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The Secret Service in Lahore

James Bond

In the spurt of the Ghaznavid conquests in this region, Sultan Mahmud realized the importance of an agency trying to collect information for consolidation of his rule. A secret network was formed and the informers to the Sultan included many Hindu Rajas. Hindus spying on Hindus as well as spying on the representatives of the Sultan, so that the Sultan may receive adequate information for all actions. This was the first Muslim Secret Service of the region. We do not have adequate knowledge of the network but many of the Sultan’s conquests were a result of timely information of gathering events.

Assassins and Spies

When Sultan Muhammed Ghauri was assassinated by the Ismaeli assassins on the bank of the river, near the village of Damyak, on 15th March 1206 AD, it was a failure of intelligence. The Fidai Mulahidah were ruthless in their work had made everyone realize the importance of espionage. A number of other prominent leaders through out the Indian region were caught and murdered in cold blood. Qutb-ud-din Aibeg knew all this well. A very methodical secret service was set by him in Lahore, as he ruled most of his life from Lahore itself. Even when in Delhi, he would come to Lahore for weekends.

Spies of old times
Spies of old times

In a class system like Hindustan, resentments were great. Ethnic played a great role, and there was no unity amongst the various Hindu Rajas. There is an interesting fact narrated in the Chach-nama about Jats and Gujjars. These people were literally slaves and held in utter contempt by the rulers. The historian Peter Jackson himself quotes this:

Qutbuddin Aibeg
Qutbuddin Aibeg

“It (Chach-nama) alleges that Muhammed Bin Qasim, the conqueror of Sind, learned of the disabilities imposed on a local people , the Jats, in the era of the deposed Brahman dynasty. One was that the Jats were to take dogs with them whenever they went out of doors, in order that they might be recognized.”

Grave of Qutbuddin Aibeg 1912
Grave of Qutbuddin Aibeg 1912

When there was so much disparity, how could the society function. One of the reason for the success of the Muslim conquests was that many classes of people were not considered fit to fight a war with enemies. And these were the people who befriended Muslims and how the Rajas lost their hold due to their own ruthlessness.

The formation of Diwan-Barid was inevitable. To execute the functions of the State, a very effective intelligence gathering system was evolved and named as Diwan-Barid. The exclusive group composed of many rungs of life, including Rajas themselves, had the responsibility of gathering information and providingto the Sultan well in time.  We see today that espionage activities in modern times are considered really essential for the survival of a country. More was at stake at that time,and Lahore famous for people of culture, also had its share of the James Bond of those times., History goes on repeating it self and man goes on making the ame mistakes. This is all well elucidated by Tajuddin Hassan Nizami in the times of the Sultan himself.



Fresh thoughts on a neglected monument

Asif Khan's Tomb taken by Henry Hardy Cole in 1880
Asif Khan’s Tomb taken by Henry Hardy Cole in 1880

The complex in Lahore with mausoleums of Emperor Jahangeer, Nawab Asif Khan and Empress Nur Jahan is the most unique and beautiful Mughal enterprize of the region. Every Head of State who visited Pakistan was taken to this important site. The tea parties, lunch parties and picnics were all a part of this complex. As the Mughals would have wanted it, a place containing dead bodies was made into a living place of human interaction. In real terms PARADISE itself.

Grave stone of Mughal person
Grave stone of Mughal person

The complex would have remained as it was, if not for the intervention of the Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh in Lahore. Hungry for bricks and marble, he ruthlessly destroyed the complex. It is a real surprise how the small enclosure of Emperor Jahangeer was saved from extinction. Miracle in all ways! If it had remained, the dome of Asif Khan’s mausoleum was no less than the Taj Mahal of Agra, perhaps even grander. Our heritage destroyed by callous people insensitive to the legacy of mankind.


In the compound of the Asif Khan’s mausoleum as well as that of Nur Jahan, there lived an old man, a literal giant of a person, whose presence could scare everybody away from the site. Eventually he died and he too was buried in the compound somewhere. When the British Archaeological Department woke up, they had this compound cleaned of rubble collected over the decades. In the compound of Asif Khan, they came across a sarcophagus of the Royal kind. Immediately thinking of it as being the missing one from Asif Khan’s mausoleum, they put the huge stone outside its verandah. Fenced by barbed wire, it was there outside even in 1907 AD. As time passed, they saw it fit to put it as the Sarcophagus of Asif Khan. But to me there always was an issue?

Sarcophagus Emperor Jahangeer
Sarcophagus Emperor Jahangeer

The sarcophagus at present in Nawab Asif Khan’s mausoleum is not proportionate to its surroundings. It is too small for its grand environment. If we see the sarcophagus of Emperor Jahangeer, it is not only very large, it also has the name of the Emperor on it. It’s identity is hundred percent proven fact. But there are no names on the one in Asif Khan, no dates, nothing. There were two sarcophagus in the Mausoleum of Empress Nur Jahan. One was hers own. The second (often attributed to her daughter Ladli Begum, who is actually buried in the compound of Khusrow in Allahabad, as even seen by historian Dr Abdullah Chaghatai)  was the empty one, the Ashiq Mashooq concept. Designed by Empress Nur Jahan herself, the second sarcophagus represented her lost love Emperor Jahangeer. As a tribute to him, this one would be empty, and there would be no names on the sarcophagus itself. The Sikhs in their frenzy threw things here and there. The sarcophagus from the Mausoleum of Empress Nur Jahan got thrown in the compound of Nawab Asif Khan, from where it ended up as his own sarcophagus.

Sarcophagi Taj Mahal
Sarcophagi Taj Mahal

Then there is another question. The size of the Emperor’s sarcophagus was always bigger than the Queens, as shown in the sarcophagi of the Taj Mahal itself. We attach an image to show the difference between a male and a female’s sarcophagus. The sarcophagus of Nawab Asif Khan should have been much bigger in size, for everything in construction was then related to Euclidean principles, of which both Mir Abdul Kareem and Ustad Ahmad were Masters of those principles of architecture,.

Is this possible? Wishful thinking, merely. Not at all. This is hundred percent possible. But for this we need people who ask questions? Then they get answers. The whole Archaeological department no longer contain the stalwarts of the department. Just mere clerks now getting their pay, and going home. The relation with their legacy long gone.




Qutb-ud-din Aibeg and Iram Shah
Qutb-ud-din Aibeg and Iram Shah

The Europeans were treasure hunters. British, German and French teams were scouting the world for treasures of cultural merit and a lot got collected, both legally and illegally, and there was none to stop the White man on his shopping spree. For no one really cared, everyone was in economic strife even at that time. The French collector Vervier came across some objects and art works in Ispahan and bought them.One was a painting dated 1232 AD. The most remarkable thing it was dated and the other remarkable thing it was one of the earliest painting known of Lahore region, and it was dated just 22 years after the death of the Sultan.

The Sultan of course was Qutb-ud-din Aibeg, the Flaming Star of Lahore. And he sits with his wife and three girls and son in law and his young son namely Aram Shah. He was the only Sultan of those times on which the painting fits in every way. The whole family is in picture there. We know that his son in law Sultan Iltutmish also commissioned paintings in the Chinese style from probably Mongol artists who had come to India from Mongolia itself, the Changez Khan School of painting, which is a separate story in itself. Vervier noted the Indian elements in the painting. The stamp of the Lahore School painting was visible there, and highlights the statement of the historian Baihaqi, who said that 200 different professionals came from Ghazni to settle in Lahore. The professionals included even silk lace makers, a fancy profession for those times. And even lion tamers to this region.

Unfortunately the present location of the work is not known, but suffice it must be in some private collection even today. Till we know more, enjoy the Lahore School of Painting. It is also possible that it was attached to a manuscript copy of the TAJ UL MATHIR of Tajuddin Hassan Nizami, the earliest biographer of the great Sultan of Lahore.



Tragedies of Lahore


The lure of Nur Jahan is phenomenal. Stuart Cary Welch and his wife Edith were our guests in Lahore in 1981, and he wanted to visit a number of places. The mausoleum of Nur Jahan was one of them. Through the courtesy of Malik Shams (whose son held the contract to entrance), we slipped down a basement into a tunnel, which deep down led to a room, with two iron rings hanging from the ceiling. That was all that remained of Nur Jahan. Yes the mausoleum itself was in ruins from the times o the Sikhs, who had stripped it of its affluence, and although Hakeem Ajmal Khan of Delhi had provided a tombstone way back, things were still something to be in deep mourning.

Nur Jahan's tomb
Nur Jahan’s tomb

The disregard of those in power for the legacy of Pakistan was understood, but not the mind of a sick Sikh ruler, who was so obsessed with the legend of Nur Jahan, that he had the coffins removed, to inspect the so called bodies of the departed Queen. The skeletons were not up to his standards (Contrary to popular thought the second coffin is not of Ladli Begum her daughter, who is buried elsewhere in the Indian region), and perhaps the cloth of the coffin was of interest to him, and he may have put the same in the Toshak-khana of the Lahore Fort (a number of things were found there after his death), but disappointed with the bones, he ordered them to be thrown to the dogs and the wolves in the area. He did not even have the decency to put the skeletons back in the grave and back to the original hanging position. In fact he had no scruples, and it was rumoured that his own mother did not listen to him, and he had her murdered for licentious living.

Tunnel to Nur Jahan
Tunnel to Nur Jahan

Nur Jahan was perhaps the most famous Mughal lady of all times. Her luck was such that from being in a position of eventful death as a baby, she survived all odds, and created a renaissance in Mughal culture. Maker of perfumes, fashion designer, power wielder, she was a legend in her own lifetime. After her political demise, she retired to Lahore and lived a peaceful life here. Even today we come across coins struck in her name in the vast kingdom of the Mughals by her loving husband Emperor Jahangeer. The city she called Paradise treated her like dirt under the dark and dreary span of Sikh rule in Lahore.

Underground Nur Jahan's tomb
Underground Nur Jahan’s tomb



Sikh shamefulness in Wazeer Khan Mosque

Nightmare in Lahore
Nightmare in Lahore

To this day Lahore remembers the antics of Sikh times. Being Lahorite, no one can tell us different. Nor books nor media hype can change history from our minds. Lahoris were sick of the Sikh bandits who were making life miserable for them. Occupied by Lehna Singh, Sobha Singh and Gujjar Singh, Lahore knew no reprieve. The Sikh lords would rob them of their possession, pick up their women, and what not? In those times of trial when people went out of their houses, they had small hidden rooms near the small wells inside their houses. At water level these room were closed from outside. The women folks and children used to enter the rooms. And with each woman, a dagger was left and she was told this straight. Either you can find a dignified death or you can be raped by many men before you welcome death itself. The choice is yours. And when the men came back and found the family in order, they would pray to Allah saying a million thanks for welfare of their lives.

That is why the lanes of Lahore were made so small that only one rider at a time could come into the city and all houses were joined at the top, so that people could escape from roof tops in case of emergency. Lahore knew paranoia as none knew it. In times of the Mongols, Lahore had become a deserted city and was repopulated again in 1420 AD By Syed brothers. Lahore had also suffered famine during the Abdali (Afghan) period when it did not rain for eight years. It is said that people made flour from dry leaves of plants and from that used to cook bread for themselves. Now the Sikh menace had reached its height. The Qasabs (butchers) had attacked Lahore again and again, which resulted in a discarded Delhi Gate (rebuilt in British times by Muhammed Sultan contractor). In this environment, the Sikhs were out of bounds. So the best choice was to invite one of the bigger bandits, and that is why the Keeper of the City’s keys, the Kotwal handed them over to a dacoit of Gujaranwalla, that is Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh camped in the Baradari of Wazeer Khan and entered the city through the Lohari Gate. In a little or no time, he was able to subdue the three reigning dacoits of Lahore, the final giving in, after cannon fire was made on the Lahore Fort, from the minarets of the Badshahi mosque. The city was Ranjit Singhs, for the next 40 years.

The esteemed Khushwant Singh started weaving the tale of a Mahrajah, and was very successful. Every attribute of a ruler was put on the new controller of Lahore. Suffice to say that during his reign, most of the mosques were deserted, and used as a fodder place for animals, or as a store house for ammunition. Besides that about 2000 buildings were stripped of bricks and marbles. The state of mosques was pathetic but then, the AZAN (call to prayer) was not allowed in Lahore for Muslims for something like 70 years. No ‘Allah-Akbar’ in that period. Sikha-shahi had no such scruples.

Victor Jacquemont
Victor Jacquemont

Victor Jacquemont was a French visitor to the Court of Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh complained about his health again and again, and Jacquemont could not understand the implication. Then Ranjit Singh lowered his garments and showed the doctor his genitals. The French man was shocked to see the state of advanced chronic syphilis in the Sikh chief. It was even difficult for the chief to even urinate with the swollen urethra. Doubt my words, check the Letters of Jacquemont yourself. Published in 1834 AD, they affirm, what I am saying here. Plain and simple. Of the fifty children claimed by Ranjit Singh as his own, the proof as that only Kharrack Singh was his own. There was no possibility of any other. To prove his virility, Ranjit Singh showed many consorts to his fellow men. One such consort was the prostitute by name of MORAN, who was called ‘Mai Moran’ in their chronicles.

The love for Moran fixated Ranjit Singh. He was seen frolicking with her all the time. Ranjit Singh would mount an elephant with Moran and roam in and around the city, fondling the breasts of Moran, for the world to see. A number of historians have written about this, but the nightmare in Lahore was, when Ranjit Singh took Moran to the Wazeer Khan mosque (the only mosque still functioning but at a lesser level) and climbed up the Minaret of the mosque. Then in plain view of the city and hundreds of people watching, he started fondling Moran’s breasts in front of the city of Lahore. The tongues started wagging. Lahore was literally shocked! No one had the sort of recklessness ever to destroy the sacredness of the place in a voyueristic adventure, no one liked. This is the legacy of the Sikh times in Lahore. And we can provide copies and references to anyone who wants to know more!



Title: Equal Rights
Title: Equal Rights

The motto of life is simple. We heard it ages ago. Live and let live. Co-exist in peace. Harmony makes the world go forward. An unnecessary remark can injure the pride of another person. Sensitivity and compassion are the lessons of life. Yes, we agree with them. We accept them. We want to follow them. We will try our best to keep this situation alive.

But when other cultures fall into inferiority complex, it is not our fault. We like to give them our shoulders to unburden themselves, but not our backs, so that they can stab us in the name of PEACE. And this is what is happening! If we are vigilant, we are in the right. Egalitarianism is part of our faith. Equality means something to us. But our wretched leaders who represent the worst of our society are embarrassing us all over the world. They do not represent Pakistan. They represent their business interests. Each day they are getting richer and richer, the modern Pharaohs of Pakistan. One day they will not even have Pyramids for their corrupt mummies. Hearts and minds of the people are not won at gun point of barrels. How wonderful were days of the past when people traveled all over the world without artificial borders?

No one should try to take the superior approach. Allah forbids criticizing other ways of life. Judgement is for Allah, not us. Ours is our faith that we believe in the permanent laws given by Allah and we follow them and we change those laws which can be changed by mutual consensus, or ijjtehad. God bless the world!



The derogation of regional society

A Deputy Director of LDA was looking at the files in front of him. He shared his views with me with a smirch. He said Pakistanis are strange people. Touch a building of British period and they are ready to die for it. Touch any other ancient building and they care nothing for it. He was very serious and I realized how active the NGOs lobbies were in protecting the interest of their Colonial Masters to this day. So much has been repeated and said that there is no need to rub salt on old wounds. But many things are quietly forgotten in time and a reminder is in order. A society in which the word ‘Mecca’ stands for a Gambling den, casino, and a strip -tease joint, cannot be offering goodwill to others. And no NGO has complained of this word still in use for same, nor for that matter any Maulvi of any kind.

Tipu Sultan the NAIK General
Tipu Sultan the NAIK General

While Lahore was weeping for the break up of the Ottoman Empire and Dr Allama Iqbal was consoling the masses, the British were naming their dogs as ‘Turk Sahib’. lts exhibiting real inferiority complex in those people. Today we resent the CHANGE OF NAMES being done, but what did the British do, change names to whatever suited them, like Lyallpur, Montgomery and what not?  Colonel Abdur Rasheed has written a memoir on Sultan Shaheed, Tipu Sultan of Mysore, who turns out to be as having migrated as a family from Punjab itself, was by ethnic race a NAIK and the British to affirm their poor complexes named the lowest rank in their Army as being a ‘NAIK’. But there is a lot more!

Take royal titles and names like Khansaman (cooks named as Khansamas), Mahtar (cleaners named as Mahtars), in fact all names of any worth degraded as nobodies. And take the costume. The dress of the Royal Courtiers and Nawabs made into the dress of chowkidars. The doormen were seen wearing Royal Mughal dresses. Funny isn’t it, with grand Turbans on their heads, opening doors for men in three piece suits. There is so much more.The Persian, Arabic and Urdu language degraded beyond recognition to this day.  The birth of Urdu-medium and English medium took place all at once.

Turk Sahib as a British dog
Turk Sahib as a British dog

But one summing up is even more acute. The well known English writer Michael Edwardes writes about the aftermath of the Mutiny in Delhi (our war of Independence):

“Perhaps the most revolting aspect of the violence was that the excecutioners seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Within a few days of the capture of the city, the provost marshal had officially hanged  between four and five hundred, and it as said on good authority that the soldiers had bribed the executioners ‘to keep them a long time hanging, as they liked to see the criminals dance a ‘PANDIES’ HORNPIPE, AS THEY TERMED THE DYING STRUGGLES OF THE WRETCHES. WHEN  GREAT MULTIPLE GALLOWS WAS ERECTED IN A SQUARE IN THE CITY, ENGLISH OFFICERS USED TO SIT BY IT, PUFFING AT THEIR CIGARS, AND LOOK ON AT THE CONVULSIVE STRUGGLES OF THE VICTIMS.’

And to beat it all tea parties were held and bets were made as to who will blow his hornpipe the longest. Can such callousness ever be repeated?

The whole nation is in turmoil right now and their hornpipes are shrieking with pain of struggle to survive. Is anyone listening!



An unbelievable story for Guinness Book of Records

Mirza Izzad Baksh
Mirza Izzad Baksh

A literary professor of Wazeerabad was roaming around the city in 1947. The city was in turmoil, and the effects of partition were visible all around. Ahmad Hussain Qureshi came across scattered manuscripts, documents, property records outside the havelli of the Diwans of Wazeerabad, namely Kirpa Ram Chopra, and Thakur Dass. Kirpa Ram was also once the Prime Minister of Jammu under the Mahrajah of that time. Both the Diwans were much loved in Wazeerabad, and had a huge Muslim following with them. Various poets of the area had written Qasidas praising both the Diwans. The famous Qasida in honour of Thakur Dass is most famous for its depth, written by Qazi Khuda Baksh. Everything was well.

Nawab Izzad Baksh was the direct descendant of Nawab Wazeer Khan of Emperor Shah Jahan. He was the last male descendant. His daughter went ahead and married Chajju Baig, a tenant of the mosque of Wazeer Khan in Lahore. Izzad Baksh also had a room of his own in the mosque. The Mutavallis were different as well as the family of the Imams. A long story. Going back to Nawab Wazeer Khan, whose real name according to old records, was Ali-ud-din, the history observed him as a shrewd gentleman. It is said that no transaction was made in Lahore in which he did not get a percentage. Of all the things he did, he founded the city of Wazeerabad. That is why it is still named after him. Although portions were owned by others (sold with time), the bulk of the city was that of the Nawab himself. And most of the city was owned in the 1850s by Nawab Izzad Baksh, the direct descendant of Nawab Wazeer Khan.

Nawab Izzad Baksh was totally dissatisfied with his son-in-law Chajju Baig, who had not only seduced his daughter by sending love messages, but also stolen all the relevant documents from the mosque itself as well as his home in the Serai of Wazeer Khan in Lahore, which is seen to have existed till 1904 at least. He was not interested in transferring his entire wealth to this shrewder than any shrewd gentleman. The result he decided to gift the wealth to those he actually loved. And Thakur Dass was his favourite friend.

From the pile of ‘RADI’ (waste) on the floor, Ahmad Hussain Qureshi picked a up a Registration deed to the city of Wazeerabad. It was a gift made by Nawab Izzad Baksh to Diwan Thakur Dass. It was witnessed by two important people, Hakeem Qaleem-ullah and Sarfraz Janjua of Wazeerabad. The deed was dated Bhadon 1904 Samvat or about August, 1852 AD. The deed was recorded as the transfer made in the Official Property Record of the Municipality of Wazeerabad. A COMPLETE CITY HAD BEEN GIVEN AS A GIFT FROM A MUSLIM NAWAB TO A HINDU DIWAN.

And yet there is more. The records of Lahore High Court shows a judgement made by a learned British judge around 1862. After the death of Nawab Izzad Baksh, Chajju Baig went to court to try to recover the gift made by his father-in-law. It was an act of desperation. The Judge passed the judgement which is still on record that A GIFT ONCE GIVEN CANNOT BE TAKEN BACK. Chajju Baig had lost the case of Wazeerabad.

All is is on official record and it is a fascinating story and worth writing again and again. But busy in the stress of our lives, we fail to see the stress already seen by previous generations. The attitude of Muslims did not delve in bigotry, and they were open to other ways of life.



A tale you will find nowhere else!

Hindu Slave boy Ghaznavid figurine
Hindu Slave boy Ghaznavid figurine

There is a saying in our culture. It says ‘Kharbosa dekh kay kharbosa rang pakarta hai’, which is plainly saying that if you put a melon , near another melon, that melon picks up the colour of the other melon. Lahore has always been a Muslim city, proven by documentation as well as archaeology. The mythical Lahore of a Hindu city, if it ever existed has not been discovered yet. And certainly somewhere else. The Muslims brought in their culture here with the advent of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, although it is said that Arab quarters existed here even before that. The culture of the Sultans as well as the Mughals certainly effected the heart and minds of the Hindus which started co-existing with their Muslim companions here. Baihaqi (historian 11th century) talks of the Hindu Slave boys brought here, and how they were very much loved and pampered by the people. It was natural that cultures get through people with love and affection.

An Anarkali curio dealer, the late Manzoor Hussain Sahib was a man of many dimensions. He rang me one day of a Quran (plain, not decorated) which had been brought by a Pathan, residing in Qaiser Hotel Lahore. There was nothing special about the calligraphy, but it was written by a Hindu calligrapher of Lahore. Manzoor Sahib was reluctant about it, for he thought in terms of blasphemy, but I was very excited about it. I gave him permission to buy it, but the Pathan vendor slipped away, and our library was never able to acquire it. Of course there were many manuscripts being written in Lahore in Persian and Arabic by Hindu calligraphers, as proven by their presence. A number of QITAS are also there with Hindu names on it. I was offered a ‘Masnavi Maulana Rum’, written in Lahore, by a Hindu in Aurangzeb’s time. So much for the so called bigotry of Aurangzeb Alamgeer. And that was not enough!

We hear of a Kalyan Mimar son of Hira Mimar of Lahore making Islamic buildings in Aurangzeb’s time. The name is mentioned in many official documentation. Mausoleums as well as mosques were in his preview. Other Hindu Mimars were attached to the famous Ustad Ahmad Mimar’s family in Lahore, and attested to their involvement in Mughal buildings. The name of Hindu supervisors and administrators like Haibat Rai even refer to the construction of the Mausoleum of Rabia Durrani, wife of Aurangzeb Alamgeer at Aurangabad in Hyderabad Deccan. The architect was Attaullah Rushdi but the supervisor was Haibat Rai. But there is more!

Naatia Mushaira 1875 AD
Naatia Mushaira 1875 AD

Masjid Wazeer Khan Mosque Lahore was a scene of many MUSHAIRAS (poetry reading groups) and there is record of many such events in the mosque itself. One event is particularly recorded and published in book form. It is a mushaira known as NAATIA MUSHAIRA, which is a group of poets of the area, reciting their poems in praise of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). The said event is dated in 1875 AD, and records the name and poetic outlets of about 25 poets. Names as well as poems are given. All in praise of the prophet, and all such poems are called ‘NAATS’. The surprising part is that there are two Hindu names in it. The poet TARA HALWAI (of Chowk of the Masjid) with the poetic name of ‘Tara’, and ARORA RAI, known as ‘Rai’. Two Hindus of Lahore reciting poems in praise of the Muslim prophet. Incredible isn’t it!

M.A. Rahman Chughtai used to talk of his dear friend MALIK RAM, who was a resident of Chabuk Sawaran Lahore, too. With other boys, Malik Ram, received his Quranic teaching at the Masjid Mulla Ghous ( same place where Mirza Ghulam Qadiani met Baba Hiyadatullah) as well as the Chinay wali masjid in the same area. Malik Ram was very proud of those days and being a literary giant, has written about those days and his Quranic education. It was in the same spirit that the famous singer Lata Mangeskar sang a NAAT for the film Mughal-e-Azam in her full spiritual candour. These incredible incidents of Lahore remain unrecorded and most interesting for future of our two countries.


All is fair in love and war

Muhammad Bin Qasim Masjid
Muhammad Bin Qasim Masjid

Everyone has heard about the story of the advent of Islam in this region. And everyone has their own view on it. Obviously for us Muslims, Muhammed bin Qasim is the hero, not because he was a Muslim, but he came in form of undoing wrongs committed here. The Muslim women who had requested to be rescued and how they were rescued by this young man, a mere 17 years old. Many ethnically bound here equate Dahir as their hero, for limited ethnic reasons. Here Qasim was the good guy, and it can be judged from his behavior here. No less that the people of SIND worshiped him as a hero and made a life size statue of him in the chowk of their major city. But here we are talking of a love affair.

The Queen of Sind was love smitten by the looks of Chach. Chach was father of Raja Dahir. Ladi was a product of a love affair. Astrologers had predicted that Raja Dahir’s sister LADI would marry a man, who would rule Sind with full might. A superstitious Raja Dahir ended the speculation by marrying his sister himself, to become that all powerful ruler. But that was not to be so.

Raja Dahir had given instructions for all the ladies of the Royal harem and wives of the courtiers to be beheaded immediately if defeat of the Hindu army was imminent. Warriors watched over these ladies and when the news came of their defeat, the slaughter of the Hindu ladies started by the Hindus themselves. Ladi threw herself from her camel onto those on the ground who were meant to behead her, and in this ruse, they were dazzled to the extent, that it gave time to Arabs to save Ladi from slaughter. The captors took her in their possession.

Pir Pattho - Muhammad Bin Qasim Fort  tower
Pir Pattho – Muhammad Bin Qasim Fort tower

Muhammed bin Qasim found out about the capture of Ladi, and sought permission from the Caliph in purchasing her from her captors (laws governed behavior). When the permission came, he bought her and made her his wife. The prediction was coming true. Ladi had seen the softness in the looks of Qasim, and Qasim had seen the demure of this exceptional lady. It seems love had happened at first sight.

The Chach-nama gives us flashes of incidents here and there. It also give us a flash of a sister of Raja Dahir ‘Bai’ burning herself and all the other ladies in a fire ritual in a room. It is not clear if Ladi and Bai are two characters or same persons. The death of the lady Bai is mysterious.

We are also told about how Ladi confused the warriors outside the ramparts by mounting a camel and in black dress going for a ride. It was considered a deliberate tactic in favour of the Arabs. If Chach nama had survived in full, we would have had all the information required, but even in the annals of one of the greatest battles in the history of the region, it is intermersed with a love story. The love story of Qasim and Ladi. The end is not known, nor we hear of their children. But it is a ballad for folk singers for all times.