People in Pakistan care but little for things that people before us made. Going to any historical place and by just having a look around the place gives one an idea of how little do people in Pakistan care for preserving historical sites. The partial demolishing of ‘Historical Guru Nanak Palace’ in Narowal by a group of locals not only show the destructive psyche of the people but it also tells the state’s negligence towards preserving the artefacts and buildings that people before us made with great love, care and diligence.

What is surprising is the fact that despite the fame of the partially demolished building as the ‘Guru Nanak Palace’, the state authorities did not try even once to find out if the building was Guru’s Palace. And as the norm is in Pakistan, the concerned departments only become active once the damage has been done. In the present case as well the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) only started investigating the records after the people had partially destroyed the building and sold the wooden doors and windows.

If the accounts of the locals are believed to be accurate “that some people from Canada once come here with a book containing information regarding the building,” then the state should have taken immediate actions for not only evacuating the said building, but it should also have tried to preserve the structure. But there is more to the story. The authorities established to protect historical and religious sites often the time collude with people who want to grab such buildings for residential and commercial purposes. Some locals blame the Auqaf Department as a crime in partner with those who are responsible for the destruction of this building.

Where was the Directorate General of Archaeology, Government of Punjab in all this? Why did it fail to take the historical, religious and cultural value of this building into account? Did it make any requests to the federal or Punjab government to allow them to take control of this building? Probably the directorate general had no idea about the value of this building. The fact that even the local practice of seeing this building as Guru Nanak’s palace has failed in raising the curiosity of the concerned authorities speaks volumes about the inefficiency and incompetence of the state officials. The built heritage of Punjab symbolises her past glory and is an essential component of her sense of identity. These historical monuments and buildings play a crucial role in the cultural richness of Punjab. Given the lethargy and indifference of the authorities, Punjab will lose its entire cultural heritage one by one.