The rich history of South Asia is the history of Pakistan too

The rich history of South Asia is the history of Pakistan too. Renaming areas of Lahore with Muslim names encourages supremacy of the majority faith and is a deliberate attempt to erase our diverse heritage.

Faiz Mela – A People’s Festival

Lahore recently celebrated Faiz Mela – a people’s festival that allows for all classes to participate and remember the great revolutionary poet.

Used toys’ market in Lahore

Second hand toys’ market in #Lahore. Low income families have little or no access to recreation. We need economic justice and redistribution of wealth

Meet Arishma – Pakistan’s First *Female* Dhol Player

Meet Arishma, the young musician who is also the first (public) female dhol player of Pakistan. Young women of Pakistan are breaking many barriers. Our special feature on International Women’s Day.

Our Best Brains Leave The Country And People Centralise Power Here

There are no jobs, poor socio-economic conditions and poor political conditions. Our best brains leave the country and we leave space only for those people who want to centralise power. We need to break this hegemony and create room for dissent there.

Lahore Cinemas Then and Now

Lahore’s rich culture of cinemas has deteriorated over decades. This video reminds us why we need more accessible, low-cost cinemas for the public. #publicspaces Lahore was once known for its rich culture. The city had numerous large screens, but now, most of the city’s old cinemas have been demolished. Some cinemas have turned into plazas and other businesses. Author Saeed Ahmad tells Naya Daur that before 1947, filmmakers from Bombay used to release their films in Lahore first to evaluate the response of the audience. And only then was the film released in other cities of the Indian sub-continent. One of the cinema owner tells that there was a time when cinemas used to get sold out for films but now things have changed. The modern cineplexes are not meant for the masses. Saeed Ahmed also blames ZIa-ul-Haq for the decline in performing arts.

Lahore’s Fountain House

There are 470 patients in Lahore’s Fountain House. 180 of them were admitted by their families who did not intend to see them ever again. We might have been forced into the 21st century, but mental health in this country remains a stigma.

Absolute vintage beauty from film LAHORE 1949

via Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

A song from an old vintage film ‘LAHORE’ – 1949
BAHAREIN PHIR BHI AAYEN GI
MAGAR HUM TUMM JUDAA HON GEY
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar at her very best
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan (Jalalpur Jattan, Gujrat district Pakistan)
Music: Shyam Sundar (Mulan and Lahore)
Raga base: PAHARI definitely

The Lights of Lahore: A Cartography of Loss

This article was written by Farha Noor for Coldnoon.com

Ae roshnion ke shahar
Kaun kahe kis simt hai teri roshnion ki raah
Har jaanib be-noor khadi hai hijr ki shaharpanaah
Thak-kar har soo baith rahi hai shouq ki maand sipaah

Oh city of lights
Who could say in what direction is the road to your lights?
On every side stand the unlit city-walls of banishment:
Weary, in every direction, the exhausted army of ardour is sitting (Faiz Ahmed Faiz, trans. by V. G. Kiernan)

 

I went to Lahore in search of a dead woman – a woman who belonged, more in death than in life, to this city she decided to make her own. I went to know about the unknown, to throw some light on the darkness of her past. In belonging to a city in death, one often imparts life to the city itself. My journey to Lahore made me realise much more than I could imagine: that the search for the dead can often lead one to many more deaths, to being trapped within the apparition of an illuminated city that thrives on darkness. For me, Lahore now translates into an enigmatic sense of loss. It is a loss that is not mine, that would never be mine, that could never have been mine. I am an outsider, a mere traveller. Yet, it is this loss that reaches out, connecting dots on the map of Lahore, darker than any other line. It is this loss that I have gained. It is this loss I accidentally inherited as I went astray in the glittering alleys and gardens of the ruining city I thought I escaped. Continue reading

Restoring Masjid Wazir Khan – A monument-al task

This article was originally published on TNS

Work on restoring Masjid Wazir Khan’s eastern façade and forecourt is fast underway, despite the challenges, and the place is likely to be open to public by the end of this month

Wazir Khan

Constructions around the mosque had become an eyesore. — Photos by Rahat Dar

Masjid Wazir Khan is a jewel of Mughal architecture. It has retained its grandeur even after the passage of around four centuries since it was built between 1635 and 1640AD under the orders of Hakim Ilm ud Din, the then prime minister of King Shah Jahan. Over time, the magnificent structure has weathered many storms and seen its surrounding land, the forecourt in front of the eastern façade as well as the lower parts of its boundary walls devoured by encroachments.

Till recently, the situation was so bad that the constructions around the mosque became an eyesore, making it look like a structure totally out of place. The sight of the surrounding residential buildings and shops, motor workshops, and welding facilities right next to its boundary walls, was so overwhelming that the mosque would appear subdued in comparison.

It was in 2013 that an initiative was taken with the help of funds provided by the Royal Embassy of Norway in Pakistan, to restore the historical monument’s northern façade. Technical support was afforded by the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP) — an arm of Aga Khan Trust for Culture — and work began with support from the Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA). Around 70 shops had been removed from around the place, their owners compensated by the Punjab government.

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Let us celebrate Basant

Mohammad Ali Ilahi

For centuries, Basant has defined Lahore’s cultural identity. It is time for Pakistan’s heart to regain its soul

basant2

Recently, the final match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament was successfully held in Lahore. There was excitement all around and thousands attended the match despite security threats. The enthusiasm for PSL showed how starved Lahoris were for recreation and with effective support by the state they were able to dispel the atmosphere of fear that has afflicted the city for long.

For centuries, Lahore has celebrated the Basant festival. Basant marked the arrival of spring, and filled up Lahore’s skies with countless kites of varying colors and sizes. Yet, Basant has always been more than just kite flying. It served as a social gathering where all classes participated in the celebration. It involved music, food that Lahoris are known for and frequent cries of “Bo Kata”.

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Rare Image of Advertisement of Nedou’s Hotel from 1880

Please note that the advertisement announces that the hotel has electric lights and fans.

Dr. Nyla Ali Khan writes about the history of Nedou family.

nedou

I thought I’d provide some interesting information (historical backdrop) about the Nedou family, which is from my book, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014):

nedous-hotel

My Grandmother Akbar Jehan’s paternal grandfather, Michael Adam Nedou started out as a photographer and architect, but destiny had willed otherwise. The decisions that he took shaped that destiny as though with the finesse of a calligrapher’s brush. His first venture in hoteliering was the acquisition of the Sind Punjab Hotel in the port city of Karachi. He built the imposing and courtly Nedou’s Hotel in Lahore, characterized by charm and grace, in the 1870s. He and his heirs later built the Nedous’ Hotel in Gulmarg, Kashmir, in 1888. The hotel in Gulmarg sits on an elevation, overlooking the once luxuriantly lush meadow, with its cornucopia of fragrant, beauteous, and flourishing flowers. The riot of colors in Gulmarg in the summer has always had the power to revive my spirits! The cozy cottages around the main lounge, furnished with chintz drapes, chintz covered armchairs, soothing pastel counterpanes on the canopy beds, and hewn logs around the fire places would warm the cockles of any anglophile’s heart. Despite the rapid growth of monstrous concrete construction in Gulmarg, Nedou’s Hotel has always retained an old world charm, maintaining, against all odds, its historical association, environmental importance, and architectural significance.

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Photo of the Day: Ava dancing in Lahore

Ava Lavinia Gardner dancing in Lahore while filming “Bhowani Junction”.

ava

Image via Multipix

Lahore, the Policed City: Barbed Wire, CCTV Cameras, Electric Fences, and Dolphin Squads

This article was originally posted here

By Sabrina Toppa

Amid the deterioration of law and order across Pakistan, daily life in its second-largest city has given way to hyper-securitization.

An aerial view of Lahore, Pakistan, from Wazir Khan Mosque. Image credit: Aima Yusaf Jamal

An aerial view of Lahore, Pakistan, from Wazir Khan Mosque. Image credit: Aima Yusaf Jamal

We’re the last generation that’s seen a Lahore that was not paranoid,” said artist Naira Mushtaq, sitting in a restaurant in Pakistan’s second-largest city. Known as “the city of gardens,” Lahore’s lush greenery and Mughal-era gardens have lent it a vibrant, placid character over the centuries, as the cultural capital of Pakistan has long managed to avoid the violence so pervasive in other cities.

However, in March 2016, a Pakistani Taliban faction targeted crowds at the city’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, killing at least 78 people and injuring more than 300 on Easter Sunday. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar took responsibility for the attack, citing Christians as the primary target. The incident spurred a government crackdown on militants in the Punjab province, the country’s most populous state, as well as an aggressive securitization of its parks—some of the most open and vulnerable areas of the city.

With more than 800 parks to protect in Lahore, the city’s Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) stepped into overdrive to enforce a 10 p.m. curfew, temporarily shut down the largest parks, and install barbed wire, high walls, and CCTV cameras in the city’s most public areas. “We are trying to bring the security arrangements up to the mark as early as possible,” said PHA Deputy Director Shahzad Tariq in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

The security quagmire also prompted the government to dispatch elite-cadre security officers, called the Dolphin Force, across the metropolis to ensure swift mobilization of an emergency task force. Wearing dark uniforms atop motorcycles, the team is expected to ensure that law and order is maintained in a rapidly growing city.

Lahore1

High boundary walls and fencing have emerged throughout Lahore’s public and private spaces.

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A police car stands sentry in front of the gate to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park.

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A man talks to policemen at Gulshan-e-Iqbal, the day after a deadly suicide attack killed more than 75 people and injured over 300. Image credits: Sabrina Toppa

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Yearning for home: A Jewish woman’s memories of Lahore

This article was originally posted in here

Hazel Kahan recalls the city 40 years after she left with her parents

By Taha Anis

hazel

“What do you think about Lahore? Can you believe how much it’s changed?” I was asked over and over again there, as my friends listed the traffic, the crowds, the new subdivisions, the restaurants, the box stores. Yes, of course (I’ve changed too in 40 years), but really their question was rhetorical. They were telling me how their Lahore has changed, how it has been transformed from the green and pleasant place of my youth, a place of order and predictability, still basking in the afterglow of the British Raj, where we worried about contracting dysentery from improperly washed fruit or about being jostled by hideously mutilated beggars in the bazaar. Today, home, sweet home requires high walls and iron gates, reinforced by fierce dogs and quasi-uniformed men. Today, my Lahore and theirs has grown to a city of over 10 million…

— Hazel Kahan in the New York-based weekly The East Hampton Star

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A view of Hazel’s childhood house. PHOTO: HAZEL KAHAN

55 Lawrence Road, Lahore. Or as Hazel Kahan called it, home. Perhaps the last living Jewish woman to still associate Pakistan with that most hallowed of words.

And while she may have left it behind for the comfort and solitude provided by the woods of Long Island, New York, Pakistan refuses to leave her.

“When did I leave Pakistan? I left Pakistan many times. I left it every year to go to boarding school, I left when my parents moved in 1971, I left in 2011, I left in 2012 and I left in 2013,” she says. “Every single time, I never knew whether I would ever go back.”

Every single time, she did.

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Lion in the Lion Safari of Lahore Safari Park

This video is recorded in the Lion Safari of Lahore Safari Park. This is one of the best places in Lahore to visit. Lahore Safari Park have an aviary, Lion Safari, Tiger Safari and many more areas to show animal diversity for the people.

This video was originally posted on MSN

150 women participate in motorcycle rally on The Mall Lahore

This Report was published on the Express Tribune

Women on wheels

LAHORE: The Women on Wheels (WoW) project was launched on Sunday with a motorcycle rally for women on The Mall.

A total of 150 women motorcyclists, who completed training from the Special Monitoring Unit on Law and Order and City Traffic Police, took part in the rally.

Austrian Ambassador Brigitta Balaha and former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jehangir also participated in the rally. Minister for Population Welfare Zakia Shahnawaz, Minister for Women Development Hameeda Waheedud Din, Special Monitoring Unit Senior Member Salman Sufi, Danish Ambassador Helen Neilson, American Consul General Zackary Harkenrider, UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Qazi and a prominent motorcyclist from Singapore, Juvena Huan, were present on the occasion. Continue reading

Empowering Women: Police in Lahore want the city’s women to reclaim public spaces—by learning how to drive motorcycles

By Tanya Khan
This article was originally posted on Newsweek
women-on-wheels

Women in Pakistan face significant challenges. Honor killings, forced marriages and sexual harassment are among the worst, and most visible, offenses, but the pervasive misogyny is no less prominent on the country’s roads, where men can often deride and harass women drivers, prompting many to seek male ‘protection’ while driving. The harassment tends to be worst for women on bicycles or motorcycles, traditionally considered “men only” vehicles. The sight of women on motorcycles is so rare that images of women on public roads have gone viral on social media amid calls for greater government support for the “pioneers.” The Special Monitoring Unit (Law and Order), in collaboration with City Traffic Police Lahore and U.N. Women—an organization dedicated to gender equality—hopes to achieve this with Women on Wheels, Pakistan’s first government-sponsored training program for women who want to ride motorcycles.

“We [the Punjab government] want to make sure that women feel empowered” and at par with men, says Salman Sufi, the head of the law and order wing. By training them to ride motorcycles, which are a much cheaper alternative to cars, women can become more independent, he added. To start off, 150 women are being trained by the City Traffic Police at their Thokar Niaz Baig office. Imtiaz Rafiq, who is supervising the lessons, says over 60 women have been trained in the past three weeks using motorcycles donated by Honda.

The training process is designed to ensure even complete novices can achieve mastery of the vehicle within a few weeks, says Lady Traffic Warden Sidra Saleem. Each class starts with the basics of learning how to achieve balance on a bicycle. Once this has been achieved, they are taught the basics of ABC: Acceleration, Brake and Clutch, using actual motorcycles. In addition to informing the trainees about traffic rules and the basics of driving, says Saleem, the women are also taught how to overcome common problems encountered by motorcyclists.

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Celebrating Diwali in Lahore

By Hum-Aahang
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Most people would think of Diwali being celebrated in Pakistan as an exclusively Hindu event, and mostly focused around Sindh where the majority of the Hindu population of Pakistan resides. However, this time around we made it a point to celebrate this holy festival in our university in order to celebrate diversity that exists amongst us, and as a gesture of respect for a sizable Hindu community that resides in LUMS.
Since most of the problems in the country revolve around a collective lack of empathy and intolerance, it becomes all the more important to hold such events to promote amalgamation and unity between people of different faiths that live with us. Continue reading

Gurdwara Chatti Padshahi and the Legend of Mata Kaulan, Temple Road,Lahore

By Maaria Waseem

Guru

I photographed a house on Temple Road,Lahore with Zoroastrian symbolism which led me to find out why this road was called Temple Road. I thought maybe there was a Zoroastrian temple on this road but to my surprise i found a beautiful Sikh temple of Guru Har Gobind, called “Gurdwara Chatti Badshahi”.

This Gurdwara Comes under the Aukaf Department now and a small family lives here as caretakers. When we enter the Gurdwara on the right side are the living Quarters for the caretaker’s family and on the left side is the prayer hall and in the center is a courtyard.

The building is very simple and is designed in typical British Colonial Period style of Architecture.

Guru Har Gobind (5 July 1595 – 19 March 1644) was the sixth of the Sikh gurus and became Guru on 25 May 1606 following in the footsteps of his father Guru Arjan Dev. He was eleven years old, when he became the Guru, after his father’s execution by the Mughal emperor Jahangir. He is remembered for initiating a military tradition within Sikhism to resist Islamic persecution and protect the freedom of religion. He had the longest tenure as Guru, lasting 37 years, 9 months and 3 days. Continue reading