Muttahir Ahmed Khan
Hundreds of moons and the stars once rose;
And twinkled for many a night.
Hundreds of eyes I have that saw,
Whole worlds vanishing from sight.
Prince Pervaiz was the second son of Emperor Jahangir. In Tuzk e Jahangiri, the details of Jahangir’s offspring are described in these words:
‘Jahangir had five sons named Sultan Khusro, Sultan Pervaiz, Sultan Khurram, Sultan Jahandar, Sultan Shehryar and two daughters called Sultan Nisar Begum and Bahar Bano Begum. Khusro, Pervaiz and Jahandar passed away during the king’s lifetime. When Sultan Khusro rose in mutiny against the king, the latter sent Sultan Pervaiz to crush the rebellion. Pervaiz was very close to the king on account of his gallantry and loyalty.’
The King cherished special love for Sultan Pervaiz and he celebrated his wedding with great enthusiasm. The event has been reported in ‘Tuzk-e-Jahangiri’ (Page 82) in these words;
‘On the 22nd of Jamad-al-Sani, Sunday, Prince Pervaiz got married to Prince Murad’s daughter. The ceremony was arranged at the palace of Maryam Makani while the festivities were celebrated at Prince Sultan’s palace.’
Prince Murad Khan was Jahangir’s brother while Maryam Makani was the mother of Emperor Akbar. The prince was also very fond of constructing buildings and he had built a charming palace in Lahore’s Kot Khawaja Saeed area. Lahorites had a great love for the prince as well and it is why that locality, later on, was named after him as Pervaiz Abad. He had a son and a daughter. The son died during his lifetime while the daughter remained alive and was married to Prince Dara Shikoh who was son of Emperor Shah Jahan. Different historians have offered diverging views regarding the life of prince.
Moulvi Noor Ahmed Chishti writes in his book ‘Researches of Chishti’ (page 268):
‘This tomb is of prince Pervaiz, the brother of King Shah Jahan. Its dome is higher even than that of Ali Mardan Khan’s tomb. It is surrounded by eight gates that are decaying now. Previously, all the door-frames were made of marble but, now, everything looks abandoned. Later on, Shah Jahan built a market here by the name Pervaiz Abad and it is still called by this name. The prince died in 1081 Hijra’
Some submissions by Chishti are not authentic. Firstly, the date of Pervaiz’s death is 1035 Hijra (1626 AD); secondly, Sultan Pervaiz’s father was King Jahangir and he was the elder brother of King Shah Jahan. Shahzada Sultan died during the lifetime of King Jahangir who died in 1037 Hijra. This fact also negates the date of death, mentioned by Chishti, 1081 Hijra. Apart from Noor Chishti’s work, some other stories were also created by several historians. According to them, at the death of Jahangir, Shah Jahan deceitfully called Sultan Pervaiz to Lahore and got him murdered by Asif Jah in Kot Khawaja Saeed. This too seems incorrect. The fact that Prince Sultan died during Jahangir’s lifetime has been mentioned in ‘Maulvi Zaka Ullah Dehlvi’, ‘Tuzk-e-Jahangiri’, ‘Shah Jahan Nama’ and other books. The death of Prince Sultan has been related in ‘Tuzk-e-Jahangiri’ (page 222) in these words:
‘The news of Prince’s ailment reached the palace on 23rd Ramadan 1035 Hijra. He had been suffering from colic pain for quite some time. Later on, Khan-e-Khanan related the news that the pain started again. He was an excessive drinker and, like his uncle Prince Murad, died of that pain on 6th Safar 1035 Hijra. The same disease caused the death of Prince Daniyal as well.
Moreover, the page 222 of the 6th volume of the book ‘Tareekh-e-Hindustan’ (Indian History), penned down by Maulvi Zaka Ullah Dehlvi, reads like that:
‘The writings of Dakkan relate when King started journey towards India from Ghazna via Kabul, Prince Pervaiz caught liver disease due to excessive drinking. Like his uncle Prince Murad and Daniyal, he passed away as a result of this pain. His date of death is 6th Safar 1035 Hijra and he was buried in the garden in Agra.’
Now, this fact is established that this tomb is not of Prince Pervaiz. Like other places of Lahore, this tomb too has gone through, from time to time, different phases of changes. Before partition, one Chaudhry Mohammad Hussain did a very good job and not only got it repaired but also fixed an epitaph displaying that the tomb is of Prince Dara Shikoh. This too was wrong. Prince Dara Shikoh’s head and the body have been buried at two different places: head was buried beside his mother Mumtaz Mahal’s grave in Taj Mahal while the body was laid to rest at Humayun’s tomb. Apart from the poor knowledge of Mr Hussain, the false stories about the tomb continued to persist and, after partition, people started calling this dome the Tomb of Dai Amma. They say that it is the tomb of Dara Shikoh’s governess.
Whose tomb this actually is? I agree with Mr. Syed Lateef’s account in which he has written that this tomb might be of the son of Prince Pervaiz and brother of Nadira Begum. A major supporting evidence is the presence of Prince Pervaiz’s garden in Lahore and the fact that prince’s son had died during his lifetime.
It was one of the charming buildings built in the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The palace as well as the garden, here, were built under the supervision of Prince Pervaiz himself and Kanhaya Lal Hindi has mentioned the condition of this tomb on page 272 of ‘Tareekh-e-Lahore’ (Lahore’s History), in these words:
‘This tomb, an old building, is located in Kot Khawaja Saeed area, towards the South direction, and to the East of Lahore city. Its seat is as high as one storey and it has been built on a concrete pedestal. Once, the outer as well as the inner floors of the tomb were covered with marble but marble was removed on the orders of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Later, it was repaired and it, too, got destroyed. Now, the government has undertaken the work of its repair through me (Kanhaya Lal).’
At present, Shah Bilawal’s shrine is situated in the North of Khawaja Saeed’s shrine in Kot Khawaja Saeed. In the West of this shrine, is the area of ‘Dhobhi Ghaat’. This tomb looks lost in the crowd of small houses in the narrow alleys. The small minarets are still seen in all four corners of the roof of the dome. There are small doors on all the four sides under it. There is a small mound of dust instead of the block of the grave. The rest of the walls and the doors of the tomb, for a long time, have been in the hands of the local residents. It is due to the negligence of Archaeology Department that has left this site unattended. Even any nominal plaque, plate or stone, which are found on other places of Lahore, is not found, here. In the room, under the dome, children play casually. The concrete stature of this tomb has been set at the mercy of this city of unaware people. The day will come soon when it will be ruined with a heavy rain or a jolt of a quake.
O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast, struck? (Shakespeare)
Hamlet Act V, scene 2, line 37