Monday, 20 November 2017

Anarkali Tomb

Among the earliest extant Mughal tombs, Anarkali's sepulcher is also one of the most significant Mughal buildings of the period.The tomb, to the south of Lahore's Old City, is part of the compound of Punjab Secretariat on Lower Mall, and is located at the rear of Chief Secretary's Office. Since the tomb is utilized as the Punjab Archives, access to the building is restricted. Make sure that you plan a visit to it during office hours, otherwise you will find the gates to the secretariat locked and the sentry at the gate unwilling to allow even a peep.
Not only is it a "most ingeniously planned octagonal building", it is a memorial to the love-legend centering around prince Salim (later emperor Jahangir), and Anarkali (pomegranate blossom) who belonged to the harem of emperor Akbar, Salim's father. Although Mughal sources are silent about Anarkali, European contemporary travelers such as William Finch related the popular gossip rife at the time, mentioning her as Akbar's "most beloved wife."
Latif, quoting popular legend, says that Sharf-un-Nisa or Nadira Begam, with the title of Anarkali, was found giving a return smile to the prince by the emperor in the mirrors of his palace. Suspecting an intrigue or worse, Akbar ordered Anarkali to be interred alive. Accordingly, she was placed in an upright position and buried alive in a masonry wall, brick by brick. The prince, who must have been devastated, on succeeding the throne in 1605, "had an immense superstructure raised over her sepulcher" 16 years after her death.

The tomb, once set off as the centerpiece of a beautifully laid out garden setting, is today hemmed in by the structures surrounding it. However, it is this tomb which gifted the name Anarkali to the whole area when the British first set up a cantonment here. The monument employs a popular format using an octagonal plan, its sides alternately measuring 44 feet and 30 feet. Architecturally, however, it is unique in its utilization of semi-octagonal towers dominating each corner, rising well above the walls and terminated with cupolas over pavilion-like kiosks. A low pitched dome—among the earliest Mughal examples of double-dome—spans the central chamber and is carried on a drum or neck. The lower shell of the dome is constructed of small bricks in five stages or rings. The central dome is supported inside by eight arches 12 feet 3 inches thick. It is a masterpiece of solid masonry work of the early Mughal period.

Over the last couple of hundred years, the tomb has been put to several uses. In the first half of 19th century it served as the residence of Ranjit Singh's French general Jean Baptiste Ventura's Armenian wife. From 1847 it was used as offices for the clerical staff of the first British Resident, Henry Lawrence. From 1851 it was the venue for divine service, while in early 1857 it was consecrated as St. James' Church, later being declared a Pro-Cathedral.

The sarcophagus made of pure marble of extraordinary beauty and exquisite workmanship is, in view of 19th century scholars, "one of the finest pieces of carving in the world." It was put away in one of the side bays when the building was first converted into a church. It was then placed in the spot from which the altar had been removed rather than being replaced in its original central position. In 1940 the grave was found intact in its original position, five feet below the present floor. From accounts of its discovery, the grave is apparently of plastered brick-work, inscribed on the top and sides with the ninety-nine attributes of God and below with a Persian couplet. The Persian couplet inscribed on the sarcophagus has been translated by Latif into English. "Ah! could I behold the face of my beloved once more, I would give thanks unto my God until the day of resurrection," and is signed "Majnoon Salim Akbar" or "The profoundly enamoured Salim, son of Akbar" and expresses Jahangir's intense passion for the beautiful Anarkali. No doubt the two inscribed dates 1008 [1599] and 1024 [1615] refer to the date of Anarkali's death and the completion of the sepulcher respectively. Historians now believe the tomb to be that of Sahab-e-Jamal, one of the wives of Jahangir, who died in Lahore in 1599.

Today the monument appears as a simple, whitewashed massive brick structure, robbed of its decorative veneer, and its apertures and aiwan profiles filled in to serve its varied usage. However, the internal spaces, inspite of the alteration, are exciting, the viewing of which coupled with the amazing treasure of archival material of Punjab Archives—set up as Punjab Record Office in 1891, when the cathedral was shifted to its new premises—is wonderfully rewarding. For those interested in history of the British Punjab, it is a treasure trove, for, along with rare images and other documents, files dating back to the earliest days of British administration are carefully and meticulously maintained here.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Foggy Night and Visit to Hazrat shams-e- tabrizi Shrine

Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra) ad. 1248 was an Iranian Sufi mystic born in the city of Tabriz in Iranian Azerbaijan. He is responsible for initiating Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (rah), usually known as Rumi in the West, into Islamic mysticism, and is immortalized by Rumi's poetry collection Diwan-e Shams-e Tabriz-i ("The works Shams of Tabriz ") (Ra). Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra) lived together with Rumi in Koyna in present day Turkey, for several years, and is also known to have traveled to Damascus in modern Syria.After several years with Rumi, Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra) disappeared from the pages of history quite suddenly. It is unknown what happened to him after his departure from Rumi, and there are several sites that claim to his grave, one in a remote region of the Karakoram in Northern Pakistan at a place called Ziarat, near the village Shimshall, and another in the same city that was buried in Rumi: Konya, Turkey. Rumi's love for Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra), and his grief at his death, found expression in an outpouring of music, dance, and lyrics. Rumi himself left Konya and went searching for Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra), traveled far Damascus before realizing that Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra) and himself were, in fact, "the same" As the years passed, Rumi attributed more and more of his own poetry to Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Raz), as a sign of love for his deceased friend and master. In fact, it soon becomes clear in reading Rumi that Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Raz), was elevated to a symbol of God's love for humanity, and that Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra), was a Sun ("Shams" is Arabic for "sun") shining the Light of God on Rumi.The image of Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra), which is transmitted in the later Sufi tradition is that of an ecstatic wandering mystic who theophanic teacher for Rumi. While the relationship between Rumi and Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Raz), is certainly one of the finest in the history of Islamic mysticism, the person of Shams is different from the image being projected onto him. The Maqalat Shams (oral discourses), which are now provided, Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra), comes across as a scholar, who was especially interested in proving his devotion to the Prophet Muhammad (S). He repeatedly criticizes philosophers and other mystics who tried to elevate themselves above the prophet of Islam.In the contemporary period Tabrezi Shams, there is confusion over the name "Shams" as there were three persons existing at the same time. This was Tabrezi Shams, Ismaili PIR (Dai) and Ismaili Imam Shamsuddin Shams Sabzwari.The tomb in Multan, Pakistan is Pir Shams Sabzwari, but it is known as Shams Tabrez. Nobody knows exactly where the tomb of Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(GAC) is located.

Miracles Performed by Hazrat Shams Tabrez (Ra)

Maulana (religious teacher) Rumi could never have become Maula Rumi
Without submitting to Spiritual Guide Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi-(Ra)

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Baoli at Mehfoozpura


Living all my life in historical city of Lahore never came to know about the magnificient pavilion and Step well (Baoli) located inside Mehfoozpura Garrison.

There is interesting story of getting first acquaintance with this architecture. It was early march this year when, I able to come across another Baoli located in small village of Brahmanabad in outskirts of Lahore. That was the first Baoli located on old GT route in Pakistan. The orientation of GT road after Amirstar is not same as it is now days it passes along the Shah nahar and cross Manahala. But in that path Ranjeet Singh has to take a turn for reaching to Amirtsar. So, he constructed a road from Amirtsar to Lahore fort of straight orientation. Few years back, we have visited one of the two last standing KOS Minar (medieval milestones) in outskirts of Lahore near Manhala village These structures help me to draw the orientation of GT road and I am writing a detailed blog in this regard.

While searching details about Brahmnabad, I came to know about Baoli inside Mehfoozpura Garrsion mentioned in the book, ‘The Silkroads Highway and Culture’ by Vadime Elisseeff, he describe about the “Baoli of Brahmanabad” &  Mehfoozpura as well.

“From Manhala of Khan-i-Khana, the road used to go to Brahmanabad, where an interesting baoli with a small pavilion is now in very poor state and will soon be filled in if no remedial action is taken. From here, the road goes to Mahfuzpura Cantonment where an elegant baoli with a double-ringed well and and imposing two story domed pavilion has given the site its present name of Baoli Camp. It has been recently repaired by Pakistan army.”

Mahfuzpura Baoli is second Baoli on old GT road in Pakistan

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Vanish Town of Asarur

Village in the Khangah Dogran tahsil of Gujranwala District, Punjab, situated in 31 47' N. and 73 42' E. It is identified by Cunningham with the ancient city of Tse-kie or Taki, which was visited by Hiuen Tsiang in a. d. 630. The city was then one of great importance, and is said by the Chinese pilgrim to have been 3 miles in circuit, a measurement which agrees well enough with that of the ruins still existing. The antiquity claimed for the place is confirmed by the large size of the bricks, 18 by 10 by 3 inches, which are found all over the ruins, and by the great numbers of Indo-Scythian coins that are discovered after heavy rain. Its history therefore certainly reaches back to the beginning of the Christian era. The ruins consist of an extensive mound, 15,600 feet, or nearly 3 miles, in circuit. The highest point is in the north-west quarter, where the mound rises to 59 feet above the fields. This part, which Cunningham takes to have been the ancient palace, is 600 feet long and 400 feet broad, and quite regular in shape. It contains an old well, 21 feet in diameter, which has not been used for many years and is now dry. The place is com- pletely surrounded by a line of large mounds about 25 feet in height, and 8,100 feet, or \\ miles, in circuit, which was evidently the strong- hold or citadel of the place. The mounds are round and prominent, like the ruins of large towers or bastions. On the east and south sides of the citadel the mass of ruins sinks to 10 and 15 feet in height, but it is twice the size of the citadel, and is no doubt the remains of the old city. There are no visible traces of any ancient buildings, as all the surface bricks have been long ago carried off to the neighbouring shrine of Ugah Shah at Khangah Masrur on the road from Lahore to Pindf Bhattian ; but among the old bricks forming the surrounding wall of the mosque, Cunningham found three moulded in different patterns, which could only have belonged to buildings of some importance.
He found also a wedge-shaped brick, 15 inches long and 3 inches thick, with a breadth of ro inches at the narrow end and nearly 10^ inches at the broad end. This must have been made for a stupa, or for a well, but most probably for the latter, as the existing well is 2 1 feet in diameter. The modern village of Asarur contains only forty-five houses. At the time of Hiuen Tsiang's visit there were ten monasteries, but very few Buddhists, and the mass of the people worshipped the Brah- manical gods. North-east of the town, at 10 //, or nearly 2 miles, was a stTlpa of Asoka, 200 feet in height, which marked the spot where Buddha had halted, and which was said to contain a large number of his relics. This stupa General Cunningham identifies with the little mound of Salar, near Thatta Saiyidan, just 2 miles to the north of Asarur.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Tulamba the forgotten heritage

Reference Archeological Survey of India (Volulme V) 04-11-2017 

Tulamba is more than 2500 years old. People say that Tulamba was here even in the era of Noah. Tulamba faced many armies as it was in the way to famous Multan. The forces coming from North and West had to pass from Tulamba to go to Multan.On digging, five eras are discovered. The first era belongs to Moi tribe. The remaining four belong to Greek, Sasani, Budh, Hinduand Muslim civilizations. From Aplodots Sir Megas to Muhammad Ghauri, the coins of several governments were found here.

When Alexander the great invaded Indian Sub-Continent, he also came to Tulamba. In that time, Tulamba was ruled by Moi people. They were very brave and courageous, that's why Alexandar faced big difficulties here.The history of Muslims begins with Muhammad bin Qasim when he came to Tulamba in his way to Multan. The place from where he passed is now called Qasim Bazar.

Sher Shah Suri built a Fort right in the center of the city, whose boundary wall and some parts of the building are still present. The Girls High School and the offices of Town Committee are present in the Fort.

The ruins of older city are on a distance of one kilometre from the city. Though they are in a miserable condition due to rains and negligence, but their bricks are still visible. When Dr. Sayyed Zahid Ali Wasti visited Tulamba in 1967, he saw the ruins spread in the area of several miles. He saw a Fort with walls and a very high Tower. He saw a three thousand years old trench around the fort which was dig for the protection of the fort. He describes that walls were beautifully plastered with mud and floors were not solid. Yet most of his description is now unpredictable, because ruins are very much destroyed now.
The present town of Tulamba is said to have been built by Shujawa khan, son-in-law and Minster of Mahmud Langa of Multan, between A.D, 1510 and 1525. The old fortress, which had escaped the army of Timur, was situated upwards of one mile to the south of the modern town. It was upward of 1000 feet square, the outer rampart being about 200 feet thick and from 35 to 40 feet in height above the fields. Inside there is a clear space of 100 feet in width and 15 feet above the country, surrounding an inner fort upward of 400 feet square and 60 feet in height the level of the faussebraie. The eastern ramparts of the inner fort are still upwards of 50 feet in thickness. The whole was originally faced with brick walks, the traces of which still exist in the horizontal lines of the courses on the outer face of the ramparts, and in the numerous pieces of brick lying about in all direction. This strong, old fort is said to have been abandoned in consequence of a change in the course of the Ravi, which took a more northerly course, and thus cut of the old ramparts were then removed to build the wall of the new town, in which it is curious to see numerous carved and moulded bricks placed in various odd positons, sometimes singly, sometimes in lines of five or six and frequently upside down. The true name of the place is said to have been Kulamba, or Kulambha; but no meaning is assingmed to the name, and no reason is given for the change to Tulamba. Masson writes the name as Tulumba; but al the Muhammadan authors, from Sharf-ud-din downwards spell the name Tulamba, just as it is pronuced at the present day. The earliest notince of Tulamba that I am aware of is in Sharf-ud-din’s History of Timur, The town capitulated on terms which, as usual, were broken by Timur and his troops. “During the night the soldiers under pretence of making a search (for grain), marched towards the town, which they sacked and pillaged, burning all the houses , and even making the inhabitants slaves.”But the fort escaped. As its siege would have delayed Timur for some time, and he was imptietn to push on to Delhi.
In A.D. 1480, just one generation later, the unfortunate town of Tulamba again captitulated  to a Muhammadan invader , Amire Shekh Ali, Governor of Kabul, under Shah Rokh. Again the invader broke his pledge, and after plundering the town and killing all the males able to bear arms, he burned the place and carried of the women and children as slaves.

Tulambah is a historical place in Khanewal district. According to the district gazetteer of Multan, the present town appears to have been preceded by at least two previous sites, one of which was at the huge mound known as Mamu Sher, a mile or so to the southwest of the present town, and the other among the ruin which extends immediately to the west. According to some oral traditions, this was the place where Alexander had to face stiff resistance from the local people, and it was here that an arrow hit him which ultimately became the cause of his death on his way back to Athens.

The location on the east bank of the Ravi and the presence of ruins of a fort are a proof of the tradition. This place emerges in history many times. Many centuries later, it gave stiff resistance to Amir Temur while on his way to Delhi. According to his memoirs, he had halted here but was not welcomed by the local people for which they had to suffer at the hands of his commanders, Amir Shah Malik and Shaikh Mohammad who had slaughtered two thousand men who had taken refuge in the neighbouring jungles. Temur writes: "Amir and Shaikh slaughtered two thousands of these ill-fated Indians with their remorseless sabres, carrying off captives of their women and children." The city till 1947 was a stronghold of Brahmins who had resisted the invasion of Mahmood Ghaznavi. He plundered the city. For the fourth time, it was looted by Ahmad Shah Abdali in one of his incursions.

The city with such a glorious tradition of resistance against foreign invaders had produced a historian like Satya M. Roy who had to migrate to the Indian Punjab in 1947. She wrote a book on The Revolutionary Movements of the Punjab (1906-1946) which has been translated into Urdu by journalist Mahmood Zaman under the title, Punjab ki Inqalabi Tehreekein (published by Jamhoori Publications, Nila Gumbad, Lahore).
Migrated Tribes from India, after partition of Sub continent, people from India came to Tulamba, Shorkot, Makhdoom Pur, Kassowal, almost all parts of Southern Punjab. These people who came from India mostly are muslims and agricultural professionals, their languages are rohtiki or heryanvi.There is family like khan,s they speek pure urdu and punjabi as wel They are Rajpoots and have any subcasts according to clan and tribes system in the subcontinent; Tiagi, Sarohi, Chohan, Rajpoot, Mdahr, Toor etc. Also people from other casts; Dogar, Mio Pathan(Khan,s) Blouch and clans migrated to Tulamba

Anarkali Tomb