LAHORE: This is for the first time that some Punjabi intellectuals in collaboration with the Lahore Press Club, Punjab Punch and Readings observed the ‘Annexed Day’ of Punjab by the British 165 years ago, holding a special debate on different aspects of the ‘Fall of Lahore’ on March 29, 1849.
They marked this considering that the day, which has a great and strong impact on the lives of the inhabitants of Punjab, was ignored or suppressed by the alien rulers (British) and their local supporters (nawabs) deliberately for their individual incentives, twisting the local history in favour of British Raj and raising misconceptions against the local rulers, especially dividing them on the religion, caste, language and profession basis.
A good number of progressive people attended the debate and expressed their point of views about the ‘Fall of Lahore Darbar in 1849’, while Punjabi writer and historian Amir Riaz delivered a lecture on the issue.
Prominent progressive intellectual who spoke on the occasion included Qazi Javed, Mushtaq Sofi, Syed Kashif Bukhari, Muhammad Pervez, Javed Akhtar, Abdur Rehman, M Waseem, Mian Shahbaz, Saeed Akhtar, Qamar Bhatti, Hammad Raza, Tariq Khursheed, Raja Jalil Akhtar, Sarfraz Kashar Butt and Iqbal Bukhari.
Highlighting different aspects and reasons for the failure of the local ‘kings’, the speakers said that the British Raj was just succeeded to capture Punjab as Maharaja Ranjeet Singh did not establish any mechanism of transfer of power in a peaceful manner for his heirs, while lack of establishment of any kind of institutions or the systems was also a strong issue.
They also clarified some misconceptions forwarded by some biased historians on the behest of their English masters, or on their personal religious grounds, like the English Raj provided stability and peace in India after their possession, or gave democracy or a system and mechanism for transfer of power in society.
Pointing out one of main misconceptions, they said that it was wrong that the East India Company took the throne from Muslim King Bahadur Shah Zafar in Dehli or Sikh rulers in Punjab as they (Englishmen) did not get the rule from King Bahadur Shah Zafar but Marhatas because the Delhi King was getting a salary (stipend) himself from Marhatas who were opposing the Company.
The speakers also coined the view that though the locals have some knowledge about the Mutiny Day of 1857 on May 11, but the day of annexed of Punjab on March 29, 1849, was intentionally ignored by the reasons and never highlighted in the past, as the people of Punjab resisted the British Raj for a long time after the annex too.
Anyhow, they said that the day should be remembered at all formal and informal stages to bring forth the details and the truth about the Fall of Lahore Darbar to correct the history. They also emphasised to celebrate the day next year with more enthusiasm.
At the end, Lahore Press Club’s Literary Committee representatives, as organisers, gave thanks to the participants and assured to continue such debates to promote intellectual activities in the future.
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