Monday 25 November 2019

120 - The Grave of Shah Shuja in Dharema (district Sargodha)

Dharema is a small typical town of Punjab in district Sargodha about 10 kilometers from Sargodha city on Shahpur road. There is nothing significant about it except the one fact that there is a grave that attracts the attention of many students of history. This grave is said to be that of Shah Shuja a Mughal prince and a brother of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. This grave is located inside the mausoleum of a saint Mian Habib Sultan Nangiana, who died in 1088 AH, which corresponds to  1677 AD. His mausoleum is located at 32° 9'19.97"N, 72°35'37.31"E

Shah Shuja was born in 1616 in Ajmer. Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal had four sons, Dara Shikoh, Shah Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad Bakhsh. Dara Shikoh was the eldest and the favourite of his father and was also made heir apparent by him. In 1657 the health of Shah Jahan declined and rumours spread about his death. This was a signal to his sons to start their struggle to capture the throne of Delhi, in line with the traditions of the Mughals. The four brothers were holding important positions in the four corners of the Empire, Dara Shikoh in the north in Delhi, Shah Shuja in the east in Bengal, Aurangzeb in the south in Deccan and Murad Bakhsh in the west in Gujrat. All the four made their advances towards Delhi and fought one of the most famous civil wars in the history of India. We all know that eventually, Aurangzeb won this desperate and bloody struggle between the real brothers and all the three losers lost their lives. 

Aurangzeb killed his two brothers Dara Shikon and Murad Bakhsh in captivity. However, the fate of Shah Shuja is not certain. He twice attempted to march on Delhi. In the first attempt, he was defeated by Dara Shikoh near Banares in May 1658 and retreated towards Bengal. He made the second attempt in January 1959, this time against Aurangzeb, who in the meantime had defeated Dara Shikoh. Shah Shuja failed again and again took shelter in Bengal. But this the army of Aurangzeb was on his hot pursued and after many battles, he decided to leave Bengal and take shelter in Arakan, a region in the present day Myanmar. He arrived with his family and entourage in Arakan in August 1660. His plan was to migrate to Makkah to spend his life in peace with his family. But fate had something else in store for him. The immense wealth he was carrying with him became a big source of trouble for him. The ruler of Arakan made his life miserable and he met a tragic end. The following account is given on Wikipedia about his last days.

Shuja and his entourage arrived in Arakan on 26 August 1660, and were greeted at the capital, Mrauk U, with courtesy. The Arakanese king, the powerful Sanda Thudhamma, had previously agreed to provide ships for Shuja and his family to travel to Mecca, where the prince had planned to spend the remainder of his life. The half a dozen camel-loads of gold and jewels that the Mughal royals had brought with them was beyond anything that had previously been seen in Arakan.
After eight months and numerous excuses however, Sanda Thudhamma's promise of ships had not materialised. Finally, the latter demanded the hand of Shuja's daughter in marriage, which the prince refused. Sanda Thudhamma responded by ordering the Mughals to leave within three days. Unable to move and being refused provisions at the bazars, Shuja resolved to attempt to overthrow the king. The prince had two hundred soldiers with him, as well as the support of the local Muslims, giving him a good chance of success. However, Sanda Thudhamma was forewarned of the coup attempt. Shuja was therefore forced to set fire to the city in the hopes of cutting his way out in the confusion. Much of his entourage was captured, and though he himself initially escaped into the jungle, he was later captured and executed.
Shuja's wealth was taken and melted down by Sanda Thudhamma, who took the Mughal princesses into his harem. He married the eldest, an event that was subsequently celebrated in song and poetry. The following year however, suspicious of another coup, Sanda Thudhamma had Shuja's sons decapitated and his daughters (including the pregnant eldest) starved to death. Aurangzeb, angered by the deaths, ordered a campaign against the kingdom. After an intensive siege, the Mughals captured Chittagong and thousands of Arakanese were taken into slavery. Arakan was unable to return to its previous dominance and Sanda Thudhamma's eventual death was followed by a century of chaos.
It is generally believed that he died on 7 February 1661. But nobody knows about his grave. However, there is one grave in Dharema, the tombstone of which carries his name. And that is the second part of our story. 

The grave of Sultan Shuja. (17.07.2019.)

سلطان شجاع
شاہجہان مُغل شہزادہ
وفات 22 رمضان المبارک 1094 ہجری

Sultan Shuja
son of
Shah Jahan, Mughal Prince
Death: 22 Ramadan 1094 AH
(7 September, 1683 AD) 

Mausoleum of the saint  Hazrat Habib Sultan Nangiana. (17.07.2019.)

The main entrance. (17.07.2019.)

The grave of Hazrat Habib Sultan. (17.07.2019.)

Graves inside the mausoleum. (17.07.2019.)

Another view of the grave of Sultan Shuja. (17.07.2019.)

The mosque of the shrine(17.07.2019.)

A view of the shrine. (17.07.2019.)

 A graveyard in the compound of the shrine. (17.07.2019.)

Now the story goes that somehow Shah Shuja survived all the calamities fell on him and his family and reached this little known place and spent the last two decades of life praying and serving the holy man living at this place. But it defies all the reason and logic that a hotly pursued man reached all the way from Arakan to Dharema, almost 2,500 kilometers away, passing through the heart of the empire of a brother who was thirsty for the blood of any claimant to the throne.  It is also difficult to imagine that he remained hidden from the spies of an energetic ruler like Aurangzeb. It is also difficult to expect from Aurangzeb, who never forgot or forgave, to let him live in peace. So it cannot be said with certainty that who was this Sultan Shuja and how he became famous to be a Mughal prince. Perhaps similar names caused some confusion and later on, a legend grew and spread in the region. Anyway, it is an interesting subject for those who have an interest in history. 

Tariq Amir
November 26, 2019.
Doha - Qatar. 

Saturday 23 November 2019

119 - A Lodhi Era Mosque in Eminabad (district Gujranwala)!

Eminabad is a small town in the district Gujranwala, about 50 kilometers north of Lahore. Its old name was Saidpur. In the late middle ages and the Mughal period, it was a place of considerable importance. It still has many old buildings, that tell us about its historic past. Some of them I already have covered, and you can see the details on the following links:

Traces of its old history can still be seen in and around this city. One such building is an old mosque. Not much is known about its history. But it is generally known that it was constructed during the period of Lodhi dynasty of Delhi (1451 - 1526 AD). It is of considerable size and very solidly built. Plaster and other decorative work have completely disappeared but the main structure is still in good condition. It has three arched passages in the front and one each on right and lefts sides, and one huge dome. It is located in an open place about half a kilometer in the south east of the town near a big pond at 32° 2'18.32"N, 74°16'7.39"E.

An old mosque in Eminabad, built probably during the Lodhi period. (23.07.2019.)

The view from the west.  (23.07.2019.) 

The mosque is located between an open field and a big pond. (23.07.2019.) 

A closer view. (23.07.2019.)

A view from the north. There are three arches in front and on each on both sides. (23.07.2019.)

A view from the south east. (23.07.2019.)

The mosque has a big dome. (23.07.2019.)

Mehrab of the mosque. (23.07.2019.)

Another view of the mehrab. (23.07.2019.)

The mosque is quite spacious. (23.07.2019.)

The inner view of the dome. (23.07.2019.)

A window. (23.07.2019.)

An arch on the left side. (23.07.2019.)

A view from inside. (23.07.2019.)

A view of the pond. It is a big pond spread over an area of about 10 acres. It must have been a well-maintained pond in the past, as we still can see brickworks around the pond. (23.07.2019.)

محفوظ یادگار عمارت
یہ عمارت قدیم مقامات / عمارت کے تحفظ کے قانون (۱۹۸۵ء) کے تحت محفوظ قرار دی جا چکی ہے۔ کوئی بھی شخص جو اسے نقصان پہنچائے گا یا خراب کرے گا،یا اس کے پاس ۲۰۰ (دوسو) فٹ کے اندر کوئی عمارت تعمیر کرے گا یا بصورت دیگر مذکورہ قانون کی کسی شرط کی خلاف ورزی کرے گا تو وہ ایک سال تک قید یا جرمانہ کی سزا یا دونوں سزاوں کا مستوجب ہوگا۔ 

                                                                                                        ڈائرکٹر جنرل آثار قدیمہ                                                                                            حکومت پنجاب
This building is a Protected Monument under the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance 1985. Any person who destroys, damage, defaces this building or raises any structure within 200 feet of this building or otherwise contravenes any provision of the said Ordinance, shall be liable to punishment which may extend to one year or with or with both.                                                                                                                           DIRECTOR GEENRAL ARCHAEOLOGY                                                                     GOVERNMENT OF THE PUNJAB
Gazetteer of the Gujranwala District of  1893-94 provides the following information about the history of Eminabad.
It is said to have been originally founded by Salhahan (Salween), the famous Rajput Raja of Sialkot. The old town, known as Saidpur, was destroyed by Shere Shah, Afghan, in the 16th century, and a new city Shergarh, the ruins of which are still visible, was founded 1 1/2 was founded to the south west of the present site. The Afghan garrison was expelled after a long siege by Emin Beg, one of Humayun's Generals, who, under the order of Akbar, razed the old city and founded with the materials the existing one which has never been destroyed in the subsequent invasions,
In Mughal times Eminabad was the head-quarters of a Pargana in the Lahore suba, bringing in a revenue of 9 lakhs. The Mughals were expelled about 1760 by Sardar Charat Singh. Under Ranjit Singh, the estate was held in Jagir by Raja Dhiyan Singh, one of the Jammu brothers. 
After the fall of the Sikh state in 1849, Eminabad like the rest of Punjab passed into British control. Traces of old structures still can be seen in and around the town. A portion of an old boundary wall still exist about a kilometer to the west of the mosque. This wall perhaps belonged to a garden or Serai, for Eminabad lied on the main road from Lahore towards the north western areas of the empire. 

A portion of an old wall. (23.07.2019.)

Gate of the garden or serai (or perhaps a fort). (23.07.2019.)

Another view of the wall. (23.07.2019.)

A fairly long stretch of the wall still exists. (23.07.2019.)

A closer view of the wall. (23.07.2019.)

Another old structure that draws your attention, exists near the mosque just a hundred meters to the south east of the mosque. It is now in complete ruins. It could be a haveli. But no details are available. 

The ruins of a building near the mosque. (23.07.2019.)

A closer view of the ruins. (23.07.2019.)

Another view of the ruins. (23.07.2019.)

A small cupola is still intact. (23.07.2019.)

A closer view of the cupola. (23.07.2019.)

Ruins of a room. (23.07.2019.)

Another view of the ruins. 

 Debris of the ruins. (23.07.2019.)

This mosque is a very important historic building. I wonder why the department of archaeology or other concerned departments have not paid more attention to this building. Its structure is very solid and its original decorations can still be restored to their original shape. Its design belongs to the middle ages and certainly, it is one of the oldest mosques in Pakistan. We can say that it is not too late and this great specimen of old architecture can still be saved. 

Tariq Amir 
November 23, 2019.
Doha - Qatar. 

Thursday 21 November 2019

118 - Gurdwara Chakki Sahib & Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo (Eminabad)

As I mentioned in my previous post about Gurdwara Rori Sahib, Eminabad is an old town and in the late middle ages, it was an important city in the region. The founder of the Sikh religion Baba Guru Nanak Dev ji (1469 - 1539) also lived here for some time. There are three gurdwaras associated with the Guru ji. The biggest one is Gurdwara Rori sahib, which I already have covered in my previous post, the link is given below:

In this post, I shall cover the other two historic gurdwaras in the town. One of them is famous as Gurdwara Chakki Sahib, located at: 32°2'32.01"N, 74°15'35.98"E.  The details are given about this gurdwara on the following link:

Gurdwara Chakki Sahib, at Eminabad is located where a large millstone was kept which was once used by Guru Nanak. In the Janamsakhis, it is mentioned that Guru Nanak Dev was taken as a prisoner along with thousands of his fellow countrymen by Babar's men.
Baba ji was, along with many of his fellow prisoners, forced to grind corn with hand-driven chakkis (millstones). His captors were surprised to see that the millstone used by Guru Nanak was turning, by itself, while Baba ji was simply pouring grist into the opening in the stone as he sang songs to the Glory of One God.
The Guru's songs to 'One God' (the Mughals as Muslims also believed in One God) and, even more the stone's turning by itself amazed the Mughal soldiers who brought this to the immediate attention of Babar.
The present building, inside the town of Eminabad, is a simple flat-roofed room with some ancillaries surrounded by a brick paved compound.

The main entrance of the Gurdwara Chakki Sahib, Eminabad. (23.07.2019.)

Another view of the door of the gurdwara. (23.07.2019.)

In front of the gurdwara Chakki Sahib. (23.07.2019.)


The inside view of the gurdwara Chakki Sahib. (23.07.2019.)

It is just a big simple hall, divided from inside into two portions. (23.07.2019.)

The prayer hall. (23.07.2019.)

An adjoining room. (23.07.2019.)

Sardar Sandip Singh. (23.07.2019.)

Inside the prayer hall. (23.07.2019.)

The Mughal Emperor, meeting the Guru. (23.07.2019.)

Guru Nanak ji, with Bhai Mardana, rubabi (left) & Bhai Bala (right). 

From Left to Right: Guru Tegh Bahadur, Babu Guru Nanak & Guru Gobind Singh. 

The second gurdwara I visited was gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo. The gurdwara is located about 200m from the gurdwara Chakki Sahib, at  32°2'32.02"N; 74°15'35.95"E. The information about this gurdwara is given below on the following link:

Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo Ji: Bhai Lalo was a carpenter living at Eminabad during the 1500's. Guru Nanak Dev, the founder Guru of the Sikhs stayed with him on several occasions. Bhai Lalo's house became a dharmsal (a place where dharam is taught and learnt), meeting place for local followers of the Guru, and was later developed into Gurdwara which was named after a "khuhi" (narrow well) which existed even when the old house had crumbled.
Bhai Lalo, a resident of Saidpur (Eminabad), was a carpenter of Getaura caste. Guru Nanak stayed at his house when came he to Eminabad in about the early 1500's. It is the place where the Guru composed the following bani (hymns) in Tilang raag.
A man by the name of Malik Bhago was a minor official of the ruler of Eminahad. He arranged a big feast for the Brahamins (Braham Bhoj) and also invited the Guru, who declined the invitation. This made him angry and he summoned the Guru through official command.
The Guru squeezed his buttered bread with one hand and with other hand squeezed the plain bread of Bhai Lalo before all present in the court. Blood started trickling from Malik's buttered bread and milk oozed out of plain bread of Lalo, the carpenter. The Guru explained that Malik's income was earned by "sucking" the blood of the poor people whereas the income of this carpenter had the milk earned by his hard labour. "This was the reason behind my rejection of your rich food and that was why I had preferred the simple diet earned through hard labour," said the Guru.
Lalu's house, where Guru Nanak Dev Ji had stayed, was made into a Gurdwara. This is called Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo Ji - "Gurdwara at the well of Lalu". The well in front of the Gurdwara still provides drinking water is still intact and usable. 

Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo. (23.07.2019.)

The entrance of the Khuhi Bhai Lalo. (23.07.2019.)

APRIL 18, 1993.

The door of the gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo. (23.07.2019.)

It is a simple two room gurdwara. (23.07.2019.)

Khuhi, the well, in the gurdwara. (23.07.2019.)

Looking down the well. (23.07.2019.)

The prayer room. (23.07.2019.)

Guru Nanak Dev ji. (23.07.2019.)

A burj, watchtower of the old defensive wall of Eminabad. (23.07.2019.)

Another view of the tower. (23.07.2019.)

The gate of the old town. (23.07.2019.)

The main bazaar of the town. (23.07.2019.)

A street towards Gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo. (23.07.2019.)

An old house behind the gurdwara Khuhi Bhai Lalo. (23.07.2019.)

I did not know the exact location of these gurdwaras. So I asked a few persons and they guided me to them. But I became alarmed to find both of them closed and locked. However, a person advised me to contact a Sikh, who has a shop of cosmetics in the main bazaar. I found him without any difficulty, for being the only Sikh in the town and everybody knew about him. 

Sandip Singh received us warmly, but apologised that he could not help us much regarding visiting the gurdwaras, as he did not have keys to them and advised us to contact the administration of gurdwara Rori Sahib, which we had just visited. However, he offered us cold drinks and water, which we accepted immediately, as after roaming about in the hot and humid weather we were exhausted. His shop was a refuge from the heat outside. 

In hope of finding some solution to our problem, we lingered on, and I tried to charm him with my basic knowledge about Sikh history and the Gurmukhi alphabets. And probably that worked and after sometime, he relented and called a person and then went to meet him, leaving the shop to our watch. He returned in around ten minutes and brought the keys to both of the gurdwaras. He showed us the gurdwaras from inside and also informed us about the history of the gurdwaras. I shall never forget his hospitality and help. Sandip Singh s/o Himmat Singh, was born in Hassan Abdal and not have been living in Eminabad for the last ten years. His elder brother also lives in Eminabad. 

 Sardar Sandip Singh s/o Sardar Himmat Singh in his shop. (23.07.2019.)

With Sandip Singh. (23.07.2019.)

These two gurdwaras are not fully functional but are in the control of the Sikh community. These two are also off limit to foreigners. The Sikhs from other countries only visit the gurdwara Rori Sahib and due to security concerns or administrative issues are not allowed to come here. But I hope all this will change soon and they will be allowed to come here freely. 

Tariq Amir
November 21, 2019.
Doha - Qatar.