Category Archives: heritage

WHEN Larry Niblett left Lahore for “greener pastures”

WHEN Larry Niblett left Lahore for “greener pastures” in the US, his celebrated father, the “angreez” DIG (Traffic) of Lahore, Mr. Niblett, headed the other way to Australia. The loss of both these “pucca” Lahori characters was immense. But then father and son never did see eye to eye. In the end, they headed in opposite directions.

The senior Niblett we had seen since we started going to school. He was a smart police officer who brooked no nonsense.

I have three enduring images in my mind’s eye of DIG Niblett. The first was when as a school-going student I violated the one-way traffic rule on Lawrence Road. He rode up on his motor bicycle and stopped me. “You must be bloody well Larry’s friend riding your bike up a one-way road, having no lights. I will confiscate your bicycle and send you to jail”.

I trembled in fear at such an outcome. Imagine me, a school student, in jail, my father would kill me. “He bloody well should,” roared the police officer Niblett. “Who is your father?” he asked. I told him so. “Oh, in that case I will give you a bloody good hiding”, he said and got off his motorcycle. One clip round the head was enough to make me walk with my bicycle to school with the tyres having been deflated. I was ashamed of myself. In those days students used to be ashamed if Niblett stopped them. In the evening I told my mother about what had happened and got another good hiding. But she was kind enough not to tell my father, because Mr. Niblett had already phoned him and asked him to “educate the brat”. Oh, I shall not narrate what followed. But then Lahore was like that, one big family where everyone cared.

My next image is as a student in Government College, Lahore. The anti-Ayub troubles had seen a massive crowd surround the Governor’s House. The mad mob was baying for blood and the cry went out to storm the gates and take over the premises. The angry mob attacked. The gate chains were broken and the crowd began to surge in. This had never happened before in the history of the Governor’s House. The police guards had fled. In the middle of the road, behind the gate, stood one man alone … Mr. Niblett, then a DSP. Pistol in hand he shouted over the megaphone Wapas chalay jao varna goli maar doon ga (Leave or I will shoot you). The crowd surged. A shot rang out. The crowd stopped. Then three rapid shots whizzed over the head of the crowd hitting the walls. Panic. The crowd rushed back. More shots followed. Total panic as everyone rushed out. DSP Niblett had saved the Governor’s House alone. What he did with his panic-stricken staff later is also history, like almost making them eat hay out of horse bags. Many years later he told me: “I never shoot to kill. The kids were doing the right thing, but in a wrong way”. He remained a sensitive father to all the students of Lahore, and they feared and yet loved and respected him.

Several years later, his son Larry indulged in an illegality. The DIG was like a man gone mad. He personally arrested his own son, sent him on a three-day remand, ordered that he be given the terrible “channa and one roti” diet as stipulated by law, then appeared before the judge and testified against his son and sent him to jail. Even the judge requested him to soften up. “No way my lord, the son of DIG Niblett would not have the easy way out”. This glorious police officer saw to it that his name was not soiled. “If I had my way, I would lock him up and throw the keys away”, he would say when reminded of the incident. But Larry was his father’s son. He more than made amends, spent his time and apologized to his father. Ask any old police constable or officer in Lahore about DIG Niblett, and you will notice that they still pride themselves in the fact that he was one of them.

Just 30 years ago Lahore had such a healthy mix of religions and people. The Christians of Lahore made up a very lively portion of Lahore. The few remaining Anglo-Indians, or Eurasians as they were originally called, still contribute much more than their numbers. But then thousands have fled the rages of intolerance. But their hearts remain in Lahore. A friend recently informed me that in Melbourne, Australia, on January 5 to 11, 2004, a world gathering of Anglo-Indians is taking place. There they will remember the old Lahore, of fun and joy. I went on the web page that lists people coming, and I was amazed at the names I recollected.

A year senior to us in the St. Anthony’s High School, Lahore, was a pretty girl called Perry Young. She will be there. Then Gomes the boxer of Beadon Road will be there. Peter Snell, of Temple Road, a close friend of my younger brother Karim will be there, too. Imagine all these names of the years gone by. And then Noney Anderson of Garhi Shahu will be there. From Lawrence College will be Duckworth and John D’Souza. From Karachi Grammar will be Rita D’Souza, Dennis Rebeira and John Stringer. From Quetta will be Monte Clements. The list reads on and on. This is going to be the largest collection of Pakistani and Indians of Anglo-Indian origin to collect to remember the land of their birth and origin. It makes one sad to see that the sons and daughters of our soil should have to be chased away by a set of beliefs that have been distorted beyond measure. Yet they remember their homeland with such fondness.

The people of the city of Lahore, both old and new, till very recently considered the inhabitants as a bunch of beautiful flowers, each person, each religion, each sect, complementing the other. Most of the original inhabitants had been lost to the Partition. Yet the city still had a healthy mix of religions and people with immense toleration. My old man called the new arrivals the “47” variety, and with time he scorned their ‘claim mentality’, a purely materialistic approach to life. He often cursed them for not understanding the ethos of Lahore, one of the seven great cities of the old world. There were Christians, Parsis, and even a few Hindus, with a few Sikhs living inside the walled city. The festivals of Eid, Christmas, Nauroze, Basikhi belonged to everyone. The world was love, not hate and suspicion. We have come a long way up a one-way street. Probably against the one-way …. And no DIG Niblett now serves to give us “a clip to bring us to our senses”

.— Majid Sheikh

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

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

By Maaria Waseem

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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

مغلوں اور بقالوں کے دور میں لاہوری برج

عدنان خان کاکڑ

Chauburgi
لاہور برصغیر کا وہ شہر ہے جو ہر دور میں اہم رہا ہے۔ خواہ رامائن کا دور ہو جب رام چندر کے بیٹے لوہ کے نام پر اس شہر کا نام رکھا گیا تھا، یا ہندو شاہی کا دور جب لاہور ایک بڑی ہندو شاہی سلطنت کا دارالسطنت تھا جو پنجاب سے لے کر موجودہ افغانستان کے مزار شریف تک پھیلی ہوئی تھی، یا غزنوی دور تھا جب لاہور سلاطین غزنی کا پایہ تخت بنا، یا پھر خاندان غلاماں کا زمانہ تھا جس کا پہلا سلطان قطب دین ایبک یہیں انارکلی میں جاں ہار گیا۔
اور مغلوں کی تو بات ہی کیا تھی۔ ہمایوں کے بھائی کامران مرزا کی غالباً پورے برصغیر میں ایک ہی نشانی بچی ہے۔ دریائے راوی میں کامران کی بارہ دری۔ اور پھر اکبر آیا تو چودہ سال تک اس نے لاہور سے اپنی عظیم سلطنت کو چلایا۔ جہانگیر یہاں دفن ہوا اور شاہجہاں یہاں پیدا ہوا۔ اورنگ زیب کے عہد میں بادشاہی مسجد اور قلعے کا عالمگیری دروازہ تعمیر ہوئے۔
شاعرانہ طبیعت رکھنے والے مغلوں کے اس محبوب شہر نے ان سے خراج محبت پانے میں کمی نہ دیکھی۔ یہاں قلعے میں شیش محل اور دیوان عام و خاص بنے۔ نور جہاں اور جہانگیر کے عالیشان مقبرے یہیں تعمیر ہوئے۔ شالیمار باغ بنا۔ مغل باغات کے شہر لاہور میں اور ایک اور وسیع باغ اورنگ زیب کی بیٹی زیب النسا نے بنوایا۔ روایت ہے کہ یہ وسیع و عریض باغ موجودہ نواں کوٹ اور سمن آباد سے لے کر قدیم شہر کی فصیلوں تک پھیلا ہوا تھا۔ اس کے چند ہی آثار باقی بچے ہیں۔ چند بچے کھچے برج سمن آباد اور نواں کوٹ کے گھروں کے کونوں کھدروں میں موجود ہیں اور کسی وقت بھی کسی نئے گھر کی تعمیر کے لیے ڈھائے جا سکتے ہیں۔ اس کی صرف ایک نمایاں نشانی بچی ہے۔ چوبرجی دروازہ۔

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The ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore

These photos were first published here

The ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore houses the many Christian sons and daughters of Lahore, who have immensely contributed to its growth and development. Located next tot he Lahore Gymkhana, this old graveyard has beautiful graves adorned with 19/20th Century artwork, which angel statues guarding the graves.

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An epitaph at The ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore.

An epitaph at The ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore.

A grave at the ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore.

A grave at the ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore.

A statue at the ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore

A statue at the ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore

A statue at the ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore.

A statue at the ‘Gora Kabristan’ (Christian Cemetry) in Lahore.

Zoroastrian/Parsee symbolism on commercial Buildings Mall Road Lahore

Photos by Maaria Waseem

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If you haven’t seen Lahore, you haven’t even been born by Nandita Das

When actress Nandita Das crossed at the Wagah border, she found a place that was both familiar and different.

This article was originally posted on Scroll.in

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It is always bittersweet crossing the Wagah border. The insanity of Partition, the lines drawn in the middle of Punjab, these are thoughts that invariably replay in my mind. And yet having made the journey several times, I look forward to the interesting conversations with porters, security staff and immigration officers on both sides, who live the result of that insanity every day and have many insightful stories to share.

This time the coolie I got on the Pakistan side was an old man, who had been doing the job for the last 25 years. All those years at the border had made him a philosopher and he had clear views on the mindlessness of the animosity between the two countries. He spoke in Punjabi, just like his counterpart who took my luggage till the Pakistani border.

This trip was primarily to research my directorial project on Saadat Hasan Manto, the writer of the 1940s who I am in love with. I felt very fortunate to stay with his middle daughter, who along with her family made me feel completely at home. The last time I had met Manto’s three daughters was over a meal in Lahore. But on this trip I was able to spend extensive time with them. Their many anecdotes were precious nuggets that I could not have got from any book. But most of all it was their warmth and trust in me that was most touching. Continue reading

Akbari Sirai Lahore in ruins

Photos by Maaria Waseem
Back gate of Akbari Sirai, Jahangir Tomb Lahore needs desperate attention.

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Gulabi Bagh

Malik Omaid

Gulabi Bagh

One of the most significant Mughal structures, carrying some of the most spectacular tile mosaic examples, is the Gulabi Bagh Gateway. It is located on the northern side of G.T. Road, east of Buddhu’s Tomb, and past Begampura Road on the left. Although of considerable height (it is a two storey structure), it can be missed easily since it does not carry a dome, or other terminating elements, As is evident from its name, this remarkable gateway was originally the entrance to a garden known as Gulabi Bagh or (the rose garden), no longer extant. The name however, is also a chronogram, from which the date of construction of the gateway AH 1066 (1655) is obtained. Although the gateway has endured much damage to its decorative features, it is in a tolerably well-preserved state. It was constructed by or in memory of Mirza Sultan Beg, a Persian nobleman and cousin of Shah Jahan’s son-in-law Mirza Ghiyasuddin (married to princess Sultan Begam). Due to his cousin’s relationship with the royal family, Mirza Sultan Beg rose to the exalted position of Mir-ul-Bahar (Admiral of the Fleet). He was obviously on extremely good terms with the emperor, who, aware of his love of hunting, presented him with a much-admired English rifle. Just two months later, the firearm proved fatal for him due to the bursting of a shell during a hunting expedition at Hiran Minar at Sheikhupura. He died in 1063/1657. A lofty Timurid aiwan—a popular architectural rendering for gateways—rises to two-storey height, and incorporates a 40′ long covered walkway defined by a single storey cusped arch gateway. The aiwan is flanked on both sides with 5′ deep arched alcoves expressive of the two storeys of the structure. The covered walkway is lined on either sides with a 12’x12′ chamber, which no doubt provided accommodation to the guards, from where an internal staircase leads to the first floor. The 50′ wide facade, subdivided into slightly sunken panels presents one of the finest examples of kashi kari (tile mosaic). Continue reading

160 Bhagat Singh files lie in oblivion in Lahore

This article was originally posted here

Even more than eight decades after Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ martyrdom, an important bunch of files related to their trial in the Lahore Conspiracy Case are lying in oblivion in Lahore.

More than 160 files titled ‘Crown vs Sukh Dev, Lahore Conspiracy Case 1929-1931′ are lying behind closed lockers in the Punjab Archives in Lahore, Pakistan. According to sources, no international scholar on Bhagat Singh so far has been allowed to access them.
Amarjit Chandan, London-based poet and independent researcher on Bhagat Singh, who has tried to access those files numerous times in the past said that these files are of immense historical importance as they are from a special tribunal, which was formed for Bhagat Singh and his comrades’ trial. “I myself went to the Lahore Archives and there are many academics who have tried to access the files. I was shown just one file and my request was turned down to take a copy of the catalogue of the collection,” he said.

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Photo of the Day: Victoria School in Danger

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This is a very serious issue , as this new cemented building might collapse on the Victoria Girls High School , it is tilting towards the school , however over the last few rains in this month the situation has worsen.
(Photo and words Tahir Yazdani Malik)

 

Photo of the Day: Nedou’s Hotel Lahore

Malik Omaid

The Avari Hotel Facebook page shared this post:

“Did you know that Avari Hotel Lahore building has been on Mall Lahore since 1880. Yes, it was Nedous Hotel from 1880 to 1910. The Hotel was founded by Michael Nedou in 1880, after partition it was used for Government Offices. In 1960, the building was demolished and new Park Luxury hotel was built (owned by Avari’s), that later, in 1970 was also demolished to raise the current Avari Hotel building which was called Hilton International at that time.”

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In 1961 Nedous was auctioned to the late Mr Dinshaw Avari and was renamed Park Luxury Hotel.

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 More details here

Photo of the Day: House of Pandit Shiv Narayan Edward Road

House of Pandit Shiv Narayan (1850-1929) founder of DEV SAMAJ, a religious and social reform society Edward Road, Lahore.

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Photos and research via Maria Waseem @maaria_waseem

Photo of the Day: Risala Gali Old Anarkali

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Photos via Maria Waseem @maaria_waseem

Lahore: Future Of The Past

Lahore Nama is sharing this insightful video by Shah Salman Sirhindi on the deteriorating situation of Lahore’s heritage especially the houses of commoners. These are centuries old houses and have immense importance from heritage point of view but next generations may not be able to witness how their forefathers used to live in Lahore.

Future Of The Past – Directed by Shah Salman Sirhindi from Syed Salman Ahmed Sirhindi on Vimeo.

Fresco and Mosaic work at Wazir Khan Mosque Lahore

Malik Omaid

I visited historic Wazir Khan Mosque with my friend in a tour to explore Lahore and what I found was a bit of tragedy of ruining frescoes and mosaic treasure. Many of whom had already vanished due to ignorance and incompetence of officials. It is a tragedy that such a historical site is being used by commoners with out the supervision of experts. Some of the still safe frescoes and mosaic are under with my comments from Instagram account. (Photos by the Author and Umer Khalid)

These are last photos for my ‪‎Wazir Khan‬ Mosque‬ series. This is of numerous frescoes in the mosque used as decoration on walls. These are masterpieces of Mughal‬ art each wort of millions of rupees dating back to 4 centuries.
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These mosaic and frescoes are ruining rapidly. When I went there I saw an empty wall but if you see just ten year old photos of Wazir Khan Mosque you find a fresco work there. Now it has vanished completely. This is the case with other frescoes.

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I tried my best to find details on these frescoes on internet but was unsuccessful. Would love it if someone can give me details.

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Imagine this wonderful piece of art is 400 years old left to ruin and fade away.

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Mosaic tiles forming the star of David. Back then it was halal. No one said there is a Jewish conspiracy behind this mosque.

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971st Urs of Data Sahib

“The heart is the seat of knowledge and is more venerable than the Kaaba. Men are forever looking at the Kaaba but God looks towards the heart”; said Hazrat Usman Hajveri popularly known as Data Saheb of Lahore.

The shrine of Shaikh Ali Hajweri, Data Ganj Bakhsh, or Data Sahib is a landmark of sorts in the subcontinent. It has been a centre of inspiration since the eleventh century. He was both a scholar and a saint and author of the first treatise on Sufism in Persian language – Kashf al Mahjub (or “Unveiling the Veiled”). Originally from Ghazni, Afghanistan, Data Saheb spent a considerable portion of his life in Lahore. He loved it so much that settled there permanently.

After his reunion with the Creator in 1077 A.D, his shrine has attracted millions of people. It is still the busiest of places even after nearly ten centuries. Even the leader of Chistiya school of Sufism, Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti sought spiritual guidance at his shrine.

Wish I could have been there at the Urs (the death anniversary)-it is quite an event.

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Some recent photos of Urs of Data Sahib.

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Sikh Maharaja Sher Singh’s baradari in pity condition

This is a three year old report from the Sikh Sangat News being posted in Lahore Nama as very little difference has been made since then. Sher Singh Baradari is being ruined like many other Sikh era relics.

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Lahore, Pakistan: Proposed conservation plan of Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) to preserve an important historical monument of 19th century Baradari of Sher Singh is in doldrums due to lack of funds and the existing structure can collapse any time, TheNation has learnt.

The sources said that the Archeology Department had prepared a feasibility report for the conservation and renovation of the Baradari’s structure on the request of PHA about three months back with the estimated amount of Rs 22 million. They further said that PHA also allocated Rs 32 million for the preservation of historical monument and also adjacent garden but despite lapse of three moths, the department could not manage the amount.
The monument, which is surviving with skeleton, was declared protected under Antiquity Act 1975 but not a single plan had been carried out to preserve it.

It may be mentioned here that the monument was badly damaged and set on fire by an angry mob in 1992 in retaliation to the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India and at that time the people had taken its precious wooden doors, as informed by the locals. Continue reading

Lahore Fort becomes inaccessible to public

This article was originally posted in The News

Lahore Fort

Ali Raza

LAHORE: Pakistan’s monument declared as the world heritage, Lahore Fort has turned into an inaccessible destination for local as well as international tourists after closure of the main link road and shifting of parking facilities far away.

Lahore Fort is one of the favourite visiting places of local and international tourists, especially in the winter season. Residents of the provincial metropolis also used to visit this marvellous building with their families to spend a whole day in lush green lawns. Mostly, school trips are also scheduled for winter season.

The main road dividing Minar-e-Pakistan (Iqbal Park ground) and Lahore Fort was closed for normal traffic during the construction of Azadi Interchange. This road links Azadi Chowk to Lorry Adda. During construction of the Azadi Interchange, heavy vehicles and machinery used this road to bring sand, mud, iron, bricks, concrete, etc, due to which it had broken. Continue reading

A walk through heritage

This article was originally published in The News on Sunday

Haroon Akram Gill

A walk through heritageAround 600 photographers from all over Pakistan and other countries i.e. Philippines, Bulgaria, Belgium, UK, USA, and Germany participated in the Walk. — Photos by the author

The Walled City is home to the cultural and architectural heritage of Lahore. Its blind arches and the pillars of its buildings, elegant havelis, multi-storey houses, wooden doors and windows and, above all, its famous Gates are some of the old city’s glorious features, all of which have long fascinated the tourists, especially those coming from outside the city/country. Though, terrorist incidents badly hit the tourism industry over the years, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) is trying hard to pull the tourists back in, by organising cultural activities; ‘Photo Tourism Walk’ being one such event.

The WCLA claims to have introduced the concept of photo tourism by holding walks in 2012. The Photographic Society of Pakistan, having almost 20,000 members (all photographers) is a major partner and has contributed to projecting and saving the heritage. Continue reading