Of Poets and Genies: Tales from Jamali – Kamali
Genie. The first time I heard this word was from the tale of Alladin and his magic lamp from the Arabian Nights series. The story was a children's version and had been adapted into an animated movie (I still have the original VHS tape. If you don't know what that is then you must be pretty young). Either way, this time we're looking into the tales of genies or Djinn that seem to have made the monuments of Jamali-Kamali their home (or so the rumour mill churns).
Jamali was a famous poet who had smooth rhymes that impressed the Mughal emperors during the late 15th – early 16th century. I figure he would have been the best rapper of the era if he had been given the right beats. But then again the hip hop genre hadn't been invented just yet. None the less his poetic skill made him immortal and on his death, Humayun got the tomb built to honour him and his words.
Kamali, on the other hand, was invisible. Not invisible like the Invisible Man but invisible as in no one really knew who he was, or who she was for that matter. Some say he was a disciple of sorts. Others even claim that he was the true poet while Jamali just took all the credit. Karen Chase (in her book “Jamali- Kamali, A Tale of Passion in Mughal India”) even goes on to say that they were gay lovers. There are a few more that believe that the two were lovers, but not how Karen put it. They believe that Kamali was his wife, but because of her masculine name, over time people began to assume that she was a man.
Now that history is done, we can move forward with the spooky stories of the Djinn. According to legend, the Djinn are not necessarily evil, but just like human beings, there are always those who would love to inflict pain on others. The Djinn at Jamali-Kamali haven't been known to kill people but they've done the usual mischief that "ghosts" usually do like make creepy noises, breath down peoples necks and occasionally slap them on the face, because why not. I'd go around slapping snoops if I were invisible and people barged into my house unannounced. When asked, the guards at the monument said that these tales were all gibberish that the public had conjured up (no surprise).
None the less, Djinn or no Djinn, the place has beautiful Mughal architecture. The place is in dire need of restoration but if you were to go there for spooks or just inspiration for a ghost story, one thing is for certain and that is the beauty of the place will leave you in awe. If not, I hope you get a slap from a Genie. At least that would make for a great story.
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