Sitting under the French lamp post, I was walking down the memory lane and wondering about the colossal change that the nucleus of the city went through!
Yes! I am talking about the Hazratganj. The majestic grandeur and the simplicity of architecture of Hazratganj have complimented the city of Nawabs, like cherry compliments a cake top. Being placed centrally in the city, not only its location but also its enthusiastic markets are responsible for making this place so special. Hazratganj has a strong historical background which no octogenarian can claim. The place was named after Nawab Amjad Ali Shah who was popularly addressed as ‘Hazrat’ in the year 1842. The English took over the city thereafter and demolished the Mughal structure to construct the present day ‘Ganj’, whose architecture is inspired from London’s Queen Street. The present day GPO served as ballroom for the Bristishers. It remained for that purpose for long until it was converted to a courtroom and witnessed one of the most significant proceedings of that era, the Kakori conspiracy. The Indian Coffee House was established during the First World War and was a major hub for journalists, politicians and freedom fighters then. No doubt, spending a few hours here can make you reminiscence all those struggles. In the year 2010, on the occasion of 200th birthday of Hazratganj, the government took the initiative to renovate the existing hub. They painted all monuments in cream and pink and requested all hoardings to be in black and white, revitalizing the historic significance of the place. These little modifications brought unanimity to the place. The architecture was further highlighted with the Victorian style French lamps and the beauty was enhanced with fences, waste bins and seating. Also, fountains were constructed at various places, to add glitter to gold. Hazratganj went from being situated in the nucleus of the city to being within the nucleus of the residents of Lucknow, who keep revolving around it like electrons, for over 20 decades of its standing.
Today, it marks one of the busiest shopping destinations of the city, attending to all kinds of people from locals to tourists. It is not just a place anymore but has been proudly personified in to a being.
It serves as a meeting ground for this generation and is a witness to thousands of stories whether starting, ongoing or ceasing at this place. Over the past 200 years, empires have fallen, people have gone and even central power has changed, but this monumental hamlet within the city remained and will continue to do so for centuries. It is a matter of pride for me to be a resident of the city that holds such a great historic background. And I believe, each and every Lucknowite will agree with me!
Picture Credit: Vardan Sharma