Tomb tales retain history of an ancient Tomb in Lahore French Army Col, General Jean Francois Allard | By Samra Athar Kakakhel

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Tomb tales retain history of an ancient Tomb in Lahore French Army Col, General Jean Francois Allard

“The whole earth is the tomb of heroic men and their story is not given only on stone over their clay but abides everywhere without visible symbol woven into the stuff of other men’s lives”

HISTORICALLY, tombs have indeed been established and designed particularly for the purpose of preserving the bodies of departed human beings and, often loved ones, or, in the example of ‘The Great Death Pit in the country.

Most folks realize that the Civil Secretariat on Lower Mall was designed by the French legion that served Maharajah Ranjit Singh, not really the British.

This was Gen.Jean Francois Allard’s colourful house. General Allard was a French general who’d already joined Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s army.

In this cemetery, he and his daughter are buried. Marie Charlotte, his daughter, died on April 5, 1827, in Lahore.

General Allard buried her on a small grave in a garden close to his house and afterward created a small tomb over her daughter’s grave.

General Allard died in Peshawar in 1839 but was buried beside to his daughter in the same tomb in Lahore.

Later, the garden was known by the name of ‘Kuri Da Bagh (Daughter’s Garden) and the tomb as ‘Kuri Da Maqbara’ (Daughter’s Tomb).

The General was born in Saint Tropez (southern France) and served in Napoleon’s army; he won the Legion of Honour (the highest French award of achievement, both military and civil) and was promoted to rank of Captain of the French 7th Hussar Regiment.

After the Battle of Waterloo, Allard travelled to Persia and offered his services to Abbas Mirza.

He was offered the rank of Colonel, but he never received the soldiers assigned to his job. Allard left for Punjab in 1820 and rejoined the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1822.

He was given the responsibility of establishing a unit of troops and lancers. Allard was awarded the rank of general and became the leader of the European officer corps in the Maharaja’s service.

Recently, Ambassador De France to Pakistan initiated an ambitious endeavour to preserve a historic Tomb of French Army officer General Jean Francois Allard in Lahore.

De France Au Pakistan (French Embassy) planned and funded the project, which started in June 2022 and completed the conservation of the tomb of a senior French army officer, General Jean Francois Allard, in Anarkali, popularly known as ‘Kuri Bagh’ (Daughter’s Garden).

The Tomb’s preservation and remodelling have been accomplished. There are other memorial markers relating to the monument.

It is, however, a modest tomb with an octagonal dome. On the top of the main entrance, a tablet with Persian script is fixed bearing the name and the death date of Marie Charlotte.

It is a significant historical landmark that has now been preserved using the best French standards.

Allard, according to legend, was a gentle and courteous man, compared to some of the other European militants in Punjab.

He made an effort to learn Persian and wrote poetry in it. General Jean Francois Allard, a European army officer, was employed by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, who ruled Punjab from 1799 to 1839, to train his army.

He was, in fact, an enthusiastic coin collector who contributed significantly. He stayed faithful to the Maharaja till his death in 1839.

Allard will be remembered in our histories for winning the Légiond’ Honneur (French for Legion of Honour) by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Kaukab-i-Iqbal-i-Punjab and his tomb will always remind us of his sacrifices.

—The writer is a social political analyst, based in Lahore.

 

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