Amritsar, 18th September 2022: Concerted efforts are on to preserve heritage have begun in Pakistan with the Jain community and akistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) planning to save around 40 Jain temples present in the neighbouring country.
Earlier this month, ETPB deputy secretary Sayed Faraz Abbas informed that after renovating the Jain Digambar temple situated at Old Anarkali in Lahore, the ETPB has now started the restoration of Jain Shwetamber Ghar Mandir, the ‘samadhi’ of Jain acharya Atamaramji, in Gujranwala.
As an aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in India in 1992, several temples, including the Lahore Jain temple, were attacked by frenzied mobs. In recent past, former chief justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmad had directed to inspect and renovate the temple. “We were given one year’s time to renovate the temple but we did the job in a record 8 months’ time,” Faraz said adding that around 70 lakh Pakistani rupees were spent to restore the grandeur of the temple.
The renovation work restored the old structure left intact in the 1992 attack, along with plastering of walls, installation of gates and landscaping.
ETPB had also planned to install a statue of Bhagwan Adinath at what was once known as Jain Mandir Chowk.
However, Delhi’s Jain Heritage Foundation’s secretary Ashwani Jain had suggested them to instead install a paraflex banner as there were no Jains left in Lahore to perform the daily rituals. Sources claim there were as many as 40 Jain temples in Pakistan, with 14 in Sindh’s Nagarparkar area alone, but no Jains to take care of them.
ETPB spokesperson Aamir Hashmi informed that a delegation of the British High Commission, Lahore visited the Jain temple in Lahore on September 1.
The delegates including Annabell Gerry, Alex Ballinger and Sana Zia took a keen interest in the renovation of the Jain temple and also expressed their interest in visiting other historical Sikh and Hindu shrines in the near future. – News & Photo Courtesy: Yudhvir Rana, Times of India