By Ali Usman (Daily Times)
LAHORE: A paradoxical thing about Lahore that fascinates visitors is that it has an identity of its own, despite having a great heritage of colonial architecture, said US scholar Carla Rae Petievich.
Talking to Daily Times Carla said Lahore was an interesting city that was in a state of flux. She said the phenomenon of globalisation was influencing the city. “Landing in this city does not make me feel I have come to an alien land. The warmth of the Lahoris makes me feel I have come home,” she said, adding that Lahore was truly the cultural vanguard of Pakistan.
She said a ‘sense of history’ was attached to the Walled City (WC) in a special way. The pre-globalised culture that prevailed in the WC was ancient and mysterious, she said, “The WC people are particularly hospitable, do not find me stranger, and are always generous to help you out”. She said, Masjid Wazir Khan was a well-preserved symbol of the pre-globalised world that was disappearing now. She said, “Something exuberant about this mosque is that it makes you nostalgic”. She said that Model Town was her favourite place in Lahore and that she loved to stay at Salima Hashmi’s home, which reminded her of great poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
She found ghazal to be the most fascinating genre of Urdu literature. “Hands down when it comes to ghazal. It’s matchless whether you read it or listen to it,” she said and added that the world changed after World War II and its influence was also evident in Urdu literature. She referred to Intizar Hussain and Faiz as two great literary personalities of the 20th century. “Faiz is a great poet and has maintained sensibility even while writing on politics. Listening to Faiz’s ghazals, indulges one’s sentimental side”, she said.
Carla is a professor of History and Women Studies at the Montclair State University USA. She obtained her PhD from the University of British Columbia with majors in Urdu Literature and Indo-Muslim Cultural History. She has authored three books: namely, Speak as Women, The Expanding Landscape and Assembly of Rivals When Men. She has many research articles to her credit and has command over Urdu and Hindi languages. She can also read Punjabi, but can both speak and read French and Tamil.