BADSHAHI Mosque is a monument of great historical significance and a glorious manifestation of the grandeur of Islamic architecture in Lahore. Hundreds of people visit this mosque daily and, moreover, it is of tremendous attraction to the tourists, who admire in awe the majestic white marble dome, towering minarets with marble copulas and red sandstone at the base.
State guests and delegations who come to Lahore are often taken for a tour of the mosque and given briefing at the spot. These briefings and narratives of the guides engaged by tourists contain rich tribute to Aurangzeb Alamgir, the Moghul Emperor who got this monument made.
Visitors come out of its premises and see on the right side the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal, a structure made with red sandstone.
However, on their left side, there is the neglected grave of Sir Sikandar Hayat, the former premier of Punjab. Sir Sikandar had done much to raise money for restoration of this mosque.
It is unfortunate to witness the reprehensible manner in which government departments, responsible for overall caretaking of this fabulous and unique premises, housing monuments like the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and Mazar-i-Iqbal have shown sheer negligence towards this burial place of Sir Sikandar Hayat.
Political differences aside, the services of Sir Sikandar Hayat stand recognised and they are acknowledged with applause on a plaque inside Badshahi Mosque.
The final resting place of this saviour of the mosque is deserted and speaks volumes about the apathy of the department concerned. The Archeology Department should take immediate measures to establish and maintain sanctity of the burial place of Sir Sikandar Hayat.
The canteen functioning adjacent to the grave should be either relocated or removed from the premises of Hazoori Bagh permanently. This canteen is a source of litter spread all over the place and is an eyesore in the middle of monuments. FARID AHMED Via email