Islamabad, Oct 6: The Lahore of today knows the sprawling Ganga Ram Hospital well, but is largely unfamiliar with philanthropist Sir Ganga Ram, said a Pakistani daily which rued that its history is being neglected.
An editorial "A vanishing past" in the News International on Tuesday said that there are "many aspects to our colonial history that involve violence and bitterness. But some who may be associated with this past are also responsible for good deeds that served people well, do need to be appreciated and remembered".
"This can also help us appreciate, in an age of growing intolerance, the role that non-Muslims played in our society."
The daily said that few today in Karachi, outside the city's Parsi community, would recognise the names of the Dinshaws, father and son, who - starting some 130 years ago - gave Karachi 12 of its hospitals.
The father, Edulji Dinshaw, was the principal donor for the Lady Dufferin Hospital, named after the British peeress, and today is still the largest maternity hospital in the country. The Dinshaws, Edulji followed by his son Nadirshaw, also gave to the city of Karachi some of its best known educational institutions - including the Mama Parsi School - and contributed generously in other sectors too.
"Today, their statues have been removed from the squares of central Karachi. There is no intersection or road named after them, and the two men who in so many ways acted as the benefactors of Karachi have been thrust away from memory as part of a process of rewriting our history and happily straying away from accuracy in order to meet particular agendas drawn up for particular purposes," said the editorial.
The Dinshaws are not alone.
"The Lahore of today knows the sprawling Ganga Ram Hospital well, but is largely unfamiliar with Hindu philanthropist Sir Ganga Ram who set it up in the days before Partition along with other public service facilities that extend beyond Lahore. Sir Ganga Ram's statue was torn down in 1947."
The editorial went on to say that in the six and a half decades that have followed "we have done little to dispel that hatred".
"We have also done little to preserve history, allowing key buildings such as the Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore, where so many pro-independence speeches were made, to fall slowly into ruin."
"This neglect will not serve us well. We need a past on which to build a future, and we need to recognise all those who contributed to a country that must learn to celebrate its diversity," it added.