ISMAELIS IN PUNJAB – VIOLENT CONFRONTATIONS

ISMAELIS IN PUNJAB
VIOLENT CONFRONTATIONS

Sultan Mahmud and Multan

Title: Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi
Title: Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi

The Ismaelis had come to the region very early in Islamic history. We find relics of Ismaeli civilization in Bhadreswar, the oldest settlement of Muslims in the region. Old Hindu records speak of a stranded Arab ship which came here and resulted in a Muslim settlement. A detailed analysis of the area has been made and pillars speak of a time gone by. The advent of Islam through Sind was brought by Muhammed bin Qasim and he reached Multan itself. But later we find the Arab rule overturned and Ismaelis ruling both Sind and Multan.

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi had a row with three generations of Ismaeli rulers of Multan. First was Hamid, then Nasr, then Daud bin Nasr there.  Daud bin Nasr, Ruler of Multan, rebelled against the Caliph of Islam and Sultan Mahmud was going there to teach him as lesson. Raja Anangapal of Lahore interceded on behalf of Daud bin Nasr Ruler of Multan and attacked the convoy of Sultan Mahmud. This greatly infuriated the Sultan when he saw the Hindu Raja hand in hand with the Ismaeli ruler. Sultan Mahmud eventually sacked Multan, and Daud bin Nasr  the Ruler of Multan fled for the mountains. Nothing else is known what happened to him. Of course some chronicles records of him being taken prisoner to Ghazni, but it seems that perhaps was not the case. We find Sultan Mahmud heading towards Bhadreswar on his way back from Somnath. The Sultan sacked Bhadreswar too.

Shrine of Ibrahimn Bhadreswar  1159
Shrine of Ibrahimn Bhadreswar 1159

A detailed study of Bhadreswar was made by archaeologists and they discovered the tomb of Ibrahim there and he turns out to be related to Daud bin Nasr, ruler of Multan.  The circle had gone full swing. Sultan Mahmud had sacked Sind too and upturned the Ismaelis rule there. It seems that the Jain, Hindu and Muslims (Ismaelis) were all well trenched in Bhadreswar.We quote a scholar of an inscription there:

“The identity of this personage is not known. The only well known figure who might be our Ibrahim is Ibrahim ibn al-Hussain al-Hamidi, who became ‘dai mutlaq’ of the Yemen and its neighbourhood, as well as in India and Sind in the year 536/1141, with his headquarters in Sana. As far as the name Abul Futuh is concerned, we know that at the time of Mahmud’s invasion of Multan in 401/ 1010 the Ismaeli ‘dai’ was Abdul Futuh Dawud ibn Nasr, who was taken prisoner and died in Ghazna.

Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud
Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud

“The interesting part is that both Ibrahim and Abdul Futuh are related to the Ismaeli sect as is mentioned in the historical background a mosque was built for the SHIMALI, which is suggested by Buhler to mean the Ismaeli community. The only reference n our inscription which might confirm the Ismaeli connection with the building is the phrase ‘May God bless the Prophet Muhammed and his family’, The word ALIHI reflects the Ismaeli in Bhadreswar.”

All this was before even the term of Assassins was ever related to the Ismaelis. Today the community is a pillar of respect in the world and concerned about spreading art and culture all over the world. Well done indeed!

Perhaps tomb of Dawud ibn Nasr Multani Bhadreswar
Perhaps tomb of Dawud ibn Nasr Multani Bhadreswar

A SULTANATE LAMP OF LAHORE – FILLING GAPS OF RESEARCH

A SULTANATE LAMP OF LAHORE
FILLING GAPS OF RESEARCH

Missed opportunities

Sultanate period lamp Lahore
Sultanate period lamp Lahore

It is a fascinating study to note the changes and development of shapes as a thing moves from one region to another. Obviously there is a harmony in Islamic Art everywhere, but the regional changes are always there. The Taj Mahal is based on prototypes in Herat and Samarkhand but in Agra at the hands of a Lahori architect, it developed a shape all its own. A butterfly defecates the individual flowers of the area. A honey-bee produces honey which is related in taste to that area alone.

Sultanate lamp of Lahore

Why lower placed domes become bulbous domes in another area is worthy of study? Of course the Euclid principles were there and designs based on geometrical equations were natural to those people. Some critics openly state that artists and architects are inspired by the aesthetics of womanhood, and as regional area houses women with larger bosoms, so did the heavy bosom had an effect on the shape of architecture too. A study of the Sultanate lamp of Lahore shows the same bulbous shape which characterizes this area. Although the naqashi on it as well as Fake Kufic script is still there, the over all shape is different to this area. But there is no doubt that it is an Islamic lamp with Islamic aesthetics woven in it.

Islamic lamp
Islamic lamp

 

Cultures do not clash, they actually intermix and form adaptations in the results. The architecture of the Hindu temples started using domes,  arches and gateways and naqashi designs of the Islamic buildings. The Sikh Gurdawaras are all Islamic in nature. Even the Samadh of Ranjit Singh is an Islamic design. The Golden Temple is an Islamic design, and many Muslim Architects are known by name, who worked on it. Even after the demise of the Sikh Maharaja, the people working on it were Muslims. Sikh testimonials record for instance the working of a few Muslim mimars of Amritsar (all real brothers), including Elahi Baksh Mimar.So the new culture is a welcome sign to aesthetics.

BronzeOilLamp147

Dr Tara Chand wrote a thesis on Islamic contribution to Hindu Culture. Nowadays no one dares to even use this nomenclature as their topic.  A study of local culture even today shows the shortcomings of its environments. When a new stimulus is given to jaded ideas and thoughts, a new flower is sprung into existence. Natural Selection of Charles Darwin is replaced by Cultural Selection of modern man. The Buddhists from Central Asia enriched this area. The Mongols did the same. And the Turks brought new life into the region. Whatever the political reasons for debunking this contribution, it has stood the test of time and it cannot be in any way denied by any one. M.A. Rahman Chughtai once said that if a survey is taken of the reason of the abundance of tourists to this region, we find that the Mughal monuments are one of the biggest attraction which make them come here. The Taj Mahal  heads such a list of want to see monuments. So do not in any way undermine the contribution of Islamic Civilization to this region.

GOVERNMENT CAN DELIVER NOTHING ——– “LICK MY BOOTS” ONLY

GOVERNMENT CAN DELIVER NOTHING
“LICK MY BOOTS” ONLY

Arrogance in doing nothing

keep-calm-and-lick-my-bootsLick my boots

The romance of Democracy helping people achieve their known potential is gone. Not only ours, but even the best democratic setups have miserably failed to deliver anything to the people. And the officials have no regret. The attitude remains arrogant and relies on LICK MY BOOTS philosophy of disdain of the common man. The hope that a better setup would come remains false as ever. And not only our own dreams which are gone, these people have taken the dreams from our children too. The new slavery of democracy is phenomenal.

Slaves
Slaves

The contributions of an intellectual to a country is different from the contributions of a dullard of society. Egalitarian societies obviously cater to all citizens. But do they? The French aristocracy had no inkling of what was going on in the minds and hearts of the people. Then the bubble burst, and they could take it  longer. The lessons of the French revolution are there in front of us. Marie Antoinette could casually remark that why are the people grumbling about the lack of availability of bread, she had seen plenty of cakes in the bakery herself. That is becoming remote from the people totally.

Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette
French Revolution
French Revolution

Hazrat Umar (blessings of Allah be upon him) could create the perfect society in Arabia. It was this Caliph who uttered the immortal saying that even if a dog went hungry in his kingdom, what face he would show to Almighty Allah? In short he was responsible for the hunger of a dog too.

Hungry dogSo go on making people suffer and ask them to lick your boots. Their boots are going to be in your bottom very soon!

PASSIONS OF A NATION – REFLECTION OF LOVE SONGS

PASSIONS OF A NATION
REFLECTION OF LOVE SONGS

Love durations

Title: Engagement Rings
Title: Engagement Rings (Click to Zoom)

A nation is best understood by its love songs. Romance has been sung from centuries, and the permanence of love held sacred by most societies. Romantic tales of Punjab speak of romantic love between individuals for which one reason or the other, could not normally maintain a relation. The most poignant songs are of course where there is a tragedy of relation. That is why Romeo and Juliet are icons of a tragic love affair. But all that changed with industrialization as a new barbaric age was ushered in again. Gone were the woo songs of the past, and gone was the effort for romantic love. A new horrible term came in vogue and that was a ‘One Night Stand’. It seems that even  has been replaced by the concept of perhaps ‘One Hour stand’, or a quickie in modern times.

Title: Hands of Mahiwal
Title: Hands of Mahiwal (Click to Zoom)

The difference between human beings and beasts is defined by permanence. Beasts mate at fixed given times and have no memories of their beloved ones. Not even the family is remembered after a lapse of time. It is only human beings that are capable of long term relations, and when you cut that short , you are nothing short of a predator in the romantic jungle of sexual relations. Alas and woe to man for belittling the highest passions of life into meaningless relations. A saying goes that the other man’s wife always seems more attractive. You walk in a pub, in any Western city, and you see the conflict of waning youthful appearances, looming large on the psyche of both men and women. Fighting against the rebellion of their own minds and bodies., A hundred percent attractive mate seems nothing the next day after the so called conquest.

Title: Romance of the Punjab (Click to Zoom)
Title: Romance of the Punjab (Click to Zoom)

A wise saying goes in the East that Love ends with marriage in the West, in the East Love starts with marriage. The evapouration of the concept of halal and haram has gone out of society and even the children that were once termed as illegitimate or no longer thought in same terms. A fancy term of One parent child has evolved in the Western world, much to the aghast of all those who hold family sacred in life.  A group of European women ended up in an argument with me. They said we can do with out family, there is no going back to those concepts. And I said what about men? You have left them too. They said we cannot live without love. Men are essential for us.

Like a bolt and nut, men are important to women, and women important to men. But in a relation which in a second does not change. It has the permanence of life behind itself.

Title: Heer Ranjha (Click to Zoom)
Title: Heer Ranjha (Click to Zoom)

COCK FIGHTING IN LAHORE – NOT SO NICE WAY OF DOING THINGS

COCK FIGHTING IN LAHORE
NOT SO NICE WAY OF DOING THINGS

Enjoyed by certain groups but not everybody

Cock fighting in Lahore
Cock fighting in Lahore

A roof top inside Mochi Darwaza Lahore and a mixture of things. Some plants, pigeons, working tools, toilet, and a cage. The cage held what can be termed as a ferocious animal. A simple MURGHA or KUKAR in our terms, in plain language a COCK surrounding by hens. And what a cock? The animal had no fear. We were afraid of him as one can be afraid of anybody wild. Just seeing us, he would dig his claws on the bricks, and flung himself at us. His beak so dangerous, that it could take a piece of our flesh out any time. It was rumoured to have injured many, and yet the owner, a friend of mine, was very happy with it. My friend would play with it like a pet dog. And when the Cock died, my friend mourned for him for days, and even today, he would recall the bravery of his Cock-a-doodle do.

Actual cock fight
Actual cock fight

Where did Cock fighting start? China probably and it is there in many areas of the East. But the West was not immune from it. We hear of Cock fighting in many cities of the West too. It was obvious that the Mughals would bring cock fighting to Lahore too.

Cock fighting in Afghanistan
Cock fighting in Afghanistan

The growth of animals, their training, their planned fights and then the actual gambling on same, revokes some past civilizations. And more often than usual the horrible injuries of the loser, even resulting in death, was a shame for mankind. But human beings as they are, can indulge in anything, for a perceived high, which all societies need at one time or the other.

Fighting-Cock by M A Rahman Chughtai
Fighting-Cock by M A Rahman Chughtai

Other fights were arranged. Dog fighting never caught on here. But Robin fighting did and one cannot imagine  how a small red bird can be made to fight another such bird, often to death itself. Naturally man is the beast here in this matter. But as far as wrestling was concerned, the wrestling traditions in Lahore, speak of fighting matches, where fights used to be held in mud and no injury ever took place. But that is a different story.

Cock fighting 1910 matchbox
Cock fighting 1910 matchbox

SACRED ARE RELIGIOUS PLACES – NO ONE HAS RIGHT TO DESTROY THEM!

SACRED ARE RELIGIOUS PLACES
NO ONE HAS RIGHT TO DESTROY THEM

The accusations against Aurangzeb Alamgeer

Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb

The image of Aurangzeb Alamgeer is perhaps the most misrepresented imagery of any Emperor in history. The story of Aurangzeb is upturned in all ways and shows that this mud slinging is not by mistake, but a deliberate act of vengeance against him. This is not the thesis of our book to pick it up in detail, but for political truth, the writing of Shibli Nomani is best. Even that has been corrupted in various editions by vested interests. As Sheikh Atta ullah tells us in the third centenary volume of Aurangzeb’s rule:

“Speaking at the occasion Maulana Ilmuddin Salik said that Aurangzeb was vilified by Hindu historians for no other reason except that he was a true Muslim. Britishers portrayed him as a whimsical tyrant ruling ruthlessly over a vanquished host of Hindu population to add fuel to the fire of Hindu-Muslim differences. This was, in perfect harmony with the policy of divide and rule.

Aurangzebs grave
Aurangzebs grave

With an array of convincing arguments and historical facts the  Maulana disproved that Alamgeer’s adherence to one sect ever led him to deal out a bigoted treatment to the members of other sects or religions. He quoted instances when he alloted lands to Hindu temples and Sikh shrines. He added that only those temples were demolished which were built without the permission of the government.”

Aurangzeb and Benaras mosque
Aurangzeb and Benaras mosque

This so-called destruction of temples was not without reason. Islam forbids harm to religious places of non-muslims as a creed of life. Even the famous Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi did not destroy temples without reason. The Sultan not only had Hindus in his army, he even built temples for them in Ghazni itself. The destruction was of places associated with politics. Similarly the Hindu temples in Shah Jahan’s time were being used to inculcate Hindu doctrines in Muslim boys and girls, as well as used for political uprisings, engineered at these places. It was these that incurred the attention of Aurangzeb Alamgeer. The defense of the Empire itself was at stake. This fact is for once even admitted by Catherine B. Asher, in ‘Architecture of Mughal India’, when she says:

“But when Aurangzeb did destroy temples, he did so not out of bigotry, but as a political response when his authority was challenged.”

She further adds:

“Thus in a sense Aurangzeb destroyed state-endowed property, not private works.”

All this proves that ‘the alleged destruction is more legendary than real’. Only those were punished who rebelled against the state. The support of Emperor Aurangzeb to the Hindu Jogis of Jakhbar is known to all and a book written on same by B.N. Goswamy himself.

Historians are eager to speak of destruction of temples by Muslims, and are reluctant to even talk about the destruction of mosques by Hindus. We give an example. In 976 AH (1568 AD) Ali Adil Shah invited Ram Raja, the raja of Bija-nagar to help him against the rival Nizam Shah. The condition was that no harm will be done to sacred places. Ram Raja took the opportunity to set on fire and destroy all the mosques of Ahmad-nagar. This fact is clearly stated in history books, but no mention of it is found in general terms.

Aurangzeb farman endowment hindu jogis
Aurangzeb farman endowment hindu jogis

I think in both countries a younger generation is coming up, which sees through this hypocrisy, and it depends upon them to erase the paranoia and the fears that are generated by both sides. Without sacrificing anything, one should learn to respect each other, and live in eternal peace, for there is no subsitute for that.

Farman translation
Farman translation

THE DRAMA OF SIKHS – DESTRUCTION OF MOSQUE OF ABDULLAH KHAN

THE DRAMA OF SIKHS
DESTRUCTION OF MOSQUE OF ABDULLAH KHAN

A needless antagonism against the Muslims

Gateway to destruction
Gateway to destruction

Divide and rule! The golden principle of dissent, true then, true now, and will always be true, when people will not think and ponder. Fighting with each other serves political ends. To isolate the Muslims from the electoral role, a dissent was created over the mosque of the Subhedar of Lahore, namely Abdullah Khan, who served both Prince Dara Shikoh and after him Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgeer. A beautiful small mosque which was forcibly occupied by the Sikhs. The claim was that the mosque was used to murder a group of Sikhs, who were brought to Lahore by the Hindu Governor, Lajpat Rai. The interesting part is that how on earth can the Muslims allow the use of their mosque for murdering captive Sikhs. And who were these captive Sikhs, bandits who had murdered the brother of the Governor Lajpat Rai, by cutting his head off. One wrong does not warrant more wrongs. The ferocity of a Hindu General pitted against the ruthlessness of Sikh dacoits. Where does the Muslims come in the picture? We were not there, and even today if we can do it, we would stop the genocide. But the rampage these Sikhs were on needed to be tried by a court of law and most of them deserved to be hanged for the ferocity of their crimes.

Gurudwara on a Mosque
Gurudwara on a Mosque

Where does a small beautiful mosque comes in the picture? The British and their Indian agents, including many Muslim stalwarts, and the involvement of the Caliph of Ahmadiyyahs too (not an accusation, state records). Maulana Zafar Ali Khan also part of the conspiracy. It is worth reading in its many reports. The simple ruse was to make Muslims and Sikhs fight with each other and to isolate the Muslims from the election process. A brilliant feat committed by the British Intelligence here, with the involvement of the Sir Fazle Hussain too.

A compromise could have been reached, and the Sikhs could have stopped the destruction of the mosque and both communities could have lived a co-existence together. A curfew was imposed and many Muslims lost their lives, while indeed hundreds were wounded. But the stock taking was riddled with mischief. No body wanted peace at all.

Mosque demolition
Mosque demolition

In a London magazine, pictures exist and the arrogance of those Sikhs who brought the Mosque down. It started with one Sikh labourer, and the interesting part is that he fell down and died in the destruction process. Maybe the feat was too much for him.

The plan next was the Mosque of Maryiam Zamani (calumny of talking of it as place of shahadat of Mani Singh), when the hammam of the mosque was taken over as a martyr site too. Today it is just another tyre shop in the market. In India we hear about the plan to demolish 5000 mosques and it is on the agenda of an incoming Indian Prime Minister, who is a literal murderer of hundreds of Muslims in India. The Babari mosque was a prelude to grand dramas designed for the future.

Mosque demolition 2
Mosque demolition 2
Mosque demolition 3
Mosque demolition 3

The most pathetic thing is that the most probable site for this murder of the captive Sikhs was the Mazar of Rasool Shahiyan in Landa Bazaar Lahore. All murdered Sikh bodies were buried in its basement there, as a matter of record. It is an abandoned place from long time. Nobody is interested in actual history, only dissent for dissent sake. And this is the place where Sikhs frequented all the time for it was a distillery and all addicts could get their share of ‘bhang’ here in plenty supply, all the time.

Our statement. No party should allow a third party to rile itself against imaginary happenings. Learn to live in peace. It is possible.

Hammam of Maryiam Zamani
Hammam of Maryiam Zamani

A CHURCH BUILT BY MUSLIMS IN SICILY FOR THEIR CHRISTIAN BRETHREN

A CHURCH BUILT  BY MUSLIMS IN SICILY
FOR THEIR CHRISTIAN BRETHREN

Allah’s name in the Arabic script

Muslim Church Capella Palatina Palermo Sicily
Muslim Church Capella Palatina Palermo Sicily

There are surprising things in the world. And often they go unnoticed. Muslims lived in harmony with other religions as commanded by Allah. The stupid and malignant people who destroy churches anywhere should understand that there was a time when Muslims built churches for their Christian brethren. There are examples in the world but the best example is in Sicily and it is called CAPELLA PALATINA PALERMO. A strange chapter in the history of mankind.

A blog is not a space for a detailed analysis of this church, and it is indeed worthy of seeing by all.  There is a classic rare book published on the same with details of drawings and scripts. It even carries the Arabic script at places with names of both ALLAH as well as PROPHET MUHAMMED (PBUH). Historians wonder to this day the background in the making of this church.

Muslim Church
Muslim Church

There are other amazing features. For those Mullahs who rail against Figurative Painting, the Church is full of sculpture and Iconic Christian imagery, surrounded by Arabic Kufic Script. MUSLIMS HAVE DRAWN JESUS CHRIST, LADY MARY AND ALL THE OTHER SAINTS IN THE CHURCH. If this is not broad mindedness, then what else is? This is tolerance reached to newer and newer levels. And it is to  be appreciated by all.

The many Churches in Lahore were obviously designed by English Architects in their requirements, but many were later handed over to contractors like Muhammed Sultan and architects like Raheem Baksh Mimar and Kareem Baksh Mimar, and it is a matter of record too. A number of certificates are there to this effect. For instance Major D. Bennet, Member of the Church building  at Meean Meer cantonment writes a certificate dated 20th December, 1856, that:

” Certfied that Emoo (Raheem Baksh), Raj Mistree,  was for many years in the employment of the late MAJOR SHARP OF THE ENGINEERS,who I know had the highest opinion of him; he was the person most depended upon while building the splendid Church at Meean Meer, and he had instructed him in a Plan drawing , which he   understands well. He deserves every encouragement  being a most intelligent and active workman. I  attach a     note of Mr Sharp written about him.”

The mosque, the Mandir and the Gurdawara built at Aitchison College was also designed by a Chughtai family member, who was a Drawing Master at Aitchison College itself. Mian Kareem Baksh Mimar was also involved in its embellishment at that time. He was an expert in Chuna Kari of the type that is on Asif Khan’s mausoleum. The modern times have brought decay to the broadmindedness of the Muslims.

ISLAMIC SPAIN AND DR ASAD SADIQ

ISLAMIC SPAIN AND DR ASAD SADIQ
A THINKING VISITOR FROM MANCHESTER

Inspirations of the past

Dr Allama Iqbal praying at Cordova
Dr Allama Iqbal praying at Cordova

Dr Asad Sadiq paid us a visit a few days back. And like us all, basked in the glory of Islamic days. We talked of how the modern Spaniards do not allow anyone to pray in the Mosque of Cordova. The authorities pick up kneeling people forcing their prayers there, and throwing them out. The Inquisition spirit has not gone out of them, even after centuries. It was perhaps after centuries that Dr Allama was able to do the same and we have a photograph to prove it to the world. But Dr Sadiq smiled and whispered to me, that he had managed ‘two nafils’ there in despite of the opposition. And he was very proud of same.

Eight hundred years Muslims ruled Spain and it was the first period where Muslims gave free reign to the Jewish people. The Muslims and Jews were hand in hand. In 1492 when Queen Isabella decided to oust the Muslims, so were the Jews, and their belongings were confiscated by authorities. And yet the Jews do not remember what the Muslims did for them in Spain, at all. Why the animosity now?

Ceiling in Alhamra Spain
Ceiling in Alhamra Spain

The Alhamra Palace is unique in history. It has all the usual things, but it also has a HALL OF PHILOSOPHERS. A thinking room, with pictures on its ceiling. Dr Asad adiq said that it had a profound effect on him. The library of M.A. Rahman Chughtai is full of books on Spain. He tried his best to visit Spain in 1932 and again in 1938 but a war was going on there, and Visas were not allowed to British subjects. It was a regret of the artist all his life.

The artist believed that the innovations made in Spain under Islamic rule, gave a new impetus to Islam itself. The aesthetic innovations were incredible too. That is why when he founded the Pakistan Arts Council Lahore, he gave it the name of Alhamra Lahore, and I think very few understand the significance of the name. When cousins marry, their children end up with genetic defects, but marriages outside families and culture, get a new genetic stimulation. That is why when civilizations intermix, the result is a new form of evolution of society. In Punjab, the land of five rivers, various civilization came and went, and left a richer Lahore. The culture of Lahore was not made in a day.

Ceiling thinking Hall of Alhamra Spain
Ceiling thinking Hall of Alhamra Spain

Scholars are of the opinion that whereas Islamic Culture and knowledge holds ts own to this day, the present generation of Muslims are a sorry lot. MANY BELIEVE THAT A NEW CIVILIZATION WILL EMBRACE ISLAM AND GIVE A NEW INFUSION TO ISLAM. Who would these people be? Who knows? But till then believe that Pakistanis are the only muslim nation left in the world capable of not only understanding the dynamism of a new Islam abut forcing its adoption in the present world scenario. We indeed are blessed by Allah with wisdom to undertake the task of the renaissance. And indeed Mullahs as well as Seculars are the other end of the hopeless scale. One of the prime reason for the degradation of Islam today is precisely the imbecility of these barbarians.

DIFFERENT PLACES DIFFERENT CLASSES HERE – DIFFERENT PLACES IN NEXT DIMENSION TOO

DIFFERENT PLACES DIFFERENT CLASSES HERE
DIFFERENT PLACES IN NEXT DIMENSION TOO

Remembering heaven and hell

Mohallas of Lahore
Mohallas of Lahore

I was travelling through the city of Lahore. My own city and I could not recognize it. Piles of uncollected filth (where are the Turk contractors?), broken roads, broken sewerage lines, scrambled electrical poles, unpainted houses, make shift doors, beggars and looters strolling around, chabri wala encroachments everywhere. Not one person recognizing another. All ready to curse one another and fight with each other, on slightest pretext. Spitting PAN choona on the streets, sneezing their noses away. Smoke of cigarettes prevailing, at times even the smoke of the ‘qawam’ wala cigarette. Dirty clothes, and yes, even dirty minds. Where have things gone wrong?

A study of past is all revealing. The study of demography of Lahore city is a strange revelation. In one mohalla lived all kinds of people, from the richest to the poorest of society. Ancient documents of houses reveal all this in clear detail. The mohallas are named after professions. Usually not about ethnicity at all. We have mohallas of musawers (painters), khattats (calligraphers), telli (oil-vendors), kharasian (general merchants), bandook-saz (gunsmiths), kuman garah (bow-makers), chabuk sawaran (horse-riders), and so on and on. But analysis reveal that such divisions were not actually there, as many kinds of professions intermixed in any mohalla.

The havelli of Prince Masood son of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi was in the city. Governor Ayaz Al-Najm inside the city too. That is why his mausoleum is still there. One of the oldest inscriptional Mausoleum of Hassan Al-Balkhi is in Kashmeeri Gate, who was a martyr in his fights against the Mongols. Qutub-uddin Aibsak inside the city too.

The Havellis of Nawabs, Governors, Courtiers, Ministers, even Prime Minister were right in the city itself. Prime Minister Saadullah Khan lived in Rang Mahal in his own palace, which later became the Mian Khan havelli of his son Lutuf ullah Khan, Governor of Punjab. Right with various commoners living in the area itself. You name them and they were there. But the amazing aspect is that right next to a super havelli, you found the poorest of society living there too. Co-existing with each other.

Where Sultans and the Paupers could live together, that society is indeed inspirational. The way Lahore opened its arms to the immigrants of the partition in 1947 is worthy of reckoning in this step too. All kind of people settled everywhere.

Different perceptions for few
Different perceptions for few

Then modernism invaded Lahore. And modernism brought social divisions. Rich areas, poor areas started in Lahore. The residents of Defense areas look at disdain with the residents of the city area, and the residents of city area look at the Defense areas as repulsive of newly got wealth and elimination of human as well as Islamic values. All that this newly rich people do is to throw a pittance of their badly acquired wealth at traffic stops to professional beggars begging for alms.  Not even having time to help the really needy people they know. Why not start from relatives? But poor relatives are shunned like lepers. Friendship. Only rich are looked up as friends. No wants to befriend the poor, knowing the encumbrance that would result in such a relation.

The shame of our leadership living in palatial palaces, unconcerned about the those who sleep on the streets. That is why we see addiction increasing every day, for temporary relief, people putting themselves into life long torture. And then there are those who await a bolt out of the skies to correct this maladjustment in society, but that is not the principle of Allah. All does not interfere in  human affairs. Our free will guarantees our own choices.

Eternal damnation indeed awaits our shameless leaders (who calls them leaders anyway?) We all know of Allah’s Qanoon ul Mukfat, but we also know that the period at times is very long. Who will shorten the period for us? No one but ourselves. And when do I stop sulking in my own inadequacies?

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