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PHOOLWALON KI SAIR

SAIR-I-GULFAROSHA.N

When Mughal conquered India, they adopted the Indian lifestyle and respected religion of locals. From Akbar offering Chhatar to Hindu temples and donating land for Golden Temple of Sikhs, each Mughal emperor was involved in some or other interfaith activity. The communal unity was at its peak with many Jain, Hindu and Sikh nobles serving in the Mughal court. British realized this strength of Indian people and decided to implement their Divide and Rule policy. They identified Aurangzeb as the pivot, during whose rule, maximum forceful conversions and temple destruction took place. The fact that these incidents happened only in the areas where Hindu/Sikh groups started mutiny against Mughal crown was deliberately removed from History books. It was projected that Mughals, especially Aurangzeb were always bad. Following their Divide and Rule policy, all events that exhibit Hindu Muslim Unity were banned, including the one I am going to talk about today:

It was year 1812. East India Company had penetrated to Mughal court completely and a Resident Officer was living inside the Red Fort, controlling the administration of India. Coins were struck by British Mints and name of Mughal Emperor was removed from currency. Emperor Shah Alam II had died, for whom people started saying

‘Badshah Shah Alam, Az Delhi, Ta Palam’

clip_image002It meant, Emperor Shah Alam’s rule is from Delhi (Red Fort) to Palam (present day Delhi Airport) only. Shah Alam II’s son, Akbar Shah II was the puppet king and Archibald Seton, a Scottish East India Company Administrator was the appointed Officer in Red Fort. Next in line to throne, Crown Prince Mirza Jahangir was against British way of working. One day, this reckless young prince of 19 insulted Seton by calling him Lullu. Seton did not react then. Perhaps he did not understood the meaning of the word. Few days later, when Seton was returning from court, Mirza Jahangir, sitting on the roof of Naubat Khana, fired a shot at him, missing Seton completely. While Seton escaped unhurt, his orderly lost his life. Angry with this, British arrested Mirza Jahangir and sent him to Allahabad fort. Back then, it was famous that a political prisoner, who is sent to Allahabad Fort, never returns alive.

clip_image004The Mughal court tried its best to save him, but the administration was in British hands completely. Having failed at every door, Empress Mumtaz Mahal, mother of Mirza Jahangir came to the shrine of Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (ra) in Mehrauli, Delhi. She took a vow that if Mirza Jahangir returns safely, she would offer a sheet (chadar) of flowers at the Dargah.

After few years of praying, Mirza Jahangir one day miraculously returned to the Red Fort. The Empress approached Emperor Akbar Shah II and told him about her vow. Emperor was more than happy to be a part of pledge. They both decided to start from the Red Fort with sheet of flowers for the Shrine. News spread like jungle fire and everyone in and around the Palace got ready to walk with the royal family, to pay homage to Sufi Saint resting in Mehrauli.

It was the month of September. Convoy started with all the praise singing and merry making. When they reached the outskirts of Mehrauli, Mughal Emperor stood by the Temple of Ma Yogmaya and said, Mehrauli is known for this deity and it will be a sin to pay respect to Sufi Shrine and not visit the Hindu Temple.

Yogmaya Temple in Mehrauli is considered to be one of the Temples Pandavas built. It is attributed to Maa Yogmaya, sister of Lord Krishna, who was replaced with Krishna upon birth to save him from his evil uncle Kans. This temple gave this area its name ‘Yoginipura’. She is also known as Maha Maya or Mehraa.N waali maayi (mother of graces) and some say, the name ‘Mehrauli’ is a distorted version of ‘Mehra.N Waali’ (NOTE: Mehra-waali = Mehravali = Mehrauli).

Emperor Akbar Shah II entered the Hindu Temple and offered a Pankha (fan) to the deity. He then went to the Muslim Shrine to fulfil rituals of offering Chadar. For seven days, entire court was shifted to Mehrauli and with all the merry making and celebrations, people were very happy. Emperor ordered to repeat this event every year. A palace, called Rang Mahal was constructed as every year, entire Mughal court used to get shifted to Mehrauli for 7 days. Every year, Mughal Emperor would come with everyone from Red Fort and around, with a sheet of Flowers and a decorated Fan for Temple. This festival became popular with name ‘Phoolwalo.N ki Sair’ or ‘Sair-i-Gul-Farosha.N’.

clip_image006

Rang Mahal was later termed as Lal Mahal. Mirza Jahangir could never become king. Instead, his brother, who was a poet and had no interest in ruling the country, Mirza Sirajuddin aka Badshah Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ was made emperor. Zafar added portion to this palace and it is today popular with name Zafar Mahal.

Emperor Akbar Shah II and his family got buried in this Zafar Mahal, next to the shrine. Emperor Zafar also designated a place for his grave next to his father, but since he was exiled to Rangoon, he could never return and fulfil his last wish.

In early 1940s, British imposed ban on all activities that exhibited communal harmony. So was the fate of Phoolwalon ki Sair. It was stopped for almost 2 decades, until in 1961, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru asked the mayor of Delhi, Mr. Nooruddin Ahmed and a scion of prominent family Shri Yogeshwar Dayal to revive the festival. On September 6, 1962, Pt. Nehru played the part of the Mughal Emperor and the festival was celebrated like old days. He continued to do so until his death, after which, his daughter Indira Gandhi took special interest in the festival. She invited other states of India to participate, so that the festival of Communal Harmony becomes the festival of National Communal Harmony.

Phoolwalon ki Sair is celebrated till date, for 7 days, every September. It is managed by Anjuman-i-Sair-e-Gulfaroshan, a society governed by notable Hindus and Muslims of Mehrauli. Pankha and Chadar are offered by President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister of Delhi, Lt. Governor of Delhi and different state governments. Pity, that we are too busy in propagating religious biasness, that we pay no attention to such celebrations.

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Untold story of the Qutub Minar

Mamluk Sultan Altamash (Iltutmish) built the Minarah, which till date is the tallest rubble masonry minaret on earth. Then why do we call it the Qutub Minar?

Qutub Minar

The Qutb Minar (also spelled as Qutub Minar or Kutb Minar) is world’s tallest rubble masonry minaret and a world heritage site in Delhi. It is situated within the Qutb Complex, which has been the centre of the first city of Delhi since the first Muslim ruler stepped here. Before Muhammad-bin-Sam (Muhammad Ghori) defeated Prithvi Raj Chauhan, this land was with Tomar Rajpoots & Chauhans (Arkpal Tomar gave it to his grandson Prithvi). Chauhan extended the walls of Lal Kot to create Qila Rai Pithora. Ghori left his governor Qutb-ud-din Aibak to rule India after defeating Prithvi Raj  Chauhan in 1060 A.D. and thus the slave dynasty started in India. There is a huge minar in the heart of this city, which most people attribute to this first Islamic ruler of north India – Qutb-ud-Din Aibak. But is this true? This article unfolds a story, least discussed in History.

 

The Qutb Complex

Qutb-layout

The Qutb Complex was originally a site with 27 Hindu and Jain Temples. These temples were destroyed by the Islamic invaders to obtain stone and raw material for their mosques and other buildings. These temples existed much before Ghori was even born.

As the rulers from slave dynasty planned their buildings, they were short of raw material. By demolishing the majestic temples, they served another very important purpose. To ensure stronghold, it was important that the backbone of religion prevailing in conquered land is crushed. Destroying temples meant that the new Islamic Invaders had no respect for the religion being practiced by locals. They were in such hurry of completing the job, that they were not able to deface the statues properly. Even today, the remains of temples can be seen within the Qutb Complex.

The First Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid of Qutb Complex For those who don’t know, ‘Jama Masjid’ (or Jami Masjid or Jumma Masjid or Masjid-e-Jami) is the majestic Friday Mosque built for the Muslim population of the city. Inscriptions on the Qutb Minar suggested that Qutb-ud-Din Aibak built this Mosque as the first building after stepping on Indian Land. This was the oldest mosque of North India. There are few mosques built in Tamil Nadu and Kerala before this. Qutb-ud-din Aibak was ruling over Delhi from 1206 to 1210 AD. There is a confusion over the actual name of this mosque. These days, we call it Quwwat-ul-Islam (Might of Islam) but the old books suggest that its name was Qubbat-e-Islam. R.N.Munshi even writes it as ‘Qutb-ul-Islam’. Further, Munshi quotes the translation of the inscription written on the walls of Mosque (done by Thomas in his book – Pathan Kings):

Kutb-ud-Din Aibak, on whom be the mercy of God, constructed this mosque.

This fortress was conquered and this Masjid Jami was built during the months of the year 587 by the great and mighty commander-in-chief Kutb-ul-Dawlat-wa-ul-Din, the commander of commanders, Aibeg Sultan. May God exalt his helpers. Materials from 27 idol temples, each of which cost twice thousand into thousand Diliwals, have been used in this Masjid. May Almighty God send mercy on him, who prays for the rest of the builder.

Quote Ref: The History of the Kutb Minar (Delhi) by R. N. Munshi (1911)

Later this mosque was extended by Alaudin Khilji and a college (Madrasa) was added to it. When Khilji died, he was buried in the same mosque and his tomb, though not decorated with glorifying marble and inscriptions, was built in same complex.

 

Origin of Qutb Minar

Qutub-4 According to the popular  belief, the Qutb Minar (or Qutub Minar) was built by the first Islamic ruler of North India, Qutubud-din Aibak. However, I have found numerous proofs that he neither had funds, nor time (in his tiny 4 year regime),  to build, or even commence such a majestic structure. It appears to me that associating it with Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak was a “historian’s mistake”. If you read historians & travellers, who came to India during the Sultanate period, you will find that they honour this Minar as ‘Sultan Altamash’s Minar’. Hasan Nizami dedicated his work Taj-ul-Maasir (the crown of exploits) to sultan Aibak but also mentioned major events from the period of his predecessor and successor. There is no reference to any such Minar in this important piece of work, which talks about period after 7 years of death of Aibak. If Qutubuddin Aibak even dreamed about (if not commissioned) this minar, then we must have found atleast some mention in this book. But Hasan Nizami do talk about the Jami Masjid of Delhi built by Aibak in following manner:

Kutb-ud-Din built the Jami Masjid at Delhi, and adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants, and covered it with inscriptions in Yoghra, containing the divine commands.”

Following are the other prominent travel historians of related period

  • Ibn Asir (with his work Kamil-ut-Tawarikh aka Tarikh-i-Kamil)
  • Ata Malik Juwaini aka Alau-ud-din Juwaini (with his work Tarikh-i-Jahan-Kusha)
  • Maulana Nuruddin Muhammed ‘Ufi, who lived in Delhi during Altamash’s period (with his work Jami-ul-Hikayat wa Liwami-ul-Riwayat)
  • Minhaj-i-Siraj (with his work Tabkat-i-Nasiri)

The above authors make no mention of Minar. If it was one of the biggest construction of era, these people, who were living in Delhi and writing particularly on Qutb-ud-Din Aibak must have mentioned about it.

Fatuhat-i-Feroz Shahi, written by Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq himself has a mention of Qutb Minar. It says:

“The minara of Sultan Muizz-ud-din Sam had been struck by lightning. I repaired it and raised it higher than it was before”

It should be noted that Feroz Shah Tughlaq also repaired other monuments and mention correct names like Hauz-i-Shamsi, Hauz-i-Alai, Madrasa of Altamash, Rukn-ud-din’s Tomb, Sultan Jalal-ud-Din’s Tomb and so on. Tarikh-i-Firozshahi written by Shams-i-Siraj Afif however refer to this Minar as “the large pillar at old Delhi” raised by Sultan Shams-ud-Din Altamash. Ibn Batuta was not sure who built this minar so all he wrote about the builder was “Is it the minar of Feroz Shah”. Babur in his memoirs mention about this minar as the Minar of Sultan Alauddin Khilji. This shows that even till late 16th century, this minar was not attributed to Qutb-ud-Din Aibak. It was known by the names of Altamash, Khilji or Tughlaq, who we know built and repaired portions of minar.

Translation on the entrance gate of Qutb minar:

The prophet on whom be the mercy and peace of God, has declared “whoever erects a temple to the true God (on earth,) shall receive six such ‘dwellings in Paradise’. The Minar, the building of the king of kings, Shems-ud-Dunya-wa-ud-Din, now in peace and pardon, be his tomb protected, and his place be assigned in heaven ____ was injured by lightning in the reign of the exalted monarch Secander the son of Behlol : (may his power and empire last for ever and his reign be glorious); and therefore the slave Fatteh-Khan, the son of Mesned-Ali the liberal of the liberal, and the meritorious servant of the king _____________, repaired it according to command. The 13th of Rebi-ul-Akher in the year 909.

<FROM DOOR ON FIRST BALCONY>

The Sultan Shams-ul-Hak-wa-ud-Din Altamash ____ erected this building

<FROM FOURTH STORY>

“The erection of this building was commanded in the glorious time of the great Sultan, the mighty king of kings, the master of mankind, the lord of the monarchs of Turkistan, Arabia and Persia; the Sun of the World and Religion, of the Faith and the Faithful, the lord of safety and protection, the heir of the kingdom of Sulman Abul Muzeffer Altamash, Nasir-Amin-ul-Momenin”

– Translation by Mr. Walter Ewer in Asiatic Researces vol. XIV (Cal: 1822)

We can see from the above proofs that this Minar was always known as the Minar of Altamash and not of Qutub-ud-Din Aibak.

 

Minarets of Jam, Ghazni and Konye

Reputed historian Sir Syed Ahmed in his work Athar-us-Sanadid said that this Minar was actually built by Prothvi Raj Chauhan so that his daughter can have a view of Jamuna river. But if it is true, then its design and architecture must be unique and not match with the other Minars of Islamic countries.

Minars

Minaret of Ghazni: Built by Muizuddin Bahram in 10th century in the city of Ghazni. It is little different from the Qutb Minar but has many similarities, like built by same generation of rulers and it is also the minaret of a mosque.

Minaret of Gutluk Temir in Konye-Urgench: This is the third tallest rubble masonry minaret in world built in Old Urgench city of Turkmenistan in 11th century.

Minaret of Jam: This Minaret, very much similar to the architecture of Qutub Minar is situated in Shahrak District of Ghor Province of Afghanistan. It is right next to the Hari River. This 65 metre high minaret was completed in 12th century. This place (called Firuzkoh) was the summer capital of Ghorid Dynasty (from where Qutbuddin Aibak came). This is the second tallest rubble masonry minaret of world and was probably attached to a mosque, just like Qutb Minar.

 

Qutbuddin Or Qutbuddin

Some historians went to an extend claiming that Altamash dedicated this Minaret to Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (r.a.), whose shrine is right behind this complex. Khwaja Kaki (ra) is the immediate successor of Hz. Khwaja Mouinuddin Chisti (ra) of Ajmer. This could be true because we know how much Altamash respected Hazrat Kaki (ref: work by Maulana Minhaj Siraj). A friend of mine, Khalid bin Umar told me a story:

Khwaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki (1173-1235 AD) is one of the most respected and esteemed Buzurg in India. He lived during the reign of Altamash ( Eltutmish) and died in Delhi. When Khawaja Qutub-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki’s janazah was ready for the last salat. The khadim-i-khas came forward and announced that according to the will of Khawaja Sahib the funeral prayer (salat-ul-janazah) is to be led by the person who fulfills these 3 requirements:

  1. He should have never committed adultery after reaching puberty.
  2. He should have never missed the 4 rakat of sunnah(ghair-muakkidah) before Asr salat.
  3. He should have never missed Takbir-i-Ula’ ( Opening Takbir in Salat) in prayer ( Jamat)

The huge crowd stood still !
Hundreas of Awliya , Shyukh of Delhi as well as Shaykh’s senior disciples were present there. No one came forward.Khadim repeatedly announced the requirements. But there was no response. A sense of impatience was being felt.
Finally, Sultan Shamusddin Altamash (May Allah have mercy on him) stepped forward. He remarked, “No one knew my secret, the respected Khawaja disclosed it. All praise is to Allah, I fullfil these criteria”. He then led the prayers.

I have serious doubts on the fact that Qutb Minar was named after Hazrat Khwaja because if it really was, Altamash must have engraved atleast some information in this regard on the tower. He had all the time in world to write almost everything on this minaret and even the kings that followed him wrote a lot on it. But no one ever mentioned anything about Hazrat Kaki, ever. However, Ritter in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol XX, Nos. I to VIII, 1851, p353), wrote that this Minar could be in honour of Qutub Sahib, the celebrated saint. This statement is further corroborated by Major Raverty in his translation of Tabakat-i-Nasiri where he calls this Minar as ‘Lath of Kutb Sahib’. Several other historians like Miss Mabel Duff (aka Mrs. W. R. Rickemers) and even Sir Alexander Cunningham (Dir. Gen. of ASI – 1862) support this statement. But they all put forward their assumptions and no one gives an assurance of confirmed fact to prove it. The only logical reason was given by R.N. Munshi, who says that since Hazrat Kaki was such a celebrated saint, it is possible that the emperors never thought of putting an extra line on the Minaret and it was assumed by everyone as the ‘Laat of Qutub Sahib’

 

[Edited – 16 October 2015]

Link with 27 Nakshatras

Many people claim that since there were 27 temples and Qutub Minar has 27 edges on base, this could be a Hindu observatory to study the Constellation movement as Hindus believe in 27 Nakshatras. Well, before paying attention to any such rumour, I would request readers to ponder upon following points:

  1. There were 27 temples. They were a mix of Jain and Hindu Temples. This makes it impossible to form a pattern for observatory
  2. These temples were built in different eras, some even decades apart. There is no proper documentation for each.
  3. Temples were not in a single complex. They were spread across the length and breadth of this first city. Some were even outside the walls of Lal Kot and Rai Pithora. We still have Jain Dada Badi and few other remains
  4. A portion of Temple is still intact in the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. One should see its placement and design, before reaching the final conclusion.
  5. The base has 27 conical edges and 27 circular ones. This makes it 54 at base.

 

Qutub Minar has a long and mysterious history. People like me will never be able to unfold it completely. However, I have tried my best to put forward the facts that I learned in past few years.

———-
Vikramjit Singh Rooprai

 

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Mausoleum, Mehrauli – 1528 AD

This monument is present at

Mehrauli Archeological Park

and this article is part or my expedition

Didar-e-Dilli

 

Jamali-Kamali-Mosque

In 1536, a renowned Sufi Saint, Shaikh Hamid bin Fazlu’llah a.k.a. Shaikh Jamal-uddin Kamboh Dehlwi a.k.a. Jalal Khan a.k.a. Dervesh Jamali was buried near a mosque designed by him in 1528. The mosque, and the adjacent tomb are now popular by name “Jamali-Kamali”. Not much is know about Kamali , except that he was the best friend of Jamali. 

 

Shaikh Jamali Kamboh

Jamali-Kamali-Graves

Shaikh Jamali was a prominent sunni sufi statue of suhrawardiyya sect during the Lodhi and Mughal era. He was the tutor of Emperor Sikandar Lodhi. Due to his Persian work, he was also called Khusrau-e-Saani (Equal to Khusrao). His prominent works are Siyar-i-Arifin (account of Chisti and suhrawardiyya sufis of period), Masnawi, Mihr wa Mahi Shaikh and a Diwan of verses. Shaikh Jamali died 1536 AD while accompanying Mughal emperor Humayun to Gujarat. He was then burried in a tomb next to his mosque. Later, his best friend Kamali was also burried there. If you look at the graves closely, you will find that Jamali’s grave takes up the central area, and kamali’s grave was somehow adjusted in remaining space on right side later, blocking the passage.

 

The Mosque

Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-1

The mosque was built in 1528. It is said to be designed by Shaikh Jamali himself. The main entry is always closed. But there is an attendant, who upon request opens it for viewing. The side entry is permanently closed. When we first went there, we found few kids playing cricket in the backyard.

 

Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Outside

Mosque contains a water pit  just near the entrance in large open area. Main building is made with red stone. The central of five arches is having a dome and this mosque is known to be the first of such mosque structures in India. Mihrabs decorate the west facing prayer wall, which also has koranic inscriptions. The second storey of mosque is locked for public access. But there are small stairs leading to vents in four octagonal towers.

 

Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Outside-2 Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Gate Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Inside

Jamali-Kamali-Gate Jamali-Kamali-Exterior-Garden Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Stairs

Jamali-Kamali-Exterior-Wall Jamali-Kamali-Mosque-Inside-Closeup

 

The Mausoleum

Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom

The tomb of Jamali and Kamali is accessible through a small gate from mosque. There is another entry to the porch from north-east corner, but it is also sealed.  Towards north west corner, is the enclosed tomb with very nice engraving and beautifully decorated walls in blue and red color. There are koranic inscriptions everywhere. Jamali’s grave takes the center part, and as I said earlier, Kamali’s grave is adjusted on the right side blocking the path. It looks like he was burried much later to the famous poet. There is a very huge porch enclosed with wall containing windows. There is another wall dividing the porch into a proportion of 80-20. This 20% area again has few graves. There are several other unknown graves in the main porch, one of which is even covered with a pavilion.

Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-Roof Jamali-Kamali-backyard Jamali-Kamali-backyard-2 Jamali-Kamali-backyard-3 Jamali-Kamali-backyard-4 Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-2

Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-Roof-2 Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-1 Jamali-Kamali-GraveRoom-Inside-2

 

How to Reach

IMG_5485When you enter Mehrauli Archeological Park, you will find such pillars everywhere. Just follow your way towards the ‘Jamali-Kamali Mosque’. 

 

If you are coming from Gurgaon on MG Road (Aurobindo Marg), towards Qutub Minar, as you cross the road towards Jain Dada Badi (don’t turn on it), you will find a small entrance to some park with a standard board outside (like it is outside all other parks in Delhi telling do’s and dont’s for a park). Take your vehicle inside, and you can find parking next to Jamali Kamali.

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