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The University of Gujrat Convocation 2010

This post first appeared on May 29, 2010

The First Convocation of the University of Gujrat was held at Hafiz Hayat Campus on May 27, 2010. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilini conferred degrees awards to graduarting students of BS (Hons) and MA / MSc from 2006 to 2009 academic sessions. The Prime Minister Yousaf Raza emphasized upon the role of studies in the development of nations and stressed upon students that they should make good use of knowledge they have gained during their academic career and relate that knowledge to ground during practical life. On the occasion the Prime Minister announced special grant of 100 million - 50 million for building UOG auditorium and 50 million for promotion of higher studies of UOG graduates. The Prime Minister also announced a piece of land comprising 1000 Kanals on behalf of his Special Advisor Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gull for establishing the UOG Veterinary College.

Earlier, Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin, the Vice Chancellor welcomed the Prime Minister and other distinguished guests on visiting the University of Gujrat. While addressing the gathering, the VC explained different features of the academic activities at the campus. He said that objective of the UOG is to introduce subjects that offer better job prospects to the students. He highlighted the usefulness of facilities necessary for effective and uninterrupted learning.

In addition to Federal Education Minister Sardar Asif Ahemd Ali, Federal Defense Minister Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Federal Information Minister Qammar Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Population Welfare Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Nawabzada Ghazanfar Ali Gul, Senior Minister Punjab Raja Riaz Ahmed and the Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, the convocation was attended by large number of students, alumni and academics.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 5:41 PM, , links to this post

The University of Gujrat Convocation 2011

"Pakistanis overall are misconceived among the worldly nations, where as they are liberal, moderate and progressive people. Following Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Quaid-e-Awam in their feelings about educations, Pakistan can be transformed into a moderns welfare state. Girls’ exclusive academic performance at the campus shows that every female graduate has the tendencies like Mohtrma Banizar Bhutto to serve the nation. Pakistani youth is potent and vibrant. If guided properly, they can prove the dream of the father of the nation," said the Governor Punjab Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa while addressing the Convocation 2011 at Hafiz Hayat Campus on March 17, 2011.

While responding to the Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin’s demands, the Governor said that the government is aware of the fast going developments of the university. He assured all help while mediating HEC and the Government of Punjab for granting more funds for the civil work and faculty development program at the varsity.

Earlier the VC welcomed the Chancellor at the Campus. He narrated the history of civil and academic developments of the Campus. He also shed light on the academic environment of the Campus. He said that the administration is committed to provide its students academic and research friendly environment at the campus. The VC urged the Chancellor to play his role in boosting faculty development as the faculty at the Campus is very young and lack PhD qualifications and also to help release funds of the central library and the auditorium.

Later the Registrar Muhammad Akram Bhatti presented the graduates before the Chancellor through their respective directors for the award of degrees. The chancellor decorated the toppers of different academic disciplines with Gold Medals.

Following the convocation ceremony the Chancellor was invited as the chief guest in the ceremony of book lunching of “Maujuda Aalmi Istemari Surat-e-hal Aur Faiz ke Shaairy” compiled by Sheikh Rashid. While addressing the book lunching ceremony, Khosa remarked that the compilation was the inclusion of the papers presented in a Sufi Conference and requested for compilation by his office. He termed this academic effort of the UOG as an example that should be followed by other varsities. He suggested  that other campuses too should  encourage such activities which may result  in to  a critique on the different issues of society. The Director Academy of letters Lahore, Altaf Ahmed Qurashi and the Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin also addressed the ceremony and appreciated Sheikh Abdul Rashid for compiling a publication in limited time.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:55 AM, , links to this post

Aitcheson College, Lahore

This is the image of a building where Aitcheson College started in Lahore back in 1891. The building is still there and functional. Can you indicate where?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:26 PM, , links to this post

In the Heart of Punjab

This article appeared in the Daily Nation

While cities are dynamic centers of creativity, commerce and culture, these benefits are often undercut by environmental problems, lack of civic amenities, inefficient governance, and administration. Centuries old historic city Gujrat is a classic example where one can see all the hazards of urbanization’.

Commuter who prefer to drive on familiar and congested Grand Trunk Road rather than going on isolated Islamabad-Lahore Motorway pass through Gujrat city that has stretched from bridge on the River Chenab to the bridge on Bhimbar Flood Stream.

There are many tales about the remote origin of the place. As per one legend Gujrat was founded by daughter in law of famous Raja Rissalu. Like most historic cities it has been ruined and reconstructed many times in the era gone by. During the rule of Mughal King Akbar, it was called Akbarabad. The final battle between Sikhs and the British (under the command of Lord Gough) was fought here. In the centre of the town there are relics of Akbar’s Fort and a Bawli (bath house locally called Akbari Hamam) of the same period.

There is an airstrip in the suburbs of Gujrat from where fighter airplanes used to fly during World War II. Citizens learn driving on that disused strip these days. The people of Gujrat are motivated, ingenious, and industrious. These are outstanding characteristics of the people of Gujrat, which enable them not to be bogged down by status quo. During all Indo Pak wars, the people exhibited an exemplary courage and resilience. Nishan-e-Haider – highest gallantry military award - has been conferred upon many sons of the soils that are the testimony to the fact.

Gujrat is notable for ceramics, which brings to mind the fact that the town is the setting of the famous Panjabi romance about Sohni and Mahinwal. Folk lore has it that Sohni was a potter’s daughter who used to swim across the River to meet Mahinwal using a pot as a buoyancy aid. One night her jealous sister in law exchanged the pot for an unbaked one which dissolved in water.

On the other bank, Mahinwal, hearing Sohni’s wails of Sohni jumped into the water but was unable to save her. Unable to face the prospect of life without her, he also let himself go and joined her in death. The folk lore has been composed in Punjabi poetry and is sung where ever Punjabi language is spoken.

Besides ceramics, Gujrat is also famous for furniture items. Special type of furniture of international quality is made and sold all over the country. What this internationally acclaimed craft of the town needs is an institutional patronization and extensive efforts for international marketing? It can be a potent source of earning foreign exchange if attention is paid to and earnest efforts are made in this regards. Sadly, the ineptitude of those responsible for export promotion do not see this and the unique potentials are not being taped yet. Similarly the fan and shoes industries are also thriving in Gujrat.

University of Gujrat is a new claim of Gujrat to fame. With the establishment of a world class public sector university in 2004, the only one between Lahore and Rawalpindi, the city is already attracting large number of people - student (over 10,000) and renowned teachers – from all over the country. Sitting on the central citadel near tomb of Hafiz Muhammad Hayat in the middle of the University of Gujrat, once can see the main campus, named after the saint dotted with groups of students. The campus of the University spans over 200 acres of land. It has been artistically designed and looks very aesthetic.

As Gujrat began to evolve into a more industrialized town, it started growing without any planning. The rapid rate of population growth and torrent of migration from countryside have strained the capacity of basic civic services. The population of Gujrat has mushroomed; unplanned abadis have sprung up around town, which has spread much beyond the defined municipal limits. Result: town is facing problems like none existing sanitation, contaminated water supplies, air and noise pollution, encroachments and congested streets. Even the new bypass around the town is packed with traffic and lined with shops and houses on both sides.

The bus terminal was shifted out of the town but the town has already grown past the terminal. The public property where in the past used to be Government Transport Service Terminal still stands deserted right on the Grand Trunk Road.

There is an acute shortage of houses. Since land is essential for urban growth, devising equitable and efficient land development policies is one of the major challenges facing planners and policy makers in the town.

Without any proper arrangements, people deposit their waste in streets, where domestic animals are also living freely, or at any open space they find. The streets are completely littered with trash. The toxic smoke from the garbage put on fire and stinking smell coming out of waste in the streets are making the lives of people increasingly miserable.

Animal transport is probably the most pervasive and most correctable problem of Gujrat. The common means of transport in the town is sturdy and inexpensive tonga. It is Gujrat’s vehicle of convenience, which has come to symbolize the town. The tongas (and rehris) move very slow and cannot keep pace with other traffic - hence cause traffic congestion on dilapidated roads where right of way has already been reduced due to excessive encroachments. The district headquarters is without any public transport system so tongas are doing good business.

Lots of young boys are also seen holding the reins of horses put before the tongas overloaded with passengers and goods. Accidents involving animals (untrained, wild, or afraid horses or unwilling donkeys) are the commonest scenes on roads of the town. Much more than tongas and rehris registered with Municipal Committee come from the suburbs to do the business in the town every day.

The units of fan industry are spread in the residential areas. The tarcole drums, electric wires, and old tyres are burnt in order to separate the iron from them in furnaces inside the residential areas that emit poisonous gases. Town traffic and heavy traffic plying on Grand Trunk Road also add to the air (and noise) pollution in this soot-choked town. These gases are very harmful for human health.

A short walk in the town reveals the neglect of all concerned. The town of saints, powerful political families, actors, and spirited people may be managed efficiently with a little attention and futuristic planning.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:23 AM, , links to this post

Gogera Insight

This article appeared in daily the Nation

Situated on the bank of river Ravi on Okara Faisalabad Road, Gogera Sadar was once an important and dignified town in the plans of Central Punjab. The town is reduced to a shabby and sleepy suburb of Okara today. Gogera still boasts its importance when it was British power centre and district headquarters from 1852 to 1865 and the part played by the resilient people of the area during War of Independence in 1857. The stories of the war that was fought around Gogera echo in the pages of history books.

While traveling, off the beaten tracks, not only you travel in soot free and serene environment but you also see what normally remain hidden. I have had a chance to explore Gogera along with Dr. Norbert Pintch - a German architect by profession and a volunteer by choice – who is working on an idea to convert ruins of British Court building into a monument. “Remain of British Court are important signs of built heritage of Pakistan and should be preserved for next generation,” Dr. Norbert says.

British Court reminds of the colonial period. Presently it has been converted into a school. The verandas of the old building with round arches have been clogged to create additional rooms and red thin bricks are covered with coats of whitewash. It will be much better if the building can be brought back to its original shape. And that is possible.

Just in front of the school is dilapidated and crumbling Bakhshi Khana with its round corners towers that were built during Mughal era. The barracks where prisoners used to be kept before and after appearing in the court have vanished. The treasury room inside the huge complex is still intact and being used as a living room these days. The huge bargad tree in the compound is an abode of squirrels and common birds. There is also water well in the courtyard that serves as a source of drinking water for the residents. Sitting in the shade of old tree, the resident of the evacuee property told, “We want to build a new house in place of this khandar but presently the property is under litigation. We will do it after the decision by the court.” Another sign of old time we are poised to lose forever.

Next to the school, in the middle of the lush green fields, one can see the circumferential walls of a Christian colonial cemetery - the last resting-place of Lord Berkley. Neglected ever since! The British Government had allotted agricultural land to the local trustees for upkeep of the cemetery but locals have not been able to preserve this important historic sign. “The parameter has been used to keep the animals in the past,” told my host Farooq Ahmed, member of a local NGO and social activist who accompanied us during exploration of the town. We asked many locals but nobody could indicate the place where used to be Gogera Central Jail.

History not only chronicles the events, it also influences the readers as to how the historians had experienced the events. It often describes just what authors want you to know. Most of the sources for the history of the Subcontinent for the colonial period are gazetteers written by British army and civil bureaucrats. And, sadly, they have written our history from “their” point of view.

British have narrated the history of ‘War of Independence 1857′ as a ‘mutiny’ and the heroes of the war have been portrayed as ‘insurgents’. One of the first real precursors of the storm that was brewing against British occupants in the Subcontinent occurred in Gogera on the night of July 26, 1857 in the shape of an outbreak in central jail. News of British military actions at Mian Mir (Lahore) reached Gogera on May 13, 1857 that triggered the chain of events. Deputy Commissioner Gogera Elphinstone and Extra Assistant Commissioner Berkley fought the people of the area. The villages (including Jhamra — village of Ahmed Khan Kharral) were burnt and innocent people killed in search of Ahmed Khan Kharral and other activists. Troops and artillery guns from Lahore and Multan Garrisons also reinforced the Gogera based British forces. British suffered heavy losses including killing of Extra Assistant Commissioner Berkley. The courageous struggle by the people of Gogera will always be remembered in the annals of history. Though there is nothing much left on ground that could be associated with the War of Independence or bring back the memories of the days gone by.

Gogera Town Committee was established in 1995 but the committee has not been able to make any difference in the condition prevailing in this market town. Only 13 sweepers and two donkey carts are not enough for keeping the town clean and remove exponentially growing municipal waste. “People keep their cows, buffaloes and goats in the streets,” told Farooq Ahmed. It is one of the rich town committees but the only project that has been under taken by the committee is brick lining of the streets in both parts of the town where water keeps standing even in dry seasons. Sewerage system and Degree College have been approved for the town. Residents hope that the work will start soon. The committee seems oblivious of the conditions of what remains of the heritage in the area though.

Many of the old buildings lining Gogera’s sinuous streets have seen no care or maintenance in near past. Population migration from interior has turned it into a sprawling town without civic amenities of the modern time, in a short time. Town is more rural than urban. It is a mixed cluster of houses widely varying in size and quality. Farooq says, “The residents are not familiar with civic amenities that should be available in the modern towns. There is no body to see the growth of the town and co-ordinate the effects of different agencies.”

The journey to Gogera embraces you with lovely colors, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. Gogera has everything nature could bestow; hard working and spirited people, fertile land, water, communication infrastructure and clean healthy environment. This important power base during British period can be converted into an important historic travel attraction. This has not started happening yet.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:06 AM, , links to this post

What happened to National Tourism Policy?

This article appeared in the Daily Nation
Travel is a function of prosperity; mostly. Apart from business and work, people travel for so many different reasons: to explore, to feel, to learn, to get away from humdrum of the fast lane life, and to lose themselves or find themselves. George Santayana, a Philosopher, has been quoted as describing, “We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.” Fortunately, Pakistan has been blessed with pristine natural settings and everything else to cater for the diverse needs of wide range of unique travel tastes.

Pakistan is located in a rare position, both geographically and figuratively. Travel attractions – historic, heritage, natural, adventurous, ecological — are richly distributed on this land from Astola in the Arabian Sea to Khunjrab on Pakistan China boarder up in the north. Travelers, site seers, pilgrims, explorers, trekkers, and mountaineers have been coming here from all over the globe since the time when there were no modern means of transport, forecast weather, showing maps and pictures or making reservations before planning a trip.

Still, in Pakistan, travel sector as an industry has failed to harness its full potential and generate revenue that it can. This, in addition to the security situation, is mainly due to lack of comprehensive travel policy to direct and coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders in the country.

Pakistan's National Assembly was informed on Monday that a total of 708,724 foreign tourists visited Pakistan during the year 2008-09. In a written statement, Minister for Tourism Atta-ur-Rehman informed the House that foreign exchange earned through tourists during 2008-09 amounted to $222.1 million.Rehman said the Tourism Ministry had signed tourism agreements with Afghanistan, China and Iran to promote the industry.

If I may recall it correctly, the first travel plan was conceived in 1967. Later, some measures were taken to control pollution in mountainous areas in 1983 and in 1988 by making expeditions responsible for leaving camping sites clean of garbage, supply of kerosene oil to the porter and contribution of cleanup operation fee of $200. In addition to isolated projects, rules, regulations and activities like compilation of tourists’ statistics in 1971 and UNESCO’s Master Plan for the Preservation of Mohenjo Daro (1972), no serious attempt was made till the promulgation of the National Tourism Policy 1991.

The National Tourism Policy of 1991 focused on preservation of environment and ecology and launch of educational programs for creating awareness and conservation efforts. The objectives of National Tourism Policy of 1991 do not appear to be enough to take care of tourism as a source of economic growth capable of generating mass employment opportunities, alleviating poverty, and positioning Pakistan as a global brand capable of capitalizing on the increasing international travel, trade, and investment opportunities. Sadly, even the stated objectives of Tourism Policy 1991 were never achieved. Degradation of natural resources continues and the proposed educational programs were never incorporated in educational curriculum at any level.

Later, in 2001, the government revised the tourism policy 1991. Major highlights were that tourism shall continue to be treated as an industry. Year round tourism will be promoted. Efforts will be made for qualitative improvement, development in environment, human resources, tourist services, and the tourist product. Federal and provincial governments will be asked to bring all legislation in consonance with demand of the tourist industry. It will stimulate private sector involvement in tourism through provision of industry support constructs. This policy like the previous one could not bring out desired stimulus.

Once again, the government is working on National Tourism Policy and it will be unveiled soon. The new policy is being finalized in consultation with all major stakeholders - federal ministries, provincial governments, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Northern Areas as well as private sector concerns.

At this stage, what the policy makers need to understand is that the main rationale for formulating a comprehensive tourism policy is rooted, on one hand, in the convergence of socio economic benefits and employment potential of tourism industry and on the other, in the growing demand for tourism products that has led to tremendous increase in number of travelers. WTO in “Tourism 2020 Vision,” forecasts that the tourism volume, employment and export earning is expected to move away from developed countries towards less developed countries. In order to benefit from the shift in travelers’ trend, the proposed policy should be able to activate and coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders and develop infrastructure to harness the potential that tourism offers.

To make visible economic progress in travel sector, it may be recommended that all the stakeholders the government will have to co-ordinate the efforts of all concerned departments like PTDC, PIA, Survey of Pakistan, museums, city governments, Auqaf (custodians of many touristy heritage locations), Archaeology Departments and Evacuee Property Trust (Care takers of built heritage left by non Muslims) in public sector and hotels, tour operators and travel agents, and transport companies in private sectors.

World Tourism Organisation (Silk Rout Project), IUCN, the Word Conversation Union, World Wildlife Fund Pakistan, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (there are eight recognised International Ramsar sites in Pakistan), UNESCO (the Lahore Fort and the Shalimar Garden are on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List), Agha Khan Foundation (hexagonal shrine of Shah Rukn-e-Alam in Multan and a mosque at village Bhong near Sadiq Abad have already won prestigious Agha Khan International Architecture Award) and other interested international agencies can be approached for purposeful partnership.

The policy should provide incentive to those who are interested in investment to develop necessary infrastructure. The glut of government rest houses, especially those situated off the beaten track (also those that are on track), which remain unutilized unless some officials or well connected tourists have to stay there, should be made known and their acquisition made possible, may be from a central location. Putting up a Website with a listing of all the rest houses in Pakistan, with complete addresses, so that they can be booked in advance even from abroad may be good idea to start with. This can be done by putting services along with other meaningful and current information about every possible destination in the country online.

In this age when almost everything starts online, there should be a comprehensively developed online system to access information, residential facilities, transport channels, and other services required by international travelers. The sites offering travel information should also include pictorial travelogues and travel stories. The personal experiences of travelers and referrals are the best ways to learn about new places.

When most touristy location in the world are becoming crowded, people are looking for places that are pristine, quiet, serene, and those they can have to themselves. Pakistan still has some left in the country. The need is to market the travel potentials of the country, largely unknown to outside world. And there is no other medium better than the Web for this purpose, particularly when every interested person is logging on to find what is left there to be seen.

Pakistan has a lot to offer to any travelers. I say if you have something, why not show it?

Update: Pakistan appoints task force on medical tourism

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Inter Division Kabaddi Champions

Inter Division Kabaddi Champions.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:00 AM, , links to this post

Entrepreneurship activities by Lahore School Students

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Fine Art of Calligraphy


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Shifting Lahore

Once the best address in Lahore was “the Lahore Fort,” now it is “the Defence. Only in past few decades, Lahore has grown rapidly (doubling in size in last ten years) to become an impressive cosmopolitan metropolitan. From a walled city — the posh locality of the time when Mughal Kings, Princes and Princesses used to roam about there, Lahore has grown into new localities like Defence Hosing Society and beyond. Though promenading along the canal, between the Mall Road and the Jail Road, shining in pristine glory at night through the heart of city,Main Boulevard or the Mall gives an idea of architectural style, prosperity and aesthetic sense of its citizens but it does not give all.

Lahore’s urban expanse has expanded into adjoining suburbs and has consumed many villages and agricultural land. The expansion, unplanned at that, has converted Lahore into a city where all civic amenities are over burdened left with no more carrying capacity. And a plethora of city development agencies, LDA, WASA, TEPA, WAPDA, PTCL, the Lahore Horticultural Authority, the Cantonment Board, the Model Town Society, the Defence Society, MCL, and District Administration (and more) with overlapping and ill defined roles and no body to oversee and coordinate their work, seem helpless to do any thing for the worsening plight of its residents. The officials of different departments blame every thing on lack of funds and lack of co-operation from other departments or accept the problems as hazards of urbanization,” say a political activist.

Lahore started expanding during the reign of Shah Jahan (1628-58) but declined in importance during the reign of his successor, Aurangzeb. The old city, now called Walled City or Undroon Shahr has narrow winding alleys and bazaars. It is unique in the sense that its layout is not geometrical and its winding alleys end abruptly at some intersection. Houses are adjacent to each other with balconies towards the street and courtyards in the middle. Rooftops are used as sitting places or now for flying kites on the eve of Basant.

The city started spilling out of the wall in the British time. In 1846, the British army entered Lahore after defeating Sikhs at Challianwala and Gujrat. The British troops were stationed in Lahore Fort and in the barracks left by Sikh Khalsas in an area that later came to be known as Lower Mall — from Tollinton Market to Punjab Secretariat. At that time, that area was known as Anarkali Station. The present day Anarakai Bazaar was then known as Sadar. British troops were also housed in Taxali area.

The British demolished the fortification wall around the city of Lahore and filled the protective trench circling it. They also razed three historical gates (Lohari, Shah Alami and Delhi) and widened the street to install artillery on top of them. Lange Mandi and Gumti Bazaar are considered to be the most ancient part of the Walled City. The old city is spread over 2.5 squares of land and Cantonment was the first intervention of the British in the old city, which drastically changed the face of Lahore: the layout of streets, architecture of buildings and houses and the way people lived.

Among the first modern buildings of Lahore was included Combined Military Hospital built in 1854. Close to cantonment, towards north, a “new” Sadar bazaar was established where locals could open businesses to provide services and goods troops and their families. In Sadar, houses were built with bricks in straight streets with sewage lines on two sides. Later, the middle class of adopted this layout and architecture for their new housing colonies: Gowalmandi, Krishan Nagar and Muhammad Nagar. The influential class followed the style of British officers’ bungalows and Dewan Khem Chand founded Model Town on this pattern.

The Mayo Gardens and GOR (government officers’ residences) were established for civilian officers. This area was called Civil Lines. The Civil Lines in Lahore is spread over area from McLeod Road to west of the city and on the east of the canal and from railways station to Jail Road. In Chauburji, quarters for low ranking civilian officials on Sadar’s pattern were built.

The concept of Civil Lines brought a major societal change in the city’s culture. But when after the independence, local officers occupied these bungalows, the area got crowded. The wide tree-lined streets at the Queens Road, the Egerton Road, the Davis (Sir Agha Khan) Road, the Lawrence Road and the Montgomery Road became busy and congested commercial centres. After 1947, the Lahore Improvement Trust followed the tradition of Civil Lines and founded new housing schemes on the pattern of colonies. Samanabad and Gulberg were two such residential districts established in the 1950s.

Since the establishment of Civil Lines, Lahore’s middle class also started coming out of the Walled City and established new neighborhood at that time such as what is known as Old Anarkali, Gowalmandi, Shalimar Town and Misri Shah. In the beginning, civic amenities were not provided to them. Now almost half of the city is consisted of such residential areas. They are different form the old city in that they have wide roads of 10-15 feet where cars can go and the layout of these areas is geometrical unlike that of old city. Houses in these colonies are a mix of old and new. They have courtyards but unlike bungalows they are adjacent to each other. Shops are located in streets near houses unlike isolated houses of the civil lines. These houses are rightly said to represent the historical ‘neighbouring’ concept of the Subcontinent. As these residential areas sprang up without any planning, they also represent an important trend of ‘unplanned growth of cities in this region.

Electricity was introduced to the city in 1920. In 1930s came another change in the development of middle class localities and areas like Krishan Nagar and Sant Nagar were established. They were planned, geometrical in layout and had parks, sewage and drinking water facilities. In the houses in these areas, roofs of the rooms were high like British bungalows. These housing areas were an improved version of the old architecture of Lahore.

The partition brought a radical change in the culture of Lahore. At that time, 40 per cent of the population of Hindus and Sikhs migrated from the city to India. Now some low-income residential areas of Wasanpura, Gujarpura and Mohni Road came into existence, which were inhabited by low income class.

Although the official regulations prohibit commercial activity in residential areas, the government itself is big violator of these laws and provincial and federal departments established their offices there and private sector came up with every type of commercial concern and the old concept of residential-cum-commercial area, which is deeply rooted in our culture and tradition, sprang up in neighbourhoods.

Along side these, in 1980, Lahore’s 23 per cent population lived in katchi abadis (slum areas). In 1986, the government tried to regulate them and provided ownership rights and civic amenities to these areas but not all of them could get them.

So far the soul of the city has survived though open spaces, greenery and peace are vanishing from the city. We can reverse the process through planning, preservation and by looking forward.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:59 AM, , links to this post

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