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
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
Mohammad Ali Ilahi
For centuries, Basant has defined Lahore’s cultural identity. It is time for Pakistan’s heart to regain its soul
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”.
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.
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):
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.
In Akbar Jehan’s father’s lifetime, the Nedous’ hotels in Lahore, Gulmarg, and Srinagar retained their reputations as classy, plush, and magnificent havens in colonial India. The Nedous’ hotel in Gulmarg has been exquisitely and intimately described by M. M. Kaye in her whodunit novel, Death in Kashmir. Akbar Jehan’s father, the stoic looking, stocky, and thick-set, though not short, Michael Henry [Harry] Nedou, took over the management of the restful hotel in Gulmarg from his father. Several people have testified to his proverbial philanthropy, beneficence, and kindness.
Akbar Jehan’s sister-in-law, Salima Nedou, observes in her unpublished manuscript, “Michael Nedou was the pioneer of the hotel industry in India and he laid the first stone in the splendid structure of the country’s hotels. His name is woven forever in the tapestry of our tourism” (16). The then grandiose Nedou’s Hotel in Srinagar, which was opened in 1900, boasted a confectionery that, for a long time, had no parallel. The very thought of the delectable jams and jellies that we got from the Nedous’ bakery in my childhood makes me drool. Until the eighties, Nedou’s, Srinagar, epitomized a rare and appealing excellence, and a flawless execution, which, over the years, deteriorated. It is now, sadly, in a dilapidated state.
Salima Nedou provides an enchanting account of the “Protestant work ethic,” entrepreneurship, and sheer grit of Michael Adam Nedou, his spouse, and children:
“Their summers were spent in Gulmarg and Srinagar, and for the winter, they moved to the splendor of Nedou’s, Lahore. As Gulmarg was in those days a remote part of the country, everything had to be carried up the mountains by pony and labor. I sometimes wonder how great safes from London, billiard tables and pianos go to Gulmarg. People either walked or rode up by pony. Some were carried in chairs called “dandies.” All came to escape the heat of the plains.
Granny [Jessie Maria] was a shrewd and tough Victorian woman. She was faced with the hard work of helping in the hotels and bringing up nine children. . . . Christmas festivities were in those days a time of abundance and merry making. Those privileged to be able to come to Nedou’s had to book their tables well in advance. At Nedou’s, preparations were begun weeks before. The Gulmarg hotel was closed by the end of October, but logs were chopped and Christmas trees were brought down to Lahore and Srinagar. The great halls and lounges at Srinagar were heated by log fires and stoves. In the kitchens under Granny’s [Jessie Maria] supervision the Christmas puddings were stirred and hung in linen bags. The famous Nedous’ silver was polished, and Christmas cakes baked by Goan chefs and their assistants.
So the holidays passed. It was a time of goodwill, hospitality, and joy, and it all ended in the New Year’s celebration, which after the dancing, all at Nedou’s must have been exhausted.”
This riveting account of the venturesome and risk-taking folk transported me so seamlessly to a different time that I thought of sharing it with the reader. Taking refuge in a “once upon a time” world does rid the soul of its afflictions.
This article was originally posted here
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.
High boundary walls and fencing have emerged throughout Lahore’s public and private spaces.
A police car stands sentry in front of the gate to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park.
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
This article was originally posted in here
Hazel Kahan recalls the city 40 years after she left with her parents
By Taha Anis
“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
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.
This Report was published on the Express Tribune
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
By Tanya Khan
This article was originally posted on Newsweek
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.
By Maaria Waseem
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
Woman cycle-rickshaw driver on Mall Road, Lahore. Dated post-Partition. (p.81, Ab woh Lahore Kahan)
Via Musharraf A. Farooqi
This article was originally posted in Dawn
Soaked in the golden age of the ’60s, Lahore was an island of hedonistic pleasure. For teens who had yet to say goodbye to the loss of innocence that perforce visits every adult when real life issues strike, ours was a fairytale existence. Who can forget ‘Mr Chips’? With his bagful of packets of chips he would pop up from every corner of Anarkali bazaar to accost you. His voice, 50 years later, still rings in my ears. The channa chaat at Bano Bazaar had to be eaten after mom would finish with her petticoat and blouse matching with the saris she’d tote around.
A play at the Alhambra was like being a part of the cast; a cricket match at the Gaddafi Stadium was like a fashion parade; we all had our favourite cricketers whom we fancied, my poster boy being Ijaz Butt (don’t go rolling your eyes, he was quite a looker then); ice cream at Chalet on the Mall was like sitting in a Swiss cabin with a school buddy (mine being Zenobia Khurshid, now Mrs Akhund, and Nasreen Muzaffar, now Mrs Iqbal); book browsing at Ferozesons on the Mall with my two older brothers was a trip to wonderland and textbook buying with parents at Imperial Book Depot was a growing up activity, each new school year signalling a march towards maturity; orange juice binging at Hall Road in winter was a drink from heaven; grocery shopping at Tollington Market lent its own colonial aura and jiving at the Gymkhana (Lawrence Hall) if one was lucky to find a partner, well let me continue…
Teenage Ball was an annual winter affair at Lahore Gymkhana Club, the building also known as Lawrence Hall. With promises made to be goody good, permission to attend would be reluctantly granted by parents who ensured that big brothers went along to keep an eye on their kid sister. But big brothers being big brothers had their own conquests to tend to while forgetting about me and my cousin Kaye (that was her nickname) now Mrs Imran Ahmad. While popular Kaye would be on the floor, yours truly, awkwardly attired in an ill-fitting half coat (that’s what they were known as then) with a bulging behind packed in a sack shirt (the fad in the 60s) would be sitting like a wallflower waiting to be asked to dance.
‘Teddy boys’ that’s what the St Anthony crowd were called. The late Shahid Rehman was our Rock Hudson. Girls liked him. Others like Munir Akram (our ex ambassador to the UN) Dawar Shaikh, the late governor Punjab Salman Taseer, aka Billo for his blue eyes, and Sunny Saeedudin (son of Brigadier Saeeduddin) were the regulars at ‘mixed’ teenage parties which, while other teenagers attended, were a no-go area in our household. Among girls, the talented and beautiful Naveed Rehman stood out as all-rounder. She was a student of Queen Mary College. We were next door at the Convent of Jesus & Mary. Our head girl, Syeda Abida Hussain aka Chandi, was a stunner.
As alumni, each year she’d return for a summer break from her finishing school in Switzerland and she’d be invited to talk about her experiences. It was awesome. As a rare embodiment of beauty and brains, (with wealth thrown in) Abida’s taffeta dresses and smooth delivery brought about a lively sense of happenstance. We all wanted to copy her.
Ah! The movies of those times. Plaza, Regal and the Odeon cinemas were our watering holes. During intermission, we’d recognise our friends from school — Lahore was so cliquish in those days, it still is till today! As teenagers, we easily related to movies featuring teenage love affairs like Splendour in the Grass starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty whose story of sexual repression, love and heartbreak played havoc with young minds like ours. Peyton Place was another sizzler. The exposé of the lives and loves of the residents of a small town in the US where scandal, suicide and moral hypocrisy hid behind a veneer of pretentious living introduced our impressionable minds to the American way of life. Lolita was another bombshell. (The government film censor board must have worn blinkers then!)
Magazines like Playboy and True Romance had already ‘educated’ the teenagers of Lahore about the ‘birds and the bees.’ But it was the American movies that captured our attention about teens across the Atlantic. We considered ourselves liberated (not in the sexual sense though) but America appeared downright promiscuous. Alongside the adult stuff, one still stuck to reading Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer, Daphne du Maurier’s haunting love story ‘Rebecca’, the Bronte sisters and of course Jane Austen. We had already graduated from Enid Blyton mysteries.
On balmy nights we’d sit and listen to Noor Jehan or Farida Khannum or Iqbal Bano sing Faiz at the open-air theatre in Bagh-i-Jinnah. On one such event, a senior official shushed a lady who was rather loud. The lady, wife of a senior bureaucrat, turned around to slap him. The news spread quickly. Yes, Lahore had its scandals hitting it all the time. That’s what made the place so ‘sexy.’
Foreign dignitaries, including emperors, empresses, queens and first ladies visited Lahore. After empress Farah Diba of Iran came, we teased our hair into a beehive hoping to have a ‘Farah Diba bouffant.’ Memorable was the vying for attention by US First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her sister princess Lee Radziwill from president Ayub Khan. He must have appeared a conflicted man, having to choose between two ethereal beauties.
Fashionistas, the devoted followers of fashion alongside their lesser trendy sisters, the hidebound ladies of Lahore learnt firsthand how women (Jackie and Lee) across two continents, dressed and lived a life celebrated for being direct, free-spirited and open.
The rich and stylish culture that the 60s embraced still makes Lahore the heartthrob of Pakistan. Nasir Kazmi’s verse says it best: Shehr-e-Lahore, teri raunaqain dayam aabad: Teri galyon ki hawa khainch ke layi mujh ko. (O city of Lahore, may your lights never dim; It was the breeze of your streets that pulled me back).— Anjum Niaz
This article was originally published in The Huffington Post
I am a voracious traveller and have had the good fortune of visiting about 40 to 50 cities across continents in the last two decades. Whether it is Naukuchiatal or New York, Periyar or Paris, Delhi or Denmark, I have enjoyed and celebrated each of my travels with equal zest, always discovering something unique and special about the place. And it’s never been about the facilities or the comforts, as much as it is about the energy and attitude of the place and its people.
So for someone like me, an opportunity to officially visit Lahore — to speak at the prestigious Women Leadership Forum organized by Nutshell & AIMA — came like a blessing in disguise, as Pakistan is one country that most Indians wouldn’t consider for a pleasure trip. I was delighted at the thought of visiting our closest neighbour and the birthplace of my parents. Finally, I thought, I’d be able to bring some life into their stories about Pakistan as a haven of large houses, warmth and camaraderie before the lines of geography came in the way of humankind. My mother would reminisce about her father’s cinema hall, named Lakshmi in a small town near Sindh, and my mom-in-law still talks with yearning about their 22-room haveli with its badminton court. Continue reading
یہ آرٹیکل BBC Urdu میں شایع ہوا۔
لاہور شہر تاریخ کی ایک کتاب کی طرح ہے، جیسے کتاب کا صفحہ پلٹتے ہی الفاظ سے تراشی گئی ایک نئی تصویر ابھرتی ہے اسی طرح سر زمین لاہور کے سینے کو کریدیں تو ہر کونے میں خطے کی خوبصورت ثقافت اور روایتوں کی نئی داستان سامنے آتی ہے۔
ایسا ہی کچھ ہوا ہے اندرون شہر کے دلی دروازے میں جہاں مغلیہ دور کے شاہی حمام کی کھدائی میں ایک انتہائی سائنسی انداز میں بنا نظام دریافت ہوا۔
دلی دروازے کی شاہی گزرگاہ میں جڑا پہلا نگینہ مغلیہ دور کا یہ حمام ہی ہے جو سنہ 1634 میں شاہ جہاں کے گورنر وزیرخان نے عام لوگوں اور مسافروں کے لیے تعمیر کروایا۔ ماہرین کے مطابق یہ مغلوں کا واحد عوامی حمام ہے جو اب تک موجود ہے۔
تاہم اب اس کی عمارت میں بہت سی تبدیلیاں آ چکی ہیں۔ 50 کمروں کے اس حمام کی تزئین وآرائش کو دیکھ کر یہ تاثر ملتا ہے کہ حمام صرف نہانے دھونے کے لیے استعمال نہیں ہوتا تھا بلکہ یہ لوگوں کے میل ملاپ اور ذہنی آسودگی کی جگہ بھی تھی۔
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.
By Akbar Shahid Ahmed
The value of one’s soul is hard to measure, but Baqir Abbas, a musician in the Pakistani city of Lahore, has it worked out for himself. Abbas’ soul is slightly less precious to him than the delicately designed bamboo flutes he carves. “All the stories of the world will play from it, God willing,” he says, before kissing his latest instrument and touching it twice to its forehead.
Abbas explains his philosophy in “Song of Lahore,” a new documentary about an intergenerational community of musicians skilled in their own mix of traditional Pakistani music and the Western orchestral scores demanded by Lahore’s once-booming film industry. He and his fellow musicians “find God in music,” Abbas says.
Their critics do not, and the very act of practicing their craft now makes them targets in a more conservative Pakistan. Followers of the increasingly influential, hardline Deobandi school of thought in Sunni Islam consider music to be sinful and musicians to be apostates who have no place in an avowedly Muslim nation.
“Song of Lahore” is powerful because it shows these musicians do have a place in Pakistan.
Last week, the 82-minute documentary won multiple standing ovations and a joint second place in the Documentary Audience Award category at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. But the feature’s greatest triumph is that it proves the Deobandis wrong: These musicians are quintessentially Pakistani and essential to the nation’s cultural identity, Islam and all.
Progressive Pakistanis who value their country’s musical heritage have been making that case for decades. Continue reading
This article was originally published in TNS
The Lahore Biennale, expected to be the premier showcase of contemporary arts from all over the world, is all set to have a finale in 2016
Imagine a walk through the fabulousness of Venice, feel like a Venetian or a traveller, drown in the city’s hopeless romance — without having to fly over continents, without braving the mundane drudgery of travel… ah, really, it’s so dreamlike!
Renowned contemporary artist Rashid Rana is about to take Lahoris on this fantastical journey. His installation, an extension of his Venice Bienalle project, ‘My East is Your West’, to be put up in Liberty Market soon, will replicate Plazzo Benzon in Venice. This space in Lahore will feature a video projection of live feed from a mirrored space in Venice. The backdrop will be the same, yet you will view completely different faces and activities on either side of the world. It will be in one sense a replication and yet a dislocation of space.
Rana’s artwork, and a bundle of other art activities, will together form the Lahore Biennale, which is expected to be the premier showcase of contemporary arts from all over the world.
Set up in 2013, the Lahore Biennale Foundation (LBF), a non-profit organisation, run by a team of prominent artists and curators of national and international acclaim, through their initiative of Lahore Biennale hope to cover “critical sites for experimentation in visual expression and experience, seeking to challenge and expand the scope of both”, explains the Foundation’s manifesto.
“We want to bring art in the public sphere. We want to break institutional boundaries, reach out to as many people as possible, and encourage platforms where dialogue can go on,” says Qudsia Rahim, executive director LBF, while sitting in a square room with white walls in a senior architect’s office in Lahore’s Muslim Town. Her team comprising young art school graduates surrounds her. Talking on their behalf too, Rahim excitedly adds, “We just want to have fun with arts”. Continue reading
لاہور مجھے مقناطیس کی طرح کھینچتا ہے۔ اس کی قدیم تاریخ، اس کی گلیوں میں اڑتی ہوئی غزنوی، غوری اور تغلق لشکروں کی دھول، ان کی تلواروں سے قتل ہونے والوں کی کراہیں اور ان کے چنگل میں پھڑپھڑاتی ہوئی عورتوں کی آہیں۔ تمام مناظر آنکھوں میں زندہ ہوجاتے ہیں۔ مغل بھی فاتحوں کے انداز سے آئے تھے اور پھر لاہور کے ایسے اسیر ہوئے کہ اس کے در و بام پر اپنے نقش چھوڑ گئے جو آج بھی سانس لیتے ہیں۔
یہاں نورجہاں ایک معتوب اور معزول ملکہ ہونے کے باوجود اپنے محبوب جہانگیر کا شایانِ شان مقبرہ تعمیر کراتی ہے اور خود ایک ایسی قبر میں سوجاتی ہے جس پر خود اس کے کہنے کے مطابق یہ مصرعہ صادق آتا ہے کہ برمزار ما غریباں نے چراغے، نے گُلے، نے پر پروانہ سوزد، نے صدائے بلبلے۔ نادر شاہ درانی اور احمد شاہ ابدالی نے اس لاہور کو کس طرح نہیں روندا جس کی آبادی میں مسلمان بہت زیادہ تھے۔
مہاراجہ رنجیت سنگھ نے اسی لاہور میں اپنا دربار سجایا اور اسے لاہور کی تاریخ کا ایک یادگار باب بنادیا۔ اور پھر آج کا لاہور جہاں پھولوں نے سرخ، عنابی ،اودے اور نیلے پیرہن پہن رکھے ہیں، جہاں فوارے اچھلتے ہیں اور برابر سے گزرنے والوں کو اپنی پھوار میں بھگودیتے ہیں۔
یہاں کے تعلیمی اور تہذیبی ادارے صدیوں کی تاریخ رکھتے ہیں اور اسی لیے لاہور مجھے مقناطیس کی طرح کھینچتا ہے۔ وہاں سے کوئی دعوت آئے تو دل شاد ہوتا ہے اور دعوت بھی اگر ہماری طرح دار شاعرہ یاسمین حمید کی طرف سے ہو جن کی دل گداز شاعری اپنا ایک خاص اسلوب رکھتی ہے اور جنہوں نے کئی برس سے لمز کے گرمانی سینٹر برائے زبان و ادب کا انتظام و انصرام سنبھالا ہے اور اپنی ذمے داریاں بہ حسن وخوبی نباہ رہی ہیں۔
مضمون کا بقیہ حصہ پڑھیے
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
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