An Obituary: Irrfan Khan

Passing away of an Icon of Indian cinema

gae dinoñ kā surāġh le kar kidhar se aayā kidhar gayā vo
ajiib mānūs ajnabī thā mujhe to hairān kar gayā vo

Verse of Nasir Kazmi, Retrieved from Rekhta,

On Wednesday, the entire cinematic world of Bollywood & millions of the fans shocked & indulged in grief when the news of Irrfan Khan’s sad demise came up. At the age of 53, the Bollywood actor left this world. He was admitted to the intensive care unit of Mumbai’s Kokilaben hospital on 28th April/2020, Tuesday for colon infection. He was valiantly struggling with a neuroendocrine tumor for the last two years. In 2018, when he was diagnosed with cancer, the Irrfan expressed his agony on the lethal disease, ‘I trust, I have surrendered.’ Even battling with the deadly disease, he continued his work with commitment & his movie ‘Angrezi Medium,’ a sequel of previous “Hindi Medium, 2017″ was released on 13 March. His last tweet of 12th April was on the same movie with title ” Inside I am very emotional & outside I am very Happy.”

Unfortunately, the “Angrezi Medium” became last movie of his life. On 25 April, his mother, Sayeeda Begum, left for heavenly abode at the age of ninety-five. No one has predicted that four days later, he would go from this world & met his mother’s fate in the journey to the next world. Soon after his death, the twitter got flooded with hundred of thousands tweets coming from different sections of the society. Film Maker, Anubhav Sinha wrote an emotive obituary in Hindi language.

Abhi to time aya tha mere bhai. Abhi to kitna kaam karta tu jo itihaas me likha jaata. Kya Yaar? Thodi taqat aur lagata bhai. Par lagayi to hogi tune saari. Theek hai, jaa araam kar. Do saal bahut lada tu. Thak bhi gaya hoga. Ek baar baitha chaiyeh tha. Hum saroon ko…
My brother, the time has just came. How many milestones you have to achieve more that will make a landmarks in history. What happened my friend? Just you need to add a little bit more power. But you had put all your energies. I agreed, take a rest now. You fight gallantly for two years. Once we all need to sit together with you.

Irrfan was born as Shahabzade Irfan Khan on 07 January 1967 in a Muslim family of Pathan ancestry in Rajasthan. Both his later father, Sahabzade Yaseen Ali Khan & late mother, Sayeeda Begum hailed from the Tonk, an erstwhile princely estate of Pashtuns founded Nawab Muhammad Amir Khan in the 18th century. An old article of 2012 quoted that during the shoot of Paan Singh Tomar, he expressed his choice to make a movie on his late father. Comparing the role of Paan Singh, the late actor shared, “Paan Singh reminded me of my late father, Sahabzade Yaseen Ali Khan, who was a zamindar by background. He carried the same arrogant valor, fearlessness, & adventure as Paan Singh, as cited by Banglore Mirror“.

Irrfan Khan’s parents:Irrfan Khan was born on 7 January 1966 in Rajistan, in a Muslim Pathan family. Irrfan Khan was…

Gepostet von Choti Si Zindagi am Mittwoch, 29. April 2020
A FB page Choti Si Zindigi run by an actor Fatima Khan
An archival click of Irrfans parents, Sahabzade Yaseen Khan, his mother, late Sayeeda Begum, Irrfan as kid & his siblings, Source: FB page of Choti si Zindigi

Irrfan Khan SiblingsIrrfan Khan has 3 siblings; 2 brothers and a sister. His brother’s names are Imran Khan and Salman…

Gepostet von Choti Si Zindagi am Mittwoch, 29. April 2020
A FB page Choti Si Zindigi run by an actor Fatima Khan

Aseem Chhabra, in his biographical account “Irrfan Khan: The man, the dreamer, & the star,” wrote that during childhood days, the late actor preferred to fly the kites rather than to join adventurous hunting expedition of his father. The father of the late actor used to prompt, “a Brahmin has born in the family of Pathans.”

Cover page of Aseem Chhabra biographical account on Irrfan Khan

He was brought up between Jaipur & Tonk, as his father used to run a tyre business at Jaipur. The second one among the three brothers, he was inclined towards the acting from his formative years of life. He has completed his school from Saint Paul, Jaipur & then studied at Rajasthan College which is affiliated with University of Rajasthan.

It was his maternal uncle, Dr. Sajid Khan, who inspired him to become an actor. His uncle was an active participant in Jodhpur theatre. His inspirations & connections helped him to enter the theatre at the college days. After completion of his post-graduation, he entered in National School of Drama, New Delhi in 1984. From 1987, he started to play a role in TV serials. Some of the famous among them were Kahkashan, Bharat Ek Khoj, Chanakya, Chandrakanta, Banegi Apni Baat, Srikant. In Kahkashan, he played the role of Makhdoom Mohiuddin, an Urdu poet & Marxist political activist of India. During 1990, he appeared in a critically acclaimed movie, “Ek Doctor Ki Maut.” Mira Nair’s “Salam Bombay” was a debut film for him. 

A portrait of Irrfan Khan from 1986 TV serial, Srikant Source: From twitter share of Indian history pics.

In 2001, he played a role in a historical movie, “The Warrior,” where he played the role of a feudal warrior of Rajasthan. Then came up “Maqbool, 2003“, “Haasil, 2004” & “Rog, 2005“. In 2007, he came up with ‘The Namesake,’ & ‘Life in a metro.’ In the consecutive years, he appeared in international movies such as ‘A Mighty Heart,’ ‘The Darjeeling Limited’, & ‘Slum Dog Millionaire.’ With almost eighty movies in his career, he left imprint in Bollywood, Hollywood, and British films. The ‘Life of Pi (2012)’ and ‘Jurassic World (2015)’ were also some of his most famous western projects. With the entry in the acting career, he dropped his first name ‘Sahabzade‘ & modified ‘Irfan‘ to ‘Irrfan,’ that’s continued with him till the rest of his life. 

Khan is survived by two sons (Babil & Ayan) & wife, Stupa Sikdar, a writer & his NSD fellow, whom he married in 1995. From Haasil (2004) to Hindi Medium (2018), he grabbed almost eight nationally acclaimed film awards that also included Padamshri in arts (2011), the fourth highest civilian award in India.

Irrfan Khan receiving Padamshri with then President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, 2011, source: Wiki Images

Known for his modesty & integrity, he was adored by his millions of the fans. Soon after his demise, a flood of tweets & posts of different social media platforms came up from all walks of life. From Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi & iconic Indian actor Amitabh Bacchan to the ordinary fans, each of them expressed their grief & sorrow.

A tweet of honorable Indian Prime minister expressing his grief
Senior legendary actor Mr. Amitabh Bacchan tweet

An English writer, & film critic of The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw in his article wrote 

Irrfan Khan: a seductive actor capable of exquisite gentleness. 

Peter Bradshaw, headlines for his obituary to the late actor,

The co-actor of his last release Deepak Dobriyal said that he was like an elder brother. The Hindustan time quoted his words regarding Irrfan, “I had learned a lot from his acting. How bravely, he was working as a team, even battling with a deadly disease. “Back in Rajasthan, the siblings of Irrfan were in the state of shock. Just four days before, they lost their mother.

“It appears that while Bhaijaan was unable to make it to the burial of our mother, he has gone up there to meet mother,” said Irrfan’s elder brother Imran Khan. “Woh kehtey theey fikar na karo main aaonga,” Imran said while sobbing.

Brother of Irrfan Khan, Quoted by Times of India,

Devika Bahl titled her obituary with a touching title, Man of few words in Quint. When the world is struggling with lock-down & Covid-19, the man of few words, passed away silently in Mumbai. At 3 pm, his mortal remains were laid to rest in Versova graveyard of Mumbai. In the hearts of the fans, the smiling face of a tall & slimy actor with the hooded eyes will always remain alive. An actor who hails from middle class family & made a place in cinematic world as a sincere, honest & realistic actor. He was also quite vocal on social issues. More than half of his twitter time line was filled with the social issues. Rest in Peace, dear Irrfan Khan.

View this post on Instagram

The void gets wider. The sign of a good society is where talent is respected – Irfan khan. Indeed he was the talent embodied and symbolizes the rare excellence left in Bollywood. For me, the early demise of the finest actor of our times is a real tragedy because of the very fact that all his performances were the real legacy of the through proper Indian cinema if not ostentatious Bollywood, where the mediocre performances had to be backed up by hyper marketing strategies. I vividly remember Maqbool of Vishal Bhardwaj Maqbool the movie which was based on Macbeth where Jaipur born actor carved his niche among Legendary actors like Pankaj Kapoor, Om Puri ,Naseerudddin Sha. The champion actor single-handedly baring few carrying the legacy of Indian cinema which the people like Guru Dutt, Mehmood, Pran, Satyajit Roy had strives for. He was the testimony and hope that India cinema is still the definition that showcasing the performance is the real showmanship, not the performer. .Watching him was entertaining discussing his performances were learnings . Every dialogue he delivered, every expression he exhibited was methodical and every performance of him was enigmatic. But the hospital scene of Madari stands out for me and can give run for its money to Mashaal scene of tragedy king Dilip Saab ae Bhai gaddi roko or the death scene of Amitabh Bachchan in Dewar. Irfan you went too early ab kiski performance ko discuss kernegey tiger shroff ko to bilkul nahi . Today in the early hours of the ominous morning the acting institute had been shut down. Bollywood is about actors or stars. Irfan khan was the star actor

A post shared by Naved Ahmad (@tonaved) on

The void gets wider, an Instagram post by Naved.


Khanqah established by Hazrat Fariduddin Tavile Buksh, Chandpura, Bihar Shareef. The present construction dated back to 1859 when it was restored. Pic source: Author

A short biographical account of lesser known 14th C Chishti Sufi from Bihar

Eighty kilometers south-west of Patna is small village Chanpura that’s a part of Bihar Sharif, Nalanda District. It has a shrine of a medieval Sufi saint of Chishti order who is widely popular as Tavile Buksh. The medieval Sufis traveled all across the Islamic world, usually on the instructions of their spiritual masters. In the same manner, the family roots of Tavile Buksh Chishti was connected with distant lands of the Islamic world & directly connected with the famous 13th-century saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya. The write up will explore the lesser-known family connections of the forgotten Sufi. When Hazrat Sayyad Ahmad Bukhari Badayuni & Hazrat Jamaluddin Badayuni (the father & elder brother of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya) passed away, he came to Delhi with his mother, sister & nephew whose name was Ibrahim Chishti. 

The grandfather of Hazrat Nizamuddin came to Badaun from the central Asian city, Bukhara. During those days, Bukhara, the seat of Central Asian cities, was pillaged by the Mongols. Many scholars & nobles migrated from the city & find solace in India. From ancestral lineage, they were the direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), whose ancestry goes to Imam Musa Kazim. 

Mosque & shrine complex of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya father & grandfather at Badaun. The present monument was build in mid-18th century by Rohilla ruler, Hafiz Rahmat Khan. Pic source: Tawarikh Khwani

From the age of four, the orphan nephew was raised by Hazrat Nizamuddin. Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya didn’t marry and said that “Ibrahim descendants are my descendants“. For spreading of the spiritual path and Islam, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya instructed his nephew to Bengal with one of his earliest disciples, “Hazrat Akhi Siraj” famously known as Aine Hind (Mirror of India).  In 1329 CE, four years after the death of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, Hazrat Akhi Siraj took Hazrat Ibrahim Chishti to Bengal. 

Hazrat Ibrahim Chishti got married to the sister in law of one of the most celebrated renowned Sufi of Bengal and disciple of Hazrat Akhi Siraj “Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandwi.” His father in law was also the master of the famous Sufi of Kichhaochha, Uttar Pradesh “Hazrat Makhdoom Ashraf Jahangir Simnani.” Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti was the son of Hazrat Ibrahim Chishti & he got married to the daughter of Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandawi. He became a disciple of his brother in law “Hazrat Noor Qutb E Alam Pandawi“, who was the son of Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandawi. On the orders of his master “Hazrat Noor Qutb E Alam Pandawi,” he migrated to Nalanda, Bihar, for spreading the spiritual path and Sufi teachings.

Shrine of Hazrat Fariduddin Tavile Buksh, Chandpura, Bihar Shareef. Pic source: Author

Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Buksh Chishti was the first Sufi of Chishti Nizami order who settled in Bihar, at a place known as Chandpura in the town of Bihar Sharif and built his Khanqah during the rule of Sultan Bahlol Lodi (1451-89AD). He left this world for the heavenly abode in the year 1491AD (897Hijri). After his death, the processions of his dargah and teachings continued by his son Hazrat Moinuddin Sani Chishti and after him by his grandson Hazrat Naseeruddin Sani Chishti and had continued by every next generation. His descendants are now all over Bihar, including the Khanqah of Belchi, Patna, and Maner, etc. and Ijaza of his silsila (order) is present in all the existing khanqahs of Bihar. An interesting fact about his family is that every person was the disciple of his father.

Shrine of Hazrat Fariduddin Tavile Buksh, Chandpura, Bihar Shareef. Pic source: Author

His holy shrine is located in Chandpura, Bihar Sharif. Opposite to his shrine was his Khanqah that restored in 1859AD, where his Urs (Death Anniversary) is celebrated on the 6th Jamaadil Akhir of the Islamic calendar every year. The dargah premises consist of the graves of all his descendants who became well-known Sufis of Bihar till 1978AD. Some of them are Hazrat Moinuddin Sani Chishti, Hazrat Naseeruddin Sani Chishti, Hazrat Sultan Sani Chishti, Hazrat Syed Shah Muzaffar Chishti, Hazrat Syed Shah Amjad Hussain Chishti, Hazrat Syed Shah Waziruddin and Hazrat Syed Shah Sultanuddin Muhammad and many more.

Interesting facts:-
Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti was the first mutawalli (Custodian) who (started) the urs of the master of the famous Sufi of India, Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti (Gareeb Nawaz), & Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni Chishti at Belchi, a place almost twelve away from Chandpura. Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti received an order from his father in law “Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandawi” to sew clothes of travelers underneath a tree, that was outskirts of Pandua, Bengal. One day some travellers on horses were passing from there. Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti asked “where these horses are going”. The travellers replied, “Do your own work, whether these horses live or die, that’s not a matter of yours“. The saint replied “true, whether these horses live or die, not a matter of mine”. As he said this, after few minutes the horses died. Then the travellers got to know that the person was the son in law of the renowned Sufi “Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandawi“. The travellers went to him and told the entire story. Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandawi called Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti and said “controlling the anger at the age of youth is manliness“. Thus Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti reversed his sentence and said “whether these horses die or live, not a matter of mine”. Soon after this the horses came alive. After this incident Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin was titled and known as “Tavile Bukhsh

Family Lineage:-
Hazrat Ali Bukhari Badayuni (Grandfather of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya)
Hazrat Ahmad Bukhari Badayuni (Father of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya)
Hazrat Jamaluddin Badayuni (Brother of Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya)
Hazrat Ibrahim Chishti
Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti
Hazrat Moinuddin Sani Chishti
Hazrat Naseeruddin Sani Chishti

Spiritual Lineage:-
Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya
Hazrat Akhi Siraj (Aine Hind)
Hazrat Ala ul Haq Pandawi
Hazrat Noor Qutb E Alam Pandawi
Hazrat Makhdoom Fariduddin Tavile Bukhsh Chishti
Hazrat Moinuddin Sani Chishti
Hazrat Naseeruddin Sani Chishti

Urdu Zuban ke Gumgashta Alfaaz-III



  سنسکرت زبان میں تین پائے والی چوکی کو کہتے ہیں جبکہ فارسی زبان میں سہ پائی بھی اسی معنوں میں استعمال ہوتی ہے۔ انگریزوں کے برِ صغیر  پاک و ہند پر اقتدار سے پہلے یہاں کی دفتری زبان فارسی تھی جو کہ نوابوں، مغلیہ سلاطین کی بھی مادری زبان تھی، اسی پس منظر میں یہ گمان ہے کہ تری پادہ اور سہ پائی کے سنگم سے لفظ تری پائی بنا جو بعد میں تپائی رہ گیا۔  انگریزوں نے بھی اس لفظ کو انگریزی میں   کے طور پر استعمال کیا۔ لیکن   اس لفظ کی  میں تبدیلی شاید یہ اشارہ کرتی ہے کہ  تپائی  کو انگریزوں نے چائے رکھنے کے لیے استعمال کیا ہو لیکن یہ گمان  زیادہ  قوی نہیں بلکہ کاتب کے قلم کی  لرزش  ہی اس کا سبب ہے۔ لفظ  تپائی برِ صغیر پاک و ہند سے انگریزی زبان کی زینت بنا کیونکہ لفظ  کا استعمال انگریزی ادب میں پہلی مرتبہ ۱۸۲۸ ء میں مذکور ہواحوالہ آکسفورڈ انگلش ڈکشنری۔ تپائی میز کی اطراف میں رکھی جاتی تھی۔ میز  چونکہ بھاري بھر کم   ہوتی تھی اس لیے وہ کمرے میں ایک ہی جگہ مستقل رکھی جاتی تھی جبکہ تپائی ہلکی اور چھوٹی ہونے کی وجہ سے بہ آسانی ایک جگہ سے دوسری جگہ منتقل کی جا سکتی تھی۔ اسی لیے تپائی کو مہمانوں تک چائے لے جانے کے لیے استعمال کیا جانے لگا۔  اس کے علاوہ تپائی پر کتب، کاپیاں، فائلیں  اور دیگر سامان ِتحرير رکھا جاتا۔

اوائل وقتوں میں تپائی تین ٹانگوں والی ہوا کرتی ہو گی لیکن جب سے ہم نے ہوش سنبھالا، تپائی کی ہمیشہ چار  ہی ٹانگیں دیکھیں۔ اس ترکیب میں اسے چارپائی کہا جانا چاہیے تھا لیکن لفظ چارپائی  دراصل بستر کے لیے مختص تھا جو سونے کے کام آ تا تھا۔ آج کل تپائی کی جگہ سائیڈ ٹیبل کا لفظ استعمال ہوتا ہے۔ اگرچہ سائیڈ ٹیبل ایک بالکل مختلف شے ہے لیکن اس کو تپائی کا متبادل کہا جا سکتا ہے۔

دو کرسیوں کے درمیان تپائی
ہر ایک میز سے آگے نکل گئی کرسی
بدل گئے رفقا جب بدل گئی کرسی
حرام مال سے جائز کمائی بہتر ہے
نئی چیئر سے پرانی تپائی بہتر ہے

حوالہ: نظم ’’ کرسی‘‘ شاعر  خالد عرفان :

نقش محبوب مصور نے سجا رکھا تھا
مجھ سے پوچھو تو تپائی پہ گھڑا رکھا تھا

[ حوالہ: نظم ‘‘ ایبسٹریکٹ آرٹ‘‘ شاعر۔ سید محمد جعفری۔ یو اڑ ایل]


۔ یو آر ایل


Departure of Folklorist & Bangladeshi Poet: Dr. Ashraf Siddiqui

Portrait of Dr. Ashraf Siddiqui Source: From Family collections

On 19th March 2020, the Internationally acclaimed folklorist and poet Dr. Ashraf Siddiqui passed away at Apollo Hospital.  He was critically ill for over a month.

A  secular humanist who enriched 20th century Bangla literature by his writings. In the decade of 1940s, he emerged as a promising young poet. During his career of seven decades, he composed around five hundred poems. In addition, he wrote innumerable short stories, novels, children’s literature and also engaged in academic research on folklore of Bangladesh. During his career, he wrote seventy five books and numerous journal articles.
Set against the backdrop of the Bengal famine, his poem Taleb Master (1948) established him as a poet of the masses. Golir Dharer Chheleti augmented his literary reputation as a short story writer. The national film award winning Dumurer Phool, directed by eminent film maker Subhash Dutta was based on this story.
Dr. Siddiqui is greatly admired for his contributions towards preserving the oral Bengali folk culture.  He cataloged the tales and riddles in the written form. His books Lok Shahitttya, Bengali Folklore, Our Folklore Our Heritage, Folkloric Bangladesh and Kingbodontir Bangla are primary text books of folklore researchers of South Asia. He successfully introduced the folk tales of Bengal to the global audience through his writings such as Bhombol Dass, The Uncle of Lion, and Toontoony and other stories. Bhombol Dass was published by Macmillan in 1959.  It was not only a best seller in the US, but was also subsequently translated to eleven languages. Robidranather Santiniketan, Paris Shundori were written in the early 1970s and they are still popular among general readers today.
He won a number of prestigious awards including Ekushey Padak for literature in 1988, Bangla Academy Puroshkar for children’s literature in 1964, and the UNESCO award in 1966. The last one was then the highest award of the state on literature in 1966. Also received Daud Award for his book on folklore.

Siddiqui was born in Nagbari village of Tangail on 1 March 1927. He was educated in Santiniketan, Dhaka University.  Then his second Masters and PhD. in folklore was from Indiana University, U.S.A.. He taught in various government colleges including Rajshahi College, Chittagong College, A M College of Mymensingh, Dhaka College and Jagannath College and also at the University of Dhaka. He also served as the Director of Kendrio Bangla Unnoyon Board, Chief Editor of District Gazetteer and Director General of Bangla Academy, a position that he retained for seven years. He held a number of honorary positions. Those include Chairman of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, Chairman of Bangladesh Press Institute and President of Nazrul Academy and Nazrul Institute. His lasting legacies are the Bangla Academy’s Ekushey Boi Mela and national Boishakhi Mela which was subsequently transferred to Shilpakala Academy. He played a key role in establishing Kabi Nazrul University in Trishal and articulated the demand for transforming Jagannath College into a university.

Portrait of late author

His mortal remains were kept at Bashundhara  & Dhanmondi residence for offering homage by his admirers & relatives.  The Namaz e Janaza (burial prayers) held at Dhanmondi Shahi Eidgah Mosque after Zohr prayers & buried at Banani graveyard at Dhaka. 

The sad demise of eminent literary figure left behind his family members, & friends in mourning. But his great legacy in the form of books, social work & educational services will always remain immortal. May God bless his soul.

Urdu Zuban ke Gumgashta Alfaaz-III

اردو زبان کے گم گشتہ الفاظ-۳

قارئین کرام کو  ایک مرتبہ پھر خوش آمدید۔ آج کی تحریر پچھلی اقساط کا ہی تسلسل ہے جس میں ان الفاظ کو شامل کیا جائے گا جن کا بالواسطہ یا بلا واسطہ تعلق ہمارے رہن سہن سے ہے۔  تو آئیے ہم ان بھولے بسرے الفاظ کو یاد کرتے ہیں


بیٹھک ہندی زبان کا لفظ ہے۔  اس کا ماخذ لفظ بیٹھنا ہے۔ اس کے بہت سے معنی ہیں جیسے بیٹھنے کا عمل، چال چلن، نشست گاہ، پیندہ،  اجلاس، میٹنگ وغیرہ۔ لیکن ہم آج اس بیٹھک کا تذکرہ کریں گے جس کے معنی مہمان خانہ کے ہیں یعنی گھر کا وہ حصہ جس میں مرد  حضرات  ملاقات کی خاطر جمع ہوں۔ ۱۹۷۰ کی دہائی میں اس لفظ کا استعمال بہت عام تھا۔ آج کل گیسٹ روم اور  ڈرائنگ  روم کو بیٹھک کا متبادل سمجھا جاتا ہے۔ ڈرائنگ روم دراصل ود ڈرائنگ روم ہے جو رفتہ رفتہ مختصر ہو کر ڈرائنگ روم رہ گیا یعنی وہ کمرہ جو باقی گھر سے الگ کیا گیا ہو یا وہ کمرہ جہاں گھر رہ کے سربراہ باقی  گھر والوں سے کچھ دیر الگ  ہو کر کوئی ضروری کام سر انجام دیں۔

1841 لندن كے ڈرائنگ روم کی ایک تصویر ماخذ: ویکیپیڈیا

 بیٹھک کی بناوٹ کا بہت خیال رکھا جاتا تھا۔ اس کمرے میں کوئی بستر نہیں ہوتا تھا بلکہ  اس میں کرسی، میز، قالین، تپائی (اس کا تذکرہ آگے آئے گا)ٹرانسٹر  وغیرہ اور کچھ اور ضروری اشیاء  رکھی جاتی تھیں۔  کارنس بیٹھک کا ایک اہم جزو  ہوتی تھی جس پر گھر کے سربراہ کی تصاویر ، امتیازی اسناد  یا دیگر یادگار   اشیاء  ایستادہ ہوتی تھیں۔ اس کا مقصد آنے والے مہمان کو سربراہ کا  ایک مختصر  تعارف  کروانا  یا  بہ عبارت دیگر مرعوب کرنا ہوتا تھا ۔ بیٹھک کا ایک دروازہ باہر گلی میں کھلتا تھا جبکہ دوسرا دروازہ گھر کے صحن یا دوسرے کمروں کی جانب  راہ نمائی کرتا تھا۔ گھر کا ایک صدر دروازہ ہوتا تھا جس سے گھر والے گلی سے گھر کے صحن یا دوسرے کمروں میں براہ ِ راست داخل ہو جاتے تھے اور اس صدر دروازے کے مساوی بیٹھک کا دروازہ ہوتا تھا۔  یعنی مرد حضرات گھر میں داخل ہوئے بغیر  ہی بیٹھک میں داخل ہو جاتے تھے۔ یہ اہتمام گھر کے پردے کو مد ِ نظر رکھ کر کیا جاتا تھا تاکہ غیر محرم اشخاص گھر  میں داخل نہ ہوں بلکہ گلی سے ہی سیدھا بیٹھک (مہمان خانے ) میں قدم رنجہ فرمائیں۔ 

دین دیال کی تصویر چوومیحلا پیلس حیدرآباد دکن کی 1880 سورس : برٹش لائبریری

شہر کے برعکس، گاؤں اور دیہات میں بیٹھک کا  تصور بالکل مختلف ہوتا  
تھا۔ گاؤں میں عام آدمی کے گھر  چونکہ چھوٹے ہوتے تھے لہذا وہاں بیٹھک کا اہتمام گھروں میں نہیں ہوتا تھا اور مہمانوں کے رہنے کے لئے علیحدہ  کمروں کا انتظام ہوتا تھا۔ صاحب ِ حیثیت اشخاص جیسے زمیندار، وڈیرے یا گاؤں کے چوہدری کی حویلیوں میں  بیٹھک  ہوتی تھیں لیکن ان کا نقشہ شہر کی بیٹھک سے  یکسر مختلف ہوتا تھا۔ بیٹھک کا  ایک بڑا دروازہ ہوتا تھا جو  صحن میں کھلتا تھا۔ آگے برامدہ ہوتا تھا اور پھر  مہمانوں کا کمرہ ہوتا تھا۔ اس بیٹھک  (مہمان خانہ) کے کمرے کی چھتیں بہت اونچی ہوتی تھیں جن میں روشن دان ہوتے تھے تاکہ گرمیوں میں مہمانوں کو ٹھنڈک کا احساس ہو۔ کمرہ بہت کشادہ ہوتا تھا  جس میں کئی مہمان اکٹھے رہ سکتے تھے۔ اس کمرے سے متصل غسل خانہ بھی ہوتا تھا۔ اس کمرے کا ایک دروازہ حویلی میں کھلتا تھا  جس سے گھر والے براہ ِ راست بیٹھک میں آ  جا سکتے تھے۔

ضلع پیلی بھیت کے گائوں سے بیٹھک کی اونچی چھت کی تصویر۔ تصویر کا ماخذ: ریحان اسد
اینٹوں اور لکڑیوں سے بنی چھت۔ تصویر کا ماخذ: ریحان اسد
بیٹھک كے حصے میں داخل ہونے کا اک  خوبصورت   دروازہ 1940 کی اک عمارت ضلع  بریلی  كے گاؤں سے تصویر مخاز ریحان

تقسیمِ برصغیر كے بعد اب دیہات میں اِس طرح کی بیٹھک کا رواج رفتہ رفتہ ختم ہو گیا-برصغیر کی آزادی کے بعد زمیندار طبقہ ختم ہوا اور ان کی اولاد شہروں میں منتقل ہوگئی
وہ عمارتیں جو کبھی دیہاتوں میں دانشورانہ بحث و مباحثہ کا مرکز تھیں اب کھنڈرات میں تبدیل ہو گئیں

تقریباََ سو سال پرانی بیٹھک ضلع پیلی بھیت کے گائوں جس میں کھنڈر میں تبدیل بارامداح ، صحن اور مرکزی کمرہ دکھ رہا ہے۔ تصویر کا ماخذ: ریحان اسد

ایک عرب نوجوان ایک جگہ اپنے رشتے کیلئے لڑکی پر شرعی نظر ڈالنے کیلئے گیا۔لڑکا بیٹھک میں لڑکی کے باپ کے ساتھ بیٹھا تھا کہ نقاب پہنے ہوئے ایک پردے دار لڑکی اندر آئی، لمحہ بھر کیلئے لڑکے کو بغور دیکھا اور کچھ کہے بغیر واپس چلی گئی۔نوجوان نے لڑکی کے باپ سے شکوہ کرتے ہوئے کہا: اس نے تو نقاب نہیں ہٹایا اور نہ ہی میں نے دیکھا ہے ۔لڑکی کے باپ نے کہا: بیٹے، اس نے مجھے کہا تھا کہ اگر مجھے لڑکا پسند نہ آیا تو میں نے نقاب نہیں اتارنا۔

 [حوالہ: نیوز رپورٹ کیٹگری اسلامی و تاریخی واقعات۔ یو آر ایل ] : (

 گھر کی بیٹھک میں اک میز پر
اک پرانی گھڑی
صبح سے شام تک
شام سے صبح تک
اور پھر اس طرح
صبح سے شام تک
شام سے صبح تک
وقت کے دائرے میں مسلسل کئی سال سے
کر رہی ہے سفر
منزل انتہا سے بہت دور ہے آج تک وہ مگر
اصل میں اس کی منزل نہیں ہے کوئی
آج میں دیر تک غور سے اس کو تکتا رہا
اور اس میں مجھے عکس‌ انساں دکھائی دیا

[ حوالہ: گھڑی میں عکس ِ انساں۔ شاعر محبوب عالم۔ ماخذ ’’ ریختہ]

The Grand Old School – Delhi College

Courtyard, Madarsa Ghaziuddin, Sita Ram, C 1815 Source: British Library

Madrasah Ghaziuddin/ Delhi College/ Anglo Arabic College: A Historical Review

Outside the medieval era Ajmeri Gate in Old Delhi, an old school building stands proud. Few know that the present Anglo-Arabic Senior Secondary school is an exceptional school being an off-shoot of the original Madrasah with a checkered past having a long history of being the oldest running educational institution in Delhi.

The old building is a mute witness to the vicissitudes of events that took place in the Indian capital. Established sometime in late 17th Century AD and reorganized in 1792, it is the oldest existing educational institution in Delhi and one of its robust off-shoot Zakir Husain Delhi College is a constituent college of the University of Delhi today.

A religious madrasa surviving the most volatile part of history in the capital for three hundred years and evolving into a center of modern education is indeed a remarkable chapter of our history. The institution indeed has nurtured generations who have made mark in their respective fields and all walks of life.

Photo Credit – Anamika Sharma



1700-1752 Madrasah Ghaziuddin , founded by Mir Muhammad Panah, Ghaziuddin III firoz Jung.
1792 The Madrasa  was reorganized 
1825 The British renamed it DELHI COLLEGE with the introduction of new subjects 
1845 Shifted to Kashmiri Gate at the venue of Library of Dara Shikoh
1857 Delhi College was attacked, Principal Taylor, Mr. Roberts, the Headmaster and Mr. Stuart, the Second Master, were killed, and after British recapture  Maulvi Imam Baksh Sahbai, a teacher of Persian, was shot dead on charge of mutiny.
Closed Closed down from 1857-64
1927 Became Anglo Arabic College in 1927.
1840 Mirza Ghalib came to seek employment as a lecturer in Persian but returned.
Founders Studied The founders of Madrasa Deoband and Ramjas college studied here.
Three principals Mr. Boutrous, Mr. Sprenger and Mr. JH Taylor were the principals who built the reputation and were instrumental in taking college to the heights .



According to my research it was Ghaziuddin Khan III Mir Muhammad Panah, an influential courtier and Mir Bakhshi , founded a Madrasa sometime between 1700-1752 outside Ajmeri Gate, Shahjahanabad (Delhi) at the very place which his great -grandfather Ghaziuddin Khan I , Mir Shihabuddin Ghaziuddin chose for his tomb where he was buried in 1710 while he was serving as a governor of Gujarat;

The school seems to have started initially as small seminary Madrasa Ghazi-ud-din, a purely religious school where only Quran & Arabic was taught however since the founders family shifted their base to Hyderabad Deccan and the political instability had weakened the Mughal empire during the late 18th century , it seems for a few years the Madrasa was closed to be reopened in 1790s (or 1792) with the support of the nobility of Delhi. A report of 1824 tells that only nine students was enrolled in Arabic Classes with only one teacher who salary was paid Nawab Amir Khan of Tonk.

This was the state of affairs when the East Indian Company took control of affairs of the Capital in 1825, it found a grand structure lying unused to its potential. The same year it was renamed as Delhi College

Photo – Anamika Sharma

When the college was founded ?

There is a lot of confusion as to when the Madrasa was actually established and also who was the founder ?

In the following pages, we shall address both these questions . People have claimed different years as 1692, 1702, 1792 , 1710 as the year of inception of this Madrasa but barely anyone could provide a historical evidence to this effect.

The stone erected outside the old building says 1692 was the year when it was established but it is baseless since there is no documentary proof to this effect.

In contrast, the British sources mention that the Madrasa was built in 1792 by Ghaziuddin Khan II, the son of Ghaziuddin Khan I.Maulvi Abdul Haq too copied and seconded the opinion that the Madrasa started in 1792.

The Delhi College web-page claims the beginning in 1702 and reorganization in 1792.

It appears that their basis was an a report of 1838 wherein it was mentioned to be 45th year of the school and hence they deduced it (1838-45 =1792 ) This is again not a very sound evidence and cannot be accepted for want of sound historical proof.

All this confusion is created because of the title Ghaziuddin which was conferred on members of the a family for four generations ?   Gr. Grand father, Grand
Father, Father and son all were titled Ghaziuddin and the chroniclers could not
identify who the founder Ghaziuddin was ?


Delhi Gazetteer

Sir Syed confirms in Aasarus Sanadid that Ghaziuddin I built his tomb during his life time but the year is not exactly known.

The slab outside the mosque gives the year of erection of this mosque as 1727 but in that case it might not have been built by the founder of Madrasa himself as claimed in the slab since Ghaziuddin I expired in 1710. Hence this information is also not only wrong but misleading.

If we take the year 1727 to be correct then the mosque must have been built by his son Nawab Mir Qamaruddin , the Asaf Jah I.

This indicates that the buildings in the complex did not came up in one go , it was built over the years by the same family 

After a close analysis of various records we can conclude that first the tomb was completed then came up a mosque and thereafter a madrasa was founded.

Tomb belongs to Ghaziuddin I

Mosque must have been erected by Ghaziuddin II , if 1727 is true.

Madrasa was built by Ghaziuddin III as mentioned in the Malfuzat of Maulana Fakhruddin.  

As you shall see my discussion in the following paragraphs that the founder ofb this college was Mir Muhammad Panah , Ghaziuddin Khan III who actively lived between 1709-1752.

To have a clear understanding , please have a look at the table below.

Name Title Life -Death
Mir Shihabuddin Nawab Mir Ghaziuddin I Khan Bahadur Firoz Jung, Sipah Salar 1649-1710
Mir Qamaruddin Khan Nawab Mir Ghaziuddin II Khan Bahadur Fateh Jung, Nizam ul Mulk , Asaf Jah I 1671-1748
Mir Mohammad Panah  Nawab Mir Ghaziuddin III Khan Bahadur Firoz Jung , Nizam ul Mulk , Asaf Jah II 1698-1752
Mir Shihabuddin II Nawab Mir Ghaziuddin IV Khan Bahadur Firoz Jung , Imad ul Mulk , NIzam ul Mulk -Asaf Jah III – Pseudonym Nizam 1736-1800
See – Shajrah e Asafiyah


There is an old Malufzat of Maulana Fakhruddin Dehlavi (1717-1784) titled “Manaqib i Fakhriyah” compiled by Ghaziuddin Khan Nizam , & it was translated by Nazar Ali Dard Kakorvi. This Ghaziuddin Khan mentions that Nizam ul mulk was his Grand-father and we know that Mir Qamaruddin Khan was first Asaf Jah with the title of Nizam ul Mulk. He mentioned that Hazrat Maulana Fakhruddin Dehalvi came to Delhi in 1160 Hijra (approx 1750-51) and after staying at Katra Phulail, he visited and stayed at the Madrasa which was founded by his father as he cited ” Ahqar ke walid ka banaya hua madrasa hai “. This citation also clarified that Madrasa was built before 1751


Manaqib i Fakhria by Ghaziuddin Khan Nizam – Grand son of Asaf Jah I

Now the compiler of this text was Ghaziuddin Khan Mir Shihabuddin (1736-1800) who was the grand son of first Asaf Jah Nizam ul Mulk Qamaruddin Khan , and the compiler of this malfuzat was more popularly known as Ghaziuddin Khan Nizam (Pseudonym was Nizam ). He quoted that his father founded this Madrasa, ahqar ke walid ka banwaya hua madrasa hai , it becomes clear, it was founded by Ghaziuddin III Mir Muhammad Panah (1698-1752). Now since Mir Muhammad Panah , Ghaziuddin Khan III , the founder of the Madrasa lived between 1698-1752 , the Madrasa must have been founded between 1720-1752 and not in 1792 as mentioned in British sources.

The confusion created by the title Ghaziuddin has somewhat confused Margrit Pernau also as she in her book ‘ The Delhi College ‘ did not mention that name of Ghaziuddin Khan II whom she finds as the founder of the Madrasa. If you look at the table above wherein I have mentioned the four generations with the titile Ghaziuddin Khan , it appears that Ghaziuddin II would be Mir Qamaruddin , but since the Compiler of Malfuzat is Mir Shihabuddin Ghaziuddin IV who is the grandson of Mir Qamaruddin then Mir Muhammad Panah comes out as the founder , she also alludes to the fact that Ghaziuddin I chose this site for his grave due to its proximity to the burial place of Shaikh Wajiuddin, she presumed Shaikh Wajih to be Shah Waliullah’s grand father but that is apparently wrong. Shaikh Wajihuddin , the grand father of Shah Waliullah is not buried in Delhi , he died fighting somewhere in Central India.

I must add here Maulana Fakhruddin too started teaching here, & due to this it became famous as Madrasa Maulana Fakhar and we find in the biographies of Khwaja Noor Muhammad Maharvi, the Khalifa of Maulana Fakhruddin , that he too visited and was admitted in this Madrasa when he came to study under Maulana Fakhruddin Chishti Dehalvi.

Page 67


Islam in Northern India During the Eighteenth Century by Muhammad Umar

Khwaja sheikh Abid Siddiqi (Father of Ghaziuddin Khan I firoz Jung )

 Shaikh Abid Siddiqui (died 1687) Qilich Khan Bahadur of Samarqand , a descendent of Shaikh Shihabuddin Suharwardi of Baghdad, who entered the service of Mughal Emperors in 1641 . He was born at Liabad, near Samarkand & was appointed to an Imperial mansab of 1,000 zaat by Emperor Shah Jahan, upgraded to 3,000 zat and 500 sawar 1657, promoted to Sadar-i-Qul (Supt of Endowments) 1661-1667 and 1681-1685, Subadar of Ajmer 1667-1672, and Multan 1672-1676, Amir-i-Haj 1676-1680, granted the titles of Azim Khan 1657, and Qilich Khan Bahadur 1680. He died three days after the siege of Golconda on 7th February 1687.

Mir Shaikh Shihabuddin Siddiqui Ghaziuddin Khan I Firoz Jang Bahadur Sipah Salar

Nawab Qilich Khan Bahadur’s son Mir Shaikh Shihabuddin Siddiqui titled as Ghaziuddin Khan Firoz Jang  (born at Samarqand–1649-1710 ), is buried inside the complex and was the person supposed to the founder of Madrasa and Masjid at Delhi. He was a Sipah Salar & Subahdar was conferred the titles of Khan Bahadur in 1685, and Firuz Jang  in 1686 by Aurangzeb . Served as a Subadar of Berar 1707, and Gujarat 1707-1710. He lost his eye-sight during the Maratha war but another reports suggested, he was treacherously blinded by the emperor in Delhi in connivance with the Royal Physician but he continued his military commands. He died in Ahemdabad in 1710. His mortal remains were brought to Delhi and was buried in a place which he chose for himself during his life time . Today his tomb lies inside the complex of the college . He was the father of Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqui, the Asaf Jah I, the originator of the Asaf Jahi dynasty of Hyderabad, also known as the first Nizam of Hyderabad. Mir Qamaruddinr Ghazi ud-din Khan Bahadur, Fath Jang, Sipah Salar, Nawab Subedar of Deccan (born 1671 – died 1748).


The tomb of Ghazi al-Din Khan in his Madrasa, with the mosque beyond, Sita Ram, c 1815 source: British Library

Madrasa Ghaziuddinn
Initially, students were offered only religious subjects in Arabic and Persian. However after the reorganization, various sorts of courses, including that were not only limited to Maths, Geography, Quranic Studies, Jurisprudence, and Astronomy, were also taught. During the bad days of Mughal Empire, the Madrasa was temporarily closed down in the early 1790s but was reopened with much enthusiasm when the nobles of Delhi came together for its revival, and as a result, an oriental college for literature, science, and art came up at the same site in 1792 and this time the college was stronger and more vibrant than earlier.


Education in British India, Prior to 1854, and in 1870-71
By Arthur Pearse Howell

Delhi College
A report by Taylor informs that only nice students were enrolled in 1824 with only one teacher whose salary of 33 rupees was paid by Nawab Amir Khan of Tonk. This was the time when Delhi’s administration was taken over by the British, they re-christened it as Delhi College in 1825. They made Maths, Science as an indispensable part of the curriculum and the erstwhile Madrasa Ghaziuddin Khan was transformed as Delhi College while the original Arabic department came to be known as Oriental department. However, a full fledged English department came on the proposal of Charles Trevelyan, the brother in law of Thomas Macaulay, in 1828 .


Last Mughal By William Dalrynple – page 71

Incidentally the prime minister of Awadh Aitmadud-daulah Nawab Meer Syed Fazal Ali Khan, donated 1.70 lakh Rupees as an endowment for the promotion & instruction of sciences in Arabic, Persian in 1829. Aitmaduddaulah was a native of Delhi but prospered as Prime minister of Oudh in Lucknow during the reign of Naseeruddin Haidar . He died in 1831. Before his death, he willed that his donation be used for Delhi College subject to the conditions he had mentioned in his will i.e., that all this amount should be spent for promotion & instruction of modern education in vernacular language as a medium.

An act of Parliament covered this endowment, i.e., Aitamatuddaulah Trust was created under a General Committee of Public Instruction (GCPI) established under G H Taylor as the secretary/principal in the premises of Madrasa. A memorial stone can still be seen on the main gate of the school in his memory.

It is noteworthy that Aitmatuddaula Turst had played such a gigantic role in bringing about enlightenment and education monster the old Delhi citizens as can be seen from the list of schools it managed during the first half of of 20th century.  

  • Anglo Arabic College.
  • Anglo Arabic Higher secondary School – Ajmeri Gate
  • Anglo Arabic High School at Mori Gate ,
  • Anglo Arabic Primary School at Tokri Walan,Daryaganj
  • Anglo Arabic Primary School at Gali Qasim Jan,Daryaganj
  • Anglo Arabic Lower Middle School , Choori Walan

Lord Amherst visited the college in 1827 while Lord William Bentinck examined the students in 1832. Lord Auckland came in 1837.


Report on the Administration of the Punjab and Its Dependencies – 1879


A view from the first floor wing, pic source: Atiullah

Matbaul Uloom


Vernacular Education in Bengal – 1854

In 1843, a society for the promotion of knowledge through the medium of vernacular languages was established under the patronage of Principal Boutros that would translate the works in English, German, and French to Urdu, the lingua Franca of the country. Not less than 120 highly valuable books were published under its aegis. In 1845, the College set up its press known as Matba-ul-Uloom. Principal Sprenger presided over the founding of the college press “Matba-ul-Uloom“, and founded the first college periodical, the weekly Qiran-us-Sadain. Within the space of two decades, it published works covering a range of subjects including mathematics, science, philosophy, history, surgery, geography, political economy, civil law, and principles of legislation.


Secularism, Islam and Education in India, 1830–1910 By Robert Ivermee page 67

The reason why the Delhi College has been widely acclaimed as the center of a Delhi Renaissance since it was evolved as the meeting ground of the British and Oriental culture before 1857. Through extensive translations programme and by making Urdu & Persian as the medium of instruction, Delhi College aimed at making western scholarship accessible to the Indian students without uprooting them from their cultural traditions. In 1843 or 1845 , the college was shifted to the building of Dara Shukoh Library at Kashmiri Gate . it was the same building where Delhi Polytechnic came up in the later years.

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The college was then situated at Kashmiri Gate. On May 11, 1857, the revolutionaries plundered the college, science laboratory and library was burnt along with innumerable manuscripts that were reduced to ashes, revolutionaries were angered because it provided western education. Principal Taylor was saved by his Muslim servant and later removed to the house of Mohammad Baqar between Mori Gate and Ajmeri Gate. Maulvi Baqir actually gave shelter to Principal Taylor in his Imam Bara but when this news went out, Maulvi Sahib got Mr. Taylor him dressed in Hindustani attire and asked him to skip away but he was recognized at Tiraha Bairam Khan and was mercilessly killed . He was mourned by one and all . The mob killed principal J.H. Taylor, Headmaster Roberts, and second Master Stuart had took shelter in the magazine but when it was surrounded and bombarded, they both were killed in flames at the magazine. Maulana Imam Bakhsh Sahbai, the famed poet and Persian teacher was also killed ruthlessly.


The Delhi Gazetteer

In 1864 after seven years, the institution once again started its classes in Chandni Chowk with the name Delhi Institute . Only two classes FA 1st & IInd year, affiliated with Calcutta University in those days. Bachelors classes were started in 1867 while masters in 1871 and the college went on till 1877. However, in April 1877 the imperial government decided to close down the institution, transferring its staff and library to Lahore, despite loud protests from the citizens of Delhi. At the Delhi Durbar in 1877, the Lieutenant Governor announced that this college would be closed down and its assets and classes would be amalgamated with Government College of Lahore ( Punjab). In 1872, the citizens appealed to the Govt that since the medium of instruction had changed to English, the proceeds of the Aitmatuddaulah trust should not be used for the college. Accepting the demand , the govt started a new Arabic Middle School in Chandni Mahal area of Old Delhi with the proceeds of Aitmadudaulah trust.

Now the Arabic Middle School at Chandni Mahal which was started in 1872 became a High School in 1884 and shifted to Haveli Ikramullah Khan in Sirki Walan and with the passage of time, space constraints came up. The local Delhi elites had not abandoned their hope of getting back the premises of Delhi College which had been occupied by the military police since 1867. In 1893 ( some reports say 1883) they succeeded and won back the Ghaziuddin Madrasa and then the Arabic Middle School shifted back to the original building of Madrasa Ghazi-ud-din at Ajmeri Gate. In 1926 it became Anglo Arabic Intermediate College and in 1927 it became a Degree College and graduated to being called “Anglo Arabic College”, This Anglo Arabic College came to an abrupt end in the wake of bloody riots in 1947. It brought the end of Anglo Arabic College.

Page 130


Knowledge, Power & Politics: Educational Institutions in India by Mushirul Hasan


Floral features in the Jaalis of Anglo Arabic College,

Post independence
As mentioned earlier like its predecessor, Anglo Arabic College also came to a sad and abrupt end when it had to be closed in September 1947 due to communal disturbances in the wake of the partition of India. It was attacked and set on fire by incendiary mobs. Courageous staff members managed to save the library and office records. Mirza Mehmood Beig, an old student and a man of immense courage and potential , did a yeoman service, dedicated his life to revive his Alma-mater, which had been reduced to relic after the partition. With a helping hand of Dr. Zakir Husain and others, he got the Delhi College revived as a non-denominational institution in 1948. Anglo Arabic School became Anglo Arabic Higher secondary School while Anglo Arabic college became Delhi College.


A hostel named after an alumni Mirza Mehmood Beg, pic source: Atiullah

Zakir Husain College 

In 1975, the college was renamed “Zakir Husain College” by the Indian  government after Dr. Zakir Husain, the late president and was put under Zakir Husain Memorial Trust. In 1986, it was shifted to its present building outside Turkman Gate. In 1991 , the Zakir Husain College shifted completely to the new Building inaugurated by Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. In 2011 , it got its old name back inserted in the new name and came to be known as Zakir Husain Delhi College. The college comprises a total area of 43 Acres. It has had a considerable influence and today remains the only Delhi University college offering B.A (Hons) courses in Arabic and Persian. The Anglo-Arabic Sr.Sec. School is functioning from the old building and and its compound is known as Anglo Arabic Senior Secondary School.

Ghalib & Dehli College

Legend has it that famous poet Mirza Ghalib once came here to seek employment as a teacher of Persian, but he failed to grab the opportunity as the poet waited in his palanquin outside the main gate and the principal did not come out to welcome him. The legendary poet got dismayed & he ordered the palanquin bearer to return. Eventually, Shaikh Imam Bakhsh Sahbai was appointed as Farsi lecturer. The reliable sources however confirm that he was offered to teach Persian in the college but he declined.

Maulana Mamluk Ali Nanautwi  (1204 – 1267 AH)

Special mention must be made of one of the greatest scholars of Arabic and Islamic sciences of his times who taught at Delhi College and influenced an entire generation. In turn, his students and their works influenced the entire sub-continent with their lives and works. He taught at Delhi College for 26 years. Besides he used to take classes at his home as well after the college hours. He had translated books I-IV of Iqlidas (Elucid) published in 1844 to be included in the curriculum. Famous as Ustad-ul Kul (teacher of all) among his students included Maulana Qasim Nanautwi, Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and his son Maulana Yaqub Nanautwi, Munshi Zakaullah, Asghar Ali Sonipati, Maulana Ahmad Ali, Nazir Ahmad Bijnauri, Muhammad Husain Azad, Ahsan Nanautvi to name a few. These students later on in their life founded schools, wrote books and textbooks, translated works into Urdu, and edited journals while some of them became civil servants. A multi-racial vibrant community had evolved around The Delhi College, which became the focus of this composite urbanity in Delhi, and its distinguished group of teachers and students became the center of a movement that should be called the `Delhi Renaissance‘. 


The list of its alumni included several well-known personalities. But the names of , Rai Saheb Kedar Nath founder of Ramjas College, Mukund Lal, the first Indian medical student in Europe, Maulana Qasim Nanautvi (Founder of Deoband School), Deputy Nazir Ahmed first novelist in Urdu, Maulana Muhammad Baqir (Baqar) editor of first Urdu daily in Delhi, Mohammed Husain Azad, Peerzada Muhammad Husain , Khwaja Muhammad Shafi , Meer Nasir Ali , Maulvi Zakaullah, Maulvi Karim-ud-din, Pandit Man Phool , Master Pyarelal ‘Ashob’ and Dr. Zia-ud-din, Master Ram Chander, Moti Lal Kashmiri , Nawab Liaqat Ali Khan, Mulla Wahidi, Mushtaq Ahmad Zahidi, Asaf Ali Barrister , Prof. Gopi Chand Narang, Ali Sardar Jaffery, Col. Bashir Hussain Zaidi, Mirza Mehmood Beg, Akhtarul Iman, Shamim Karhani and Jan Nisar Akhtar, Moin Ehsan Jazbi, Prof AN Kaul( Pro VC Delhi Univ)Jamil-ud-din Aali, Sadiq-ul-Khairi, Ansar Nasiri, Muzaffar Shikoh, Muslim Ahmed Nizami, Mirza MN Masood (Hockey Olympian) are worth mentioning. Long live Delhi College! The college continues to live in the hearts of its alumni and will continue to live forever in the pages of history.

Ghaziuddin Khan mosque 
This mosque, being a real architectural marvel of this complex was built-in 1727, an example of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. It is made of red sandstone and has marble relief work. The mosque is seven bays wide. The layout of the mosque is like the Khairul Manazil mosque.


Photo Credit Anamika Sharma

Tomb of Ghaziuddin Khan Firoz Jung
South of the mosque is the tomb of the founder Ghaziduddin Khan. What sets it apart from other mausoleums is the intricate and beautiful stone Jali work. The enclosure sits right next to a mosque and built-in style similar to the compounds of Muhammad Shah Rangila, Shahzadi Jahanara, and that of Mirza Jahangir in Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia but the Marble walls and surrounding Jaali presents remarkable artistry.


A marble faced platform surmounted by a marble screen enclosing tombs , Madrasa, Ghazi Al Din Khan, by Sita Ram, c 1815, source: British Library


The tomb of founder Ghaziuddin Khan Firoz Jung died 1710



  • Knowledge, Power & Politics: Educational Institutions in India by Mushirul Hasan – 1998 
  • Performing Heritage: Art of Exhibit walks by Navina Jafa – 2012 
  • A History of Educational Institutions in Delhi By Ajay Kumar Sharma
  • The Delhi that No-one Knows – Page 57 – By Ronald Vivian Smith – 2005 – ‎Delhi (India)
  • Islamic Civilization in South Asia: by Burjor Avari – 2013. 
  • The Delhi College: Traditional Elites by Margrit Pernau
  • Catherine, A. B. The architecture of Mughal India.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 
  • Delhi Gazetteer – Page 793 Prabha Chopra – 1976 
  • Marhoom Dehli Kalij – By Maulvi Abdul Haq
  • Aasar us Sanadeed – Syed Ahmad , Sir

History of Quarantine

COVID 19, Pic source: John Hopkins University
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A short video story on Quarantine

While the world witnessed one of the major pandemic these days in the form of Corona virus spread. More than 220, 000 cases of COVID 19 had been reported with around 8900 fatalities in one hundred seventy eight countries. With other preventing measures, the isolation/Quarantine is considered as one of the key strategy to flat the curve of spread. Schools, airlines, workplace were shut down to avoid the physical contact with others.

Let’s explore the history of Quarantine.  According to Webster dictionary, it’s the term for the restriction of the movement of people and goods which was intended to prevent the spread of disease. The word Qurantine has its roots from Italian word “quaranta giorni” means forty days. It appeared in English during 17th century but the history of the isolation is thousand years old. One of the earliest references was found in Old Testament. The book Leviticus gave an instruction for the separating the infected people from the normal to prevent the spread of disease.

A folio from book of Leviticus, source: Wiki images

The old testament that came up around two thousand five hundred years ago in the present shape cited about it as “If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine him, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate him for another seven days

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also instructed about the isolation. The book of Hadith, Sahih Al Bukhari cited it as ” If you hear of an outbreak of plague/epidemic in a land, do not enter it; if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.

Pic of Prophet mosque & Tomb, source: Dr. Iqbal

The first involuntary hospital quarantine was started in Damascus during the reign of Ummayad Caliph Walid I, 707 AD. An order was issued to separate the leprosy patient from other patients. This practice of separating the lepers with other patient continued till 15th century when Ottomans first build a separate Leprosy hospital.

Map showing the Ummayad, Caliphate with Damascus as capital, 750 CE, Source: Wiki images

In 1348, Venice established the world’s first institutionalized system of quarantine, giving a council of three the power to detain ships, cargoes, and individuals in the Venetian lagoon for up to 40 days.  During this time, the ships coming from infected countries were hold with the passenger during the epidemic of Black Death/plague. Almost one fifth of Europe Population was wiped out. Many laws were established across the European countries.

Quarantine Seals Stamped to Passports of Foreigners with Infectious Disease, 1843
18th C painting of Venice, Source: Wiki Images

One of the first international sanitary conferences was held in Paris, with an eye to making quarantine an international cooperative effort in 1851. From 1852-1947 several conventions came up regarding the quarantine.

International Sanitary conference, 1851

In aftermath of continued outbreaks of yellow fever the Congress in United States passed federal quarantine legislation in 1878. By the start of 19th century many countries across the world has established their own regulation for quarantine. But the forcible isolation of the patients also raised the questions of civil right. One such case that raised many queries was of Mary Mallon. An Irish cook working in United States, she was an asymptomatic carrier of Salmonella Typhi got much attention during early 20th century. She infected almost fifty one people & three of them died. She was arrested in 1907 & passed twenty three years & seven months in a forced quarantine at Riverside hospital, North Brother Island.

Story of the Mary Mallon that found the place in top headlines of International news articles


When the history of Quarantine was closely interwoven with maritime trade & sea routes as it was most common used mode for travelling in medieval ages. Plain yellow, green, and even black flags had been used to symbolize disease in both ships and ports. The present flag used for the purpose of Quarantine is the “Lima” (L) flag, which is a mixture of yellow and black flags previously used.

Lima Flag is mix of black & yellow colors that symbolize Plague (Black Death) & Yellow Fever.

Exploring Princess Jahanara’s role in 17th India

17th C portrait attributed to Painter Lal Chand & identified as Princess Jahanara, Source: British Library

A broad range of research by art historians on the positive but complex practice of feminism during the Moghul period had lead to rich comprehensively examined information. The complex socio-political, historical, and religious factors cultivate into an iconic framework in which the contributions of Princess Jahanara Begum stands up to the tallest. Her enriched approach in her choices of patronage, piety, poetry, and political diplomacy within the pressures of male-centered methodology received serious attention to detail and reverence among Moghul Emperors and Imperial males. Casting Princess Jahanara’s life and contributions in the historical framework not only endorses and locates her a place in the Moghul hierarchy but above all in history both in text and form. She was an elite Muslim woman, seems to occupy a separate and much higher level, not in the same realm to the Muslim male counterparts. For most of the Mughal females who were “bold, unbecoming, and masculine” are only marginal ‘fillers’ of spaces in historical biographies of Mughal men. Even the counterproductive to sustaining sovereignty as in the case of Nur Jahan has been widely discussed. Nur Jahan’s political machines, her mode of power, her representation to the Empress’s profile, patronage of art and architecture and historicism of her works alongside Mughal males were discussed widely. However, she didn’t authored text or even personal accounts. She was a contested Queen against her male counterparts. Her assumptions of power are not to be her successes. It was due to the failure of her husband, Emperor Jahangir, to control many of his mistresses. Rare but not absent is a Mughal woman’s voice that is enunciated through her writings. The one eyewitness account of the early Moghul life were accounts and narratives of Gulbadan Begum in her unfinished memoir on her brother Humayun’s reign. However, she began with her father Babur’s kingship and the details of life. Gulbadan faithfully recorded and cultivated a unique & vibrant perspective of early Timurid- Mughal life of both men and women. Gulbadan as an author, historian, and documentarian, are clear precedents for Jahanara Begum’s writing of her two Sufi treaties: “Risala- i- Sahibiyah” (1640) and “Munis- al- Arvah (1638)”.

Muʼnis al-arvāḥ copied by Jahanara who signs herself “Jahanara, a speck of dust at the feet of the sages of Chisht”  Source: British Library

However, unlike the Humayunama, the treatises were used to explore the multiple ways that Jahanara Begum established new precedents for female piety, patronage, and political diplomacy. It questions and modifies not only to the existing modalities of practice and representation for royal females but offers through her treatises a more textured, nuanced, and vocal understanding of female history. Further research on Jahanara Begum’s life and contributions critically examine her persona as a function of her writings, patronage, and piety. It discusses how the princess accepted and negotiated with the prescribed Imperial and religious values and, more importantly, how these were modified and recast into the Moghul landscape. It is broadly thought-provoking in Moghul women’s contribution as commissioned Urban landscape builders. Jahanara Begum notably showed major emboldened high profile commissions in ordering other women builders when Shahjahanabad was constructed. Jahanara Begum did not function in a vacuum without influences or resistance. A prevailing interest informed the poetry she wrote of the Moghul court. For the Moghul warrior- aesthete, poetry to them provided decency to the treachery and savagery experienced both in the courts and the battlefields. For them, the patronage and promotion of poetry dulled the harsh realities and allowed the nobles to bathe in the ether of sublimity.
The institution of seclusion and Imperial etiquette have been a mark of the Islamic world through the ages. As a result, women of the social order, women of the Moghul dynasty in India, led sequestered lives where their character was largely hidden from public consumption. Imperial women publicly conveyed spiritual and political well-being through the giving of alms or commissioning major sacred-secular monuments. The Agra mosque built by Jahanara Begum is analyzed as an example of the princess’s ‘official’ persona. Whereas the Mullah Shah Mosque and Khanaqah complex can be considered her private and more personal representation.

The Jamiʻ Masjid, Agra, built for Jahanara and completed in 1648. Photographed by W. Caney C 1880s for the Archaeological Survey of India, Source: British Library

The personal and passionate narratives contained in Jahanara Begum’s Sufi treaties are modes of empowerment that facilitated the unmarried princess broader social, political, and religious participation. Her authentic, active, and visible engagement extended to the political realm where she stood tall uncontested, revered with political authority along Imperial male hierarchies.
At the tender age of seventeen, Jahanara became the First lady of the Mughal Empire. The untimely demise of Mumtaz Mahal allocated half of her property worth ten million at that time to the Princess. The royal seal was entrusted to her. Over time, Jahanara became the wealthiest woman in the world at that time. She owned several beautiful gardens. Her ships were docked in Surat that took a voyage of Europe for the trade. The European royalty wore Indian silks and muslin in their grandeur. Her designs were favourite that attracted the European to trade markets with India. Although the wealthiest lady, she had a very kind heart. She accepted self-imprisonment along with her revered father, Shah Jahan when he was imprisoned by Aurangzeb. The ailing Emperor suffered from a venereal disease in prison, it was his daughter Jahanara that lay beside him on the floor as long as he was alive. In a voluntary house arrest, she devoted all her time to her father, cautiously watching him after his safety till his death.

The passing of Shah Jahan beside his daughter Princess Jahanara,  Abanindranath Tagore, c 1902, Source: Wiki images

With brother & new monarch Aurangzeb, the Sufi princess maintained a cordial relationship. He knew that she never supported his treachery. But he revered Jahanara the most, & had absolute faith in her than any other. She openly sided Dara Shukoh with money, soldiers and weaponry. Jahanara tried to convince Aurangzeb not to put up with the fight, to follow the path of loyalty but to no avail. Her greatest gift was to Delhi, the Chandni Chowk “Moonlight Square.” In the path of Sufism, she was disciple of Mullah Shah Badakshi, a Sufi of Qadri order, who became spiritual mentor of both Prince Dara Shukoh & Princess Jahanara. The princess left the world for heavenly abode in 1681 & was buried near the shrine of Chishti Sufi, Hazrat Nizamuddin. The burial site was chosen by the princess & open to sky white marble tomb was build by her during her lifetime. The resting place of 17th century richest lady is reflection of a simplicity acquired by her Sufi affiliations.

The gravestone at Princess Jahanara’s tomb with Persian inscription. It read in English as
Almighty God is the Living, the Sustaining.
Let no one cover my grave except with greenery,
For this very grass suffices as a tomb cover for the poor.
The mortal simplistic Princess Jahanara,
Disciple of the Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti,
Daughter of Shah Jahan the Conqueror
May God illuminate her proof.
Pic source: Wikiimages

Hazrat Mian Mir Qadiri (q.s): A Mystic Who Inspired Mughal Royals

A serene view of the tomb with pigeons & deep blue sky in backdrop, pic source: Author

Mir Mohammad is the pathfinder
For all the saints of the age, 
He shall be supreme till the order abideth;
The Qadiriyya order in God’s directive
Shall be commanding others
So long the universe endureth

Dara Shukoh
A 17th century painting showing Dara Shukoh, Mullah Shah Badakshani in meeting with Hazrat Mian Mir in background of river & tree at Lahore. Source: V& A museum

“God never leaves this world without keeping on it some one ever to bear testimony and proof of his existence. He does not leave His people without a master (to guide them)’.

Sayyid Ali Hujviri, Kashf-ul Mahjub

Birth, Family & Early Life: Hazrat Mian Mir was born in 1531 (938 A.H) in Sivastan, (a variant of Shivasthan, Shiva’s abode which was once a place of pilgrimage of Shivaite Brahmins) now known as Sehwan. Its a historic city located in Jamshoro District of Sindh province, Pakistan. He was born to Qazi Saeen Ditta bin Qazi Qalandar Faruqi who was a descendant of Hazrat Umar bin al-Khattab, the second Caliph & a noted companion of the Prophet. His father passed away when Mian Mir was seven years old. He was brought up by his mother Fatima who was the daughter of the famous scholar and poet Qazi Qadan. From his his early youth, he was of contemplative bent of mind and longed for a life of renunciation. At the age of 12, he left his home with the consent and blessings of his widowed mother in search of inner enlightenment at the feet of some God oriented soul. For the long time, he kept wandering for this single aim in the hills and woods around Sivastan. Dara Shukoh wrote: “One day during his vacant rambling he happened to come by a large tandoor (an oven covered with a stone slab). On pushing the slab aside, to his great amazement he discovered some sort of silting arrangement made inside the oven. It showed the signs of warmth, too. This whetted his inquisitiveness which goaded his determination to probe the bottom of this miraculous contrivance and the strange person who had made such a queer management, in the wilderness away from any human habitat. Mian Mir waited for the return of the mysterious owner of the oven for three days and three nights. This man was Sheikh Khidr who became Mian Mir’s spiritual master“. Little is known about his life besides him being a Sufi of the Qadiriyya order and the spiritual guide of Mian Mir. Impressed by his spiritual status, Mian Mir became his disciple and under his supervision took spiritual training. Seeing signs of perfection in him, Shaykh Khidr gave him permission to initiate others in the Qadiriyya sufi order which is based upon the mystic teachings of Sayyid Abdul Qadir Gilani. After seeking the blessings of Shaykh Khidr, he left for Lahore at the age of twenty-five. Here he began his religious studies at the madrassa of Mullah Saadullah Lahori. Besides continuing his religious education, Mian Mir visited the graves of the eminent Sufi’s of Lahore deriving spiritual benefit from them. He also continued his spiritual activities and passed days in the gardens and jungle around the city, in his contemplative mood in the best tradition of the ascetic Sufis. As a Sufi dervish of eminence and deep approach Mian Mir had a simple and frugal lifestyle. Poverty and humility as a principal achievements of a Sufi dervish were his mainstay. These virtues became his indispensable companions.

“As it was reported to me that in Lahore one Miyan Sheikh Mir Mohammed by name who was a dervish, a Sindhi by origin, very eloquent, virtuous, austere, of auspicious temperament, a lord of ecstasy had seated himself in the corner of reliance upon God and retirement and was rich in his poverty and independent of the world, my truth seeking mind was not at rest without meeting him and my desire to see him increased. As it was impossible to go to Lahore. I wrote a note to him and explained the desire of my heart and the saint, not withstanding his great age and weakness took the trouble to come. I sat with him for a long time and enjoyed eight thorough interview with him. Truly, he is a noble personage and in this age. He is a great gain and a delightful existence. The supplement of grace was taken out of himself by companionship with him and heard words of sublime truth and religious knowledge. Though I desired to make him some gift, I found that his spirit was too high for this, so I did not express my wish. I left him the skin of a white antelope to pray upon and he immediately bade farewell to return to Lahore”.

Emperor Jehangir in his Tuzuk-e-Jehangiri, the memoirs of Jehangir, in the section covering the 13th to the beginning of the 19th year of his reign, Vol. II, page 119, (translation by Alexander Rogers, ICS)

Physiognomy of Mian Mir

“His eyes would illumine and his heart remained in ecstasy. He was of wheatish complexion. His nose was raised, forehead wide and broad which exuded spiritual glory. The eyebrows were conjoined and his eyes were neither big nor small and showed as seekers of inner truth. The body limbs were of average size. The beard could be held in a palm grip. His hair by then had turned white. Physical debility had overtaken him due to prolonged ascesis. He was of average stature. During the closing years of life, supposed to be hundred, his feel and legs were almost inactive. Thus it necessitated performance of prayers in sitting posture”.

Dara Shukoh
A 17th C Mughal painting showing Prince Dara Shukoh attending Hazrat Mian Mir (white robes) along with Mulla Shah Badakshi (black robes). Source: Wikiimages

Dressing & attributes: His dress was very simple, he wore a kurta (loose shirt with open sleeves, made from khaddar-homespun coarse cloth); a tehmad (cloth loosely wrapped around the legs), & a dastaar-turban of similar khaddar cloth to cover his head. When they looked soiled, he would seek for nobody’s service to cleanse them. He would wash them with his own hands, in the river Ravi flowing not far from his abode. He would eat little, unmindful of his physical needs and would remain engrossed in meditation. Quite often, he would be oblivious of what he ate. He would often miss the reckoning of the days and months. Whenever any friend or devotee brought food continuously, for days: he would request him to stop, to avoid a sense of ego catching the donor for his service to the God’s dervish. As Dara Shukoh cited that his handwriting was nastaliq -shikasta (cursive) script. He was fond of copying the verses of great people, bearing on ethical and moral counsel. Hazrat Mian Mir is an eminent mystic and has travel a lot. He speaks sparingly.

Later years: Mian Mir, in his advanced years, suffered from gout, would enter his hujra before dusk and bolt the door from the inside, Many time, he would not come out even during the day. Even ordinarily, he was not very happy with people visiting him. He would just welcome the visitor by raising his hands in prayer and blessings for them. Then he would politely request him to depart and got busy with his own engagements. Hazrat Mian Mir, though a man of deep illumined understanding and wisdom, neither wrote any prose nor verse. In fact, he showed no love or inclination for writing his own words, though he was fond of copying the verses of great people. Neither did he show any interest in receiving letters. He nursed a notion, unlike the other Sheikhs, that while an Allah’s dervish puts his thought on paper or writes to some one else, Allah’s raaz-inner secret, is opened to others, though unconsciously. A true dervish is ever full of Allah’s wisdom, being always absorbed in Allah’s grace and glory. which need not flow to others, who are unworthy of its retention.

Last Journey: The last lap of the saint’s earthly sojourn was very uncomfortable and anguishing. Haji Parcha who was with him narrates that one day after having the call of nature, he felt very uneasy. With Haji’s support he climbed back to the bed. Thereafter his breath shortened, yet he kept repeating in a low and slow voice “Allah, Allah, Allah“. Sheikh Mohammad Lahori who was also present on the occasion related to Dara Shukoh confirmed that Mian Ji lips continued to utter “Allah, Allah,” though its a hoarse and fading voice. He  suffered from acute dysentery during the last five days of his earthly existence. After five days of suffering, he passed away as a released captive bird, inaudibly and invisibly, with chants of Allah on his saintly lips on Tuesday, 7th Rabi-ul-Awwal 1045 A.H., 1635 A.D., in his own exclusive room located in the monastery where he passed sixty years of his earthly life in the Khanipur Colony, Anarkali.  Mian Jiv’s funeral (Janaza) was followed by a large number of his devotees, friends, admirers, & dignitaries that also included Nawab Wazir Khan, the Governor of Lahore.  

View of Hazrat Mian Mir tomb, photo source: Author

Burial: Hazrat Mian Mir’s mortal remains were consigned to earth near Aalam Ganj, village Darapur, commonly known as Hashimpur, a distance of half a kos from Lahore, in the vicinity of the graves of his spiritual associates and friends Mian Natha, Haji Suleman, Sheikh Abdul Kalaarn, and Mustafa KaIaan, as per Mianjiv’ s last wish. Dara Shukoh wanted a wide road to be built from the Lahore fort to his Khanqah so that when Dara would be in Lahore on his royal visits, he could pay homage to the saints resting place on foot. For this a huge quantity of valuable marble, red stones & other building materials was procured. But who know what destiny had chosen for him. After his tragic end in political vendetta, the Emperor Aurangzeb utilized all this procured building material in raising royal mosque in vicinity of Lahore Fort.

Inner view showing tomb stone, grave & marble enclosure, Pic source: Author

Royal Visits: Mian Mir was a great visionary, a man of spiritual transcendence, courted by kings, queens and princes for his divine counsel which was preferred without any inhibition. Shahjahan Namah by Mian Muhammad Lahori cited many of his meetings with Emperor Shahjahan. When Shahjahan visited Lahore in A.H. 928, he went to see Hazrat Mian Mir and, knowing that the Hazrat does not accept gifts, he made the offerings of a rose and a white loban that was accepted by the latter. Shahjahan said that he knew only two mystics who were the masters of subject of gnosis, one was Hazrat Mian Mir, and the other Faizu Ullah Bihari.

Spiritual successors: Some of his famous spiritual successors were Mullah Shah Badakshi, Khwaja Bihari, Mian Natha, Haji Nematullah Sirhindi, & Sheikh Ahmad Dehalvi. He maintained cordial relations with his contemporaries among which were scholars & mystics like Abdul Haqq Dehalvi, Shah Muhibullah Allahbadi & Shah Abul Muali Lahori.

Legacy of custodians: After the departure of Hazrat Mian Mir to the next world his adherent follower Prince Dara Shukoh summoned his nephew Hazrat Khwaja Muhammad Sharif Qadri from Sindh & appointed his as the first custodian of Khanqah. He was son of his sister, Hazrat Bibi Jamal Khatoon. He passed away in 1645 & buried close to his uncle resting place. During the time of colonial rule, the custodian was Hazrat Sayyad Ali Shah Qadri who passed away in 1956. In 1960, the department of waqf (Pakistan Government) undertook the charge of maintenance & care from the descendants of Khwaja Muhammad Sharf Qadiri. Till contemporary days his shrine has been visited by the devotees from different walks of life. From the poor to the celebrated dignitaries, the lovers of Mian Mir visited to seek solace & pay homage to the great saint. The great 20th century poet, Allama Iqbal was also a disciple in the spiritual order of Hazrat Mian Mir. We would like to conclude our article by the verses of Allama Iqbal eulogizing Hazrat Mian Mir.

حضرت شیخ میانمیر ولی
Hazrat Sheikh Mian Mir Wali
هر خفی از نور جان او جلی
Har khafi az noor jaan auw Jali
بر طریق مصطفی محکم پئی
Bar tareeq mustafa Muhkam payi
نغمه ی عشق و محبت را نئی
Naghma-i Ishq-o-mohabbar ra ney
تربتش ایمان خاک شهر ما
turbat-ish iman-i khak shahr ma
مشعل نور هدایت بهر ما
masha’al-i Nur-i Hidayat Bahar ma
بر در او جبه فرسا آسمان
bar darr-i jabah farsa aasman
از مریدانش شه هندوستان
az muridanish shah-i Hindustan

Verses written by poet Iqbal for Hazrat Mian Mir

The holy saint Shaykh Mian Mir,
By the light of whose soul every hidden thing was revealed,
His feet were firmly planted on the path of Muhammad,
He was a flute for the impassioned music of love,
His tomb keeps our city safe from harm,
And causes the beams of true religion to shine on us,
Heaven stooped its brow to his threshold,
The Emperor of India was one of his disciples.

English Translation by R A Nicholson. 


  1. Kashf ul-Majhub by Sayyid Ali Hujviri
  2. Sakinat-ul Awliya by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  3. Safinat-ul Awliya by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  4. Haq Numa by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  5. Hasanat-ul Arifin by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  6. Divan-I Qadiri by Dara Shukoh Qadiri
  7. Khazinat-ul Asfiyya by Mufi Ghulam Sarwar
  8. Gulshan-I Qadiri by Asad Iqbal Kharral
  9. Mian Mir and Sufi Tradition by Gyani Brahma Singh
  10. Hazrat Mian Mir by M. Din Kaleem
  11. Tazkirat-ul Fuqara by Prince Ahmad Akhtar
  12. Risala-i Nisbat by Mulla Shah Badakhshi
  13. Sharaif-i Ghausiyya (MS) by Muhammad Shah Qadiri Fazili
  14. Tuzuk-I Jehangiri
  15. Shah Jehan Namah
  16. Khumkhana-I Tasawwuf by Abul Hasan Sharib
  17. Asrar-e-Khidu, The secrets of the self by Allama Iqbal, English translation by Reynold A. Nicholson

Departure of Syed Meraj Ahmad

A loss of a star in Sufi Skies

On intervening night of 11-12th February, 2020 Syed Meraj Ahmad left this world for the heavenly abode. His demise was all of the sudden. He was on the way to Agra from his hometown ( Lakhimpur Kheri) when he felt sick & rushed to hospital. The cause of the death is still not clear. Around 1 pm on 12th February his body was handed to his family member. A wave of shock spread among his family members, friends & followers. At the age of fifty five, its an early departure.

He was born in a Sayed family that has roots from Khairabad in Awadh region & was also Sajjadanashin (custodian) of four centuries old Chishti dargah at Kheri town of Lakhimpur. This is a dargah of Hazrat Sayyad Hafiz Shah Mushtaq Ahmad (RA) who was one of the grand ancestors of late Mr. Sayed Meraj Ahamd.

Gateway of the dargah of Hafiz Sayyad Shah Muhammad Mushtaq Ahmad (RA)

He did his graduation from the department of economics at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and further attended Delhi University. Currently, he was working as an inspector at wakf board, department of minority affairs in Uttar Pradesh government. With true Sufi values kindled in his heart, he was always ready to serve the needy around him. He also ran Montessori school in his compound for serving children of his neighborhood, taking forward the notion of education for all. A true gentleman of his own sort, he has left a void which would never be filled. Survived by his wife, three daughters and a son, Syed Meraj Ahmad will be remembered for spreading the light of wisdom and message of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Indeed every breath is a step towards death, from the lord we have come and to him we shall return. On hearing the sad news of his demise, the thousands of his spiritual followers (Murids) visited Kheri to take the last glimpses of his mortal remains. He was Sajjadanasheen for two shrine in Lakhimpur Kheri & also had an affiliation with a Sufi shrine of Tausa Sharif in Afghanistan.

Indeed, to God we belong and to God we shall return. May Almighty God gave patience to his family & bless his soul. His burial prayers will be held today after noon prayers.

Our death is our wedding with eternity.

Mevlana Jalauddin Rumi

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: Emissary of Peace

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A short video story on the life of great freedom fighter, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan aka Frontier Gandhi.

Islam is “Amal, Yaqeen & Muhabbat” that literally means work, faith & love, this is how great freedom fighter of Indian freedom movement & social worker, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan perceived the values from his religion. Born on 06th February, 1890 at Utmanzai area of Peshawar district. His father Bahram Khan belonged to Muhammad Zai tribe of Pashtuns  & was an influential landlord of the region. As visionary father, he was keen towards the modern education of his children. First, he send his eldest son, Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (b1883) at Edward mission school, Peshawar. He later pursued medicine from Grant Medical College, Bombay & went to UK for advance studies in medicine. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was also send to same missionary school from where he completed his matriculation. 

From the age of twenty, he dedicated himself for the cause of social welfare. Initially he started schools for the community members all across KPK. It was his deeds towards the social welfare of his community that gave him a nickname of Bacha Khan (King of Chiefs). In 1921, he started Afghan Reform Society & in 1927, a political magazine Pashtun was started by him. Khudai Khidmatgar movement, aka as Red shirt movement was started by him against colonial oppression. With core beliefs of non-violence, hundreds of the thousands God servants comprised of Muslims, Christians, Hindus & Buddhist.   

It was in 1928; he first met Gandhi Ji & became his one of closest aide. Working on the common vision of Independent & secular India, Khan echoed the values of non-violence by citing Quran. Their association & work became so interconnected that his friend Amir Chand Bonwal gave him a title of Frontier Gandhi. On 23rd April Bacha Khan was arrested due to his protest in satyagrah movement. A non-violent protest against his arrest was organized by Khudai Khidmatgars at Qissa Khwani Bazar in Peshawar. The British retaliated with bullets resulted in the killings of 250 protestors. He remained as a member of Congress working committee & till the last moment, he opposed the plan of Partition. Deeply anguished & disturbed with the final agreement of partition, he said to congress, “You have thrown us to the wolves”.

The Holy Prophet Mohammed came into this world and taught us ‘That man is a Muslim who never hurts anyone by word or deed, but who works for the benefit and happiness of God’s creatures.’ Belief in God is to love one’s fellow men.” – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

One of the slogans for his Khudai Khidmatgars

He then pushed a demand of independent Pashtunistan but didn’t get approval from British rulers. In the new state of Pakistan, he was looked with suspicions. From 1948, he spends six years of imprisonment. His brother Dr. Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan was assassinated in 1958. From then, he again rearrested. In 1964, he was released & left for Pakistan for treatment. In 1969, he attended Gandhi Ji birth centenary as the special guest. Also received Jawaharlal Nehru Award for international understanding by VV Giri. Film division of India covered those moments in a documentary made in 1983.  He again visited India in 1987 due to ill health & undergoes treatment at Mumbai & Delhi (AIIMS). This time he was awarded with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. In 1988, he was arrested again due to the protest against the construction of KalaBagh Dam as it has major climatic impact on Peshawar Valley.  The emissary peace passed away in 1988 under house arrest at Peshawar. Then Indian prime minister went to Peshawar to offer their tribute to frontier Gandhi. On his will, he was buried at Jalalbad, Afghanistan. In 1993, India issued a postal Stamp in honor of its great Pashtun freedom fighter. A documentary titled The Frontier Gandhi, a torch for peace was made in 2008 by TC Mcluha. A market in Delhi build for the refugees in 1951 was named after his elder brother Dr. Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan as Khan market.

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna – Bismil Azimabadi

Portrait of Sayyad Shah Muhammad Hasan Bismil Azimabadi Pic source: Author

Urdu as a language is deeply entrenched with the composite heritage of India that has given us slogans and songs such as Inquilab Zindabad , Sarforoshi Ki Tamanna Ab Hamare Dil mein Hal, Sare Jahan se Achcha Hindostan hamara to name a few. I have picked up a song “Sarafroshi ki tamanna” for our short review title. This is one of those songs that has achieved an immortal fame in the history of Indian freedom movement and could arguably be the most famous patriotic poems of all time in India.

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai
Dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-qaatil mein hai

(In our hearts is now the desire for sacrifice – Let’s see how much strength is in the arms of killer)

This couplet is actually the first sher of a long ghazal (poem) composed in ornamental Urdu , these lines highlight the willingness of courageous but disciplined freedom fighters to sacrifice their life for their motherland while awaiting the worst action from the opponent.

It became a war cry during the freedom struggle when the firebrand protagonist of freedom Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil (1887-1927) of Shahjahanpur popularized the poem in such a powerful way that the couplet became an icon of the Jang-i-Azadi. It was immortalized in the chronicles of Indian freedom struggle. However the original writer of these lines was for a long time remained unknown.

Ram Prasad Bismil (1897-1927)

The person who made this poem/sher popular among the masses was Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil, a notable revolutionary who struggled against the British regime in India. His name was figured in Mainpuri conspiracy case of 1918 and the Kakori conspiracy of 1925. The trial in the Kakori conspiracy case sentenced him and three other revolutionaries namely Ashfaqullah Khan, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Nath Lahiri to be hanged till death. While lodged in jail, he penned his autobiography ‘Kakori Ke Shaheed’

He was an avid reader and fan of Urdu poetry and added a pseudonym “Bismil” with his name. He was known to employ Urdu poetry profusely as his weapon to mobilize the youths for non-co-operation with the Government. The impact of his selection of poetry was enormous and the chord of hearts vibrated with hostility against the Raj.

It is reliably reported that this couplet “Sarfaroshi ki tamanna” was on his lips on 19 December, 1927 when he walked to the gallows in Gorakhpur Jail, and from here couplet got so much fame that it became immortal with his name forever. Later on the poem was used in different forms of media with Ram Prasad Bismil’s name that the name of original composer was entirely forgotten and got shrouded in mystery.

Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna ab hamare dil me hai

Actually these lines are the first sher of a long poem (ghazal) penned by Bismil Azimabadi, a young nationalist poet from Azimabad (Patna). He composed this poem in 1920 which got published in  1921 in an Urdu Daily from Delhi named “Sabah” edited by Qazi Abdul Ghaffar. Qazi Abdul Ghaffar was a nationalist writer and editor of “Ukhuwat” Lucknow but due to his anti establishment editorials, the paper fell victim to the repressive press laws of British India. He was forced to leave Lucknow & he moved to Delhi where he started another journal, Sabah, under the patronage of Hakim Ajmal Khan, the leader of the Khilafat Movement. This original poem was published in one of its edition in 1921. The British again found this poem offensive and the editor was given a warning and the edition got seized. Now the question arises, when the poem was already published in a daily and was taken into notice by the government, how come the poet got obscure and unknown for so many years ?
Here was shall dwell upon the reasons.

Reason for the confusion

1.      The first reason that helped the poem getting attributed to Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil was that he wrote articles, pamphlets and was reported to be a poet. This image of being a poet was taken without doing any search or research. Undoubtedly, Ram Prasad Bismil was an avid fan of Urdu Poetry. He quoted and used relevant Urdu poetry as a tool to make the common man wake up and fight against the British rule. It is noteworthy that he liked the verses more where his nom de plume was used. In his autobiography “Atma Katha” we find a number of Urdu verses with the word Bismil after a minor changes in few words. However for me, it is a matter of further research whether he really composed anything of his own in Urdu? I have not found any original poem or verse composed by him anywhere. Though some of his works in prose are certainly found.

2.      The second important factor was the pen name – both the composer and the singer had the same nom de plume. The original poet Bismil Azimabadi and the person who immortalized it Ram Prasad Bismil both had the same pseudonym; and this created a huge confusion. Most of the people believed that it as Pt Ram Prasad’s own creation because he has used Bismil in this last line.

3.      Third important point that has not been studied altogether  and what could be the main reason for the confusion and the resultant wild guess about the poem was the fact that Bismil Azimabadi himself avoided to acknowledge the poem as his own creation because of the fear of backlash from the British after the newspaper was seized where it got published. Janab Abu Muhammad Shibli took an interview from Bismil Azimabadi wherein he told him that the poem was published in Qazi Abdul Ghaffar’s journal Sabah in 1921. The British Government had already been keeping an eye on him, they rebuked the editor and seized that edition.  Qazi Abdul Ghaffar wrote to Bismil that I have been taken to task by the government, you might also be grilled and advised him to be cautious. Upon this Bismil approached his mentor Shad Azimabadi who was a Khan Bahadur (title holder) and he edited the poem in the way that it lost its revolutionary appeal.  He further told that he openly declared this piece to be his poem in 1957 when he wrote his autobiography named “ Yaaran e Maikadah”.  By that time , the entire country has almost accepted the poem to be penned by Ram Prasad Bismil.

A picture of the original version of poem dated 1921 where hand made corrections were made by mentor of Bismil Azimabadi Pic source: Author

Bismil Azimabadi (1901 – 1978)

Now let’s have a look at the life of the poet Bismil. The word Bismil means hurt or wounded , here is a sher to this effect by Bismil

Hum to bismil hi rahe khair hui
Ishq me _____jaan chali jaati hai

Bismil Azimabadi’s real name was Syed Shah Muhammad Hasan who was a descendant of Makhdoom Syed Shah Fareed-ud-Din Tawela Bakhsh Chishti of Chand Purah Bihar.(d.897 Hijri/1492G). His belonged to the landed gentry and the family was initially based at Khusropur Newada  but lived mostly in a village Hardas Bigaha and finally settled at Lodhi Katra, Patna City. From maternal side he descended from Makhdoom Syed Habeebullah Mashhadi of Kaku, District Gaya. This family was also settled at Patna. His maternal Grandfather Shah Mubarak Kakvi Azimabadi and his maternal Uncle, Khan Bahadur Syed Shah Muhiuddin alias Shah Kamal both were poets. Both of them were disciple of famous ustad poet of Allahabad Janab Waheed Allahabadi.

Cover page of his collection pf poetry published in 1980. Pic source: Author

Bismil’s father Syed Shah Aal-i-Hasn was a Barrister (Bar-at-Law) and died at an early age when Bismil was a toddler. Bismil shuttled between his place and his maternal home at Patna. The atmosphere of Azimabad was poetic and literary. It was from there he picked up the love for Urdu poetry. This was a period when it was normal to find one or two poets in every educated clan in Patna. Syed Muhammad Hasan chose the word Bismil (meaning hurt or wounded) as his pen name and became disciple of Shad Azimabadi, (1846-1929),the legendary Urdu Poet from Bihar. During the same time , Bismil joined the freedom movement and developed the nationalist views. He even attended the Congress Session at Calcutta in 1920 where he recited this poem. Afterwards the same ghazal got published in Sabah Delhi and from where it gained national fame. Khuda Bakhsh Library has preserved the original copy and page of his diary where this poem is written and the corrections done by his mentor Shad Azimabadi can be seen very clearly. This is an indisputable evidence that the ghazal was penned by Bismil Azimabadi.

Original poem hand-written by Bismil and corrections by his Ustad Shah Azimabadi –
Coutesy – Khuda Bakhsh Library

A lot of scholars, were misled by the popularity and its association with Ram Prasad Bismil that they could not arrive to the fact and could never reach the author. This made Bismil somewhat upset and he felt dismayed when he could not get the credit of his poem even after the independence . This is recorded in the memoirs of Wamiq Jaunpuri “Guftani Na Guftani” where Bismil rued that sometimes we see that a lost belonging comes back to the owner but my ghazal did never come back to me.

Bismil died on 20 June 1978 and was survived by five sons and three daughters. His sons was Syed Shah Ahmad Hasan, Hamid Hasan, Mehdi Hasan, Hadi Hasan and Jamal Hasan. Most of his Kalam was lost and the remaining was compiled and published by the name of Hikayat-i-Hasti in 1980 with the help of Khuda Bakhsh library. He wrote a short personal memoir named Yaraan-i-Maikadah in 1976.

Here I would quote some of his Ash’aar so that the readers have an idea of the great poet !

Meri Nigaah Kaam na de  aur baat hai
Jalwa Tera Baqadr-i-zaroorat Kahan Nahin !

Deorhi pe ek faqeer bhi hai, ahl-i-zar ke baad
Saaqi idhar bhi  ik piyala , udhar ke baad

Shukr kar shukr jo saaqi kam de
Us ka har fe’l  hakeemana hai !

Qadam qadam pe hai saamna qayamat ka
Zamana phir bhi qayamat ke intezaar me hai


  1. Manzar, Habib (2004). “Revisiting Kakori Case on the basis of Vernacular Reportage”. In Sinha, Atul Kumar (ed.). Perspectives in Indian History.
  2. Ata Kakwi (1978), Sarfaroshi ki Tamanana – AajKal , New Delhi.
  3. Bismil Azeemabadi (2008), Muhammad Iqbal, Educational Publishing House Delhi.
  4. Abu Muhammad Shibli : Kya Ram Prasad Bismil Shair they ?
  5. Hikayat I Hasti (1980), Syed shah Mehdi hasan & Syed Hadi Hasan.
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