Now a few historical facts about Chowk Yadgar, Peshawar, Pakistan.
- Chowk Yadgar was probably built around 1884-92 in remembrance of the first British Commissioner of Peshawar, Col E. Hastings. If you look at the first picture on the right, the absence of power lines suggest that it was probably built in an era when there was no electrical power or at least not in this area.
Who was Colonel Hastings? This is what we could get through http://glosters.tripod.com/offzdiedh.htm
Hastings – Lieutenant-Colonel Edward George Godolphin, CB – Bengal Cavalry – died 2nd December 1884.
Son of Captain Edward Hastings (32nd N.I.). Born at Dinapore, 29th January 1842. Served Hazara 1868 (medal and bar), Afghanistan 1878 (medal and 3 bars, star, CB). Married Mabel Henniker, 1st July 1882.
Grave at Taikal Cemetery, Peshawar – "In loving memory of Edward George Godolphin Hastings Lieutenant Colonel Bengal Cavalry Companion of the Bath Divisional Judge Peshawar. Died 2nd Decr 1884 aged 42."
Tablet in St. John's Church, Peshawar – "In memory of Lt Colonel E.G.G. Hastings C.B. B.S.C. son of Cap. the Hon. E.P. Hastings H.E.I.C.S. born Janry 29th 1842 died Decr 2nd 1884. for twenty years he served in every branch of administration of the Peshawur division, honored by the Government as an able loyal and self-sacrificing public servant, and beloved by the people as an even-handed patient and sympathetic ruler. In 1880 he accompanied Robert's force to Cabul as chief political officer, rewarded by the companionship of the Bath. This tablet is erected by the many friends who loved him and honored one who ever, like the blameless knight, 'forbore his own advantage."
- The second picture is probably after the formation of Pakistan. Observe all the overhead power lines.
- Before and after partition (when Pakistan and India gained independence from the British), Chowk Yadgar has been the main venue or starting point of various public meetings, rallies and protest demonstrations held by different political and social groups. Many anti-British protests and demonstrations for the struggle of independence had started out from this square.
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah visited Peshawar in 1936 and passed through Chowk Yadgar. Here is an excerpt from http://m-a-jinnah.blogspot.com/2010/07/quaid-e-azam-visit-to-peshawar-in-1936.html
The Quaid arrived in Peshawar on Sunday, the 18th of October 1936. Bombay express reached the City station at about 8 AM. About 400 persons welcomed him at the station. Secret police report tells us presence of prominent persons amongst them like Sahibzada Qayum, Ghulam Samdani, Pir Bakhsh, Lal Badshsh, Chan Badshah, Mohammad Usman Naswari, Rahim Bakhsh, Ataullah and Abdul Hye. It also records presence of about thirty Khaksars and 78 boyscouts. The Quaid was greeted and garlanded. He shook hands with all those in the front. He was dressed meticulously western, wearing top hat, long coat, beneath it a well cut suit with English shoes, took aback many credulous Peshawaris, dubbed by one as an Englishman. The Quaid was taken in procession, in a convertible grey car provided by Sahibzada Qayum. The station receptionists were later joined by the public, and the procession including volunteers, a Rover’s batch of Islamia College, students from Edwardes’ College, left for the city through a pre-planned route. The Quaid was driven slowly, seated by him were Pir Bakhsh, Lal Badshah in the back seat and perhaps Hakim Jalil in the front seat as gleaned through a photograph taken on the occasion. The procession entered the city through Hashtnagri, Karimpura bazaar, to the Ghanta Ghar, then through Chowk Yadgar, the party proceeded via Phurgaran towards Yakatut and terminated at the residence of Sahibzada Qayum, which had been furnished for the Quaid’s stay. Mr. Ayub Khattak then a second year student of Islamia College and incharge Rover’s group recollects that flowers were showered at the procession from a balakhana near Ghanta Ghar, and a handful of sweet (shakarpara) was pelted over the motorcar from the Sufi sweet house (still situated in Ghantaghar at the entrance to Karimpura) one ball hitting the Quaid at the right eyebrow, which gave reddish look for a quite a while. It all took about two hours to reach Mundiberi. Here the Quaid thanked all, especially the student community and promised to meet them later during his stay at Peshawar.
- In 1969, the original monument was demolished and a new horseshoe style monument was erected to commemorate the fallen heroes of the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965. See third picture. With the passage of time that white marble arch became a symbol of Peshawar.
- In the early nineties the horseshoe style marble arch was replaced with another dome shaped structure – see fourth and fifth pictures. It's very typical of societies trying to find their identity. Under the current day monument is a tunnel for traffic and the surrounding areas are nicely laid out so people can relax and spend some time.
- Chowk Yadgar is still the starting point for many political rallies but the main rally is generally held in other areas of the city as Chowk Yadgar and it's neighboring narrow streets can't accommodate the burgeoning population.
- If you know additional facts about Chowk Yadgar or it's neighboring areas, feel free to add them in the comments section below.