Tag Archives: old

Lahore circa 1933, II

By Raza Rumi:
I am grateful to Naeem Ahsan Jamil for sending more old pictures of Lahore from his private collection.

Photo 1:

Kim's Gun, The Mall Lahore

Photo 2

An aerial view of Lahore Airport with the GOC House.

Lahore in 1933 – an aerial view

These original aerial photographs of old Lahore or the Inner City were shot in 1933. Zahra Mahmoodah has generously contributed them from a recently acquired album for Lahore Nama.

We invite the readers to identify the landmarks and buildings that are captured in the above photograph. Lahore remains the most beautiful city and in the 1930s it was surely a splendour!

Lohari gate – entrance with anti-itch remedies

Sad news: Kite-flying to stay banned

Raza Rumi

I know that Lahore Nama has been visited in the recent days by hundreds and thousands of Basant enthusiasts. This is unfortunate that an age-old fetival is being banned and denied to people only because the government cannot regulate malpractices by a few business people and the bankrupt, failed WAPDA.

Hope that this festival will come back to Lahore. We strongly protest against this policy decision. Pakistan cannot be made a afe haven for roaming terrorists and suicide bombers while the peaceful citizens are denied the opportunity to celebrate a festival that is so deeply a part of our culture.

Here is the Daily Times story on this:

* District administration warns violators of stern action
* DCO says ‘Governor’s House’ no exception to kite-flying ban
* Police crack down on kite makers

Daily Times Monitor/Staff Report

LAHORE: The district administration has decided to maintain the ban on kite-flying in the provincial capital as per the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC), warning that those violating the law would be dealt with sternly, a private TV channel reported on Friday.

According to the channel, a meeting presided over by Lahore District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajjad Bhutta, decided that those found violating the court orders would be dealt with strictly under the law.

The DCO said the LHC had declared that permission to celebrate Basant could be given if a Continue reading

Explore the walled city of Lahore and its historic gates

Lahore is the capital of Punjab, the most populated province of Pakistan, and is known as one of the ancient cities in South Asia with its rich historical and cultural heritage.
The early history of the city is cloaked in obscurity and it is pretty difficult to establish exact date of its foundation. It was a town of not much importance in the first and second century of Christian era and was ruled by Rajput princes. In the eighth and ninth century, it became the capital of a powerful Brahman family, who, in the tenth century, were invaded by Sabuktagin and his son Mahmud Ghaznivide. For the next eight centuries, Lahore was ruled by different Muslim dynasties and served as the capital of Ghaznivides, Ghorians, and Mughals from time to time. At the onset of the 19th century, the Sikhs ascended to the throne of Punjab and Lahore was made the seat of government. Shortly after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839, the British defeated the Sikhs and took over their domains. It served as the capital of the undivided province of Punjab until 1947 under the British rule and after independence, it became the capital of the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Continue reading

Visiting the unmentionable bazaar of Lahore

Hamid Rashed’s visit to Heera Mandi is an engaging account that demystifies its snazzy reputation:

I visited Texali Bazaar of Lahore on August 16, 2009. I reached the infamous locality at 10pm and remained there until 3am.

A pimpled prostitute, wearing a black bra one size too small, laying on a stained mattress, awaiting the customers in a dusty room overpowered with strong smell of incense is the situation most people assume you into when you mention the name of this bazaar.

Contrary to popular practice of the visitors of this bazaar, mine was an informative trip. My friend Tariq Yar (from PTV) had invited me to Texali. I had a vague idea that the trip will be educational but didn’t know the extant.

Yar, who is doing research on the walled-city of Lahore voluntarily, introduced me to two of his friends. Advocate Iqbal, who also runs the Ustaad Damin Academy, and Mirza Rashid.

Iqbal is from Okara and is living in Texali for the past 28 years. He is a chronic bachelor and has no apparent appetite for facilities the neighborhood can offer at any time of the day.

Mirza is the inhabitant of the walled-city for the past so many generations. He knows the webbed streets of the walled-city like the back of his hand.

Read more here

A down-to-earth explanation of the current financial downturn

Sent by friend Q. Isa Daupota

(Phajja is a famous seller of siri paya and nihari in old, walled city of Lahore.)


Phajja is the proprietor of a Siri-Paya and Nehari Shop in Lahore . Sales are low and, in order to increase them, he comes up with a plan to allow his customers to eat now and pay later. He keeps track of the meals consumed on a ledger. Continue reading

Reclaiming melody – Sachal Studios of Lahore

Labourers of love: Mushtaq Soofi, Izzat Majeed & Christoph Bracher

Mian Yusaf Salahuddin’s Haveli, where Tarang was launched

Revival of the orchestra by Sachal Studios is a landmark in Pakistan’s music industry

Izzat Majeed: patron of music

Singers and musicians showcasing their skills at Sachal Studios

Raza Rumi (writing for The Friday Times)

It was a mellow, moonlit evening of Lahore’s glorious spring when Sachal Studios released their album ‘Tarang’. It could not have been at a more fitting venue. Amid the decaying environs of Old Lahore stands the Haveli of Mian Yusaf Salahuddin, refurbished into a little planet of conservation as a courageous effort to protect and rejuvenate Lahore’s cultural soul. Mian Yusuf is the one denizen who has done this good deed for posterity, along with Syed Babar Ali who has conserved his ancestral Mubarak Begum Haveli in Bhaati Gate. Of course, the state has been abject in its failure to conserve Lahore’s majestic heritage.Sachal Studios is the brainchild of international businessman Izzat Majeed and man of letters Mushtaq Soofi, an exceptionally motivated duo. Sachal has infused the local music scene with innovation and energy. It is promoting a hybrid orchestra – once an integral part of the subcontinent’s film music tradition. Since 2003, Majeed, an activist and radical intellectual in a previous avatar, has devoted his time and money to this passion – to create Pakistani melodies in sync with the imperatives of contemporary musical sensibilities.

Started as a labour of love, Sachal Studios has released ‘Tarang,’ a collection of music that brings together the best musicians from all over Pakistan, and Humaira Channa’s competent voice. Of late, Channa has been a victim of commercial success and the quality compromises that define Pakistan’s derelict film music. Sachal’s production is a relief; a fresh departure from the usual, and the melodic results are impressive.

At the Old Lahore Haveli, Channa with her family and associates were accorded the respect they deserve. In a similar vein, immensely talented artists, such as the tabla maestro Billoo Khan and Pakistan’s leading sitar player, Ustad Nafees Ahmed Khan also attracted the attention of the star-studded guest list and Lahore’s usual chatterati. It was on a dimly lit terrace of the Haveli that I was introduced to Izzat Majeed, who looked pleased with himself and his Sachal partners as notes from the latest album mixed with the spring air.

Inspired by the Abbey Road Studios in London, Majeed and Soofi have been working for the last six years with Christoph Bracher, a scion of a German musicians’ family, to design and set up Sachal Studios. A state of the art music studio in Lahore is a landmark, for it heralds a new trend of post-production finesse Continue reading

Old Lahore, old books

Posted by Raza Rumi


I grew up in Androon Shehr (old city) of Lahore in the 1980s.

Most of my childhood and teenage years were spent in my Nana Jan’s house located at Lodge Road in Old Anarkali. It was an old but large house, left by a Hindu migrant family, located inside a narrow street of hundreds of years old neighborhood with Jain Mandir (when it existed) just two blocks away and Mall Road merely a ten minutes walk.

Nana used to tell us that Gayan Chand, the head of that Hindu family, spent three long years building this house and it was a strange twist of fate that finally when it got completed in 1947 and he was just about to move in, partition took place. Not only did he lose his newly built house but he also had to flee the city where his forefathers had lived for centuries. Just like Nana Continue reading

Personal histories: attention Lahore buffs

I have received this letter from Suniti Mohindra based in the US, who is searching for many answers. This email was so interesting that I am publishing it with Suniti’s permission. I am going to look for materials but I would request the readers to help our friend in undertaking this amazing project. History is not the domain of the rulers only. Personal histories are even more important for they give us a humanistic vision of our past and the present. Please leave any information here in the comments section RR

Dear Raza Rumi,

I was researching for the history of Lahore the great City of Punjab where my grandfather Ralla Ram Mohindra came to for his college education in 1892/3 and while finishing his college he came across an advertisement in the local paper where the East India Company was advertising for educated persons for the development of the Railway in East Africa called the Uganda Railway. My Grandfather hailed from Malsian district Jullandhar from the Soodhan Mohalla his father being in the business of leasing land to the farmers and hence from a rich family that believed in Education and the values to be gotten wherefrom. My Grandfather without telling his father Lala Moti Ram (he was the only son) applied for this post was immediately called to Calcutta where he was given a crash course in Administration and telegraphy and with a handsome advance given a ticket to sail for Mombasa, Kenya to report to the General Manager George Whitehouse[who was later knighted]as the Railhead Station Master and took the Railway from Mazeras to Kisumu on Lake Victoria the period was 1896 to 1901.

I am putting together history of my family and was wondering if you may be able to help me in constructing the aura of the Great City of Lahore the then Capital of Punjab. I have pieced together some aspects but these only relate to the fact that there were four sections of the city etc. Is there any material that would help me grasp what the Metropolis of that time was and what great thing it was for some one from a village to come to this Great City, get Educated there and them get the dare devil outlook for adventure and exploration in a spirit of fearlessness to a distant part of Africa then known as KALA PANI.. my love for Punjab aside, the great adventure of my Grandfather and what motivated a young man in his late teens to embark on such a journey is what I want to get a handle on.

Any help from you would be most helpful and please accept my gratitude which I shall duly acknowledge for the courtesy extended.

With respect and regards,

Suniti Mohindra

Lahore’s walled city – all its hues

Awareness of what life is in the walled city dawns upon you when you walk in its streets

By Sarah Sikandar

“I can’t believe this is the Lahore we live in,” I said to my friend. We were in Sheranwala Darwaza (the gate of lions) of the interior Lahore, trying to locate a Mughal mosque for our assignment. “But this is the real Pakistan,” she replied. I was walking through the dingy dark streets of interior Lahore for the first time. “Can you believe it?” I asked myself. I grew up in this city I claim I can’t live without and I have never seen its real face. I wouldn’t even claim I never imagined interior city to be like this.

You enter the Sheranwala Gate and a surrealistic vision of an ideal small town life hits you, ignore the stench. It’s almost noon and the daily business has started. The day is like any other day. Most of the shops in this area have unstitched cloth for men and women. Nothing, according to the shopkeepers, is local. It is either japani, cheeni (Chinese) or Italian, yes Italian.

The most interesting part of the trip were the noisy shopkeepers. Although I did not stop at any of the shops, I thoroughly enjoyed their tactics to attract the attention of the passer-by. I couldn’t help laughing at their hilarious claims and propositions.

1. “Qayamat aa jaye agar mein jhoot boloon.” (If I am lying let the dooms day come).

2. “Agar is se sasta pore Pakistan mein mile tau mein ap ko apni dukaan muft mein de dun ga.” (If you get it cheaper from anywhere in Pakistan I’ll gift you my shop for free). Continue reading

Lahore 1883-4

posted by Raza Rumi

Read this amazing piece, thanks to UQ.

ء1881 دی مانو گنتری موجب ضلع لہور وچ ہندواں، سکھاں تے مسلیاں دی گنتری ویکھن نال ساڈے بہوں عبقریاں دے گویڑ صحیح نہیں رہندے۔ پر اسیں کیہہ کرئیے، اساں تے اوہی لکھاں گے جیہڑا اس گیزیٹئر وچ لکھیا ہویا ہے۔ جو انج ہے،

Read the rest in Punjabi here

Rang Mahal School – old Lahore

Lahore Rang Mahal School, originally uploaded by PakPositive.

Rang Mahal School, in the Walled City of Lahore, which once used to be a missionary school.

Lahore’s Kucha Kakezian

This evocative  picture of Mohalla Kakazaian was taken by tango and the story below is from Khalid Hasan entitled Abdulla Malik’s old Lahore published in the Friday TImes Lahore.

At the age of 81, Abdulla Malik published an account of the first twenty-seven years of his life. In a brief foreword to the book, Purani Mehfilain Yaad aa Ra’hi Ain , he wrote, “I am eighty-one years old now and I can declare with pride that I have spent my entire life wedded to the same commitment, the same set of beliefs, namely the establishment one day of a socialist Pakistan. It will not come as the negation of any religion or faith, nor a revolt against God. In fact, it will be a message of love for mankind, a message that transcends all religions, faiths and creeds.”

The most fascinating part of Abdulla Malik’s autobiography, which holds little back, are his early memories of the old city of Lahore. He writes, “I was born in the last years of the second decade of the 20th century, on 20 October 1920 in Lahore’s Koocha Chabukswaran, which was located in the heart of the city. Relying on my earliest memories, I can say that all the streets around ours, and in fact our immediate neighbourhood, the area bazars, the mosques, the takiyas, the public baths, were part of Haveli Mian Khan. This Haveli was built in Emperor Shahjahan’s reign by his Prime Minister Nawab Saadullah Khan, but it was completed during the time of Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir by the Nawab’s son, Mian Khan, governor of Lahore. This grand edifice was spread over an area of several miles and it was divided into three sections: the women’s quarter, the men’s quarter which was called Rang Mahal, and the Qalai Khana, whose walls touched those of Masjid Chinyaanwali.” Continue reading