text and photo by Environmentalist
We mourn slow death of that Abbottabad, which was once, an unforgettable experience for heads of states, commander in chiefs, poets, statesmen, writers, and thousands of nature loving souls.
I quote following words of Captain Thomas, in which he describes the magic of Himalayan hill stations, he writes:
” From March, when the sleet and snow may have passed away, to the middle of July, the climate is heavenly. There is nothing like it on earth. Nothing! Nothing in Italy! Nothing in France! Nothing anywhere that I know off. Recall the finest day, nay hour, of sunshine you have ever known in English spring, and conceive the beauty and gladness of that sunshine, brightened by continuing without a storm, and deck the fruit trees and bushes in a Thousand English blossoms;and spread violets and daises and berry blossoms and wild roses over the bright close emerald turf; over crags amid the pine roots, and far away down amid the ferns and you may fancy some thing….”
One of the gazetteer mentioned that places like Abbottabad, Srinagar, Murree and Shimla were pieces of Heaven on this earth and there were times of the year when these towns offered the world best climate.
Are we completely helpless?? will some sons or daughters of Pakistan come forward to claim this heritage and ask government to protect leftovers of these assets for the appreciation of future generations ??..
In collusion with self imposed , contractors hiding as so called political and religious parties, Army sponsored Mayors (nazims) …Government Engineers are going to demolish these buildings.
They have already demolished various master pieces of stone masonry and chopped down dozens of mature old trees due to following reasons..
1- They get expensive seasoned timber , heavy gauge roof sheets , chieseled stones and antique building items for their private bungalows..
2- They make huge money from kick backs, bribes, commissions, shares etc..from sham contractors during reconstruction phase..
3- They remove neatly built buildings, so that eventually Pakistanis won’t be able to compare ugly and ill designed buildings with well proportioned, symmetrical and environmentally friendly buildings left for us by Britishers..
Please note the land scape and grace of these buildings and it is so damaging to know that instead of retrofitting them..they will be demolishing such buildings of Abbottabad and other districts of Hazara…??
Abbottabad, NWFP, Pakistan , height above sea level, 4100 feet was founded in 1853 AD by Major ( later, General, Sir) James Abbott of Blackheath London, who became first deputy commissioner of Hazara,.. and Hazara gazetteer of 1883 AD declared Abbottabad as the most beautiful hilly town of sub continent..trees from UK and Kashmir were brought to this unmatchable town and avenues and landscapes of Abbottabad had trees of horse chestnuts, Elms, Ash, Pistacia, Chinar (Kashmir maple), himalayan pine, Cedars of Lebanon, fragrant camphors of England, etc…and shrubs and flowers of all kinds including fragrant gardenias etc..were present
Major James Abbott fell in love with the rolling hills and awe inspiring views of Himalayan peaks of this thickly forested little England of East and he wrote following mystical lyrical Love poem in the praise of nature and Abbottabad
Poem “Town Abbottabad” by Major (later General, Sir) James Abbott
I remember the day when I first came here
And smelt the sweet Abbottabad air
The trees and ground covered with snow
Gave us indeed a brilliant white glow
To me place seemed like a dream
And far ran a lonesome stream
The wind hissed as if welcoming us
The pine swayed creating a lot of fuss
And the tiny cuckoo sang it away
A song very melodious and gay
I adored the place from the first sight
And was happy that my coming here was right
And eight good years here passed very soon
And we leave our perhaps on a sunny day
Oh! Abbottabad we are leaving you now
To your natural beauty do I bow
Perhaps your wind’s sound will never reach my ear
My gift for you is a tear
I bid you farewell with a heavy heart
Never from my mind will you memories thwart