Steeped in history, they stand tall
Entering 68th year of Independence is a matter of pride for every Indian, with which comes the duty of conserving the structures of the pre-Independence era. The new Ludhiana is all about modernity, still there are monuments that were witness to India’s attaining freedom.punjab Updated: Aug 15, 2014 10:04 IST
A monument dating back to October 18, 1906, was inaugurated by the then Lt Governor of Punjab and its dependencies, Sir Charles Montgomery, along with Deewan Tek Chand, the then deputy commissioner of Ludhiana. The Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, referred to as “Ghanta Ghar”, ever since its installation has been a major landmark of the city and has become an emblem that represents Ludhiana.
The tower despite being the centre of commercial, political and economic activities for decades has not been taken care of. The tourism department of the state government has established its office inside the clock tower but unfortunately the “stone” carrying inscriptions of its foundation has gathered dust, making every word unreadable.
Built in 1891, the Jama Masjid of Ludhiana was founded by Maulana Shah Mohammad Ludhianavi, a freedom fighter who participated in the first war of Indian Independence in 1857.
A woman named Shamim Akhtar , daughter of Haji Hamid, an influential member of “Choon Gharan” community that lived in the area, which later came to be known as Field Ganj, contributed more than 50 percent of the money for the construction of the mosque.
The elegant minarets and net styled walls, a glimpse of the Islamic architecture is a photographers’ delight and has been preserved well by the family of Maulana Habib-Ur- Rehman , Ludhianavi , the custodians of this shrine since pre-Independence era.
Even the best of efforts by the Rehman family to get the “heritage status” for the mosque went in vain as neither the state tourism department nor the local government gave an affirmation for the same.
Christ Church, Fountain Chowk
Affiliated to the Church of England, the Christ Church is said to be the oldest Church in Punjab. None other than Daniel Wilson DD, the Bishop of Calcutta laid down the foundation stone in 1836 and it was consecrated in 1840.
The original stain glass paintings of Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and St John at the altar were brought from England in 1830’s. Not to miss the ceiling and benches that point towards the wooden marvel.
The 154 years’ old church is a symbol of pre-Independence era. Owing to its prime location, the Church and its land has become the target of the land mafia in the city. Some self styled leaders have started interfering with the working of the church which has resulted in the temporary closure of this worship place.
Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s house in Mohalla Naughara
The ancestral home of martyr Sukhdev Thapar located in Naughara Mohalla of Ludhiana is another site that connects the city people to the pre-Independence era. The martyr wasborn here on May 15, 1907.
The family of the martyr carried on their struggle with the government to get the status of heritage site for his house. All India Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust at last won the battle and the house was taken under the wings of Archeological Survey of India (ASI), following which the central government released an amount of Rs 81 lakh for its renovation.
SCD Government College
“Dare to be true”, reads the college logo inscribed at the entrance of an old wing of SCD Government College, Ludhiana. Originally known as Imperial College, Ludhiana, it was re-christened as Government College for Boys in 1920 and presently known as SCD Government College after Satish Chander Dhawan — a renowned space scientist, who migrated to the USA, and had a long and illustrious career at MIT, Massachusetts.
Arya High School
With a rich legacy of 125 years to its credit, Arya Girls Senior Secondary School is a symbol of devoted educationists and philanthropists contributing towards the cause of education.
Started as a Hindu school in a small building close to old Head Post Office, Ludhiana, the institution was taken over by Aryan Samaj in 1889 and was named Arya High School. The fact that Mahatma Munshi Ram Ji later known as Amar Shaheed Swami Shardhanand ji, an exponent of Arya Samaj and a disciple of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, laid the foundation stone of the school on March 29,1913, marking at as an epoch in the history of the city.
The red brick building with beautiful arched wooden doors having glass panels are still intact and speak of the architectural grandeur.