The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has allotted Rs 50 million for the renovation and restoration of 15 historical sites in the province including the Kapoor Haveli and Dilip Kumar’s house located in Peshawar’s historical Qissa Khwani Bazaar.
According to a report in The Express Tribune, the ancestral homes of Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar are among the 15 historical sites recently identified for restoration by the KP government. It is pertinent to mention here that while Kumar’s residence was declared protected heritage by the Directorate of Archaeology and Tourism in 2013 and later a protected monument, under the Antiquity Act 1997, the Kapoor Haveli was reported to have been converted into a museum in 2012. Despite the special status awarded to the buildings, little to no attention was paid to them and the former residences of the Bollywood stars currently stand in dilapidated conditions. Officials have often cited a lack of resources and funds and legalities surrounding buildings’ ownership as the reason behind their dismal condition.
But as per the latest details, the archaeology department of the province has forwarded a recommendation to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan under which the provincial government will buy the two buildings and restore them.
“The buildings’ ownership had been a long-standing hurdle in the way of their restoration. Certain individuals had claimed their right over the historic properties and there had also been attempted demolitions in the past. But now that the Directorate of Archaeology and Tourism has decided to buy the building and start the long overdue renovation work, the buildings are also expected to open their doors to tourists in the near future,” an official of the archaeology department told the publication, adding that the buildings hold great historic value.
Kapoor Haveli located in Dhakki Munawwar Shah locality is the birthplace of Raj Kapoor, who is considered to be the greatest showman of the subcontinent cinema.
Directorate of Archaeology Director Dr Abdul Samad also shared that restoration work at Peshawar’s ancient Mahabat Khan Mosque is already underway.
Meanwhile, the Awami National Party (ANP) on Friday urged the KP government to acquire and preserve the historic Kapoor Haveli.
In a statement, the party’s provincial spokesperson Samar Haroon Bilour said that the archaeology department was not taking any action to preserve the Kapoor Haveli, adding that the provincial government had been claiming that it had allocated funds for its preservation. Bilour said these claims were incorrect as the building was still private property and funds cannot be allocated for private property. She also offered assistance to the KP government in the conservation of this heritage site.
Earlier in 2018, Rishi Kapoor had requested the Government of Pakistan to preserve his ancestral home and convert it into a museum.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, at that time, had said, “There was a call from Rishi Kapoor. He requested that his family’s home in Peshawar should be made into a museum or some sort of institution. We have accepted his request.”
Similarly, Shehryar Afridi, who was serving as the Interior Minister at that time had shared that the actor had called him personally with his request.
“He had called me and talked about making his ancestral home into a museum. Now the federal and provincial governments are working on this and will transform the house into a museum soon,” Afridi had stated.
Rishi had last visited Pakistan with Shashi Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor in 1990. They had travelled to Peshawar to see their family’s house and also took some soil from the house to keep their heritage intact. In 2017, Rishi had expressed his desire to visit Pakistan again before he dies but his wish remained unfulfilled as he passed away in April 2020.