Tuesday June 18, 2024

Talk on heritage: Speakers highlight Non-Muslim services to Peshawar

By Bureau report
February 24, 2023

PESHAWAR: The speakers at a talk have called for propagating the work of those inspiring personalities from diverse faiths who rendered remarkable services for historic Peshawar city and its residents.

The talk -”Forgotten Citizens of Peshawar”— was organised by the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at Victoria Memorial Hall of Peshawar Museum where Professor Dr Sayed Amjad Hussain, a United States-based doctor from Peshawar, was the main speaker.

People from various walks of life, including minority communities, attended the talk and gave valuable suggestions for highlighting the rich history of Peshawar city and contributions made by non-Muslims in the development of the city.

Dr. Amjad Hussain who has authored several books on the history, culture and heritage of Peshawar city, said we cannot progress without recognizing the contributions made by personalities from different faiths. The scholar dedicated his talk to Charanjit Singh, a Sikh leader who was assassinated in the year 2018.

“Our dilemma is willful forgetfulness while men and women who selflessly served Peshawar are the milestones on the road to progress,” said Dr Amjad Hussain, who was born and raised in the walled city of Peshawar before migrating to the US almost five decades ago.

His presentation mesmerized the audience after knowing about noteworthy services in the fields of health, education, philanthropy and even politics by a galaxy of unsung people belonging to different religions including Hinduism, Christianity and Parsis for the people of Peshawar.

Famous among those personalities mentioned by Dr. Amjad Hussain included Lala Balmukand, a known philanthropist, Dr. Amar Singh who served people at the Mission Hospital, Mehr Chan Khanna and Pundit Amir Chand Bamwal who made names in politics, Seth Ishwar Dass Sahni, a prominent businessman while Edwin family, Girdhari Lal Salwan and Kashi Nand left their marks in the education sector.

He said Mrs. I.D Parkash of the Edwin family had set up a girl school in the Karimpura area of Peshawar city in 1905 when the concept of girl education was quite strange for the people of this region. A member of the Edwin family, who was present at the gathering, received respectful applause from the audience. The lady taught for around 40 years and equipped the countless number of girls of Peshawar with the treasure of knowledge and education, said the speaker.

Similarly, Dr. Amjad continued, Rai Bahadur Kashi Nand who lived at Aasya Gate and set up a Sanata Dharam High School near Lady Reading Hospital, the building

was later converted into a Pakistan Hotel.

Service of some doctors who had served the Mission Hospital selflessly including Dr Paul Joseph, Dr Mrs Farooq, Dr Anwar Ujager, and Dr Bavington were also highlighted.

Professor Thakur Das and Hubert Micheal Close were mentioned for their services in the Education sector and humanitarian work for the people of Peshawar. “The gentleman, H M Close, educated a few generations KP and is remembered as a

phenomenal personality having no match in regard to his services”, he added and named Mela Ram & Sons, a pioneering photography studio, based in Peshawar.

In the talk different suggestions were made including steps for the introduction and propagation of such personalities who made laudable contributions to the development and services of the city. There was a proposal for the creation of a dedicated museum for displaying pictures, names and contributions by known personalities of the past as these personalities deserved to be celebrated and present generations should be informed about the selfless services they rendered for our city.

Director Archaeology KP, Dr. Abdul Samad, in his welcome address said that this region has a very rich history comprising people from several religions who lived here and left legacies for coming generations.