Tag Archives: Pakistan

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.
==
The Writ also asks that national hero Shaheed BHAGHHAT SINGH be honoured with highest national honour NISHANE PAKISTAN and Post Office ordered to issue commemorative stamps, even though he is Sikh.
The Writ by Syyed Iqbal Jafree extensively quotes Constn and the Holy Quran; that places of minority worshipfulness are cultural heritage which should not be discriominated against or maligned.
I copy of the Writ has been mailed to Shri  Mahendra Kumar Mast in Chandigarh.
There is much apathy re minorities in india and Pakistan. They must now  wake up and strive for progress and change and prlogressivity orientation.
I did receive a phone calls from some Jain Trust in Bombay moments before I appeared before Lahore High Court Justice Mansoor ali shah re this matter.
But no further call.
All expenses of this Writ were borne by THE SHAHZADI MUMTAZ JAHAN TRUST. If any Indian organization or individual wants to take part in  this Litigation they must sent POWER OF ATTY to Jafree (who charges no fees) , but it must be legalized by Pakistan High Commission OR by some Pak Embassy elsewhere.
Next Court hearing is 26th June.
Regards
BARRISTER SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE AND SUMMA-SATTTTTA, Senior Advoc Sup Ct of Pakistan , PC
MA LLM PhD HonLLD FRSA Paris Biennale Laureate.
——————-
LHC WRIT   ———–OF 2014; Jafree versus State (Religion)  RE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, FILED 19TH MAY 2014
BISSMILLAW :: URGENT FOR  TUESDAY, the 20th MAY 2014  (OFFICE NOT TO S V P  WASTE  TIME)

IN THE HONOURABLE LAHORE HIGH COURT, LAHORE

(Public Interest) Farze Kaffaya Application              ……….         WP _______________/2014

BARRISTER SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE, BRIGHTON, PACIFIC PALISADES and SUMMA-SATTTTTA (“JAFREE”),( (General Counsel: THE SHAZADI MUMTAZ JAHAN TRIUST ( A WAKF ) + GEOFFREY+KHITRAN, (PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FIRM))) , 11 RIGHTEOUS CALIPH OMER (RA) PLAZA, ONE MOZANG ROAD,  VICINITY OF THE SACRED JAIN MANDIR . LAHORE-54000, PAKISTAN. …………………                                                                   Writ PETITIONER / INFORMANT/  AND  APPLICANT.

Versus

(1) THE STATE, through THE CHIEF SECERETARY, GOVT. OF PUNJOB, LAHORE, PAKISTAN;  (2) THE FEDERATION through THE CABINET SECRETARY, GOVT. OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD-44000;  (3) THE SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF RELIGION, GOVT. OF PUNJOB, CIVIL SECTT, LAHORE-54000; (4) THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL, PAKISTAN POST OFFICES, GOVT. OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD-44000;  (5) AAAAWWWWWAAA -AAAMMMMMMNNAAAAASSSS  (Public- at- Large) Properly (as Proper Party):        RESPONDENTS.

VERIFIED , SOLEMN AND VERILY -SUCCINCT  POST-NEW NATIONAL JUDICIAL POLICY IMPLEMENTATION  MERITORIOUS  APPLICATION FOR ORDERS AND DIRECTIONS AND  DECLARATORY JUDGMENT ++ HONEST-TO-GOODNESS HOLISTIC AND GENEROUSLY-THOUGHTFUL  JUDICIAL RELIEF/ REVIEW  PLUS  JUSTICE-WITH-LOVE (ADDL BILL EHSAWN) CONCERNING FRUCTIFICATION OF  FREEDOM OF RELIGION OF VULNERABLE / WORTHY MINORITIES  ((( ( E.G., THAT JAIN AND HINDU MANDIRS/ TEMPLES AND  THE SIKH  GURDAWARAS  IN  THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN BE RESTORED, DECENTLY KEPT UP  AND NOT ALLOWED TO BE ABUSED BY GOONS  (AND SCURRILOUS  EXCUSES NOT MINTED) + THAT ‘MARTYR BHAGHAT SINGH’ – – OUR  NATIONAL HERO FROM LYALLPUR (a.  k. a. FAISALABAD)  BE AWARDED NISHANE PAKISTAN (RETROSPECTIVELY) ++  AND THE  PAKISTAN POST OFFICE   ISSUE COMMEMORATIVE POSTAGE  STAMPS REVERENTIALLY   HONOURING AND   CELEBRATING HIS OUTSTANDING STATUS + AUSPICIOUS  MEMORY )))  AND CONSCIENCE PURSUANT TO CONSTITUTIONAL  ARTICLES 199, 194, 187-190, 2A to 10A, 19, 23, 25, 30-40, 227 (AND PENUMBRAS THEREOF)  AND PER ORDER 27A (NOT answer-ing letters  or not addressing grievances may please  be boldly declared to be unconstitutional and against salient  principles of good governance, such practices  must be unequivocally, at long last,  banned/forbidden ) , SECTION 151, 94 CPC,  READ WITH ARTICLE 164 of PAKISTAN LAW OF EVIDENCE (QANUN-E SHAHADAT), AND SECTION 42  of the SPECIFIC RELIEF ACT ++ OTHER  LAWS , (DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL) OF PAKISTAN. EXEMPLARY INDEMNITY COSTS BE generously AND EXEMPLARILY AWARDED AS ROLE MODEL because conduct and hideous maladministration (in fact machinations and misconduct) have been disgraceful  as well as disgusting. Smug Atty.Gen+ Advs.Gen. have not taken any remedial action because they are (not  Ramday) Patronage and Pelf-Begets no’’merit  illicit appointees.

Typed and conscientiously Filed  by Barrister SyyedMohummed Jawaid Iqbal Jafree without charging any fees or expense, emailpihrights@gmail,.com+ phone 0345 426 6785 or after 3 pm Gulberg Public Interest Law Offices PIHR/G+ 0092 42 3578 5025). Filing costs fearlessly  contributed by The SMJ Trust (a Wakf). {{Time spent on preparing this Writ 24 Hours.}}.

—————————

LHC WP———–2014, JAFREE versus STATE (JAIN)  RELIGION FILED ON 19th MAY 2014, Part 2

               Respectfully Represents Your Petitioner in Performing Farze Kaffaya and as personally  Aggrieved and Affected  Party               T  H  A  T:

1.  PARTIES:  Applicant Jafree (an affected party as vakeel and mussawere and scholar of cultural heritage)  is a denizen of Pakistan, a Muslim (and direct descendant from Holy Prophet Mohummed, S A W,  (“The Highest Jihad is Speaking Up before Powers That Be!!”)  as well as Caliph Imam Ali K A W); he is distantly also  related to The Righteous Caliph Omer RA who said ‘an acceptor of wrong is worse than the wrongdoer’. Furthermore,  has been a lawyer/barrister/ vakil + mussawere of/f and  in Pakistan and abroad for over 55 calendar years with the grace of God treating advocacy as a noble calling, and calling a spade a shovel. As an artist and aesthete (he visits architectural / interfaith / cultural heritage of nation/s; more so in his nuclear neighborhood). He is the one and the only Paris Biennial Laureate , left  in the Asia-Pacific-Africa Triangle.  Obtaining justice in Pakistan had become, pre-NNJP,  practically quite  uphill since circa 1985.  (B) Respondents and other parties are well described (which took over SIX hours to type ought) and addresses for Service of Process are given on page 1.  Supreme Court of Pakistan has lately  repeatedly directed (and even its obiter dicta must be obeyed as a matter of Rule of Law and Access to Justyice) that minorities’ rights cannot be violated. And no one is above the law. Albert Einstein declared : IF I WERE TO REMAIN SILENT, I’D BE GUILTY OF COMPLICITY.  (C)  Let’s practice what we were preached and what we have been preaching (tolerance towards other faiths and religions). Vakil means facilitator of Justice-with-love (i.e.. Addl Bill Ehsawwn).  Islam gave the world concepts of Due Process of Law (Bill Haaq) and Rajoo (Writs Error Coram Nobis and Vobis) and Equal Protection of Law for one and all without discrimination or Segregation, Make-Believe or Double Standards. (D)  In stead,  our Establishment (in all wings of Government of Pakistan) greedily got intofor the sake of  race  Plots, Peccadilloes, Pelf, Patronage, Progeny-Peddling, peacocking  Promotions , Protocol pursuits, Pettiness Pandering, Plentiful  Plots ,  and Perverting Procedure, Poly-Plotting, P’Ring,  paralegal Piri-mureedii, Preposterous Propaganda, Pestering Pomposity, et al.

2. (A)CONTINUING CAUSES OF ACTION: Today, we are accurately  being chided by the civilized societies of the global village  as nothing but a  Failed, Rogue and Dangerous, Terrorism-Oriented  State. ‘Buy the People’; ‘Far The People’ and ‘Off the Peapull’, in practice. ©  In Gujranwala opening butchers’ shops in a Jain Temples takes the caKKKe. Architectural and cultural heritage of Pakistan is being dismantled, distorted and maligned.  This is forbidden by religion and by our Constitution.  Jafree sent thousands of complaints to various authorities since 1985. No reply. Arrogance and double standards permeate. Jafree learned (verbally)  that few years ago Chief Minister of Punjob Mian Shabaaz SharrReef allocated some Rs 20 Lakhs for repairing The Jain Temple, but the public  moneys were corruptly usurped and squandered by the staff.  (B)  Our Holy Prophet ( s a w)  and Jafree’s most venerable  ancestor Prophet Mohummed (P b u h) and the Holy Quran state that there is no compulsion in religion and Prophet Mohummed (P b u h) used to routinely  allow followers of other religions/ faiths to perform their religious duties in the Mosque, because all  temples/ churches/ pagodas/ temples/ mandirs and synagogues are all places of God All Mighty not anyone’s personal or personnel or professional property, Realty® or reality.  The Jains are peace-loving and non-violent hardworking  people. Also parsees, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs  (please, do recall Holy-man MahaGuru Nanak Dev Jii enthusiastically   performed two hajjs by foot, but he righteously  became significantly  disappointed/ irritated by our moolah-oriented  mulLAWS). Furthermore,  Jews or The Others ( discrete Minorities) who in/voluntarily  left Pakistan due to political exploitation or intolerance (by our socalled Elite nouveau riche segment) have committed no wrong against Pakistan. Quaide Azam Mohummed Ali Jinnah must be turning in his grave. (C)  Jain Mandir near Jafree Law Offices has been grossly violated, debilitated and politically-sponsored  LAND mAFIA and Sir Nawazzz SharrrrReef (BA HonGCMG, previously also claiming to be MA+ LLB)  aficionados have opened up garbage and other commercial and untenable  shops there. Similar and other  Jain Mandirs in other parts of Pakistan have been and are continuingly being  desecrated and violated (See the  Documentation in the accompanying Documentation). Similarly churches, pagodas, other places of non-Moslem worships have been commercially exploited and are being  wrongfully and maliciously being constantly and continually desecrated which is intolerable as  crying shame and constitutional wrongs (OUTRAGES).  In  other civilized countries such matters are vigorously  litigated by law Officers, here the  ‘’’ Ganges flows upside down’’’ and in reverse, and far worse.

GROUNDS  : The  pernicious misconduct, obstinacy  and callous maladministration of Respondents 1 to 4 and their subordinates and colluding  colleagues are  illegal, unconstitutional,  mala fide and disastrous,  militate against    good governance , common weal and public interest (see page 1). Attorney General and all Advocates Generals have failed to respond affirmatively or to provide any relief whatsoever to date in spite of countless requests. They don’t seem to be interested in  common good or good governance, but pine for  personnel promotions and personal loyalty to their nouveau riche, greed and territory/TURF control and constitutes blindly following the current  ‘fiendish-ing’   Overlards. That goes beyond Just Expectations, Margin of Appreciation, Doctrine of Subsidiarity as well as all tenets of Good Governance and  Proportionality. It makes no sense whatever  and in fact is disgraceful and beyond redemption and suc h callousness is bringing bad name to Pakistan as well as Islam. This must now be nipped if Pakistan is to survive. Discrete and vulnerable minorities asre suffering immeasurable and incalculable harm is being catered and being done. All affirmative equities weigh in favour of providing actual substantive relief.

T H E R E F O R E

(i) Relief humbly  requested above (also see Overleaf)  be granted (on standing and other aspects,  please See   MALICK versus MALICK [1925] 52AC 145 (Privy Council upholding Nagpur High Court judgment; Objective Resolution is the  grundnorm: PLD 1990 K 342)) generously, inter alia,   by virtue of  a DeclARATION PRELIMINARY AND PERPETUAL. The Honourable Court declare the rights, responsibilities and duties of the Parties (this is the current mode of providing holistic  relief – – without beating about the bushes or Bushes and Barrick Hussein Osamas (Obama so written in Kenya) in all Common Law an d other civilized jurisdictions). (ii)  Respondents be commanded to protect the Jain Mandirs and other places of worship of discrete and vulnerable minorities (belonging to Islamic or any other faith).  (iii) The Jain Mandir, near Geoffrey and Khitran Law Offices close to Old Anarkali and Lytton (Janazgah) Roads in Lahore  be suitably  repaired and restored; (iv)  and the Jain Mandirs in  Gujranwala be ordered  vacated most expeditiously  and appropriately  restored. More so the CRUEL AND UNUSUAL “PUNISHMENT” (FOR PURPOSES COMMERCIAL AND dispensing  POLITICAL ARROGANCE, Might is Righteousness) Butcher Shops opened in Gujranwala  Jain and/or Hindu Mandirs/Temples  be closed and destroyed and Jains be allowed to visit these mandirs and perform their rituals,  ceremonies and  carry out traditional cleansing operations. (v)  A Jain pandit or Temple-keeping person be allowed to reside in each province of Pakistan to look after their mandirs and temples. No shops, other operatrions should remain IN  THESE and other places of worship.  (vi) And respondents’ worsening inefficiency and  habit, under colour of law and otherwise,  of not answering letters (violates inter alia  Sections 23,24,27 of the General Clauses Act, and p. 578, Volume  VI, Muariffe Quran published by the University of the Punjob)) be declared to be unconstitutional and against public interest and common good.  (vii) Court Proceedings be ordered  officially tape-recorded. (viii)  Further, other and additional Relief be granted. (ix) All places of minority worship and other sacred places of offering  prayers  should be restored gradually and looked after. (x)  The Honourable  Court unequivocally declare the religious rights of Minorities of all religions and declare Sectarianism, blasphemous  or prejudicial practices as illegal and reprehensible , to wit: subject to severest  sanctions and actual  punishment for  Contempt, obstruction of justice, sabotaging of the Constitution and other penal proceedings and sternest  penalties and exactions. (xi) to me your faith, to me my faith (God in Holy Quran, 109:6)+Let there be no compulsion in religion, Quran 2:256 + Surely the noblest amongst you is the most knowledgable, Holy Quran 49:13. + So vie with one another in  good works (Quran, 5:48) + God does not like harsh accusations except by the wronged, Quran 4:148-149.  (xii) (a)  Always go too far .. for that is where you will find the truth:  Albert Camus.(b)  Truth shall make you free (Saint John)

Jafree, most humbly,  offers to prove up all of the above per Pakistan Law of Evidence Order (Qanune Shahadat) which includes innovative  telltale Article 164 as part of the law of the land.

  • Before concluding Applicant humbly but responsibly  reminds the  Honourable Court that our Holy Prophet, peace be upon him,  calibrated : The ink of a scholar is worthier than the blood of many-splendoured martyrs.
  • Great and Righteous Caliph (then concurrently  the Chief Justice of the biggest Empire of that time on the face of the Good Earth) HaZrat Umer RA warned : EVEN IF   A DOG ROAMS  HUNGRY ALONG THE banks of  RIVER EUPHRATES,  I WILL BE HELD STRICTLY  accountable and fully  RESPONSIBLE. HE STRONGLY and sternly   CONDEMNED HYPOCRISY AS THE LEAST FORGIVABLE OF SINS. THAT SQUARELY  APPLIES, MUTATIS MUTANDIS,  TO THE BANKS OF  our own  DOMESTIC  RAVI… NOW – –  what a shame – –  THAT  HALF OF THE COUNTRY’S  INNOCENT DENIZENS  ARE GOING WITHOUT PROPER MEALS A DAy .
  • MashawLAW :  Our Judges of the superior judiciary  are the highest paid in tax free overall terms  ( their remunerations inluding  multifaceted perks and privileges of all kinds  worth taxfree many  Millions a month besides salary + retirement benefits and new plump positions and prestige after Retirement)  in the history of mankind. Besides and beyond that  it is their inherent and innate  duty AND RESPONSIBILITY   to  actually and fearlessly provide nothing less than COMPLEAT AND HOLISTIC  justice across the board to one and all .Moreover,   HONESTLY all residents, denizens and citizens of Pakistan must  respect REAL  merit and GENUINE  tacqva.
  • There exists  no reprieve, forgivance,  immunity or impunity for In Justice = injustice. No one is above the law except God. We, all of us in the Legal Calling , ought ethically and conscientiously   serve as example makers, as upfront  role models and guide the world by setting examples. We cannot walk with our heads high by operating as functional ostriches. The religion of our massive majority demands sacrifices and speaking up, giraffe like performance without fear or favour .. to do Right with all kind of people. This was not being done pre-NNJP.

Oral arguments will, inshawLAW,  be made which the court which  is requested and most  welcome to officially Tape record the proceedings. Incidentally work stoppages/ closures and Hartalls are illegal and anti-Islamic as obstruction of access to  justice and sabotaging of the  Constitution. A wrong is a wrong is a wrong by any other name or nomenclature. It must not be acquiesced in or encouraged as a public relations device of running with the turtle and  haunting with the greyhounds. It is dreadful and disastrous. We have to turn the page and make a paradigm shift from newfound and past practices.

Respectfully Submitted:

AGGRIEVED PETITIONER/ APPLICANT SIMULTANEOUSLY  GENUINELY-PERFORMING FARZE KAFFAYA  AS AN OFFICER OF THE COURT AND AS NONSTATE ACTOR (PER ARTS. 2A-7, 9, 10  OF THE CONSTITUTION)       THROUGH

PRO BONO PUBLICO    COUNSEL    ::   BARRISTER SYYED MOHUMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF SLARPORE AND SUMMA-SATTTTTTA’      ASC PC     1382    “A WORLD CLASS PUBLIC INTEREST Lawyer” per Honorable Lahore High Court…

CERTIFICATE OF COUNSEL :

All administrative or other remedies have been explored and exhausted  over last  5 years. No other  relief is available or proficient and efficacious. The CVourts must take the bull by the horn. This is first writ on the subject per instructions. Counsel’s  discounted fee as Indemnity Costs is U S  $786.92 only  per hour. Income tax is voluntarily and promptly  paid by this Ethical counsel within 48 hours of receipt of any fees or Indemnity Costs. Fees are not banked abroad. SO HELP ME GODAS PAKISTAN IS DROWNING IN indigenously-manufactured  ‘IN’ INJUSTICE (“In” is fashionable, currently trendy). The world ridicules and mocks us with  lamentable derision and distrust. Extremis malis .. extrema remedia!! I thank God that am not one of those (totally power crazy- in actuality  pygmies) who share  or can claim any sanctimony or  ‘credit’ or plots for any part in that dismal  outcome. I have faithfully practiced law as a noble calling against oddest hurdles  by not making speeches or begging patronage and  plots and favours for pogeny/ partners but by means and virtue of  (to borrow an apropos   Urdu expression) “cutting the stomach of my own nuclear family”. Abuse of merit in our God-fearing  Country has reached mega-proportions which invite the wrath and qehr of God All Mighty;  and nation’s traitors are  roaming scott free,  are being seen on the scene by proliferating companions (since the Bhutto days and nights)  modern day jajuz ‘n majooz maligning/ victimizing  the  innocent country,  decent/ virtuous  countrymen and worsening our conscience under stress for the sake of  their naked lust for power,  shameless turf control, perverse territory-snatching (previously plots in every town with false affidavits and 11 ft tall clout touting  and worsening perversion of power)  and furthering  murderous, hate-filled  bad Faith.

 
 

The famed Purani Anarkali

 

A classic painting of Purani Anarkali, Lahore

A classic painting of
Purani Anarkali, Lahore

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”.

The Waters of Lahore by Kamal Azfar (A Review)

Review by Iqbal Geoffrey

Dear Kamal Azfar

19252_the-waters-of-lahore-01Reading your book: THE WATERS OF LAHORE has imparted great pleasure and furnished enlightening information; therefore, this note is a symbol and a gift  from my  genuine appreciation while hoping  that you might  arrange its Urdu version  published as a subsidized edition. You may consider adding a separate chapter succinctly describing bluntly in your honest-to-goodness, straightforward style, e.g., what does the government need to do  as well as the  law-abiding denizens in Pakistan (systemically dehumanized by alien or fiendlike Rule of Low and Law off Rulers, though with no signs of Rule of Law in sight) over last five thousand years (and their Sing Along With Mitch cutlery, chumcha cha cha!) in  Pakistan. Now that the Land of the Pure (and helluva halva) has become not only a failed state, but also plundered, oppressed, almost bankrupted, and a Terrorist® state. Gone with the Raiwind are the good old days and inbetweenties glimpsing  any semblance/dynamics of wisdom or micro-iota regarding  Values or Vision. The Hyperbole and intimate Manage a Trois are very-very ‘In’.

Rather remarkably ­– in between the lines — your book reads like art criticism. Moreover, no civilization has ever flourished progressively without first excelling in arts. Within the unfortunate State of Pakistan the ubiquitous coterie of nouveau riche/ deep-pocket riffraff and semi-illiterate politicians (rudderless + ruthlessly on-the-take) compounded by  rabid bureaucrats (low-ranking Machiavellis) are instead coyly dismantling what is left of Pakistan. One in PTI/ one in ML(N)/ one Independent Syndrome. Jinnah must be turning in his grave. Right now we encounter déjà vu of 1999 when forex reserves were miserably down to $400 millions, that too S.O.S-borrowed at exorbitantly high commercial rates. Please propose what needs to be done. I will, in  deeds, state of art illustrate it !!!

As your former GCL  classmate and causa honoris fan, I ought to mention two item thoughts. ZAB (a poet-of-politics deserving criticism in the Surah 26 : 226 Sense) actually was not all that ‘not-corrupt’. When Bhutto visited my Studio (or Clinic for the Sake of AesthE T H I C S) in Central  Park West (at the Mayflower) or later in Beekman Place, NYC 21 , I humbly pontificated  that bigotry must not be encouraged by anyone whatsoever, i.e.,  no one may designate/label or even subliminally  belittle any other person’s faith, nor tempt invidious exodus or determine their faith or stigmatize any school of thought. By Officially (draconically) branding the Ahmadis as ‘non-Muslims®’. He  acted disgracefully and unleashed a  palpable Pandora box mix for our vintage/ perverse (perhaps even worse) halala-smitten/happy Mullah, Moolah and Mega- Mediocrity in order to exploit and plunder. Now chickens are coming home for roasting up Shias. God mentions in the Holy Koran that on the day of Judgment He will judge everyone in accordance with his faith. So Culprits cannot escape exemplary punishment.

Moreover, Bhutto used to boast before his Sitting Ducks that he manifested two personas (euphoria of split personality, I presume); one private (seductive actresses + Invigorated Rooh-e Afzaa + surreptitious verbal  ‘marriage’ with Ravishing Husna Sheikh — where is the Bengal Beauty?? = la dolce vita a la mode at  State-with-dwindling-resources expense account), and The Other his (illusionary) public (= commercial)  personage (Roti, Kappra, Aur Makkan + phony “Liend Reforms” phantom/hype).

During 1969 (when he invited Dr. Zafar Aziz Khan and me), I asked him point-blank why await  becoming the PM to implement his promised and worthy  ‘Land’-Reforms, why not initiate and functionalize/fructify that very day since charity and all good deeds (like justice) begin with home, however, I would simultaneously join him, donate all my existing resources, I am a bit short of being a Kuwaiti Currency Billionaire, I must admit, ‘how short’ is my Tashkent $ecret) : he responded that he  had  a family to support and I retorted on the spot to his sudden surprise:  ‘But; everyone is suffering from that dis-ease’. It turned him pinkier! He become fidgety. Dr. ZAK graciously walked out on him along with me from the debilitated Falettis which was ruining itself after The Oberoi Family had to leave.

The Tashkent Secret” (another Bhutto Bluff!)  simply was that we triumphantly lost that war too.  Mein ne dekha:    also as a citizen of the global village, I felt very sorry for the Motherland, Raftarr Tez Haey – –  mugger Suffer ahissta-ahissta. The cutting-edge bottom-line is  that actually, soon after that Bhutto (albeit innocent  Yatra),  Janab A.K. Brohi,  To err is human, confided  to me  that  Bhutto  would  not win  a  single  seat  even  from  native Sindh..

Since the Dacca  (double entendre , it also means dacoiting in my Penglish) Marrowing of l971, over 300 billion dollars have been money-laundered  illicitly out to offshore havens as sacrosanct nest-eggs. Although I strongly oppose Death Penalty in present day Just Ice Pakistan, as an exception to the rule I humbly favour brutal public hangings of economic Fitna-Fasaad  caterers per the Commandment of God. Caliph Hazrat Omer, RA  condemned hypocrisy as the worst of  sins and calibrated that one who appeases in a wrong is far worse than the wrong-monger.

Our present day  role model  Prime Munster, Haji Sir Nawaz SharrrrReef’s (HonGCMG 1997 violating Art. 254) two sons have  already proudly become British citizens with Right of Abode which re-minds me the brilliant obiter dicta  that MohtrimA Meena Kumari (born in  Mitha Tiwana, District KhushAAB = Good Waters off of  the Chenab River ) lisped in the playback surroundsound of Lata Mangheshkar: Innhi loggounn ne lay liyya dupatta mera…  

Also there exists  a lucid, tell-tale  Urdu  lyric (ghazzal), ahead of its time (as is all art) narrating  requiem for  ZAB during his own lifetime, by the greatest poet of the XX century (albeit from Montgomery), Munir Niazi, RA.  I will appreciate your corrective views about  the aforesaid aspects of some burning issues which are of burgeoning incendiary concern to the common, law-abiding citizenry of Pakistan who find themselves Iraq and a hard placebo.

Iqbal Hussain: The agony and the ecstasy

DSC_1540 copy WITHOUT RIGHTSIqbal Hussain’s new work reveals a darkly poignant preoccupation with death, an artistic crisis born of the violence in our midst. But this work may yet survive the changing cultural topography of Pakistan, says Raza Rumi

Being stuck in an awful traffic jam on Lahore’s Mall Road is an everlasting nightmare. This was the road which once housed the tempestuous and famously poly-amorous painter Amrita Shergil, as well as the grand old man of Indian writing in English, the legendary Khushwant Sigh, among other lost symbols of our bygone past. But mine was not a fruitless journey: I was heading to the Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery at the National College of Arts (NCA), where Iqbal Hussain’s new work was being displayed. I would not hav e gone to see this exhibition had I not heard about the significance of the show from the proficient curator of the gallery Qudsia Raheem. I liked to meet Iqbal Hussain in the throes of the walled city where he has reinvented a space for himself among his own people — entertainers, artists, traders, sex workers and a multitude of local and global visitors. Iqbal Hussain has been successful through his personal endeavors to put Lahore’s old city and its infamous red light district on the world map. He has achieved this primarily through his stupendous paintings and sublime rooftop views of Mughal monuments from the Cooco’s Den Café he owns and manages.

DSC_1510 copy WITHOUT RIGHTSIqbal Hussain’s work over the decades has brought to life the shades and aspects of sex workers from Heera Mandi around whom Hussain grew up. Most importantly, he is proud of his heritage and origins and, unlike the hypocritical and self-denying society in which he lives, he has publicly claimed ownership of this background. His work has obsessively captured the many narratives about the women who are central to Heera Mandi. In doing this, Hussain has humanized the portraits of the “dancing girl”, the aging prostitute and the honorable livelihood earner. Contrary to the religious decrees on such women, or the excessive romanticization of dancing girls in our culture, Hussain’s subjects are nothing but human. They are real and vulnerable while blessed with the ability to sing, dance and celebrate life and sex. In our socially conservative culture, made even more so since the advent of Victorian values in what was then British India, such characters have been the recipients of much derision. Hussain, through his momentous collection of paintings, has countered every stereotype and cliché that comes to mind about such women. Continue reading

Foodistan (Lahore, Pakistan)

Irfan Rydhan

Recently, I came back from a month long trip to Lahore – the culinary capital of Pakistan.

Lahore, has a wide variety of cuisine, from fancy upscale Italian restaurants to the simple Pakistani village food and everything in between.

A few tips for those of you who may be traveling to Pakistan soon:

1. Get Your Shots – Before you Travel (Currently Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Malaria are the main diseases in Pakistan)

2. Don’t Drink The Water – unless it’s Bottled and Sealed (Nestle PureLife is the most reliable brand)

3. Don’t Eat Street Food – unless it is fried up, steaming hot, or cooked well done!  Avoid eating anything cold or something made with water.

If you follow those 3 simple rules, you should be fine and not get sick!

Below is a short slideshow of my trip through “Foodistan” aka Lahore this past February.  I hope you enjoy the pictures, as much as I enjoyed eating all the delicious food:)!

Fresh Butter on hand-made Aloo Paratha (Bread stuffed with Potato) in the Pind (Village)
Fresh Butter on hand-made Aloo Paratha (Bread stuffed with Potato) in the Pind (Village) Continue reading

Lahore – a short poem

By Gohar Sadaf Qureshi

Image

Missing Lahore and the years there.
years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before

Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business, — just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?

Photo by Saad Alvie

Lahore circa 1933, II

By Raza Rumi:
I am grateful to Naeem Ahsan Jamil for sending more old pictures of Lahore from his private collection.

Photo 1:

Kim's Gun, The Mall Lahore

Photo 2

An aerial view of Lahore Airport with the GOC House.

Basant: Lahore’s lost spring

Raza Rumi

Cross posted from my website

Lahore, a centre for the arts and learning in the early 20th century, has been the custodian of a plural, vibrant culture for decades. Its walled city, unlike several other old settlements, has continued to survive despite the expansion of the city. So have its peculiar features: its dialects, cuisine, community linkages and, of course, rich festivals such as Basant. As the capital of Punjab, Lahore used to celebrate Basant — the arrival of spring — in a colourful manner.

Since the medieval times, Basant was acknowledged and celebrated by the Chishti saints. Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi turned it into an act of devotion, and Amir Khusrau’s songs captured the multi-layered evolution of this festival.

Punjabi poets such as Shah Hussain gave a Sufi flavour to it. Hussain, in one of his kaafis, says: “The Beloved holds the string in his hand, and I am His kite.” The festival offered a meaning to all and sundry: from playful kids to lovers and Sufis; from profit-seekers who developed livelihoods around the festival to the community as a whole.

Basant was celebrated by all communities prior to Partition: Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs treated it as a Lahori festival with an identity linked to the city. In this milieu, Allama Iqbal was known to be an avid kite flier. But the post-1947 rise of clerics meant that inclusive cultural practices were to be treated with suspicion. For many decades, the Pakistani mullahs have ranted against Basant as an “unIslamic” festival and one that endangered public morality.

Unfazed by these fatwas, Lahoris continued with the festival. It even received state patronage on various occasions. A citizen of Lahore, Mian Yousaf Salahuddin (the grandson of Iqbal), turned his old Lahore haveli into a cultural hub and, over time, Basant celebrations became an international attraction. By the 1990s, proactive civil servants turned Basant into a great regional festival. Lahore’s then deputy commissioner, Kamran Lashari, provided full backing to the holding of this event in the 1990s. That was perhaps the time when Basant also became most controversial due to its scale and the increased hazards of unregulated kite-flying in which metallic or chemical-coated string was used.

The use of this string instead of the traditional dor caused many deaths each year and the local government was unable to enforce regulations on its usage. The metallic wire would get entangled in electricity cables in the old city, leading to electrocution. The courts intervened and asked the Punjab government to ban the festival in 2007.

Ironically, the banning of Basant did not take place in the name of religion but through a public interest litigation. However, the ideological opponents of Basant have been happy with the outcome and have created an uproar each time someone raised the question of reviving Basant after putting safety measures in place. But Lahore is a poorer place now. It is devoid of this public celebration, especially for thousands of impoverished workers in the old city and neighbouring towns where Basant was celebrated with great fervour.

Read the full post here

The images are Mahboob Ali’s works (an eminent artist from Lahore also known for his woodcuts)

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!

‘Saddened Mona Lisa’ and other paintings – experimental art from Lahore

(left) SELF=PORTRAIT  WON  [l972-2000]:  ‘SADDENED  MONA LISA SWEATING  ( PASEENA-PASEENA) IN THE SHALIMAR GARDENS ON HER RECENT LAHORE YATRA – – (she is not  a young debutante, anymore) – – , AND NOTHING TO BE HAPPY ABOUT GEOFFREY’S  MOTHERLAND being drained per  LAW OFF RULERS AND THEIR CUTLERY: OIL AND MIXED MEDIA,  3-D+ RELIEF; (SCULPTURAL ARTWORK MADE WITH FIBREGLASS ON PLEXIGLASS).  SIZE 25 inches X 20 ½ inches.

Art of, and for, Syyed Iqbal Geoffrey – – he being a genuine mussawere (artist) and a prominent vakil ( facilitator of justice-with-love) acclaimed by Sir Herbert Read as an “Astonishing Phenomenon” and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has graciously described him as “The Arts Counsel of Great Britain   – –  is not a born-again outlet or some glittering outage chamaking (shinning on a Cash ‘N  Carry basis in Neverneverland. (References : Zoha Noor-Fatima A. Haider (London)* & Suellen W. Liker (Phoenix)**

(above: SELF=PORTRAIT TOO [1962-2012] : “HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN WITNESSING THE FIRST DROP OF DEW FALLING ON INDIGENOUS MAN’GO!!” oil and mixed media on cardboard-canvas; size 47 inches x 27 inches .. current token price PRs 78600.92P. (may not be acquired at this important stage of its creation by any foreigner). Subject to increases with notice.)

Continue reading

The struggle for Pakistan and Bhagat Singh:

By Haroon Khalid

 

The independence achieved in 1947 ushered a new era for India and Pakistan, but with it, also marked the end of a legacy. For India and Pakistan, Congress and Muslim League respectively became the vanguard of independence from the British Empire. Whereas there is no denying the fact that both of them played a pivotal role in achieving freedom, nonetheless there were also other parties and movements, who had the laid groundwork for these two to build on. Without their impact and achievements, perhaps these two parties would not have been able to achieve the success that they eventually did. Post independence, the credit that should have been given to the former parties was taken away from them.

In India, the Indian National Congress was generally more receptive to political activists from other parties and movements, who also were able to shake the foundations of the British Empire. In Pakistan however, all of the former movements became a relic of the impure-Hindu-mixed past, which needed sifting. We ended up with fine grains starting with Muhammad Bin Qasim, coming to Babur and Aurangzeb, and ending with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. All the other characters were just not required anymore. So whereas in India, despite their differences, the Congress government was acknowledging the contributions of Bhagat Singh, M.N. Roy and other nationalist leaders, we were purging our historical narratives of these kafirs.

Recently I met an army official, whom I would not name for my own safety, who like me also follows the history Lahore. Talking about various obscure and neglected monuments, we reached to the Shadman Chowk (Bhagat Singh chowk), where Bhagat Singh was hanged. I asked him why we couldn’t own Bhagat Singh as a son of Lahore, to which he answered that since he was a Sikh. My dear friend, he was an atheist!

However it is not because of him being a Sikh or an atheist that we fail to own him. It is because nowhere in his struggle, he talks about Hindus and Muslims separately. Neither does he only talk about the plight of just one community. He talked about an entire nation, which composed of people from all religious hues and not. So it would have hardly made a difference had he been Muhammad Aslam or Bhagat Sadiq Ram. There would have been no room from him in the historiography of Pakistan’s Independence struggle. Students of history would have continued thinking that the role of Muhammad Bin Qasim in freeing the Muslims of British India from the British Empire (secretly working for the Hindu baniya) is greater than the role Muhammad Aslam’s hanging did. To further establish the point, let us leave Bhagat Singh aside for a moment and talk about practicing Muslims who also like him, gave up their lives for the independence of their nation but were later disowned or never acknowledged by an independent Pakistan.

The Gaddar Movement is an example of one such struggle which has been thrown off into the sea to keep the boat of Pakistani Nationalism afloat. Having originated from San Francisco and other British colonies, this movement had its roots in the Punjab because of the predominant role that the Punjabis played in it. Bhagat Singh’s father and uncles were also members of this movement, and it is argued that it became the source of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha. Contrary to the popular belief, there were many non-Sikhs involved. This was a massive movement which spread from USA into Canada, Mexico, Burma, Malaya and Japan. Indians living in these far away regions got together for the cause of the freedom of this land. It also found support in the Communist Russia and Afghanistan. In 1915, the Gaddaris established a Free Hindustan government-in-exile in Kabul. Its President was Raja Mohinder Pratab, whereas its Prime Minister was a Muslim, and a Professor of Arabic in Japan, Maulvi Barkatullah. He was also one of the founders of the Gaddar Party. It was his revolutionary literature that became the backbone of this movement. He died in San Fransico. Among other Muslims, who held important positions in the government-in-exile were Maulvi Ubaidullah (Interior Minister) and Maulvi Muhammad Bashi (Youth Minister). The callous treatment meted out to these towering Muslim personalities of their time leads one to question: is it then just because of the religious beliefs of Bhagat Singh that we fail to acknowledge him or is there something else?

There was another Muslim, who played an important role in this movement. This was Syed Rahmat Ali Shah, the first Martyr of this struggle. He was captured near Ferozpur, and then executed in the Montgomery (Sahiwal) Jail. His body was interred in the graveyard in front of the Jail, as nobody came to claim it in the required period. His grandsons today live a life of abject poverty in a small village on the Sundar-Raiwind road called Sultan-keh. They know that their grandfather was an important person, because their father had been called to India once, where he was given an award and a picture on behalf of his father. They say that the name of their grandfather is also written at the entrance to their ancestral village of Wazir Keh in India.

A strategy that the Gadaris had adopted was of secretly passing on revolutionary literature to the Indians in the British Army. In a lot of instances this proved to be a successful tactic, as quite a few regiments revolted against the authorities. One such example was the 5th Native Light Infantry Singapore Case, which included 2 regiments of Infantry, both of them dominated by Muslims. The Gaddar Movement was supporting all sorts of Independence struggle, which were targeted against the British authorities, which is why they also lend their hand to the Khalifat Movement. Mujataba Hussain, aka Mool Chand of the Gaddar Movement played an important role in this Singapore case, where a lot of the Muslim personnel were sympathetic to the cause of the Khilafat. Similarly there was another person from Gujrat called Mian Qasim Mansoor, a rich trader, who financed the scheme. This particular case caused a lot of problems to the authorities. Finally when it was crushed, all the officers had to face Court Martial and many of them were executed on the 2nd of March 1915.

The Gaddar Movement unlike the movement of the All India Muslim League was not a predominant Muslim struggle, but a cause for all the oppressed people of India, who wanted to get rid of the British yoke. The focus of this article has been on a few prominent Muslims in the movement to shed a light on the fact that the Muslim League was not the first political party to have attracted the Muslims. Much before this party was to become a prominent player in the Indian political sphere; secular movements like the Gaddar were already involving Muslims. However when the Muslim League came to power, it downplayed the role of all the other parties, which could have possibly undermined its thesis. However the struggle it claimed to have won single handedly would not have been possible without the sacrifices of Barkatullah, Syed Rahmat Ali, Mujataba Hussain, Mian Qasim Mansoor and Bhagat Singh.

Stories of sex-workers in Heera Mandi, Lahore and beyond

Posted by Raza Rumi

A TV journalist prepared this bold documentary for a news channel but it was never aired for obvious reasons – electronic media remains conservative about taboo subjects. The documentary provides great insights into the way women live, work and identify themselves as sex-workers in Lahore’s oldest red-light district known as Heera Mandi (Diamond Market) ironically next to the great Badshahi mosque. Coverage of Multan in the later parts is also interesting.

The narrator obviously has his biases – the usual refrain of middle class Muslims of the subcontinent – but he tries hard to remain neutral and investigative. There is a good dose of Mujras inserted into the series for the viewers; and tit bits of the Hollywood/Bollywood melodrama on the oppressed ‘tawaif’ (prostitute). Whilst tragedies bring these women to the sex-trade, not all of them lament their lives. If anything, Mirza Ruswa’s Umrao Jan (way back in the nineteenth century) was pretty comfortable and empowered by her profession. Similarly, one of the interviewees says: “money is the father, mother and everything for tawaifs”. The head of Kanjar biradri says that girls are taught to be ‘men’, earning ‘horses’ fooling their clients! Not to be missed.

My favourite is the ‘client’ who confesses how intoxicating it is to be “in love” with a sex worker. One gets tired of ‘using’ a wife all the time he says. Wish this documentary had been aired.

The language of these videos is Urdu so it might not be accessible to all the visitors here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyRYGczqsQo&feature=related Continue reading

Sikh Yatrees at Wagha Station, Lahore

LAHORE: Over 2,900 Sikh Yatrees from India and thousands of others from all over the world including America, Canada , UK, Europe, and from parts of Sindh have reached Nankana Sahib to participate in the celebrations which will continue till November 11.

Photo by : Daily Express.

 

Lohari Gate of Lahore, A Rare Image.

A rare image of Lahori Gate, one of the 13 gates of Lahore. It was taken by an unknown photographer in 1900.

 

Posted by: Shiraz Hassan

 

 

 

‘Dingi’ (Dengue) Fever in Lahore

Prof Farakh A Khan

According to WHO (1999) 2.5 billion people are at risk of dengue virus infection in 200 countries. Before 1970 only nine countries had dengue fever. The mortality is about 5%, which can be reduced to 1% with proper treatment in the hospital. Dengue viral infection has become the leading public health problem.

According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention USA dengue infection places more than 1/3rd population of the world at risk. Every year 100 million people get infected.

The first case of dengue virus in Pakistan was reported in 1996 and incidence started to rise in 2003-2004 (Shahid, Jamal. Govt blames lifestyle for dengue spread. Dawn. September 22, 2011). The dengue viral attack reached epidemic proportions in Lahore during the summer of 2011. The number of people down with dengue viral infection in Lahore can only be a vague conjecture since we have no system to collect reliable statistics. Our rough estimate is that more than 100,000 people in Lahore have so far been infected if the recorded deaths are to be relied upon. There have been 98 reported deaths allegedly due to dengue haemorrhagic fever in Lahore (Nine more die of dengue in Lahore. OC. The News. September 24, 2011).

First let us analyse what the Pakistani papers have been feeding us in this regard. Continue reading

On shaky grounds

By Haroon Khalid

Next to the planetarium, close to the old Anar Kali, a tall, cone-shaped Jain Temple greeted the visitor once. This was situated in the centre of the road, with two roads passing around it. Next to it are wooden balconies, with intricate designs on them; part of the original complex. This was one of the three Jain temples in Lahore, according to Jainworld.com. The other ones were inside the Bhatti gate and on Ferozepur road, near Model Town. The temple stood in the middle of this bifurcation of roads, which earned this junction the name of Jain Mandar Chowk. Years of religious disuse had resulted in severe depredation of the structure. It various compartments, originally used by visiting pilgrims, students and priests, are now taken up by refugees of the partition of 1947. Their interconnected rooms have been permanently closed by mortar and bricks, as the demand of privacy increased among the new occupants. Larger rooms were divided into two, or sometimes even more, and the surplus ones rented out. All of these small rooms entertain much more people, then meant to. A cycle tire repairperson had made a makeshift shop on the pavement, next to the temple, many years ago, and still sits here.

Then came the dreadful morning of 6th December 1992, and thousands of people converged towards the historical Babri Mosque, at Ayodhya, India. Within hours the Hindu fanatics, who wanted to correct the historical wrong that the first Mughal Emperor Babar committed, razed the structure. Their argument; Babar had destroyed a Hindu temple, meant to commemorate the spot, where the mythical Hindu King Ram was born, to build this mosque.

This unleashed a chain of events that had repercussions thousands of kilometers away in Pakistan. In the following days, rightist leaders in Pakistan aroused the sentiments of the people and they, in thousands, attacked various Hindu temples in the city, and all over the country. They attacked with axes, hammers, rods, guns, and even bare-hands. One of the mobs also attacked this landmark temple, and brought it to ground. Little that they knew, this was a Jain temple and not a Hindu one; a different religion altogether. The Jains are a pacifist religious group, who believe to the extent that the life of an insect or an ant is also worth preserving; but then what is the rationale behind a charged mob’s thinking. The cone-shaped structure that once served as the link between a non-Pakistani past now lies desecrated, inside a walled enclosure that was built around it. The tire repairperson still sits outside. The bifurcation was rechristened Babri chowk, in the honor of Babri mosque. However, no wagon, bus or rickshaw driver would know where the Babri chowk is; the bifurcation is still known as the Jain Mandar chowk, even without the Jain Mandar, a tribute to the desecrated temple, by the people of Lahore.

While there was a mob busy bringing down this structure, there was another charged one that took the direction of the Sitla Mandir, which was in between the Shah Alami and Lohari Gates. This was believed to be ancient temple, attended by Hindus and non-Hindus alike before the partition of British India. It was believed that a dip at the pool, which was next to the temple, could cure all skin diseases. Tara Chand, a 78 years old Hindu, living in Lahore tells me that for Diwali, a large number of people used to come to the temple, including Muslim women with their children.

The cone shaped structure is still standing and is visible from afar. It is a triple storey building, with each floor now carved up, ingeniously, to cater to the increasing population demand. One the first floor, there is a Madrassa Noor-ul-Quran. Original black and white tiles of the pre-partition times are still present. However the floor is uneven, because of severe damage wrought to it during the attack. Regardless of the predicament, the madrassa still functions, and people continue to live. There is a Mewati family living on the top floor of the temple. An old woman from the family told me that she bought that particular area for Rs. 60,000 from the head Qari at the temple. She was living here when the temple was attacked. Ironically, she told us, it was the same Qari, who ran the madrassa at that time, who lead the attack.

There were 2 other temples here too, all of which were attacked. This temple was lucky in particular as it survived the attack. There is a mosque next to this temple, which was built after the destruction of a temple here. “The mob had brought a crane with them, which they used to bring down the structure,” said the woman. She tells us about a passionate devotee who had climbed to the top of the structure damaging the temple with his axe, when the entire structure fell. “He became an instant Shaheed,” she added. The Qari continued teaching at the madrassa inside the Sitla temple, but quit a few years ago. A small plate which reads “Ya Allah” decorates the niche at the top of the structure. Its historical pool has been filled and a Jinnah park for the community has been made.

About 10 kilometers from here, inside the famous Thokar Niaz Baig, there is an ancient Hindu temple. This was the Bhadrakali Mandar, dedicated to an incarnation of the Hindu deity, Durga Mata. This was a huge complex, with various smadhs (stupas), a baoli (a huge well, with stairs that led to the base), an ancient Banyan tree, a pool and two temples. According to Tahrikh-e-Lahore, written by Kanhiya Lal, this temple used to host the largest Hindu festival in and around the city of Lahore. There is no historical account of one of the temple buildings, which served as the main one, but another huge structure with a dome was summoned by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when he became the King of Punjab, according to Lal. This structure was never used as a temple. Now a government primary school functions in it. The smadhs have been filled, the pool covered, the Baoli lost, and the Banyan tree cut. The original temple, now houses several Mewati families that migrated to Pakistan in 1947. They have wrought various changes to the structure to cater to their demand.

A couple of years ago, when I visited the temple for my thesis the people living inside the temple were destroying the structure. When I asked them, their reason was that the structure had become weak and was a threat to the people living inside it.

An old man, who requested to stay anonymous, from Niaz Baig, told me that following 1992 a mob attacked the temple, led by a proscribed organization, based here. However, before much damage could be wrought, the elderly of the locality dissuaded them. They argued that this is no longer a temple, but serves a primary school. The school children would be the only one affected by this action. This way the temple was saved, however, severe damage was wrought to the other building, which is now it is being razed to make way for a securer structure.

Samadhi Maharaja Ranjit Singh


Photograph of the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh at Lahore, Pakistan, taken by George Craddock in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views.  Lahore is the capital of Punjab province, is considered the cultural centre of Pakistan.

Posted by:  Shiraz Hassan

A visit to Bhagat Singh’s village

by Haroon Khalid

Amongst the numerous Punjabi patriots that have been borne over centuries, arguably, Sardar Bhagat Singh’s personality stands as the tallest in stature, fame, and sacrifice. However, a strange event occurred after the death of this son of Punjab. The land that he called his mother got divided into two parts. This partition not only divided land but also mentalities, families and heroes. A strong sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ were forged, to invoke patriotism, justifying the partition, or the betrayal, fueling nationalism. What is Indian is anti-Pakistani and vice-versa.

In this division of history, where does Bhagat Singh stand? He was an Indian when he died, but can he become a Pakistani after Pakistan, based on his ancestral village. Logic has it that he should become an Indian like Allama Iqbal became a Pakistani. We know that Bhagat Singh was an atheist. Can Pakistanis even dare to own atheist heroes? Now that is a path I am frightened to tread on. Continue reading