From my initial and pre-Independence visit to my subsequent forays to Lahore over the years, I have seen the city undergoing much changes. With the arrival of continuous flex of refugees from across the border and even population from mufasil, Lahore saw its population growing at an alarming rate. After the departure of non-muslims to India the change also brought about a distinct and qualitative change in many parts of city.
I recall that atmosphere changing around Gowal Mandi, Nisbat Road, Chamberlin, Beadon Road, Temple Road, Krishen Nagar, Sant Nagar, Dharampura areas around Mozang and notably Model Town, being converted from posh, well off population to being degenerated to lower middle class with the allotment and occupancy of inmates, who were unable to maintain and upkeep the residences vacated by their middle or upper middle class occupants.
Same phenomenon took place in other locations of Lahore. Model Town, which was perhaps one of the best and a model Urban Housing Scheme, not only in the sub-continent but perhaps the World over, too suffered immensely over the years. The degeneration within in the Walled City has been most notable. Many of the old and historical Havelis and Palace like mansions, have suffered the fate of either being demolished or become bone of contention among the various relatives or allotees.
Except for few old “Havelis”, the city is left with precious little of its glorious historic past. The recent and much-needed project to revive the old glory under “Walled City of Lahore Authority” under a dynamic Director General, Kamran Lashari, is therefore a most welcome and worthy effort. It goes to the credit of Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif who had taken several imaginative moves to revive the fortunes of Lahore City.
Completion of “Ring Road”, after considerable delay and obstacles created by the previous regime, the other moves of Metro Bus, improvement of Road, traffic arrangements and finally the under completion Orange Line Train Project, are bound to revive the future of Glorious Lahore. A word however about the present condition of Lahore Fort, Emperor Jehangir’s and Queens Nur Jehan’s Tomb whose environment and upkeep need most urgent attention.
Visiting Jehangir’s Tomb, the other day I was appalled to note that all round it have sprung up residences and shops and even direct approach Road to it now almost non-existent. I find this most unfortunate and hope amends would be made urgently to complete the renovation of these prime monuments along with a proper approach path undertaken most urgently. Look at the Emperor Humanyun’s Tomb in New Dehli and how well it is maintained is point in question. Hopefully I shall have a detailed conversation with DG Walled City Authority to get his views on this subject soon.