A BRITISH REPORT ON ATTOCK TUNNEL
WHO GAVE THEM THE IDEA?
Mystery of Attock Fort
The Gazetteer and official records talk about the efforts of making the tunnel:
“In 1856, the Indian Government commenced the construction of a tunnel under the Indus at Attock, but the work has never been completed, as it has been decided eventually, upon the completion of the Punjab State Railway, to construct a bridge over the river.”
But the British themselves contradict this information.
“Ross, writing in 1883, refers to the tunnel and mentions that it was in fact completed in 1862 by the 32nd Sappers, known as the Mazbis, but was subsequently abandoned, ‘owing to the difficulty of keeping it clear of water’.”
Ross, D, The land of the five rivers and Sindh. London, 1883.
The idea that the Attock Fort tunnel was constructed by the Mughals first, still persists, and needs fresh research.
UNDERGROUND TUNNELS OF LAHORE
NOT MYTHICAL BUT A REALITY
NO ONE INTERESTED IN OUR LEGACY
You heard about them again and again in our myths, about the underground tunnels of Lahore. The oldest reality is that when a Fort was besieged, there was always an underground tunnel for the King or the Commander to escape into under ground chambers and out in the open country. Even the Governor House Lahore has a British period escape route. The myths point to long distance tunnels, between cities. It is famous to Lahore to this day that a tunnel connected it to Delhi itself. Tunnels under Sheikhupura Fort, under Nur Jahan’s mausoleum, and what not? In fact even Father Sebastian Manrique was taken through one of these tunnels from the Palace of Nawab Asif Khan to the city of Lahore in 1644. The tunnel from Attock Fort, built by Emperor Akbar, across the river Kabul is famous to this day. And yet modern writers doubt the engineering skill of the Mughals to have undertaken such a task, and reject these ideas a mere ‘hogwash’. The interesting part is that it is hogwash to reject anything without research. One conjecture is being replaced with another conjecture. To reject engineering possibilities of the Mughals is not looking at the various water systems associated with monuments, and the way the bridges were built in those days, which still stand without having moved an inch in four hundred years. There is a record in manuscripts of ‘Insha Harkiran’ of a Ravadari, or a passport given to Ustad Ahmad Mimar (architect of the Taj Mahal), giving him permission to cross the river Attock, as he was on official duty there of Emperor Akbar (then at capital of Lahore). But what about those who have seen the tunnels actually?
Dr Abdullah Chaghatai talked of the tunnel unearthed outside Mochi Darwaza, where a man could easily walk in it, as well as taking a horse in it. The tunnel linking the Shahi Mosque of Maryiam Zamani with Lahore Fort has been seen by many. The tunnel going under the Sheikhupura Fort towards Hearn Minar is there to this day. Many years back the Police unearthed a tunnel linking a village near MUREEDKAY to Indian territory. It seemed that regular smuggling of alcohol was going in these tunnels from the Indian to the Pakistan side. It was part of the ring of famous Chaudhry smuggler, Dilawar of the area. Even the entrance to the tunnel near Attock Fort towards Kabul river is known to this day (completed or not is unknown).
Lahore is slowly being bought completely by the Pathans. Already they own a great percentage of the old city of Lahore. Each one of them with a shop on ground level, has at times, not one, not two, but even three to four basements down the ground. And these underground basements are linked together by underground lanes. Yes, lanes under lanes in Lahore. Containers of smuggled goods come in Lahore and go underground in broad daylight with the connivance of all those concerned and disregard of all consequences. A labour force is in operation and this labour force has tales to tell.
I have interviewed many labourers who do this at night time. The way it is done is remarkable in itself and most dangerous in all cases. A floor is taken and a iron and cement covering is given to it. Then a corner is dug, and a trench dug from one corner to the other. Say ten feet deep. On this trench a wall is made which falls under the cement iron roof. This is repeated on all four sides. Then with the uses of donkeys, the earth in this enclosed room is taken out. Once that is done, cement is laid on all four sides, and a entrance made on the roof, with stairs down to the lower floor, which is made now. This is repeated three or four times. At some places the digging goes to 30 feet, at other places even more. After that sand comes under the surface, speaking of the ancient Noah’s flood in Lahore.
I have got samples of the ten layers of earth unearthed under Lahore. Yes, ten different layers, ten different times. Remarkable for any historian or archaeologist, but here, nobody is bothered at all. Materialism has replaced love for culture.
I interviewed a labourer namely MR S, as he doe not want his identity revealed to anyone. And he told me the strangest thing possible. Yes, he said here is a tunnel under Lahore, going towards Delhi,and he said that at regular intervals, there were niches in the wall, for lamps. And not only that, there were regular inscriptions on the wall too. I could only cry at this neglect of our heritage. Inscriptions in underground tunnel could tell us what no history book can. But who cares? I do, but what does it matter!
No one will think of Lahore as a ship building city, not ever reckon that the bank of the river had a LAHORI BANDAR, yes a shipyard in Lahore. Amazing to even think of same these days. And the kind of shipyard by the same name was in SIND too (the Lahori ships went there and travelogues of Englishmen dictate such travels), which was also called a Lahori bandar, and there are manuscripts of those times with the name on it. Why was it so? For the river RAVI was not the impotent river of today but a gushing river of plenty of water. Under the Indus Water Treaty India robbed Lahore of its river Ravi. Ravi now shows itself in flood only and it was the flood in 1952, when it drowned portions of Lahore in it. The same had happened annually in times of Aurangzeb and that is why he built the AURANGZEBI BUND in Lahore, w
hich existed for a long time, before the Sikhs and the British stole its bricks away.
Some years back they were digging the foundations for a house on Mohni road, and they came across the relic of an old lost ship. Again nobody bothered. The wood was no good for modern use, not was there any gold attached. Rusted iron and withered wood, that was it. Nothing good for the treasure hunters of today. This was the way of the trail of the old river Ravi. We in Lahore used to call it Buddha darya (old river), and relics were there for a long time.
Emperor Akbar ruled Lahore for 18 years, 14 years as the Capital of Hindustan itself. This 14 years rule was from 1584 to 1598, and here we have a recorded incident dated May, 1594. Historians have written that:
“A ship was completed on the banks of the Ravi. The length of the keel, which formed the foundation of this wooden house, was 35 Ilahi yards, 2936 large planks (shahtir) of sal and pine, and 468 maunds and two seers of iron, were used in building it, and 240 carpenters and blacksmiths and others were employed. His Majesty went to see the spectacle.”
It must have indeed been a spectacle, for it was so big, that to drag it to water, a thousand persons were called in to help. There was indeed not enough water at that time to make the transition easy. But it was done. A proud feat for the Mughal Industry.
In the ‘Maseray-Raheemi’ of Abdur Raheem Khan e Khanaan, we are told that this Royal Courtier also had a ship built, to enable selected citizens to perform free Haj every year. The prospective Hajis used to avail the facility. Shah Shuja was also fond of ships and had ships stationed in Surat, the later ship yard of the British. Aurangzeb also used to ride ships. He was seen in a ship in Benaras itself. But the big event was the inauguration of the Badshahi Mosque Lahore, when Aurangzeb came in a ship to inaugurate it. An incident happened at that time, when from the bank, a mad man threw a brick at him. The man was caught but the Emperor had him set free. That was the justice of those incredible rulers.
In any case very little gets written about Lahore, and it is our job as citizens of Lahore to tell it to the world. The achievements of Lahore always worthy of praise by all.
Historians write of this and we need to revisit information and see it as:
Emperor Akbar, who ruled much of India in the latter half of the 16th century, apparently had a great interest in modern shipbuilding. This might have been sparked in part by his relations with the Portuguese (who had established themselves at Goa by this time) and their modern warships. It is known from the Akbarnama and Ain-e-Akbari that several large, ocean-going ships were built in India under Akbar’s reign, at Lahore and Ilahabas (Allahabad). The first such ship was built in June 1592 near Lahore; construction could not place near the coastline itself due to a lack of timber. The ship was built of 3000 large wooden planks and roughly 12 tons of iron was used, with a keel measuring close to 100 feet in length. This would make it on par with the galleons being built in Europe at the same time. The constructed ships were transported by massive barges to the Mughal ports in Sindh, where they were put to sail in the Arabian Sea.
Unfortunately, Akbar’s successors did not share his enthusiasm in shipbuilding, and a modern ocean-going Mughal navy comparable to those of European powers never materialized. But what if the successors of Akbar had invested more resources in the development of a navy? How would it affect the commercial and political interactions between India and the European powers in the 17th and 18th centuries?
WHEN JOSEPH S FARLAND CAME CALLING
AMERICAN AMBASSADOR AT CHUGHTAI HOME
Virginia forgot her handbag
American diplomats were lovers of Art in Pakistan. It was routine for American Ambassadors to call at the home of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, National Artist of Pakistan. The American Consulate had a couple of drivers (for special duty only), one was with a big mustache, and the other younger. Eventually both settled in the United States, and both knew the way to our house, blind folded. They would wave at us whenever they got a chance, and that was most true, for they were next to our school, Sacred Heart High School. The American Consulate was in Bank Square, and the U.S.I.S in front of it. American diplomats favourite rendezvous was with the studio of the artist.
Ambassador Benjamin H. Oehlert left back for the States to his Everglades Club. The new Ambassador was to be very important, for Henry Kissinger was planning to go on a secret trip to China, and Pakistan was helping in the same. When Farland landed at the airport, I remember he said, ‘I have come with an out stretched hand for Pakistan’. When his car stopped in front of our doorstep I was there to receive him. My question was more simple, ‘I said where Mr Ambassador is that out stretched hand’, and he laughed, and offered it to me, with a pretty warm hand shake.
The Farlands were very happy to view the paintings, and in their delight, they left, but the Lady Ambassador Virginia, forgot her handbag in our house. And with it were few pages. We could not dare to even look at the handbag but the papers were open, so we sneaked a look. In them was detail of everything. What to say, what to do, who will receive them, what they will do- a complete before hand report of the Farlands visit to our house. Perhaps it was routine or that Farland was an FBI agent, before he joined the Diplomatic core. It provided a rare insight into the life of diplomats in Pakistan.
Many American Ambassadors we met or we communicated with, but Joseph S. Farland (he died in 2007 at age of 92 years) was unique in many ways. One thing about him was very particular, he was laughing all the time. His laughter still rings in our house even today.
THE ATTACK ON LAHORE (1043-1049)
MARTYRDOM AT ITS BEST
A memory of national resolve
In the year 435 AH (1043 AD), the Raja of Delhi was able to rally other Hindu Rajas to accost and drive the Muslims out of India. The religious motivation drove them into a frenzy, for they were loosing their commoner subjects by the thousands, each day, through voluntary conversions. Fearing there would be no vassals left to serve them, they started recovering one town after another. They took Hansi, Thanesar and then Nagar Kot. In the year 441 AH (1049 AD), they laid a siege to the city of Lahore.
Sultan Maudud was not in Lahore. Maudud undertook a campaign against Khurasan, and had gone through the city of Kabul. He reached the Fort of Sankot and was seized with a violent bowel movement (food poisoning of the worst kind). On a litter tied behind a horse, he was taken to Ghazni, where he died, and the rest of the time there was chaotic fighting for the throne. A four year old son was put on the throne, which led to further infighting in the Ghaznavid ranks.
Without the protection of the Sultan, it was up to the citizens of Lahore to defend themselves. The Hindus gained initially a lot of ground in victory. Their number was ten thousand horsemen, as well as innumerable foot soldiers. Five thousand Muslims were taken prisoners, mosques were razed o the ground, and a general loot and plunder started outside Lahore in the suburbs. A group of valiant soldiers assembled in the Purani Kotwali Lahore and resolved to face the wrath of the Hindus. The siege was for about seven months and the soldiers held their ground. Thousands died defending Lahore, including many of their Generals who were controlling the action. The nature of Lahore was thus that in the course of fifty years or so, the citizens of Lahore had made the city as their own.
The soldiers who gave their life for Lahore and by their action were able to save Lahore. The place where they died was Mohalla Sadhoaun, Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran and the area of Chinay-wali mosque (the residential area of M.A. Rahman Chughtai and his ancestors). This place was known as GANJ SHAHEEDAN, and they were buried at the same place where they died with full honour, some individually, some in mass graves. A few graves existed till fifty years ago, and now the 963 years old incident is represented by the Mazar of one unnamed General only. I too was born in Lahore, very near the mausoleum of Ayaz Abu-Najm and my ancestors lived in the Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran, the area of the Ganj Shaheedan. The soil of Lahore on which you are born and where you live welcomes also those who die. The warmth of the soil is there for all to taste, but more specifically for the SHAHEEDS, the people who give their life in defending Lahore.
After the 1965 war, the brother of Major Aziz Bhatti came back from Dacca, and opened the GO-GO restaurant in Liberty Market Lahore, frequented by most, before it got vacated out of the premises. The nephew of the Shaheed was with us in Forman Christian College. In a sudden sweep, the Shaheed and his aura walks tall in the area where they gave their life, and in Paradise, which await only selected people from Planet Earth.. Allah-o-Akbar!
Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi gave an administrative set up to all the cities which came under his domain. The foundations of Lahore was laid as the city called MAHMUDPUR. And the administrative control was set up in it. Malik Ayaz was the man who gave LAHORE the face of the Cultured City of the region. Yes, every city was protected by a Fort, here the Lahore Fort, but the Fort we see today is a product of Emperor Akbar. Certainly a hill-lock was there, and it is reputed that the City Fort was near the Chuna Mandi Lahore. The commander of the Fort , was called the KOTWAL, and he was the chief Military Officer of the city. More like the Commanders we have in the Lahore Cantt these days.
There are many names of Kotwals we can pick up in history books, but mentioned in the passing. The first real mention is that of Kotwal of Lahore, who the elders of Lahore (Mian Ashiq, Mehr Maskhdum, Abid Khan, Muhammed Azim, Hafiz Muhammed, Mehr Shadi, Ahmad Bhandari, and Jan Muhammed), instructed to open the city gates (Lohari Darwaza) to Ranjit Singh, as an agreement that one dacoit is better than many dacoits. A proposal to get rid of the tyranny of the three Sikh rulers of Lahore. The first Kotwal in British times was Khuda Baksh, a Kakayzai by race, and a resident of Mohalla Kakayzais in Lahore. It is interesting that we have even a photograph of him. We also have a photograph of Chaudry Rahmat-ullah who was also a Kotwal of Lahore in 1901.
The most ancient Police Station in Lahore still retains the same name even today as PURANI KOTWALI. This kotwali functioned for centuries, till it was shifted outside the Delhi Gate Lahore. This new Kotwali also mentioned till its name was changed and a new administrative structure of Police Officers were appointed in Lahore. A new regime had become in operation.
Allah had reasons for creating us. Allah could have made us perfect. Allah did not. Allah gave us a process towards perfection. Allah created Nature too. Allah could have made Nature perfect. Again Allah did not. Allah asked ADAM (humankind) to perfect Nature and in that process perfect ones own self. This is the meaning of life.
The process of humankind by Allah is a process of EVOLUTION and REVOLUTION. The development of personality is a process for which ADAM (humankind) is himself responsible. No living being got FREE WILL, we were gifted with that, for without FREEDOM, nothing seems to be worthwhile.
In Harvard University, Professor Church researched on a rock from outer space which had a rudimentary DNA in itself. But that rock predated the birth of Planet Earth. Is that not amazing! But the Holy Quran tells us that Allah put life on various places in Universe. In simple terms the Quran recognizes the existence of alien form of life. How many mullahs have taught you this? As if the Mullahs knew anything. The Quran is not there for one given period of time but for all times. That is why it has to be re-interpreted again and again, given the existence of knowledge at that given time. This is the reason that except for basic permanent values given by the Quran as QURANIC LAWS, the rest is up to IJJTEHAD, that is simply making decisions by simple consensus. The Quran dictates the social relation in complete form of a society as a DEEN, and in no way spells the relation with Allah . Obeying Allah’s Quranic laws is the relation with Allah and willing to sacrifice everything to implement the Laws of Allah.
FEEDING THE PUBLIC WITH TALES
THE STRATEGY OF NOTHINGNESS
Empty vessels make more noise
The aim of politicians is to find opportunities for business investment of their needs, and to make money in the shortest period of time. The Midas Touch is part of their life. Government helps them to do the impossible. Create money on executive orders. Printing money. Once upon a time trade was through barter. Then the banking system came in but the banking system was bound to have a percentage of the total assets in some liquid form. Most banking systems adhered to that. The United States became the grandest country who printed money without any financial backing. If the economy of the United States will collapse, so will that of other countries in the world. Such a fragile system and an author writes a book about the myth of America’s downfall. If you have the capacity to punish others, you can get away with everything.
Allah promises in the Quran that Allah will never allow any other system to flourish in the world. We know that only TRUTH is associated with Allah, so we know that bad things will happen. It is the reprieve of Allah that he gives time to everyone to reconsider their values. But who is listening? No one.
Andheri kay baad barish ati hai. After a storm, there is a rain. A cleansing process. Storms are coming in the world. But the storm of storms is when systems change. Communism perished, and so will capitalism. It is bound to happen. It is our faith. It is in our thoughts. Pity this world where perhaps 5000 people in the world control perhaps 90% of its wealth. A shame for humankind. STOP FEEDING THE PUBLIC WITH EMPTY TALES. We are tired. We are on the brink of a revolt. We now know that no knight in shining armour will we see in our life time. We know that we will have to be our own knight in shining armour. On empty stomachs feeding us tales do us no good. We want to vomit this digression.
VIVA ZAPATA! The cry of the revolutionary is always there to please our souls.
The Muslim head was the Caliph of Islam. He needed no instructions in Islamic values, for listening to the Quran itself, he was the imposer of Islamic values themselves. The Friday khutba was never the work of some Imam, it was the work of the Caliph or those Governors under him who executed the laws of Islam. And after the Caliphs, the various Sultans of various areas were themselves specialists of Quranic law. No misunderstanding could ever rise. Everything was going well.
Most of the Sultans of our region read the Holy Quran daily, many were Hafiz-ul-Qurans, and knew the intricacy of Islamic laws. Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi always had the desire to be a Hafiz ul Quran, or having the ability to learn it by heart. This applied to Sultan Muhammed Ghauri, as well as Qutub-ud-din Ai-beg. The Tughlaqs were strong in their understanding of the Quran. Nothing could have gone wrong.
The conspiracy against Islam was the birth of the so-called Holy Man, the Sufi, who claimed to be communicating with Allah himself. A blasphemy of no small order, for the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was the last of the Prophets. Nobody could communicate with Allah after that. Anyone claiming to be so was a fraud of the highest order.
The conversions in Hindustan brought the previous beliefs of the converted still in vogue. The Pundit, the Guru, the all knowing Baba, had to be replaced, and the Holy Man stepped in with his own brand of Mantras. And when like other religions, Islam was separated from the Ruler to the Holy Man, inevitably chaos was the result. Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq confronted the holy man of his day and conflict arose. The Saint had Feroze Shah Tughlaq murdered at the hands of his own real son. Of the few good things, Maulana Abdul Wahab aimed at was the rejection of this holy man in the minds of the people. I think credit can be given to the Wahabis for projecting this ideal in Islamic values. But Sectarianism is haram in Islam. It is to be Muslims and nothing else. To think in terms of a sect is withdrawal from the rahmat of Allah.
The Quranic laws were converted in the modern age as merely rituals to satisfy the spectator, not the participator in things. The advent of Islam suffered at the hands of these Holy Men. One beautiful way towards the future is the removal of these so called Mullahs of today from all media, as well as all those Seculars being funded by foreign lobbies. Both Mullas and Seculars are two sides of the same coin. Give everything to the specialist. Every field with its own specialization. And certainly in Islam there are no specialists, just pseudos trying to hoodwink the masses.
The differences between men is natural. And when men get hot over issues, the first step is the hurling of abuses. The history of abuses carry with it the social values of any given society. Civilization requires that the abuses be contained, and emotional outbursts require catharsis provided by them.
The most ancient abuse in Islamic society is of course the term ‘JAHL’, and it comes from the word ‘jahalat’, and that word comes from our natural misfit ‘Abu Jahl’, the man who would not accept the prophethood even till his last breath. To any Muslim, there can be none inferior than that, and comparison to him is the ultimate derogation. The next ancient abuse we accost is related to ‘HARAM’, that is illegitimate, and from it we refer the term ‘Haramzada’ and ‘Haramzadi’. That simply is the equivalent of the English word ‘Bastard’. Another traditional abuse is ‘BAYZAT’ and that means someone without any race. Then we have the references of ‘SOOR’ and ‘KUTA’, that is equivalent of being a pig or a dog. And from it comes ‘Soor da putar’ and ‘Kutay da putar’. One is ‘Son of a pig’, yes. Then of course is the English abuse ‘Son of a bitch’, but interestingly there is gender inequality here, for we never hear of ‘Daughter of Bitch’. Strange bias here!
Then we have the female abuses here. The common ones are Kameeni, Kuti, Soorni and Kanjri. That means simply a Spendthrift, a Bitch, a She-Pig and last a Prostitute.
Calling a man a ‘KHUSRA”, that is an ‘eunuch’ is also used. But more and more we hear of sexual references in abuses. Two very Punjabi words (‘G…..’ and ‘B….’) used in our language refers to the ‘PANSY’ or ‘FAGGOT’ in English terms. We need not repeat them here, as everyone understands them. That is a natural passive homosexual. Again affront of man’s sexuality. We also have references to the size of the male genitals, as ‘Chota’, literally something small. The American comic of previous generation Dora, ‘Little Lulu’ provoked a big laughter here for in local terms it meant small genitals.
The Sikhs contributed to the derogation of Lahore’s culture by inducting many kinds of abuses here. Abuses referring to sexual intercourse with the mother or the sister or the daughter, is commonly abused to this day. There are no Islamic antecedents to this kind of abuse. It is very Punjabi and very Sikh in character, but abused all the time to this day.
The abuse SOB or ‘SON OF BITCH’ is very interesting. These kind of abuses came with the British rule, but the strange paradox is that the Westerners who love DOGS and BITCHES, should use the term as a derogatory remark. In a culture where zyphilia is present all the time, it shows disregard for love of the animal. When and how a BITCH became a bad reference is not known? But it can be deduced that the bitch shows no reverence fondness for any mate. A number of dogs pursue her and she copulates with one of them. This loose character of the bitch warrants this kind of abuse. Other animals who select their mates are not counted as abusive material.
The American abuses abound here nowadays with American literature, movies and serials abounding around us. The four letter word ‘F…’ is common here today. I need not trace the etymology of any. Those are well known internationally. So the four letter words are there for the Brown Sahibs and the local Mother Sister abuses for the general public. But to me my favourite is “JAHL’ and I see so many of them around, particularly in Governmental circles. Our politicians are born jahls and will remain jahls for the rest of their lives.