Preserving Old Handwritten Bound Manuscripts-Deewan-e-Baqa by Shah Abdul Ghafoor Manikpuri 1854-1930

This post describes how I am preserving the old handwritten poetic manuscripts written around 1880-1930. They had come to me in a bound volume as seen in the picture below. The binding was labeled Deewan-e-Baqa. Baqa being the poetic name, takhalus, of Shah Abdul Ghafoor Manikpuri. Baqa is used in several ghazal and poems in this volume. The experience of Archival of old manuscripts has taught me to become a “heritage detective”. The detective is pouring over these old handwritten poetic manuscripts trying to decipher the old hand writing, to find the links and clues spread in these manuscripts, to identify the years when they were written, to identify different handwritings, to identify the links between the different types of cotent pages that were collected in this bound volume, to understand the history of how these pages got collected in this binding which was done some 30-40 years later, to understand the chain of transmittal and weave a credible story around the discovered artifacts. 

The next stage is the preservation in protector sheets of these old pages, sending them for scanning, typing and transcription followed by editing and proof reading. Then would come the stage of understanding of the contents, and connecting the contents with the social history of that time, and connecting them with the relevance of our times. This experience reminds me of how archeologists discover, date, investigate, link and try to understand the history of old times by connecting them with different related artificats of that time and the artifacts connected with that time and place. 

دیوان بقا از مولوی شاہ محمد عبدالغفور المانکپوری، ضلع پرتاب گڑہ

Shah Abdul Ghafoor is the paternal grandfather of my maternal grandmother. That is, my Nani’s dada. My nani, Amna Khatoon d/o Shah Abdul Shakoor Faridy s/o Shah Abdul Ghafoor Faridy Manikpuri. Shah Abdul Shakoor Faridy was himself a poet too. His poetry is available on titled Manaqib e Ali. See ( ).
Garhi Manikpur is an old historical city in District Pratab Garh, India and famous for awlia-e-silsila-e-Faridy (,_Pratapgarh)

The bound volume of Deewan-e-Baqa as shown in the picture has reached me through my mother’s collection of manuscripts and books. This bound volume was brought to Pakistan by my mother from her visit to Manikpur during May-July 1960. The visit was undertaken by my mother to have her mother Amna Khatoon meet her parents and her sister Ayesha Faridy who were residing in their ancestral house named Ghafoor Manzil in Garhi Manikpur. 

Deewan-e-Baqa was hand bound some time after 1948, the clue to this date is the post office stamp on the inside thick paper in the inside of the hardcover. Handbinding tradition was to often reuse the waste paper and hardcovers of copies.. The inside of the hardcover resuses the thick paper envelope bearing the post office stamp of Yeotmal of which the year 1948 is visible. The binding was done to safeguard pages that were getting torn out by frequent manual handling over the previous 4 to 5 decades. Some of the pages were also getting crumpled, torn apart and were crumbling. These is evident from the restoration strengthening of the pages by pasting some new strong paper around the margins. 

See Also: My Book Binding Experience of using reused paper and hard cover of copies in How I learned the Craft of Book Binding (

This effort is part of the social history archival project which was initiated to preserve the family documents and letters in an archive that can then be used by socio-historical-religious researchers. 

See: Social History Archival Project of Family Documents and Letters: Heritage  Detectives ( )

As the cloth spine of the bound volume was disintegrating, and the pages due to prolonged usage were getting torn or worn off due to turning over, it was clear that for safeguarding the paper and writing the binding had to be removed, the pages taken out and had to be put in protector sheets. 
Family Documents Physical Folders from B1 to B15

Hence, first each page was given a sequence number in the volume so that when taken apart, it can be assembled in the folders in the original order. Sequence Numbers starting from DB1 to DB646 were assigned to the pages and written on each page with a pencil. Similarly, a unique ID was assigned to each leaf of the page that will go into a separate protector sheet. This is a globally unique ID given to each page and item that will become part of this archive. This unique ID is like the accession number in items in library. The accession number indicaes a unique physical item. The unique IDs were assigned starting from 8100. Indicating that our archive already has around 8000 individual unique artificats that need to be tracked individually. 
The handbound volume now resides in physical folders B11, B12, B13, B14 and B15. Around 130 pages in each of these volumes. Each page is now in a protector sheet

Contents of Deewan-e-Baqa bound volume 

Deewan-e-Baqa volume contains the paper that was bought at the same time, except some notes at the end that were pasted in the volume much later. It is of the same quality and texture. Presence of several blank pages indicate that they were left there for writing at a later time. Several blank pages signify the end of a section containing some specific theme. The dated material indicates that the manuscripts were not written in a chronological order of dates. The initial pages indicate that there are minimal or no corrections. This indicates that the material was copied on to these pages from some earlier notes written on manuscripts. Later pages indicate several corrections which means that the poetry was written, proof read, and corrected on these pages. 
Sectional division of the Deewan-e-Baqa as I have understood from the type of content and blank pages is as follows: 







صوفیانہ کلام، غزل، منظوم کلام





قطعہ تاریخ رحلت، تاریخ ولادت و دیگر





مثنوی موسوعہ گلدستئہ معرفت: منظوم تزکرہ حالات
زندگی بابا فرید و خلفاء و اولیاء سلسلئہ فریدیہ





قصیدہ امانت اللہ و تاریخ تیموریہ





صوفیانہ کلام، غزل، منظوم کلام





قطعہ تاریخ رحلت، تاریخ ولادت و دیگر


DB 603



ضمیمہ نوٹس و شجرہ




Interconnection with other relevant documents

The content analysis of the manuscripts in this volume involves connecting the information with other manuscripts that are available in my social history archive:
  • 1- Letters of Shah Abdul Shakur Manikpuri (1875-1962). He was the son of Shah Abdul Ghafoor and who was himself a poet. We have letters and manuscripts written by him and his daughter Ayesha Faridy (my nani’s sister) sent from Manikpur to Pakistan in 1950s and 1960s to my mother. 
  • 2- The letters have been compiled together, dated, scanned, transcribed in a word document, and have also been edited. These are in protector sheets in folders organized by years. The letters are kept in a chronological order to understand their connection with what was happening around that time. [] 

Physical Folders  containing letters from 1933 to 1980
  • 3- There are several poems and ghazals written by Shah Abdul Shakur Faridy that were transcribed by her daughter Ayesha Faridy (my nani’s sister) who was residing with him and his wife. Shah Abdul Shakur had lost his eyesight in 1950s and was old. Ayesha Faridy would send his poetry by writing what she most probably heard from him.  [Details in Physical Folder B3, B4]
  • 4- Handwritten notes by my mother taken during the visit to India. This contain the history of the parents and their parents of Shah Abdul Shakur Faridy that were either dictated by Shah Abdul Shakur Faridy or copied from some other document in his library. [Physical Folder B6]

Zikr e Shah Abdul Ghafoor in Deewan-e-Baqa

زکر شاہ محمد عبدالغفور والئ المانکپوری، مصنف ہدائے گلدستئہ معرفت
156 Pages: From DB267 to DB423
 اس دیوان میں 640 صفحات ہیں جن میں DB267 سے شروع ہو کر  کوئی ایک سو چھپن صفحات میں بابا فریدالدین شکر گنج کے حالات ذندگی منظوم اشعار میں بیان کئے گئے ہیں- اس میں ان کے خاندان کا زکر ہے اور ان کے خلفاء اور فریدی سلسلے کا زکر ہے جس کا نام انہوں نے مثنوی موسوعہ گلدستئہ معرفت کا نام دیا ہے- یہ فریدی بزرگوں کا روحانی سلسلہ ہے جو شاہ عبدالغفور اور ان کے متعلقہ بزرگوں تک پہنچتا ہے-
 اس گلدستیہ معرفت کے مصنف شاہ عبدالغفور فریدی المانکپوری کا اپنے بارے میں منظوم زکر صفحہ 403 اور 404 میں اپنا تعرف، بچوں اور بھائیوں کا  تعارف ہے 
[Work In Process]
زکر شاہ ممد عبد الغفور فرید القطبی والئ المانکپوری 
مصنف مثنوی موسوعہ تذکرہ ہدائے گلدستہ معرفت:
ای خامہ ہر ایک کا ادب کر            بن نیک ـــــ بڑوں سےدب کر
لکھے ہیں —گرچہ عاری             ہے جوہر اصل خاکساری
ہوں ۔۔۔ تین بھائیوں میں—               نام عبدالغفور منظر
ھے عرض ادب سے ای برادر        تاریخی ہے نام- نیک منظر        1270ھ        1854ء


DB 404-2

DB 404-3

“ہزبرہ” کا نام کہاں سے آیا؟ یہ صفحہ نمبر 370 کا اوپری حصہ ہے دیوانِ بقاء کا- یہ میری نانی آمنہ خاتون کے دادا عبدالغفور کا قلمی دیوان ہے جس میں کوئی 640 کےلگ بھگ صفحات ہیں- یہ صفحہ ایک طویل منظوم قصہ کا حصہ ہے-  جو کوئی ایک سو ٥٦ صفحات پر مشتمل ہے- بابا فریدالدین شکر گنج کے منظوم حالات ذندگی ہیں- بابا فرید کی شادی  ہزبرہ بانو دختر نیک اختر سلطان غیاث الدین کا اس صفحہ سے آغاز ہو رہا ہے-
یہ دیوان جس جلد میں تھا وہ انتہائی بوسیدہ حالت میں تھی- ان 640 صفحات کو پچھلے ایک ہفتہ میں جلد سے نکال کر اب protector sheets میں ڈال دیا گیا ہے- ہر صفحہ کا اس جلد میں کیا نمبر ہے وہ DB کے prefix کے ساتھ پنسل سے میں نے لکھا ہے- لال پین سے اس صفحہ کی unique identifier کو لکھا ہے- یہ ہر صفحہ پر لکھا ہے- اس کی چھوٹی سی وڈیو بھی بنائی ہے- اب یہ پہلے scan کئے جائیں گےپھر ان scans کو ٹائپسٹ ٹائپ کرے گا، پھر transcript کو میں اور مولانا ساجد جمیل صاحب مل کر پڑھیں گے، اوریجنل سے موازنہ کریں گے، تصحیح کریں گے- انشاءاللہ – اس سے پہلے ہم 4 ہزار صفحات اس طرح edit کر چکیں ہیں
فرید آپا نے بتایا کہ ہماری نانی جان آمنہ خاتون کے والد جس مکان میں رہتے تھے جہاں امی جان، غفیرا آپا، فریدا آپا، زہیرا آپا اور نانی جان کے ساتھ واگہہ سے بزریعہ ٹرین و بس 1960 میں مانکپور پہنچی اور ٹھیریں وہ نانا عبدالشکور کے والد کے نام پر غفور منزل تھا
 قرسم کا نام کہاں سے آیا؟ یہ دیوان بقاء از شاہ عبدالغفور کے دو صفحات کے عکس ہیں- اس دیوان میں DB268 سے شروع ہو کر  کوئی سو ٥٦ صفحات میں بابا فریدالدین شکر گنج کے حالات ذندگی منظوم اشعار میں بیان کئے گئے ہیں- اس میں والدہ بابا فرید بی بی قرسم خاتون کے ایک واقعہ کا زکر ہے جس میں ایک شوخ و طرار “وزد”؟ کی چوری کی غرض سے آمد کا زکر ہے جو اپنی بینائی کھو بیٹھتا ہے….. Deewan e Baqa DB286-DB287
دیوان بقاء کے آخری صفحات میں شجرہ فریدی سلسلہ کا اجمالی خاکہ ہے
اس صفحہ سے منسلک دیگر 5 صفحات میں آخری پیڑھی کی تفصیل ہے جو غالباً شاہ عبدالغفور کے بیٹے نے دیوان کے مندرجات کی مدد سے بنائی ہے 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *