Thursday 28 February 2019

Krishna Kumari: The Rajput Princess,Chose Death Pyre To Save Her Dynasty

Here is the story of a true princess Krishna Kumari (1794 –1810), who chose death before a war was ignited.She choose death instead of putting the lives of their people at risk.Reality is harsh and painful. It is not lyrical fiction and it does not have Romeo-and-Juliet kind of endings.
 It was my second day of tour in Udaipur. We were in city palace of Udaipur and standing inside Krishna Vilas.  Krishna Vilas is another chamber inside City Palace, which has rich collection of miniature paintings that portray royal processions, festivals and games of the Maharanas.
However, there is tragic story linked to this wing of the City Palace. In the 19th century, a royal princess was unable to choose from two suitors seeking her hand in marriage, one from the royal family of Jaipur and another from Jodhpur, and hence in a state of dilemma, she poisoned herself to death
Princess Krishna Kumari was a Rajput princess with many suitors. A succession of battles was fought to gain her hand. Unlike Padmini, she was a real figure whose story was detailed in annals and letters composed during her life and immediately after her death. 

The manner of that death was unique and tragic, so shameful that no bard was ever commissioned to glorify it in verse.
Rana Bhim Singh was the ruler of Mewar in the early nineteenth century. The state had lost all its power and was beset by enemies from all sides.
The Marathas from the southwest had overrun parts of it and extorted levies from his subjects, while the states of Jaipur and Marwar were poised to attack him.
Jaipur and Marwar threatened war, not to increase their kingdoms but for another reason. Both the princes, Jagat Singh of Jaipur and the Raja Man of Marwar wanted to marry the Sisodia princess, Krishna Kumari, daughter of Bhim Singh. Bhim Singh dared not refuse either. He knew that whoever lost the hand of his daughter would join his enemies and attack his state.
Krishna Kumari, the young, sixteen-year beauty, was told of her father's predicament. She was determined to maintain the heroic tradition of her race and die rather than plunge her country into war
 Poison made of the Kasumba blossom was prepared for her. When the fatal cup was presented to her she received it with a smile, I fear not to die. Rajkumari Krishna Kumari drank it, and fell into a deep sleep … from which she never woke.

It happened in Krishna Vilas of the Udaipur palace, in a room that is still preserved exactly as it was when the brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
 Her mother, heartbroken at her daughter's fate, died soon after her. And Rana Bhim Singh, too weak to have prevented the sacrifice, consoled himself through the lonely years of his remaining life by turning his daughter's room into shrine of beauty and splendor.
The delicately frescoed Krishna Mahal is now a memorial to the girl (photography not permitted) in Udaipur City Palace, where respect can be paid to a brave little princess who became the victim of political circumstance.The room contains some of Mewar's best miniature paintings.The brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of various materials available on net. 

Monday 18 February 2019

Naked Sufi Saramad Shaheed: Beheaded by Aurangzeb.Saint Danced With His Head

Recently I was in Delhi to attend a marriage, there I stole few hours to quench my old memory. The mystic life story of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) was narrated by mother, when I was a child.

What made me more interested in knowing about Sarmad Shaheed was the fact that he was beheaded by powerful Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, but with his beheaded head he was moving ahead to enter Jama Masjid of Delhi.

According to legend, his decapitated head started reciting the full kalima (La ilaha illa’llah- there is no God, but Allah), showing that in death he had achieved his affirmation of faith.    
Twin Dargah of Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) and Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah (R.A)
For that reason, I drove away to Dargah of Sufi Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) to offer my flower of reverence: The little-known Sufi ascetic and poet whose life was a revolt against traditions is, just below the stairs of the Jama Masjid.

A humble monument to the memory of Sarmad Shaheed resonates with legends and myths woven around this striking figure from history.
Twin Dargah of Sufi Sarmad Shaheed(R.A) and Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah(R.A),below stairs of Jama Masjid of Delhi

The shrine faces the Red Fort, surrounded by the open-air stalls of Meena Bazaar; the noise of people, bargaining shopkeepers, venders’, spitting, yelling and cursing on the street stands in stark contrast to the soothing hum inside the shrine.

Jama Masjid of Delhi
Actually, this dargah is home to two Sufi saints: Sarmad Shaheed and Hazrat Hare Bhare Shah, a contemporary of Aurangzeb’s father Shah Jahan.

Hare Bhare Shah’s tomb, indicative of his name, is made of green tiles. The entire shrine is halved into these two colours—even the doorway gets its colours from this scheme, red and green respectively. The red colour stands for the martyrdom of Sarmad Shaheed.
Lot of chaos: Biryani, Halwa paratha and tea stalls.Muslim Bhakti songs, beggars and other sights and sounds associated with Old Delhi. Sandwiched between the imposing Jama Masjid and the chaotic Meena Bazaar, narrow lanes and by lane.Visitors clicking selfies in background of this look, as a memory.
Who was Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A)

Sarmad is described as a Jew Trader from Iran or Persia who came to India during 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s time for selling his items.

It is narrated that since Sarmad was a trader from Iran or Persia who wanted to make money, he was told by his friends about India where Persian is official language and people gave a lot of money to purchase Persian goods.
Since he was Jew, he did not know about Sufism or Islam, so in order to get acquainted he read about it and got knowledge from the Islamic scholars and eventually got converted and set off for India to sell precious items.

Here he landed in Thatta province, Sind in in 1631 (Modern Day Karachi, Pakistan).
Sarmad in Thatta
When Sarmad reached Thatta in Sindh, he fell in love with the local girl, but due to some unfortunate events lost every possession, including the local girl. The impact of this destructive love made him give up his clothes and worldly things. He would walk the streets of Thatta naked. In this state of absolute renunciation, Sarmad achieved the heights of spiritualism.

Sarmad meets  youthful Abhay Chand 
At Thatta in a musical concert, Sarmad happened to see the youthful Abhay Chand, who was the son of a rich Hindu trader. It was love at first sight for Sarmad and Abhay.

Abhay Chand’s melodious voice that he rendered at a ghazal pierced the tender heart of Sarmad so much that he never recovered from the feeling of love.
Sarmad began to attend the concert daily not caring that the ship on which he came had sailed away.
Abhay Chand also responded to his love with equal devotion and soon, the two began to live together at Sarmad’s place. Soon gossips started to abound in Thatta about the two men living in unnatural conditions. When this gossips spread, Abhay Chand’s parents took him away and confined him in his house.

The pain of separation was too much for Sarmad who tore of his cloths and began to roam the streets of Thatta in a state of frenzy seeking his beloved Abhay Chand. Following the incident, he was to live in a state of total nudity for the rest of his life.
Sarmad in Delhi: His Contact With Prince Dara Shikoh 
Later they both left Thatta and finally reached Delhi on 1657 and in couple of years started to have a massive following. He used to reside near Delhi’s Meena Bazar (besides Jama Masjid).
During this time he came in contact with Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz (Taj Mahal Couple). Dara was supposed to be crowned the next Mughal king. He was well read and had translated many texts to Persians from Indian religions. The most prominent of his translation was Upanishads. He was a devout Sufi of Qadiri order.
Sarmad Encounters With Aurangzeb
Fate had other plans for Dara and Sarmad, Dara’s youngest brother ‘the more radical’ Aurangzeb became the next Mughal king. Sarmad and Aurangzeb were ideological enemies, Sarmad stood for everything that Aurangzeb hated.
On story goes that as Aurangzeb’s procession was passing through the streets of Delhi, he saw Sarmad sitting by the roadside. Aurangzeb ordered march to halt and demanded the mystic to cover himself. The peer or saint looked at him with wrathful eyes and said, ‘If you think I need to cover my nudity so badly, why you don’t cover me yourself?’

When the emperor lifted the blanket lying on Sarmad’s side, he saw the bloodied heads of all the family members he had had secretly murdered. Bewildered, Aurangzeb looked at Sarmad, who said, ‘Now tell me, what should I cover — your sins or my nakedness?’

Princess Zaibunnisa purchased Jannat from Sarmad Shaheed in exchange of some Tobacco

In another such story, Emperor Aurangzeb’s daughter, Princess Zebunnisa (she was eldest daughter and inspired by Sufism), saw Sarmad making clay houses on the roadside. After paying her respects, she inquired: ‘Are these for sale?’

‘Yes,’ Sarmad said, ‘I will sell them for some tobacco.’

Upon receiving the tobacco, Sarmad wrote around the border of one of the clay houses: This clay house is sold to Princess Zebunnisa for some tobacco.

That night Emperor Aurangzeb saw a dream.He was roaming around in Paradise, when he saw a beautiful palace. When he approached it, he was barred from entering it. Then he noticed that the palace had Princess Zebunnisa name written on it.
 Sarmad Faced Trial In Court Of Qazi

Aurangzeb ascended throne on 1658 AD and had Sarmad executed in 1661 AD, after having Dara Shikoh executed in 1659 AD. Sarmad’s fearless attitude was too much for Aurangzeb who soon called on his chief Qazi, Mullah Qawi, and plotted to do away with Sarmad.
Trial of  Sufi Sarmad Shaheed
The trial given to Sarmad was farce, orchestrated by the Islamic Mullahs in Aurangzeb’s court, Aurangzeb himself wanted to get rid of all those associated with his eldest brother Dara Shikoh.

Sarmad was dragged to the Qazi’s court where he was accused of defying the shariah by living naked.Sarmad had befitting replies to all of the Qazi’s accusations, and this frustrated him even more.

In order to make him relent, the Mullah had Abhay Chand flogged in front of Sarmad. It is said that the whip lashed Abhay Chand’s flesh, but the pain was inflicted on Sarmad.

For the Mullah Qazi, Islam was a set of stern and inflexible laws (this is Salafi interpretation of Islam). For Sarmad, it was nothing but a message of love (Sufi Interpretation of Islam).
Aurangzeb knew that public of Delhi was behind Sarmad and if he gives him execution sentence on lesser crime like nakedness or being with Abhay Chand, it will create a rebellion. Hence he instructed Mullah that Sarmad be asked to recite Kalma-e-Tayyaba.

Aurangzeb knew Sarmad never use to finish the Kalima and this would be good enough reason for apostasy or Atheism.
Execution of Sarmad by Aurangzeb’s Order(1660)

The Mullahs demanded that Sarmad should recite the kalimah shahada (acceptance of oneness of God), which “La Ilaha Illallah, Muhammad-ur-Rasul Allah” (there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad SWT is the messenger of Allah), in order to prove that he was a true Muslim.

Sarmad refused to go beyond “La Ilaha,” which means there is no God, as he had still not found the end of his search for God. This enraged the Mullahs who awarded him death sentence. Hence, Sarmad was dragged through the streets of Delhi and promptly beheaded.

He was killed in a very inhumane way: just his head was cut off. His head rolled down the steps of the Jama Masjid.

A story goes, that Sarmad emerged victorious in death. He picked up his severed head much to the fright of his executioners. Then he started to climb the stairs of the Jama Masjid, while mocking the emperor and his false men of God all the while.

According to legend, his decapitated head started reciting the full kalima (La ilaha illa’llah- there is no God, but Allah), showing that in death he had achieved his affirmation of faith.
At the moment he was about to enter the Jama Masjid mosque, a voice called him out from the grave of Harey Bharey and asked him to relent as he had reached the end of his journey and had united with God at last. Sarmad turned round and went to Harey Bharey’s tomb. There he was buried by the side of Harey Bharey, where they share a common Dargah today.

The curse of Sarmad fell on Aurangzeb as the Mughal Empire gradually crumbled in front of his very eyes. He did not have any peaceful day in his old life.

It is said that that the troubles which plagued Aurangzeb throughout his reign and downfall of the Mughal Empire were due to this unfortunate decision to behead Shah Sarmad.

A view of Meena Bazar (Around Dargah of Shaheed Sarmad)
The story of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed (R.A) has ben written, photographed and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram (wih the help of Wikipedia other materials and few photos from other sources available on net,with thanks

Sunday 10 February 2019

AMU Tarana:The Breath of Aligs-In Camera Of Engr Maqbool Akram

“Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, main apne chaman kaa bulbul hun”, this one line is a magical string that connects Millions of Aligs all around word. Their head and foot move in same pitch, tempo and rhythm, all around word with this Nazam “Tarana-E-Aligarh (Nazr-e-Aligarh).
Tarana is sung in chorus, with full josh, by a group of boys and girls in a uniform:Boys in black sherwani and girls in white salwar suit. When this Tarana is sung with orchestra in chorus with orchestra with all the vigour, it appears that Aligs are able to move mountains and create waves in the most calmest lakes.

Tarana starts in rhythm as Lounging sea breeze further it changes in roaring waterfall and ends with powerful sound of thunderstorms….and then a pin drop silence.

The Story of AMU Tarana
The tarana itself is a fine creativity of Urdu penned by Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz.He was AMU Aligarh, student in between 1930 and 1936. In one of visit (1936) of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to AMU Aligarh, he asked students to sing university song.
He was surprised that university has not its own anthem- Tarana. The very next morning, Asrarul Haq Majaz, student of AMU at that time, was ready with a masterpiece nazam.Later this nazam (Nazr-e-Aligarh) was truncated and adopted as official lyrics of AMU tarana.
Majaz first recited it the same year 1936, in the Union Hall, in the presence of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) A.B. Ahmed Haleem Saheb.When Majaz reached the lines Haleem saheb asked to stop the recital and walked out:---
“Yahan ham ne kamanden dali hain, Yahan hum ney shabkhoon maray hain;
Yahan hum nay qabayen nochi hain, yahan hum nay taj utarey hain”

The huge gathering of students asked him to continue but Majaz did not. After some time, he relaxed and completed it in the Union Hall’s lawns (between Morrison court and Union building).
Although Majaz left the university campus, his poetry continued to influence students. Ishtiaque Ahmad Khan, a B. Ed student (1954-55) was also one such person. 
An address by the VC, Dr Zakir Husain, to the final year students inspired Khan to do something long-lasting for the university. He thought of putting Majaz’s Nazr-e-Aligarh to tune and was confident of it becoming the university song.
Ishtiaque Ahmad Khan created the tune in the last week of September, 1954, and requested the President of the Union, Ahmad Saeed, to present Tarana to university. He refused angrily on hearing the poet’s name–Majaz being a progressive writer.But; Dr.Zakir Husain vice chancellor at that time agreed and even acknowledged that it was one of Majaz’s best works.
 It was October 17th (Sir Syed Day),1954, when Ishtiaque Ahmad Khan was at dais in the Stretchy Hall along with his troupe (Saleh Naiyyar, Ghulam Haider Ejaz and Fasih). 

Izzat Yaar Khan, Secretary of SS Hall Music Club, started the tune on the harmonium and soon the hall was reverberating with the sound of “Ye mera chaman…” Dr.Zakir Husain VC of that time was impressed. Even Saeed appreciated the poem and apologised to Ishtiaque about his stand earlier.
Lyric of AMU Tarana
Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, main apne chaman ka bulbul hun
Sar-shaar-e-nigah-e-nargis hun, paa-basta-e-gesu-e-sumbul hun

Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, ye mera chaman hai mera chaman
Main apne chaman ka bulbul hun

Jo taaq-e-haram mein roshan hai, WO shama yahan bhi jalti hai
Is dasht ke goshe goshe se, ek joo-e-hayat ubalti hai

Ye dasht-e-junoon deewanon ka, ye bazm-e-wafa parwanon ki
Ye shahr-e-tarab roomanon ka, ye khuld-e-bareen armanon ki

Fitrat ne sikhai hai ham ko, uftad yahan parwaz yahan
Gaye hain wafa ke get yahan, chheda hai junoon ka saaz yahan

Is bazm men taighen khenchin hain, is bazm mein saghar tode hain
Is bazm men aankh bichhai hai, is bazm mein dil tak jode hain

Har shaam hai shaam-e-Misr yahan, har shab hai shab-e-Shiraz yahan
Hai saare jahan ka soz yahan aur saare jahan ka saaz yahan

Zarraat ka bosa lene ko, sau baar jhuka aakaash yahan
Khud aankh se humne dekhi hai, batil ki shikast-e-faash yahan

Jo abr yahan se uthega, wo saare jahan par barsega
Har joo-e-rawan par barsega, har koh-e-garan par barsega
Har sard-o-saman par barsega, har dasht-o-daman par barsega
Khud apne chaman par barsega, ghairon ke chaman par barsega
Har shahr-e-tarab par garjega, har qasr-e-tarab par kadkega

Ye abr hamesha barsa hai, ye abr hamesha barsega
Ye abr hamesha barsa hai, ye abr hamesha barsega
Ye abr hamesha barsa hai, ye abr hamesha barsega
Barsegaa, Barsegaa, Barsegaaa...
A brief Biography of Asrarul Haq Majaz
In a small life of 44 years only, Asrar-ul-Haq 'Majaz', called 'keats' of Urdu literature, gave the world of Urdu poetry a great deal of compositions. 

In fact, the entire generation of that time was a victim of love; it was a victim of somebody's love. And so the Aligarh tarana came into being. Majaz died a year after it was first played.
Ismat Chugtai had once remarked to Majaz, “Girls love Majaz to such an extent that it cannot be explained.” Majaz known for his witty sense of humour replied: “But they marry rich people in their life.”

Ali Sardar Jafri has presented the life and poetry of Majaz in the serial Kehkashan, he is of the opinion that “Aligarh Muslim University ko apne jin farzando par naaz hai unme eik Asrar-ul Haq Majaz hai. Majaz ki zindagi ek adhuri ghazal thi. 

Uski shairi ka sara husn uske adhoorepan me hai. San 1930 ke aas-paas, shairi ke ufaq par eik khubsurat sitara jagmagaya, logo ne hairat aur masarrat se uski taraf dekha, lekin dekhte hi dekhte woh aasmaan par chandi ki eik lakeer banata hua guzar gaya”.
After graduation Majaz was offered a position as assistant editor of Awaaz, the newly established journal of the All India Radio.The move from Aligarh to Delhi was not as favorable as it should have been.

Majaz, who had such a large fan following of young female students at Aligarh, lost his heart to a married woman in Delhi who was his admirer.
The lady in question belonged to a wealthy reputed family and had no intentions of abandoning her well-connected husband for a penniless poet. But majaz was hopelessly in love and he wrote some of his most beautiful, romantic poems in this phase of his life:

Chalke Teri ankhon se sharab aur ziyadah
 mahkein tere ariz ke gulab aur ziyadah
 Allah kare zor-e shabab aur ziyadah (“Unka Jashn-e Salgirah”

It is very regrettable that the winner got very little life. At the age of 44, he said goodbye to this dying world. The way of their goodbye from this world was too painful and horrific. Doctors had forbidden him to drink alcohol, but where did the doctors' advice come in front of their friends? He was drinking toddy, but all of them were like poison.
It is said that on December 4, 1952, in the evening of humiliating evening, Majaz spent the night with friends on the roof of any log stand of Lucknow. The friends went crazy and drunk in there. The world was awakened on the morning of December 5, but where did the wizards live? He had interrupted this world.

मजाज़ : उर्दू शायरी का कीट्स
ऐसा मुक़ाम किसे हासिल हुआ कि गर्ल्स कॉलेज में किसी शायर के नाम की लाटरियां निकाली जाएं कि वह किसके हिस्से में पड़ता है? ऐसा कब हुआ कि किसी की कविताओं को तकिये के नीचे छिपाकर उनकी गर्मी महसूस की जाए? और कहीं अपने सुना है कि लड़कियां अपने बेटों का नाम किसी शायर के नाम पर रखने की कसमें खाएं?
दरअसल जिसके इश्क में उस दौर की समूची एक पीढ़ी शिकार थी, वह किसी और के इश्क का शिकार हो चुका था. सो जवां दिलों की आह ने कभी भी मजाज़ का पीछा छोड़ा.उसकीबर्बदी का क़िस्सा दिल्ली में शुरू हुआ था. अलीगढ़ मुस्लिम यूनिवर्सिटी से बीए करने के बाद लाखों लड़कियों का दिल तोड़ता हुआ बड़ी-बड़ी आंखों, लंबे कद और ज़हीन शायरी करने वाला मजाज़ दिल्ली में आल इंडिया रेडियो की ओर से प्रकशित होने वाली पत्रिकाआवाज़का एडिटर बन गया था. यहां वह एक ऊंचे घर वाली लड़की, जो शादी-शुदा थी, को अपना दिल दे बैठा. उसने दिल तोड़ दिया या कहें कि समाज की बदिशें आड़े गईं. जो भी है, इस नाकामी को लेकर जब वह अपने शहर लखनऊ आया तो साथ में शराब की लत ले आया|
The End