Open main menu

Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/360

This page needs to be proofread.

It has imported raw silk from Bokhara, and later from China, and woven it into cloth. It has dealt in China tea, but that is a decreasing trade, in opium from Afghanistan, and in char as from Central Asia. There is a considerable export of foreign piece goods to Kashmir and the N. W. F. Province.

Multan (30.1 N., 71.3 E.), though now the smallest of the four great towns of the Panjab, is probably the most ancient. It is very doubtful whether it is the fortress of the Malloi, in storming which Alexander was wounded. But when Hiuen Tsang visited it in 741 a.d. it was a well-known place with a famous temple of the Sun God. Muhammad Kasim conquered it in 712 a.d. (page 166). It was not till the savage Karmatian heretics seized Multan towards the end of the tenth century that the temple, which stood in the fort, was destroyed. It was afterwards rebuilt, but was finally demolished by order of Aurangzeb, who set up in its place a mosque. Under the Moghals Multan was an important town, through which the trade with Persia passed. Its later history has already been noticed (pages 183 and 186).

The Fort contains the celebrated Prahladpuri temple, much damaged during the siege in 1848, but since rebuilt. Its proximity to the tomb of Bahawal Hakk, a very holy place in the eyes of the Muhammadans of the S.W. Panjab and Sindh, has at times been a cause of anxiety to the authorities. Bahawal Hakk and Baba Farid, the two great saints of the S.W. Panjab, were contemporaries and friends. They flourished in the thirteenth century, and it probably would be true to ascribe largely to their influence the conversion of the south-west Panjab to Islam, which was so complete and of which we know so little. The tomb of Bahawal Hakk was much injured during the siege, but afterwards repaired. Outside is a small monument marking the resting place of the brave old Nawab Muzaffar