A Century Old Model Village: Shanti Nagar

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A Century-old Model Village: Shanti Nagar 1908, The British government started the canal excavations undertaken for the settlement of the desert areas of Punjab which ended up in 1911. In the same time period, the foundation of “Lower Bari Doab Canal” was laid in the Khanewal, as a result of that the land of the area started production wheat and cotton. Meanwhile the villages were allocated for Christians settlement. In December 1916, the name of the village was kept as “Shanti Nagar” in recognition of the performance and services of prominent European woman Brigadier Binster alias “Shanti Bai” of the Salvation Army. The village consists of twenty six hundred acres, including twenty five hundred acres of agricultural and one hundred acres and residential area, the population of the village is around twenty five thousand. Christian population of 635 families is residing Shanti Nagar village which is dominated by Catholics. In 1971 under the governments nationalization policy, the village land was divided by 12 ½ acres to owners and tenants, so most of the villagers are engaged in agriculture vocation. Recently elected 62 years old General Councilor Mr. James Nazir (elected from Shanti Nagar Ward 4 of Council No. 103) told that “The foundation stone of the village was laid by the Bombay Commissioner of that time Mr. Frederick Tucker”. Nazir James explained that the map of the village was developed from Britain, village main street is 44½ feet wide and outside lanes are 33 ½ feet wide, at that time there was trend of narrow streets, but this village was spacious. 1917 the Salvation Army laid the foundation of Church in this village, in which the facility of dispensary was also provided. Currently there are sixteen small and large churches in the village. In 1917 primary school was established in the village, while in 1949 middle school was founded, and in 1963 it was upgraded to high school with the efforts of Major William Hunter. Currently there are separately high schools for boys and girls while the intermediate level girls college has been approved. The official post office was established in 1922 by the British Government in the village, which is till now active at the same place. Electricity facility in the village was provided in 1962. In 1973 a branch of the National Bank was established in the village with resident efforts of local resident Arshad Fida. Extension settlement of the village was established with the name of “Tibba Colony” in 1981. A 62 years old Pastor Sadique Fazal is shopkeeper by profession he told that, Salvation Army bought land of around 26 villages in the area from British Government. Villages, 41/10-R, 71/10-R, 70 /10-R, 67 /10-R, 42 /10-R, 43 /10-R, 40 /10-R, 91 /10-R, 92 /10-R were among those 26 villages but resettlement was only possible in Shanti Nagar and 72 /10-R. He said the settlement was intended to bring about overall development of the united Christian community. 65 years old John Walter, served as lab assistant at Education Department, he shared that Christian community made substantial progress in education health sector as they believe that their religion teaching is to serve the humanity. He added that Dr. Sher Alam, Deputy Director Local Government, Punjab, Secretary Finance Punjab, Director, Department of Food and Agriculture Punjab, Dr David Suhail Jalhandari, Director of the Christian Medical College, Dr. Salim Raza, Director of Education Missionary Schools Pakistan, Dr Izat Jamal, Aftab Gulzar Chief Officer Local Government Lahore, Lahore, Farrukh Gulzar Deputy Director Local Government, MDA Chief Officer Ayub Masih, Rehmat Dutt, Deputy Director Local Government all these personalities are from the this village, As “Shanti Nagar” was as a purchased asset of a socio-religious organization thats why its political and administrative matters were little different from other areas. Nazir James pointed out that for the construction of roads or public property Government can ask anyone to vacate the place under Article 34, but here in this village it cannot as this village was bought from the British Government. Pastor Siddique Fazal, said that hundred-year history of the village has been chosen as a party to celebrate on the Baisakhi festival in the village. He shared that in February 2008, one of the residents of the village Aaron Calvin built the three entrance gates of the village. The Cross has been placed on each gate that so blessed passing underneath. Cross height is 60 feet, and after the construction of Cross the street name was changed from “Shanti Nagar Square” to “Calvary Square” the. Nazir James said the nearest basic health unit is at 88/10-R, which is about ten kilometers away from Shanti Nagar and villagers have difficulties for treatment, In addition to the basic health unit, water filtration plant is needed in the village. “This Article was originally written by Mr. Muhammad Faisal Saleem (District Reporter Sujag, Khanewal) and it is translated by Asif Shehzad” the article source can be found at following link; http://khanewal.sujag.org/feature/shanti-nagar-british-government-canals-christian-settlement-christian-village-shanti-bai-salvation-army-catholic


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