After resting in oblivion for long, Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal’s residence inside the Walled City Lahore is being conserved for posterity by the Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA).
Allama Iqbal lived in this rental place between 1901 and 1905 as it suited his teaching pursuits.
A plaque at the entrance of the house tells that poet and philosopher Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) lived and worked at the house.
The dilapidated two-storeyed (about 2-marla) house is located on the main bazaar of the Bhatti Gate. The current occupants have turned the ground floor into a ‘Nan Bread’ Shop while the upper storey is occupied by ‘Babu Band’ for the past four decades.
For its close proximity to the Government College (now Government College University (GCU) Lahore), and Islamia College, the residence served well to Dr Iqbal’s professional and literary pursuits. He taught English at Islamia College for six months before he took up a similar job at the Government College during these years. He had joined the Government College as Assistant Professor of Philosophy in May 1903. He also produced some remarkable poetry and published first book ‘Ilm ul Iqtsad’ while living here.
He vacated this house in the year 1905 when he got study leave from the Government College and proceeded abroad to pursue admission to Trinity College, London.
On the conservation of the 175 years old house, Director Conservation WCLA Najamus Saqib said the house is a piece of history and efforts are being made to save it from annihilation. He said the cupboards, overhanging balcony and the walls are in its original form and dedicated work could preserve it for generation to come.
He said the façade would be restored to its original in the coming days as the protruding boards and wall-papers would be removed from the building.
Director General (DG) Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA) Kamran Lashari told APP on Sunday that Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal is an iconic figure of the Islamic world and it is important to restore the places which remained under his use.
“The WCLA has already got repaired the dilapidated ceilings and floors of the historic house from a private contractor”, he responded, adding that the walls and doors have been painted as well.
To a question, he said the historic house needs to be preserved for posterity and the World Bank (WB) fund to conserve heritage in and around the Bhatti Gate will help WCLA to restore the façade of the momentous house.
Kamran Lashari further said that WCLA will try to acquire the house from the private owner and turn it into a museum. He said such monumental sites will attract tourists and help preserve history.
Allama Iqbal’s Bhatti Gate residence is a beacon for the young generations and needs to be acquired for its historic significance and national prestige.—APP