History of Jamali Kamali Tomb and Mosque – The Sufi Poet and His Disciple
When I say Delhi is home to hundreds of unknown monuments that lack proper documentation, Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque are no exception. Historians have different theories to establish the truth behind the history of Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque. Yet, it is not certain if all those theories are true or not, and even if those theories are true, then to what extent? Moreover, you don’t want to believe more than one theory since you need a concrete source that can lay the foundation of the facts.
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I spent an hour or so digging the information about the history behind the construction of Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque but all I got was a bag full of facts with different theories. Not every theory supports the other. Thus, I surrendered just like others, since there are no historical records that can be believed. But there is no choice. To me, many of these facts sounded like folklores.
I was reading the blogpost written by Vargis Khan. He has mentioned a lot of theories that historians have put for Jamali Kamali mosque and tomb. Well, before we talk about the historical background of these monuments, let’s first talk about Jamali Kamali.
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It is said that Sheikh Hamid Fazlu’ullah was a Sufi saint and poet who was known by different names including Sheikh Jamal-ud-din Kamboh Dehlwai (Jamal Khan). Jamali was his pseudonym. He was born in a Sunni merchant family and came to India when Sikandar Lodhi was in power. He was known for his wonderful poetry. Sikandar Lodhi himself was a poet and it is said that he was so impressed by Jamal Khan’s poetry that he would get his work corrected by Jamal Khan.
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People called him Jamali since they were impressed by the beautiful words he would pen down. The Urdu word Jamal means positive aura and beauty. Jamal Khan was a disciple of Sheik Sama-ud-din who was also a Sufi poet. When Mughal defeated Lodhi and established their power, Jamal Khan became the court poet during the rule of Babur and Humayun. He lived there till his death.
The Urdu word Kamal means miracle. Not much is known about this other person Kamali. He still remains a mystery. It is not sure if he was Jamali’s disciple or who he was in reality. Historians have put different theories to establish the origin of Kamali. Yet, most of them are confusing and one finds it hard to believe in any one of them. Since they both used to live together, it is said that he was named Kamali since it rhymed with Jamali. And that’s the reason they both are known as Jamali Kamali. Here are some stories that I came across while reading about Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque online:
– Kamali was a servant who served Jamali.
– Kamali was a poet and Jamali took credit for his poetry.
– Kamali was Jamali’s wife and later, she was portrayed as a male.
– Kamali was Jamali’s lover and they both were homosexual.
There is a lot to be read yet less to believe. Even Kamali’s real name isn’t mentioned anywhere. Karen Chase has mentioned their homosexual relationship in her book “Jamali Kamali – A Tale of Passion in Mughal India.” I also read that Kamali died before Jamali.
Now let’s talk about the history behind the Jamali Kamali mosque and tomb. Since Jamali was a famous poet and Sufi saint in Mughal court, he had a great influence. If online facts are to be believed, Humayun built Jamali Kamali tomb after Jamali’s death. The monument is said to be built around 1528-29 and finished around 1536. Jamali was buried here after his death.
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Some history scholars also state that the poetry which is mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib belonged to Jamali. Baba Farid who wrote the poetry was a follower of Qutubdin Bakhtiyar Kaki. But I am not sure if this description is true or not. So, I am not buying it. If you know anything about it, do let me know.