town of unimpeachable antiquity, Sehwan, some eighty miles north-west of
Hyderabad, lay on the opposite bank of the Indus. Most historians have accepted
the link between Sehwan and the Greek settlement of Siwistan. It was significant
enough during the 8th century to be conquered by Muhammad bin Qasim in 711
A.D., and two centuries later by Mahmud of Ghazni. An abortive attempt was
made by the Mughal emperor Humayun to capture it on his way to Umarkot but
it finally fell to his son Akbar. Apart from the remnants of the ruins scattered
about its environs, the most famous monument in Sehwan remains the shrine
of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
AT SEHWAN, c. 1838
|Ruins at Sehwan 1838|
TO SEHWAN, 1844
Lithograph by Charles Haghe based upon a sketch
by William Edwards,1844. Published in Sketches in
Scinde (London, 1846), Plate 7.
described the entrance and situation of Sehwan in the following words: 'The
approach to Sehwan is through a grove of beautiful tamarind and palm trees.
The city is built' on a rising ground on the banks of the river Arul, and
is distant about two or three miles from the mighty and classic Indus. In
the environs are many fine mosques and tombs, and within the city is a remarkably
splendid musjid, built in honour of the celebrated Muslim saint, Lal Shah
Baz. An object of great interest is the old castle of Sehwan, which, although
now in ruins, is yet sufficiently perfect to attest its former strength.'
About its most famous patron Edwards wrote:
'Lal Shah Baz was a saint of Khorassan, said to have been buriecFhere about 600 years since. His sanctity and miracles are in such repute that pilgrims flock from Afghanistan and India, and even the Princes of the country did him homage.'
Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a Persian by origin, died in 1272. His real name was Shaikh Usman Marwandi. An initial tomb for the saint built by Malik Iktiyaruddin in about 1356 was expanded by two rulers of the Tarkhan dynasty, Mirza Jani and his son Mirza Ghazi, and later in 1639 improved and embellished by Nawab Dindar Khan. The gateway and the balustrade of hammered silver around the tomb had been reputedly provided by Mir Karam Au Talpur. The Urs of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qal~ndar is normally held on the 18th of Shaban each year.
|Entrance to Sehwan, 1844|