Monday, 9 September 2019

101 - Lajpat Rai Library: Jhelum

About two-three years ago I read on the internet about a library in Jhelum city with the named after Lala Lajpat Rai. But no picture or details were given. So when I reached there on August 14, 2019, I was not sure what to find there, but was very happy to see a beautiful building of the library. Fortunately, it has been repaired recently, and was in very good condition. The library is located at  32°55'47.80"N;  73°43'55.42"E. 

However, my high spirit got dampened temporarily when I found the library gate locked due to an official holiday for the independence day. I was looking around to find someone to help me or to find some way to somehow sneak into the compound, when a boy nearby told me of a man who had the keys. Luckily within a few minutes, I found the person, whose name, unfortunately, I have forgotten, and he was kind enough to open the gate for me. 

The compound is enclosed in an iron railing and in front of that you can see the building painted in yellow and white. On top of the building, Lajpat Rai Library is written in Urdu, a little below Ladha Shah Hall is written in English, both in red paint. The building has a verandah with square arches and collonades.  

Lajpat Rai Library - Jhelum. (14.08.2019.)

A view of the compound. (14.08.2019.)

Another view of the library. (14.08.2019.)

लाजपतराय लाइब्रेरी जेहलम

لاجپت رائے لائبریری جہلم 

लाजपतराय लाजपतराय लाइब्रेरी का उद्घाटन
३ मई १९३६
श्रीमान डाक्टर गोपी चाँद भार्गव 
नेअपने कर कमलों से किया

لاجپت رائے لائبریری کی اِفتتاحی رسم
شریمان ڈاکٹر گوپی چند بھارگو 
 نے 3 مئی 1936 کو اپنے دستِ مبارک سے

Mr Doctor Gopi Chand Bhargava 
performed the opening ceremony of Lajpat Rai Libray, 
with his blessed hands 
on 3 May, 1936.

In Memory of
By His Son
Lala Guran Ditta Mal
(Retd) E.A.C. Forests

The above two plaques give some valuable information about the library. It was built in 1936 by Lala Guran Ditta Mal, in memory of his father Lala Ladha Shah Bindra. And it was named after famous politician Lala Lajpat Rai and was inaugurated by Doctor Gopi Chand Bhargav, another famous politician of his time. 

The writer. (14.08.2019.)

I could not enter the main hall as the doors were locked. The caretaker told me that the renovation work was though almost complete, but the contractor had not handed over the building to the library. So the hall was empty of any books or furniture. So, I took a few pictures through the glass panels of the doors. The interior is very beautiful and has been renovated with great care and expertise. 

Interior of the library. (14.08.2019.)

Balconies can be seen inside. (14.08.2019.) 

Wooden beams of the roof.  (14.08.2019.) 

This library was named Lajpat Rai Libray. Lala Lajpat Rai was a political leader and member of Indian National Congress. He was born in 1865, at Dhudike in Moga district, now in the Indian state of Punjab. He studied law at the Government College Lahore. He became involved in politics from his college day. He was also an active member of Hindu Mahasabha and Arya Samaj. By 1920s he was one of the top political leaders of India. 

In 1928, the British government set up a commission headed by Sir John Simon to report the political conditions in India. Indian political parties boycotted the commission. When this commission visited Lahore on 30 Ocotber, 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai led a peaceful demonstration against it. The Police resorted to baton charge to disperse the demonstrators. The superintendent of police James A. Scott personally assaulted Lajpat Rai and injured him severely. Due to these injuries he died on 17 November, 1928.

His death at the hand of police enraged public opinion and one young man, Bhagat Singh along with his comrades, vowed to take revenge. They plotted to kill Scott, to send a message to the British Raj. However, due to mistaken identity, another British officer John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, was killed. Subsequently, Bhagat Singh was hanged in the same case. 

Lala Lajpat Rai's legacy still lives on in Lahore, where the trust he established in memory of his mother Gulab Devi, built a tuberculosis hospital for women. This Gulab Devi hospital is still functioning and serving humanity. Below is given a picture of Lala Lajpat Rai and the picture of a plaque at Gulab Devi Hospital in Lahore. 

Lala Lajpat Rai 

ON JULY 17TH 1934.

श्रीमती गुलाब देवी
ट्यूबरक्लोसिस हस्पताल सित्रयों के वास्ते
महात्मा गांधी जी ने
१७ जुलाई १९३४ को

شریمتی (محترمہ)  گلاب دیوی 
ٹیوبرکیولاسس ہسپتال ستریوں  (خواتین) کے واسطے
مہاتما گاندھی جی نے
اپنے کرکملوں  (بابرکت ہاتھوں) سے کھولا

The person who opened this library, Doctor Gopi Chand Bhargava, was also a prominent personality of his days and a leader of the Indian National Congress. He was born in 1889 in Sarsa district and completed his M.B.B.S. degree from Medical College Lahore (now King Edward Medical College). After the independence, he became the first chief minister of Indian Punjab. Later on, he twice held this post. He died in 1966. 

Doctor Gopi Chand Bhargava (Picture: Wikipedia)

This library is probably now known as Iqbal library. Due to the renovation work, the administration had transferred the books to some other place. This library is an important historical landmark in Jhelum city and tells about its past. It is also kind of memorial to some important persons of that bygone era. 

Tariq Amir

September 9, 2019.

Doha - Qatar 

Friday, 6 September 2019

100 - Monument To Major Muhammad Akram Shaheeed, Nishan-eHaider in Jhelum.

Thousands of sons of this land has sacrificed their lives to defend the honour and integrity of this country. Ten of them were awarded Nishan-e-Haider and one of them Hilal-e-Kashmir (the highest military awards of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir), in recognition of their great courage and bravery and the supreme sacrifice. Two of them are not even buried in Pakistan. One of those two heroes is Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed, the subject of this post. 

The monument to this brave soldier is located in Jhelum city. In this itinerary, Qazi Riaz Ahmad of Kandwal was with me. Our first target was this monument, which is located right in Jhelum city at 32°55'47.65"N;  73°43'48.74"E

The weather was as hot and humid as it can be, but not enough to deter us from our quest. After all, it was the Independence Day and I too was feeling a bit patriotic after seeing the enthusiasm of people especially the children in the streets, with national flags in their hands and even some were in dresses, with themes of the Pakistan flag. But that was all outside, we saw just one visitor inside the monument. A young man in his early twenties. The monument has been constructed on a platform. A replica of Nishan-e-Haider is made over this four-sided monument. 

Stairs leading to the monument. (14.08.2019.)

A view of the monument from the west. (14.08.2019.)

Another view from the south. (14.08.2019.)

Qazi Riaz Ahmad. (14.08.2019.)

Tariq Amir (14.08.2019.)

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

سوانح حیات 
میجر محمد اکرم شہید نشانِ حیدر
میجر محمد اکرم شہید نشانِ حیدر نکاں کلاں ضلع جہلم میں پیدا ہوئے۔ آپ نے ابتدائی تعلیم ملٹری کالج جہلم سے حاصل کی اور 13 اکتوبر 1963کمیشن حاصل کرکے 4 ایف ایف میں تعینات ہوئے۔ 1971 کی پاک وہند جنگ میں آپ مشرقی پاکستان کے محاذ پر تھے اور وہیں 5 دسمبر کو جام شہادت نوش فرمایا۔ 
نشانِ حیدر کا فرمان
پی اے 6831 میجر محمد اکرم 5 دسمبر 1971 کو 4 ایف ایف کی ایم کمپنی کو کمانڈ کر رہے تھے جو ہلی کی پوزیشن کا دفاع کر رہی تھی۔ اس جگہ کو ہندوستان کی جارحانہ منصوبہ سازی میں ایک کلیدی مقام حاصل تھا۔ اس پر قبضہ کر کے دشمن مشرقی پاکستان میں آگے بڑھنا چاہتا تھا۔ ھلی کے سامنے بالر گیٹ میں متعین دشمن کے بیسوین پہاڑی ڈویژن کا پورا دباو اس پوزیشن پر تھا، جو روزانہ بڑھتا جارہا تھا۔ دشمن نے بکتر بند دستوں اور اور توپ خانے کی مدد سے اس پوزیشن پر پے در پے حملے کیئے اور تمام دن اس پوزیشن کو شدید حملوں کا نشانہ بھی بنائے رکھا۔ میجر محمد اکرام کے زیر کمان دستوں نے بڑی جراًت سے دشمن کے فوج در فوج حملوں کو پسپا کیا۔ اپنی پوزیشن پر مضبوطی پر جمے رہنے کے لیئے میجر محمد اکرنے نہ صرف مثالی قائدانہ صلاحیتوں کا مظاہرہ کیا بلکہ انتہائی ناسازگار حالات میں دشمن کے شدید حملوں کی ضد میں ہوتے ہوئے بھی انہوں نے اپنے ہتھیاروں کا انتہائی موًثر طریقے سے استعمال کیا اور دشمن کو شدید  جانی اور جانی نقصان پہنچایا۔ آخر کار وہ دشمن کے ٹینک کا راکٹ لانچر سے مقابلہ کرتے ہوئے ٹینک کے مشین گن کر برسٹ لگنے سے شہید ہوگئے۔ ان کو شہادت کے بعد نشانِ حیدر کا اعزاز دیا گیا۔
میجر محمد اکرم نےجس مثالی شجاعت اور جان ںثاری کا ثبوت دیا وہ وہ کسی اتفاقی امر یا کسی فوری جوش کا نتیجہ نہیں تھا بلکہ اس تاریخی لمحے کے لیئے وہ اپنے آپ کر برسوں سے تیار کر رہے تھے۔ اپنے آباواجداد کے نقش قدم پر چلتے ہوئے میجر محمد اکرم نے 5 دسمبر کی صبح کو دکھا دیا کہ جو توقعات قوم نے ان سے وابستہ کی تھیں وہ غلط نہ تھیں۔ 
وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُونَ
And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive.

Translation: By the writer

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider

Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed was born At Nakka Kalan, district Jhelum. He received his early education at Military College, Jhelum and after receiving his commission on 13 October, was appointed in 4 FF. During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, he was at the East Pakistan Front and was martyred there on 5 December.

Order of Nishan -e- Haider
PA 6831, Major Muhammad Akram was commanding a company of 4 FF on December 5, 1971, which was defending the position of Hili. This position had strategic importance in the aggressive plans of India. After capturing it, the enemy wanted to advance in East Pakistan. Enemy's 20 Mountain Division, stationed at Balurghat in front of Hili, had its full pressure on this position, that was increasing day by day. The enemy with the help of armoured and artillery, attacked this position repeatedly and kept it under severe attacks throughout the day. The formations under the command of Major Muhammad Akram, with great courage, repulsed all the wave after wave attacks. To remain steadfast at his position, Major Muhammad Akram not only displayed exemplary leadership qualities, but despite extremely adverse conditions, under the attack of the enemy, he used his weapons very effectively and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy in men and material. At last, while confronting an enemy tank with a rocket launcher, he got martyred by a brust of fire from the tank. After the martyrdom, he was awarded with Nishan-e-Haider. 
The exemplary bravery and devotion displayed by Major Muhammad Akram, was neither a coincidence nor a result of a momentary fervour. But he was preparing himself for this historic moment for years. Following the footsteps of his forefathers, Major Muhammad Akram on the morning of 5 December showed, that the expectations of the nation from him were not wrong. 


 SEPTEMBER 6th, 1999.                                                         ARSHAD MIRZA                                                                                                     DEPUTY COMMISSIONER                                                                                                              JHELUM

This monument is a glaring tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives in the defence of their motherland. It is a homage to those who have fought gloriously to defend the geographical and ideological frontiers of Pakistan and have become immortal in the annals of history. 
Nishan-e-Haider dedicated to the name of the commander of the faithful, Hazrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib, is a token of acknowledgment bestowed upon those who have fought and laid down their lives for Pakistan. It signifies the pride that the nation has its heroes.
This monument is dedicated to major Mohammad Akram Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider, a son of the soil who laid down his life defending the motherland during the 1971 war in east Pakistan. 
Major Mohammad Akram Shaheed was born in Nakka Kalan. District Jhelum in the year 1938. He got commissioned in the Pakistan army in 1963.
He commanded the 4th F.F. regiment and was placed in the forward area of Nilli (actally Hili) district in east Pakistan in 1971. The regiment came under continuous and heavy, air, artillery and armour attacks from the Indian army. For an entire fortnight despite enemy's superiority in both numbers and firepower. Major Akram and his men repulsed every attack, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Major Akram attained Shahadat during this battle. He was posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Haider, Pakistan's highest military award. 
His memory shall always remain alive as according to the Holy Quran a Shaheed attains immortality and becomes a source of inspiration for his fellow countrymen. 

وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُونَ
And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive.

                                                                                               Dr. Syed Pervez Abbas
                                                                                               District Coordination Office
                                                                                                      23rd March, 2007.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Major Muhammad Akram, Nishan-e-Haider, was born in a village at Nakka Kalan, District Jhelum in the year 1938. After receiving early education, he entered the Military College at Sarai Alamgir from where he was commissioned in the Pak Army in 1963. During the East Pakistan war of 1971, Major Akram was in Command of the 4th Frontier Force Regiment when he laid down his life in the defence of Pakistan. The 5th of December 1971 will always be remembered in the history of Pakistan due to glorious sacrifice made by this son of Jhelum District.
During the war, Major Akram while commanding the 4th Frontier Force Regiment was placed in the forward area of the "Hilli" District what was then in East Pakistan. This was a strategic position which was blocking the enemy advance. The regiment came under continuous and heavy, air artillery and armoured attacks from the 20th Mountain Division of the Indian Infantry. Despite the enemy superiority in both numbers and firepower, Major Akram and his men bravely defended the motherland and repulsed every attack of the enemy. 
During this time of crisis, major Akram displayed unique leadership qualities. He demonstrated leadership and administrative skills in the face of death and destruction. During the battle while combating enemy tanks, Major Akram was martyred by a burst of machinegun fire. 
 إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

(We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return)
The unprecedented gallantry and martyrdom by Major Mohammad Akram Shaheed was neither incidental nor an outcome of momentary fervour. It was a result of his long and consistence education spread over years of training for the historical moment. By following the footsteps of his forefathers and Heroes of Islam, Major Akram Shaheed, on the morning of 5th December 1971, proved that the expectations of the nation from its defenders were not wrong. He carved a path to be followed whenever the nation needs protections from its foes. 

We salute our martyrs.
                                                                                     CHAUHDRY FARRUKH ALTAF
23rd March, 2007.                                                      District Nazim Jhelum.

A view from the west. (14.08.2019.)

A view from the main entrance. (14.08.2019.)

It was a coincidence that came to visit this monument to the bravery of our defenders, but it is no coincidence that I am posting this article on 6th of September, Pakistan's Defence Day. It is my tribute to all those who defended our country in the past and sacrificed their lives, and those who are still defending it and still sacrificing their lives. More such monuments should be built and so that people become more aware of their heroism. 

It is unforunate that no picture of his grave is available at the net and perhaps never have been shown on the media. However, according to an article of Wikipedia he is buried at Boaldar, near Hili. Maybe, someone, could one day visit his grave and pay homage on behalf of this nation. You can see the location of Boaldar in the map given below.

Tariq Amir
September 6, 2019.
Doha - Qatar

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

099 - A Baoli At Khura (Soon Valley), District Khushab

A Baoli is a stepwell, where steps lead to the water level. So man or beast can reach the water directly, without using any mechanism to draw the water to the surface. Stepwells are found almost all over the world, especially in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. But are most popular in South Asia. Mr Philip Earis manages a wonderful website on this subject, which shows not only the pictures of Baolis but also their exact location on a google map. You can visit this website on the following link:

According to this website, more than two thousand stepwells exist in the world, an overwhelming number of them are in India. Mr Eric has included step ponds as well in this category. In Pakistan, around two dozen such wells are located. According to my knowledge, most of them are stepwells and most of them are in reasonably good condition. Excluding ponds the number of actual stepwells in Pakistan would be around fifteen. I have seen at Jandiala Sher Khan, Rohtas Fort, Wah Cantt and Wan Bhachran, except the last one, others are in good condition and well preserved. 

My fifth Baoli was an unexpected discovery. My cousin Sahibzada Shah Sultan one day told me of a Baoli near his maternal grandfather's village Khura. He had just heard about it vaguely. Despite going frequently to that area, he never saw it or met someone who could confirm its existence. So I was skeptical about this information. 

We reached Khura at noon, at the heat and humidity was unbearable. First we took a local friend with us as our guide. Despite being a resident of Khura, he too only had heard about the baoli, less than a kilometre away from his home. Which obviously, diminished any chances of making a substantial discovery in my eyes. Anyways a pleasant surprise was waiting for us. We not only discovered a big stepwell, but contrary to my expectations, its condition was also very good. 

We also found water in this well-preserved baoli. However, it was evident that it is not frequently used. The walls and stairs are made of hewn stones and probably lime has been used as mortar. It is situated in a small valley, with a stream passing through it. Due to its natural beauty, the place itself is worth visiting.  

 A Baoli near Khura, soon valley. (15.07.2019.)

Looking down the baoli. (15.07.2019.)

Downstairs, at the water level. (15.07.2019.)

A view from the right side. (15.07.2019.)

The boundary of the well. (15.07.2019.)

A small water tank to water the cattle. (15.07.2019.)

A view from the above. (15.07.2019.)

The front side of the baoli. (15.07.2019.)

Ibrahim Tariq. (15.07.2019.)

Tariq Amir. (15.07.2019.)

Ibrahim Tariq & Azim Sultan. (15.07.2019.)

Looking down the well. (15.07.2019.)

Stairs in the baoli. (15.07.2019.)

Stairs leading to the water level. (15.07.2019.)

A baoli, in some Indian dialects, is also called baori or baodi. In Pakistan in some areas it is called Wan. Like Wan Bhachran and Wan Tarap. These two places, in district Minwali and Attock respectively,  are named after the two baolis that exist in those places. 

The government of Punjab is trying to promote tourism in the Soon Valley, exploiting its natural beauty. Indeed it can be a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful, lakes, lush green valleys and gardens. It is a paradise for hiking and trekking. Along with these attractions, the Soon Valley has many historically important places like ancient temples at Amb, ruins of an ancient city at Tulaja, a fortified place at Akrand, Budhist sites etc. And not to forget our this little baoli. These all places, along with natural wonders of this valley can make this area a popular tourist destination. 

Tariq AmirSeptember 4. 2019.Doha - Qatar. 

Thursday, 29 August 2019

098 - Nawab Sar Buland Khan And His Fort At Mankera

By 1750 Mughal power in Punjab was rapidly collapsing and within a few years, Mughals lost their control over Punjab completely to Sikhs in central and eastern Punjab and to Afghans in western and southern Punjab. The whole area between Jamuna and Indus was in anarchy and divided into dozens of petty states and Sikhs Misls. 

In 1748 Mir Moin ul Mulk, also known as Mir Mannu was appointed the governor of Lahore, his vigorous steps kept the depredations of Sikhs largely in control. He destroyed their fort Ram Rouni near Amritsar and thousands of Sikhs were captured and executed at Shaheed Ganj outside Delhi gate, Lahore. However, Sikhs were not the only problem, a bigger threat was Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. He invaded Punjab seven times, starting in 1748, and caused widespread destruction and pillage during his invasions. Mir Mannu himself was defeated by Abdali in 1752. Though re-instated as governor, his power was broken. Without any help and support from Delhi darbar, he could not resist Abdali for long. His rule lasted just a few years and after him Adina Beg, the new governor tried to establish order in Punjab. The last invasion of Abdali was in 1767, these seven campaigns totally destroyed the influence and authority of Mughals in Punjab. However, Abdali failed to stem the rising tide of Sikhs and large parts of central and eastern Punjab fell to Sikhs including the capital Lahore in 1764 (during his last invasion Abdali took Lahore for a short period). Western and southern Punjab came under the rule of Afghans. But Afghan control was weak and after the death of Abdali in 1772 it became nominal. In this chaotic situation, dozens of Muslim principalities emerged in these areas, including Kasur, Jhang, Sial, Bahawalpur, Multan, Khushab, Sahiwal, Mitha Tiwana, Salt Range, and Mankera. These all states by 1822 fell to the rising power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

One of these states was Mankera. It was a big state between River Jhelum / Chenab and Indus. The town situated in the middle of vast Thal desert, in Sindh Sagar Doab is an ancient town. Due to its strong mud fort and geography, was considered a very strong point and very difficult to subjugate. It was the capital of a big state spread on both sides of the Indus river. It was under the nominal suzerainty of Afghanistan but was practically an independent state, ruled by an Afghan clan. 

Towards the end of 18th century, Ranjit Singh of Gujranwala, the chief of Sukerchakia Misl, emerged as the main force in Punjab. He captured Lahore in 1799 and laid the foundations of a strong state. Soon he embarked upon a series of conquests, territories of other Sikh Misls and small Muslim states scattered all over Punjab were his target. By 1819 he had conquered almost the whole of present day Pakistani Punjab, Kashmir and the Bist Doab. 

Ranjit Singh was a very energetic man and relentlessly launched campaigns in all direction to extract tributes from different chiefs or reduce their states altogether. Famous historian Syad Muhammad Latif, in his History of Panjab, published in 1889, gives the following account of the Ranjit Singh's first campaign again Mankera in his book, this campaign started in 1816: 
The Maharaja, being joined by Fateh Singh Ahluwalia, moved in the direction of Multan and Bahawalpur, at the head of his troops, collecting tribute and exacting nazranas from the zemindars on the way. At Pakpattan, Dewan Sheikh Muhammad Yar, the Sajjada Nashin of the great mausoleum of that place, presented the Maharaja with a fine horse and a sword set with jewels. The district was at first placed in charge of Jemadar Khushhal Singh; but out of consideration for the sanctity of the saint, whose remains are deposited there, it was restored to the Sajjada Nishin, on condition of his agreeing to pay a tribute of Rs. 9,000 per annum. Sube Rae and Kishan Das, vakils of the Nawab of Bahawalpur, having then visited the Maharaja, a fresh agreement was executed by the nawab to pay a nazrana of Rs. 80,000 and an annual tribute of Rs. 70,000. The Maharaja, marching by easy stages, next reached Harappa, where he was joined by Daya Singh, Qutub-ud-Dina Khan Kasuria and Missar Dewan Chand, who were returning with their advanced division from Bahawalpur, after the new agreement made with the nawab. Maharaja ordered them to Tolamba, where he himself arrived on 15th Chet, 1873, Samvat (1816 AD). Here Sayad Muhsin Shah, vakil of Muzaffar Khan, nawab of Multan, brought presents of horses, shawls and carpets for the Maharaja, who demand a lakh and twenty thousand rupees as nazrana. The agent asked for time to pay subsidy, offering to pay Rs. 40,000 in cash and the balance after two months, but the Sikh ruler, becoming impatient, laid siege to Ahmadabad, which was reduced without difficulty by the artillery of Missar Dewan Chand. Then, crossing the Chinab at Trimu Ghat, the Maharaja encamped at Salar Wahan with his troops. An advanced column of Sikhs reached Multan to enforce payment of tribute; and Phula Singh Akali, intoxicated with bhang, suddenly stormed the town, at the head of a band of fanatics, with such impetuosity that the storming party gained possession of the outworks of the citadel. The nawab, seeing that the Sikh ruler was determined to proceed to extremes if the subsidy was not soon paid, remitted Rs. 80,000 through Dewan Bhawani Das, and promised in a short time, to pay the balance of Rs. 40,000. The cupidity of the Lahore ruler being thus satisfied, he marched onto Mankera. The van of the Sikh army, under Sardar Sundar Singh Ahluwalia, proceeded down the Indus to beyond the Sindh border. Muhammad Khan, surnamed Moin-ud-doula, the chief of Bhakkar and Leia, whose family had been expelled by the present Mirs of Sindh, dying about the same time, the succession devolved on Sher Muhammad Khan, with the consent of Khuda Yar Khan, younger brother of the deceased nawab, and Hafiz Ahmad Khan, his son in law. Negotiations for a nazrana were opened by the Maharaja, through his agent Sujan Rai, the agents on behalf of the nawab being Raizada Pindi Das, Sundar Singh and Mohan Lal. The Maharaja made a demand of Rs.1,25,000, while the nawab offered only Rs. 20,000. The Maharaja, considering himself affronted, ordered Mankera country to be devasted with fire and sword. The forts of Mahmud Kot, Khangrh and Muhammadpur were closely besieged and subjected to a heavy cannonade. Phula Singh, the notorious Akali fanatic, committed the grossest atrocities on Mussalman population, and the garrisons, on coming out of the blockaded forts, were subjected to insults of a revolting description, notwithstanding the solemn pledges given that they would be secure from maltreatment. At length, Rai Pindi Das having arranged to pay fifty thousand rupees in cash, through Jamadar Khushhal Singh, and heat of the weather being severely felt, the Sikh forces withdrew, leaving Sher Muhammad Khan to govern the country. 
Nawab Sar Buland Khan was a Nawab of Mankera, who died in 1230 AH. i,e, 1815 AD. His mausoleum is located close to the city walls. It is a simple building with a boundary wall and no roof. Which has collapsed with the passage of time or perhaps never existed. I could not find many details about this chief. Syad Muhammad Latif, in his book mentions one Sar Buland Khan, a military commander of Ahmad Shah Abdali, who appointed him administrator of Jalandhar after the third battle of Panipat. Anyway, we can only assume that he or his family was given to administer Mankera on behalf of the Afghan government and he was ruling as the nawab of Mankera at his death in 1815.

Mausoleum of Nawab Sar Buland Khan, Mankera. (12.07.2019.)

A plaque above the door of the mausoleum.  (12.07.2019.)

 بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
(With the name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful)

لا الہ الا اللہ محمد الرسول اللہ
(There is no god but the God, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah)

رحم کر، نہ اپنے آئین کرم کو بھول جا
ہم تو تجھے بھولے ہیں، لیکن تو نہ ہم کو بھول جا
Be merciful, do not forget Your ways of graciousness,
We indeed have forgotten you, but You do not forget us.

نام نيک رفتگان ضايع مکن 

تا بمانـد نـام نيکـت برقرار 

1230 AH. (1815 AD)

Different views of the Nawab's grave. (12.07.2019.)

At the entrance of the mausoleum.  (12.07.2019.)

After a gap of few years, Ranjit Singh again turned to western Punjab and launched his second and the final campaign against Mankera in 1821. The following account is given of this campaign in the same book:
After the Dasahra the Sikh army was ordered to rendezvous at Amritsar, and the Maharaja, taking the command in person, marched to the Indus, with the object of finally reducing the countries south of Multan. The resources of Hafiz Ahmad Khan, the nawab of Mankera, had been annually drained by extortions and forced contributions, as well as by the ravage and waste of his country, so that Ranjit Singh had hoped that his territory would fall an easy conquest. Having crossed the Indus at Mitha Tiwana, he was joined by Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa,  and sent Missar Dewan Chand and Kirpa Ram, who had joined him at Khushab, to reduced the Bhakkar fort and town. Syad Imam Shah and Hakam Shah, agents of nawab of Mankera, fled from Bhakkar on the approach of the Sikh troops, and the place was reduced without resistance. From this place, Sardar Dal Singh and Jamadar Khushhal Singh were sent, with a detachment of 8,000 troops to reduce Dera Ismail Khan. Manak Rae, the Nawab's governor at Dera Ismail Khan, offered resistance; the city was besieged by the Sikh troops and, the governor having been seized, the Nawab's forces dispersed. The whole of the property and war munitions belonging to the Nawab fell into the hands of the Sikhs. Khangarh, Leia, and Maujgarh were next successively reduced without opposition and the whole Sikh army then marched to Mankera. The Nawab, having paid the arrears due to his troops, made preparations for a determined resistance. The city of Mankera was surrounded with a mud wall, and the fort was of brick; but the invading army had to struggle against natural difficulties. The citadel and the town were situated in the midst of sandy deserts and on a cluster of sandhills. The entire absence of waterworks and wells in the country invaded, reduced the Sikh army to great straits. A detachment was advanced to invest the stronghold, and the place was blockaded. A supply of water was brought for the besieging army on the backs of camels, bullocks, horses and ponies from Maujgarh and other places, by land, at great trouble and expense. The Maharaja had heavy guns with him, and with these a continual fire was maintained against the besieged. But the Mankerian troops had effectively secured every gateway and bastion, and provided the rampart with means of defence. They poured a hot fire of musketry and cannon on the besiegers, who had carried their works close to the ditch. In the meanwhile, the followers of the Sikh army, under the personal supervision of indefatigable Maharaja, had succeeded in digging twenty wells in their camp, and a supply of fresh water was not at hand, to the great relief of the invading army. A further division now moved forward to complete the investment, Ranjit Singh himself superintending the conduct of the whole. The siege lasted for twenty two days, during which Nawab held his own. But desertions now commenced on his side, and some of his principal sardars, having secretly come out of the fort, joined Ranjit Singh, and pointed out the spots at which an attack could be successfully made. The dispositions for attack were accordingly changed; but the Nawab, seeing treachery on all sides and conceiving that he had done enough to preserve the honour of his ancestors, sent his agents, Kazi Gul Muhammad and Ali Jah Sikandar Khan, to Ranjit Singh, to propose terms of capitulation. These were that the Nawab should be allowed a safe conduct from the citadel to his camp, bringing with him the whole of his family, men, arms and property, and that he should be allowed to retain possession of Dera Ismail Khan, and receive a suitable jagir. The Maharaja agreed to these terms. The Nawab had studied well the Sikh character, and knew the Sikh ruler's ideas of good faith. He therefore wanted him to put the impression of his hand, with the fingers extended, on a blank piece of paper, with saffron, as a solemn pledge for the due execution of the agreement; and Ranjit Singh, anxious to give a new example of the Khalsa faith, no less than to close a costly campaign in a country so ill provided with the means of prosecuting it, went through the formality. Rich dresses were sent to the Nawab, who his suspicions having been thus allayed, surrendered the fort, and came out with 300 followers, bringing with all his property and arms. His camp was pitched within the lines of the Sikhs, and he had an interview with the Maharaja on the 20th. The Maharaja half stood up to receive him, and was seated close to him on the same masnad. The Nawab implored his conqueror to save the city from plunder, and to provide his troops, who had proved faithful to him, with suitable employment. Both these requests were granted by the Maharaja, who as a further proof of his friendship for the Nawab, discarded those who had joined him as deserters from their now vanquished sovereign. The Nawab made over twenty-two guns, with a large quantity of ammunition, to the Maharaja and with the whole of his harem, family and attendants, was sent to Dera Ismail Khan under a sufficient escort. The country of Nawab Hafiz Ahmad Khan, annexed by Maharaja, was worth annually ten lakhs of rupees, and its acquisition was the source of intense pleasure to Ranjit Singh, who ordered the towns of Lahore and Amritsar to be illuminated in honour of the occasion. Sardar Amir Singh Sindhianwalia was appointed governor of Mankera, while Bhakkar and Leia were farmed to Raj Kour Khatri. The Biluch Mahomedan chiefs of Tank and Sagar having been then reduced to subjection, the Sikh army marched to Daera Din Panah. From this place the army was sent by land to Multan, The Maharaja himself embarking on Indus for Dera Ghazi Khan. Here five lakh of rupees exacted from the Bahawalpur Nawab, under pain of an invasion of his territory, and the rent of Dera Ghazi Khan and Mithankot, held in farm by him, was increased. Joining then his army at Multan, the Maharaja returned to his capital on the 27th of January, 1822.

The Mankera fort was a large fort, with huge mud walls, encompassing an area of more than 40 acres. Now it is completely in ruins. Only some portions of the wall on the western and southern side can be seen. Which give a good idea that how imposing those walls would be when Ranjit Singh was battering them in 1821. 

Ruins of a gate on the north-western corner of the fort. (12.07.2019.)

A bastion of the fort. (12.07.2019.)

A view of the western wall. (12.07.2019.)

Another view from the west. (12.07.2019.)

A round bastion in the wall on the west side. (12.07.2019.)

Another view of the wall.  (12.07.2019.)

Looking towards the south-western corner. (12.07.2019.)

A huge bastion on the south-western corner of the fort. (12.07.2019.)

The wall in the south. (12.07.2019.)

Another view of the ruins of the wall. (12.07.2019.)

A segment of the wall on the south side. (12.07.2019.)

Inside of the fort is populated but nothing old exists. Except for the door of a Hindu temple. The building has completely vanished and the compound is an empty place.  

The door of the Hindu temple. (12.07.2019.)

मन्दिर श्री महाबीर जी
مندر شری مہابیر جی منکیرہ
(Temple of Shri Mahabir ji, Mankera)

मन्दिर श्री महाबीर जी मंकेरा 

مندر شری مہابیر جی منکیرہ) )
(Temple of Shri Mahabir ji, Mankera)

A view of the location of the temple. (12.07.2019.)

As noted above nothing old of any historical significance exist inside the fort. The mosque of Sar Buland Khan existed in a good condition until very recently. But unfortunately, it was demolished by whatsoever reasons and thus an important piece of history and architecture was lost permanently. 

The new mosque inside the fort. (12.07.2019.)

Following are the two pictures of the old mosque of Nawab sahib. Now demolished.

As we read above the area around Mankera is a desert. But not like the deserts which I have seen in the middle east. It is much more green and populated. Its landscape is beautiful and captivating. 

A road in the desert. (12.07.2019.)

Towards Mankera. (12.07.2019.)

A view of the desert, with green patches here and there. (12.07.2019.)

A wetland at the banks of river Jhelum, near Sahiwal (Sargodha). (12.07.2019.)

A map of Mankera State (Wikipedia). 

Mankera is a historic town and its stand against the Sikh army is an inspiring story of our history. Now there is not much left to preserve. Even the mosque of the Nawab has been demolished. All that is remaining is fragments of the old walls and the mausoleum of the Nawab Sar Buland Khan. If possible that should be preserved for being a part of our history and heritage. 

Tariq Amir

August 29, 2019.

Doha - Qatar