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Pathankot is a Heritage Place
Pathankot is an Interesting Place

This web site is a part of the heritage project taken up
by Prabal Pramanik’s Academy of Arts
Bhamlada, Bhatwan, Punjab-145 022, India
e-mail :

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Some aspects of social values of Pathankot
by Prabal Pramanik

Every city or town has its own character, and this character creates the atmosphere of the area, allowing the place a distinction of its own.
Even a crowded town with congested lanes beset with a number of problems has points of interest and importance.
Pathankot in Punjab in India is a town that is interesting and important for several reasons. Pathankot is situated at a unique geographical position that is the meeting point of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
This geographical location makes this town an appropriate place for the blending of different cultures of diverse anthropological groups.
This makes Pathankot an interesting place for a student of social anthropology.
The strategic importance of the town has resulted in large cantonment area. The presence of the cantonment of the armed forces in Pathankot has opened up the opportunity to many traders in the town to supply many necessary goods to armed forces and to their families who may stay with them.
The old town, with its narrow alleys and maze like array of lanes often flanked by ground floor shops and workshops of diverse kind, has a character that is distinctly different from the new town growing up at different places that were lying vacant or were being used as agricultural land before.
The new town developing on the large tract of land from Patel Chowk to bypass road naturally has more open spaces and much wider roads lined by shops and showrooms of modern appliances.
The social values of the old town and the new town differ greatly.
The values of the old town are much more community conscious and tradition based, while the attitude of the new town is much more individualistic and it is prone to be affected by the outer shell of the western lifestyle in a greater manner.
Pathankot is chiefly a utilitarian town. People here access their success in life in terms of the financial and social milage they have been able to achieve.
Profit and gain is much more important here than intellectual pleasure and excellence.
Any town grows up according to the tastes and requirements of the people living there.
The reality speaks louder than any claim.
Pathankot is a large town that has many restaurants, roadside eateries, beauty parlours, jeweller shops and car dealers but it does not have a single serious intellectual research institute.
Ramlilas are held here and there are drama clubs in this town, yet constricting social values compel men to play women’s parts generally.
These social restrictions and the lack of true co-ordination between these groups have kept the concept of drama at a much lower level than the dramatic excellence found in other parts of India and abroad.
Moreover there is no consciousness about the need to pay for tickets to go to see plays.
The lack of paying public has made it impossible for drama clubs to come up to a professional level.
The lack of co-ordination has absolutely restricted the exchange of cultural ideas and artistic views in this town.
“Visual artists” here are generally reproduction artists who copy from prints and photographs to cater their customers.
Art conscious public is also difficult to find in this area. There are a few Urdu poets here, but they too have to distribute their books free to people when they publish their books.
The people in Pathankot generally think that poetry books are not worth paying for. Few poets in Pathankot have been recognized outside their own circle.
Some times musicians and poets from other places are invited to functions in this town but, these occasional visits by visiting musicians and poets have not built up a co-ordinated indigenous and serious cultural world here. No cultural world is possible unless common people of an area are really and sincerely concerned about the excellency of culture at any place.
This aspect of social values is a basic part of life and reflects the viewpoint of the people living at any given area.
Pathankot is a city of businessmen and it is the main trading center between Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
It is a center of transport business and roads from different important places in northern India meet here.
Much of the distribution system for Himachal and Jammu & Kashmir is operated from Pathankot. Large markets of wholesale and retail goods are operated from different parts of the town.
Inter-state bus service from the main bus stand and from Himachal bus stand near Pathankot junction are important points of arrival and departure for tourists as well as for people living in this area and in near about places.
Long distance bus service ply to and from the main bus stand and many foreign tourists who go to Dharamsala and Dalhousie get their busses from here.
Two railway stations, Pathankot junction and Chakki bank are important main stations of Northern railway, as trains that link to many other parts of India stop here.
A huge amount of goods are carried via the railway to Pathankot.
The town is not too clean and roads are slushy in monsoon and dusty in summer.
The narrow lanes need to be cleaned more regularly and properly.
The people living in the town have become used to dirty streets and filthy drains. They clean the inside of their homes but often just dump the filth thoughtlessly outside.
The civic concept of the need of clean and hygienic streets is yet to develop in Pathankot.
There are several nurseries for plants near Pathankot and these nurseries supply plants to private garden and orchard owners but it is not really possible to find a well maintained public garden filled with flowers in this town.
“Bhandaras” or community feasts and “Jagratas” or nocturnal religious song sessions are common and quite popular here. Old Pathankot had an easy going spirit and accepted life in a more satisfied manner.
Now the “rushing attitude” of the “modern world” is catching up with the younger generation here, that has become susceptible to fast life and frustration.
The way of life is changing fast in Pathankot and the next generation may see radical change in values.
People in general are not heritage conscious and the few old havelis that are still existing are likely to be destroyed soon.
In a few years time Pathankot perhaps will have nothing to cling on to its past.
Perhaps no one in Pathankot will regret the destruction of the heritage spots in the town and the loss of the old mood of this place. The old way of life and the crumbling havelis will not even remain as memories for most people.
This website is created in the hope of preserving some aspects of the fleeting age, for the posterity, and to usher in an era of information technology that would keep a balance between the past and the future in context to the present reality.
Prabal Pramanik

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