March / April  2006




March/April Contents 

 Real Issues
 Malnourishment in
 South Asia


 South Asian issues
 Getting to know the
 past better



 News from elsewhere
 New animal species
 found in Indonesia

 Veggie chemical
 repairs DNA damage


 Bhera - the town that
 time forgot
- Part II

 World Bank in
 South Asia
 Grant to Afghanistan

Land management in

Urban services in


 Tollinton Market



 South Asian










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Page  2  of  2

Lahore Lookout - Tollinton Market Saved


Lahore architects: There are two names that stand out in the history of modern Lahore architecture. Some of Lahore’s most exquisite buildings were the design of Bhai Ram Singh, who holds the honour of being one of the first batch of National College of Arts /Mayo School of Arts, Lahore to have studied under Lockwood Kipling, father of famous Rudyard Kipling in 1875 and also the first native Principal of the college in 1909. The second name is that of Sir Ganga Ram who started his career as an assistant engineer in Lahore in 1873 and left behind a grand legacy of buildings that he donated in charity to the Sir Ganga Ram Trust that still functions to this day. Also noteworthy is Mr Purdon & Kanhaiya Lal the architects who designed the King Edward Medical College.

Bhai Ram Singh was also involved in the interior design of the Durbar Room, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. This building was built between 1845-51 as a country retreat for Queen Victoria who became Empress of India in 1876. Unable to visit the sub continent, the choice of the Indian style for the Durbar Room was the culmination of this proxy India. Queen Victoria’s third son Arthur, Duke of Connaught, for the billiard room at Bagshot Park used the style of architecture in the 1880s. Bhai Ram Singh carved the interior under the supervision of Lockwood Kipling (father of Rudyard) who was director of the Lahore School of Art. The same team produced the Durbar Room at Osborne.

Tollinton Market History

In 1864 as a result of the Industrial revolution of the 1850’s, a movement started in the Punjab for developing local arts and industries. Subsequently, it was decided to organize the First Punjab Exhibition in Lahore. To display vast number of exhibits, a special building, now known as Tollinton Market, was erected in the vicinity of the famous Anarkali Bazaar. While Mr. Lockwood Kipling, C.I.E. was Curator of the Museum, the design of the building was prepared by Bhai Ram Singh. The building was completed in 1894, and all the collections were immediately transferred to it.

Sir Robert Montgomerie opened the exhibition in January 1864. In May 1864 it was converted into a Central Museum. In 1893 the Old Central Museum was shifted to the new Building. In 1895 Sir Ganga Ram repaired the Halls for converting it into a Municipal Market. In 1920 the Market was repaired with alterations and named Tollinton. The Illustrated London News printed a couple of sketches showing the façade and the interior of Tollinton market, so important was this exhibition center. The name Tollinton market was the name of a Lahore District Commissioner. It is not clear whether the name was Tollinton or Tollington.

According to Dr. Ajaz Anwar who is currently the Secretary, Lahore Conservation Society:

" the covered hall with many sky lights drew its design from the Oriental Bazaaars that still thrive in Aleppo, Damascus, Tehran and Istanbul. …….The pointed arches and spearheads are Islamic elements and the wooden arches and stained glass add to its beauty…This market became a prestigious shopping locale for the elite and because it was under the municipality of the days of yore, it was spanking clean. Today filth and decay have overwhelmed the place, because of the poultry being sold there. ….."

Battle for Tollinton Market: 1994 – 2000.

The Land Mafia [ aka Qabza Group] of Lahore along with the minions of Lahore Development authority and the Lahore Municipal Corporation became the [10 storey] Plaza & Parking Lot protagonists. On the conservation side were the Museum of Lahore, the Pakistan Heritage Foundation , Lahore Conservation Society and the Ajuman-e Mimaran whose President is Kamil Khan Mumtaz . Dr Ahmed Hasan Dani was also on the board of the Lahore Museum and is perhaps the most important & senior archaeologist of Pakistan. Dr. Ajaz Anwar held a slide show on 30 th October 1994 to "Save Tollinton". In addition he painted a water color of the Tollinton Market called Gambit

All buildings over 75 years old are protected by the Antiquities act amended in 1992. The details of the Tollinton Market Battle are documented in a calendar brought out in 1997 by Dr Ajaz Anwar [Professor at NCA, Lahore] on Tollinton Market.

Around 1994, a group of students at the NCA spontaneously took to the streets and fellow Lahoris joined them in their protest to save the Tollinton market building. The government eventually decided to save the Tollinton market building by renovating it and also by donating RS 40 million to carry out the repairs [ actual spent is about Rs 30million].

Memories of Tollinton Market :

Scholars & Students from the nearby institutions of Punjab University, Government College, King Edward Medical College, and the National College of Arts have always dropped by and served as the plebian/proletarian customers of Tollinton market. One remembers the Tangiers Milk Bar and the Capri Restaurant. Shopping by the Begums of Lahore [BOLs] was also a key economic indicator. Al Fatah stores now near Liberty Market in Gulberg was situated at the end of the building. The building housed a Meat & Fish Market in one Hall with high roofs and a Vegetable & Fruit market Hall at the other end. In 1950’s as kids we would frequent these places with our shopping mothers. Later in our 1960’s student days, the favourite snacks were the "Bund Kebabs" with Cokes or a "Hunters Beef" sandwich. Outside on the verandah were the Magazine shops.

During Christmas, turkeys would be sold by the poultry merchants who eventually [courtesy the foul smell of the chicken refuse ] managed to destroy the Tollinton market and were moved to Jail Road. Tollinton Market big shoppers /customers have included the rich and powerful, from the governors of Punjab to the senior Civil servants and the feudal gentry.

Lahore’s Immortal Heritage: The Struggle continues.

The interior of Tollinton Market

Lahore has learnt to conceal its seductive charms under a mask of ugly urban plazas, crumbling decrepit, worn out grand old bungalows. It may not have the honour of being home to a poet of Ghalib’s stature, but still has its share of eminent artists, writers and poets among them -Indian Lahorites such as Prakash Tandon, Khushwant Singh, Ved Mehta and Pran Neville, Amrita Shergill . More recently Dr Abdus Salam, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ustad Daman, Mumtaz Mufti, Manto, Ashfaq Ahmed, Bano Qudsia and so many others scholars and ordinary citizens have contributed immensely and drunk deeply from its shaded peepul [Buddhas’s famous Bodhi tree] lined promenades such as The Mall and other avenues and its famous canal and gardens. Daata Ganj Baksh and Hazrat Mian Mir [who laid the foundation of the Golden Temple at Amritsar] lie buried here, beseeched by the prayers of the weak and poor. Lahore as a city in history is made more romantic, mysterious and attractive by its famous Anarkali Bazaar, thus named after the famous dancer Anarkali in the court of Emperor Akbar.

Its buildings while less grandiose than Lutyens New Delhi, nevertheless have a quiet dignity and a human scale of their own. Gautam Bhatia parodies the new "Bania Gothic" architecture style of Delhi in his "Punjabi Baroque & other Memories of Achitecture" book. Inspired by "Lootyens", Bania architecture became the "Loot-maar" style of building. In the Lahore of today, we are blessed with a unique species of the "Louis the Lahori" style of carved furniture. Lahore’s buildings and houses have heralded the golden age of the "white house" style facades and the flotsam of plazas that could be dubbed as the Chaudary’s Follies.

In John Le Carre’s recent 2003 book "Absolute Friends", Lahore receives mention for its fashionable tailors. Lahore was known to folks all over British India as the "Paris of the East". In Carre’s book, the hero is a son of a former British Indian Army Major called Mundy. Mundy recalls his father’s past days in Lahore whilst going through the hand made shirts by Ranken & Co., civil and military tailors and outfitters. This tailoring concern had branches at Calcutta, Simla, Delhi, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Murree. Established in 1770 in Calcutta, it was among the first tailoring concern "on Special Appointment" to the Company, and later to the Governor-General.

It is a cold and dry winter this time of the year. Winter rains are long overdue. This winter of our discontent has been made worse by the earthquake in north Pakistan with a poor record of earthquake proof buildings. Lahore’s heritage buildings are dusty but have withstood the test of time. The air is choked with the fumes of diesel smoke. We look forward to better times & leaders than the present lot to lead us out of this cost-benefit approach to life.

Kim’s Gun [ "Bhangion Ki Tope" – a Khalsa Misl was called Bhangis who retrieved the Gun from Abdali’s retreat near Chenab River] stands quietly near and facing the Tollinton Market. It is a mute witness to the blood that has been spilt by the Lovers of Lahore. The High Court Building is the most recent victim to this looting of Lahore’s architectural splendours. Others on Mcleod Road are being rapidly pulled down.

Meanwhile the spirit of Sir Ganga Ram, Bhai Ram Singh, the great architects & builders of Lahore, still pervades the air of Lahore. The belief of Lahoris is that it is the spirit of these old scholars and sufi saints [ Datta Ganj Baksh & Hazrat Mian Mir] that has protected them through its turbulent history. The saving of Tollinton market is nothing short of a miracle. The unseen arbiter’s hand [and not a foreign hand] is surely there in saving it. Perhaps it would be a self-flattering folly to think that the citizens of Lahore saved the Tollinton market for the future generations. Its saviours have been the good deeds/karma of its ordinary citizens, saints, concerned scholars /architects who worked, lived and died here. Still, one needs to be thankful for these small mercies in these dark times. The saving of Tollinton Market is a case of one lighted candle in this khaki dust from the raiders of the lost ark.









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