Monday 9 July 2018

My Mystic Boat ride and Maha Ganga Aarti in Varanasi

A travelling of Varanasi is in incomplete without walk at Mystic Ghats of Varanasi and a boat ride in River Ganga. The Mystic beauty of Ganga Ghats in Varanasi can’t be visualized without roaming along ghats or a boat ride on the river. It was early evening a breezy and clear blue sky day of February.I happened a part of mystery that was happening there.

Maha Ganga Aarti of Varanasi

Every evening thousands of visitors assemble at Dashashwamedh Ghat, to view the spectacle of evening Maha Aarti in Varanasi. Though this tradition itself may be thousands of years old, in the modern days the Aarti is a choreographed show with priests in traditional Indian clothes using huge deepams and mashals or Cressets, moving to the tune of melodious Aarti and Bhajans.

Evening Boating in Ganga in Varanasi

The Ganga Ghats of Varanasi are mystical and magical place.These Ghats are a place where the dead and living play roles at same time. A last breath of salvation at the Manikarna Ghat is well deserved for. So here it is almost a beauty to watch death at burning pyres.

The dead body cremated here, in accordance to the Hindu rituals, would attain moksha and be relived from the cycle of birth and death. A last breath of salvation at the Manikarna Ghat is well deserved for

Burning Pyres in Mani-karma  Ghats at Varanasi

These Ghats are a place where the dead and living plays role at same time. Pilgrims come here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. So death here is almost a beauty to watch.

So one fine morning I was in Varanasi. I decided to take the evening boat first. Hired un shared boat only for my enjoyment. This boat ride costed me Rs 300:00. I took my seat comfortable, and took my SLR canon ready to catch the magic.

A Mystic Evening at Ganga Ghats  in Varanasi

Let’s start virtual tour of of the Ghats the most mesmerizing beautiful journey.Few lines are not enough to describe these moments.The boat was floating freely down stream of river along with many other boats.

The boats man was singing a folk song in pure eastern language tone. Sea guls were flying high, some v close to water surface in search of small fishes for their food.

A Good Hello from visitor Enjoying boat ride in Ganga -Varanasi

As the boat started receding from the bank, from a distance, all the Ghats forms a crescent. It is fun to compare the Ghats, how one looks so different from the other, though they stand next to each other.

Looking at the Ghats, floating in a boat on the Ganges was making me more and more relaxed.I was totally lost in magic and mystic atmosphere that enveloped me.It is not possible to narrate this beautiful trip in few lines.

A Beautiful view of Ganga Ghats from  a boat

The Maha Ganga Aarti Ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat.

The last and most spritul events were awaiting me. That was Maha Aarti of Ganga Ceremny at Dashashwamedh Ghat.The Sun God was getting low near sky and Ganges water line.The sky was turning from blue to orange.Light at various ghats and buildings were letting on.

My boatman turned direction of boat towards “Maha Aarti of Ganga” Ceremony place. I saw the Aarti from my boat anchored in the river.

Maha Ganga Aarti in Varanasi

Maha Ganga Aarti stared at 6:00 PM in the evening after the sunset for around 45 minutes. Devotees use to come to see the Ganga Aarti at least one hour before.

Boats in River Ganga at Varanasi

The ceremony initiates with the blowing of a conch shell and ringing bells. The priests’ waves incense sticks and hold up large flaming lamps while chanting mantras to the goddess Ganga. The priests’ movements are synchronized and the crowd is quiet during the ceremonial acts.All the priests who have to perform the Aarti, wear same cloth, the dhoti and kurta which is tightly bind with a long towel. 

Beauty of Varanasi Ganga Ghats at Night

After completion of this Maha Ganga Aarti, I was hungry, so decided to have a dinner.I left the Ghat around 8:00 pm. After dinner I went to a Thandai Shop. After drinking Thandai, I bought famous sweet called Khirmohan and Chamcham ended with chewing famous Banarsi Paan.
This ended my full of fun and memorable day in Varanasi. I enjoyed a boat ride and evening charm of Ganga Ghats and the Traditional Maha Ganga Aarti. The memories of magical Boat ride and Mystic spiritual Maha Aarti of Ganga has been etched on my heart for ever. My camera too was full of those memories.
Written, photographed and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram

Monday 2 July 2018

Story Of Laal Khu-Mian Mir-Barfi Of Mochi Gate (Lahore): Martyrdom Of Guru Arjan Singh.

There is an old mansion in Mochi Gate area of old Lahore known popularly as the "Lal Haveli ". The people of old Lahore still place oil lamps there at an old well known as the "Lal Khu" every year. They also purchase "Barfi", a local sweet and distribute it to the poor. Actually Lal Khu was the very well in the haveli of Chando Lal, whose water was used by Guru Arjan during his incarceration by Chando Lal. Hence, the name Lal Khu and its sanctity for the Sikhs.
They do so to make a "Wish" or "Mannat" in the memory of friendship between Hazrat Mian Mir with Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. Let's take a few moments to discuss the execution of the Guru and the subsequent reaction of Lahore's local population. The lives of all great men are examples of courage and endurance .

Among his several achievements, two stand out:

Ø  One, he compiled Granth Sahib, the most sacred book of the Sikh religion.
Ø  Two, he invited Mir Mohammed Muayyinul Islam (1550–1635), popularly known as Mian Mir or Sain Mir,a famous Sufi Muslim saint of Qadiri order of Lahore.A close friend of Guru Arjun Dev Ji, to lay the foundation stone of the Harmandir Sahib, (now known worldwide as the Golden Temple).

Sarovar and Golden Temple-Amritsar

 Back to the building which is known as Chandu de Haveli. Who was Chandu, or better still Chandu Shah? The name Laal Khu is derived from the red rags that people still tie to the tree and the well, leaving small mud lamps burning as some sort of ‘mannat’ (sacred promise).
Guru Arjan Dev ji refused to marry daughter of Chandu Lal
To explain this, very briefly, we must first narrate the story that brought this place such prominence, especially for Sikhs of the world. Chandu Shah was a wealthy banker and revenue official during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
He once approached a Hindu priest to work out why his aging daughter was not finding an appropriate match for marriage. The priest consulted his ‘methods’ and proposed that the son of the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606), was most suitable.

Chandu laughed off the proposal with the remark: “He is a beggar who lives off alms.” The remark was reported to the guru. Guru Arjan, when approached, politely refused the match.

Mochi Gate of Lahore

Guru Arjan Dev's decision to give shelter and blessed the rebel Prince Khusrau, who was attempting a coup d'etat against his own father Jahangir
Jahangir came to Lahore in April 1616 in pursuit of his son Khusrau who was claiming the throne on his grandfather’s wishes. Prince Khusrau met Guru Arjan, who blessed him as is customary for holy men to bless all those who call on them. 

Conspiracy of Chandu Shah- Arrest of the Guru Arjan Dev 

Chandu Shah reported this blessing of Guru Arjan Dev to Prince Khusrau, to Jahangir as a conspiracy. Guru was arrested by Murtaza Khan on order of Jahangir and brought to Lahore. A hefty fine of Rs. 200,000 was imposed on the Guru and he was asked to delete the verses from "Adi Granth" that were critical of Islamic and Hindu rituals.
 The guru responded by saying he had done no wrong and refused to pay the fine, or let others pay it. He also refused to delete any portion of the holy Granth. 
On this, Chandu Shah was allowed to drag the guru to his house and imprison him in a small cell at the corner of his haveli inside Mochi Gate of Lahore. Next to the cell was a well and a ‘Berry’ tree, the ones that still survive.

Chandu imprisoned Guru Arjan in this cell and proposed to starve him to death. Hazrat Mian Mir offered to pay the fine, which the guru disallowed. For six whole months no food was allowed to Guru Arjan. Every Thursday, Hazrat Mian Mir would come and pray for him.

Mian Mir and Barfi of Lahore

It is said that Hazrat Mian Mir also prayed that the ‘bairi’ tree continue giving sweet ‘bairs’ throughout the year and that the water of the well remain sweet. He would purchase barfi from a poor shopkeeper at the corner of the opposite lane, wrap it in a cloth and throw it through the tiny cell window.

Barfi of Mochi Gate Lahore

After six months, the then governor of Lahore, Murtaza Khan, asked Chandu Shah whether the guru had starved to death. When replied in negative, he flew into a rage. He ordered Guru Arjan Dev be dragged through the streets of Mochi Gate and brought to the Lahore Fort.

Aftermath of Martyrdom

The result was a scarring of the Sikh psyche that would reverberate for centuries and ultimately destroy the Mughal Empire forever. Mian Mir raised slogans on the streets of Lahore to mourn the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev. He never accepted any gift sent by Emperor Jahangir, or his Ministers or nobles.

One source claims that Muslims of the area sang poems about Karbala when he was being taken in chains to the fort. At the fort, he was tortured by making him sit on heated iron sheets. Mughal court documents say he died after five days of torture (Tuzk-i-Jahangiri). 
Sikh sources say he was to be sewn in a buffalo skin and thrown in the Ravi flowing outside. But the guru wanted to have a bath, and dived in the river, never to return. The place he did this is seen today inside the ‘samadhi’ of Ranjit Singh outside the Lahore Fort. Sikhs believe he will return on the Day of Judgement to represent them.
                                  The End Of Chandu Shah

The end of Chandu Shah is amazingly ironic. Jahangir turned against him and handed him over to Arjan’s son Guru Har Gobind, who had the Sikhs of Lahore drag him out of ‘Chandu de Haveli’ and along the same route to the river by the fort. On the way, every Sikh slapped and kicked him in rage. The final ignominy was that the man who poured hot sand on Guru Arjan was made to do the same to Chandu Shah.
Over the ages, Sikhs have paid homage to the well and the ‘bair tree’ that fed their guru for six long months. Some even purchased barfi from the small shop and gave it to the poor to eat. That tradition remains till this day. The people of old Lahore still remember the friendship of Hazrat Mian Mir and still place oil lamps there over any ‘manaat’ they make.
 Lal Khu is known to people of Lahore and many Pakistanis abroad as the place where the tastiest “Barfi” is made by Rafiq Sweets. Actually Lal Khu was the very well in the haveli of Chandu Lal,whose water was used by Guru Arjan Dev Ji during his incarceration by Chandu Lal.

Over time, Laal Khu has become more famous for its barfi, not the mullahs. There is a hadith (Bukhari-553) claims that on the Day of Judgement, God will not look at those who withheld water for the people. 

Smadhi of Guru Arjan Dev ji in Lahore

 Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram with the help of materials available on net and photos too are taken from sources on net with thanks.

Friday 29 June 2018

Emperor Aurangzeb Fell in Love

Aurangzeb in love!!!.One would be surprised to come across love story which hardly matched his personality.This is about love affair of one of the most prominent Mughal Emperors, Aurangzeb (1618-1707) who ruled over India for 49 years (1658-1707).Aurangzeb fell in love at first sight with Hira Bai.

The Story goes on as……

Emperor Shah Jahan had personally led his forces to Deccan in 1631. During this campaign, his wife Mumtaz Mahal died at Burhanpur. She was temporarily buried in the city before her mortal remains were moved (1648) to the Taj Mahal in Agra. Shahjahan the Emperor was in deep mourning due to her death.

Aurangzeb in his court

While retiring from the area in grief, he appointed Aurangzeb, then Prince Muhi-ud-Din only fourteen years of age, as governor of Deccan. The Prince set up court at Kirki at 220 km south east of Burhanpur on the right bank of river Tapti, later (1653) he renamed it Aurangabad. 

In 1636, Aurangzeb was travelling to Kirki, the place of his court (now known as Aurangabad) from Delhi and decided to make a stop at Burhanpur to pay respect to his maternal aunt, Salah Bano, sister of Mumtaz Mahal. His aunt was married to Khan-e-Zaman Saif Khan, Subedar of Burhanpur, Commander of Artillery.

There in the garden, Aurangzeb’s eyes locked on to one girl who was holding a branch of a tree and humming a tune…

“Since Aurangzeb was a member of the family, the ladies of the harem of the Subedar were not in total seclusion.There in the garden, Aurangzeb’s eyes locked on to one girl who was holding a branch of a tree and humming a tune.

Aurangzeb was mesmerized and dazzled by the sweet melody and striking beauty of the girl. He sank to the ground and then, visibly disoriented, lay down, unable to stand on his feet.” 
Hira Bai--Love of Aurangzeb

When her aunt was informed about his condition, she was perturbed and came running bare footed. She sat down beside her nephew trying to revive him. After a little while, he regained his bearings. Despite her urging, he didn’t disclose the reason for his discomfiture.A despondent and grief-stricken feeling prevailed in the house and the feast was disrupted.

Around midnight, when Aurangzeb was composed enough, he went over to his aunt and told her the reason for his affliction. On hearing about the girl, she became tormented and distraught. She told him that the girl is a dancer and signer by the name of Hira Bai and was called Zainabadi for belonging to a local village of that name.

She lamented that her husband was very harsh. She feared that on hearing that Aurangzeb was interested in his concubine, he might respond violently.
Young Aurangzeb 
Since Saif Khan knew about the harem of Aurangzeb, he wanted Chattar Bai, a concubine of Aurangzeb in exchange. Salah Bano went to Aurangzeb and conveyed the message which was agreeable to the Prince. 

Certainly, Aurangzeb had started enjoying music and dance during that time.

It is recorded in contemporary resources that Aurangzeb was extremely pleased and merry in the company of his love. He even lost some of his extremist or puritanical leanings. Hirabai’s looks, combined with her musical accomplishments, proved irresistible for the prince.

Once Hira Bai wanted to test Aurangzeb’s love for her, she offered him a glass of wine and when he was about to drink, Hira Bai took it away. Another version is Aurangzeb started drinking with her and enjoyed music and dance in her company.

Alas, this love was not to last. Hira Bai soon fell sick and died. She is buried in Aurangabad. Aurangzeb gave up music and wine after her death. Aurangzeb built masjid and Mala in her name. Zainabad is in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh.

Aurangzeb made a vow never to drink wine, nor to listen to music again. In later days he was accustomed to say that God had been very gracious to him by putting an end to that dancing-girl’s life, by reason of which he had committed so many iniquities. Perhaps his heart died with the passing away of his one true love – Hira Bai Zainabadi.

Tomb of Aurangzeb in Ahmadnagar
Aurangzeb died in 1707 at Ahmednagar. His body was then carried to Khuldabad .There is a platform over the tomb made of red stone, less than three yards in length. There is also a "cavity" in the middle which measures a "few fingers". The tomb has been covered with soil on which herbs grow.

Lord Curzon later covered the site with marble and surrounded it with a "pierced marble screen". The tomb is roofed by "the vault of the sky".The gateway and the domed porch was added in 1760.

Tomb of Aurangzeb (From Wikipedia with Thanks)

It is said that Aurangzeb paid for his burial place by stitching caps during his last years and that it cost only 14 rupees and 12 annas. The tomb is "remarkably simple in keeping with Aurangzeb's own wishes". Aurangzeb's full name is written on a marble plate located in one of the corners of the tomb.(From Wikipedia)

This ended the love story of Aurangzeb who as Mughal prince fell in love and later a ruthless Mughal emperor on a sober note.

This Love Story of Aurangzeb and Hira Bai Zainabadi has been compiled with help of materials and photos available on net and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram.

Friday 22 June 2018

Women Managers are better bosses:An asset to organisation.

Women Manager are Good Bosses
In the battle of sexes, a recent study shows that women managers are emerging as better bosses and are proving asset to their organisation. But does this power of women overthrows a man from his throne? Today, both men and women are exposed to equal opportunities and liberties. The world has started accepting the fact that women are not just an object which is to be used and throw.
In fact at every level, more women managers were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall bosses than their male counterparts. At all managerial levels women outscored men in leadership skills and competency.A study finds that women managers are better bosses.They encourage a positive team environment and provide employees with better career opportunities.

Women Manager are better Bosses
Now, let's have a look on why “Women Managers are better bosses, and asset to organization”.

1-Women managers  Bosses are  better  in  boosting  employee engagement?

Women can boost employee engagement at a much higher rate than their male counterparts.The report, based on 40 years of data, shows that 87 percent of professionals feel disengaged at work. And that’s a big problem — since unhappy employees are more likely to walk right over to the competition. The bottom line: If you want to be a great boss, you need to engage your employees. Scroll on for three tips for doing just that.

Women Manager are Better Bosses

Women are likely to push their employees and encourage them to go above and beyond. It’s also quick to point out these female bosses are making sure that their employees have interesting work that challenges them and deepens their skillset. Take note, ladies.

2.Women Manager Bosses  are Good communicators

A better communication can build a strong relationship.Women are better listeners than men, and this is exactly the skill that is most critical for managing employees and customers.Men communicates through activities rather than conversations.
Employees want their managers to hear their point of view, and customers want everyone to empathize with their problems. Being a better communicator will lead to a stronger relationship built on trust, which is critical to establishing loyalty.
Women Manager Bosses have more Patience
3.Women Manager Bosses have more patience 
Women have a skill of being more patient with the employees than the male boss. Women do not jump into a conclusion quickly and does not make a decision hastily. Winners have the tendency to wait for a long period for the desired result. 
4.Women Manager Bosses have Stronger ethics 
 Every organization needs to follow a set a codes and ethics for its proper functioning. A female boss tends to follow a stronger ethics and yet maintain a friendly environment. Women who are effective managers consider the rights of others in the pursuit of fairness
5.Women Manager Bosses are Good listners
Most of the times, a male boss fails to hear the personal problems of an employee. You can speak out your heart to your female boss as she has the patience to hear it. It can improve the relationship between an employee and employer. 
5.Women Manager Bosses are Better community builders. 
Women are better consensus builders and don’t have the need like men to direct everyone in what to do.
Best managers are learning to lead through the influence that comes from building collaboration rather than straight force or all out competition.

Women Manager Bosses are better Community Builders
6.Women Manager Bosses are Better at activating passion.

Women are “more astute about knowing how to activate passion in their employees. They watch the 43 muscles in your face and see how your emotions change.”

7. Women Manager Bosses haveTransparency: 
As a woman, you’re ahead of the game: female managers cultivate an open-office environment much more than male managers. Employees, especially millennial employees, are curious (and rightly so!). They want to know why a particular client is so important, why a new deck needs to be created, and why you’re asking them to work late in order to do so. You need to give them answers. The more in-tune they are with the business; the better they’ll be at their job.

If you can point out that their marketing research helped secure a multi-million dollar client, they’ll be more willing to go the extra mile in the future. Plus, they’ll also have a clearer picture of how to do the work you set out for them.

8.Women Manager Bosses have Positive Feedback:
Let’s be real: No one wants to feel like their work is going unnoticed. Make a point to write encouraging emails to your employees, highlight their accomplishments during company-wide meetings, or high-five them in the hallway so that other coworkers are aware of the great things they’ve been doing for the company. 

Though men rule the world, it is said that behind every successful man, there is a woman. There was a time, when women used to sit at home and look after the household works and her family. 

Time has changed and so have the women. The experiences and sufferings of a woman make her a strong person and change her into a super woman, super mom or a super boss.
Women Manager are Better Bosses
Time has come that women should explore themselves more and more with and should prove that they are not less than man in this competitive world. 

Definitely, today, women managers make a better boss than men and proving themselves asset to organisation.Female boss can also help to prevent the sexual harassment in their office. Give a big salute to those women who achieved the position of a boss, not for ruling others, but for achieving the throne with their hard work and confidence.
A happy Woman Boss
This is a write-up:”Women Managers are better bosses: An asset to organization”, has been shared by Sheeba Siddiqui as guest Blogger. Sheeba Siddiqui is a HR Expert.Posted by Engr Maqbool Akram. Photos are taken from different sources at Net with thanks.