By Muhammad Luqman
The people of Pakistan’s eastern city Lahore are so smitten by Turkish Television series revolving around the character of Turk warrior , Ertugural that they have erected the hero’s statue in southern neighborhood of Marghzar colony .
The TV series, Ertugrul Ghazi, originally Dirilis: Ertugrul in Turkish is being aired on the Pakistan Television in Urdu language .
The warrior in the life-size statue is seen carrying a sword and riding a horse.
Muhammad Shahzad Cheema, the president of the Maraghzar Housing Scheme, says he decided to erect the statues of Ertugrul after some of the residents floated the idea of paying a tribute to him.
” We have got two statues of fiber and steel fabricated in the central Punjab town of Kamalia which is otherwise known for special cloth, Khaddar,” he explains.
Of these, the one that depicts Ertugrul on a horse has been erected and unveiled while the other is going to be erected soon possibly at a central place.
“We will call the place Ertugrul Ghazi Chowk,” says Sohail Anwar Rana, the secretary general of the scheme, referring to the location where the first statue has been unveiled.
In a country like Pakistan where majority of population is Muslim, statues are found mostly inside museums, not on the roads. In the Lahore city, only one is seen on the central Lahore road of the Mall i.e. the statue of Alfred Woolner, a professor of Sanskrit and vice-chancellor of the Punjab University.
The other statue installed inside 17th century Lahore Fort last year , is of 19th century ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh that was vandalized by some persons days after its erection.
But in the past, Lahore had been a home to busts and statues of various personalities , mainly those from the British raj period.
Soon after the creation of Pakistan , when anti-British and Hindu emotions ran high and imperialism was still our deadliest enemy, the statues of British rulers as well as illustrious non-Muslims were damaged and removed.
During British raj period, there was a statue of Lala Lajpat Rai near Kim’s Gun on the Mall . This was damaged in 1947 and is now confined to the warehouse of the Lahore Museum.
Sir Ganga Ram, the philanthropist and engineer who built some of Lahore’s most iconic buildings, was also immortalised in marble and his statue also adorned The Mall in pre-partition days. But it was also removed after the partition.
The statue of Sir John Lawrence, the first governor of Punjab and later governor general of British India (1864-69), used to stand outside the Lahore High Court building. Holding a sword in one hand and a pen in the other hand, it was initially removed during the troubles following the hanging of Bhagat Singh and kept in the Lahore Museum. It was later moved to Britain.
There was also a statue of Queen Victoria, seated on her throne, installed at the Charring Cross intersection (Now Faisal Chowk) on The Mall. However, it was removed for the second OIC summit in February 1974 and placed in the Lahore Museum.
A sculpture of King Edward VII, depicting him riding a horse, used to sit outside the King Edward Medical College, but that is also long gone.