THE BACKGROUND OF GENERAL POST OFFICE LAHORE
WHEN, WHO AND WHAT? UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
The Architect M. Starmer Hack of London and Bombay
It is usually heard in circles that the GPO Lahore was designed by Sir Ganga Ram and completed in 1887. Fine, but is that all to it? If we look at the History of Lahore by Judge Latif, he has this to say about the GPO Lahore, that is in 1892:
“The General Post Office is in Anarkali near the Museum. It was built in 1849, but considerable additions have been made to it since. There are three branch Post Offices.”
It may be kept in mind that he is not talking of the present GPO at all. Old views exist of the Post Office. Then we have a design published in the magazine ARCHITECTURAL in 1902 and it is worthy of note too. It says design for the new entrance to the GPO Lahore by none other than by Mr M. Starmer Hack of London and Bombay. It has intricate designs in it. Was this merely a design idea that never came into being? Or was the design modified with time. We do not know. But it is worthy of being researched. It is fashionable to attribute everything in Lahore to Sir Ganga Ram and Bhai Ram Singh. Is that really so, or we are merely paying lip service to a Hindu and a Sikh person, to discredit all others who contributed to Lahore, too. It is not for us to judge. Find out!
The writer of NUQOOSH LAHORE has more to say. He says the Post Office existed near the Lahore Museum (a barrack sort of building) along with the bungalow of the Post Master General. And straight way tells us that the present GPO was constructed in 1912. It was constructed under the guidance of Director Telegraph himself. No mention of who designed it? Although we see a 1902 design by M. Starmer Hack which looks very much like the present GPO. We get more clarification from the Lahore Gazetteer itself, which tells us in 1916, that the building was completed in 1904 and occupied by the Post Office the same year. This shows us that the 1902 design by M. Starmer Hack was there and modified into the new building. The case rests on is own merit.
Our problem is that we are not research oriented nation. Whatever is fed to us, we gulp it down, uncensored, un-moved by other conflicting claims. As said before, research is required before we make claims about anything at all.