LAHORE - Almost everyone is familiar with the name of Karbala Gamay Shah, one of the famous Imambargahs in the Provincial Capital, but only few are aware of the history behind it.
'Karbala is the name of a sacred place in Iraq where Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS), the grandson of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), was martyred by Yazeeds army. However in Pakistan, the word Karbala Gamay Shah signifies as a place of mourning where people come in Muharram in large numbers to mark the martyrdom day of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions, who rendered their lives for the glory of Islam in Karbala.
Shabab Hussain Zaidi, manager of Karbala Gamay Shah Imambargah, was of the view that Gamay Shah is the epithet of Hazrat Baba Syed Ghulam Ali Shah who used to walk and grieved on Muharram 10 in the streets of the City and told the people about the miseries of Prophets family. Another Sufi, a woman, Mai Aghiyan also accompanied him at Chowk Nau Gaza, a place adjacent to Badshahi Mosque and Lahore Fort. They walked in the streets of the City and their journey usually ended at the location where currently it is renowned as Karbala Gamay Shah.
Zaidi said that it was the time when Lahore was under the throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the beginning of the 18th century. Maharaja Ranjit Singh imprisoned Baba Gamay Shah for his aforesaid religious mourning acts but reportedly Maharaja could not sleep and had seen horrible dreams all the night, he said. He said the Raja came to Baba Gamay Shah on the very next morning along with another Sufi, Syed Aziz-ul-Din and released him (Gamay Shah).
Baba Gamay Shah remained celibate throughout his life and selected the said place for his spiritual practices. He further said that often attired in black, Baba Gamay Shah was known for his incessant mourning.
Moreover, according to historical notes, Hazrat Baba Syed Ghulam Ali Shah was buried at the place commonly known as Karbala Gamay Shah. The Qizilbash family purchased the land where Gamay Shah was buried and built an Imambargah there in 1877.
Processions have been held here since the pre-colonial period, when Gamay Shah began walking around the Walled City, holding a Taziah on his head and mourning for the martyrs of Karbala.