Saturday September 18, 2021

Funeral prayer, fateha offered for Dilip Kumar in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: The people of Peshawar, like other parts of the subcontinent, received with great shock the news about the death of the cinema legend from the city, Muhammed Yusuf Khan, who was popularly known by his screen name of Dilip Kumar and passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday at the age of 98 after a protracted illness.

The fans gathered at the Feelkhana Nawab Nasir Khan in Mohallah Khudadad at the back of the Qissa Khwani next to the ancestral home of the thespian.

They offered a funeral in absentia and fateha for the cinematic legend. The fans lit candles in front of a portrait of Dilip Kumar inscribed with writings to pay him rich tributes. Among them was Fuad Ishaq, a close relative of the late star and a prominent businessman who has served as president of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the past.

His father, late Haji Ishaq Jan, the first cousin of Dilip Kumar and a widely respected businessman, had played host to the acting legend when he was in native town of Peshawar after partition first time in 1988 and later in 1998.

The family home of Dilip Kumar where he was born into a Hindko-speaking Awan family on December 11, 1922, is not in good condition for lack of proper upkeep.

But still, the street where it is located is frequently visited by art-lovers to see the birthplace of the star considered the greatest star of the cinema who ruled the Indian cinema for six decades.

The people of Peshawar have great love and respect for Dilip Kumar who was born here and spent the early years of his life in this city of flowers before his family shifted to Mumbai in 1935 where his father Lala Ghulam Sarwar had set up a fruit business.

The late Dilip Kumar had fond memories of his early life in Peshawar and always recalled those old good days in various interviews and private talks.

He had a great love for the Hindko language and the Peshawar Culture and twice requested the KP government almost 25 years back to set up a Hindko Academy for the promotion of the Hindko language and culture. The academy was established in the year 2015.

Late Dilip Kumar visited his birthplace in 1988, saw all parts of the house and even met the people living in the neighbourhood. He was given a rousing welcome by the people.

He again visited his native town in 1998 when he was in Pakistan to receive Nishan-e-Imtiaz, a prestigious civil award by the government of Pakistan, but could not visit his family home as a large number of fans had turned up on the occasion and a law and order situation was feared.

In February 2012, the KP Culture Department announced the purchase of Dilip Kumar ancestral home to preserve and convert it into a museum to acknowledge his contributions that left the late start and his fans elated.

Though it took nine years to purchase the house, at last, the provincial government acquired not only Dilip Kumar House but also Raj Kapoor Haveli, the birthplace of Raj Kapoor located at Dhaki Munawwar Shah, for preservation and promoting cultural tourism.

The KP Archaeology Department has acquired possession of both the houses and the conservation process is expected to be completed in two years.