Ayeda Naqvi (courtesy Daily Times)
Lahore has been ruled by any number of any would-be emperors. Lahore has survived. The emperors have faded. Those who are remembered are remembered for their deeds, not their billboards
Driving down the streets of Lahore, a few days ago, I was struck by an unusual sight. On the wall of a canal underpass, in red, somebody had scribbled “I love you”. There was a heart around the words. So struck was I by this sight that I nearly crashed my car.
You see the past few months I have become accustomed to a very different type of graffiti — vandalism in the name of electioneering. From mammoth-sized billboards with candidates’ faces to political slogans painted on walls, Lahore was “sprayed” by the PMLQ in much the same way that animals mark their territory.
No corner of our city was spared. Everywhere we turned, we were assaulted by these large and vulgar displays. Lahore took on an eerie feel as even beggars’ wheelchairs sported logos. Everywhere you looked, Big Brother was watching you back.
Some people were so disgusted they simply refused to vote. Others were more pragmatic. As a Canal Park shop-keeper said, “We will take their cheques and eat their food but we will not vote for them.” The response was loud and clear: our loyalties are not for sale. No amount of money spent on television advertisements or street campaigns can buy our votes. Continue reading