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That laughing son of a weaver - Shah Hussain (1538-1599)

September 9th, 2011

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hah Hussain was the son of a weaver called Nusikhia (apprentice) Sheikh Usman who belonged to the Dhudha clan of Rajputs. Some historians assert that his grandfather or great grandfather had converted to Islam but Dr. Jeet Singh Seetal has affirmed through quoting several sources that it was Shah Husain's father who converted to Islam during King Feroz Shah's era. Sheikh Usman moved to Lahore and entered the weaving profession. It is possible that he was treated as an outcast in his community and had to move to Lahore.

Emperor Jahangir ordered one of his officials to write a diary of whatever Shah Husain did or said every day

As we know, most of the conversion to Islam in Punjab had occurred among the lower castes that belonged to the artisan or working classes and not among the merchants, bureaucracy or aristocracy of Hindus. The immigrant ruling classes from Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia or Arab lands treated the low-caste converted Muslims just the way the upper caste Hindus had been doing. They were like "chuhRas" (sweepers) who converted to Christianity during the British Raj but their social status remained the same. The immigrant ruling class used the word 'jolaha' instead of 'chuhRas' for low-caste converts. In one kafi Shah Hussain refers to this class setting, though the verses can be interpreted in other ways as well:

I am [royal] court's chuhRi (sweeper)... The treasurer and the revenue official know this...

For the full article click on

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20110909&page=24

 

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