Tag Archives: Gulberg

The Joy of Used Books in Lahore

By Mohammad A. Qayyum
- Newbie Guide to Secondhand and/or cheap books around Lahore –

With the exchange rate ever spiraling away from us, reading English books in Lahore has become a prohibitively expensive past time. Moreover, the type of books in terms of substance and genre – why don’t we ever have original texts when we carry biographies and criticisms of writers is beyond me – is relatively limited. The old ports-of-call like Ferozesons on the Mall, Marwa books next to it and Variety Books in Liberty and the new (the lovely Last Word inside Hotspot in Gaddafi Stadium) tend to be expensive, so the book addict has to look elsewhere for his fix these days.

‘Readings’ on Main Boulevard above all stands as an oasis for the book reading public, a shop by a book lover for booklovers. The prices on new books are relatively low and while the secondhand books collection is now less than before, Readings does keep replenishing its stock. So, a regular visit is often merited. Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, the books available at Readings are not just limited to the old standards of English Literature that are found around town. A lot of the books you get at Readings are not available elsewhere (for any price, much less cut-price.)

The other must visit quasi-new-books bookshop in town is the basement bookshop next to Yummy 36 (behind the Shell petrol station) in Liberty. The owners there bring in containers of books (mostly from Australia) and one gets some really nice bargains. If you are looking for technical, management or computer books, this should be your first port of call. Continue reading

New Lahore bookshop revives reading culture

By Kamila Hyat, for the Gulf News (April 28, 2008) 

Lahore:  For years, book lovers in Lahore, a city reputed for its literary history as well as its architectural inheritance, have mourned the apparent loss of the love of reading.

Many book shops have gradually vanished and in others, magazines have taken the place of more substantial tomes.

Teachers and parents have lamented the fact that in an age of television, DVDs, computer games and numerous other forms of jazzy electronic entertainment, children had turned away from books.

But, a single experimental idea has proved much of this conjecture about the relationship between Lahoris and books to be false.

The large Readings bookstore, which stocks row after row of used books, encyclopaedias and other literary material from the US, has within the two years or so of its existence become one of the most popular spots in the city. Continue reading

Lahore’s ‘quietest’ areas exceed WHO noise limits

* Health expert says noise pollution can trigger both physiological and psychological problems

Abdul Manan writing in Daily Times

LAHORE: Though the affluent areas of Lahore are quieter than rest of the city, the noise level in these areas is still far higher than the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), an Environment Protection Department (EPD) official told Daily Times on Monday.

Noise intensity is measured in decibels (dB) to illustrate different noise levels. The WHO standard for residential areas is 45dB, for commerical areas 55 dB, and for industrial areas 65 dB. People can normally bear noise up to 45 dB, but from 120 dB the ear begins to experience pain, and this level of noise can also impair hearing if experienced over a long period.

The EPD official said the noise level was recorded at an average of 75 dB in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Gulberg and Model Town. He said the average noise level in the industrial areas was recorded as above 120 dB. “Noise pollution could be dramatically decreased by banning rickshaws,” he said.

He said noise should be considered a nuisance rather than an environmental problem, but that the EPD had not yet established any standards of noise pollution. “The EPD should propose amendments in the Pakistan Environment Protection Act 1997 in this regard,” he said, and added that major sources of noise were generators, vehicles, poor urban planning, factory machinery, construction work, aircraft, and railways.

Noise injures both physically and mentally: Mayo Hospital’s Dr Khalil said unwanted sound was defined as noise pollution. He said noise affects a person’s level of happiness and ability to perform activities. “Noise pollution can cause annoyance, aggression, and hypertension, and can impair hearing. Excessive exposure to loud noises can even cause tinnitus, a disorder in which a person hears sound in the absence of corresponding external sound,” he said. Continue reading

In Lahore – No booze, Gulberg restaurants told

rana kashif of the Daily Times reporting:

“The Gulberg Town administration has issued notices to restaurants in Gulberg, ordering them to stop serving alcohol or allow customers to bring alcohol to restaurants. Town Municipal Officer (TMO) Ali Abbas Bukhari told Daily Times on Tuesday that several upscale restaurants in Gulberg were serving alcohol. “This is an un-Islamic practice and illegal activity.” He said that the town administration had witnessed the practice and had also received complaints about alcohol being served or brought into restaurants. He did not give the names of the restaurants, but said that notices had been served to almost all restaurants. “Either stop the practice or be ready to face the law,” he added. The subject of the notice issued states ‘Perseverance of Islamic Laws and Culture’ and ends with the signature of Gulberg Town Nazim Faraz Ahmed Chaudhry. The last paragraph of the notice reads, “It has been noticed that banned drinks are being served with food to the guests in some restaurants. Such a practice is un-Islamic, immoral and causes problems for visiting families. We appreciate your esteemed organisation for cooperating with the town administration by discouraging this practice, otherwise action under the law will be initiated.” The owners and managers of some large restaurants in Gulberg denied receiving the notice, saying that they were running their businesses under the law and were not involved in any such activity. They also said that the delivery of any such notice without proper justification would be illogical. They said that their restaurants were there to serve their customers within a legal framework. “

Skewed urban development agenda

by Ahmad Rafay Alam (from the NEWS)

The priority given to different urban development projects strikes me as odd. Given the extensive road development work seen in Lahore during the tenure of the previous provincial government, it would appear that inner-city mobility was considered key to the city’s future. The billions in foreign development assistance spent upgrading transport infrastructure stands in stark contrast to the opinion, expressed by many a citizen and almost every elected local government official, that the most pressing issue facing the city of Lahore today is solid-waste management. And yet, at the same time, the amounts spent on upgrading the sewerage system of the city pale in comparison to those spent to accommodate private automobile owners.

Why is there such a discrepancy between the urban development people want to see and the urban development they get? A look at the institutions that are responsible for the urban planning and development of the city and the financial and administrative control they wield offers an answer to this very perplexing question. Continue reading

Heera Mandi – The Dream House of the Whores

Courtesy Mayank Austen Soofi

I felt like a bridegroom who had come to pick out one of the three beautiful sisters. Sitting next to each other on a blue sofa, they blushed and coquettishly glanced at us.

An old woman with a straight back and shining-white hair sat down on the floor and talked of the heat and humidity. She had a firm, commanding voice that sliced and rebuked the air with the sharp tanginess of a most refined form of spoken Urdu.

Unlike the brightly-colored and intricately designed shalwaar kameeze (Shalwar are loose trousers and the kameeze is a long shirt) of the girls, the stern woman stood apart in an off-white dress and a white netted dupatta (a scarf or covering for the head and upper body worn by women), carefully adjusted on her head.

It seemed like a cultured Muslim family, but the girls were not sisters. They were prostitutes. The old lady was not a mother looking for suitable boys for her daughters, but a pleasure-house Madam.

We were in Heera Mandi — ‘a bazaar of diamonds’ — Pakistan’s oldest red light district.

Crossing into the Red Light

Mian Naeem, a soft-spoken Lahore-based sculptor and art-critic, had agreed to take me for an excursion to Heera Mandi, a place I particularly wished to visit especially after reading an excellent book by the British author Louise Brown, The Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Ancient Pleasure District.

I was in Pakistan to take part in a conference for a visa-free South Asia and was tied up with a series of seminars and speeches during the day. Night was the time to explore the city and Heera Mandi had to be a necessary pilgrimage. Continue reading