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THE STORY OF JALAL UD DIN KHAWARAZM SHAHI AND SAID MITHA – A LAHORI CHAPTER 1219-1221 TO 1262 A.D ALIVE TO THIS DAY WELL

THE STORY OF JALAL UD DIN KHAWARAZM SHAHI AND SAID MITHA – A LAHORI CHAPTER 1219-1221 TO 1262 A.D ALIVE TO THIS DAY WELL

Jalaluddin Mingburnu

In 1206 Chengez Khan united the Mongols as one fighting force. Then there was no stopping them, as area by area fell under their might and spell. Khwarazm was no exception. The might of that empire crumpled. Sultan Muhammed with all his resources fled as refuge from his territory. His mother Terken Khatun was taken as a prisoner by Chengez Khan. His many sons too could not bear the brunt of the attack. Only one son Jalaluddin Khwarizmi stood against the might of the Mongols, but he too fled towards Hindustan. With him fled a Wali of Ghazni, namely Syed Jamaluddin Hussaini, and his young son Syed Moeenuddin Hussaini (Said Mitha). According to Mufti Ghulam Sarwar, Jalal uddin along with Wali Jamal uddin first came to Lahore, and then went to Delhi.  Then Jalaluddin took the route towards Sind through river Indus. Jamaluddin with his son remained in Lahore. I think one hardly knows that the great hero Jalal uddin was in Lahore once upon a time. An area in Lahore contains the Mohalla of Said Mitha, his mazar, and at this time even a hospital named after him.

Said Mitha died in 661 A.H, that is 1262 AD. By Hijri standards it is almost 800 years, and by Christian year it is 759 years. If Said Mitha came here even as a teenager in 1219-1221, it is many centuries here. If he was twenty at that time, he would be around eighty at the time of his death. His ancestral tree is given by Mufti Ghulam Sarwar as, Said Mitha, son of Syed Jamal uddin, son of Syed Muhammed, son of Syed Kareem uddin, son of Syed Nur uddin, son of Syed Adam, son of Syed Ali Jaffer, son of Syed Muhammed, son of Syed Yusuf, son of Syed Mahmood, son of Syed Ahmad, son of Syed Abdullah Ashfaree, son of Jaffer, son of Syed Muhammed Al-Jawad, son of Imam Ali Raza, son of Imam Musa Kazim, son of Imam Jaffer Sadiq, son of Imam Muhammed Baqir, son of Imam Zainul Abedeen, son of Imam Hussain, son of Ali Murtaza. And the good people of Lahore remain under his spell centuries later, for his piety, message and the sweetness of his attitude towards people. Today sweets are distributed at his Mazar. People are crazy enough to believe anything.

Around 1977 we visited the Mohalla of Said Mitha, in searching of ancient markers. The Mazar was in a room of a small lane, locked from outside, and we really could not judge its construction. In a lane nearby, we saw ancient wood work of Sultanate period, which were bought by Ahmad, an antique dealer of Lahore. We also saw ancient balconies, with parrots carved on them in the bazaar. Or perhaps peacocks. The politicians took over the Mazar later, and had it totally reconstructed on modern lines. But the structure still speaks of ancient construction. More probably Mughal times, but could be earlier. No photograph seems to be available, not even the Mazar in its present condition. We had it photographed for the internet. But certainly, eventually we may be able to trace its original condition. Our people love fantasy, not history. And spinning tales about Mazars, Sufis and Sarkars is national hobby. Some of these places in Lahore are really old, like Mazar of Ahmad Tokhta Tirmizi, Mazar of Salahuddin Hussain Balkhi in Kashmeeri Bazaar, and Ganj Shaheedah etc. Most with Mongol memories attached to them. Vague memories are replaced by fresh ideas of charlatans. And ends with financial exploitation of the innocent and naive citizens. No one advises the people to go back to the Quran, and do not seek solace in contrived ideas, of no historical worth. All Sufis are dead, only the Quran is the living thing. Rejoice in the Quran!

MEMORIES OF SCHOOL DAYS AT RAILWAY TECHNICAL SCHOOL – PAGES FROM AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

MEMORIES OF SCHOOL DAYS AT RAILWAY TECHNICAL SCHOOL – PAGES FROM AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

The Railway Technical School was established in 1889. In 1927 it was changed into a college and remains an Engineering college to this day. Portions of the old school survived till recent times and it was the site of the Mosque of Dara Shikoh’s wife. It was originally made for the children of the Railway employees to receive free education. Abdur Rahman Chughtai had many relatives in the Railway from his mother’s side. He got admission in it, along with his younger brother Abdullah Chaghatai. As Chughtai missed a year of education, both brothers appeared in the same examination in 1911. That is why confusion over their date of birth is generated for same reason. Abdullah appeared as regular student, while Abdur Rahman appeared as a private student. The irritation started when Abdur Rahman swept the examination by coming first in the Drawing class, and second, on the platform of Punjab itself. Before his death the artist had started an autobiography, and these are two pages from his school days, worthy of mention. We can attempt to picture this important memory.

The class was being promoted from 7th to 8th class. The Hindu Master wanted to know from the class of about 30/40 boys their plans for the future. Abdur Rahman was noting with dissatisfaction that no boys were interested in pursuing higher education, and their total interest was to find a job in the Railways like their father. Each boy was asked one by one. When Abdur Rahman’s turn came, his desire was to tell the Master that all he was interested was in flying kites, fishing in the river, as well as swimming in the river as well as ponds. But he knew he would get a thrashing, so he refrained from saying that. Instead, he said that he has not decided yet. Noted with regret that no boys had even an ambition of any kind. Only one other student accompanied him to Mayo School of Arts, but even then, the artist lost track of him. Of course, his brother Abdullah was interested in wood working and joined the Carpentry classes at Mayo School of arts. End of desire for all.

School Certificate 1911

The autobiography is full of episodes and perhaps can be published one day in consolidated form.

A FEW REMARKABLY PRESERVED PAGES FROM A SCHOOL DRAWING BOOK – PROBABLY AROUND 1908, EARLIEST FREE DRAWINGS M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

A FEW REMARKABLY PRESERVED PAGES FROM A SCHOOL DRAWING BOOK – PROBABLY AROUND 1908, EARLIEST FREE DRAWINGS M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

From the early naqashi classes of Baba Miran Baksh at Wazeer Khan’s mosque, the artist Chughtai moved to Railway Technical School, near Railway Station, Lahore. Children of the employees of Railway, received free education here. As a lot of Chughtai’s relatives from the mother side was in the Railways, it was natural for him to be there. His brilliance everybody could see, but his attitude was resented there. The Head Master used to thrash him literally with a stick, so much so that he ran away from School. (But that is another story) Suffice that some pages from a drawing book are still preserved with us. It was natural for him to come second in the Eighth Middle examination, with excellence in Technical and free drawing. Some pages saved from his drawing book, and as he passed his exam in 1911, so we can say these pages are from 1908 or so. Enjoy!

A KITA MASTERPIECE BY MIAN MUHAMED HAYAT NAQASH – LARGEST KITA SEEN BY US OF UNBELIEVABLE SIZE PATRON.

A KITA MASTERPIECE BY MIAN MUHAMED HAYAT NAQASH – LARGEST KITA SEEN BY US OF UNBELIEVABLE SIZE PATRON.

Mian Muhammed Hayat Naqash

We finally measured this large kita. It is 57 inches by 26 inches. I do not recall seeing or hearing of such large kita. Exceptional calligraphy as well as exceptional naqashi, in tradition of his father Baba Miran Baksh. Hayat Naqash was first cousin of artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai. Their ancestral domain was the first hujra on the right in the Wazeer Khan mosque. Umar Din Naqash, father of Baba Miran Baksh, also worked in the same hujra. It was with great effort that we managed all this. Enjoy!

Large Kita Hayat Naqash

IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPTS RELATED TO NAWAB WAZEER KHAN LAHORI – AND HIS SON MUHAMMED SALAH ALIAS ANWAR KHAN ALAMGEERI

IMPORTANT MANUSCRIPTS RELATED TO NAWAB WAZEER KHAN LAHORI – AND HIS SON MUHAMMED SALAH ALIAS ANWAR KHAN ALAMGEERI

A wealth of information lies in the study of manuscripts. So much new is discovered every day. Reference is made to Anwar Khan as existing in the time of Shah Jahan, but that is not the case at all. Tazhkira Kewal Ram clears all that, by telling us that the name of Wazeer Khan’s son was Muhammed Salah. Later on, Aurangzeb rose his rank and gave him the title of Salah Khan. In 29th regnal year, he was given the title of Anwar Khan. So much so for the waqf nama touted as the legacy of Nawab Wazeer Khan.

The discovery of a manuscript written by Muhammed Salah in 1080 A H as well as 1089 A H, clears all this very much. We reproduce some pages for the information of researchers. Worthy of further research. A notable addition to our research book, “The Legacy of Nawab Wazeer Khan”. Another important discovery is the DIWAN OF WAZEER KHAN, and we will talk about it in a separate blog. Wait!

DR ANJUM REHMANI VERSUS DR ABDULLAH CHAGHATAI – FIGHT OF SCHOLARS HAS BECOME ROUTINE IN OUR TIMES.

DR ANJUM REHMANI VERSUS DR ABDULLAH CHAGHATAI – FIGHT OF SCHOLARS HAS BECOME ROUTINE IN OUR TIMES.

Masjid in Caravan Serai

Dr Abdullah Chaghatai in his life time quoted an incident from a history book, that is “Tarikh Daudi”, about a wicked man living in a Serai in the city of Lahore, in the times of Sultan Islam Shah Suri, son of Sher Shah Suri. The wicked man used to lure rich men to his home, with a story of having a beautiful daughter, who he wishes to get married as an act of responsibility. Once at his home, he used to assassinate the person, and would take possession of his assets. The story is mentioned in reference to the old Sultani Serai in the mausoleum of Emperor Jahangeer.

Dr Anjum Rehmani considers it a confusion of Dr Abdullah Chaghatai, and quotes that the wicked man was living in a Serai in the confines of Lahore city, and that the reference to the Sultani Serai is a figment of his imagination. And that is quoted by him in very disparaging terms. Certainly not fit for scholars to stoop low in language.

I wanted to get my hands on a copy of the famous Tarikh Daudi, so I can actually refer to the actual paragraph. Finally, I was able to obtain a copy and I translate the actual paragraph to the best of my ability. It goes like this, on page 285 of this translation of the book. It says:

“Devil like old man.  In Lahore City lived a certain kind of man, who lived in the mosque of CARAVAN SERAI. His home in same direction on bank of river Ravi in a village. Whenever a moneyed person came in the mosque, and inquired from old man, whether his home was in the Serai. Old man used to reply my home is nearby. I live in that village. A very important work is my responsibility. The  traveler asked ‘what is this important work’ ? “

Dr Abdullah Chaghatai

The confusion is generated by use of the word Lahore City. If we just forgo that reference as vague, then Dr Abdullah Chagatai is certainly hundred percent right.  For certainly the present walled city is a product of Emperor Akbar and a later reference. If we stick to the word as Lahore City, then the rest is confusing too. The reference that the man’s home was in same direction on bank of river Ravi in a village, means different interpretation. That he lived in a mosque of a Serai which was on the bank of river Ravi. Jahangeer’s mausoleum too was on the bank of river Ravi, as even shown in old maps, and the destruction caused by its overflow to the Serai itself. The word used for Serai is Caravan Serai, which certainly means a big serai, fit for a Caravan to camp in it. No big serais even in Lahore city at that time. So, the verdict will become ambiguous. It is just a poor use of words, and not even a clarification to the actual name of the Serai. The whole Tarikh Daudi is full of even greater mistakes, as well as even wrong references. So, we just give the two scholars to cool down. History itself makes many mistakes. One cannot refute another with choice of words alone. The mosque and the serai are still in front of us. Everyone can make their own judgement. But gentlemen, learn to be polite!

A DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF LAHORE MAJOR JOHN CLARKE – AND MIAN RAHEEM BAKSH MIMAR, LINKS ALL NEW IN WORK – A STORY OF CHANGE AND THE COMING OF THE NEW AESTHETICS

A DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF LAHORE MAJOR JOHN CLARKE – AND MIAN RAHEEM BAKSH MIMAR, LINKS ALL NEW IN WORK –
A STORY OF CHANGE AND THE COMING OF THE NEW AESTHETICS

Somebody was in possession of three letters. Major John Clarke. Deputy Commissioner of Sheikhupura in 1851, Deputy Commissioner of Gujranwala in 1855, and DC of Lahore in 1856. And it goes further when n 1862, he is Engineer in Chief, of Lahore Railway Station Works. He is getting the Railway construction work done, and in that respect, he is giving a certificate to Mian Raheem Baksh Mimar, alias Haemoo, related to his supervision of construction of the Railway Station. He says:

I have pleasure in testifying to the detailed knowledge possessed by Haemoo of Masonry and Bricklaying. He has acted as Foreman of Mistrees at the Lahore Passenger Station and other buildings, understand a Plan thoroughly and is a very valuable person to have about building operations.” Dated 1st November, 1862.

A chance reference revealing a valuable truth. All envelopes had the original letters in them but now in some worldly collection. The most interesting fact is that Punjab is under the Bombay residency, as the address clarifies in depth. A different era of Lahore.

A CONCEPT KNOWN AS IQBALLIAN KHUDI OFFERS OF DONATION FOR CHUGHTAI MUSEUM

A CONCEPT KNOWN AS IQBALLIAN KHUDI
OFFERS OF DONATION FOR CHUGHTAI MUSEUM

Five offers in 46 years is a record in itself 

The house of M.A. Rahman Chughtai was not an easy one to grow in any way, for Iqballian principles flowed in the house. The artist was a student of the Quran and the permanent values of the Quran he understood very well. For us in the house there were plenty of dos and don’ts, but we were never afraid of them. We followed them to the letter in full spirit. An artist who could mutter Iqbal’s verses many times in the day would certainly have people listening to him. He always lamented about TERAY SADA BANDAY QIDAR JAHAIN, YAHAN SULTANI BE AIYARI HAI AUR FAQEERI BE. After taking his bath, he would spend some time in reciting such verses. One thing we were told again and again is that US RIZK SAY HAI MOAT BAHTAR JIS SAY ATI HAI PARWAZ MAY KUTAI.  Yes, we understood difference between money which can lower your head in shame. That was the reason that I never learnt to spread my hand in front of anyone. I could never ask my father for any money., Any need of mine I would tell my mother and she would get the money from my father (who also never carried money and would ask my uncle). That attitude continued in life. I could never raise my hand in front of anybody. I learnt to give and give and I gave whatever I could and thousands can bear testimony to this, who walked in our museum anytime in life.

I remember Imran Khan used to collect donations and did not account them in the initial years. People took him to court and I thought how embarrassing it was, for someone to be asked to explain his finances. Pakistanis are not easy on artists or museums. They are in the habit of TAKING EVERYTHING FREE without BUDGING AN EYE. LIFE!. I know that and I experience that. But five times in 46 years, we were offered donations. The first was from a British Couple who were interested in knowing where the DONATION BOX was and wanted to drop a Ten Rupee note in it.  It was very embarrassing and I told them WE DO NOT TAKE DONATIONS. Utterly surprised at my saying this to them. Second was a Pakistani lawyer who wanted to donate 100 Rs for ten small cypress trees to be planted on the premises. I could only laugh at that. Museums abroad receive millions to give this service to anybody, so our guy here was not only clever but also a first-rate miser. Third was a DESI MAIM from England, who was forcibly trying to give me a thousand Rs. The thing went to actual harshness when after refusing her again and again, she insisted on same. So finally, I told her to give this to some beggar walking outside the museum, if she wants to satisfy herself. Otherwise, I will not accept same. The fourth was an American Airline pilot from Saudi Arabia who offered me TEN DOLLARS and when refused, he made it TWENTY DOLLARS. It also led to unpleasantness but I refused him again and again. He would not understand how people can refuse money.

The fifth one was very recent. A dear friend Nusratullah Shah walked in with a WAD of Rs 5000 currency notes with a letter from his son in law, as a donation gift to the Museum. It utterly surprised me but made me feel good and humble. I told him how can we take a thing for which there is no account. When I cannot account for it, how can I take it? As a gentleman, he understood me well. If irritated he did not show it.

Not a single paisa taken from anyone in 46 years, a record in itself. On our own, for even the Government, federal or provincial had never even offered a single paisa to us. Curse be on that money which hampers your flight! We want to be falcons not greedy politicians who we cite every day in our life. Yes, we have survived on our own, with our abilities. My father gave me HAQ HILAL to eat and I have given HAQ HILAL to my children to eat. There is nothing to equal that. I walk tall. I know what KHUDI is in all ways something to pursue in life. I am grateful to my father for his lessons of life.

A FAMOUS HAKEEM OF LAHORE FROM FAMOUS HAKEEMS FAMILY – SYED BUZURG SHAH, WITH A KOCHA IN LAHORE NAMED AFTER HIM.

A FAMOUS HAKEEM OF LAHORE FROM FAMOUS HAKEEMS FAMILY – SYED BUZURG SHAH, WITH A KOCHA IN LAHORE NAMED AFTER HIM.

A certain part of the family of M.A. Rahman Chughtai lived in Kocha Buzurg Shah, just near the Chowk of Masjid Wazeer Khan. The closest was his phopha (father’s sister husband) Baba Miran Baksh, traditional naqash family of Lahore. Other relatives were also there.

Historian of Lahore Kanaya Lal mentions two Buzurg Shahs in Lahore. One related to Hakeem Inayat Shah of Hakeem Nathu Shah. There were three sons of Inayat Shah’s sister, namely Muhammed Shah, Bahadur Shah and Buzurg Shah. On other hand there was Wali Shah, whose sister too had three sons Buzurg Shah, Ahmad Shah, and an unnamed third son. I think it is Buzurg Shah, related to Inayat Shah. An inscription on a manuscript of Qasida Burda shows Buzurg Shah, to be son of Syed Ghulam Shah. Both citizens of Lahore in same time period.

Lineage starts from Syed Amir Baksh Al Hasni Al Hussaini Al Makki al-mashoor Syed Nathu Shah, reference manuscript “Intikhab Lateef” written (or copied) in 1179 AH, so it goes to 18th century, from 19th century. From him comes Syed Inayat Shah, a maqbara still existing in Kocha Buzurg Shah (although the area is almost demolished by now), and then from his sister, three sons.

We will eventually try to load an image, as present condition does not allow the same. The interesting part is that this maqbara was made by Raheem Baksh, grandfather of Chughtai artist, and maintained till 1913 by Mian Kareem Baksh his son. In fact, there were two Multani naqashi plates on the entrance, put there by Mian Kareem Baksh, as well as known to everybody then. All these families were interconnected. A large selection of books was discovered there as well as antiquity pieces. There was even a calligraphic qita written by Muhammed Hussain, step brother of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, which we will put up eventually. So, in all ways there was deep relations between two families. The famous municipal engineer, Mian Badar-uddin also lived in same mohalla. Another interesting part was a perhaps ten (or more) stories single room house, which was unimaginable at that time. Those who lived in it one thing, even looking at it made you dizzy. Like the tower of Pizza, even tilted at places. How mimars of that period managed the request cannot be understood, but it was an engineering feat of that time? So many unknown dimensions of Lahore.

THE ARRIVAL OF SHAHINSHAH OF IRAN IN LAHORE 1950 – THE EXHIBITION AT ALHAMRA OF PAINTINGS OF M A R C.

Shahinshah Iran 5th March 1950

THE ARRIVAL OF SHAHINSHAH OF IRAN IN LAHORE 1950 – THE EXHIBITION AT ALHAMRA OF PAINTINGS OF M A R C.

If I recall reading that the Shahinshah of Iran was the first foreign Head of State to visit Pakistan. Various press cuttings reveal his activities in Lahore. For example, on 5th March, 1950, he is practicing gun shooting at the Governors House Lahore, while being watched by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, and Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin. A rare official photograph. There is a clipping related to his visit to the Lahore Fort. And then there was a visit to Alhamra Lahore, to see an exhibition of paintings of M.A. Rahman Chughtai.

In the photograph one can see the Shah of Iran, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, Governor Abdur Rab Nishtar and others, as well as the artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai. A rare moment in history. A painting was presented to the Shah of Iran. Later a show was planned in Tehran under RCD but that never happened due to bureaucratic inner struggles. More on that later.

The Shah of Iran carried love for Chughtai art, and it was passed on to his Queen Farah Deeba, who was willing to help Chughtai Museum through the Farah Deeba Foundation for the Arts. A royal invitation was extended to Chughtai Museum to participate in a show in Tehran, based on Chughtai’s work on Omar Khayyam. But due to political changes that never happened too. But certainly, the Iranians love of art was ever there, and love for Chughtai art more profound in same way.