LAHORE - The GCU History Department and Higher Education Commission arranged a two-day international conference titled ‘Colonial and Post-colonial Punjab’ Monday. Eminent social scientist Dr Muhammad Waseem chaired the inaugural session, spanning six technical sitting on ideologies and education, politics and religion, socio-economic marginalization, new perspective in historical method, ‘identity formation in colonial/post-colonial Punjab and art, culture and society. Addressing the participants, GCU VC Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleequr Rahman said the history was very a vital subject as it was a mirror through which they could see their past, analyze their present and plan for a prosperous future.

However, he said: “Our history says that we don’t learn from our mistakes and keep on repeating them.” The VC also said that all academic departments of GCU were holding international conferences in connection with the university’s 150 years celebrations, adding that proceedings of these conferences would be published as per the best international standards and would be forwarded to the abstracting agencies.

History Department Chairman Dr Muhammad Ibrahim said that the key concept of the conference was to understand economic, political and social consequences of colonial administration in Punjab and impacts of colonial institutions in post-colonial Punjab. He said that as many as 27 papers would be read at six technical sessions of the conferences. He said eminent historians and scholars from the UK and India were also attending the conference as it was equally important from their perspective.

In his keynote address Dr Markus Daechsel from Royal Holloway University of London highlighted the role of Muslim middle-class in raising political awareness among the masses in the Late Colonial Lahore.  He also said Mashriqi as a thinker and organizer had been relatively neglected in historical accounts of Punjab, and despite his overt failure, the case of the Khaksar movement told us about wider social and cultural trends about Muslim middle-class Punjabis at the time. Addressing on the intellectual resistance to colonial rule in Punjab, Dr Hassan Imam from Aligarh Muslim University, India, said that the British came to India as traders and having seen their wealth become greedy. He said methods adopted by the British to realize its political ambition were masked, and with every conflict between Indian rulers, a continuous process in the 18th century, was used by the British as an occasion to increase their military strength and emerge as decisive voice in Indian polity.

Seven foreign experts are participating in the conference.