How Lahore Still Remembers Anarkali
The tomb of Anarkali is in the Punjab Civil Secretariat complex in Lahore near the British-era Mall, southwest of the Walled City of Lahore. It is considered to be among the oldest tombs in Lahore and remains a tourist attraction for people from all around the world. The tomb has been built beautifully with white furnished marble and is surrounded by trees.
Legend has it that Anarkali had an affair with the prince Saleem (later Emperor Jahangir) and upon this, the then Mughal Emperor Akbar overnight asked to get a well made underground. Akbar, in the legend, is said to have ordered her to be enclosed within a wall of his palace, where she died. On succeeding to the throne, Jahangir, as a token of his love, ordered a magnificent tomb of stone to be built amid a walled four-square garden surrounded by a gate.
Eighteenth-century historian Abdullah Chagatai says that the tomb is not the resting place for Anarkali but instead was built by Jahangir for his beloved wife Sahib Jamal Begum and many modern historians agree with this.
The building is currently used as the Punjab Archives, so access to the public is limited.
There are different views regarding Anarkali’s death. One theory proposes that Emperor Akbar reached an understanding with Anarkali’s mother Jillo Bai – and hereby, Anarkali escaped through a secret route to the outskirts of Delhi and then went to Lahore to live there until her death. Another theory is that Saleem married Anarkali and renamed her as Nur Jehan.
Certain movies and songs have been named after the love story of Anarkali and Saleem, and today, the legend is embedded In the heart of every Pakistani. The famous novel Anarkali is also part of the curriculum for senior classes. Movies like Mughal e Azam remain a hit.
Mughal e Azam (the movie) has a famous dialogue that defines the the love so magnificently: ‘’Anarkali, Saleem ki mohabbat tume marne nahi degi aur ham tume jeene nahi deinge’’ (Anarkali, Saleem’s love will not let you die and we will not let you live!”)