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A slice from shared inheritance

Travelling all the way from Pakistan to a jam-packed hall at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Friday, Fakir Syed Aijazuddin left an impact on every member of the audience.

chandigarh Updated: Feb 10, 2014 10:14 IST
Navleen Kaur Lakhi

Travelling all the way from Pakistan to a jam-packed hall at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Friday, Fakir Syed Aijazuddin left an impact on every member of the audience as he began a slide lecture with excerpts from his book, The Resourceful Fakirs — The Three Muslim Brothers at the Sikh Court of Lahore. The celebrated art historian, writer and a descendant of the famous Fakir family of Lahore that served at the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Aijazuddin had been invited by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.


A recipient of the Order of the British Empire (that recognises distinguished services to the arts and sciences apart from other fields), Aijazuddin held the audience — which had come from all over the tricity, Delhi and Karnal — captive with his wit, command on the subject and humour, as he recounted tales from the history of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule and the Lahore Durbar.

The book, we learnt, is about three men from Aijazuddin’s family who were closely associated with the Maharaja, one of them being Fakir Azizuddin, who was with the Maharaja for almost 30 years, having served as his indispensable spokesman and trusted negotiator in all dealings with the neighbours, including the British. Then there was Fakir Imamuddin, who held the keys to the Govindgarh Fort (near Amritsar) where the Sikh treasury and armoury was said to have been located and last but not the least, the youngest brother Fakir Nuruddin, who occupied a position of prominence in the court and after Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839, acted as a member of the Regency Council while the young Maharaja Duleep Singh was a minor.

Having enjoyed the event as much as the people in the audience, the writer of books including When Bush Comes to Shove and Other Writings, Lahore Recollected: An Album and The Bark of a Pen: A Miscellany of Articles and Speeches, Aijazuddin said, “Boundaries are only geographic; history doesn’t recognise boundaries. We have a shared inheritance.”

The experience was rightly put by city-based art historian, Prof BN Goswamy, “Fakir wo hota hai jo ek hi din ka khaana kha sakta hai. And the lecture given by Fakir S Aijazuddin has provided us food for today.”

Until Aijazuddin was done signing copies of his book, which were available at the venue, they were gone, leaving many disappointed.