A writer once said that, ‘’In every age there are the Wise Ones, the Great Sages and Saints, who shine like beacons of light in the darkness around them’’. This description fits the life of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (RA) exactly. He was undoubtedly one of these saints and beacons of light , a source of wisdom for all of medieval India and for the rest of the world, too, thereafter. One of the great luminaries of the Chishti Sufi Order, he was also the founder of the branch of that order that is today known as the Chishti-Nizami. His predecessors were Khwaja Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtyar Kaki and Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmeri. In that reverse sequence, they constitute the initial spiritual chain or ‘silsila’ of the Chishti order in the Indian subcontinent.
St. Luke’s Church1 and the Old Christian Cemetery (OCC), Abbottabad2, in the Hazara region of the NWFP3, Pakistan, holds special interests for historians of the British colonial period; especially because of the military-historical connections of Abbottabad’s old cantonment to the British Indian Army of yore, the predecessor of the present Pakistani and Indian armies.
In Abbotabad’s Old Christian Cemetery (established around the same time the town was, c. 1853), there are many old and fascinating graves of European people dating from between the 1850s to the 1940s—each grave telling a story, or in some cases, linked to broader historical contexts of the British colonial period. While many of these graves have either some inscription/s identifying them, or some sort of record in the old registers at nearby St. Luke’s Church, there is one very interesting monument that has remained unidentified for a very long time, until only a short while ago.
The recent success of the movie, The King’s Speech, gives one plenty of food for thought. Undoubtedly a slick, sophisticated Hollywood production with some good performances by the cast, at times it takes woeful liberties with certain historical facts. Particularly biased is the movie’s depiction of Edward VIII (later the Duke of Windsor after his abdication in December 1936), elder brother of King George VI—shown as an extravagant and callous young man, with a slightly malicious attitude towards his younger brother.
One particularly controversial aspect of literature is its relationship to history. According to literary critic and scholar Satish C. Aikant, “The bond [between literature and history] is both inextricable and problematic”, as a “…study of literature inevitably involves a study of its history and a determination of its sites and modes of discrimination…” (In ARIEL, Vol. 31-1 & 2, 2000, p.337).