Peshawar: Arif Yousaf, PTI MPA elect from PF4 and Parliamentary Secretary KP on Culture undertook a visit of the ancestral home belonging to legendary Indian actor Dilip Kumar Yousaf Khan in Mohallah Khudadad in the Walled City of Peshawar today.
The visit was arranged by Cultural Heritage Council CHC, an umbrella heritage organisation that has been calling for preservation of the homes of Bollywood stars in Peshawar since a long time. Last year, CHC celebrated the 90th birthday of the ailing film star in Peshawar which was covered live by more than 30 channels around the world.
Giving the background, General Secretary of CHC Shakeel Wahidullah said that several historic buildings in the province which included the houses of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in Peshawar had fallen victim to decay and neglect over the years. He said many cinema legends belonged to Peshawar and their ancestral homes deserved to be declared National Heritage.
Many promises were made to preserve the houses in the previous ANP government but the houses were never purchased. He said.
Arif Yousaf on this occasion said, he had undertaken the visit to see for himself the state of the structure. He acknowledged that Dilip Kumar was the son of the soil and Peshawar was proud of this hero and that the homes of Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar deserved to be conserved. He said he felt reassured because from a structural engineering point of view the building was intact and with minor conservation work it could be restored and turned into a living museum dedicated to all the cinema artists who originally belonged to Peshawar.
He sought technical proposals from Cultural Heritage Council to suggest ways and means on how to preserve the building and also sought CHC’s help to identify ways to grant the building a Protected National Monument status under the relevant laws. He said he will personally take up the issue with the Chief Minister and the Culture & Archaeology Minister.
On this occasion Dr Ali Jan, former consultant Tourism & Culture lamented that the issue of preserving Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor houses has been raised before many times in the past as well. The politicians in previous governments made tall claims just to grab media attention. But on the ground no tangible effort was made beyond giving lip-service.
He hoped the present elected government would sincerely undertake preservation of all historical structures in the province and bring them under the ambit of Antiquities Act 1997.
Other members of CHC who were present included Yunus Qiyasi President CHC, Naser Hussain Secretary Media, noted writer M. Ibrahim Zia and officials and staff of the culture department.