Monday, 28 March 2011

Historical Baradari serves as a dumping ground

Sher Singh’s Baradari, a place of historical significance at Kot Khawaja Saeed, is in ruins.

The Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department has constructed a waste enclosure there after demolishing a corner of the Baradari, in violation of laws. According to the World Heritage Rules and Antiquity Act 1975, no one can construct anything on such premises within 200 yards of that building.

There are 12 arches in its three walls due to which it is called Baradari. A wall around it was demolished earlier by the Nawaz Sharif Hospital, Kot Khawja Saeed and SWM department. It is named after Maharaja Sher Singh who was born in 1805 in Gujranwala to a Sikh family of Sukerchakia Misldars. At that time, much of the Punjab was ruled by Sikhs under a confederate Sarbat Khalsa system and Afghans, who had divided the territory among factions known as Misls.

Sher Singh’s father Ranjit Singh was the first Maharaja of Punjab. He succeeded his father at the young age of 12.

After several campaigns, his rivals accepted him as their leader, and he united the Sikh factions into one large country. Sher Singh was known as a person who did good works for the betterment of his people. He ruled for two and a half years only but is remembered for improving the existing system of governance.

Sher Singh and his young son were brutally murdered by the Sardaran-e-Sindha Walia. After his death, Rani Randhawi Singh and her family constructed their Samadhi in the Baradari. These ‘Samadhis’ have domes where the cremated ash of the dead were kept. The Baradari was meant to be the new rest place of Sher Singh and his son.

The arches are also in a poor condition and may collapse any time. The Auqaf Department which is responsible for its maintenance has constructed only two pillars to save the Baradari from collapsing.

The roof of the building has been demolished. There is no boundary wall. It is becoming a garbage dumping ground as the locals of the area dump garbage inside the Baradari.

When contacted, Waseem Ajmal, managing director of the Solid Waste Management Company, was not available on his phone (0300-8659660). A text message was also sent on his cell phone in this regard but he didn’t reply.

On the other hand the Auqaf Department officials said the department was doing its best for the repair of the Baradari but work had been delayed due to insufficient funds.

They said the department was already working on a number of different sites and soon repair work on the Baradari would also start. There is also a shrine of famous Sufi Saint Allama Mirza Syed Shah Bilawal Qadri on the premises of the Baradari where used to be held a Muslim festival.

Writers like Kannahiya Lal Hindi and Justice Abdul Latif have mentioned this festival in detail in their researches. The festival used to take place in the month of December.

Sajid Bashir, Lahore,, Friday, March 18, 2011


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