“‘Iccha Ra’ means ‘the edge of the Almighty’s blessings’”

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Shahzada Irfan Ahmed

The oldest reference to the word [Icchara] is in the Bhagavata-Purana, the ancient Hindu scripture, which refers to the Iccharama (the Pradipa). There is a need to understand the fineness of the word. The word ‘Icha Ra’ in Sanskrit means ‘The Edge of Evil’.

Let’s not take this in the negative sense, because even in Jewish traditions the god ‘Ra’ has been described by Moses [Hazrat Musa (AS)] as evil because idols have, like later scriptures including the Bible and the Quran, been described as the incorrect way of reaching the Almighty. Call the Almighty what you like, Allah, or God, or Elahi, or Ra’bb, all of which were, originally, names of idols in the Ka’aba, idols that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) smashed. But then even the word Allah is from the ancient Arabic language as ‘Al-Lah,’ with the word ‘Lah’ meaning ‘the moon,’ because in those days the followers of the idol Lah followed the lunar calender. Come to think of it, even today when we use the word Allah we all look upwards. The word ‘lunar’ is derived from the word ‘Lah’ of Middle-Eastern origin.

Experts I have consulted in Cambridge think that the word ‘Iccha Ra’ means ‘the edge of the Almighty’s blessings.’ As the Jews think of ‘Ra’ as an idol, hence ‘evil,’ therefore ancient scriptures refer to Icchara as ‘the edge of evil.’

“This is interesting because in Hindu scriptures, specifically the Bhagavata-Purana, which some claim is a 13th-century written book (the oral tradition being much older), the idol ‘Ra’ is seen as the evil reincarnation of Shiva. This could be most interesting to explore because in Icchara you will find a group of Shiva temples that still survive on the road just behind Shama theatre towards Icchara.

Mind you, the negative side of Shiva consists of evil deeds that can be achieved by reciting Vedic tantra. It is almost like our local ‘kala ilm’ chaps used contorted verses of the Quran to perform black magic. Whether this is humbug or not is not for me to decide.

Now, whether Ichara is older than Lahore, he says, “People in Ichara, or from Ichara, love to believe this. The people in Lahore, or from Lahore, think it is humbug.

There is no doubt that Lahore as we know it today was a much smaller city on the mound by the River Ravi. The ancient city had four major roads leading out. One to Amritsar (and, upwards, to Kashmir), one to Sheikhupura (and, on to Gujranwala and, turning towards Peshawar, avoiding the hills of Chakwal), one to Ferozepur (and on to Delhi) and one towards Multan (and, hence towards Ghazni). Much later, the G.T. was made and as trade by rivers declined new routes came up. By this reason, Lahore was destined to grow in trade terms as well as in military importance.

Ichara was on the route to Ferozepur, which in its days was a very important city. By the time Akbar came, Lahore’s old walled (mud walls) city was much smaller, probably smaller, or equal to Ichhara in size. Imagine a wall from Mori Gate straight towards Chuna Mandi and the other from the left of Shahalami Gate (even today to the left of the main bazaar are ‘ghattis,’ which I think is where the original mud walls of the older walled city were. If this area is taken in mind, then definitely the old Ichara was equal, or just slightly larger than older Lahore.

Was it older? So far, there is no evidence to this effect. I have always maintained that there is a lot of archaeological digs that need to be undertaken in old Lahore, and may I add even old Ichara. But current knowledge tells us that Lahore is at least 3,000 to 4,500 years old. About Ichara I just cannot speculate. We need to research this.

We do know that when the Portugese send ‘hundi’ to Lahore from the port of Surat, the address written was always ‘Lahore near Ichara,’ which speaks a lot about the importance of Ichara. There are a lot of samples of these ‘hundis’ in the Lahore Museum.

Shahzada Irfan Ahmed, ““‘Iccha Ra’ means ‘the edge of the Almighty’s blessings’”,” in The News, June 14, 2015. Accessed on June 14, 2015, at: http://tns.thenews.com.pk/word-iccha-ra-means-edge-almightys-blessings/#.VX2EB7xVJ_U

The item above written by Shahzada Irfan Ahmed and published in The News on June 14, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on June 14, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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