Last remnant of an Afghan king lost

In fact, the King had actually spent more than 20 years in the city. In what may come as a surprise to t of the modern residents, the Afghan King resided in a building in Bhadaur House, (then the Bhadaur Fort) where Central Post office is located these days.

Though, historians have recorded in detail the Afghan King’s connection to the city, the Ludhianvis have turned their backs to his last remnants -his residence and a stone inscription found just couple of years ago in the present day post office building. The remnants, according to a few senior citizens and postal employees could be seen just few years ago in the building but in recent renovation the residence of the king was razed to the ground. The stone had also vanished and no one knows about its where abouts today.

It is history now that the king had gifted the diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh as part of presentations to him for allowing the Afghan King and his army to stay in the city. It has also been suggested by some historians that the presentation ceremony actually took place here though there is no concrete evidence for it. On the decline and fall of the Durrani kingdom in Afghanisatan, its ruler Shah Shuja-ul- Mulk fled to India. After years of wandering, sordid intrigues and misfortunes, he finally escaped from Lahore to Ludhiana in September 1816. He was later joined by his relative ex-king Zaman Shah. Incidentally the two families did not enter into a matrimonial alliance in Afghanistan. However, at the pursuance of a renowned saint, Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir both families resolved their differences in Ludhiana. Soon, circumstances changed in favour of Shah Shuja. With the support of the British and Sikh forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh he managed to raise an army at his residence in Bhadaur House here.

With the combined help of his friends he succeeded in conquering Afghanistan on August 7,1839, where he ultimately died in 1842. For more than a century his house and an inscription on a stone could be seen at the present day Central Post Office. Pictures of the two remnants have even been published in the Ludhiana Gazetteer but the remnants have now vanished. According to Dr R Vatsyan, a keen history watcher , there used to be even hamams and gardens at the residence. He said earlier visitors to the city used to visit the place to see the residence of the king who had donated Kohinoor to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

However, with the passage of time and due to lack of government’s desire to preserve the monument, the remnants were abandoned. Things came to such a pass that the Postal Department demolished the residence and constructed a new building in its place.

Mr M.K. Khan Senior Superintendent Post Offices here expressed ignorance about the historical aspect of the building. He said the construction had not taken place during his tenure.

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