Monday, 1 March 2021

Pharaoh’s Curse: Killed People Who Opened Tutankhamun Tomb

 In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh’s curses were common and were associated with symbols of authority like pharaohs whether alive or dead. The curses were sometimes faced on the tomb entrance to protect the dead and the monuments from being disturbed or looted. The people of Egypt considered the pharaoh to be a half-man, half-god.


The most famous curse of Tutankhamun was brought to the attention of the people due to the mysterious deaths of some of Howard Carter’s team and the people who visited Tutankhamun’s tomb afterward.


The curse of Pharaohs was allegedly cast upon people who disturbed the mummy of an ancient Egyptian, especially the Pharaohs.


TUTANKHAMUN’s tomb is said to hold a curse that was broken by archaeologists when they entered to search its contents and affected more than 20 of them in a matter of years.


It is said: “When Carter poked a hole into the tomb, Lord Carnarvon asked if he could see anything and Carter famously replied ‘yes wonderful things’.


“It is alleged he found a curse written in hieroglyphics upon a clay tablet reading: ‘Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the pharaoh’s peace.’


Five months after entering the tomb, Lord Carnarvon, aged 56, was dead. And at the time of his death, all of the lights went out in Cairo. "However, the strange activity did not stop there.


Who was Tutankhamun? Nearly lost to history

Tutankhamun was only the age of nine when he became king of Egypt during the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom (c. 1332–1323 B.C.E.). His story would have been lost to history if it were not for the discovery of his tomb in 1922 by the archaeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings.


His nearly intact tomb held a wealth of objects that give us unique insights into this period of ancient Egyptian history. Tutankhamun married his half-sister, Ankhesenamun, but they did not produce an heir. This left the line of succession unclear.


Tutankhamun died at the young age of eighteen, leading many scholars to speculate on the manner of his death—chariot accident, murder by blow to the head, and even a hippopotamus attack! The answer is still unclear.


Howard Carter: Who Opened Tutankhamun

On 26 November 1922 Howard Carter, a British Egyptologist, stood before a sealed door blocking a dark corridor. Behind him stood his patron Lord Carnarvon. Both men knew that they were standing in the tomb of the 18th-Dynasty boy king Tutankhamun – the sealing on the now dismantled outer door had made that clear.


Carter came upon the first of twelve steps of the entrance that led to the tomb of Tutankhamun. He quickly recovered the steps and sent a telegram to Carnarvon in England so they could open the tomb together. Carnarvon departed for Egypt immediately and on November 26, 1922, they made a hole in the entrance of the antechamber in order to look in.


But the outer door had also shown the unmistakable signs of more than one forced entry. Was Tutankhamun still lying undisturbed in his tomb? Or had the ancient robbers once again thwarted the modern archaeologists? Nervously, his hands trembling, Carter forced a small hole in the left hand corner of the doorway, lit a candle, and peered inside.


“Presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words ‘Yes, wonderful things’.”


The next day the doorway was unblocked and an electric light installed. Carter and Carnarvon found themselves standing in the antechamber, an untidy room packed with everything that an Egyptian king could possibly need for an enjoyable afterlife.


But Carter’s attention was fixed on the northern wall. Here, blocked, plastered, sealed and guarded by two large statues of Tutankhamun, was the doorway to the burial chamber. Once again, the sealed doorway had been breached by a robber’s hole.


Carter and Carnarvon knew that the anteroom must be emptied before the wall could be dismantled, but that would take many weeks of hard work. Desperate to know if the tomb was intact they returned that night and crawled through the robber’s hole.


To their delight they found that the burial chamber was almost completely filled by a golden shrine, its seals still intact. Swearing each other to secrecy they crawled back and sealed the hole.


The burial chamber would be officially opened on 17 February 1923 in the presence of an invited audience of Egyptologists and government officials.


Tutankhamun’s innermost coffin

Tutankhamun’s coffin (a box-like stone container) held not one but three coffins in which to hold the body of the king. The outer two coffins were crafted in wood and covered in gold along with many semiprecious stones, such as lapis lazuli and turquoise.


The inner coffin, however, was made of solid gold. When Howard Carter first came upon this coffin, it was not the shiny golden image we see in the Egyptian museum today.


In his excavation notes, Carter states, it was “covered with a thick black pitch-like layer which extended from the hands down to the ankles.


This was obviously an smoothing liquid which had been poured over the coffin during the burial ceremony and in great quantity.”


The image of the pharaoh is that of a god. The gods were thought to have skin of gold, bones of silver, and hair of lapis lazuli—so the king is shown here in his divine form in the afterlife. He holds the crook and flail, symbols of the king’s right to rule.


The death mask of Tutankhamun

The death mask is considered one of the masterpieces of Egyptian art. It originally rested directly on the shoulders of the mummy inside the innermost gold coffin. It is constructed of two sheets of gold that were hammered together and weighs 22.5 pounds (10.23 kg).


Tutankhamen is depicted wearing the striped names headdress (the striped head-cloth typically worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt) with the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet depicted again protecting his brow. He also wears a false beard that further connects him to the image of a god as with the inner coffin.


He wears a broad collar, which ends in terminals shaped as falcon heads. The back of the mask is covered with Spell 151b from the Book of the Dead, which the Egyptians used as a road map for the afterlife.  This particular spell protects the various limbs of Tutankhamun as he moves into the underworld.


Victims of King Tutankhamen's Curse

1. George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon

The man who financed the excavation of King Tut's tomb was the first to succumb to the supposed curse. Legend has it that when Lord Carnarvon died, all of the lights in his house mysteriously went out.


In late February 1923 the excavation was closed to allow the exhausted excavators a brief holiday. While Carter stayed in Luxor, Carnarvon and his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, sailed south to spend a few days at Aswan.


During this trip Carnarvon was bitten on the cheek by a mosquito. Then, soon after his return to Luxor, he accidentally sliced the scab off the bite while shaving. He soon started to feel unwell. With his condition worsening he travelled to Cairo for expert medical attention.


But it was too late. Blood poisoning set in and pneumonia followed. A younger, fitter man may have been able to throw off the infection, but the 57-year-old Carnarvon was still suffering the effects of a severe motor accident in 1901 that had left him weak and vulnerable to chest infections. He died on 5 April 1923.


2. Sir Bruce Ingham

Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered the tomb, gave a paperweight to his friend Ingham as a gift. The paperweight appropriately (or perhaps quite inappropriately) consisted of a mummified hand wearing a bracelet that was supposedly inscribed with the phrase, "cursed be he who moves my body." Ingham's house burned to the ground not long after receiving the gift, and when he tried to rebuild, it was hit with a flood.


3. George jay Gould

Gould was a wealthy American financier and railroad executive who visited the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1923 and fell sick almost immediately afterward. He never really recovered and died of pneumonia a few months later.


4. Aubrey Herbert

It's said that Lord Carnarvon's half-brother suffered from King Tut's curse merely by being related to him. Aubrey Herbert was born with a degenerative eye condition and became totally blind late in life.


A doctor suggested that his rotten, infected teeth were somehow interfering with his vision, and Herbert had every single tooth pulled from his head in an effort to regain his sight. It didn't work. He did, however, die of sepsis as a result of the surgery, just five months after the death of his supposedly cursed brother.


5. Hugh Evelyn-White

Evelyn-White, a British archaeologist, visited Tut's tomb and may have helped excavate the site. After seeing death sweep over about two dozen of his fellow excavators by 1924, Evelyn-White hung himself—but not before writing, allegedly in his own blood, "I have succumbed to a curse which forces me to disappear."


6. Aaron Ember

American Egyptologist Aaron Ember was friends with many of the people who were present when the tomb was opened, including Lord Carnarvon. Ember died in 1926, when his house in Baltimore burned down less than an hour after he and his wife hosted a dinner party.


He could have exited safely, but his wife encouraged him to save a manuscript he had been working on while she fetched their son. Sadly, they and the family's maid died in the catastrophe.


7. Richard Bethell

Bethell was Lord Carnarvon's secretary and the first person behind Carter to enter the tomb. He died in 1929 under suspicious circumstances: He was found smothered in his room at an elite London gentlemen's club.


Soon after, the Nottingham Post mused, "The suggestion that the Hon. Richard Bethell had come under the ‘curse’ was raised last year, when there was a series of mysterious fires at it home, where some of the priceless finds from Tutankhamen’s tomb were stored." No evidence of a connection between artifacts and Bethell's death was established, though.


8. Sir Archibald Douglas Reid

Proving that you didn't have to be one of the excavators or expedition backers to fall victim to the curse, Reid, a radiologist, merely x-rayed Tut before the mummy was given to museum authorities. He got sick the next day and was dead three days later.


9. James Henry Breasted

Breasted, another famous Egyptologist of the day was working with Carter when the tomb was opened. Shortly thereafter, he allegedly returned home to find that his pet canary had been eaten by a cobra—and the cobra was still occupying the cage.


Since the cobra is a symbol of the Egyptian monarchy, and a motif that kings wore on their headdresses to represent protection, this was a rather ominous sign. Breasted himself didn't die until 1935, although his death did occur immediately after a trip to Egypt.


10. Howard carter

Carter never had a mysterious, inexplicable illness and his house never fell victim to any fiery disasters. He died of lymphoma at the age of 64. His tombstone even says, "May your spirit live, may you spend millions of years, you who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your eyes beholding happiness." Perhaps the pharaohs saw fit to spare him from their curse.

11. Mohammad Ibrahim

Some 43 years later, the curse struck down one Mohammad Ibrahim, who officially agreed to Tutankhamun’s treasures being sent to Paris for an exhibition. His daughter was seriously hurt in a car accident and Ibrahim dreamed he would meet the same fate and tried to stop the export of the treasure. He failed and was hit by a car. He died two days later.


Alleged victims of the curse included Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey of Egypt, shot dead by his wife in 1923; Sir Archibald Douglas Reid, who supposedly X-rayed the mummy and died mysteriously in 1924; Sir Lee Stack, the governor-general of the Sudan, who was assassinated in Cairo in 1924; Arthur Mace of Carter’s excavation team, said to have died of arsenic poisoning in 1928; Carter’s secretary Richard Bethell, who supposedly died smothered in his bed in 1929; and his father, who committed suicide in 1930.

Did these bizarre deaths really happen due to the Pharaoh’s curse? Or, all this happened by coincidence? What’s your thought?

The End

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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Aligarh Exhibition: The Nostalgia of 140 years Old Caravan

“There comes a time in our life when we have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.” Yes: Today I am Turing the old pages of Aligarh Exhibition from book of my life. The Nostalgia of Aligarh Exhibition paints a smile on the stony face of the past. The Golden Memories of Aligarh Exhibition remains always beating in hearts of every Aligarian.

Aligarh Exhibition has a golden history. The Caravan of exhibition was started in the year 1880 by inspiration of Raja Harnarayan Singh in the name of Aligarh District Fair as an exhibition, by the then Collector Marshall. Now it it is 140 years old, which is increasing and getting young, year by year.


In 1886, due to the inclusion of Aligarh's training and educational knowledge in this district fair, it was renamed as the State Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition. In 1914, the then collector WS Maris gave the exhibition an organized look by constructing a court hall.


He constitution of its charitable trust was registered in 1998 under the then DM Srikrishna Singh Atoria. In such a situation, it became an organization to be run with the cooperation of common people


Aligarh Numaish is a Nostalgia part in life of Aligs fraternity .It is one of those priceless memories Aligarians carry in their hearts forever. There are some students who could boast of 100 percent attendance at the Numaish, meaning they didn’t miss even a single day. Some are not so regular, so they visit on alternate days.


By turning pages of my life, I boggled at period when I was a student of under high School and used to live in Anona House with parents. Anona House is situated along Railway track. Aligarh Exhibition ground from Anona house was at a walking distance on other side parallel to Railway track. Those were the enjoyable days of rikshas Horse driven Ekkas or symbol of royalty The Tongaas and cycle.


It was our common practice to visit exhibition with brothers and sisters by foot along railway track. That 20 mts walk on those days, has no words to express the joy and excitement we cherished. Today we ride on our four wheelers to Exhibition; Gone are those pleasure and lustful days.


I do recall, some time our parents allow us for Exhibition with Bua (Home Made Servant—Gulshan) as guardian. May Allah place her in Jannat-u-l Firdaus (Ameen).Gulshan Bua was a kind widow lady. Those were the days of Touring Cinema inside a huge tent and sitting arrangement was spread of tirpal on floor. Perhaps ticket costed only 25 Paisa or Chawanni.


Gulshan Bua with her kid girl Saira and we used to see movies, sitting on floor. The great feast for us at that time was Moong Phali and Barula with chatni (spicy socked and deep fry potato).I do remember name of one film “Zabak” of that time, which I  saw in that touring cinema.


Very strange to us, on some tragic scenes Bua would start weeping with tears and some times with weeping sound. Seeing this, we too start weeping. Stories of those film were very simple. One kind King ,his most beautiful Princess, Cunning Deewan and a Brave Poor man as Hero. Some films were of Fairies, a jadoogars and brave prince.


Some time Bua entertained us by sitting in Nautankis. The pleasure of Nautanki lies in the intense melodic exchanges between two or three performers; a chorus is used sometimes. Nautanki was one of the most popular folk operatic theater performance forms in those days. Before the advent of Bollywood (the Hindi film industry), Nautanki was the biggest source of entertainment.


The great grand feast days were those, when we go to Aligarh Exhibition with Father. Punjab and Central were the main hotels for traditional Dish of Halwa and Paratha. In those Days pure desi ghee was cooking medium for Halwa and Paratha.


One more foolish smartness is still in my memory. Once on way back to home from Exhibition, I found a goods train standing at railway crossing gate. I entered up in side an open rack of the goods train, assuming that it will again stop at next railway crossing gate near Anona House, and I will get down. To my bad luck goods train stopped at Aligarh station.


Once all family members and cousins with mother and big mother were roaming in Exhibition that was at its full youth and very crowds. Suddenly my mother realized that younger sister Zohra is missing.


We searched her at all stalls, in every lane and by lane. We announced her missing even from public announced system. At last we returned home heavy hearten. To our astonishment. We found her sleeping in her bed. She told that after departing us, she came back on foot along same railway track.


Life never behaves sweet as sugar. These small incidents and memories act as salt and pepper in life to make it spicy.


Now I am turning many pages of book named “Aligarh Exhibition". The pages are of those days when Maqbool was a student of Mechanical Engineering. Now I was independent and free to walk in Exhibition ground with friends of my group.


I will not waste time in telling boring history of this Exhibition but I am proud to say that this Aligarh Exhibition is 140 years old but getting more young than any younger.


Valentine Feeling in Aligarh Exhibition

Valentine day (14th February) has gone, but those were the days, when air of Aligarh Exhibition used to be charged with a valentine feeling. Every thing here seemed to be charged with romantic possibility. Exchanged aired notes and air glances, new romances, and rekindled old ones.


Mittal gate: The First entry gate to Exhibition Ground.

First of all leave our vehicle in parking ground. Walk leisurely towards Mittal gate, the main entry point to exhibition. There is no more excitement on this road. On both side of this road, lies the industrial and agricultural stall on huge ground, camps of political parties, local colleges, exhibition police post, etc.


There is one main road in Exhibition ground from Mittal Gate that ends at Darbar Hall. Krishanjali Auditorium is adjacent to this Durbar Hall. From this main road spreads several lanes and by lanes.


A.M.U. Proctor’s Camp: An AMU proctorial office too is established to have a watchful eye on students

After few Mts walk we will reach A.M.U. Proctor’s Camp Office:--Now this camp looks with no life, few bulls an proctorial staff are seen standing on gate. No need to be haraased or fear with them. The spring days of this camp has gone. I remembering the days of my studentship the repeated announcement by Proctorial staff “A.M.U students are requested to leave the exhibition ground by sharp 10:00 PM.


It was mandatory for A.M.U.Students to leave the exhibition ground by 10.P.M, the time of full youth of exhibition. University uniform, black sherwani, white pajama or green blazer coat, was also a mandatory. Students not in uniform, used to play a hide and seek game with University Proctorial Team.


Jane Kahan Gaye WO Din: Those were the magical days, The Black sherwani wearing students were the charm and symbol of a culture, tradition, nobility and respect. This was special identification of Exhibition, on those days. There are some students who could boast of 100 percent attendance at the Numaish, meaning they didn’t miss even a single day. Some are not so regular, so they visit on alternate days.


Senior Proctorial Monitor (S.P.M) with his team of proctorial monitors all young dashing senior students, clad in well pressed black crisp sherwani, black cap ,white Aligarh cut pajama and black shoe, started roaming in exhibition. Students in exhibition were smarter than them, seeing the team they turned other route.


Mukhtar Saheb was Chief Proctor.

I too was a proctorial monitor for two years, always proud of, wearing a green badge of proctorial monitor on a pitch black sherwani; with yellow monogram of university. At that time Late Mukhtar Saheb was Chief Proctor. Whom we used to call Mukhtar Ghoda due to his energetic, impassive and very tall in height personality. He used to wear maroon colored Turkish cap on sherwani.


The interesting part of this duty as a proctorial Monitor was ,a coupon for dinner in Jhanda or Nazeer hotel. The other most pleasant assignment was to  escort girl students of Abdullah Girls College ,from exhibition ground to their college bus, and to confirm their security.

Muzzammil Gate

Let us move ahead, now it is Muzzammil Gate, This gate was constructed in 1936 by Nawab Muzammil khan Shervani. The exhibition ground is a gift by him. Main exhibition starts from here. A human flood from all walk of life, all age, male and female is waiting from here.


All shops glitter by decorative light system. Sometimes it becomes difficult to walk ahead. Now comes the famous Khanna softy stall, hear we can eat tasty, Spicy Bhel Puri, Pao Bhaji, its cold but Khanna ‘s softy smoothed the throat. Wow ahead it is is a four road crossing point.


Fountain the famous Fauw-a-ra.

On one side of Fountain lies several big shops of Choorans (Spicy Digestive salt).It is impossible to go ahead leaving famous Chooran shop, Hing ka peda and Anar Dana of Mathura. They will put some choorans on yr open palm of different ingredient's, free to taste. No option its spiciness well bound you to buy it.This free sample still prevails.


Bareilly ka Surma, Rampur ki caps, Badaun ka Peda, Meerut ki Nan Khatai----are also available in Exhibition of Aligarh. Some shops sell various items with a tag price list all items with a range varying from Rs 10.00 to Rs 100.00,with  humanitarian theory that people of every pocket may purchase items of their choice.


Baradari: still a famous ear mark of exhibition. It was a common meeting and waiting point, for friends or relatives, lost in crowd. It was easy to make announcements from control room, requesting by name to meet them at baradari or fauw-wa-ra. A Musical


Food Court: Jhanda Hotel and Nazeer Hotel: ---This area has its own wonderful world, here are a dozen food stalls .The special among them are Jhanda hotel and Nazeer hotel, that is etched in memory of every Alig, all over world. The crispy Paratha layer by layer well soaked in ghee and suji ka halwa that melts in mouth, spicy soft seekh kabab and a special tea with topped layer of malai.


It is said that Halwa, Paratha dishes are transferred here through Cooks from Peshawar, who use to come here before partition of subcontinent. Those Peshawri cooks prepare halwa mixes with dry fruits.


Public Announcement System: Remembering the golden period of farmaishi (request) songs airing from loudspeakers. Commercial announcements, too were melodious of those days, a copied voice of Radio Ceylon famous Amin Sayani. Most of time it was busy for farmaishi songs or meeting lost peoples. Those melodious days are gone, only commercial ads. Now this type of announcement is seldom heard, as every one has mobile to connect each other.


Dinner of Abdullah Hall:--The most nostalgic awaited and cheerful event for Aligarians happened to be the when Green Bus of Abdullah Girls full of Girl Student's used to visit Exhibition ground.


AMU. Aligarh student’s fraternity used to try to look smarter and attractive to impress Abdullah hall students. This day appeared to be more cheerful day than Eid and Diwali. The day of Abdullah Hall dinner was always kept a top secret, not less than a mission.


The Provost and wardens of Abdullah Hall kept mum about the day. One evening, the girls would be asked to get ready and march towards the fleet of buses waiting to carry them to the place where all eyes are waiting for them.


Now this tradition is a dream, as it is impossible to manage safety of large count of Abdullah Hall’s girl students. There are many other factors to finish it. Culture, Traditions, Values and Discipline, all are changed with time and new technologies. The age told AMU tradition has been to walk out all the way to Exhibition ground.

KhazLaa (Khaja) became the identity of Aligarh exhibition

People often taste Khajala and Nankhatai at the State Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition. Both these sweets have become the hallmark of the Aligarh exhibition. While passing through GT Road, Khajala is visible outside the exhibition. Khajala is mainly made from maida, sugar and ghee. Many artisans have been doing this work from generation to generation.


Hullar Bazar, Nautanki and Variety Show: We may call it Disney land and Carnival of Aligarh Exhibition, a jadoo nagri. The most adventurous part of Exhibition. The grand spinning wheel, the Roller coaster. Step into this complex and get lost in the noise and commotion of people and loudspeakers. Maut ka kunwa (well of death), a huge cylindrical wooden structure. Bike riders show their deadly stunts inside this.


The common scene of Hullar Bazar at that time was tempting and inviting public by dancing girls /Males in girls’ makeup, out side their stalls and jockers with thick layered makeup .They used to dance on ear bursting filmi songs and joking with public.


Mushaira (Assembly of Poets): Every year, a grand mushaira is organized on grand stage of Krishanjali auditorium. This auditorium has capacity of 10,000 audiences. The most renowned poets from all parts of country are invited. Jigar Moradabadi , Asghar Gondawi , Fani Badauni , Kaifi Aazmi , Bekal Utsahi, Neda Fazli. These are name of few poets. It is something very exiticing for all Urdu lovers and most of the Aligs were such that they were ready to do anything for a seat in the auditorium.


‘Aligarh Numaish Sadbhavana Geet’.

The fair continues to inspire poets and writers. Johny Foster, music instructor in AMU wrote the ‘Aligarh Numaish Sadbhavana Geet’. The Aligarh Numaish Sadbhavana Geet has been adopted as Numaish tarana.


This is perhaps a unique incidence when a Tarana has been written for an exhibition. In the Aligarh Numaish Sadbhavana Geet, Johnny Foster writes: “Aligarh key logon jahan ko batá do, khuda hi mohabbat Hai, aur mohabbat khuda Hai.”


Aligarh Exhibition;--Hindu-Muslim communal harmony.

Numaish is considered an example of Hindu-Muslim communal harmony. For this reason, two different Neeraj Shaharyar awards of one lakh one thousand are given every year during the exhibition event to promote Hindi and Urdu literature. The Aligarh exhibition is a reflection of its nature art, culture, agriculture and industrial development.


Official ending of Aligarh Exhibition (2021) is 5th March Aligarh Exhibition in true sense is Nostalgia for Every Alig, for years to come.

Written, photographed and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram


The End