Spring in Lahore arrives with colorful flowers, joyful traditions, dance, music and what not. And once upon a time there were kites, or better yet the kites used to rule all of the above. They were the main identity of spring.
Just a decade back all of the above said things were prevalent in Lahore. Dance, concerts, and the famous Basant were trademarks of Lahore but as we grew more religious we came to the conclusion that all of these are very harmful. Signboards of “Smoking kills” was replaced by “kites kill” and the much loved music, concerts and dance were always “unethical”. These were spared earlier because of “killer Basant” but eventually we have advanced our celebrations. We have made our festivities more kosher. Apparently, they now only exist in Models floating in Lahore canal.
The intention of this blog was to cheerfully introduce the colorful models and flowers that lighten up the Lahore canal and Mall road celebrating spring. But as I think about it, I cannot digest the irony that our government has taken these smiles, dance and festivities from the living and carved them on the hard board Models!
We willfully lost our heritage and here we are celebrating it on Lahore canal with meaningless floats!
Colorful Models lighten up in the Lahore canal as Part of Jashan-e-Baharan festival
Models of various monuments in Pakistan afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Models of various animals afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
A model depicting a man and his monkey float in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
People observe models erected as part of the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Models dot Lahore’s canal as part of the Jashan-e-baharan celebrations
Motorist ride past colorful light and models set up for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Giant coloful models of peacock dot the canal road as part the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Models of various monuments in Pakistan afloat in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Illuminated lamps dot the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Models of women look over a sea of illuminated lillies in the Lahore canal for the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Trees along Lahore canal are illuminated as part of the Jashan-e-Baharan celebrations
Photos and captions are taken from the Etribune.
Beautiful View of Lahore Canal
Photo by Saad Ahmad Qasmi
I am posting three insightful pieces on TheSouthAsianIdea Weblog that deal with the controversy over the construction of an expressway along the Lahore Canal. Whilst we support the Lahore Bachao Tehreek, it is important that all voices of reason should be reckoned for a full debate. I liked this part:
The bottom line is that it is not the case that there is no need for any new road construction at all. But smart urban growth requires that road construction be integrated into an intelligent plan that is focused on transporting the maximum number of people with the minimum number of vehicles at the lowest economic and environmental cost.
Here are the three articles:
Lahore – A Canal Runs Through It
Please sign this petition
To: Citizens of Lahore
As you may have heard, The Punjab government is planning to widen the road on both sides of the Lahore Canal, from Thokar Niaz Baig to Dharampura, as a so-called solution for the congestion on the canal road due to the rapidly increasing automobile population. The Punjab Chief Minister had announced that the project would begin immediately after Eid-ul-Azha, however, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took suo moto notice and effectively restrained the government from commencing work on the project on 27 November 2009. The government has not fulfilled its legal obligation of carrying out an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)for the project and the lack of transparency of the program is depriving the citizens of Lahore from having a say in this change.
It is the consensus of a great number of organizations and groups of concerned citizens that the Rs 3.15 billion project violates basic principles of traffic design and will not only prove ineffective in countering traffic congestion, but also lead to an outstanding number of problems related to the well-being of the public and the environment. Widened roads have historically proven to only end up attracting more traffic, and the government’s focus on providing for the car-owning citizen over the abounding majority (which requires public transport, sidewalks, public toilets, phones and drinking water) is entirely against the principles of equity. The project also means the cutting down of several thousand old trees and losing over 50 acres of the green belt, which is sure to lead to a staggering number of environmental problems including rising temperatures and carbon and toxic content, not to mention the loss of ancient species of trees and shrubs that provide shelter to a variety of birds and small animals. The historical, environmental, recreational and aesthetic value of this green space cannot be stressed enough.
We demand that our voice be heard to address these critical issues and help preserve the beauty and grandeur of our city.
Saving the canal
The News, Saturday, August 22, 2009
The canal that runs through Lahore represents much that is good about the city. The shrubs, bushes and tall trees that line it give the provincial capital the greenery that its residents have cherished for centuries. The waterway – even today when pollution has tarnished its beauty – offers a kind of calm oasis in the heart of the urban jungle, where families picnic and fitness-lovers jog. It is these factors that have led a group of earnest citizens to renew their campaign against a plan to broaden the road along the canal which would result in hundreds of trees being chopped down. While the Punjab government argues this is necessary to maintain smooth traffic flow, the ‘Save Lahore Movement’ argues the massacre of greenery would inflict great environmental damage and indeed erode the very nature of Lahore. Trees marked for chopping have been chalked and placards put up demanding they be saved. The action by citizens including many women and children has caught public interest, with passers by stopping to find out more. Continue reading
Posted in Canal, Lahore, urban planning
Tagged Canal, Environment, Lahore, NEWS, policy, protection, traffic, Urban, urbanisation
By by Ahmad Rafay Alam
The chief minister of Punjab has requested NESPAK to come up with a way to widen Lahore’s canal road without cutting down any of the trees that line the only avenue of its kind in the world. Ostensibly, this is to cater to the increased congestion and automobile traffic that uses the now signal-free corridor through most of the city. The request made to NESPAK comes months after members of civil society were privately assured that the canal road widening plan would not be pursued by the Sharif government. Of course, NESPAK has no choice but to comply with the executive order it has received. For them, it is less of a study of whether the road can be widened and more of an exercise of how to get it done. One sympathises with the rock-and-hard-place NESPAK finds itself in, but the issue of the canal road widening needs to be understood within the context of the future of the city.
When the previous government attempted to widen the Canal Road, it was met with unexpected and unprecedented opposition from Lahoris keen to preserve one of the last jewels of its built heritage. The Lahore Canal was originally nothing but an irrigation channel diverted from the Ravi to feed the pleasure garden of Shalimar and bring life to Lahore’s first suburb: the Mughal-era’s Baghbanpura. The canal was later straightened and led to Head Bulloki by the English colonialist as part of their great effort to irrigate the Doab areas of Punjab. The canal system introduced by the Colonialists and its augmentation during Ayub Khan’s time must be given due credit. It was only by unleashing the potential of the fertile soil of Punjab did the Colonialist feed the belly of its Indian Empire; and the Green Revolution of the 1960s is the reason behind Ayub Khan’s “Golden Decade of Progress,” whatever that means. Make no mistake, the canal irrigation system of the Punjab is the most significant event ever to have taken place in South Asia. Continue reading
By Abdul Manan
LAHORE: More than 50 percent poplar trees (Euramericana guinier) on the banks of canal have completed their average age (10 years) and need be replaced, because they can be hazardous to the environment and health, botanists and environmentalists told Daily Times.
They said, however, removal of the trees from the banks of canal would result in soil erosion and affect the city’s beauty.
More than 70 percent trees on the banks of canal are poplar while other species include jaman (Eugenia jambolana), shishum (Dalbergia sissoo), mango, amaltas (Cassia fistula) and Alphitonia excelsa.
They said, “The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has adopted a better policy for tree plantation keeping in view the long-term environmental effects. Trees planted by the DHA have an average age of 50 years.” Continue reading
M A Soofi visited Lahore a couple of years ago with a peace delegation from India. This piece recounts his instant judgements, sympathetic comments and insights on Lahore. This contribution to Lahore Nama is much appreciated.
Life by the Canal
The Daewoo van left Wagah – the international border separating India from Pakistan – and was now speeding towards Lahore, some twenty miles away. A canal was gushing forth on the right side of the window seat. Flowing between two parallel highways, it remained a constant companion.
Grassy patches sloped down to the banks, which were occasionally being lapped over by a sudden violence of the frothing mud-colored water of the canal. Tall trees on either side formed a comforting canopy over its length.
A variety of haiku moments flashed past the air-conditioned window: buffaloes swimming in the waters; a green-turbaned Mullah lying on the grass and reading a book; bare-chested young boys splashing water on each other, their shalwars ballooned with water; fully dressed women blushing, laughing, and taking quick cold water dips in the canal; a family contentedly feasting on a picnic lunch, with men and women sitting in separate groups; a young man and woman whispering under a tree; a lone man throwing pebbles in the water; two woman holding hands and sitting quietly; a middle-aged man resting against a tree trunk; a pair of boys washing a bicycle…
Soon these enchanting scenes vanished. The fallen leaves, languidly floating on the water, gave way to polybags and tin cans. Lahore was approaching. Continue reading
Posted in Lahore
Tagged border, cafe, Canal, Croweaters, India, Lahore, Mall, Pakistan, tourism, travel, travelogue, Wagah
Columnists, critics, students, travelers, and bloggers gather together to share their memories of Lahore’s fabled canal at the Pakistan Paindabad blog with excellent pictures taken by Usman Ahmed.
The BRB Canal
Constructed in 1861, this 82-kilometer-long, tree-lined Banba-wali Ravi-Bedian (BRB) stream slices its way through the heart of Lahore – meandering through posh colonies, smooth highways, famous colleges, scenic student hostels and cheery cricket grounds.
Here are the musings and observations of few people nice enough to share their “canal moments” with us.
1, 2 and 3!
By Irfan ‘Mazdak’ Husain
[Pakistan’s eminent columnist, Mr.Husain writes for The Dawn and Daily Times. He divides his time in Karachi and London.]
I have been lucky enough to have traveled to many countries over the years, and have driven across some spectacular landscapes that included mountains, sea-sides, valleys and lakes. But I can never forget driving along the Lahore canal, with its canopy of trees overhead, as the full moon’s reflection followed me on the surface of the water. Continue reading