Alphie and his family have decided to go back home

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero

English: Eden Gardens cricket ground in Kolkat...
English: Eden Gardens cricket ground in Kolkata, India during the 2011 Indian Premier League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Rabindranath Tagore with Mahatma Gand...

English: Rabindranath Tagore and Indira Devi i...

English: Rabindranath Tagore and Indira Devi in Valmiki-Pratibha, 1881. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"Ra-Tha" wooden seal by Rabindranath...

“Ra-Tha” wooden seal by Rabindranath Tagore. Source: Rabindranath Tagore and his World of Colours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An example of handwritten Bengali script. Part...

An example of handwritten Bengali script. Part of a poem written by Rabindranath Tagore in 1926 in Hungary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kolkata on the Hooghly

Kolkata on the Hooghly (Photo credit: seaview99)

Alphie ,Susan, and Gepetto changed their booking.They will now go to Kolkata .They will stay in the city for a day.From there they will fly to Karachi.Their stay in Karachi will be for two days. They will leave Karachi after two days en route to Canada.On the way there will be a stop at Heath Row airport in London.There will be a two hour stop at Heath Row.Then they will board the plane to Toronto.This is their itinerary at the moment.

There was a  sudden change in their plan.Gepetto was missing school.All the schools re-open  after the summer in early September.Alphie wanted to go back.Gepetto had already missed all of September.It was wise to go back as soon as possible,Alphie said. The family wanted to see part of Bengal.Ranu was a Bengali. She will be able to show some interesting places.Tomorrow morning we will fly to kolkata,arrangement has been made for our stay in the hotel for a night.They plan to visit Shanti Niketan,the school founded by Rabindranath Tagore.

The day has finally arrived for our journey to Kol Kata.Gepetto was sad to leave Delhi,he had so much fun visiting so many beautiful places.He loved the Taj Mahal. He bought a tiny replica of the building.Kol Kata Airport is named after a famous Bengali.THe name of the airport is Netaji Subhas chandra Bose international air port.It took two hours and five minutes by Indian airlines to arrive in KolKata.Hyatt Regency hotel was booked for the night.

From the airport we took a cab to the hotel.The receptionist was a lady.she was extremely friendly.She showed us our rooms.Alphie ordered room service.The food was European style.I was not comfortable ordering,Indian food.We had supper and afterwards made plans where we  would go for a visit first.A list was made up and we went to bed.We only had a day but made sure to visit as many  important places in the time we had.

Our first stop is Fort William.It was named after King William The third of England.It was established during the time of the British rule in 1696.A new fort was built after the old one was damaged by the war of Plassey in 1757 The construction began  shortly after the war, and was completed in 1780.The next point of interest for us is The Eden Gardens. Gepetto was eager to see it because it is a cricket stadium.It is a large stadium about 120,000 people can be accommodated.From the Eden gardens We went on to Botanical Gardens.It is 8km away from the city.It was built in 1787.It contains about  12000 living perennial plants and millions of dried out plants collected from all over the world.The main attraction in that garden was the Banyan has the second largest canopy in the world.The gardens also have trees of rarest  variety..Next is the Birla Mandir,it is known as Tara Mandal as well.There are more than a hundred astronomical projects dealing with facts of astronomy space science as well as  myths concerning stars  and planets.We were short of time.We could not visit Shanti Niketan founded by Rabindranath Tagore.I was disappointed.I wanted to see it in person.I could also give them a lesson in Bengali.I had to keep in mind,I could only take them to places,they wanted to see.

After moving from one place to another we were tired.It was time to head back to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport to go to Karachi,Pakistan. We boarded the Indian Airlines in the evening.While on the plane,Alphie wanted to know about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.He sat next to me.Susan and Gepetto wanted to sleep.

Subha Chandra Bose also known as Netaji(the revered leader).He was the most prominent Indian Nationalist,who attempted to liberate India from British rule.He was born on January 23rd,1897 in Cuttack,Orissa.Although his name is not mentioned that much as Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru  ,he fought just as hard as them for India’s independence from British rule.Throughout his political career the liberation of India remained his foremost political goal.

Jawaharlal Nehru had said,after his death ,”alongwith his abiding love for his country,he held an equally passionate hatred of the imperial power that ruled it.

We did not have that many interesting places to visit in Kol kata,but enjoyed the visit.

It is time to say,Adios Amigos from me ,Ranu,Alphie,Susan and Gepetto.

Netaji House at Kolkatta. The house from where...

Netaji House at Kolkatta. The house from where Netaji Escaped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The location where brilliant Indian poet and N...

The location where brilliant Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was both born and died. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel prize for li...

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel prize for literature. It is the first Nobel prize won by Asia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our Visit to Amritsar

Wagah celebrators

Wagah celebrators (Photo credit: lukexmartin)

Entrance to Golden Temple, Amritsar

Entrance to Golden Temple, Amritsar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Te...

Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India. The man has just had a ritual bath. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From our learning experience of Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Sufi Jalaluddin Rumi,we decided we needed a break and our next move would be to take a trip to Amritsar.

Alphie,Susan,Gepetto and I decided,it would be a grand idea to leave Delhi for a couple of days. Since I was in favour of Amritsar,I got Gepetto interested by telling a few things about it.It worked Gepetto took the bait,the result was we were on our way to Amritsar.

It is a city in the north-western part of India and is the spiritual centre for Sikh religion.The religion was founded by Guru is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region.It is the fifth largest religion in the world.There are approximately thirty million Sikhs in the world.

Guru Nanak’s teachings are not founded on a final destination of heaven or hell,but on a spiritual union with God.In Sikhi,the influences of Ego,anger,greed,attachment and lust—known as the Five Evils-are believed to be particularly destructive.The fate of the people vulnerable to the Five Evils is separation from God,and the situation may be remedied only after intensive devotion.  It teaches that God is Omnipresent,Transcendent ,Omnipotent and Omniscient.It also revolves around the belief in re-incarnation.It does not however believe in miracles.

Images for Amritsar: Golden Temple, Harimandir Sahib,Wagah Border,Jallianwalah Baagh.

The Golden Temple was constructed in the 15Th century.The craftsmen of the North were involved in heightening the insights of religion by creating works in and through the daily life , which may exalt the devotees.

Sri Harmandir Sahib–was built in 1574.Some of the architectural features of Sri Harmandir Sahib were intended to be symbolic of the Sikh world view.Instead of the normal custom of building a Gurdwara on high land,it was built at a lower level than the surrounding land so that the devotees would have to go down the steps to enter it.It has four entrances.

Wagah Border: The daily ritual of the flag hoisting and lowering is worth travelling to see.It is performed by smartly turned out Pakistani and Indian soldiers.It receives spontaneous applause from the spectators gathered to watch them.The ritual starts with a handshake between the captains,followed by a battle of angry looks,stomping with vigour to show military strength,the blowing of trumpets and march past add to the colourful ceremony.

The Jallianwala Baagh Massacre: It took place in the Jallianwala Baagh public garden in the North Indian City of Amritsar on 13th April 1919.The shooting was ordered by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer.The casualty number was more than 1500 and about 1000 were killed.

Historians considered the episode as a decisive step towards the end of British rule in India.

We spent the two days,we visited the temple,the Wagah border,Harmandir Sahib.We also saw the public garden Jallianwala  Baagh.Alphie and his family enjoyed visiting the city of Amritsar.Gepetto filled his diary with some words he found interesting and hard to pronounce.It is to be expected,when one visits a place with entirely different religion and culture,it is something the visitors should be proud of.They did not hesitate to go.

We had a lot of adventure and we all were thrilled to have this fabulous experience.Now back in Delhi,we have to decide what next!

May God be with you all,Allah Hafiz!

The Harmandir Sahib, a Sikh gurdwara and spiri...

The Harmandir Sahib, a Sikh gurdwara and spiritual centre at Amritsar, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mevlana JalaluddinMohammad (Rumi) (Balkhi)

Tombs ; Mevlâna mausoleum; Konya, Turkey

Tombs ; Mevlâna mausoleum; Konya, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rumi's attributed photo

Rumi’s attributed photo (Photo credit: Eliza_Tasbihi)

Shams of Tabriz as portrayed in a 1500 paintin...

Shams of Tabriz as portrayed in a 1500 painting in a page of a copy of Rumi’s poem dedicated to Shams. BNF Paris. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rumi Museum in Konya, Turkey

Mawlānā's tomb. "Konya",Turkey
Mawlānā’s tomb. “Konya”,Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tomb of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi; Mevlâna ma...
Tomb of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi; Mevlâna mausoleum; Konya, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Mathnawî of Mevlâna (1278) ; Ritual Hall (...

The Mathnawî of Mevlâna (1278) ; Ritual Hall (Semahane); Mevlâna mausoleum; Konya, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had said in my writing about Allama Mohammad Iqbal and about Rumi,that he was a follower of Rumi.Somehow the name Rumi sparked the interest of Alphie and Susan. Because of his parents,Gepetto showed a tremendous amount of interest as well.

Today sight-seeing was not as important as knowing about the great Sufi,Jalauddin Rumi.I agreed.  I can also build up on my scanty knowledge.I began my research on his work. I had to keep in mind the fact,Gepetto is only twelve and it would be rather difficult to keep his interest too long.

Mevlana Jalaluddin Mohammad( Rumi)    (Balkhi). He was a Persian Sufi.Poet and Mystic,was born in Balkh in the north-eastern province of Persia(Iran) present day Afghanistan —– 800 years ago..His father was Baha’u-‘d-Din, he decided to leave Balkh, when Mevlana was about five.The family traveled to Baghdad on their way to Makkah for pilgrimage.They also went to Damascus in Syria.They eventually picked Konya to live(present day Turkey).The Mevlana lived in Konya for the rest of his life.

When he was about thirty-seven years old,he met Shams Tabrizi,who was a wandering Dervish.Shams never found exactly the Shaykh he was looking for,but he did come close to finding in Rumi the kind of spiritual companionship he desired.Since leaving my hometown,I have not seen a single Shaykh.Mevlana is a fitting Shaykh if he would agree.Though most of the Maqalat is in Persian,Shams describes his first meeting with Rumi and the words they exchanged in Arabic.

Relationship Between Shams and Rumi:The nature of their relationship went beyond the traditional roles of master and disciple.Shams saw his own spirit reflected in Rumi,the most gifted and spiritualized scholar he had ever met.Had Rumi been a young man,he might have assumed the conventional role of disciple,but Shams by his own scolding and his praises,reveals the unique nature of their relationship.Shams complains of Rumi that,”at times his extensive knowledge would come before him and get in the way.”or he would continue to read the works of others for guidance and inspiration.Shams told Rumi that he must learn to practice mysticism, not just read about it:”You want to discover through learning;but it requires going and doing.”

Shams engaged Rumi in debate so that  together they could arrive at the truth.Sometimes Shams could be relentless and Rumi would tire of it or have to get on with other business,but Shams would persist.It seems Shams abandoned Rumi as a deliberate part of guiding him  to the next stage of spiritual development.

The encounter with Shams triggered the completion of a paradigm shift in Rumi’s approach to piety and spirituality;he discovered that beyond the safe,dry and socially approved forms of obedience(prayers,sermonizing,discovering and applying the principles of law)and renunciation (fasting and controlling the passions of the ego) there is a meta-spirituality of love,which consists in joyously and creatively,celebrating our relationship with God.

After Shams left,Rumi withdrew completely and secluded himself from his companions.

Modern Man and The message of Mevlana: Morality is lost in the life of today’s man.Mevlana is one of the few great men of literature and meditation, who has invited people to live a moral life in all their works. What Mevlana said 800 years ago is still new to the man of the 21st century. This is why his works are still being translated in different languages.Mevlana’s major works is Masnavi-e-Manavi (spiritual couplets): other books: Diwan -e–Shams-e-Tabriz: (the works of Shams of Tabriz- named in honour of Mevlana’s great friend and inspiration) Fihi ma Fih(in it what’s in it),Majalis-i-sab’a(seven sessions),Rubayai yat(the couplets),Makateb(the written pieces).

The poet passed away at the age of 68. Konya was all in black.Even Christians and Jewish people of the city mourned for him.Mevlana was buried beside his father in Konya,Turkey. A tomb was built for the great Sufi poet and remains a sacred site.It is visited by visitors from all over the world.Sufis have always maintained a clear distinction between the servant(the human being) and Lord(the Divine).

Rumi,s Masnavi;Anyone who notices his own fault before those of others,

would surely be concerned to correct himself,these worldly people do not look at themselves,and so they blame one another.Your words and actions must not contradict each other,so that your life may be acceptable to God.

Masnavi    v:255

Empty the glass of Your Desire: Empty the glass of your desire,so that you won’t be disgraced.stop looking for something out there,and begin seeing within.Open you arms if you want an embrace.Break the earthen idols and release the radiance. Why get involved with a hag like this world? You know what it will cost.

I believe this is enough learning for all of us.If we can put into practice all that we have learned.God bless us all.

With this another bright day has come to a close. From all of us to all of you. Allah Hafiz, May God be with you!

We hope we all will meet again!

The Rumi Museum in Konya, Turkey

The Rumi Museum in Konya, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

House of Sufism

House of Sufism (Photo credit: Paul Lowry)

Why I am still in school

Allama Iqbal

Allama Iqbal (Photo credit: rchughtai — “not very active”)

Government College, Lahore, 1880s. Oriental an...

Government College, Lahore, 1880s. Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Entrance to the Sialkot Railway Station

Entrance to the Sialkot Railway Station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember ,Gepetto ,I told you I’ll tell you why I’m still in school.Let me clear something first.The school I go to is different from yours.I don’t go out of my home,I do my work through my computer.I receive questions by e-mail.I don’t know who my classmates are.I see names,but I cannot put a face to the name.We do our work whenever we have some time,we do our assignments.

The teacher’s role is filled by a facilitator.Again we communicate by writing,we do not see who we are writing to or hear the person’s voice.This is called the on-line course.Regardless of the fact that we do not see or hear who is sending us the lesson.The learning process is in full force.The next question is obvious.What am I learning?I am learning about a famous poet. He died many years ago.His writing still inspires us.

His name is Iqbal.He was born At Sialkot in the province of Punjab in 1873.he came from a religious middle class family.In 1899 he graduated from Government College at Lahore. He taught at Lahore for six years.From 1905 to 1908 he studied in Cambridge and Germany.He also qualified as a lawyer.He was a very famous writer of Muslim India.He died in 1938.He wrote a lot of poems.They say he is the most quoted poet in the world’s literary and intellectual circles.

His most remarkable achievement was that he gave an abiding place to the teachings of Islam and patriotism in the hearts of the people.`The language he used was one of rare beauty and charm.He is the spokesman of reality.He used his poetry as a source of his message,which he wanted to give the nation.He studied the ups and downs of the culture of man very deeply.He dedicated the Godly gift of his mind for only one work-Spiritualism and Patriotism.He gave his message to the nation in each and every way.He provided it with a spiritual and philosophical content and drove it deep into people’s consciousness.We owe Allama Iqbal not only his poetry that stirs our souls,a philosophy that serves as a clarion call for a dynamic life ,but a message to his countrymen to fulfill their destiny as ordained in the Holy Qur’an. His message is best expressed in his own words. He says “Humanity needs three things today—-Spiritual interpretation of the universe,Spiritual Emancipation of the Individual and basic principles of a universal impart directing the evolution of human society on a spiritual basis.” His last Urdu work published in his lifetime lashes out at all the major evils that would banish from the kind of society he was advocating.He branded these as forces of disintegration including colonialism,western education,indifference to religion  etc.all these are more or less closely inter-related political slavery.Imitation he said kills initiative and discourages independent thought and effort.

Iqbal was a follower of Rumi the famous Sufi.In his imagination ,he talks about meeting him and learning from him.

One of his greatest desire was to have a place called ,’ Marghdeen’,here there will be no beggars,the farmers will be able to produce their food independently without the presence of cruel  land lords.,no government,no army,no weapons,no fighting. It will be the Paradise on earth.

To have such a place optimism is a necessity,there is no room for pessimism.Pessimism kills the desire to succeed.Optimism moves us forward.For us we need the roses without the thorns.

Gepetto I’m sorry I got carried away,I simply love reading about him .This was why I was compelled to study about him.

Say ‘Gepetto’ ‘do you have someone you’d like to read and know about?’ I guess when you grow up as tall as your Dad you’ll have a slew of people,you would want to know about,am I right?’

This was the first time I  stunned Gepetto, how bad am I! I think it is time for us to say so long farewell.

Allah Hafiz! May God be with you!

To be continued!

Allama Iqbal Tomb, Night time

Allama Iqbal Tomb, Night time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clock Tower at Govt College University, Lahore

Clock Tower at Govt College University, Lahore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our visit to the Red Fort

English: Picture taken by Kaiser Tufail during...

English: Picture taken by Kaiser Tufail during visit to Delhi, 29-4-08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Children are by nature curious and Gepetto is no exception.We might think,perhaps he won’t remember what was said to him.Amazingly enough,he took it all in like a sponge,waiting to question us about all the things we adults had told him on this journey we took together.

His first question was directed to me. I straightened myself hoping I wouldn’t be asked about something,I had told him not thinking,Gepetto had ingrained it in his brain,to ask me when the time was right.To him this was the perfect time to find out what she was studying.”Ranu,Gepetto  said,remember that day when you came in a bit late?  “Yes”, what about it young man? You said you had some assignment to do,what kind of assignment is it? “that one,it is homework I  have to do,once or twice a week.” Does that mean you are still in school?”  “kind of!”  “I want to know all about your school.”  “Can it wait,till tomorrow?” Susan was listening to  the conversation between the two she wanted her son not to pester the guide. “Okay”,Gepetto was reluctant to wait,but knew he had to.  ” Are we going somewhere today”,he exclaimed!

“Today,we are going to visit ,”The Red Fort“.When? As soon as we are ready. “Yeah”,Gepetto,yelled! The noise he made was deafening,but once in a while,adults have to let the young people let off  the steam.

Gepetto was excited to see the ‘Red Fort’. He waited patiently for Ranu to tell them about the structure in front of them.

It is a 17th century fort constructed by the Mughal emperor,Shah Jahan in the walled city of Delhi.This was the residence of the Mughal emperors.It was the palace for Emperor Shah Jehan’s new capital Shahjehanabad,seventh city in the Delhi site.

The construction began in 1638 and was completed by 1648.It was named ‘Red Fort’ because of the extensive use of the red sandstone on the massive walls that surrounded the fort.The construction of the building was supervised by Shah Jahan himself.Initially it was referred to as ‘Qila-i-Mubarak'(the blessed fort).The planning and aesthetics of the Red Fort represents the zenith of Mughal creativity which prevailed during the reign of Shah Jehan.

Aurangzeb,Shah Jehan’s successor added ‘Moti Masjid(pearl mosque),to the emperor’s quarters.

The,’Red Fort ‘covers a total area of about 254.67 acres enclosed within 2.4 km of defence walls.the fort is shaped like an octagon with the north-south axis longer than east-west axis.The use of marble floral decorations,double domes in the buildings inside the fort exemplifies the later phase of Mughal architecture.

The Red fort is one of the important building complexes of India.The walls of the fort open at six arched gates.Lahore and Delhi gates were for the general public.Khizrabad gate  was for the emperor’s personal use.

Lahore gate is the main entrance;it leads to the domed arcade containing shops called the chatta chowk(covered bazaar).

Important structures inside the fort:Diwan-i-Aam:  This was the hall of Public Audiences,the emperor would hear the complaints and pleas of the general public through a jharoka(balcony)It also included a long railing that separated the public from the emperor.It was also used for state functions.

Diwan-i-Khas(hall of Private audiences).The emperor held private meetings with courtiers and state guests.The hall is a rectangular chamber with engraved arched openings supported on piers,on all its sides.Each of the piers is gilded,painted and decorated with floral designs.Pillared Chhatris(umbrellas), cover the corners of the roof.At the centre of the chamber,the famous ,’Peacock Throne’ was placed over a marble pedestal.It was looted in 1739 by Nadir Shah.

Zenana(female),the two southern most pavilions of the palace are zenanas(or women’s quarters).the Mumtaz Mahal (now a museum)and the larger ,the lavish ‘Rang Mahal’.It is famous for its gilded,decorated ceiling and marble pool,fed by the Nahr-i-Bahisht.

The mughals brought with them the west Asian tradition of developing gardens to symbolically represent ‘Paradise on Earth’.

“The family and I had a long day.There were lots to see,we saw as much as possible,we all agreed it was a place worth seeing.Alphie took as many photos as possible.After all, he and his family were tourists coming all the way from Canada.They had to take pictures as souvenirs of their journey. We all were tired and agreed we needed to have some rest.We all settled for something far less elaborate than,’The Red Fort’.”

‘Au Revoir’ and ‘God Bless’, till we meet again!

The Mughal Throne
The Mughal Throne (Photo credit: vivido)

portrait of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan

peacock chair


English: The buildings at the main courtyard, ...

English: The buildings at the main courtyard, Red Fort, New Delhi, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Diwan-i-Khas, Home of the Peacock Throne
Diwan-i-Khas, Home of the Peacock Throne (Photo credit: Cosimo Roams)

English: Shah Jahan on The Peacock Throne. Рус...

Red Fort
Red Fort (Photo credit: Gustible)

The Pearl Mosque inside The Red Fort in Delhi,...



Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti

English: Moinuddin Chishti Dargah in Ajmer, India

English: Moinuddin Chishti Dargah in Ajmer, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

in the Dargah

in the Dargah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India

Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India
Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India
Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India
Dargah of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dargah Shareef of Khwaza Moinuddin Chishti Ajm...
Dargah Shareef of Khwaza Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer (India) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The small town of Ajmer,400km south and west of Delhi,is unremarkable to the eye in one glance.When you look at it closely,one can behold the reason it stands out, pilgrims.There are thousands and thousands of pilgrims come to this place,Muslim ,Hindu,Buddhist,they raise their voices in celebration and prayer,in praise of one of the greatest saints ever produced in the long and illustrious history of Islam.

The deservedly titled Sultan of India,the Qutb or spiritual axis on the eastern Islamic world;he is the fountain from whose spiritual light have sprung all the beautiful ,mighty saints of the Chishtiyya silsila .

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti was born in the year536 AH in Sijistan,he was the son of Khwaja Ghiyas uddin Chishti.He was a pious and influential man which is present Iran.He was a direct descendant of Hazrat Ali(R.A). It was a time of chaos and great upheaval in India and the Muslim Empire as a whole.In the year of his birth ,Sultan Sanjari was finally defeated before the implacable advance of the Mughals.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti was orphaned when he was only fourteen years old.Social evils stirred something deep within the young man.This turned him towards the spiritual life.It was while watering his garden,he met a dervish,Hazrat  Ibrahim(R.A),he transformed Kwaja Moinuddin’s inner being.He became aware of the ultimate realities of the spiritual world.He renounced all material things,he sold his possessions and distributed the money to the poor and the needy.

He arrived at the great centres of learning in Samarkand and Bokhara.Here he became a distinguished Alim.Not satisfied he began a strict regime of prayers,meditations fasting and self renunciation for years.He used to fast for seven days and nights,breaking fast on the eighth day with a small crust of bread soaked in water.He finally realized he needed a guide.He used to say,”Success is not possible without a guide.” He found a guide while travelling extensively in the near East.His spiritual guide was Khwaja Uthman Haruni(R.A).He performed many pilgrimages.He spent twenty years under his Murshid’s guidance.He attained perfection in tasawwuf and was awarded the Khilafat-e-Azam by Khwaja Uthman(R.A).It was during one of his pilgrimages,while in Madinah Sharif,he was directed spiritually by Rasulallah(Sallaalahu Alaihi wa sallam)to go to India and spread Islam there.He left with forty of his disciples on the long and hard journey.In Sabzwar,he came across a corrupt ruler who did not hesitate to denigrate the holy Sahaabi of the holy Prophet(PBUH).

Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti’s one glance was sufficient to render the man unconscious.When he awoke his personality had changed completely.He gave up his kingdom,renounced all his possessions and became the mureed of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti(R.A)

Every year thousands of people from all walks of life,they include,Muslim,Hindu and Buddhist visit the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti,in Ajmer ,India.

Alphie and his family agreed to spend some time listening about this great Saint.They visited the Dargah and were overwhelmed to see so many people praying and moving quietly in a very orderly manner.

“We all enjoyed learning about the ‘Great Saint,Kwaja Moinuddin Chishti!”Alphie and his family said.

Allah Hafiz to all of you!

To be continued!

The family prepare for their trip to Agra

English: This is a Mughal painting depicting M...

English: This is a Mughal painting depicting Mumtaz Mahal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Shah Jahan copper coin, Surat mint

English: Silver rupee of Shah Jahan, issued fr...

English: Silver rupee of Shah Jahan, issued from Patna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shah Jahan, who commissionated the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal Gate

Taj Mahal Gate (Photo credit: 14983)

Indira Gandhi is elected as the first female P...

Indira Gandhi is elected as the first female Prime Minister of India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Delhi Airport Terminal 1D
New Delhi Airport Terminal 1D (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Deutsch: Taj Mahal im ...

Gepetto was on top of the world.He was finally going to see the  Taj Mahal ,the seventh wonder of the world. How cool is that .He remembered to pack his diary. He was exhilarated! He felt he is the luckiest boy in his class.

Gepetto couldn’t wait any longer to board the plane to Agra,he became very restless and kept on asking when Ranu was going to show up.Suddenly he looked and saw Ranu coming.He ran towards her,he started talking so fast,it was difficult for anyone to understand. Finally Susan shook him,”she said what is wrong with you Gepetto?I think you have to calm down,we still have plenty of time to get to the airport.” Gepetto realized he was too excited,he apologized to his parents and Ranu. “I’m sorry”,he said, “I did not want to miss our flight.” They all had a good laugh and told him,he shouldn’t repeat this behaviour again.

The Alphie family and Ranu ,went into the cab and were on their way to Indira Gandhi airport.While going to the airport,Susan and Alphie apologized to Ranu for their son’s unusual behaviour.Ranu said,” It is my fault I shoudln’t have taken so long to be ready.Actually I was ready,but when I checked my computer,I noticed there was a message for me,it was from my course facilitator,he had sent an assignment for me to do. I thought it won’t take too long to finish,I sat down and started typing my comment,I did check the time,I had more than enough time to come to your hotel.” She then turned around and said, “Gepetto,I’m so sorry to keep you waiting,trust me it won’t happen again.”

At the airport they took  their luggage out of the trunk of the cab and wheeled their luggage to the check in counter.The large suitcase was checked in,they were finally going to the gate,they had to go through security,then they all sat in the lounge and waited to be called to board the flight.

The call came to board the flight to Agra. You could see apprehension and pleasure in Gepetto’s eyes, comparatively speaking,it seems the adults have lost the face of innocence and pleasure,could it be at a certain age mankind is afraid to show any kind of emotion or is it the toils of reality has taken away the joys,one must feel.The plane landed safely.Gepetto was the first one to leave his seat.

The Taj didn’t seem too far from the airport relatively speaking.

When they reached the place they were anxious to see this magnificent shrine of love.It is one of the most beautiful and  expensive tombs in the world.The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered it built in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.She died in 1629 A.D.

Islamic architecture in its purest form,is epitomized by Emperor Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal.The work started in 1634 and continued for almost twenty-two years.It is situated in the city of Agra in India on the banks of the river Jamuna.It is enclosed in a garden amongst fountains and ornamental trees.The walled complex includes two mosques and an imposing gateway.The tomb is encased in white marble which is decorated with flawless sculptures and inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy cut from precious gems.

Below the dome there is a dimly lit chamber where lies the mortal remains of Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.The beautiful tomb is a reminder to the world  of their undying love.It rests on a platform of red sandstone.In each corner stands a slender minaret(prayer tower).Each tower is 133 feet high.The building itself is 186 feet square.A dome covers the centre of the building.It is 70 feet in diameter and 120 feet high passages from the “Holy Qur’an” decorate the outside.Built in charming environs ,it is one of the most beautiful architectural work in the world.It ranks amongst the most perfect buildings in the world.It is flawlessly proportionate and is built entirely out of marble.

It is intended to be a commemoration,of the memory of Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.In reality it is,Shah Jahan’s gift to the entire human race.

The family loved the monument,Alphie was the perfect tourist,he was taking pictures from every angle he could think of.After all he knows he will have to talk about his visit to India to his family and friends and the pictures taken by him would add to the remarkable treasury he was able to collect.

To be continued!

Alphie and his family will rest today!

Caldera of Ranu Raraku volcano, Easter Island

Caldera of Ranu Raraku volcano, Easter Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nederlands: Repronegatief. Weg bij Ranu Pani, ...

Nederlands: Repronegatief. Weg bij Ranu Pani, Oost-Java (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bengali inscription of the Ranu Chhaya open st...

Bengali inscription of the Ranu Chhaya open stage inaugural function. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ranu came as usual to meet the family .They did not plan anything,Gepetto thought he would see if he remembers the words he learned from Ranu.She gave him a quiz. “All right ” she said, here is a test for you.”I will print the words for you , It is your turn to print them under the correct heading.The following are the words:  roti, naam,murghi, Jama Masjid, paani, khana, Nizamuddin Awliya, Qutub Minar, tumhara naam kia hai? mazaydaar,The categories are :”,Now put them under the proper heading ,you have 5 minutes.”

Name               Food               Building                drink                Saint          Tasty           Mosque

naam                Roti                   Qutub Minar      Paani              Nizamuddin mazaydaar  Jama masjid

What is your name?”How did I do?” Perfect ,Ranu said.”  “Gepetto deserves to get a prize for his perfect score,how about it Alphie,Susan, I am impressed ,Susan said.”  Gepetto did not want to lose this opportunity. He asked his parents,”Can It be my pick?”  ” Yes!” was the reply.   I want to see the Taj Mahal,I read it is one of the seven wonders of the world. Ranu immediately said;  “I was hoping you would say that!” ” Now Gepetto it is not in Delhi,we have to go to Agra,it is not that far from Delhi,we can go by train or bus or even by air.The family and the guide decided it would be best if they planned to go the next day,they will have plenty of time to get tickets,they found out by reading the comments of the visitors,it is an unbelievable building and worth visiting.They recommend one should see the monument and get back to Delhi the same day.

Gepetto suddenly changed the discussion to the variety of foods. ”  Hey , You must be hungry?”  “slightly,but I really want to know some of the names.”   “All right ,Ranu  replied;  there is biryani which I cooked for my daughter’s friends,it is like a casserole.It has meat,rice,potatoes,yogurt,tomatoes,onions,and a lot of spices.Then there is Korma,which is not too spicy.We Bengalees are rice eaters ,we always have rice in our menu.There are a lot of recipes for meat ,dishes,we eat a lot of fish,so there are different recipes for fish.Are you hungry enough?”

“I have one more thing to tell you about before lunch.Have you noticed my name in the pictures,my name is a very common name,this is why you see it in the pictures.”

The family went to Mcdonalds for a quick lunch.After lunch they made plans for the following day.It would be busy.

Aphie said, “Let us relax today,Gepetto go for a swim and be careful!”

Once again it was time to say,    ” Allah Hafiz”   (May  Allah Take Care Of Us All)

History of Qutub Minar in Brief

History of Qutub Minar in Brief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alphie and his family decide to visit the Mazar of Nizamuddin Awliya

Map of Punjab Pakistan with Pakpattan District...

Map of Punjab Pakistan with Pakpattan District highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mazar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah (Photo credit: प्रतीक)

English: Chilla Nizamuddin, the residence of 1...

English: Chilla Nizamuddin, the residence of 13th-century Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya, lies outside the north-east corner of the Humayun’s tomb complex, Delhi. Made in Tughlaq period architecture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a beautiful bright day,the sun was shining ,the birds were flying and all of mankind seemed to be in a jovial mood.Sometimes in our life the feeling of something great is going to happen comes seems nature is ready to expose us to a whole new aspect of life which had lain dormant in our soul,only to spring out in all its glory. As usual Alphie and his family were waiting patiently  for Ranu to arrive.Gepetto felt unusually calm,this day,his parents were trying to understand ,what was behind this calm behaviour. Susan felt uneasy and told her husband,”I hope this is not the calm before the storm!”Susan muttered.She hesitantly informed Ranu about Gepetto’s transformation.

Ranu immediately said, “I know what it is,he must have dreamed about the place we will be visiting today.” Alphie was curious,  “he asked where are we visiting today?”   “Well” said,Ranu, “We will visit Nizamuddin Awliya’s mazar.She said,”before our visit ,I want to give you a brief knowledge of the man. According to the historical records,he was a famous sufi saint.They believed in drawing closer to God through renunciation of the world and service to humanity.Nizamuddin Awliya was born in Badayun,Uttar Pradesh(east Of Delhi).His father died when he was five.He and his mother,came to Delhi.At the age of twenty,he went to Ajodhan(present Pakpattan Sharif in Pakistan).Here he became the disciple of Fariduddin Ganjshkar.Who was known as Baba Farid.Nizamuddin continued his theological studies in Delhi and at the same time started the Sufi devotional practices.Every year he visited Ajodhan to spend Ramazan in the presence of Baba Farid. On his third visit to Ajodhan the Baba made him his successor.Shortly after his return home he received news of the Baba’s passing.

Nizamuddin settled down in Ghyaspur,a neighbourhood of Delhi. It was a quiet place,away from the noise of the big city.He built his Khanqah here,a place where everyone was welcome and fed.His khanqah became a place where every one rich or poor visited.

Nizamuddin believed in the traditional Sufi ideas of embracing God within this life.He believed in destroying the” Ego”(self) and cleansing the soul.

The following are some of the beliefs of Sufis.

1.complete trust in God.

2.Unity of mankind and avoid distinctions based on social,economic and religious status.

3.Helping the needy,feeding the hungry and being sympathetic to the oppressed.

4.Urge strongly in making close contact with the poor and the ill-treated

5. A bold stance in favour of “Sama”,which some considered Un-Islamic

Sama represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection.The follower goes through love,deserts his “Ego”(self)and arrives at perfection.He then returns from his spiritual journey as a man who has received maturity and a greater perfection,so as to love and to be of service to the whole creation.Nizamuddin believed in the practical aspects of Sufism.He was only sixteen when he first heard the name of Fariduddin Ganjshkar,and immediately the feeling of love and respect arose in his heart right then.He told his followers,he never felt the same about any other Sufi.His love and respect for Baba Farid was such that his classmates could ask him for any favours,if they asked in Baba’s name.He stressed upon the element of love as a means of realization of God.For him his love of God implied a love of humanity.

Ranu thought,  ” maybe I took too much time  talking about Nizamuddin Awliya,” She got the attention of the family and asked them to forgive her for taking so much of their time.

Alphie immediately answered, “My dear do not apologize,you cannot even fathom how much my wife and I appreciated knowing about the great Sufi,I am not sure how much Gepetto understood.”  Gepetto said politely, ” Mom and Dad ,I had a dream,someone was telling me about the place we will visit and how sacred it is.I should be very quiet and thank God for letting me see and know about this place.When Ranu came and told us,I knew at once this was the place I dreamed of.” The family finally reached the place,Ranu had already told them about  it and told them to pray and thank God for being able to see and watch thousands of people quietly praying and walking about.

The family visited the residence,the mazar ,the dargah of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Awliya.They were very respectful,Susan covered her head with her scarf,Alphie and Gepetto used their handkerchief to do the same.

Later on Gepetto asked,Ranu if she please could write the words for him ,he wanted to copy them in his diary.They all agreed this was a great experience for them,one that will always bring back fond memories of the places and the guide who took the time to explain it all!

On their way to the hotel they stopped for lunch and were thankful to God for helping them to have such a Divine Experience!

This time they did not leave it to Ranu to bid good bye,but they all said in Unison:” Allah Hafiz.”

More to come tomorrow!

Alphie and his family plans to take a tour of Jama Masjid ( Mosque)


Looking down on Jama Masjid from the top of a ...

English: Pillars inside the Jama Masjid (Frida...
English: Pillars inside the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque, 15th century) in Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India) At the majestic Jama Masjid (mosque) near Teen Diwarja in the Old City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mosque courtyard

Mosque courtyard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The dome of the Jama Masjid.
The dome of the Jama Masjid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OhJama Masjid Mosque

Friday prayer at the Jama Masjid, Dehli
Friday prayer at the Jama Masjid, Dehli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alphie,Gepetto and Susan got ready to visit the mosque.Gepetto was excited.He had already read about it.Waiting for the guide to show up was the hardest part.He was one of of those people who wanted to keep on moving.Susan his,Mom was the quiet and patient type.Alphie lucked out for having a wife like her.She was always very calm,she told Gepetto,”Now young man,it is not like the mosque is going to disappear,I am sure Ranu ,has to take care of few things before she can leave home. She told me before she left yesterday,her daughter wanted her to prepare a casserole for her friends,they were in a play together,the name of the play is “Marriage” I thought what an interesting name!’

“Oh, Hurray ,here she comes!” Gepetto was overjoyed to see her. I’ll ask her to teach me some more words,look Mom I have already written Qutub Minar,Aap ka naam kia hai,Oh,I forgot to ask her what the sentence means! “Gepetto ,you are going to drive the poor woman crazy.”No I won’t She told me  she taught in Canada,she likes children very much.” ” Really, are you serious,she is so quiet,how did she handle those rambunctious kids?”  Gepetto answered, ” I don’t know you can ask her,here she comes,she also told me to call her,Ranu,Isn’t it Cool, Mom!” Here she comes,”Hello everyone, did you have plenty of rest,what about you,Gepetto,is everyone ready to see the Jama Masjid?”  “I am squealed Gepetto,”  Gepetto ,remember what I told you?”   “I know,Mom I will behave.” “. He is just a kid.” Ranu said, all right,the cab is waiting,let us take off!”  ” a cab doesn’t take off,only a plane can!”  “Absolutely, the way we are feeling right now,I suppose,Take Off ,sounds just about right,what do you think Susan?”  “Yes it is true.”

The cab driver was getting impatient, “He yelled out,Juldi chaliye Sahib log.”  “Ranu ,what did he say”,” he told us to hurry up and get into the cab.”

They were in the cab ready to go.Gepetto saw some old buildings on the way to the mosque.Finally they reached their destination.The family loved it.It was so beautiful.

Ranu started giving them a little history of the mosque. “It   is commonly known as the Jama Masjid.It is the main mosque of Delhi.It was commissioned by Shah Jahan,who was also the builder of the famous,Taj Mahal.It is the largest mosque  in India.By the way he was the emperor of India.

Jama Masjid refers to the weekly Friday Noon congregation prayer of Muslims.The court yard of the mosque can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers.The mosque also holds several relics in a closet which also includes an antique copy of the Qur’an which is written on deer skin.The court of the mosque can be reached from the east,north and south by three flights of steps,all built of red sandstone.The northern  gate has 389 steps.The eastern has774 steps.These steps had food stalls,shops and street entertainers.In the morning the eastern side of the mosque was converted into a bazaar for poultry and birds.The roof of the mosque is covered with eight domes with repeated stripes of purple and white marble and red sandstone.Now that we know a bit of the history of the mosque,let us walk around and have a  look.” After  they completed their walk outside,Gepetto was very happy,he wanted to know if they could see the inside. “Yes you can.” Ranu said, “You have to take off your shoes.” They were happy to do that.They looked at everything and were pleased they could see this amazing historical building.On their way out,they collected their shoes and put them on.

Ranu got  every ones attention,she told them she packed a lunch for them,Susan was delighted,she had forgotten this very important thing.They found a grand place and sat down.Lunch was unbelievable,Gepetto was glad,  he   told his Dad they needed a guide.After lunch Gepetto wanted to learn a few more words.While his parents decided to rest.They found a little spot nearby to learn some words.Gepetto first wanted to know the meaning of Aap ka naam kia hai.” Means, What is your name?,Let us break down the words in the sentence.Aap =you,naam=name,kia =what,hai=is.I will show you something funny,if you use the word order as a sentence and –for instance–you name what is? it does not make much sense,does it? your reply will be ,mera naam Gepetto hai. If you translate in this order,it will be, my name Gepetto is.This will sound hilarious..You shouldn’t get used to translation,because of the word order.Sorry, I took so much of your time explaining this.

Here are some urdu words which can be helpful:  water= paani,food=khana,bread = roti, chicken=murghi.If the food is tasty,you say  :yeh kana bohat mazaydaar hai;Translation: this food is very tasty.Again the word order will be confusing,if you follow the exact word for word translation.We will stop now.Are you bored?” ‘No I’m not’.”, we will learn some more Urdu words tomorrow,by the way,Do you know how to pronounce,Urdu? ‘Is it erdoo?’ “not really it is ‘oordoo’,you have to use the correct intonation.Next time you can ask the waiter.”

” I think your parents are ready to go back to the hotel.How do you feel so far,are you having fun?” ” Yes”, Gepetto said.

Another day was over,God only knows what tomorrow will bring.

On behalf of Alphie’s family, Khuda Hafiz,and Inshah Allah we will meet again tomorrow!

English: Jama Masjid in Old Delhi

English: Jama Masjid in Old Delhi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)