I had a tough time trying to decided which of Jawad Zakariya’s photographs to feature here today. I decided on this one because of the comments that were posted on this picture at Flcikr. The picture itself is of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, with Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi on the left, both reflected in some rain water.
I think it is a terrific picture, but many of the commentators on Flickr thought that, photographically, it would have been better if he had focused only on the mosque and removed Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi from the frame. As a photograph, it may well have been (and, in fact, he does have one of those too). But as social commentary, it would have lost its meaning. The beauty of this picture is that it so eloquently highlights something that many of us–even those of us who are from Lahore–can miss all too often: the multi-religious and religiously diverse history of Lahore.
Sitting side-by-side, these two pieces of architecture–the most glorious mosque built by the mighty Mughals and the mausoleum of Lahore’s greatest Sikh ruler–encapsulate the essence of Lahore as the multi-religious, multi-cultural metropolis that it was. Here is a captivating reminder of the social milieu in which Muslims and Islam–particularly in Lahore–developed in an earlier generation.
Jawad Zakariya is one amongst many of an amazingly talented generation of Pakistani photographers displaying their work on Flickr.com. His photographs have this ‘picture-perfect’ postcard quality to them (and not just because of the border he uses). In fact, the masthead displayed on ATP this first week of July is also from one of his photographs.