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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are Housing Schemes Destroying Our Urban History?
https://www.facebook.com/AncientPakistan.pk/posts/1797468660313110

Our urban neighbourhoods have always been named to reflect our culture or history - places like Gulberg, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nazimabad, Anarkali, Lyari, Faizabad, Hayatabad etc. All these places have culture, history and soul about them. Nowadays however, places like "Paragon City", "Eden Avenue", "Ideal Garden Housing Scheme", "DHA City", "Bahria Town", "Arian City", "Top City" seem to be the norm. Does this not seem problematic?

For many of you, this might not be a big deal, but for me and anyone who loves history, this is a tragedy in the making and it needs to stop. Our urban history is being destroyed like this. Please read the following and your feedback would be appreciated.

Housing society names are generally very ignorantly conceived - and nowhere else in Pakistan is this more evident than in Lahore.

Back in the 1950s and 60s, visionary and educated people were administering the Lahore Development Authority (LDA). All urban localities of Lahore were named after the historic village or named to reflect the local culture. Over 250 years ago, Lahore city only consisted of the "Androon Shehr" or Walled City. Outside the wall, Lahore was surrounded by farmland and small villages. Over the next 250 years to present time, Lahore expanded beyond its walls, and many of these surrounding villages were absorbed.

When LDA was formed, an emphasis was made to keep these names alive. It is for this reason why Lahore has so much character to it...for example, places like:

- Anarkali
- Badami Bagh
- Gawalmandi
- Daroghawala
- Shahdara
- Heera Mandi
- Mughulpura
- Ichra
- Mazang
- Baghbanpura
- Thokar Niaz Baig
- Kot Lakhpat
- Babu Sabu
- etc....

When Lahore expanded west of Canal Road and towards Thokar in the 1970s, new housing subdivisions were constructed and given names by the LDA to reflect the local culture, such as:

- Gulberg
- Samanabad
- Gulshan-e-Ravi
- Gulshan-e-Iqbal
- Ghaziabad
- Nabipura
- Batapur
- Sabzazar
- etc...

The most interesting is Batapur. When the Bata Shoe Factory opened in east Lahore, the company also constructed a new housing estate adjacent to the factory. Instead of giving it a soulless name like "Bata Employees Cooperative Housing Society" or "Bata City" or "Bata Town", they named it Batapur...a name that is still used today. This was not only a smart marketing move, but it also respected the local culture and language.

Then the 1980s arrived...and it was during this period that Lahore began changing its naming philosophy. Instead of respecting the local culture, Anglo names were given to new housing developments, such as:

- Faisal Town
- Garden Town
- Muslim Town
- Model Town
- Johar Town
- Firdous Colony
- Islamia Park
- New Garden Town

These names have no soul to them whatsoever. Despite the fact Urdu and Punjabi words already exist, the Anglo terms were adopted. For example, the word for TOWN in Urdu and Punjabi would be any of the following:

- Abad (آباد)
- Abadi (آبادی)
- Pur (پور)
- Pura (پورہ)
- Mahalla (محله)

In Urdu, there is no word for colony as this was adopted from English. However, Urdu (as is the case for all other Pakistani languages) has traditionally always borrowed from Persian, and it should have applied in this case. The term for "colony" or "town" in Persian is Shahrak (شهرک). For example, Tehran's "Qarb Town" is referred to as "Shahrak-e Gharb". Similar names could have easily applied to places like:

- Faisal Town as Shahrak-e-Faisal (شهرک فیصل)
- Garden Town as Shahrak-e-Bagh (شهرک باغ)
- Johar Town as Shahrak-e-Johar (شهرک جوہر)
- Firdous Colony as Shahrak-e-Firdous (شهرک فردوس)

Then words like "Park" and "New" were introduced, despite the fact these terms already had an Urdu and Punjabi equivalent.

- Park is Bagh (باغ)
- New is Naya (نیا) or Nei (نئی)

Why "town", "colony", "park" and "new" were introduced by LDA is unknown. But this is the LDA we're talking about...they're not the smartest bunch of people. Then in the 1990s, housing society names started getting more bizarre.

"Defence Housing Authority" became a popular destination for the rich and elite of Lahore. But does this actually sound welcoming and residential? Does it have any history to it? Is it associated with our culture? The answer is obviously no. To somebody who is not familiar with this place, it would sound more like an administrative body (LDA, CDA etc.) or an industrial area.

I have many friends who live in Defence and many of them refer to Defence as "DHA", which I find silly. Islamabadis don't say they live in "Capital Development Authority" or "CDA"? Karachites don't say they live in "Karachi Metropolitan Corporation" or "KMC" either.

Defence also introduced the term "Phase". Not only was this a waste of breath saying, it also clogged up our road signs. Defence could have learned from Shadman, built 80 years earlier, as it too was divided into phases. However, Shadman simply uses numerals as "Shadman 1", "Shadman 2" while Defence uses "DHA Phase 1", "DHA Phase 2", etc. Odd, but it gets worse.

As you move more south from Defence, you come across even more weird names, each with its own "phases" such as:

- LDA City
- LDA Avenue
- Wapda Town
- Lake City
- Abdalian Cooperative Housing Society
- NFC Employees Cooperative Housing Society
- Bahria Town
- Architects Engineers Housing Society
- Audit & Accounts Housing Society
- Millat Tractors Employees Housing Society

LDA now puts more emphasis on naming these places after housing schemes, rather than the historic neighbourhood or village they were built in. For example:

- LDA City was built over Kahna Nau
- Wapda Town over Ali Raza Abad
- Garden Town over Devasabad and Mariyan
- Bahria Town over Maraka
- Faisal Town over Mochi Pura
- LDA Avenue over Chung
- Model Town and Township over Pind Rajputan and Kot Lakhpat

Sadly this is becoming a trend across the country and if you're concerned about history, then you should be outraged and should lodge a protest with your respective development authority.

I support new housing developments 100% as we need better housing. But I cannot support naming entire new localities after ridiculous sounding housing developments as they do not reflect our culture.

Names like Gawalmandi, Mazung, Jallo, Gulberg, Shah Jamal all mean something to Lahoris. They have a soul to them and rich long history. "Defence Housing Authority Phase 8" means nothing as does "Bahria Town". They are hallow, soulless, suburban black holes.

LDA should revert back to its old naming ideology, as the present one is just destroying our urban history.
 

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Indus Priest King
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7,581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It's about time somebody raises this question. I was looking at Google Maps the other day and was flabbergasted. No offense, but what kind of stupid name is "Master City" to name a simply small housing estate/scheme? What was the name of the village they destroyed to make this silly place? That's the name that should remain...in honour of the heritage of Gujranwala.

These stupid new housing schemes are destroying the urban history and heritage of all our cities. Names like "Master City", "Bahria Town", "Top City" etc. should be banned from being called neighbourhoods. These are company names, not neighbourhood names. Company names should not have more importance over 300-400 year old local neighbourhood names.

Much of Kotli Mughlan was destroyed making this "Master Crap City". And not only this, Bahria Town has done the same in Lahore...at least 3 small villages were completely destroyed and all traces of there 300-400 years old history completely wiped out. This is unacceptable.

If any housing scheme destroys a village or uproots people from a place, that housing scheme should be FORCED to name itself after that village. This is not right now these greedy uncultured housing thugs can walk in, destroy small villages and then erase all history of them...aur ooper se bakwass kism ke naam rakay. "Master City"...kera city?

Afsos.
 

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Indus Priest King
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7,581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's just I find it out why private companies are allowed to rename entire localities without a public hearing of any sort.

Bahria Town is not actually a town...it's the name of the company "Bahria Town Private Limited".

Master City is actually called "Master City Private Limited".

They should not be allowed to destroy the names of villages which have lasted 400+ years.
 

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I agree with all your points. The loss of history with renaming of these areas is appalling. But, kahi aesa to nai k k bahria town and DHA do not evoke any meaning because they don't intend to. They are supposed to be elite enclaves which isolate them from gande mande log from mazang and ichra. Maybe the people who live there are not concerned about history and try to model each and every aspect of their life according to western influences. Maybe they want to whitewash over every desi/local aspect of their identity.
PS: I have experienced life, both in DHA and mazang and temple road ki 3 am ki chai ka level kahi aur nai mil sakta...
 

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Indus Priest King
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree with all your points. The loss of history with renaming of these areas is appalling. But, kahi aesa to nai k k bahria town and DHA do not evoke any meaning because they don't intend to. They are supposed to be elite enclaves which isolate them from gande mande log from mazang and ichra. Maybe the people who live there are not concerned about history and try to model each and every aspect of their life according to western influences. Maybe they want to whitewash over every desi/local aspect of their identity.
PS: I have experienced life, both in DHA and mazang and temple road ki 3 am ki chai ka level kahi aur nai mil sakta...
Interesting point. I didn't think of it like that. You mean to say it's deliberate. Yes I agree...I live in Defence myself and the attitude and nakhray of people here is astonishing. They do indeed look down upon others I have noticed.

Built a bubble for themselves and pretend they're angraiz. Losers.
 

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^^lol thats the whole reason, I remember travelling on M2 with some people and they literally made fun of every name that came by. Do you expect em to live in a place called lets say "khamba pind"? Anyway even if they want to change the name, simply name it defence or bahria. Please remove the freaking "housing authority","town","city" etc and please dont put a freaking huge gate everywhere in the city it makes the city look so insecure!
 

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Indus Priest King
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7,581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kahmba Pind might sound silly, but they can rename it to anything else. Lyalpur for example was renamed to Faisalabad. Even though I am against that, at least they renamed it to something that sounds like our culture.

WTF is "Defence Housing Authority". If I went to the US and said I live in a town called "Defence Housing Authority" they would laugh at me.

Such nonsense.
 
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