It’s like homecoming for me, says Kesha Ram on Lahore visit

LAHORE: Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, great granddaughter to Sir Ganga Ram said that it was like homecoming for her after she was welcomed with open arms by the people during her week-long sojourn in historic city of Lahore.

In an interview with APP at her ancestral home in Gulberg here prior to her departure on Sunday, she said she was the first person of the family to visit the legacy of Ganga Ram after some one hundred years when the Ganga Ram’s family had to leave due to Partition of Hindustan in 1947, adding she was accorded a royal-like treatment wherever she went in the city.

Kesha Ram, a Vermont State senator, had been visiting Lahore to trace the legacy of her great grandfather Sir Ganga Ram (1851-1927), who is considered the ‘father of modern Lahore’ for his services as a civil servant and a philanthropist to the city of Lahore during the British rule. He is credited with building the most iconic buildings of Lahore, developing a housing society, developing barren farmlands in Renala Khurd and bequeathing behind a legacy of philanthropy through hospitals and educational institutions.

To a question, she recollected being handed a biography of Sir Ganga Ram during her childhood by the family, but credited a college teacher in the United States who introduced her to the iconic status of her father in Lahore.

“The college teacher, who hailed from Lahore, said, “Kesha, do you know what legacy your Sir Ganga Ram had left behind and how deeply respected he is for his contribution to the city of Lahore?” she reminisced.

The joy on her beaming face was quite apparent as she sat in front of the fire-place in the drawing-room of the Ganga Ram’s family home for the interview and recollected her great grandmother who would always tell stories about the swimming pool, the double-kitchens and the verandah after she had to abruptly leave her treasured home due to partition in 1947.

“As I was pulled up here I felt I had seen this place already through the anecdotes of my ‘Dadi jee’ (great grandmother) who never stopped talking about the place she lived between 1928 and 1947”, she bemused, adding Sir Ganga Ram passed away in England in 1927 – his ashes returned Lahore and were cremated in a Samadhi near Taxali Gate, and this house held a special place for the family as Ganga Ram had built this last abode with ‘love’s labour’.

To a question, she thanked the people and government for preserving Sir Ganga Ram’s legacy, adding that her family had unfounded fears about his legacy being ‘forgotten and wiped away’ before she came to see herself. “I have been treated like the royalty wherever I went due to the connection in flesh and blood I have with my great-grandfather Sir Ganga Ram but where he lives is in hearts and minds of people of Lahore,” she shared ecstatically.

On continuing the tradition of philanthropy and social work, Kesha said the two women, she herself and her cousin Baroness Shreela Flather in the United Kingdom (UK), have been the torchbearers of the legacy of their great-grandfather who dedicated his life to the welfare of the people through education, health and agricultural projects from his own pocket.

‘Once people came to him for a place to be built for women and girls education and he presented his own home in Anarkali for the education of women as he did not have enough funds to support the project ’, Kesha Ram quoted an incident from her grandfather’s life.

In a message to the young people she said ‘The names of women are, usually, lost and they are also marginalized but the women must break through the cultural barriers and move forward with conviction to grasp the moment and lead societies for tomorrow.

She expressed her indebtedness to the government for the preservation work on the various sites which belong to Sir Ganga Ram, adding the curates being exhibited at the Lahore Museum, establishing ‘Baby and Mother Care’ at the Ganga Ram hospital and to educate the next generation of doctors are the magic work Sir Ganga Ram wanted to make possible in these buildings.

Expressing her desire to visit Lahore to discover again shortly, Senator Kesha Ram thanked Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and CEO Ferozsons Osman Khalid Waheed for making her visit of new discoveries about the works of Sir Ganga Ram possible.

 

 

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