LIFE IN SMALL TOWNS
THAAP organized the first conference, Thaap Conference-2010, titled ‘Historiography of Architecture in Pakistan and the Region’ in November 2010. Various viewpoints in the writing of history were presented and studied. A consensus developed that history acquires a meaning for the people if written from their perspective. The second conference Thaap Conference 2011 on ‘Portrait of Lahore: Capital City of the Punjab’ projected the city as an integrated human endeavor. Architecture, City Planning, Urbanism are important specialized fields of study, however, urban agglomeration results from Humans seeking a better life, and thus LIFE becomes the focal point of any composite and meaningful study of Towns.
For the current year 2012, it is proposed that, to better understand the integrated approach in the study of ‘Human Agglomerations’ which was attempted in the Thaap Conference 2011, an integrated study of small towns be attempted. Definition of a Small Town is generally based on population, but for us, in Punjab, because the entire development, growth and sustenance effort revolves around the state functionaries, an administrative unit would be, more relevant (a tehsil or a small district headquarter).
In Pakistan small towns get neglected as the major effort of the state is towards the more glamorous large cities. Politicians and other decision makers continuously talk of making some city or another into a European prototype (Paris is the great favorite) and most of the investment is directed towards the capital cities. What is life in the small town then? What is the quality of education, culture, literature, health and hygiene, road network and so on? What is the state of ecological balance with chemicals in industry and agriculture? What is the nature of disparities among the people? Growth of population is continuously adding to pressure on the ever decreasing resources and what is the level of realization of tomorrow? What of the next generation and their quality of life, education, work opportunity, health and happiness? What are impacts of the efforts of designers and planners and what fruit do they bear? These are the questions that need to be raised and studied.
The following are the main lines of study:
A. Understanding the People that make the Town
B. Identifying the lines of Growth & Development
C. Thoughts for the Future of the Town
Inauguration Session: Conference Convener, Prof. Pervaiz Vandal addressing the audience
Inauguration Session: (From left to right) Guest of Honor, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin, VC UoG; Chief Guest, Prof. Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi, Advisor Human Development, HEC and CEO THAAP, Prof. Sajida Vandal
Session 1 chaired by Dr. Mubarak Ali. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Mamoona Khan, Dr. Imdad Hussain, Dr. Mubarak Ali (Session Chair), Ms. Kiran Bashir Ahmed and Mr. Ghafar Mohiuddin
Session 2 chaired by Dr. Mohammad Mushtaq. Speakers: (from left to right) Dr. Ahmad Hussain, Dr. Asaf Nawaz, Dr. Mohammad Mushtaq (Session Chair), Dr. Taraneh Yalda and Ar. Bazla Mansoor.
Session 3 chaired by Dr. Taraneh Yalda. Speakers: Dr. Ghafer Shahzad (left) and Ar. Mehrdad Bahmani (right).
Exhibition of works at College of Art and Design, University of Punjab.
Session 4 chaired by Prof. Dr. Rahat Masud. Speakers: (from left to right) Ar. Sahar Morady, Ar. Kamil Khan Mumtaz, Prof. Dr. Rahat Masud (Session Chair), Ms. Sara Afzal and Ms. Amina Ejaz.
Session 5 chaired by Prof. Syed Shabir Hussain Shah. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Meagan Schoenfelder, Ar. Saba Samee, Prof. Syed Shabir Hussain Shah (Session Chair), Ar. Sharieh Hosseini and Mr. Husain Qazi.
Session 6 chaired by Prof. Dr. Abdul Rehman. Speakers: (from left to right) Ms. Samra Khan, Prof. Dr. Abdul Rehman (Session Chair), Mr. Jalal Mohaddesi and Ms. Eesha Thaker.
Session 7 chaired by Prof Dr. Priyaleen Singh. Speakers: Ar. Ambreen Saqib, Prof. Dr. Jawaid Haider, Prof. Dr. Priyaleen Singh (Session Chair) and Ar. Sadia Ahmed.
Exhibition of works at School of Architecture and Design, UET Lahore.
Session 8 chaired by Dr. Akhtar Sindhu. Speakers: Mr. Ashok Koshy, Dr. Akhtar Sindhu (Session Chair), Dr. Fareeha Zafar and Dr. Muhammad Shafique.
Session 9 chaired by Ms. Shoba Koshy. Speakers: Ms. Izza Khalid & Ms. Farah Iqbal presenting Dr. Nadia Anjum’s paper, Ms. Shoba Koshy (Session Chair), Dr. Kanwal Khalid and Ar. Sahrieh Hosseini presenting Shera Owlia & Mahdi Sadeghahmadi’s paper.
Session 10 chaired by Prof. Dr. Jawaid Haider. Speakers: Ms. Yasmeen Javed, Prof. Dr. Priyaleen Singh, Prof. Dr. Jawaid Haider (Session Chair), Prof. Dr. Neelam Naz and Ms. Fatima Javed.
Session 11 chaired by Prof. Dr. Anis Siddiqui. Speakers: Mr. Sajjad Haider, Dr. S. M. Hossein Ayatullahi, Prof. Dr. Anis Siddiqui (Session Chair) and Prof. Syed Faisal Sajjad.
Musical Program at Kinnaird College for Women Lahore.
Visit to University of Gujrat.
Theatre Performance by the students of Odeum Art Society, UoG.
Mr. Imran Shah presented Saif-ul-Malook in Raag Darbari followed by Prof. Shabbir Hussain & Ustaad Fayyaz Ali Khan
THIRD INTERNATIONAL THAAP CONFERENCE 2012
People’s History of Pakistan
Held on Nov 09-12, 2012 at 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore & University of Gujrat, Pakistan
The peer-reviewed research journal ‘Life in Small Towns’ was published in Nov 2013. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal is the Editor.
Third International Thaap Conference was held in collaboration with HEC, University of Gujrat and Thaap in which scholars from Iran, India, Sweden, U.K., U.S.A. and Pakistan presented various small towns of the world.
A 4 day conference with supporting events was held as follows:
- Art Exhibition at College of Art & Design, University of the Punjab with exhibition opening by Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab and a Dinner.
- Students Exhibition at Department of Architecture, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore with exhibition opening by Vice Chancellor, University of Engineering & Technology and a Dinner.
- Cultural Program with a Dinner at Kinnaird College for Women Lahore organised by Principal, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore.
A visit to Gujrat on 4th Day of the Conference with talks, Cultural Program, Theatre Performance and Lunch was held at University of Gujrat, organised by Vice Chancellor, University of Gujrat.
List of Paper Readers
1. Prof. Dr. Priyaleen Singh
CONSERVING HISTORIC TOWNS: A Framework for Integrated Conservation plan for Orchha, a small medieval settlement in Central Asia
2. Ashok Koshy
Embracing Modernity: An Ancient Tradition in Crisis
3. Eesha Thaker
Life of the Pastoral Bharwad in Rajkot (Saurashtra, Gujarat) - Ethnic Sustainability in Transition
4. Dr. Taraneh Yalda
Life in Iranian Small Towns
5. Sharieh Hosseini
“Yazd” The Pearl of the Desert
6. S. M. Hossein Ayatollahi & Mahbobeh Porahmadi
Baud-Geers of Yazd and Aghda: City and Small Town Identity
7. Alireza Golkarieh & Sahar Morady
How industrial invasion affects the Architecture of Small Iranian Towns
8. Mehrdad Bahmani
Torbat Jām, A City with a Multicultural Heritage
9. Shera Owlia & Mahdi Sadeghahmadi
The potential of living in harmony with nature in small towns
10. Jalal Mohaddesi
Cultural Pedestrians: An investigation in pedestrian Architectural/Urban Spaces during relgious mourning rituals
11. Meagan Schoenfelder
The Narrative of the Lynch Knife River Flint Quarry: Small communities and big issues
12. Ambreen Saqib
Life in Small Towns: Cordoba in Spain
13. Prof. Dr. Jawaid Haider & Dr. Madhuri Desai
From Dubai to Mofussilabad: Small Towns and Architectural Spectacle in South Asia
14. Kiran Bashir Ahmad
Urban Residents' Life Satisfaction after migration to a Metropolitan City: A comparison of the factors influencing life satisfaction in Karachi and Delhi
15. Sadia Ahmed
Forgotten Heroes From Small Towns
16. Dr. Rao Nadeem Alam & Mr. Sajjad Haider
Balakot: A Victim Town of Earthquake
17. Dr. Nadia Anjum & Farah Iqbal
Life in Small Peripheral Towns/Qasbas
18. Amina Ejaz & Sarah Afzal
Haveli Bhumman Shah
19. Dr. Imdad Hussain
Anti-Urbanism and Small Towns Dilapidation in Punjab: A case of Lodhran
20. Dr. Kanwal Khalid
The Art of Alpana in Smaller Towns
21. Mamoona Khan
Kuri - Do not let by gone be by gone
22. Samra Khan
Chronicling the Development and Growth of Sarai Khurbooza; Culture, Conservationism and Sustainability
23. Mano Javed
Night Bus to Sialkot
24. Bazla Manzoor
Architectural Elements and Techniques from the city of Chiniot, Pakistan
25. Kamil Khan Mumtaz
Life in Small Towns - a theoretical framework
26. Prof. Dr. Neelum Naz & Fatima Javed
Gujranwala: A city in Transition
27. Dr. Asaf Nawaz & Dr. Ahmad Hussain
Existing Basic Facilities, Disparities, and Future Hopes: An Evaluation
28. Husain Qazi
The Road To Kasur
29. Syed Faisal Sajjad
Life in displaced small towns (The case of South Punjab during floods)
30. Saba Samee
A place called Martos
31. Dr. Muhammad Shafique
From Centrality to Marginality- Life and Development in Sera-i-Sidho during the Colonial Period
32. Dr. Ghafer Shahzad
Cult Of Sufi Shrines In Small Towns
33. Dr. Fareeha Zafar
Life in Small Towns: Pakpattan and Arifwala
34. Ghafar Mohiudin
Contemporary development in the historical city of Gujrat
35. Dr. Anila Naeem
Shikarpur - Experiences of a city under shadows of a glorious past
THAAP INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2012
"LIFE IN SMALL TOWNS"
The Third International Thaap Conference titled “Life in small Towns” started on 09th November and continued till 12th November 2012. It was organized by the University of Gujrat and Thaap, together with the support of Higher Education Commission. The venue for the 3 day paper reading sessions was 43-G, Gulberg-III, Lahore and the 4th day was scheduled at the University of Gujrat, Hafiz Hayat Campus where talks on Gujrat, were organized. University of the Punjab, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, and Kinnaird College for Women extended full collaboration for the conference.
THAAP forum provided formal, in depth and well-focused discussion in which historians, economists, sociologists, town planners, architects, scholars & delegates from Bangladesh, India, Iran, UK, USA & various cities of Pakistan participated & presented their papers. About 75 people attended the conference. The warmth of the venue being the Vandals home & the cordiality of the entire organizing committee made me glued to the conference till the last day. Thaap truly serves as a forum for encouraging youngsters to participate & present their papers at the same time appreciating, guiding & streamlining them by a very salubrious & positive appraisal.
The 1st day of THAAP conference began with the Inaugural Session. Welcome address was made by Professor Sajida Haider Vandal, CEO, THAAP. She mentioned about the past conferences & Thaap publications launched at the conference. She introduced some key personnel of the conference & thanked the guests for their continual active participation in the trust activities.
Professor Pervaiz Vandal, Conference Convener presented the talk on Conference Theme “Life in small Towns”. He emphasized that how the current investment policies of the Regime are more inclined towards the big & the grand. More than bricks & mortar it’s the people who give a town its character. Cities have dynamism of their own & are part of a long revolutionary cycle. He mentioned about the 5000 years old civilizations of Mohenjo-Daro & Harappa where eco-friendly materials had been used like gypsum & tar; without any signs of will full destruction. He also shared some pictures showing the current devastation & unlikely occupancy of our old heritage site/ buildings. He stressed on three important points which could play a vital role to uplift the small towns i-e Firstly trust the people, learn from them & let their culture strive, secondly return the town to the people & thirdly to change the colonial mindset.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizamuddin, Vice Chancellor, University of Gujrat the Guest of Honour expressed that City grows on its own & Growth cannot take place until it comes from the people. He added that we need to look at the positive angle of how the small towns can be protected, saved & made part of the growing economy. Strategies should be devised to protect & conserve small towns at the same time not let them die in the economic crises. The prime requirement is to identify those small towns that require immediate attention & help create life around them. He showed his willingness to support the study for the identification of small towns in terms of their living conditions & architecture & further added that it is the public who has to raise voice against the unjustified occupancy of public buildings. To Protect, Prevent, Conserve & Develop is the need of the hour. He congratulated Prof. Pervaiz Vandal & said that it was a pleasure for the University of Gujrat to be part of this conference.
Prof. Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi; Advisor Human Development being the Chief Guest of the conference elucidated that small towns have produced great people like Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Noor Jahan, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Malala Yousafzai & many others. In this way despite of being small towns they have huge contribution as compared to many big cities. He also mentioned the initiative that HEC has taken for the higher education of small communities. In the end he thanked Thaap & UOG on behalf of HEC in organizing such an event & said that HEC will always extend its support in such efforts. The inaugural session was followed by a tea break.
The 1st Session was chaired by Dr. Mubarak Ali, a renowned historian and a scholar. The session opened with the paper on “Anti-Urbanism and Small Towns Dilapidation in Punjab: A Case of Lodhran” by Dr. Imdad Hussain, from Lahore. His paper revolved around the historic origins & influence of anti-urbanism in the development of Punjab & also explained how the small towns are the victims of anti-urban ideology.
The 2nd paper was presented by Psychologist Kiran Bashir Ahmad from Karachi on “Urban Residents’ Life Satisfaction after migration to a Metropolitan City”. The paper was a comparison of the factors influencing life satisfaction of people who migrate from villages, towns or smaller cities to larger metropolitan cities like in Karachi & Delhi. The research had implications at a comparative level and in understanding the dynamics behind the construct of life satisfaction related to internal migration & settlement.
The 3rd paper was presented by Mamoona Khan, from Rawalpindi on “Kurri – Do not let by gone be by gone”. Kurri is a small town in the vicinity of Rawalpindi having archeological sites i-e: remains of a fort, a Gurdawara, a legendary mosque, Hindu temples along with ancient wells. The paper brought into light the inconspicuous status of Kurri & to build a link between its past & present positions.
The 4th paper was presented by Ghafar Mohiuddin from Gujrat; on “Contemporary development in the historical city of Gujrat”. The paper focused that despite of Gujrat being an ancient city of not only Pakistan but among all the historical cities of the world; it lacks major architectural advancement. Therefore, serious initiatives must be taken for the development in the city.
The discussion session highlighted the need to study multiple reasons for the lack of development in Gujrat in comparison to other major cities despite of its strategic location & being an industrial city. Need for the small towns to have music centers, libraries, cultural centers etc. to preserve their identity was also brought forward. The session was followed by a lunch break.
The 2nd Session was chaired by Dr. Mohammad Mushtaq, Head of Political Science & I.R Departments at University of Gujrat. The session opened with the paper by Dr. Taraneh Yalda, from Tehran, Iran on “Life in Iranian Small Towns”. It was an interesting paper with a comparison between old & the new Iranian towns. Historically Iran developed as strong & rich civilization with a self-sufficient agricultural economy but currently the economy is dominated by export of oil with majority of employment in the service sector & retail industry. After a land reform in the sixties social relations were put into deep crises & immigration from rural areas & small towns into bigger cities became excessive. This created an imbalance & the rural population today has fallen to only 20 % of the total population in some regions. An effort to undo this state change may include firstly to assess the core & identity of the town, secondly to plan for the small towns & thirdly to make possible the participation of citizens for a better community. An example of the successful health care system established in Iran after the Islamic revolution was also shared. According to this at least 50% of the positions in the medical colleges & universities were filled by qualified applicants from small towns & the same percentage of the medical training positions were allocated to women. Training & utilization of local community personnel was a key part of the system. This change increased the availability of medical doctors in rural & remote areas of the country thereby improving the health care in rural Iran.
The 2nd paper was presented by Ar. Bazla Manzoor, from Faisalabad on “Architectural Elements and Techniques From the city of Chiniot, Pakistan”. The paper provided an understanding of human settlements; that gave the city of Chiniot its historic architectural character, growth & development procedures of architectural elements & applied techniques, impact of these on the people & their role in the present day field of architecture. The examples included Umar Hayat Mahal, Shahi Mosque, Tomb of Shah Burhan, Chakkan Wali Haveli & some Hindu temples.
The last paper of the 2nd session was presented by Dr. Asaf Nawaz & Dr. Ahmad Hussain, from Hazara University on “Existing Basic Facilities, Disparities & Future Hopes”. It was an Evaluation aimed to understand the routine life problems related to basic necessities of people residing in rural areas of Tehsil Kotli Sattian, district Rawalpindi. This paper raised some basic research questions including research methodology, data collection & analysis, results & recommendations. It was also highlighted that inequalities between urban & rural areas are not new. They have always existed & may even have been more extreme in the past than they are today. It is difficult to remove all disparities completely but efforts can be made to have more commercial areas & public parks to attract visitors for prosperity & development.
At the end of this session; Dr. Mohammad Mushtaq regarded Dr. Taraneh’s paper as an imperial piece of research. He also added that it was great to know that the people in small towns of Iran are more civilized than in Tehran. He also mentioned that Pakistan should learn from & adopt the Iranian health system & education policy in order to improve the lives in small towns. The role of Iranian carpet industry in small towns was also discussed. The session was followed by tea break.
The 3rd Session was chaired by Dr. Taraneh Yalda, architect, city planner & an expert of Tehran city Master Plan from Tehran, Iran. The session opened with the paper by Ar. Mehrdad Bahmani from Tehran on “Torbat-e-Jām, A Small City with a Multicultural Heritage”. The paper revolved around the cultural characteristics of a city located in eastern borders of Iran called Torbat-e-Jam named after the famous Persian Sufi “Sheikh Ahmad Jami” which built a monastery in Torbat-e-Jam & died there. The paper described the context of multiculturalism & its features while trying to introduce its affected phenomenon. At the end a video of the cultural dance of the region was also presented.
The last paper of the 3rd session was presented by Dr. Ghafer Shahzad, from Lahore on “Cult of Sufi Shrines in Small Towns”. The paper elaborated the image & cult of Sufi shrines located & established in small towns of Punjab. It also highlighted that how the outlook of the shrines in big cities or urban areas of Punjab has totally changed due to the new constructions with modern finishing materials nevertheless in small towns the shrines are still performing their roles as the hub for socio religious activities in the Muslim communities.
The discussion session elaborated that the literacy rate among male children of Torbat-e-Jam is 90% & is also high in rest of the Iran. It was brought forward that the primary education in Iran is free & is made available to all the small children by ambulance schools thereby assuring full attendance. To raise our education level the same model should be adopted in Pakistan.
The delegation then moved to University of the Punjab. Prof. Dr. Rahat Masud received the delegation and Prof. Dr. Mujahid Kamran, Vice Chancellor; Punjab University inaugurated the evening ceremony. The night began with the exhibition of students’ work followed by dinner.
The 2nd day of THAAP conference consisted of 4 sessions. The 4th Session included 03 papers & was chaired by Prof. Dr. Rahat Masud, Principal, College of Art & Design, University of the Punjab, Lahore. The 1st paper was presented by Alireza Golkarieh from Yazd & Sahar Morady from Tehran on
“How Industrial Invasion affects the Architecture of Small Iranian Towns”. The paper was based on photographic evidence of strong industrial elements found in the vernacular architecture of small historic town of Mehriz, Iran. The invasion in the architectural heritage of this town may be considered a thoughtless placement & use of industry within small towns. The growth of technology is inevitable & architecture must adjust itself according to its growth. The paper opened a dialogue to begin further investigations towards finding solutions on this subject & to achieve balance between architecture & current technologies.
The 2nd paper was presented by Ar. Kamil Khan Mumtaz, from Lahore on “Life in Small Towns - a theoretical framework”. The paper observed the life in small towns in context to its cultural & political dimensions & the nature of human settlements in the context of history. Change is the only constant but since in contemporary discourses history & urbanization are invariably seen through the lens of development so to understand first the term itself is of vital importance.
The 3rd paper was presented by Amina Ejaz & Sara Afzal from Lahore on “Haveli Bhumman Shah”. The purpose of the paper was not only to uncover the historical facts about the town but also to inculcate willingness to learn about history & an attitude of respect towards our cultural roots. The research attempted to encourage preservation of such sites for future generations who are rapidly losing contact with their historical roots unless such sites are dilapidated & completely lost to us.
The discussion session stressed that education being a key element will help our future generations to be aware of their surroundings & save the architectural heritage of the towns they belong to. Maintaining a balance between preservation & progress is the need of the time. The more we learn about ourselves & Mother Nature the more we grow. The session was followed by tea break.
The 5th Session included o4 papers & was chaired by Prof. Syed Shabir Hussain Shah, Advisor to Vice Chancellor, University of Gujrat. The 1st paper was presented by Meagan Schoenfelder from North Dakota USA on “The Narrative of the Lynch Knife River Flint Quarry: Small Communities and Big Issues”. The paper discussed Lynch KRF as a unique site with a great historical & cultural significance. The quarry’s narrative reflected issues common to small towns, villages & communities regardless of locality. It also demonstrated how multiple communities intersecting at a common site can be brought together.
The 2nd paper was presented by Ar. Saba Samee from Lahore on “In a place called MARTOS”. The paper was presented in a very interesting manner & supported by an engaging presentation. The project Martos 2012 started in a small Roman city of Martos in Southern Spain in the region of Andulusia. The presenter narrated that how through Diadrasis workshop a team of 11 international participants including her went to the town of Martos to save their historic fountain. Pillar de la Fuente Neuva (New public fountain with a wall) was a monumental 4 storey fountain commissioned by the then governor of Martos to satisfy the water requirements of the town. Work started from collecting the archival photos of the fountain form the residents of the town & then its conservation. The co-operation & support extended by the local residents changed the paper presenter’s perception of conservation & left her with a hope that the residents of a city are the only stakeholders with whom the cultural assets of a city can be safeguarded.
The 3rd paper was presented by Ar. Sharieh Hosseini; from Iran on “Yazd: The Pearl of the Desert”. Being one of the significant cities of Iran; Yazd has the largest historical fabric of over 7000 hectares & is known as the City of “Baud-girs” (wind towers), “Dar-ul-Ibadat” (Home of Piety) & a birthplace of the Zoroastrian religion. The paper covered the city of Yazd from all historical, social & cultural aspects, technological & systematic function of the architectural buildings & also portrayed a part of the rich Persian culture & civilization.
The 4th paper was presented by Husain Qazi, from Lahore on “The Road to Kasur”. The paper elaborated that the rehabilitation of centuries old traditional route via Kasur-Depalpur Road will revive the centuries old historic route & will bring many faded cities back into limelight. Also from the tourist perspective; Kasur has a lot to offer including people like Bulleh Shah, Shah Kamal, Noor Jahan, Bare Ghulam Ali, the museum, border parade, & a fine mix of agriculture, dairy & industry.
The session was followed by discussion and lunch break.
The 6th Session included o4 papers & was chaired by Prof. Dr. Abdul Rehman, University of Engineering & Technology (UET), Lahore. The 1st paper was presented by Eesha Thaker, from India on
“Life of the Pastoral Bharwad in Rajkot (Saurashtra, Gujarat) – Ethnic Sustainability in Transition”. The study attempted to explore, review & understand the intangibility of a tangible group of people, the Bharwad & its allied tribes collectively known as Maldhari.
The 2nd paper was presented by Jalal Mohaddesi, from Tehran on “Cultural Pedestrians: An investigation in pedestrian Architectural/ urban spaces during religious mourning rituals”. The paper explicated that according to contemporary urban metamorphosis the districts & neighborhoods are changing to regions & zones, it’s compulsory to reconnect citizens to their new living environments. So probing for socio-cultural potentials (such as mourning rituals) that root in the relation between environment & demeanor would help to recognize the perturbed & confused contemporary “identity” in the age of modernity & non-determinism.
The 3rd paper was presented by Samra Khan, from Islamabad on “Chronicling the Development and Growth of Sarai Khurbooza; Culture, Conservation and Sustainability”. The paper explained the transformation of the small fortified serai located 2.5 km from the G.T Road; into an underdeveloped town of the 20th century. This was a characteristic case of managing development at cultural heritage site; endeavoring to create a balance between the need to preserve culture & the modern day demands of economic growth.
The 4th paper was presented by Prof. Dr. Anila Naeem, from Karachi read by Aabidah Ali on “Experiences of a City under Shadows of a Glorious Past”. The paper summarized through a brief historical retrospect the significance of Shikarpoor; a town established in 1617 A.D now needs an economic, environmental & cultural revival.
The discussion session was based on a general overview of all the papers presented & was followed by tea.
The 7th Session of the day was chaired by Prof Dr. Priyaleen Singh, a conservation and landscape architect from Delhi, India. The 1st paper was presented by Prof. Dr. Jawaid Haider, from Pennsylvania on “From Dubai to Mofussilabad: Small Towns and Architectural Spectacle in South Asia”. The paper was an exploration of small town urbanization through the lens of alternate modernities & explored the rapid urbanization of “Mofussilabad”.
The 2nd paper was presented by Ambreen Saqib on “Life in small towns (Cordoba in Spain)”. The research paper aimed to revive the long forgotten Islamic architectural heritage as living characters in the present culture & a prototype of future architecture.
The 3rd paper was presented by Sadia Ahmed, from Lahore on “Forgotten Heroes from Small Towns”. The paper focused on the importance of taking pride in our real culture & heroes by bringing them to light & rethinking history. The ones chosen for the research were all from small towns & contributed to Punjab in their own way i-e: Raja Poro, Dulla Bhatti, Ahmad Khan Kharal & Bhaggat Singh.
The discussion session focused on the forgotten heroes and their literature. Comparisons between the commemoration of Iranian and Pakistani heroes was also discussed. The delegation then moved to UET, Lahore for their evening program. Dr. Neelum Naz, HOD of School of Architecture and Design, UET received the delegation. Lt. Gen. (R) Muhammad Akram Khan, Vice Chancellor of UET Lahore Campus inaugurated the cultural night and gave the welcome address. The night began with the exhibition of students’ work & a cultural program which was followed by dinner.
The 3rd day of THAAP conference again consisted of 04 sessions. The 8th Session included o3 papers & was chaired by Dr. Akhtar Sindhu, Head, Department of History, University of Gujrat. 1st paper was presented by Ashok Koshy from India on “Embracing Modernity Hesitantly: The Toda, an ancient tribe”. The paper elucidated the ancient tribe of Toda in the Nilgiris Mountains in reference to its climatic conditions, indigenous population, past & present life, structure of Toda Munds, their religion, status of women, basic occupation, funerary rights & their agrarian shift in context of embracing modernity.
The 2nd paper was presented by Dr. Fareeha Zafar from Lahore on “Life in Small Towns: Pakpatten & Arifwala”. This paper intends to unravel the trajectory taken by the two towns in the light of past values & modern aspirations as is evident from the quality of life of the resident population as well as the lives of those linked to them in diverse ways.
The 3rd paper was presented by Dr. Muhammad Shafique from Multan on “From Centrality to Marginality – Life & Development in Sera-i-Sidho during the Colonial Period”. The paper contained a thematic assumption that the 21st century patterns of development in the region are based on the trends & patterns set by the colonial administration.
The discussion session focused on the language, mannerism &, trade system of the Toda tribe & the difference in the ethno linguistic composition of Pakpatten & Arifwala. This was followed by tea break.
The 9th Session was chaired by Ms. Shoba Koshy from India. 1st paper was presented by Dr. Nadia Anjum from Lahore (read by Izza Khalid & by Farah Iqbal) on “Life in Small Peripheral Towns/ Qasbas”. The focus of the research was to explore the socio-cultural dimensions of the life of people living in & around small towns namely Mian Channu/ Tehsil Chichawatni & district Sahiwal.
The 2nd paper was presented by Dr. Kanwal Khalid from Lahore on “The Art of Alpana in Smaller Towns”. The word Alpana is derived from the Sanskrit word “Alimpana” means “to plaster” or “to coat with”. The paper laid emphasis on the art that has nurtured from the small towns & reached its classical phase in Bengal elaborating on the history, materials, technique, designs & symbols used in Alpana, its purpose & modern day application. The paper was supported by an interesting video presentation.
The 3rd paper was presented by Shera Owlia & Mahdi Sadeghahmadi from Iran (read by Sharieh Hosseini) on “The potential of living in harmony with nature in small towns’. The paper was based on the coordination between human & nature in a case study of Ardakan.
The discussion focused on Vastu Shastra, artistic expressions in festivals and the use of Alpana in daily life followed by a tea break.
The 10th Session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Jawaid Haider, Professor, Pennsylvania State University, USA. The 1st paper of this session was presented by Prof. Dr. Neelam Naz & Fatima Javed from Lahore on “Gujranwala: A City in Transition”. The objective of the paper was firstly to unravel the historic layer of different phases that has transformed Gujranwala from a small town to a district city & secondly to analyze different factors of rapid changes that has altered the traditional pattern of life within the city.
The 2nd paper was presented by Prof. Dr. Priyaleen Singh from India on “Conserving Historic Towns: A Framework for Integrated Conservation plan for Orchha, a small medieval settlement in Central India”. The paper focused that conservation today has to aim to reconnect with the past by illustrating that it has much to offer to enhance the quality of life.
The 3rd paper was presented by Yasmeen (Mano) Javed from Lahore on ‘Night Bus to Sialkot”. An engaging short story in which without being nostalgic the paper presenter provided another reason for preserving small towns on account of memories & anecdotes associated with her hometown Sialkot.
The discussion focused on figuring out a relationship between continuity & change & also that conservation should focus on the quality of life with an approach that is integrated, holistic, sustainable & innovative. The session was followed by tea break.
The 11th Session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmad Siddiqi, Professor and Head of department of Architecture, College of Art and design, University of the Punjab, Lahore. The 1st paper was presented by Ar. Syed Faisal Sajjad from Lahore on “Life in displaced small towns (The case of South Punjab during floods)”. The research paper was based on the paper presenter’s personal experience of working in the flood affected small towns & hamlets of South Punjab. The main focus was on how natural calamities affect the life in rural areas & how the local folks adapt to the changing physical & spatial conditions, evolving new patterns of event-space relationship.
The 2nd paper was presented by Dr. S. M. Hossein Ayatullahi & Mahbobeh Porahmadi from Iran on “Baud-Geers of Yazd & Aghda: City & Small Town Identity”. An interesting paper on a very important role rendered by Baud-Geers in developing architectural & city planning identity of “Yazd & Aghda” which has been a main concern for tourists & travelers from Iran & around the world. It was highlighted that the Baud-Geers have lost their function & use as they were intended before. The aim of this research was to find ways to bring them back to use, so the design decisions that are risky should be taken very carefully.
The 3rd paper was presented by Dr. Rao Nadeem Alam & Sajjad Haider from Islamabad on “Balakot: A Victim town of Earthquake”. A very moving & thought provoking paper was presented by the last paper reader of the conference. The paper was based on ethnographic study of Balakot town. Research was conducted on the post Oct 08, 2005 earthquake in re-construction phase. The study focused on social aspects of architecture & infrastructure in Balakot. The paper was supported by a video documentary showing the difficult living conditions of the locals of Balakot in pre-fabricated shelter houses, with poor health & sanitary conditions. It also showed that how the people are currently living amongst the graves of their lost ones. The school life of the children has been badly affected & the people are looking forward for a long term permanent solution of the devastation caused in their town by a natural disaster.
The session was concluded by the chair person Dr. Anis Ahmad stating the fact that we are still facing the same dilemma even after 07 years of earthquake. Another problem discussed was that we have not only become victim of the disaster but also of the system that follows later on. He appreciated Mr. Sajjad Haider’s research of looking into the disaster holistically instead of individually. In context to Baud-Geers he said that there is a need for research together by architects & planners in order to create a geo morphology or urban morphology in which to study the patterns of wind movement & accordingly design the entire morphology of the city in such a way that the entire city becomes a public approach to using this technology of Wind Catchers rather than only a single house.
Aabidah Ali at the end presented the Report of the Conference. Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal thanked all the collaborators of the conference, Prof. Pervaiz Vandal, Dr. Gulzar Haider, Secretarial group including Amna Jahangir & Aabidah, financial contributors, trustees, paper readers & all the delegates from various colleges & firms. The volunteers & staff members were appreciated by giving away certificates. She also shared that Thaap is going to set up the “Thaap College of Art & Culture” which was very well received by all present at the venue. Prof. Pervaiz Vandal did the sum up of the conference & suggested the theme for the 2013 conference as to what makes Punjab; Punjab in context to the contributions made by the people & natives & also in context to the adjoining areas like Deccan, Rajasthan, Kashmir, Afghan central Asia, Persia & Arabia.
The delegation then moved to Kinnaird College for Women for the cultural night. Prof. Dr. Rukhsana David, Principal Kinnaird College received the guests and inaugurated the ceremony. A musical evening comprising of vocals and instrumental music was arranged by the students of the college which was followed by dinner.
The 4th day continued with the arrival of the delegation at University of Gujrat, Hafiz Hayat Campus. Prof. Syed Shabir Hussain Shah received the delegation. The welcome address was presented by Registrar; Dr. Tahir followed by a brief introduction of the University of Gujrat & its impact on socio political life of Gujrat by Prof. Syed Shabir Hussain Shah. He elucidated that the University campus was designed by Ar. Arunah Zahra Ashraf comprising of 07 buildings like the 07 bazzels of wisdom. Currently the university has 29 departments, offering M-Phil in 17 subjects, with 04 constituent campuses in the city & a total of almost 16,000 students studying in the university. Dr. Azhar Mahmood presented a cultural survey of the district. He shared his personal thoughts & anecdotes related to Gujrat’s rich culture, the way the death proceedings & marriage ceremonies were carried out in the past & the showbiz personalities who emerged from Gujrat including Alam Lohar, Shauqat Ali, Roshan Ara Begum. It was a very amusing talk that engaged the audience till the end. The Chief Guest Col. Mohammad Illays explained that Gujrat is intellectually very fertile. He elaborated that the people of Gujrat are full of initiative, aggression & want to dominate & shine wherever they go. He added that the university will change the overall culture of the Gujrat city & will open new horizons of knowledge. The concluding remarks were given by Prof. Sajida Haider Vandal. On behalf of Thaap she thanked the University of Gujrat & said that it has been a great honor to stand on the land of great warriors, people of great valor, the land of Raja Porous, the land of three Nishan-e-Haiders & the land of Sohni & Mahiwal. She added that it was very heartwarming to see this great pride in the people of Gujrat & explained about the Thaap initiative & activities it has undertaken so far.
Afterwards a Theatre Performance by the students of Odeum Art Society was presented. It was a very moving play on the life in small towns depicting the discrimination in property rights among sons & daughters & how a girl after marriage is not considered a part of her parent’s home.
The play was followed by Saif-ul- Mulook; a famous legend written in form of a poem by the famous Sufi poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh. Mr. Imran Shah presented Saif-ul-Malook in Raag Darbari followed by Prof. Shabbir Hussain & Ustaad Fayyaz Ali Khan. The day ended with lunch prepared & served by the students of Institute of Hotel & Restaurant Management; University of Gujrat. It was indeed heart-warming to be hosted by the students of academia. The delegation then left for Lahore in the evening.
The talks and organization committee meetings for the THAAP Conference 2013 have already begun. The topic suggested for the same is “Cultural Roots of Art & Architecture of Punjab”. This time there is an additional initiative of the establishment of the “Thaap College of Art & Culture” for which our best wishes are with the organization.
TEXT BY: INTERIOR DESIGNER SAHAR SAQLAIN