New look at cost of heritage

Only small patches have been preserved, while renovating the majestic buildings much to the dismay of heritage lovers. Qadian, one of the ancient towns of the border state, has witnessed vast destruction of heritage in the past. Mr Burhan Ahmad Zafar, secretary for publications of Sadr-Anjuman-Ahmadiyya, who is also a prolific writer, said the ancient forts and gates of the town stood demolished long ago.

The Ahmadiyya movement in Islam, a religious organisation, was founded in 1889 at Qadian (the border district of Gurdaspur) by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). Qadian is also considered the abode of peace by the Ahmadiyyas, spread all over the world. This is the place where the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya movement was born, brought up and buried.

During a visit to the sacred places of Ahmadiyyas, this correspondent saw the renovation work of the historic buildings going on a war-footing. The ‘masjid mubarak’ (Baitul-Zikr), the first portion of the que, adjacent to Baitul-Fikr, which was built by the promised messiah in 1883, underwent a major renovation. It was extended in 1907 and then again in 1914 and 1944. This que is considered a source of blessing by the members of the Qadiani community. Similar treatment was given to ‘Baitul-Fikr’ (meditation room), the sacred room where originally the promised messiah was engaged in writing. The masterprice of his writings is the book entitled Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya.

Unaware of the heritage value, the planners gave modern touch to the sacred room where Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the promised messiah, was born on February 13, 1835 A.D. This was the parental house of the founder of the faith. Mr Jafar claimed that the family of the founder of the Ahmadiyya community migrated to Qadian during the time of Emperor Akbar. Hence some of the sacred buildings could be more than five centuries old.

It is reliably learnt that when senior officials of the Jammat realised that the invaluable heritage of Ahmadiyyas was damaged in the name of modernity, it was to late to take corrective measures. Mr Syed Tanwir Ahmad, President of the Press Committee, however, claimed that the renovation work had to be carried out due to the poor condition of the buildings. He said efforts were made to preserve some portions of the old buildings.

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