troops stationed here in Lahore. How could British allow unfettered access to the grave to hordes of people? Yes the coffin could have been transported, but they would not risk that. That kind of thing was done with SAINT BILAWAL. When floods threatened his mazar, the grave was dug and his remains transferred to a new site, and that is on everybody’s record. Even Muhammed Lateef has a story about it. The same happened with the Mazar of Shah Sharaf. Around 1839, this Mazar was also brought down, and the coffin was removed from the grave and transported to another area of Lahore, Dulla wari, where it is still there in existence. So they promoted a new site and the people caught up with it. And the Mazar of Ali Hujweri came into a new site. Wrong! Perhaps. Right! Perhaps. Our job is not to prove or even disprove things. Our job is to research. The conclusions are there for anyone who wants them. It may be interesting for people to know that in the 1950s, all text books of Punjab, mentioned the burial site of Ali Hujweri in the Lahore Fort. Now that is proof for everyone.
The Mazar of Ali Hujwerei has been dug many times. When the new complex was being built, it was dug down many feet, probably even 40 feet or more. We passed it every day and were sure things would be found there. But nothing of that sort happened. There were no residues there, no pottery, no old skeletons, nothing at all. In fact near Bhatti gate, in a digging for Siemens drainage project, a host of skeletons were discovered, buried together from olden times. This was just outside the city wall. A result of either disease or dead soldiers buried together. The residents got all kind of creeps there due to them. In fact the nearby Mazar of Masoom (Bholay) Shah is indeed very below the surface of the road, and is probably even older than the same period. But the Mazar of Data Darbar did not have remains of olden times. In fact the burial place should have been 30 feet down. It was not. It was near the surface. People can obviously do research on same to discover the truth. Who knows? The truth is not self evident.
It is unfortunate that Kite-flying in Lahore was also related to the richness and poverty level of people. As very very poor children wanted to indulge in kite flying and did not have the money to buy anything, they had to find ways to get hold of kites. One way was easy, grab hold of a long TANGA (a slim bamboo stick or danda) and put a portion of thorny bush (TEENGRI) on it, and chase after cut kites in the city. This was where the first problems used to occur as obsessed with capturing kites, children used to fall prey to traffic hazards on the busy streets of Lahore. The proverbial KATI PATANG moved the Lahori boys to heightened testosterone levels of risk taking on the streets. But that was not enough.
The next way out was to CHAMOOR a cut kite. This involved flying a smaller kite and keeping it in the air. When the cut kite got near, the smaller kite would be wound with sophistication on the string of the cut kite, and both kites brought down into the hands of the most excited boy of all times. The Victor of a cut kite. Fancy techniques were involved to do this. A very simple technique for people who knew no technqiue was to put few match sticks in the first few feet of the string. With knots tied on say twenty match sticks, the snaring of the cut kite was easier. That is all that was done.
Then one day shops started selling thick heavy TANDI (a thick thread which refused to get broken) and a warped steel wire of say 10 feet in length. There were about twenty twisted wire knots in it. It was very difficult for anyone to do this himself. So there was someone who had injected the TANDI and the STEEL WIRE . These were not available merely at sophisticated KITE SHOPS. Those were sold at small general merchant stores all over the city. Buying groceries, you could buy this COMMANDO TACKLE for a little amount of money. The result the TANDI got in way of people, but the STEEL WIRES started falling on ELECTRICITY LINES. There used to be a big boom, as the electricity in Lahore tripped again and again. Somebody with a twisted piece of mind had laid the first COMMANDO SABOTAGE of kite flying in Lahore.
Was this the ingenuity of the local people? As the client addressed was a highly uneducated and poor person, this got on a big way. Nobody told the poor child the consequences of such a drastic action. And frankly he hated the rich person so much, he would not care for anyone. The first accidents happened with this commando tackle. It is for us to see who gained by injecting this ruthless and dangerous equipment in the city of Lahore. That is why we call it a RAW deal.
P.S. We are not done with this topic. There is plenty more.
PATANGS FROM MALAYSIA
INSPIRATIONS OF THE LAHORI PATANG
Tracing sources of kite flying for first time
There are many traditions of Kite flying in the world. No culture has shape of the Lahori kite. The only traceable influence is of Patanga from Malaysia. There is a load of knowledge about them and we have to see how the influence came to be. Let us first see a Malaysian patang and discover the reasons for same.
by Bert M
The Wau bulan kite is a typical Malaysian kite. The one layer of paper sail is richly decorated with colourful patterns of flowers and leaves. The patterns are meticulously cut from rice-paper and glued on piece by piece. The framework is made from split bamboo that was soaked in mud for two weeks ( to make it ore flexible and to prevent attacks of weevil). The normally attached hummer give a constant noise
The Wau is also one of the Malaysia’s national symbols; We noticed it on the Logo of the Malaysia Airlines, on the one ringgit banknote and on the reverse side of the fifty-cent coin and at the central market of KL.
We see that there is resemblance but there are differences too. The differences are not that many but are related to the type of winds in Malaysia and the type of winds in Lahore. The Lahori patang is an evolution of the patangs from Malaysia. The Lahori patang is not made of RICE PAPER, but of GUDDI KAGHAZ and that is why its shape can be different and in all ways, it can go so far away, as to touch the skies themselves. Most Kites of the world have a limited span of flying distance, but not the ones from Lahore. We have seen them recede into the skies all the time, at times even clouded by the clouds themselves. Here we have to seek references for same.
There is a reference in a travelogue of a Britisher in Lahore, in which he tells us about the celebrations of Basant by Ranjit Singh. With this he adds an interesting thing. He saw the ridiculous way the young boys ran after the CUT KITES in the sky, with DANGS (long bamboo sticks) in their hand. A practice which was seen to the day that RAW started the campaign against Kite flying in Lahore, and ruthlessly brought it down, with use of their own agents in the bureaucracy of Pakistan. More on that later.
Nur Ahmad Chisti was a prolific writer of Lahore, and in an unpublished manuscript (which Imtiaz Ali Taj Sahib later saw it in print), he narrates BASANT IN LAHORE around 1850s AD. The most interesting thing in his writings is that although he talks of so many details about the festivity of Basant in Lahore, in no way he relates it to the ACT OF KITE FLYING at all. At some other place we will write about the details of Basant in Lahore, but it was more of wearing Yellow clothes. Chisti says that Basant happens in Lahore like in India on the 3rd of Jamad ul Sani, and the festival is of many days. The routine is presence of people at Mazars of Saints and graves of their loved ones. In Lahore Basant was celebrated at the Mazar of Madho Lall Hussain, and both Hindus and Muslims used to celebrate Basant there, as Madho and Lall Hussain were two lovers of medieval times and that is a separate story in itself. Chisti talks of the prejudice of the Hindus who shifted their Basant festivities to the Samadh of Haqeeqat Rai and left the Muslims in lurch. The Muslims started assembling at the Sarai of Muhammed Sultan Tekaydar. Mind you, no reference of kite flying at all. And there is the first sign that Muslims not knowing how to celebrate Basant, mixed it with kite flying and started a new trend in Lahore.
Chisti tells us of this SPECIAL GROUP OF KITE MAKERS ANDFLYERS in a separate note and does not relate it to Basant. He says this group of people make and sell kites in Winter, and in Summer, they make bamboo cages and trap and sell SURAQS that is Red Robins of Lahore, who actually migrate here from Russian areas to this day. Suraqs and choomonas (bird rearing) is another passion of Lahore, and Suraq fighting is there to this day as an entertainment. An impossible task to train the little red bird to fight with another red bird, often to death itself. There is every possibility that this group of people had migrated to Lahore from other areas, and may have been gypsies of some order. The link of this gypsy group may be linked to Malaysia itself. But that is a separate research experience. All this analysis is being DONE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY.
The involvement of people in kite flying is of two different kind. One is being a spectator and the other is a participator in same. Once upon a time everyone was involved in it and participated in one way or the other. Then it became a spectator’s thing.
Most people speak of kite flying in Lahore with little knowledge of same. Some put it at being centuries old, others think of it as a recent start. The truth is that the beginning of kite flying in Lahore is not recorded anywhere. You have to pick up bits and pieces from here and there. And then we start getting a picture of same.
I flew kites all my life. My father flew kites. My grandfather flew kites. And his father before him. But then beyond that nothing is known, for there it all comes in the British period. To go back to its history, we need to analyze first the ingredients needed for kite-flying. We hear the need of bamboo for the ‘shateers’. And we are told that the special kind of bendable bamboos came from Burma itself. Then we needed a special kind of light tissue paper that is called ‘guddi kaghaz’ here. Only two countries made them, and that was England and Germany. The paper for kite flying was made in these two countries. That means these two things arrived here with the British in 1849 AD, when they formally took over control of Lahore.
Then for the ‘Dore’ we needed strong but thin string, and that coated thread was never made here. Uncoated thread was of no use for kite-flying. The coated thread was again made by J & P Coats (English firm known as sangal marka) and Goeringer (German firm known as hearn marka). Both were not only excellent, but also affordable. Later on we also had string from the English firm, Oxley. Then we needed fine glass, not the kacha sheesha made here. Imported bottles particularly of empty alcohol ones were used. And then we needed a process to make it into powder glass. To roll it into MANJA, or string ready for kite-flying, it needed a mixture mechanism. To make it soft and pliable to hands (so that they are not cut), eagle’s eggs were put in the mix. The resultant ‘dore’ was so good, that even fingers were not cut by them. I have seen all this being done. I have seen the ‘dore’ being made, kites being made, and the ‘PINAS’ being wound in a round ball, very tightly rounded on it. Inside the PINAS, some ‘rehatas’ (pebbles) were put in the inner shell of coco-nut, so that when the pina was used, you could hear a jingle from within it. Now who else could have told you all these details today?
The Kites have to be differentiated too. First the simple kites, with a small frilled tail it became a female and was called a ‘Guddi’, and with a ‘Paan’ which was a huge triangle bottom pasted on the kite itself, it became male in character, and was called a ‘Gudda’. Now remember the term, Guddi and Gudda refer to a female and male doll and the language is pure Punjabi. We are not talking here about the design of same and the various styles of it.
The other type is a ‘PATANG’ and an elongated patang called a ‘KUP’. The shape of the Patang is of Lahore only. We have seen variation of this shape in Chinese kites, and more shape related things in Malaysian ones. There seems to be a direct connection of Malaysian kites with kites of Lahore. This certainly needs analysis, as the word itself is of different origin.
We see miniatures of kites roughly dating to the last period of 18th century, and mostly in the 19th century. But there is coolness and calmness around its flying. A couple are making love, embracing and also flying a kite in the air. And it is a cloth kite, there is no paper involved, and there is no concept of ‘PECHA’ there. A pecha of course is when two kites tangle with each other, resulting in the cutting of the string of one, and then the victor shouts the words ‘Bo-Kata’, and blows trumpet horns of olden times.
This fun loving event, source of happiness for the poor and the rich, and under a planned campaign, and active action, this event was taken over from the Lahoris. Indeed it was a RAW deal. This event had generated so much interest in the world, and it proved that Muslims were as fun loving people as any other, and it got so much media hype, that it scared the shit out of those lobbies in India, who would never like anything positive going on in the world press. This topic needs more space than available in one blog, and we will write more about it.
P.S. We will cover the historical references for kite-flying soon.
A round about in a rickshaw around the city of Lahore is still good even with all the dust and the smoke. Here and there you come across advertisements related to curing impotence in man. A plethora of video advertisements on the cable come again and again of Hakeems promising eternal youth to everyone. German and Greek remedies abound everywhere. Recipes concerning fish aphrodisiacs are a mile a dozen. Is this a new phenomena, man obsessed with his virility? Certainly not. A peek at old newspapers say the same story. I took out a copy of the Lahore Chronicle an English daily which used to come out of Lahore in the 1850s, and even that was full of cures for sexual dysfunction. Making ‘SANDO’ of ordinary men. Sando of course was a heavy weight wrestler and body builder of the 19th century.
Why stop here? Why not take another peek at the back. Sultan Masood Ghaznavi was having a new castle made, and to enhance his libido, he decided to have his bedroom painted with pictures from some unknown Sex Manual of Lahore. The historian Baihqai tells us of this sex room of the Sultan in the 11th century, probably around 1040 AD. But Masood’s obsession was short lived, as Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi was still alive then. Fearing reprisal from his puritan father, he had the room white washed even before he could be reprimanded for same. We have a re-occurring illustrated manual of LAZAT-UL-NISA circulating all the time in Lahore. This manual was there in the Sultanate period as well as the Mughals and later on too. It seems that there was a dog fight between the Perfumed Garden of Sheikh Nefzawi and the Kama Sutra of Vatsyana.
The word VATSYANA is even used today. Punjabis referring to another person say, ‘BARA VATSYANA HAIN’. That means you are full of wisdom, aren’t you. Not realizing that the author penned the Sex Manual of India thousands of years ago and named it Kama Sutra. The Hindu religion records different ways of approaching the worship of Bhagwan (god). and Sex is one of them. But the many ways recorded by him of sexual nature, are allergic to the Islamic way of life. What could better prove the validity of the Two Nation theory, than the Sex Manuals of both culture? Our culture was more indebted to the Perfumed Garden of Sheikh Nefzawi, more in line with Muslim traditions and dreams. For instance Vatsyana considers it legal and morally correct for all male Brahmans to have sex with wives and women of other classes of men (all three lower classes) , but considers it illegal and immoral for lower caste men to have any kind of sex relation with the upper class of women. Vatsyana also recomends the use of shields made of gold for impotent men, even if they injure their mates to death. So the difference was there all the time.
The hand made Sex manuals abounded in Lahore, and some used to be made in the hujras of the Wazeer Khan mosque itself. I have seen copies of such manuals with Provence stating them to have been made in the mosque itself. And then the printing age came in. And from ‘Lazat ul Nisa’, the manuals became ‘Shadi ke hiyadatain’. You see these copies printed on cheap newspaper circulating in Urdu Bazaar and Anarkali bazaar to this day. It seems man is obsessed with his Sexual dysfunction and has to find ways and means out of same. The American revolution came to Pakistan with Viagra and Cialis, and has resulted in unknown death of many people.. This is particularly true with the use of the Indian Viagra which is considered to be cheap in price. All societies have issues, and all societies try to resolve them in their own particular way.
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.