Sunday, May 29, 2011


A lot of criticism is in the air about the “fall of the Kalma chowk”, like it is the fall of the Pakistan economy. Many people, all of a sudden seem to be have loads of memories associated with it- which were probably made staring it, when they had to wait for a lot of time to get across the signal. Protests, SMSes and even Facebook pages have been made and dedicated to the discussion over the loss of this beautiful piece of architecture. The government’s personal interest in building this flyover is a bi-product of the discussion. This is a perfect example for why I support dictatorship for Pakistani people, mind you not military, over democracy.

I completely agree that the kalma chowk monument had its significance but there is no use crying over spilled milk. Has anyone thought about the maintenance of our actual cultural heritage? Lahore fort, Badshahi mosque to name a few. Seventy-five percent of the Lahore fort has deteriorated and only twenty-five percent is in its original form. There are less than fifteen sweepers responsible for the cleanliness of the whole fort spread over the area of 20 hectares. Now my question is, is anyone of the people who feel strongly about the cultural heritage doing anything about this situation, because it is obviously far far important?

I have not come across any single comment, post or SMS; what to talk about Facebook pages and discussions, on how fast the construction is being done or appreciating the hard work of the labor. The construction of the flyover goes on for twenty four hours and with the construction of this flyover one of the most important aspect of life, time, could be saved and better utilized.

Kalma chowk was a beautiful square which almost all Lahorites had passed by and it shall be remembered in our stories but sometimes you have to let go of things for greater good. Also, if one is that interested in preservation of the cultural heritage a proactive approach will be far more productive and will actually allow one to make an impact rather than spread than just uttering criticism. 


  1. I personally think that there is no harm if Kalma Chowk has been demolished because whatever has been done is just for the ease of local public! I prefer comfort over these not so valuable monuments! I agree with you on what you've written about Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque and other historical places! No one is concerned about those valuable and culturally strong structures!
    PML-N had constructed the kalma chowk and it was actually the shape of Nawaz Sharif's gal-fraaand Tahira Syed, and kalma was written afterwards to keep it safe. So doesn't matter if PML-N has removed it! Infact i've heard that they are going to build the same structure in a better way and even if they don't, the underpass and flyover is much more important!

  2. Yeah, it is said that they are going to built a better structure to keep the symbolic representation of kalma chowk intact.

  3. Looking at the bigger picture, I don't believe that razing of the monument holds much clout. Something should have been done about that intersection a long time ago.

    LDA (or whoever is responsible for planning traffic flow, I reckon it's TEPA) should be much more proactive when it comes to issues like this. For instance, is the design of the intersection transit system friendly (bus or rail based)? The green line of the LRMTS is supposed to have a stop at that intersection.

    Moreover, is there going to be an underpass along Main blvd. (garden town/ gulberg)? Will it have enough clearance to buses to use it (15 ft as opposed to under 12 ft for other underpasses)?

    These utilitarian questions are the ones that are much more important than diverting attention to subjective aspects of city planning.

    Not to undermine the importance of cultural and environmental fallout of the project (the latter should be considered by TEPA). The functional aspect of the project should be one of the first things to be appraised; that too, not only for the personal vehicular traffic, but also for public transportation and pedestrians (there are no footpaths or pedestrian bridges at main blvd. especially in front of PACE).

    As far as the speed of the construction goes, it feels rushed. If I am not mistaken, the construction company and the designing company (the notorious NESPAK) are already pointing fingers at each other for a design flaw/change of the piles for the flyover.
    The hard work of the laborers is another discussion altogether, they are underappreciated in so many ways; once again I would point to the aspects that should be higher on the priorities list - safety, compensation and insurance. Our gratitude towards them does not put bread on their tables, lack of respect for what they do is the real issue here.

  4. Agreed something should have been done about it long time ago but now if its being done the general attitude of the public should not be grievances over the loss of the "national" monument.

    Our respect for the labors is the least we could do for them. Even that is not being done-- what to talk about safety, compensation, insurance or even public awareness.