The Bagai family in India has urged Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to refrain from dismantling its historic ancestral palace located in the Dera Ismail Khan city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province.
“I am writing to draw your immediate attention on the demolition of a heritage site in Dera Ismail Khan – Bagai Mahal – despite tremendous efforts taken by the Archeology Department to preserve it,” read the letter written by the Bagai family.
“The public has created a lot of agitation to stop the demolition and are willing to protest if given a chance, to preserve their heritage,” the letter added.
The letter also raised serious concerns over the existing land mafias and land grabbers, who, it said, continue to demolish the Bagai Mahal.
“Today, the Bagai family has requested the KP government to stop the demolition, but the land mafias and land grabbers don’t seem to budge and continue to ruin the Bagai Mahal,” read the letter.
“The site can be brought to use by creation of a museum encompassing a library and preserving a few artifacts will prove to be a tourist attraction, symbol of culture,” the letter added.
The Bagai Palace aka Bagai Mahal was built in the 1800s by Seth Das Ram Bagai inside the old walled city of Dera Ismail Khan. The location of the Bagai Mahal was well known to be the area of those top businessmen and landlords, whose wealth was the stuff of legends locally.
History reveals that the Bagai family was on the top of social fabric in Dera Ismail Khan during the British Raj.
Elderly locals maintain that the Bagai family built a wall to stop the city from the annual flooding and also established a Vedic College in the city with their own money.
However, their luxury residence, which is one of the last memorials of the family, has recently been bought by a private group, which has dismantled it despite the concerns of the local community.
The family is now looking towards Prime Minister Imran Khan to step in and stop the demolition of its family heritage as the private group that has bought the place is not wasting time in demolishing it.
“The clock is ticking and the culprits have proved to be of no moral. Therefore, with all respect and a sad heart filled with hopes, we humbly request you, please held us in saving this heritage site which if vandalized can never be restored,” read the letter written by Attul Bagai and other of his family members.