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Renaming areas confuses locals

Historians believe that changing the names of famous streets is tantamount to distorting history

LAHORE:

The cultural hub of the country, Lahore is known for its rich heritage, a sublime blend of Vedic traditions, Mughal aesthetics and colonial values, all of which are reflected in the architecture and identification of famous structures and roads in the city. When local authorities start renaming many of the old streets in the provincial capital in a vain attempt to rid them of Hindu influences, it is no surprise that both the cultural past and the local population become lost in their own country.

One such unwitting local was a rickshaw driver spotted outside the Lahore railway station trying relentlessly to find a passenger for a ride to Dharampura without realizing that the old area’s name had been changed to Mustafabad. The poor rickshaw driver cannot be blamed for his oblivion as the majority of locals in Lahore till date still refer to Dharampura and other renamed areas in Lahore such as the Mall Road, Sanat Nagar, Sham Nagar, Krishan Nagar and Ram Ghar. their old names.

Interestingly, although several streets in the city are named after British officials, including Chamberlain Road, Nicholson Road, Beadon Road, Brandreth Road, Cooper Road, Lake Road, Hall Road, Davis Road, Macleod Road, Egerton Road, Lawrence Road and Linton Road, the names of mainly those roads and streets that had some association with a sacred Hindu figure have been changed.

“According to this reasoning, the name Lahore should also be changed, as the city is named after Loh, the son of the Hindu god Ram. Changing the old names of areas in the city because of their association with a particular religion is tantamount to distorting history and should not be encouraged,” countered Fakir Saifuddin, a historian.

Unlike Saifuddin, former Director of Punjab Archeology, Malik Maqsood Ahmad, was of the opinion that changing the name of a place or area could not change its historical status. “In the past, the names of famous landmarks were attributed to their founders or builders. Not only in Pakistan but also all over the world, the names of cities, areas and streets are being changed and both political and religious factors are involved in this process,” Ahmad said.

According to sources from The Express Stand, a place, street or alley cannot be named after a member of the Union Council, District, Provincial or Federal Assembly, or after any person holding any public office. However, personalities who have participated in the freedom movement, have an unblemished record in serving the nation, sacrificed their lives for the defense of the country, are a living or deceased head of an alliance state, are a well-known Islamic historical figure , or who have rendered outstanding services in the social sector, can be enhanced by identifying an area, street or city with their name.

Speak with The Express Stand On this issue, a spokesperson for the local government of Punjab said: “As per the Punjab Local Councils (Road and Street) Rules 1981 and the Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2022, only the Provincial Cabinet has the power to name any area, any street give or rename. or alley. The provincial cabinet approves the local government’s proposals. According to the rules, a proposal to name or rename an area, street or alley is sent to the city council, which then publishes an advertisement in the newspapers asking for objections and suggestions from citizens, and then the final proposal to the provincial cabinet. .”