Govt studying Lahore and Khulna afresh

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Lahore and Khulna
(Left) Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, Pakistan, dedicated to the memory of Sikh Guru Arjun Dev; (Right) a Hindu priest performing rituals during Charak Puja in Khulna, Bangladesh

New Delhi: The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is working on the history of 2 important pre-Partition cities — Lahore and Khulna — afresh in view of the drastic changes in the demography of these cities that are no longer part of the Indian territory. Khulna was a Hindu-majority district and yet it was given to the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, while Lahore that held immense significance for both Hindus and Sikhs had gone to Pakistan.

During the talks over what was then proposed as Partition, Hindus and Sikhs had demanded of the then leadership of the nation not to concede these cities to Pakistan.

Now, the ICHR is revisiting the history of these cities to know what their present condition, the changes that took place in these cities and pre-Partition souvenirs, if any, in these cities. The ICHR team will study the social, cultural, linguistic and demographic aspects of the cities.

For a detailed study of both the cities, the ICHR has appointed a project director and a researcher to assist him. The team appointed for Khulna has already visited the city to collect relevant material.

The team wants to study the condition of Lahore during the British conquest of Punjab in 1849 and its condition, especially demography, during the 1881 census. It has prepared a detailed roadmap for it. But the team could not visit Pakistan due to the prevailing tension between the two countries.

Sources in the ministry informed us that the ICHR might take a decision to send its researchers to London to collect information about the city if the stalemate continues. Museums and other places in London have a lot of information about the city. The government does not want to stop the project this time round.