Jamali Kamali: Testimony to Love That Dared

Jamali Kamali: Testimony to Love That Dared

NEW DELHI:In the heart of once mighty Lal Kot of Anangpal Tomar, two lovers sleep an arm away unfettered by the gaze of men. Guards choose not to disturb them in their earthy beds and bards have been singing of them in tales of love.
 
The tomb of Jamali-Kamali is the celebration of their love, a memorial love which has lived long to tell us of an undying tale of love that dared to speak its name.
 
Oral traditions of Delhi that go back to the days of Jamali and Kamali inform us that they were intimate lovers. A candid chat with any heritage expert of Delhi will tell you the same. The reason the topic has been kept in the closet is because a symbolic pen box on each of their white marble graves indicates they were both men. They could not be mere master and disciple as buried about ten inches away from each other. The alignment of the graves differs from other graves of master and disciples in Delhi and India.
 
A heritage conservationist of Delhi noted, “ that the graves are rather odd. No other graves (of men) even in the Dargah are placed in such a manner. The graves have been placed intentionally in that manner. They mean to convey something very special. They meant to convey love”.
 
Homoeroticism and male love, was and maybe still is a natural relationship. Whether they be the temples of Khajuraho to Delhi bazaars in the 18th century, this was an accepted form of relationship.
 
Muraqqa-e-Dehli describes the practise of uranism with pomp all over Delhi. The love tale of the conquer Mahmud Ghazni and his slave lover Malik Ayaz are well known too. This was only because of the repressive policies of the British empire that that male love and homoeroticism was ostracised. Sarnath Banerjee’s graphic novel Owl Barn and the Wonderous Capers, hints at this repression too, while Anuraag Kashyup, in this Gangs of Wasseypur, has bluntly exposed the subculture of Indian villages in the scenes which have cross dressed dancers, lauda nach and buggery jokes.
 
Through the culture of the world from the samurais in Japan to moorish warriors of Alan-da-lus, male love has been depicted as the deepest most scared bonds. The Spartan Army was one of the finest examples from history of how deadly this force can be.
 
But coming back to the identity of Jamali, he was a well known figure. Born in 1483, Jalal Khan was powerful noble who served under Sikander Lodi and died fighting for Humayun in Gujarat in 1536. He is foremost remembered as a poet and a world traveler who befriended Mughal emperors. The real name of Kamali has been lost to time. As per the Indian oral tradition, he was Jamali’s disciple and lover.
 
The red sandstone mosque was commissioned by Jamali and was completed by 1529 CE. The tomb is located attached to the mosque. The white enclosure has 12 graves of disciples in the courtyard. One of which is under a canopy.
 
Before you enter the main tomb, there are remains of a floor painting. The room from the outside is decorated with blue tiles and geometrical designs. As you enter the wooden door, you eyes will be set ablaze by the myriad engraving from the 16th century. The tomb is the most well preserved monument of Delhi. The ceiling still retains the original intricate floral staccato work. The ceiling looks like a carpet with millions of flowers and concentric circles itched on the sky.
 
The walls are embossed with delicate geometrical medallions. Glazed blue tiles embellish the room. The tomb is the most beautiful tomb you will visit in the Capital.
 
When you exit the tomb, not only with you be possessed by the aesthetics but by a strange nostalgia of times when men died with the ones they loved.
 
Originally published by the Citizen : 27 NOVEMBER, 2016
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