Distorting HistoryRANA TANVEER
Lahore, West Punjab, Pakistan
Two applications to restore the names of a school and a road that had been renamed in the wake of the Partition of Punjab in 1947, to their original form, have been languishing since March.
Sardar Bahadur Bhagat Singh Khalsa High School, which was originally constructed in 1917 near Mohini Road, and the Guru Nanak Bazaar, were renamed as Islamia High School and Pir Makki Road following Partition.
An unsuccessful attempt had also been made to rename Mohini Road after Riaz Shahid, a councillor in the Musharraf era.
Scores of other places in the area named after prominent Sikhs including Kucha Beant Singh and Mohalla Gurdit Singh have managed to withstand the test of time and retain their original names.
Qureshi said Pir Makki Road had been originally named after Baba Guru Nanak, the first of the Sikh Gurus. He said signs bearing the name of Guru Nanak still existed and could be seen on the road. Qureshi said renaming the school and the road following Partition amounted to distorting history and obscuring facts.
He exhorted the authorities to restore the original names of the school to give credit where it was due and enable Sikhs to see themselves as equal citizens in the nation.
The DCO had sent an urgent circular to the Education EDO on March 5 “to take action as per law/rules, under intimation of this office,” following the submission of the application. The EDO had forwarded the instructions to the Secondary Education DEO as most urgent on March 21 directing him to personally look into the matter and take necessary action. The official sent a direction to Muhammad Nawaz Anwar, the school’s principal.
Anwar informed the official on June 9 in his reply that the school had been known as the Islamia High School, Mohini Road, since Partition. He said this name was also inscribed in an inauguration slab installed in the wall of the veranda.
Advocate Shabnam Nagi said that scores of schools across the nation had been established by the community and named after distinguished Sikhs. She said the names of most of these schools had been Islamised.
Nagi said the nation’s history was being purged of Sikh references. She said the community was not in a position to remedy this due to a myriad of reasons.
“Muslims can strive for their rights [in Pakistan], but we cannot,” Nagi observed.
[Courtesy: The Express Tribune. Edited for sikhchic.com]
June 15, 2015
Conversation about this article
1: Harsaran Singh (Indonesia), June 16, 2015, 11:17 AM.
Without going into a deep narrative, my humble submission to the Sikh intellectuals, historians, academicians and leaders will be to make a concerted effort so as to retain the history and legacy of the undivided Punjab. If we can spend large amounts of money on conferences and symposia, the outcomes of which I hardly find beneficial to the community, I am sure we can spare some energies and resources to ensure that the treasure of our great history remains intact for future generations.
2: Tony Singh (Canada), June 16, 2015, 4:38 PM.
What the Sikhs need is a network of zealous, committed people whose sole aim is to tirelessly fight for Sikh rights and well-being and the preservation of the Sikh faith and culture. This network has to be global in scope and reach and able to put pressure on the Indian and Pakistani governments through the governments in which the Sikh diaspora reside. This would be similar to the Jewish Zionist movement. We need to be relentless in our aim and stop wasting our money, time and effort in fighting for non-Sikh fads of the day, and maintain a razor like focus on preserving and promoting our Sikh heritage.