Sunday 20 November 2016

Rajesh Khanna & His Ancestral Hometown Burewala

My first memory of Rajesh Khanna is his blockbuster song, Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kab Aaye Gi Tu, singing in an open four wheel drive for beautiful Sharmila Tagore. With Sujit Kumar in the driving seat. The song is from the film Aradhna 1969, but was still very popular many years later in the late 1970s. By then, though successful, heydays of his glory had passed and Amitabh Bachchan was the super star of Bollywood. I along with probably all boys of my age, were huge fans of Amitabh. 

Rajehs Khanna and Surjit Kumar in one of the most popular songs of Indian Cinema,  Mere Sapnon ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu. Aradhana, 1969.

Beautiful Sharmila Tagore, apparently oblivious of all the efforts of Rajesh to woo her, busy in reading her book (or pretending to be!). 

However, in my later years, I came to appreciate and fully realize the reasons behind the stupendous fame enjoyed by Rajesh Khanna in late 60s and early 70s. An actor for whom the term super star was originally coined. Dozens of the most beautiful songs in the history of Bollywood were filmed on Rajesh Khanna and he had a special forte in this field. With any fear of contradiction, it can be claimed that no other actor has a greater number of beautiful songs picturised on him than Rajesh Khanna.  

After a long and successful career in cinema, this legendary actor died on 18 July, 2012. When a famous actor dies, his or her fans feel an era of their own lives have also passed with his or her death. Rajesh Khanna was one of those actors, whose death can be said as the end of an era. Many famous actors of 50s and 60s have died in recent years, but nobody drew as much attention as the news of his death. It was a Breaking News and made headlines for many days. Even the PM of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf sent a message of condolence on behalf of millions of his fans on this side of the border. 

Rajesh Khanna died in Mumbai. But the question arose where was he born? I knew from my previous readings that he was born in Amritsar on 29 December, 1942. But a startling piece of news came up that he was actually born in Burewala, a small town in Pakistani Punjab. Then this news was obviously of a great interest to me. It was claimed in the news which appeared in media, including the website of Times of Inda, that his father Lala Heera Nand Khanna was the first headmaster of MC High School Burewala and Rajesh Khanna was born in H Block of Burewala. A picture of the house was also given and it was claimed that the Jatin Bhawan is engraved on the house. Jatin was the original name of Rajesh Khann. I decided to investigate further on the first given opportunity. 

So finally on the morning of 23 March, 2016, I found myself in front of this house.  Due to early morning time and holiday for Pakistan Day the shops were close and there were not many people around. But young men in the street had no doubt about the location of the house. Indeed it was the same house, painted in yellow, which I saw on the website of Times of India. But quickly doubts arose in my mind, fortunately I can read a little bit of Hindi and read it clearly that the name of the house engraved on the front door is Jetendr Bhawan. Due to early morning I decided not to disturb them. Besides that I had a deadline to meet too. (Location: 30° 9'29.91"N,  72°40'59.80"E)

Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

 Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

 Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

 Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Jetendr Bhawan - H Block Burewala: 23.03.2016.

I took some pictures of the house and went to see a Hindu Temple just across the street. It is a big complex that houses many shops, a mosque and even a police station. I entered the police station and after getting permission, I took some pictures. The temple is in a very good condition. Actually Hindus had to leave it just before its completion. The spire still shows signs of pending work. All other sections seem to be complete and in very good condition. Even the paintings of the Hindu deities are in a remarkably good condition, considering the passage of a long time. (Location: 30° 9'30.97"N,  72°40'59.32"E)

Incomplete Spire of the temple - Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Outer wall of the temple - Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Another View: 23.03.2016.

Main building of the temple: 23.03.2016.

Another view of the main building: 23.03.2016.

Incomplete Spire of the temple: 23.03.2016.

Temple: 23.03.2016.

A hall in the temple: 23.03.2016.

Probably the main prayer room. 23.03.2016.

Inside view of the spire: 23.03.2016.

Paintings of the Hindu deities: 23.03.2016.

Paintings of the Hindu deities: 23.03.2016.

Venrada of the main building: Paintings of the Hindu deities: 23.03.2016.

Another view of the veranda: Paintings of the Hindu deities: 23.03.2016.

Entrance of the Temple complex, now housing a police station: Paintings of the Hindu deities: 23.03.2016.

So far I was not satisfied with the result of this research. My next destination was MC High School Burewala. I was not very hopeful of getting some concrete information from there as well. But when I entered the school the first pleasant surprise was a very beautiful garden of the school. I spoke to some teachers and they took me to the office of deputy Head Master of the school, as the head master was on some official visit. Deputy HM, immediately confirmed that Lala Heera Nand Khanna was the first Head Master of the school. Despite being a busy day, as they were preparing for a function in connection with the Pakistan Day, he was very cooperative. On his directions a teacher took me to their spacious staff room. And there I found Lala Heera Nand Khanna's name written on many boards, as the the first and the longest serving headmaster of this school from 1 April, 1931 to 28 March, 1947, just before the partition. (30° 9'44.11"N,  72°41'4.94"E)

MC High School Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Beautiful garden of the school. 

Deputy Headmaster of the MC High  School Burewala: 23.03.2016.

Pictures of previous headmasters in the staff room of the school. Apparently picture of Lala Heera Nand Khanna was not available, so a picture of candle spreading the light of knowledge is given, with his name. 

 On top of the board, on the right side, name of Heera Nand Khanna is written and his time of service is given as 1.4.1931 to 28.3.1947. His education qualification is mentioned as BA SAV.  23.03.2016.

Beautiful garden of the school. 23.03.2016.

Another view of the garden. 23.03.2016.

Old portion of the school. 23.03.2016.

Another courtyard in the school. 23.03.2016.

Playground of the MC High School Burewala. 23.03.2016.

Main entrance of the school. 23.03.2016.

So where was Rajesh Khanna born, in Burewala or Amritsar? I think only his family can confirm it. However, one thing is clear that he had a strong connection with this place and most probably lived here for a considerable time in his childhood. His father was headmaster of this school until 28.3.1947, so his family was here until just a few months before the partition. Rajesh Khanna has two daughters Twinkle Khanna and Rinke Khanna, both are actresses and so is their mother Dimple Kapadia. Husband of Twinkle Khanna, Akshye Kumar himself is a successful actor.

I request my readers to share any information that they may have on this subject. 

Tariq Amir

November 20, 2016.

Doha - Qatar. 

Sunday 13 November 2016

Muslim Population Of India: According To The Census of 2011

About two years ago in one of my posts I gave the details of the Muslim population of India, according to the censuses of 1941 and 2001. You may visit the post at the link given below:

This is my second post on this subject and this provides details about the Muslim population of India, according to the census of 2011. I have taken all the information from the official website of Registrar General and Census Commissioner ( Census Commission of India have indeed done a great job and this website contains an impressive collection of data about every aspect of population of India. Not only this, but they have provided maps in detail, of all districts, sub districts and even smaller administrative units of all the states.

Using this treasure of data I have made two maps, First showing Muslim population of India in its 29 states and the second one showing the percentage of Muslim population in each and every district of India.

In the tables given below, you may check the actual number of Muslims in each district along with the percentage. For comparison I have also given the percentage in the previous census in 2001. So you can also note the change in population. (Change indicates rise or fall of share of Muslim population in a particular district).

Names given in blue are of those districts which were divided into two or more districts.

Names in green are of those districts which were created after the census of 2001. 

Dear readers at the end I feel it necessary to write that the purpose of this post is just to inform myself and my readers about some facts and figures about just on important facts about the demographics of a India. It is not a political statement and there is no propaganda purpose or any other political message. It is a post of a student of history and that's all.

Your comments and suggestions are most welcome. Regards.

Tariq Amir

13.11.2016.Doha - Qatar.