THE MEMOIRS OF ABDUR RAHEEM KHAN KHANAN MAASER I RAHEEMI; MULLA WAISHI YAZDI TALKS OF USTAD HERAWI AS ARCHITECT OF KHAN: MORE SPECIFICALLY MULLA ABDUL BAQI NAHAVANDI REVEALS NAME, OF MUHAMMED ALI MIMAR GARAG, HAMMAMI AS ARCHITECT WORKS.

THE MEMOIRS OF ABDUR RAHEEM KHAN KHANAN MAASER I RAHEEMI;
MULLA WAISHI YAZDI TALKS OF USTAD HERAWI AS ARCHITECT OF KHAN:
MORE SPECIFICALLY MULLA ABDUL BAQI NAHAVANDI  REVEALS NAME,
OF MUHAMMED ALI MIMAR GARAG, HAMMAMI AS ARCHITECT WORKS.

Islamic civilization talked of cleanliness as being half of faith itself. That is why they spread the concept all over the world. Europe was without soap for a thousand years. In fact, bathing was considered injurious to health. The cleaning practice in Hindustan was much to the desired, and it is legendary that the “Gudawi” that is a small vessel; provided all the water for morning cleanliness here. The arrival of the Muslims brought in different standards of cleanliness, and one finds the introduction of Public and Shahi hammams all over Indian region.

If we study the early hammams it is based on the concept of flowing water, rather than stagnated water. A look at the intricate hammam of Jaunpur Sultans tells us everything. Ventilation, hot and cold water, place for massage, bathing tubs and pools, toilet recluse, literally all the things that modern bath rooms are made off. All this in a separate enclosure for men and women, and interspersed with beautiful naqashi designs on the walls.

Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan was brilliant with all things which make a scholar, or a man of wisdom. He was Governor of Burhanpur and made lot of facilities for the city. One such facility was an intricate water system for the city. It was eighty feet deep and there were 111 kundis (narrow wells) all over the city. The flow was masterminded by the slope of water through gravity, and the air from towers built for the purpose. By use of special stones and filter elements, the water was more pure than mineral water. And the interesting part is that even today it is a working system and people come from all over the world come to go down in small lift to see the flow of water. A miracle of that age. Impossible for claustrophobic to go down but imagine the people who worked eighty feet deep all over the city and made it possible by joining 111 holes. And on top of line is the Janta Hammam for the public, and on the other Shahi Hammam for Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. A feat unparalleled in Hindustan. It is called KUNDI BHANDARAN, a derivative from Khooni Bhandaran, when initially the water flowing was of red colour.

Researchers could only come up with the name of USTAD HERAWI as the architect of Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan. What was missing was the actual name mentioned in the Memoirs of Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan. His name was Muhammed Ali, and his famous name was GARAG (that is Wolf), and he was famous as HAMMAMI, that a reflection of his proficiency in same. We translate the actual paragraph about him from the memoirs. An engineering feat of exceptional work. Happy reading!

In praise of hammamBecause in Hindustan initially there was governance of Kafirs and Hindus that was the reason that in their cities there were no hammams and the Muslim umma were deprivated from this blessing and the Muslims here due to lack of Hammams were in great difficulty. That is why when construction went into the hands of Iranian people then the Governor gave the order for construction of a public hammam in an open ground and in short time the architects of the government concentrated and that is why Mohammed Ali who was famous as Garag (wolf ) and who came from Khurasan (being Herat), he built a very clean and scruplous hammam and the residents and travelers took advantage of it and prayed for the government. The fair thing to say is that Hammam was comparable to heavenly. This design was very much an innovation of his own mind and he dedicated it as charity making it a waqf and was completed in date by the fifteenth and today the whole city’s needs are being fulfilled by it.

It can be presumed that Ustad Muhmmed Ali was responsible for the Janta Hammam, Shahi Hammam and for the construction of Kundi Bhandaran too. For all three are interlinked with each other.

An addition to our knowledge is the name of a geologist by the name of Tabkutul Arz (also referred as Arkbul Arzin, who guided Abdur Raheem Khan Khanan on the feasibility of this project in 1615 AD. We know that Arzin is a small village in Iran, in Taragavar, West Azerbaijan, and it seems to be proficient in Turkish knowledge of geology. Naturally a full team of architects were responsible for putting this project into motion, and Ustad Muhammed Ali must have supervised it all.

IN SHAH JAHANS TIME BEFORE MUMTAZ MAHAL THERE WAS GULARA MAHAL; BEFORE THE TAJ MAHAL, THERE WAS THE TWIN PALACE GULARA BURHANPUR.

IN SHAH JAHANS TIME BEFORE MUMTAZ MAHAL THERE WAS GULARA MAHAL;
BEFORE THE TAJ MAHAL, THERE WAS THE TWIN PALACE GULARA BURHANPUR.

The Shahjahannama does not list any Gulara Begum. And perhaps checking documents of the past nothing may be found. But in the important Mughal city of Burhanpur, there lies the twin palaces of Gulara Begum. She was a of Hindu origin and well versed in dancing and singing. And as a young Governor visiting Burhanpur in times of his father’s Jahangeer reign, Shah Jahan as Prince Khurram was introduced to this dancing queen, who captivated his heart. It is reported to be a fiery romance, which ended in the Prince marrying Gulara and gave her the name of Gulara Mahal, as royalty was subject in doing this all the time. To keep his romance alive, he built the twin palaces across the river Utawali, and declared it as a Palace of pleasure, or a palace of music. To drown the most eloquent music, was also the addition of the sounds of the water fall, and the water flowing under the palace itself. An innovation of great architectural wonder to this age.

The big halls are made to tune in voices of singers, and naturally acoustic speakers of our times. And OfCourse the beats of the various instruments played by the musicians. One can only imagine the musical evenings which were held here. Bur all that was made possible by architectural planning. Taking the river to a height with a dam so that the waterfall could be created in its depth. Gulara Mahal is in ruins but still intact as a structure. I do not think any serious study has been made of it.  When its history is not known and only comes through word of mouth, certainly no scholarly study has been done on its architecture.

This is well known that the Chief Architect of Emperor Shah Jahan was Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahori, and this Lahore connection can be judged from the fact that Shah Jahan himself was born in Lahore. He was an issue from Jogat Gosain, a Hindu lady, named as Bilquis Makani. The connection to Lahore was well known. The connection to Burhanpur is well known too. In fact, Mumtaz Mahal herself was buried there for some time. The fall in love with a Hindu musician was a trait of the Prince. And from a study it can be safely said that the architect of Gulara Mahal could very easily be Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahori. Well done!

SEARCH OF SOURCES OF MUHAMMED YUSUF MIMAR; TRACED AS FATHER OF USTAD AHMAD MIMAR LAHORI.

SEARCH OF SOURCES OF MUHAMMED YUSUF MIMAR;
TRACED AS FATHER OF USTAD AHMAD MIMAR LAHORI.

For reasons unknown secrecy surrounded the ancestry of Ustad Ahmad Mimar Lahori. Perhaps there were reasons to keep his name off the grid. The family was well known through architectural achievements and scholarly studies, but the ancestry was not mentioned in texts. And at times falsehood was generated by religiously bigoted historians. One such historian was author of “Munaqib  ul Mahjabeen” namely Haji Najmuddin who treated it as Sheikh Ahmad son of Sheikh Hamid Siddique descendants of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique citizen of Khajband. This was stated in 1289 A.H, and differed with all documented historical accounts. No proof was given for same except heresy accounts of followers. Obviously, no one was there to say different, although Dr Abdullah Chaghatai sent his protests over that statement. And Ustad Hamid Mimar is treated in history as a brother, cousin, or even perhaps a son in law. One source affirms him as the son of Ustad Abdul Kareem Jahangeeri.  Certainly, he was much younger to Ustad Ahmad Mimar as the Ustad died in 1059 A.H, but Ustad Hamid was alive even after 1070 A.H.

Turkish historians like Jalal Asad in “Turkish Sanati, 1928” have talked of two architects who came with Emperor Zaheeruddin Babar to Hindustan, namely Ustad Issa Mimar and Ustad Yusuf Mimar. It is up to us to search for these two in historical contexts. In Haryana scholars’ study two inscriptions found in Pirzada Masjid, naming Sheikh Yusuf as the builder of the mosque, built in times of Baber himself. Literally in ruins, it shows the advent of the double dome in the region. And in 962 A.H, we find the ruins of Shahpur Fort still there made for Ibrahim Adil Shahi.

The search for references is still there.  At a few places, early reference is that of Ustad Ahmad being son of Burkurdar. At some places the name of son is not given. In a Quran found in Bombay, the esteemed Dr Nazir Ahmad of Aligarh found reference to Lutufullah mentioning Burkurdar as his grandfather. The name is not there in final, but as a footnote at two places. Not seen the original, so cannot decide the matter. But the most damning document comes from Berlin State Library where Lutufullah in his translation of Tazkara Aulia names his ancestors in clear terms. That is Lutufullah son of Ahmad, son of Yusuf, son of Hussain, son of Abdul Lateef in 1099 A.H.

More than forty years of research and there is more. Till next time!

ART COUNCILS OF PAKISTAN – M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI’S EFFORTS FOR PAKISTAN

ART COUNCILS OF PAKISTAN
M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI’S EFFORTS FOR PAKISTAN

Forgotten pages of history

Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and M.A. Rahman Chughtai were in communication with each other, even before Pakistan came into being. Later the Prime Minister recognized the role the artist could play in promoting the Ideology of Pakistan abroad. One decision made was the establishment of Art Councils all over Pakistan. And M.A. Rahman Chughtai was part of them all.

In 1949 Pakistan Arts Council Lahore, named as Alhamra, was inaugurated by Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin, with a show of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan also came to that show with the Shahinshah of Iran, on 5th March, 1950. It was the start of a bold cultural tradition in Pakistan.

On 31st March, 1952, an exhibition of Chughtai’s works was held at YMCA Hall in Karachi, and inaugurated by the Governor General Ghulam Muhammed. Again Karachi became the centre of the start of cultural traditions in Pakistan.

On 5th March, 1956, the Abbassin Arts Council in Peshawer was inaugurated with a show of Chughtai Artist at Peshawer. M.H. Zuberi Sahib was President of the Council and responsible for that show. Today one cannot even imagine what great response the Pathan brethren gave to that show in a literally cultural desolate city.

On 3rd July 1954, the Arts Council at Dacca was inaugurated by Major General Iskander Mirza, the Governor of East Bengal Iskander Mirza requested the audience with two main statements:

“The artist should evolve a cultural tradition embracing the message of Iqbal and the warmth and fervour of the poetry of Nazrul Islam.”

And again he instructed:

“It would be a tradition which should embody the strength and purpose of the art of Zainul Abedeen and the colour rhythm and imagintion of Chughtai. ”

Iskander Mirza became the Chairman of the Council and N.M. Khan became the Chief Secretary of the Council.
On 14th August, 1959 the Karachi Art Council was inaugurated by General Muhammed Ayub Khan with a show of paintings of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. It was a grand show, attended by diplomats of many countries from abroad. It spoke of the tone of Pakistan culture.

The establishment of Art Councils was not in vain. It spread the message of peace, good will and advancement all over the world. But that was before they were taken up by moronic people in control of the affairs. With paid finances from foreign lobbies, they played havoc with the Ideology of Pakistan. But M.A. Rahman Chughtai tried his best for his country and his Art is playing its best in the world of today for Pakistan.

A NEW WAVE OF CHUGHTAI FORGERIES DONE BY A KARACHI ARTIST; WITHOUT INFORMATION FORGING PERSONAL SIGNATURES AND SEALS.

A NEW WAVE OF CHUGHTAI FORGERIES DONE BY A KARACHI ARTIST;
WITHOUT INFORMATION FORGING PERSONAL SIGNATURES AND SEALS.

Chughtai Museum has known of the wave of forgeries being done both in Delhi and Karachi, but under a new game plan, the new forgeries border on utter recklessness. This is an urgent call to buyers to be aware of these people, and we know about them, but cannot take their names, as it involves a lot of other corrupt people and art dealers. The forger artist is in Karachi but is patronized by a host of very powerful people. But this is a wakeup call to him too. We have a signed confession of his which he has forgotten by this time.

This is a historical painting. In 1911 M.A. Rahman Chughtai got married to Wazeer un nisa and a boy was born to them a few years later. The boy died at child birth and left a scar on the face of the newlywed couple. They tried their best to have another child, but the lady developed womb cancer and could not have a child anymore. It was later that Chughtai artist got married again for a second time and had two children from his second wife. Chughtai rarely painted subjects like blindness, but he ended up painting this around 1918 or so, and the work was printed in Modern Review Calcutta at that time. It was entitled “Her Blind Child” at that time. Later the name was changed to “Remorse”. Remorse disappeared from scene and came up for auction in the western circle. It was bought by Dr Quraishi of USA from there. Later the kind and gracious man tried to auction it again but it went unsold. It is not known whether it changed hand or it is still with Dr Quraishi. An offer was made to the said gentleman to give the painting to us or exchange it with another one. But as he was getting aged, he lost interest in acquisitions. It is not known of the present whereabouts of same. 

It is utterly shameless on the part of the Karachi artist not only to continue to forge Chughtai works but with a new beginning to start forging signatures and seals, which can be clearly seen as ABSOLUTELY WRONG. THIS IS ALSO TO WARN PEOPLE AND ART COLLECTORS TO ASK US THE AUTHENTICITY OF WHATEVER THEY BUY. We are available all the time, just email us at “chughtaimuseumlahore@hotmail.com” for the quickest response possible. Obviously, we are not responsible in any way with the corrupt practices of an artist. May Jesus set his path right!

14TH AUGUST 1959 INAUGURATION PAKISTAN ARTS COUNCIL KARACHI; SPEECH ON EMBARGO BY PRESIDENT AYUB KHAN ON PAKISTANI ARTISTS.

14TH AUGUST 1959 INAUGURATION PAKISTAN ARTS COUNCIL KARACHI;
SPEECH ON EMBARGO BY PRESIDENT AYUB KHAN ON PAKISTANI ARTISTS.

A beautiful speech addressed to followers of Art in Pakistan and Pakistani artists. A historical chapter on Art in Pakistan. Recoded for the future. A page of our art history.

FIRST OFFICIAL SHOW OF PAINTINGS IN PAKISTAN, M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI; INAUGURATION OF ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL KHAWAJA NAZIMUDDIN 1949; AMBASSADORS SPECIALLY FLEW FROM KARACHI TO VIEW THE SHOW

FIRST OFFICIAL SHOW OF PAINTINGS IN PAKISTAN, M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI;
INAUGURATION OF ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL KHAWAJA NAZIMUDDIN 1949;
AMBASSADORS SPECIALLY FLEW FROM KARACHI TO VIEW THE SHOW

It was a grand event in the cultural history of Pakistan. It was well advertised and well known to people in and outside the country. Delegations came from all over the world. Chancellors from American Universities. Ambassadors flew to Lahore from Karachi. The Governor General of Pakistan, Khawaja Nazimud din to inaugurate the show. This was in conjunction with the inauguration of ALHAMRA ARTS COUNCIL. The idea discussed at the house of Begum Shahnawaz in 1946. An institution founded by M.A. Rahman Chughtai and he designed its first insignia, which is still valid to this day. He also gave it the name ALHAMRA. He set the whole tone for it. It was to reflect the kind of renaissance in culture which happened to Islamic Arts in Spain. Everything was forward looking.

The first foreign Head of State to visit Pakistan was the Shahinshah of Iran and he too visited the show along with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan. It can be seen in the press photograph too. The place Alhamra was like a second home to us and we visited it often. M.A. Rahman Chughtai even planted many mango trees there. The object to bring Pakistan to the fore front of the Art world.

Men of culture governed Alhamra. Then Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto thrusted it into bureaucratic orbit and nincompoops came one after the other, to loot the spoils of war. From the refinement of Fine Arts and Classical music, it was set for stage dramas of the most vulgar kind. Imtiaz Ali Taj must be crumbling in his grave as to what happened here. The place was used to rent out for Shadi ghars and what not? The making of the new building was so defective that the roof gave in one day. Even now we see work going on in the roof. Contractors busy at looting governmental money. Suffice to say we all understand that. There are those who deny even Chughtais association with the place. Documentary evidence speak otherwise. We wish Kamran Lashari, the best in his venture to upgrade Alhamra back into form. But like many other things in Pakistan, this is just another RAW deal.

A GREAT ART EVENT IN PAKISTAN’S HISTORY 14TH AUGUST 1959 ; INAUGURATION OF KARACHI ARTS COUNCIL WITH ART WORKS OF ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI NATIONAL ARTIST OF PAKISTAN

A GREAT ART EVENT IN PAKISTAN’S HISTORY 14TH AUGUST 1959;
INAUGURATION OF KARACHI ARTS COUNCIL WITH ART WORKS OF ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI NATIONAL ARTIST OF PAKISTAN

Inaugural Show of Arts Council Karachi 1959

Media is nowadays suffering an amnesia about the past of Pakistan. All they can see is the worst of Pakistan and that they show at the behest of foreign lobbies, for those lobbies pay them enough to do things allergic to the Identity of Pakistan. Pakistan made great strides in the world even in its worst circumstances. Like the past Heads of State, President Ayub Khan also promoted the Arts in his way. Finances were released for the new ARTS COUNCIL building in Karachi and it was inaugurated with an Art show of the works of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. One of the biggest shows in the history of Pakistan with hundreds of works by the artist. The speech Ayub Khsan read is with us and we will give it another time. Till then just enjoy a vision of the show.

Art activities in Karachi started with M.A. Rahman Chughtai’s show. Previously in 1952 Governor General Ghulam Muhammed Khan had also inaugurated a show,. And in 1949 Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin at Arts Council Lahore. All Arts Councils in Pakistan were inaugurated with shows of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, including the one in Peshawer and in Dacca. More on that later. Enjoy!

GOLDEN CHANCE OF A CHUGHTAI ONE MAN SHOW IN LONDON; TIMING SABOTAGED BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY PAKISTAN 1966.

GOLDEN CHANCE OF A CHUGHTAI ONE MAN SHOW IN LONDON;
TIMING SABOTAGED BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY PAKISTAN 1966.

Field Marshal President Ayub Khan was responsible for inaugurating many exhibitions shows of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. But these were one man shows in Pakistan. The agenda was a one man show in London at the Commonwealth Institute. A large number of original paintings were selected and reservations made in London. The President was supposed to be in London on 24th November, 1966, to host the Queen of England at the Commonwealth institute. Plans were made to coincide the visit with the arrival of the President and to the reception given to Queen Elizabeth. The Foreign Minister did not want the President to get that publicity and managed to change the time table of the show. President received the Queen on 24th November, 1966, while the exhibition was scheduled days later on 11th December, 1966. Just 17 days off the big event.

Chughtai Sahib had cooperated with that event and sent a large number of his paintings to the show. The attendance to the show was of 4545 people. The artist was heavily disappointed, for in his views a place like London would attract millions to an event like that. It was the rivalry between the changed Foreign Minister and the President of Pakistan, and the issues of the Tashkent declaration, which destroyed the importance of this event. In any case the One-Man show was held, but strangely was not even properly reviewed in the English Press. Certainly, politics had enslaved culture at that time. The Art of Chughtai is ever alive. The people who opposed him are no more. A blot on their reputation as cultural people. President Ayub Khan compensated for that by inaugurating a One-man show at Alhamra, Lahore on 30th December, 1968, which is a separate story, and we will deal with it soon.

IN SEARCH OF THE SARCOPHAGUS OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN; IT IS WRITTEN THAT IT WAS STILL INTACT IN THE YEAR 1892.

IN SEARCH OF THE SARCOPHAGUS OF EMPRESS NUR JAHAN;
IT IS WRITTEN THAT IT WAS STILL INTACT IN THE YEAR 1892.

It is reputed that Nur Jahan composed the verses “Without frills and feathers” for her sarcophagus and a request was made to Emperor Shah Jahan, who accepted her request. The English translation of same was:

“Man is frail, Allah all powerfulIn submission to His will lies theHigh road to Heaven.When I die, hark.On my lowly grave there will neither beFlower nor an earthen lamp.Neither wil there be heard the love song ofThe Cuckoo, nor the yearnings of the moth,To sacrifice itself in fire.”

Nothing more is known.
The only reference of the past that is available, comes from the “Travels in India” of Captain Leopold Von Orlich in 1845. He says:

“It is related in the Khafi Khan, that from the day of her husband’s death, she never put on a coloured dress, but always wore white. She died in 1646, and the tomb which she erected for herself next to that of her husband now lies entirely in ruin. ONLY THE MARBLE SARCOPHAGUS IS PRESERVED; and the beautifully vaulted rooms are now the abode of cows and oxen.” 

This means that the sarcophagus was there in 1846. In 1892 the writer Muhammed Lateef informs us that the chaste sarcophagus with ninety-nine names of Allah had been removed. Why and how not stated at all?  The writer Abdullah Qureshi tells us of the remnant of a brick grave in the basement of the maqbara in 1899. He also tells us that the whole was used by villagers as a latrine and it stinks to unbearable levels.

The theory is that a sarcophagus was found in the compound of Asif Khan’s maqbara and put there in the verandah in 1907. It was considered desirable to associate it with Asif Khan, although the whole size of the same does not match with that of the structure of Asif khan. It is too small to be that of Nawab Asif Khan. Read our previous blog on the same subject for analysis. Is it possible that this is the sarcophagus of Empress Nur Jahan?