PESHAWAR: While he may have abandoned his childhood home in favour of a new country, the residents of Peshawar have not forgotten their favourite son.
People of Peshawar poured out their hearts and love as they celebrated the 95th birthday of iconic actor Dilip Kumar on Monday.
Organised by the Cultural Heritage Council at the Peshawar Press Club, people of the city cut a cake ceremonial cake surrounded by pictures of the Mughal-e-Azam star.
Saira Bano, Kumar’s wife addressed his fans via telephone. She thanked the people of Peshawar for remembering him and hoped that with their prayers and well wishes, he will soon recuperate his health and be able to speak to the people himself.
Dilip Kumar was born in Mohallah Khudadad in Qissa Khwani in 1922 as Yousaf Khan. Though he moved to India, he wrote about his house in his autobiography ‘Substance and Shadow’ with a photograph of the gate of the house.
His contributions to the Indian cinema were also recognised by Islamabad and he was awarded Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1998, the country’s highest civilian award.
Kumar’s house in Peshawar was declared a national heritage — but the building has now collapsed and only its façade and main gate remain.
Earlier, the K-P government announced plans to rebuild the house.
Government officials believe that the house has immense cultural and historical importance due to its association with the legendary actor and intends to maintain it as his symbol in Peshawar.
During Monday’s ceremony, people of the city paid rich tributes and remembered him as the ‘pride of Peshawar’. They urged the government to rebuild Kumar’s house and set up a gallery in it which showcases Kumar’s life and his contribution to the Indian film industry.
“We are hopeful that his house will be renovated and will be opened for public,” said Shakil Waheedullah, a social activist who organises Kumar‘s birthday in the city every year.
He added that they have been told that government has already allocated funds for the purpose and will start by renovating those parts of the houses which are still in good condition.
Waheedullah told The Express Tribune that the purpose of celebrating Kumar’s birthday in the city was to bring both the countries closer to each other on the basis of common cultural and historical links.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2017.