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Pakistan govt should preserve ancestral homes of legendary Indian actors, says heritage expert


PTI, Jun 11, 2021, 5:20 PM IST

Peshawar: All ancestral homes of famous Indian actors who left Pakistan at the time of Partition should be preserved and converted into tourist spots, according to a prominent heritage expert here in northwestern Pakistan.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government last week approved the purchase of the ancestral homes of legendary Bollywood actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor here in the provincial capital.

Commenting on the development, Secretary of the Cultural Heritage Council, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shakil Waheedullah said activists struggled for 13 years to ensure that the homes of these silver screen legends were preserved. Waheedullah said nationality does not matter and that such homes could be turned into buzzing tourist attractions in Pakistan. Raj Kapoor’s ancestral home, called Kapoor Haveli, is situated in the fabled Qissa Khwani Bazar. It was built between 1918 and 1922 by the legendary actor’s grandfather Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor. Raj Kapoor and his uncle Trilok Kapoor were born here. It has been declared a national heritage by the provincial government. Veteran actor Dilip Kumar’s over a 100-year-old ancestral house is also located in the same locality. The house is in shambles and was declared as a national heritage in 2014 by the then Nawaz Sharif government. The provincial government has released Rs 2.30 crore for purchasing the two buildings. Waheedullah said there are many more Indian stars who have lineal homes in Peshawar, prominent among them being Shahrukh Khan, Madhu Bala, Saira Bano, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor, Amjad Khan, Manoj Kumar, and Randhir Kapoor.

He said the Cultural Heritage Council would invite the extended families of these actors — who live in Pakistan — to visit Peshawar at a function to promote tourism. Waheedullah said the Bollywood stars themselves would be invited, pending approval from the federal government. He said the ancestral homes of legendary actors Madhu Bala and Shahrukh Khan’s father should be refurbished next. On a cautionary note, Waheedllah said the land mafia must be kept at bay from encroaching these prestigious homes. He decried the neglect of ground-level officials in protecting heritage sites in the walled city of Peshawar. Peshawar which has had a myriad of rulers since ancient times is a melting pot of cultural influences starting from early Greek, Mauryan and White Hun settlements to the more medieval, early Islamic, Persian, Sikh and British Raj structures. Waheedllah said the land mafia was joining hands with promoters to build malls, without regard to historical sites.

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