To Carry the Dust to Multan
Saturday, 6 February 2016
Thousands years after Macedonians, the conquerors of Multan present an amazing variety of races: Graeco-Bactrians are followed by the Kushans who in turn give place to White Hans. The Arab first arrived here in 662 A.D. and it came under Muslims rule in around 712. Multan also remained under Karmatians, Lodhis, and Ghaznivids. Between 1221 and 1528, ten invaders swept through the city till it finally fell in the hands of Mughals in 1528. Under the Mughal rulers, Multan enjoyed years of peace and prosperity. Nawab Muzzafar Khan remained in power from 1779 to 1818, when Ranjit Sing stormed the city. After a resolute defense, British captured Multan on 22 January 1849. From Alexander to Aurangzeb the city was built, damaged, repaired, destroyed, demolished, and reconstructed many times. After the British rule, partition once again changed the face of the city and it witnessed the new demographic and socio-economic order in 1947. Multan has been reinventing itself ever since.
Today, there are 'two' Multans. One is the city of inordinate glory and unique architectural style: imposing citadel, Agha Khan International Architecture Award winner Shrine of Saint Shah Rukn-i-Alam and shrines of Bahawal Haq Zikaryya, Shah Yousaf Gardezi (also other shrines of religious, architectural, and historic values) and landmarks like the newly constructed building of State Bank of Pakistan. It is a city of calligraphers, writers, poets, actors and actresses who make difference in the lives and outlooks of others. The other Multan is a soot-choked city (spread over 28 square kilometers area) developed haphazardly without any planning and foresight. This is a city where old trees are ruthlessly cut and all the open spaces have been converted in jungle of concrete in the last 55 years.
Clay pot made in Multan Keeping part of its historical and cultural heritage in tact, Multan has accepted the modern trends. People still like to eat Doli Roti, Daal Mong served on tree leaves, specially cooked Sohanjna (curry) and Tabakhi ke Bor (curry). Word is out and it says that a food street (like Gawalmandi in Lahore) is being planned near Hussain Agahi where conventional Multani food will be served. Needlework on Dopatta (head scarf for women), golden work on Khussa (sandals), and items made of clay and camel skins and Sohan Halwa are very popular. At the same time the blue pottery, glazed tiles, cotton sheets, bed spreads, and towels of Multan are in great demand in Pakistan and abroad. Historian Al Masudi wrote, "Multan is a gold mine" and Dr. Karim Dad says, "Multan is a cotton mine with 35,000 power looms manufacturing exported cotton goods." Gard, Garma, Gada and Goristan are no longer the gifts of Multan.
During the last days of Tughlaqs, when the whole of their empire was in pieces, Multanis selected Shah Yousaf Gardezi, a religious leader and a saint, to run the affairs of the city. If nothing else, the governance of the city should be improved for the saint's sake whose shrine - a unique specimen of architecture - is venerated by many in the Old City.
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, February 06, 2016,
- At 12:04, Marz said...
Wow, the mosaics on that building is gorgeous.
I believe in having some place to love. It keeps us going, knowing that we have a place to embrace at the end of the day.
- At 19:40, Irving Karchmar said...
A lovely place indeed :) And where can I get a copy of your book?
- At 20:19, Shirazi said...
Irving Karchmar: This is in Urdu. Email me your street address and I will send you the book.
- At 15:31, Maroof said...
hey nice blog dear...
u work hard
- At 20:41, HQ said...
Multan is among the oldest living cities of subcontinent presumably as old as Harrapa.
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