Century-old Yadgar Club at last breaths

MUZAFFARGARH, Dec 28: When Queen Victoria died in 1901, the then district administration ruled by the British Raj decided to build a club in the district in memory of the queen. Named after the queen, the Victoria Hall, now called Yadgar Club, was built for social get-together in the city in 1909. The club will become century old in 2009.

Located in the heart of the city, the 18-kanal club consists of one main hall, one snooker room, one badminton court and one rest room. The main hall is also used as lobby for visitors. Besides it, the club has lawns, a tennis lawn and one swimming pool. Since its inception till early nineties, the club would be the hub of evening activities for the district bureaucracy and elite class of the city.

In the evening, officers and high social class would visit the club for sports activities and chit chat. 1n 1988, then Dera Ghazi Khan commissioner Aslam Sokhaira and then Muzaffargarh deputy commissioner Muhammad Amer Khan changed the name of historic Victoria Memorial hall to Yadgar Club.

An official said that after 1909, the club was only renovated in 1988. Right now the building is in a dilapidated condition and members have deserted the club for last 10 years.

The club which was built for social get-togethers has become a place for wedding ceremonies. Its once lush green lawns are now full of potholes and food leftovers can be found there. The tennis lawn needs repair and the swimming pool, it seems, has not been used for decades and it looks like a pond.

Dawn visited the club last week to attend a wedding ceremony and saw the main hall being used as kitchen. One watchman said the government had hired four watchmen to look after the building and there was no senior official to look after the club.

In its good days, the club would be run by a body elected by its members. Now there is no body to run the affairs of the club.

Sardar Allah Wasaya Chunno Leghari, Pakistan People’s Party MPA, said that he felt sorry for the state of the club and that no district official had asked him to arrange funds for the club.

He said it was the responsibility of all politicians and district officials to work together to maintain the historic building.

Social circles said if the district government could not do anything for the club, at least it should ask the British government to help preserve the building for it was built in the honour of Queen Victoria.

One district official said the district government had allocated Rs1.9 million for the renovation of the club and the work would begin next year.