Gazetteer of the Lahore District 2022

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MESSAGE FROM THE COMMISSIONER, LAHORE DIVISION

Much has been written about the great city of Lahore, its rich cultural heritage, its architectural monuments, its history and demography in recent decades. Official literature of the district, written from the perspective of administrators, was a tradition but has been discontinued for various reasons for a long time. The 2022 Gazetteer of Lahore District is therefore a laudable achievement of the Deputy Commissioner Office Lahore, in attempting to not only revive this tradition but also provide official, authentic information about the district. The effort was led by Dr Atiyab Sultan, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters), Lahore who undertook it with a seriousness of purpose and academic rigour, steering it through to publication. Here I must also mention the support that the Board of Revenue has provided in reviving the tradition of publishing district gazetteers.

I am also pleased to note that while conscientious emphasis has been placed on making the gazetteer citizen-centric, it also provides the reader with useful information on public services and their access. I congratulate the team on finishing this important piece of work, and hope that the reader will find both joy and utility in perusing the contents.

Captain (R) Muhammad Usman Younis
Commissioner Lahore Division

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MESSAGE FROM THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, LAHORE

It was once a celebrated tradition of Deputy Commissioners in the colonial era to write and compile district gazetteers, which not only served as sources of reliable information on a district but were also a cherished legacy of their tenure. In more recent decades, with the fast pace of work and heavy burden of responsibilities, this tradition has been gradually lost. The last gazetteer of Lahore was compiled in 1915-16 and so attempting to do so in 2022 was a major challenge that we have attempted to overcome as best as we could. Fundamentally, we have tried to make it a citizen-centric document, providing details of government initiatives, departments and services for the benefit of a Lahori. At the same time we have catalogued the history, architecture, cultural heritage, flora and fauna, demography and geographical features of the district.

I am grateful to Mr Zahid Akhtar Zaman, Senior Member, Board of Revenue, for his interest and continued support of the project. I must also appreciate the team at Deputy Commissioner Office Lahore including all Additional Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners, especially Additional Deputy Commissioner (HQ) Dr Atiyab Sultan and Ms Fatima Arshad, Assistant Commissioner (UT) Lahore who worked tirelessly in collecting and compiling data from various government departments. I am also thankful to the team of experts that rendered their assistance generously to this endeavour. I hope the reader will find the end product useful and informative.

Muhammad Umer Sher Chattha
Deputy Commissioner Lahore

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During the colonial rule of the Punjab, the district gazetteer served as a comprehensive repository of authentic information on a district, and the first gazetteer of Lahore was published in 1883-84. The gazetteer continued to be published and updated in the colonial era, especially as it served imperial aims of understanding and dominating a foreign context. The last Gazetteer of Lahore was written in 1916, when Kasur and Sharaqpur were still its Tehsils, and the population was 1.03 million. In 2022, while the land area has shrunk with the creation of new districts, the population exceeds 10 million, and the city is extremely complex in terms of its administrative needs and challenges. Compiling a gazetteer of Lahore district in 2022 was therefore a Herculean task as the city has transformed significantly in the last several decades.

We began the task of compiling this gazetteer with trips to the bookstores and a relentless knocking on the doors of administrative departments to gather the required information. In most cases, we had to ask again, and again, and again. In a city rushing towards the future at a breakneck speed of ‘development’, very few want to stop and take stock of what was and what happened. I am grateful to Fatima Arshad, Assistant Commissioner (Under Training) Lahore who embraced the project wholeheartedly since its inception and literally worked day and night on it, bringing it to fruition.

As we engaged local historians and experts in the compilation of information, we still felt adrift putting together in administrative terms what is essentially a multifaceted district about which however much is written will remain partial and insufficient. Dr Sara Zubair very kindly assisted us in selecting the most important developments, in writing, editing, drafting and re-drafting the manuscript, in keeping us on track and ensuring that it sees the light of day. It is no exaggeration that the output is in large part a blend of the combined efforts of Ms Arshad and Dr Zubair, supplemented by the contributions of various experts and departments.

From the Deputy Commissioner’s Office, I am grateful to the Deputy Commissioner, M. Umer Sher Chattha who supported the project fully and monitored its development closely. My colleagues, Touqeer Ilyas Cheema (Additional Deputy Commissioner - Revenue), Dr Mujtaba Arfat Khan (Additional Deputy Commissioner- General) and Shahid Abbas Kathia (Additional Deputy Commissioner- Finance & Planning), ably filled many lacunae and ensured the timely and accurate provision of information. Assistant Commissioners of the Lahore district, Sonia Sadaf, Zeeshan Nadeem, Sufyan Dilawar, Qurat ul Ain Zafar, Adnan Rashid, Mian Hamid Rashid, Asif Hussain, Laraib Aslam and Izhar ul Haq Bajwa provided us with the required information and supported the project whenever needed. Anwer Sajid, Office Superintendent, Imran Maqbool, Public Relations Officer, Syed Ali Murtaza, System Network Administrator, Saul Yousaf and Rana Salman from my office, Farooq Khan, DC Office Photographer, Atif Aslam, PA to ADCR, all worked tirelessly on this project

A number of experts helped us with the gazetteer including Dr Ali Usman Qasmi, LUMS, who guided us with the materials on the city and also linked us with a local historian, Faizan Abbas Naqvi who has made immeasurable contributions to the project. Prof. Ayesha Jalal, Tufts University, kindly shared her advice and allowed us to use exquisite paintings of her late brother, Shahid Jalal, on Lahore. Abdul Majid Sheikh generously allowed us to reproduce material from his prolific work on the city. Dr Nadine Zubair graciously assisted us with the historical research on Lahore. Ms Saman Rai helped us with the research on the cultural heritage of the district. I am grateful to Omar Hayat Gondal for the sections on Badami Bagh and the economy of Lahore.

After the first draft was ready, Mr Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Additional Chief Secretary Punjab, and Capt. Muhammad Usman Younis, Commissioner Lahore Division, gave us precious feedback and suggestions for improvement. I am grateful to both for their time and valuable input.

I know what we have achieved is a partial success. What we write will never be a complete account of Lahore; anyone who lives in the city only glimpses shades and partial views and perhaps encompassing its full reality is no longer possible. Where possible, we have tried to give details of public services being provided by the administration and the ways to access the same. Unlike the colonial gazetteers that served as an instrument of governance, we intend it to be primarily a handbook and guide for the citizen. Foremost, this is an attempt to engage, to document and to understand the transitions this city is going through, put together with as much dedication as we could muster. Had we searched for perfection, we would have been working forever, therefore I shall rest the pen and humbly say: whatever good we have achieved here is from God, the errors remain my own.

Dr Atiyab Sultan
Additional Deputy Commissioner HQ Lahore

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There is a certain audacity in attempting to write a city. Not just any city, but Lahore, the City district. There will always be others who are infinitely more knowledgeable, nuanced or eloquent; others with a greater claim to the city. Yet a cursory glance at its history (or histories) will reveal countless claimants, and those are only the loud, the visible, or the powerful: there are millions of others that have made and remade the city, and continue to do so without acknowledgement. To therefore have had the opportunity to learn more and say something about this city that I have called home, is an honour. To assume that any justice has been done to the sheer kaleidoscope that it is, and the multitudes that share it, would be hubris.

This process has revealed just how little one truly knows – not just about the temporal and spatial entity that is Lahore, but also the intangible and ephemeral. The writers, artists, photographers, chroniclers, and administrators, whose work fills these pages have done their part to reveal facets of the city to us. I am truly grateful to those whose names have been referenced as well as to the numerous anonymous, uncredited others – including unsuspecting, un-named passers-by who just happened to get captured in photographs. While a great deal of research has gone into this publication, the gazetteer’s purpose is something other than a conventional understanding of research, and certain liberties have been taken. Some texts have been quoted verbatim, and it is important to clarify that the purpose is not to take credit for the authors’ work, but to present the authors’ work as their own rather than tamper with it. At the same time, many important personalities, places, perspectives, and events have also been left out, for which an apology must be made, although it is abysmally insufficient.

Ultimately, I hope that readers find the gazetteer informative and interesting, and that any gaps therein serve as inspiration to extend our understanding of Lahore further.

Sara Zubair
Educationist, Writer, Flâneuse

 

Title: Gazetteer of the Lahore District 2022
Author: Deputy Commissioner Lahore - Government of the Punjab
Editors: Dr. Atiyab Sultan, Sara Zubair
Subject: Lahore, History
ISBN: 969353445X
Language: English
Number of Pages: 324
Year: 2022

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