Lahore’s archives

Published February 10, 2024

THIS is with reference to the column “Harking Back: The Cambridge expert and Lahore’s archives” (Dec 17), which referred to an archivist’s visit. Contrary to the contents of the write-up, the guest during his visit to the Institute of Global and Historical Studies at the Government College University in Lahore only engaged with the students, offered a lecture, and conducted a recorded session that is available on the institute’s social media channel. The remainder of the visit merely revolved around a tour of the collections that are housed in the institute’s Department of Archive Studies.

The library mentioned in the article was not visited at all due to time cons- traints, and, hence, the claim of mismanage- ment stands little ground as no such observation was made, let alone recorded. Besides, all the books in the library, including the special collections, have been fully catalogued, and the catalogue is also available online. One is not sure which “rare” and “undocumented” books the article has tried to refer to.

The archival and library staff happen to include PhD assistant professors and doctoral candidates, who have been professionally trained. Hence, to say that a “peon” handles the collection is factually incorrect.

Finally, several institutions, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have entrusted the department with their archives. The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has engaged a departmental team which is building the archives of the Kharak Singh Haveli from scratch. This is surely not a sign of some “decaying institution”. Is it?

Hussain Ahmad Khan
Professor of History and Director
Institute of Global and Historical Studies
Government College University
Lahore

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Budget for stabilisation
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Budget for stabilisation

The proposed steps lack any “disruptive policy changes", especially to "right-size" the govt, and doubts remain on authorities' ability to enforce new measures.
State of the economy
13 Jun, 2024

State of the economy

THE current fiscal year is but another year lost. Going by the new Pakistan Economic Survey, which maps the state of...
Unyielding onslaught
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Unyielding onslaught

SEVEN soldiers paid the ultimate price in Lakki Marwat on Sunday when their vehicle was blown up in an IED attack,...
X diplomacy
Updated 12 Jun, 2024

X diplomacy

Both states can pursue adversarial policies, or come to the negotiating table and frankly discuss all outstanding issues, which can be tackled through dialogue.
Strange decisions
12 Jun, 2024

Strange decisions

THE ECP continues to wade deeper and deeper into controversy. Through its most recent decision, it had granted major...
Interest rate cut
Updated 11 Jun, 2024

Interest rate cut

The decision underscores SBP’s confidence that economic stability is gaining traction.