This post was published in KELLOGS on 10/4/2011
By Farkhanda Qaiser
The next one on the list is ‘The Lahore Museum.’ HEY no…!! I’m not about to commence on a lecture about arts and craft and how we should value our glorious past! We all have studied that in our history books.
Instead I will give you a detailed account of how my first and only trip (after coming to ke) to the museum turned out to be. And also the things to look out for.
The first shock awaited us at the entrance when the plump ticket guy told us that no cameras and mobiles are allowed inside. I mean, what gibberish he was uttering…! We had come on a fun trip and he expected us to go without taking any pictures and thus any memories to show off to those of our friends who hadn’t turned up…! He seriously needed some lectures on girls-with-digital cam psychology. And I had a mind of doing just that when my panicked friends decided to restrain me by buying me a kid ticket! Well yes, I got that colorful, small and cheap one while all others got that boring and expensive adult ticket. Good, atleast the plump man had learnt one lesson to appease angry girls. Give a discount…! Aaah yes discount was the magic word that did it for me and I agreed to forgive the poor uncle who was just doing his job.
Then we entered the majestic and ancient museum that gave you the feeling of a church.
(you’d understand what I mean, if you’ve been to a church) The far-away roof, the red brick walls, the tall standing mighty pillars and the emptiness of it all. You could shout and your voice would echo. I actually felt like playing ‘pakran pakrai’ because there was just so much empty space but then my eyes fell on the handsome Mughal Emperor, Babur! Lo and Behold! If crush at first sight actually exists then this was my moment of experiencing it first hand! His portrait had been engraved on elephant teeth. And he looked so dashing and royal that he took my breath away (figuratively speake ing) It was definitely hard to believe that he had fought all those battles of Panipat and many more. Anyhow as we were running short of time so we (I) had to move on grudgingly. We saw some more portraits of Mughals. Our medical knowledge definitely helped us here. We diagnosed Sher Shah Suri and Mumtaz Mahal with Down’s syndrome. Poor people, they never even knew they had an extra chromosome! Then we saw a thoracopagus vase (we had recently taken our Profs so all the pagus kids were definitely in our mind). Actually 3 vases were joined at the imaginary thoracic level and thus our diagnosis. We got so excited at watching this vase that we started yelling ‘look, thoracopagus,’ ‘Omg! Thoracopagus!’ and nudging each other to have a peek at our discovery…! All our commotion definitely diverted the attention of the handful of people in the museum towards us. A group of school kids probably on a field trip even passed by us complaining of all sorts of ailments and pains saying, ‘gosh I have a severe headache,’ ‘my tummy ache is really bothering me’ and believe it or not a kid even had the audacity to say, ‘I need a cure for my heart ache!’
Heartache! Seriously what has the world come to! Little toddlers (okay not exactly toddlers but kids in early teens) were actually trying to flirt with grown up to-be lady doctors…! Tch tch. These Indian soaps have really corrupted the young minds…!
Shaking our heads, we moved on to the next section which was ‘The Islamic History.’
There were many old manuscripts of The Holy Quran which were elegantly handwritten. Personal possessions of The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) had also been preserved. Beautiful pottery and things of daily use of Muslims of that era fascinated us so much that we wished we could do that harry-potter-style-glass-vanishing-magic and run away with all that stuff…! But alas, we couldn’t!
Cursing our inability to do magic, we then proceeded to ‘The Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism’ sections. All sorts of statues awaited us here. The many-handed and many-headed gods of Hindus with their tongues protruding out; the Buddha in his meditating posture; the Holy cow; the snakes and finally each phase of the life of Buddha carved on stone. Very interesting, indeed!
However, now we were tiring and wanted to freshen up so started looking around for the washroom. Then one of us remembered spotting 2 doors, one of which was labeled ‘mastoorat’ and the other also had a similar sounding word. We automatically assumed that mastoorat would mean ‘washroom.’ Glad at having found a fancy alternate for the word washroom, we went around asking for the directions of ‘mastoorat’ only to find out later that mastoorat means ‘ladies’ and not washroom…! LOL
After having had a laugh at our faux pas, we strolled to the last section of the museum which was situated on the 1st floor. The Pakistan Movement. This part of the museum was definitely more developed as compared to the rest. The entire history was recounted in the form of pictures from that era. Both black and white and colorful. We finally got to see all those faces whom we only knew by names. Mohsin-ul-Mulk, Ameer Ali, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and other similar names. However one face particularly drew our attention and that was the face of Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk who had a striking resemblance to the previous HOD of the Physiology Department of KEMU. We then pondered over the possible link between the two and ultimately reached a consensus that the HOD must be a descendent of Nawab saab.
Carrying this thought in mind and all the other wonderful memories of this trip to the Museum, we then headed towards our very own KEMU as we were getting late for the next lecture. Ah yes, back to the lectures!
However this trip ensured me of one thing. We must promote active learning of history in schools. This would definitely increase the interest of students in this boring subject. And one way of active learning is visiting such museums…!