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Notes on the Geography of Pakistan: Lahore: Bad Shahi Mosque: Photo 1

world pictures Pakistan: Lahore: Bad Shahi Mosque

Standing before the mosque is the Hazuri Bagh, or Hazuri Garden, with Ranjit Singh's white baradari, or pavilion, from 1818. Until an earthquake in 1932, it had a smaller second tier. Before you get too sentimental about its loss, you should know that the whole building was cobbled together from materials swiped from Mughal tombs. The Sikhs made a habit of that. They also prohibited religious use of the mosque behind, which meant that Muslims through the period of Sikh rule prayed from a platform in front of the steps. The Sikhs made the interior of the mosque into an arsenal. The British put an end to that, but it took time. They gained control of the Punjab in 1846 and formally annexed it to British India in 1849, but their initial efforts to reopen the mosque to religious use ran into resistance. Pne leading Sikh wrote that "such permission had never been granted before, and that if allowed it would be strongly objected to by many Sikhs." John Lawrence in 1847 wrote that the Sikhs seemed unable to understand "the political advantage of toleration to every form of religion." Finally, in 1856, the ammo was cleared out, and on the morning of June 11th custody reverted to the Muslim community. (See F.S. Aijazuddin, Lahore: Illustrated Views of the 19th Century, 1991, p. 62-3.)

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