When I went overseas, I went to a city in Pakistan called Lahore, also known as the Walled City of Lahore. Lahore is in the province of Punjab which is near Afghanistan and China. Lahore is a city with cold weather much like Chicago and it is on the route to becoming a modernized city of Asia. Lahore is also an ancient city with great historical importance to many cultures. This city was home to the greatest empire of India, the Mughal Dynasty, and in Lahore, many important events took place. Lahore is important to the nation of Pakistan as it is where the Pakistani Resolution was signed, separating Pakistan from India, thus giving Pakistan independence. In Lahore, I visited the monument to Pakistan and right next to it is the beautiful mosque known as Badshahi Masjid. In this part of my journey I learned that no matter what happened in the past, we shouldn’t hold against someone, just forgive, but don’t forget.
Things I Learned On My Journeys (Part 2)
Badshahi Masjid was built by the Mughal emperor Aurang Zaib for the multitudes of Muslims that lived there. He also built it in such a way that it would encompass many different cultures in its architecture. It was built to be the sister mosque of Jamia Masjid in Delhi, India built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He built the courtyard and side rooms of the mosque to resemble the Grand Mosque of Kufa in Syria, its four minarets (towers) resemble the minarets of Amru bin-Al’ Aas Mosque in Egypt, and its main gate resembles Masjid-i-Jami Isfahan in Iran. The masjid’s domes were built to show the religious tolerance that Islam offered, with three domes resembling the three main religions at the time, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. The domes were also built with that in mind, with the gold pinnacle at the top to resemble Hindu gurdwaras (temples), under that, is a Lotus flower to resemble Buddhism, and the dome for Islam. The masjid is also an architectural feat of wonder, the minarets were built at a small outwards angle of five degrees, so if there were to be an earthquake, the minarets would fall outside the mosque. Inside the mosque is another wonder, each corner was built in such a way that if one person were to whisper in one corner and another person stood in across in the opposite corner, that person would hear the other person’s whisper like a loudspeaker, and anyone in the middle of the room would not hear it, that is where that saying, “the walls have ears,”comes from. Enough about the architectural feats, now to the real point.
Across from Badshahi Masjid lies the Shahi Qila, the Mughal Fort, and that was built by Mughal emperor Akbar. In this fort, a lot of important events took place, many were awful horrid things. Before I tell you, my main point is that no matter what a person’s ethnic background is or what their ancestors did before them, we shouldn’t hold them down on it, but we shouldn’t forget these things so we know why we are close to each other. What happened was that a guru nanak named Ranjit Singh, took control of Lahore after the Mughals lost power because of British imperialism, and Ranjit Singh saw the beautiful masjid in disgust. He first used the Shahi Qila as a slaughterhouse, for humans. He would round up Muslims, and take them to the underground portion of the Qila, and he would torture and kill thousands of Muslims. Even to this day, you can still see their blood splattered all over the walls underground. He hated the mosque, he was jealous, so he built a gurdwara right in front of the gate, and turned the mosque into a place for rubbish, like a landfill. He tore down beautiful frescoes and minarets, he destroyed the limestone plaster and the red stone courtyard. He told his people to use it as an over sized rubbish bin. The Mughals took three years to build the mosque in all its beauty, and it took the Muslims after Ranjit Singh 21 long years to clean and fully restore the mosque. Not only that, British imperialism came all the way to Lahore and they used the mosque like a stable and armory, they tore down the front wall and used it like a fort. The mosque looked like a shabby run-down jungle ruin, and to this day it isn’t fully restored as some parts of the mosque are broken. Sikhs and Hindus around the empire tore down mosques, the inspiring Babri masjid in Bombay was torn down to rubble when India was formed and it was completely gone, there was no way of restoring it. What we learn from this is that no matter what someones past is, we shouldn’t be mad at them about it, we should forgive them. And never forget because we should remember that people used to be savages, and we should remember how far human society has come, to have two people who would’ve been bitter enemies be great friends. We should remember why we are close together, so horrid things like that never happen again today, in our human community.