October 09, 2006

"I belong to Ludhiana"

I stay in Ludhiana. I live in my family house here, which was constructed way back in late 80s. We shifted here in early 90s. Before that we were in Sudhar as I along with my two elder brothers studied at Central School, Halwara. Then I did my graduation from GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar. While staying at Sudhar, Ludhiana was the nearest city and we kept coming here. I am driving at a point through this self introduction that I belong to Ludhiana, in a way. So how much do I know Ludhiana? Not much, as I discovered.
I rediscovered Ludhiana through Neel Kamal Puri, the author of 'The Patiala Quartet'. She was here to do some recce for her next novel that is going to be based in the city. Ludhiana, of all places! That is the usual reaction. That was mine too. There is nothing interesting about Ludhiana. She was born in Ludhiana, grew up in Patiala and now works and stays in Chandigarh. That partially explains the choice of the city as a setting for a novel. Actually Khushwant Singh suggested to her that she should write her next novel on Ludhiana. The historian in him might have smelt great potential here. Ludhiana has been an important city, as far as history goes. During the time of Lodhis in fifteenth century, a magnificent fort was built here. It’s in ruins totally eclipsed by bustling town around near Daresi ground. Ludhiana was the political agency of the British. Afghan king Shah Shuja after he took refuge in India was placed here. He was put up at a place where now stands the Post and telegraph office in front of Bhadaur House. No remnant of the old structure remains there. It was the last British army outpost before Maharaja Ranjit Singh's empire started from across Satluj. It was a major epicenter of Ghadar movement, though not much direct action took place here. It remained an important centre of Wahabi movement. A fatwa was issued from Maszid Do Manzili in 1888 strongly urging the Muslims to join the Congress, giving a severe blow to the progress of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's movement in the Punjab and UP, who had urged the Muslims to boycott Congress. The mosque lies in tatters in a narrow lane of Mochpura bazaar, which has since turned into a wool market.


Isha Attlee said...

wow! i didnt know a bit about ldh ... even after spending 25 years in the city. I dont know why .. may be i m person who just love to stick to my computer rather than going out

Kokusai said...

I also studied in Central School Halwara, passed in 1983. Write to me if you passed around same time ravkat@hotmail.com