Tag Archives: History

Of Minto Park Lahore

This article was originally published in The News on the PTI “Jalsa” in Minto Park.

Sabir Shah

LAHORE: Lahore’s Minto Park (now called Iqbal Park), where the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan staged yet another big rally on Sunday evening, has previously seen nearly every political entity like the All India Muslim League, the Khaksar Tehreek, the incumbent PML-N, the Pakistan People’s Party, JUI-F, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the MQM and the General Musharraf-led PML-Q etc holding widely-attended corner meetings during the last 74 years or since March 23, 1940.

Minto Park Lahore is also famous for breeding innumerable cricketing gems. Along with Pakistan’s Cricket legend Fazal Mahmood (1927-2005), with whom American actress Ava Gardener (1922-90) had requested to dance and whose fans included former Indian Premier Indira Gandhi, numerous Indian and Pakistani cricketers like Lala Amarnath, Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Imtiaz Ahmed, Nazar Muhammad, Mudassar Nazar, Saleem Malik, Saleem Pervaiz, Sarfraz Nawaz, Shafqat Rana, Azmat Rana, Javed Burki, Majid Khan, Imran Khan himself, Zulfiqar Ahmed, Shuja-ud-Din, Amir Elahi,Gul Mohammad, Dr Dilawar Hussein, Ameer Hussain, Maqsood Ahmed and sub-continent’s quickest ever fast bowler, Muhammad Nisar etc. had polished their skills on these grounds.

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My Eternal City

Lahore, Lahore aye.
By Pran Nevile

My Eternal City

No city in the subcontinent can boast of a more stirring or more turbulent history, or a stronger vitality, than Lahore—a city ruled by Hindu kings, Mughal emperors, Sikh monarchs, British sovereigns. Scholars, historians, and travelers passing through Lahore were enchanted by its majesty and grandeur. In the heyday of its glory as the capital of the Mughals, the city rose from semi-obscurity to eminence. It became the city of historical monuments and gardens. Lahore finds mention in John Milton’s classic, Paradise Lost. Thomas Moore in his celebrated Lalla Rookh describes the glittering life and pageantry of the palaces, domes, and gilded minarets of Lahore. Rudyard Kipling, the Nobel laureate who was raised in Lahore, immortalized the city in his writings.

The British rulers took active steps to safeguard and preserve old monuments and buildings of national interest and historical value. I remember that many new residential areas were developed in different parts of the city: Krishan Nagar, Sant Nagar, Ram Nagar, Ram Gullies, Krishna Gullies, Gowalmandi, Gandhi Square, Nisbet Road, Mozang and Quila Gujjar Singh. The most novel experiment was the construction of a modern township, Model Town, about six miles from the center, with spacious bungalow-type houses owned by the upper middle class of all communities. Continue reading

WRIT PETITION FILED IN LAHORE HIGH COURT TO RESTORE JAIN MANDIR IN LAHORE AND OTHER MINORITY WORSHIPING PLACES THROUGHOUT PAKISTAN

On   20th May 2014 a Writ Petn   SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE  versus STATE through CHIEF SECRETARY , GOVT OF PUNJAB AND OTHERS (INCLUDING PUBLIC AT LARGE) was filed at Lahore High Court   .. Writ Petition 13953 of 2014.
It was Preliminarily heard by MR JUSTICE Mansoor Ali Shah.
HE ORDERED THAT NOTICES ISSUE TO RESPONDENTS , AND THE cHIEF secretary (HIMSELF NOT A JOINT SECRETARY OR SECTIONN OFFICER) HEAR JAFREE PERSONALLY ON 26TH MAY Monday AND PASS A SPEAKING ORDER WITHIN ONE MONTH.. THE WRIT WOULD BE HEARD FURTHER ON 26TH June.

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Jahangir’s Tomb, Lahore

The tomb of Emperor Jahangir who ruled India 1605-1027, is another jewel in the crown of Mughal architecture. The tomb is situated in Lahore, in Noor Jahan’s old pleasure garden known as Dilkusha Garden. The mausoleum is located at Shahdara on the banks of the Ravi, three miles northwest of the city. in the centre of which stands the magnificent sepulcher of Jahangir, considered by some to be the “finest ornament of Lahore,” and the “most magnificent edifice in the subcontinent after the Taj and the Qutub.”
The combination of red Sikri stone and white marble, an arrangement echoing Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, and a rare treat for Lahore not least for its intricate inlay, is impressive in its finesse and sophistication. Where the external expression is restrained in its dignified simplicity, internally decorative surfaces present you the best of tile mosaic and fresco that made Lahore famous in the whole of the Mughal Empire.
Following are some photos of the tomb “tweeted” by our twitter handle @lahorenama

 

Note: Info credit “ualberta” website, Photos credit “Kasim Osmani”.

Walking Through History | The Walled City of Lahore

Saira A Nizami

The Old City, or the Walled City of Lahore is in the northwestern part of Lahore, Punjab. The visitor is given access to the city by 13 gates, few of them being Bhati Gate, Lahori Gate and Roshnai Gate.

As he visits the Walled City, Razi Rumi shares these rich moments and his thoughts while walking through streets of Lahore:

FortMughal architecture: Lahore Fort’s beautiful wall with original frescoes. Has survived amid history’s atrocities and government’s negligence.

Faqir Khana Museum

Lahore’s heritage: Inside the Faqir Khana Museum, Bhatti Gate. Some of the carpets are from the Emperor Shah Jahan’s era.

Haveli Naunehal Singh

Imagine living in a room with such amazing frescos – A hidden corner of Haveli Naunehal Singh, walled city of Lahore.

Balcony

Wouldn’t you love to have balcony like this? Spotted in walled city Lahore.

Little Girl in Hijab

Met this young girl in walled city Lahore last week.

Wall

Unfortunate graffiti on one of the 17th century walls of Lahore fort. However there is a guy out there who loves US.

Twinkle School

Twinkle Scholar (private) school has great advertising. Also shows what is valued as success.

School in walled city

Clever combination of modern and traditional education: Madrassa Safeena-tul Quran.

Spices

Ready for artwork? Look again, these are walled city Lahore’s colorful spices

Victoria School

A majestic structure that survives the vagaries of time .With those breathtaking frescos — Haveli Nonehal Singh, Lahore

Victoria School2

A hidden jewel in the densely populated walled city of #Lahore. Haveli Nonehal Singh, Victoria School since 150 years.

GraveStone

When I was procuring old plates, saw this too. The guy got the sign made and only 22 years later had to leave Lahore.

Colonial Plate

A spode plate – India Tree- found in the rubble of Lahore‘s colonial past.

Pakistan’s Identity Battle Plays Out in Lahore

Bhagat_jpg_1225585g

The battle for Pakistan’s identity is playing out in Lahore’s streets and – oddly, on its thoroughfares and intersections. On 23rd March, this year, a group of civil society representatives gathered at Lahore’s Shadman Chowk to commemorate the 82nd death anniversary of Bhagat Singh, a Sikh freedom fighter renowned for his revolutionary struggle as part of the independence movement, and who became stuff of legend when he was hanged by the British in 1931 after a brief but eventful insurrection against colonial rule. The gathering, however, was disrupted by members of a religious group which was holding a protest aimed at denouncing the idea of renaming the chowk after Bhagat Singh, simultaneously.

The chowk and the adjacent area used to be Lahore’s central jail during the British Raj, and Bhagat Singh is believed to have been hanged at the site of what is now Shadman Chowk.

Late last year, a group of Lahoris made progress in getting local officials to rename a busy traffic circle for Bhagat Singh, a Sikh revolutionary who. They see it as a chance to honor a local hero who they feel transcends the ethnic and sectarian tensions gripping the country today — and also as an important test of the boundaries of inclusiveness here.

But in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, questions of religious identity also become issues of patriotism, and the effort has raised alarm bells among conservatives and Islamists. The circle was named in 2010 for Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, a Muslim student who coined the name Pakistan in the 1930s, and there was an outcry at the news that it might be renamed for a non-Muslim.

“If a few people decide one day that the name has to be changed, why should the voice of the majority be ignored?” asked Zahid Butt, the head of a neighborhood business association here and a leader of the effort to block the renaming.

The fight over the traffic circle — which, when they are pressed, locals usually just call Shadman Circle, after the surrounding neighborhood — has become a showcase battle in a wider ideological war over nomenclature and identity here and in other Pakistani cities.

Although many of Lahore’s prominent buildings are named for non-Muslims, there has been a growing effort to “Islamize” the city’s architecture and landmarks, critics of the trend say. In that light, the effort to rename the circle for Mr. Singh becomes a cultural counteroffensive.

“Since the ’80s, the days of the dictator Gen. Zia ul-Haq, there has been an effort that everything should be Islamized — like the Mall should be called M. A. Jinnah Road,” said Taimur Rahman, a musician and academic from Lahore, referring to one of the city’s central roads and to the country’s founder. “They do not want to acknowledge that other people, from different religions, also lived here in the past.”

A recent nationwide surge in deadly attacks against religious minorities, particularly against Ahmadi and Hazara Shiites, has again put a debate over tolerance on the national agenda. Though most Sikhs fled Pakistan soon after the partition from India in 1947, the fight over whether to honor a member of that minority publicly bears closely on the headlines for many.

A push to honor Mr. Singh has been going on here for years. But it was not until the annual remembrance of his birth in September that things came to a head. A candlelight demonstration to support renaming the traffic circle had an effect, and a senior district official agreed to start the process. As part of it, he asked the public to come forward with any objections. The complaints started pouring in.

Traders of Shadman Market, the local trade group led by Mr. Butt, threatened a strike. Chillingly, warnings against the move were issued by leaders of the Islamic aid group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, largely believed to be a front for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Clerics voiced their opposition during Friday Prayer.

The issue quickly became a case for the city’s High Court, which said it would deliberate on a petition, initiated by Mr. Butt and a coalition of religious conservatives, to block the name change. That was in November, and the case still awaits a hearing date. The provincial government has remained in tiptoe mode ever since. “It is a very delicate matter,” said Ajaz Anwar, an art historian and painter who is the vice chairman of a civic committee that is managing the renaming process.

Mr. Anwar said some committee members had proposed a compromise: renaming the circle after Habib Jalib, a widely popular postindependence poet. That move has been rejected out of hand by pro-Singh campaigners.

Mr. Rahman and other advocates for renaming the circle paint it as a test of resistance to intolerance and extremism, and they consider the government and much of Lahore society to have failed it.

“The government’s defense in the court has been very halfhearted,” said Yasser Latif Hamdani, a lawyer representing the activists. “The government lawyer did not even present his case during earlier court proceedings.”

The controversy threatens to become violent. On March 23, the anniversary of Mr. Singh’s death, police officers had to break up a heated exchange between opposing groups at the circle.

Mr. Rahman and the other supporters have vowed to continue fighting, saying it has become a war over who gets to own Pakistan’s history.

“There is a complete historical amnesia and black hole regarding the independence struggle from the British,” Mr. Rahman said, adding of the Islamists, “They want all memories to evaporate.”

 {Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/world/asia/plan-to-rename-traffic-circle-provokes-outcry-in-lahore-pakistan.html?ref=global-home&_r=1&}

Lahore in 1933 – an aerial view

These original aerial photographs of old Lahore or the Inner City were shot in 1933. Zahra Mahmoodah has generously contributed them from a recently acquired album for Lahore Nama.

We invite the readers to identify the landmarks and buildings that are captured in the above photograph. Lahore remains the most beautiful city and in the 1930s it was surely a splendour!

Lahore – Before Partition- rare footage

Historic footage of Lahore city circa 1946 shot in Technicolor with views of two partition veterans on how the city has been changed after partition. Sites that have been captured are The Mall Road, Lahore Gymkhana (Old Building now Quaid-e-Azam Library), Lahore Museum, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Delhi Gate, Walled City, Circular Road etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apEk8Yu0KXU&feature=related

Nadira Begum’s tomb – faded glory of Lahore

Saad Sarfraz Shiekh’s excellent article and photos

The tomb of Nadira Begum...

The tomb of Nadira Begum…

Finding Nadira Begum’s Tomb isn’t hard since its right next to Sufi Saint Hazrat Mian Mir’s shrine.

Nadira Saleem Banu was the wife of Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh, the ill-fated heir to Shah Jahan’s throne and the crown prince of his Indian empire.

She died in 1659, several months before Dara Shikoh execution, and was survived by two daughters. No sons survived thanks to Aurangzeb Alamgir, who got rid of all male threats.

Stories of Nadira Banu’s beauty and intelligence were famous throughout the empire. She was the daughter of Shah Jahan’s half-brother, Prince Perwez, and therefore Dara Shikoh’s cousin.

Her would-be husband Dara Shikoh was eager to marry her and had a good relationship with her throughout his turbulent life. He never remarried, in spite of the common Mughal practice of persistent polygamy and overflowing harems. Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal, Dara’s mother, arranged the marriage when both Dara and Nadira were teenagers.

Dara Shikoh’s sister Jahanara Begum got along with Nadira quite well, as reflected by her involvement and interest in Nadira’s wedding and her closeness to him. Continue reading

Lahore Coffee House

Raza Rumi (published in The Friday Times)

Before his death in July 2009, KK Aziz had accomplished one mission
that he had set for himself, i.e. to write about the Lahore Coffee
House, the glorious nursery of ideas. Luckily, despite his failing
health, Aziz finished a draft that was meant to be a shining part of
his autobiographical kaleidoscope. “The Coffee House of Lahore: A
Memoir, 1942-57” was published in 2008 and Aziz, in the opening
chapters, tells us about the genesis of his passion to document this
memorable phase of our contemporary history. Continue reading

Lahore Calling

These are prolific, topical times for Pakistani fiction. Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, published in early 2007, was the first of the recent bloom. Hamid’s unnerving novella, about a Princeton grad who grows a beard, quits his fancy New York consulting job and returns home to Lahore after 9/11, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Mohammed Hanif’s 2008 novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, based on the 1988 plane crash that killed General Zia ul-Haq, was a finalist for the Guardian first-book award. And Daniyal Mueenuddin’s superb In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a sage, Chekhovian collection of tales set in rural Punjab, has been wowing critics since publication in February. Ali Sethi’s hefty novel The Wish Maker, set mostly in Lahore during the 1990s and early 2000s, is also certain to keep the critics talking.
Sethi’s engrossing if uneven debut is written in astoundingly assured prose that belies the author’s youth (he is 25), particularly in his throbbing takes of contemporary Lahore, where he grew up and returned to after his undergrad years at Harvard. He describes everything from the “mewl of bargainers” at a fabric shop to card games played by bored guards at gated homes like the one in which middle-class narrator Zaki Shirazi lives. Also in the house are three related women whose lives mirror the tottering arc of recent Pakistani history — from partition to the bruised Bhutto years, caught between purdah and leggy Jane Fonda workout tapes, Suzuki Swifts and donkey carts. They are Zaki’s grasping grandmother Daadi; his widowed mom Zakia, editor of a progressive women’s magazine that criticizes the government and runs interviews with acid-attack victims; and Zaki’s teenage cousin Samar Api, who is on a lame quest to find an Amitabh Bachchan to sweep her off her feet.
(See the 100 best novels of all time.)
The novel (national epic, family saga and testy teen drama knotted into one) meanders — including an abrupt jaunt to Granada, where Zakia and Zaki vacation just so, it seems, Sethi can make a point about the high potential of Islamic culture. And it’s burdened by clichés: the love of all things Bollywood; mingy mothers-in-law; the kid who escapes to an American university. Still, Sethi’s sharp eye, worthy of being an entomologist’s, makes the book a steadily absorbing read, all 400-plus pages of it. Recollecting his first day at a private boy’s academy, Zaki remembers of a classroom: “A dead wasp lay on its back in a corner of the windowsill with its legs curled up. It had wandered in past the mesh and never found its way out.” It’s a muted metaphor not just for Zaki but for Pakistan as a whole. It’s this kind of nuanced detail in The Wish Maker, moreover, that leaves you wishing for much more from Sethi, whose buzzing talent is unmistakableThese are prolific, topical times for Pakistani fiction. Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, published in early 2007, was the first of the recent bloom. Hamid’s unnerving novella, about a Princeton grad who grows a beard, quits his fancy New York consulting job and returns home to Lahore after 9/11, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Mohammed Hanif’s 2008 novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, based on the 1988 plane crash that killed General Zia ul-Haq, was a finalist for the Guardian first-book award. And Daniyal Mueenuddin’s superb In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a sage, Chekhovian collection of tales set in rural Punjab, has been wowing critics since publication in February. Ali Sethi’s hefty novel The Wish Maker, set mostly in Lahore during the 1990s and early 2000s, is also certain to keep the critics talking.

By TIM KINDSETH

Sethi’s engrossing if uneven debut is written in astoundingly assured prose that belies the author’s youth (he is 25), particularly in his throbbing takes of contemporary Lahore, where he grew up and returned to after his undergrad years at Harvard. He describes everything from the “mewl of bargainers” at a fabric shop to card games played by bored guards at gated homes like the one in which middle-class narrator Zaki Shirazi lives. Continue reading

Bibliography: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal

Bibliography: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal

Works of Allama Iqbal

(A) Works in Prose

Bedil in the Light of Bergson, ed. and annotated by Dr. Tehsin Firaqi, Lahore, 1988.The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (a contribution to the history of Muslim philosophy), London, 1908. Reprinted Lahore, 1954, 1959, 1964. Continue reading

CULTURES OF PUNJAB

The geographical entity in the north-western region of India called Punjab, the land of five rivers, has been and still is an integral part of the common pool of Indian culture. Its arts and crafts also form an important part of the deep-rooted artistic tradition of India and are equally rich and significant.

The culture of Punjab prior to the partition of 1947 was a mixture of three strains one flowing frorn Kangra hills, the second from south-western area from Multan to Lahore, and the third from Peshawar w Lahore. Continue reading

Abandoned pleasures

LAHORE: The paien bagh at the Lahore Fort is without visitors. The garden was adjacent to the sleeping chambers and was built by Emperor Jahangir in 1633AD. It was used only by the inmates of the emperor’s harem. Continue reading

Moving Journeys: An Exhibition of Photographs of the Colonial Punjab

Photographs of the Punjab taken by London’s Royal Geographical Society
(RGS) members during the late 19th and early 20th centuries form the
core of the exhibition. The RGS images provide a glimpse of the Punjab
province through the ages, capturing the changes brought on by
different empires and the impact of internal and external migration.
To help interpret the pictures, the exhibition also makes use of
travelogues collected and written by RGS members during the colonial
period. Continue reading

K. K. Aziz on Lahore

Chapati Mystery has published this enchanting post on Lahore. We are cross posting for our readers. Raza Rumi

K. K. Aziz, 82, one of the most renowned historian of Pakistan, is gravely ill in Lahore. He is one of those cherished individuals who dare speak truth without the fear of consequence. He acted as the nation’s conscious for a long while [See especially, The Pakistani Historian: Pride and Prejudice in the Writing of History (1993)]. I am currently reading the second volume of his autobiography and I thought, I’d share this little bit about Lahore from his introduction. Speedy recovery, Professor Aziz.

From the 1920s onwards, perhaps even earlier, Lahore was the most highly cultured city of north India. From here appeared the largest number of Urdu literary joundals, newspapers, and books and two of the Continue reading

The Historian – Online Journal of Government College University, Pakistan

Raza Rumi

Many months ago I received this link to the online journal of the Government College University, Lahore. It has an impressive editorial board and the editor, Tahir Kamran, is a respected historian whose efforts and contributions to revive the near-dead discipline of history deserve more than appreciation.

The said issue of The Historian has diverse articles including On the Making of Muslims in India Historically and Evolution and Impact of Deobandi Islam in the Punjab. And, there are some brilliant book reviews as well. The book that interested me were Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and M.J. AKBAR’s, Blood Brothers: A Family Saga.

I was once a student at this institution albeit for a year only. After years of state control, the recent reforms have improved the quality of instruction and of course the management. Thus the glorious tradition of the Government College shall not wane despite the awful stateof education that haunts Pakistan.

Do visit the website and browse through the pieces if history is your cup of tea.

Lahore stays linked to its past

By Ramachandra Guha

Published: April 18 (Financial Times)

Badshahi mosque
Badshahi Mosque

I first visited Lahore in 1995, illegally. I was attending a conference in Islamabad, and had a visa for that city alone. But I was determined to get to Lahore. I had grown up in a town in north India inundated with refugees from Pakistan’s Punjab. The fathers of my friends had all been educated in Lahore, and spoke in elegiac tones about its colleges, parks, theatres and shops. A book they passed lovingly from hand to hand was Pran Neville’s Lahore: A Sentimental Journey, an account of a sensuous and even sybaritic city, whose residents – at least in this telling – were preoccupied with the pleasures of clothes, food, music and sex.

Speaking of the 1930s, Neville wrote that “Lahore was famous for its sexologists, mostly [Hindu] vaids and [Muslim] hakims. They promised sexual prowess to all those who could afford their expensive formulations, which had ingredients like gold, silver, pearls and rare herbs.” Continue reading

Personal histories: attention Lahore buffs

I have received this letter from Suniti Mohindra based in the US, who is searching for many answers. This email was so interesting that I am publishing it with Suniti’s permission. I am going to look for materials but I would request the readers to help our friend in undertaking this amazing project. History is not the domain of the rulers only. Personal histories are even more important for they give us a humanistic vision of our past and the present. Please leave any information here in the comments section RR

Dear Raza Rumi,

I was researching for the history of Lahore the great City of Punjab where my grandfather Ralla Ram Mohindra came to for his college education in 1892/3 and while finishing his college he came across an advertisement in the local paper where the East India Company was advertising for educated persons for the development of the Railway in East Africa called the Uganda Railway. My Grandfather hailed from Malsian district Jullandhar from the Soodhan Mohalla his father being in the business of leasing land to the farmers and hence from a rich family that believed in Education and the values to be gotten wherefrom. My Grandfather without telling his father Lala Moti Ram (he was the only son) applied for this post was immediately called to Calcutta where he was given a crash course in Administration and telegraphy and with a handsome advance given a ticket to sail for Mombasa, Kenya to report to the General Manager George Whitehouse[who was later knighted]as the Railhead Station Master and took the Railway from Mazeras to Kisumu on Lake Victoria the period was 1896 to 1901.

I am putting together history of my family and was wondering if you may be able to help me in constructing the aura of the Great City of Lahore the then Capital of Punjab. I have pieced together some aspects but these only relate to the fact that there were four sections of the city etc. Is there any material that would help me grasp what the Metropolis of that time was and what great thing it was for some one from a village to come to this Great City, get Educated there and them get the dare devil outlook for adventure and exploration in a spirit of fearlessness to a distant part of Africa then known as KALA PANI.. my love for Punjab aside, the great adventure of my Grandfather and what motivated a young man in his late teens to embark on such a journey is what I want to get a handle on.

Any help from you would be most helpful and please accept my gratitude which I shall duly acknowledge for the courtesy extended.

With respect and regards,

Suniti Mohindra

Lahore’s history goes rack and ruin

Isambard Wilkinson, The National

Lahore – A project to save the architectural and cultural heritage of Lahore’s fabled Old City is foundering due to political instability and corruption, officials say.

The World Bank has offered US$10 million (Dh36.7m) to restore the 2.6-sq-km Old City, home to 145,000 of Lahore’s eight million population, but the so-called Sustainable Development Walled City project has become mired in bureaucracy and inertia.

Jewels of Moghul architecture have been neglected or poorly restored. Havelis, courtyard houses akin to Morocco’s highly prized riads, have been left to rot. Many of the city’s decorously carved wooden balconies, or jerokahs, have collapsed and the streets are squalid.

The city that was bought to life by writers ranging from the Moghul court chroniclers to the bard of the British Raj, Rudyard Kipling, and was once the capital of the Moghul and Sikh empires, is in a state of deep decay. Continue reading