PESHAWAR: The four-marla ancestral house of legendary actor Dilip Kumar located near the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar has been declared as a ‘protected monument’.
“The house of Dilip Kumar has been notified today as a protected monument under the Antiquity Act of... 1997,” said director for archaeology and museums Dr Abdul Samad here on Friday.
The notification is the first major step towards protecting the house where Mr Kumar was born in December 1922 and where he stayed for 12 years before moving to Mumbai with his family.
Pakistan conferred Nishan-i-Imtiaz on the famous actor in 1998 and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently declared the house as a ‘national heritage’.
The efforts to acquire the house from its owners were initiated by the Awami National Party-led provincial government.
However, in February 2012 the provincial culture directorate had to shelve the plans for buying the house within a few months of coming up with them because many parties claimed the property as theirs.
The house has fallen into disrepair and is located in a narrow alley of Mohalla Khudadad, near the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar. It was used as a godown for a long time which badly affected the building.
However, the move by the archaeology and museums department to get the building notified as a protected one means that no one will be able to demolish it, sell it or alter it for commercial reasons.
“The next step for the government will be to preserve or restore it, put it on the list of heritage sites and then open it to the public,” said Dr Samad.
The government would acquire the almost 100-year building by fixing an appropriate price under the Land Acquisition Act 1895, he added.
Dilip Kumar and his family left for India about 80 years ago. Their old house is perhaps the only tangible link that the famous actor has with the city of Peshawar.
The ancestral house of Raj Kapoor, another legend of Indian cinema, is also in Peshawar.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2014