Monday, 20 August 2012

Story from the Tower of Babylone

Shafqat Tanveer Mirza
ZOHRA MUSHTARI…Sat-ganj-Arsi-nama by Maula Shah; edited and translated by Dr. Mian Zafar Maqbool; pp 384; Price Rs300 (hb); Publishers Bazm-e-Maula Shah, 41-A Chohan Road Islampura (Krishan Nagar) Lahore.
MAULA Shah, the great grandfather of Editor Zafar Maqbool, came up his own versions of famous Punjabi folk tales_ Heer -Ranjah, Mirza-Sahiban; Sassi-Punnu, Baugamal-Bishnoo and Zohra-Mushtri plus he wrote kafis, si- harfis, baran mah, mostly
published in his life time (1876-1944).
There is a controversy in his date of birth. Some scholars claim that he was born in 1836 before the occupation of the Punjab by the British and its annexation in 1849.But he have no circumstantial evidence to support this. He refers to many
political events of the British period like in the following verse.
آپے پہرے، آپے مالک، آپے ڈاکو اپیلاں دعوے خارج ہائیکورٹ ہوئے
کلکتے وائسرائے، شہ شاہ ل ڈ پریر برے خو ی حکم لیڈیاں ہیٹھ ہوئے
Here, Maula Shah refers to the justice system of the British when Calcutta was their capital in India and cases were presented in the highest courts of India and to the privacy council, London. Maula Shah is of the opinion that there was no justicial for the aggrieved parties, because the whole structure
was a mockery of the justice system.
Maula Shah was born in Majeettah (birth place of famous philanthropist, Sardar Dayal Singh, founder of Dayal Singh College, Dayal Singh Library and Majitthia Hall) and went to Kattrah Bhagia in district Gurdaspur and spent his youth in Kattrra Ghunian of Amritsar. This settlement was equated with the Diamond Market of Lahore. According to Zafar, a Hindu girl Ram Rakhi fell in love with Maula Shah who himself refers to
the lover or the beloved whatever the case may be:
سہیلی رکھی سائیں مولا شاہ رام رکھی ویں سورج جے از ہوڑے ربا
Maula Shah was the disciple of Nosha Ganj buksh and himself a practicing sufi. After a prolonged stay in Amritsar he setteled down in Tibar Sharif along with his family and disciples. Here Maula Shah raised a garden spread over an acre which boasted all sorts of plants. He was buried there and a sikh Saraen Singh, looked after the mazar after his family migrated to Pakistan in 1947. The editor quotes one Jan Muhammad, who went recently to Tibar Sharif, as saying that Maula Shah is now known as Audh Shah and his mazar is revered by the Sikhs and the Hindus. In Pakistan his grand son Mian Maqbool Ahmad, a former principal of Government college, Shahdara, arranges Maula Shah's Urs in Sheikhupura and Karyal Kalan where the
family is now settled.
Maula Shah did not receive formal education but he was not happy with the education system introduced by the British in
which the language of the Punjabis was given no space.
Maula Shah expressed his dismay over the language policy of the rulers and the local supporters who willingly abandoned the
Persian in favor of English and Urdu:
فارسی، انگریزی، عربی، اردو گلاں لیاقت مولا شاہ پنجا بی گلاں جٹکیاں نی
عربی، فارسی، اردو، انگریزی پڑھیاں بولی بھل گئی پنجا بی ٹھیٹھ بیلی
For educational and official purposes, English and Urdu were used while Punjabi was categorized as the language of illiterates and backswords people. That may have been one of the reasons which forced Maula Shah to express himself in Punjabi and get his collection published.
Zafar Maqbool with the financial grant of the cultural department of the Punjab government has produced the Zohra-Mushtari by Maula Shah with a research article and translation in Urdu. The story Zohra relates to a prostitute associated with two angles Haroot and Maroot who were sent to Babul, the ancient capital of Iraq. Maula Shah follows Waris Shah's pattern and closely imitates him; for instance when he narrates the love style of the women of different tribes, races, castes, religious communities, professions and classes. The language used by Maula Shah represents almost all the dialects spoken in the province. But
the basic dialect is Majhi.
Dawn Lahore February 10,2008

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