Growing up in Old Lahore: Chasing Used Books

Posted on February 21, 2009
Filed Under >Darwaish, Architecture, Books, Culture & Heritage
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Darwaish

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 Jan had to leave everything behind when he migrated from Amritsar, a high price that millions of people paid in 1947.

Two years later in 1949, when situation improved, Gayan Chand came to Lahore to see his house only to find strangers living there. As Nana used to tell us, he stayed with him for a day and then left with eyes full of tears.

So anyways, Nana’s house at Lodge Road where I grew up was located in a typical androon shehr mohalla where everyone knew and respected everyone else. I think the gap between rich and the poor was not that wide in 80s as it is today. We were considered rich but our next door neighbor was Master Sahab (teacher) whom I always saw wearing Sherwani and Qula, going to school on his bicycle. The house in front of ours belonged to a family who owned cement factories and traveled abroad every summer. Next to that was the house of Mota Hakeem Sahab who treated entire Mohalla (neighborhood) with his multi-color syrups and also sold that yummy Khamira Gaozaban. Hakeems were still quite popular (and cheaper too) in those days and many people preferred them over doctors. Then at the corner of the street lived Pehalwan sahab who, apart from being an instructor at Pehlwani Ukharas near Badshahi Mosque, was also a master of treating fractures and dislocated joints. It was very much of a mixed community.

Most of the houses in our Mohalla were more than 100 years old with amazing wood work on windows, doors and some having Hindi scripts written on the walls. Our own house had Ishwar Bhawan written in Hindi just above the front gate. We never thought of erasing it or changing. Almost every house was painted in yellow with green colored doors and windows. I have never been able to figure out the reason for this yellow-green color scheme, still evident in many parts of Androon Shehr. I stayed with my Nana at Lodge Road house till I was sixteen. Since then I have been to many places but the peaceful joy and sheer happiness that I felt walking down the old narrow streets, with half demolished centuries old houses and looking at always smiling and satisfied faces of people, can never to be found anywhere else.

Old Anarkali, Nisbat Road, Mall Road etc used to be the hub of small bookshops selling new and old (used) books in those days. People used to read a lot more than they do today (at least I feel that way). In Old Anarkali where I lived, one could see people everywhere who would sell old books from defunct British collections, on a rug in the mud. My cousin once forced me to buy George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying for Rs. 4 which he then took with him to England.

On Sundays we (entire family) used to go to Lawrence Garden for early morning walks. The Mall Road had very little traffic in those days and Lawrence Garden was cleaner and peaceful place. After the morning walk we used to have a delicious Puri Halwa, Nan Chana and Lassi breakfast from nearby Gawalmandi which was great fun. My afternoon activity used to be walking down the Mall Road or the Bible Society in Anarkali (new) with my father, browsing through all kinds of books.

These bookshops, mainly selling used and old books at affordable prices, served the needs of thousands of book lovers like me with always a meager budget. I remember buying my first ever children’s books (Umroo Ayaar, Tarzan, Bagla Aur Loomrhi, Bolti Billi, Tilismi Dayo and other great stories) from a very small shop in Anarkali, right next to Singhar House. I don’t know about Singhar House but that bookshop, which sold old books and rejects from Ferozsons for one or two rupees, no longer sells books. Sometimes I didn’t buy a thing but just browsing through books was very much like finding a hidden treasure. Books on almost every topic, from children’s literature to grownup books, everything was available.

The book sellers of those old shabby books were also amazing people and they knew everything about the authors and their anthologies. Those book sellers even recommended books for reading and if they did not have what you wanted, they would know who had it or when/how to get it.

It was one such book seller of a small shop at Mall Road who introduced me to the best of the bests of Urdu literature. In those days, Lahore’s old bookshops also served as gathering places for intellectuals and writers. It was not an unusual thing to find your favorite writers or poets browsing through the catalogues of books in one of those shops at Mall Road or sitting on a rug in the mud, bargaining prices with footpath book sellers in Old Anarkali.

From one such footpath bookseller, I once bought an October 1949 version of Allama Iqbal’s Bang-e-Dara for Rs. 8, printed by Sheikh Mubarik Ali Publishers of Androon Lohari Darwaza. I often saw late Ashfaq Ahmad (who also visited Punjab Library frequently), Qasmi Sahab and even Mustansar Hussain Tarar buying books there.

There were some excellent bookshops on the Mall Road during those days but only a few remain today. I remember there used to be one small bookshop near Regal Cinema gate inside the small lane (I forgot its name), where there are two flower vendors now. Also there was the Imperial Book Depot (still exists but doesn’t have any real books and gives a deserted look) and across from Regal used to be the Classic Book House. Then across from Cathedral and High court was Russian Book House (one of my favorite but they closed the puppy down very quick).

Another one of my favorites was a small bookshop at the Regal Chowk, just on the left of Shireen Mehal (no longer exists). I think its name was Mirza Book Agency. They had Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, The Hardy Boys and also the entire collection of Ishtiaq Ahmad’s Inspector Jamshed and Ibn-e-Safi’s Imran series (hugely popular fiction characters of 80s). They even had pocket sized editions of English literature classics and I still remember my father got me Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities from there.

Yes, Ferozsons was there too but they were never in my good book at least. The only good part about Ferozsons was that your parents had also gone there as children and so it was like entering a wonderland. But other than that, I always found it cold and forbidding. It seemed to be a bookstore for the rich and I never had much money to spend when I was a kid. Besides, Ferozsons only sold new books and I loved old books because they always gave me a sense of carrying previous reader’s energy within their pages. Sometimes those books were inscribed with a name and date or a message of well wishes was written on them. I guess old books smelled different too. So anyways, there was another large bookshop, Maqbool Academy in Dayal Singh Mansion, owned by a medical doctor. It was the only shop at Mall Road which offered 50% discount for members of National Book Foundation’s scheme for promoting reading in Pakistan. Maqbool Academy now mainly keeps medical and engineering text books imported from USA and Europe.

Renting books was also common and a number of small home libraries existed in our neighborhood. I warmly remember a small Bakery shop who sold some of the yummiest cream rolls and Namak Paras (we kids called it Poppats, I don’t know if there is an English word for it) inside Krishna Gali in nearby Gawalmandi. The owner of the Bakery, who always wore Sherwani and Jinnah cap, was my Nana Jan’s friend and we called him Bakery Wala Uncle. He had this huge collection of books including children’s literature and often gave us books for reading. I don’t know why everyone called it a Bakery because it had only few bakery items and the books were in thousands occupying two large rooms. He used to lend us books for free but with a promise that we will not tear apart anything, not write anything and return them within 2 weeks. For rest of the neighborhood kids, the books were available for 10 Paisa a day. It was a time when even 5 Paisa coins existed and you could actually buy a candy for that. Once my cousin wrote his name on one of his book’s front page (as kids often do) and after that, there was no lending of books for any of us.

Although Lahore lost it’s multi-faith and multi-ethnic identity soon after the partition but its unique architectural identity (Muslim, Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhist etc) remained intact till late 80s. Much has changed in 90s and particularly during last decade or so. Now each time I visit any part of old city, I see more and more hundreds of years old historical houses either been demolished or additions made to them without any architectural sense or planning, turning them into ugly structures. For whatever reasons, people have stopped reading books over the years too and angry violent behaviors and attitudes have taken over its place. Most of the bookstores I mentioned above have either been closed or changed their line of business to survive and the ones that remain seem deserted with expansive and out of date stocks. The store owners of yesterdays used to know about the authors and their anthologies; now it’s like a bunch of Afghans selling books like tandoori rotis. As a friend once explained to me, it is not just that there are fewer people who care about reading books; it is also that the general deterioration of intellectual life in the last few decades is now evident in the number of quality books written, translated, read or debated. The creeping religious intolerance and fundamentalism has played a significant role but deterioration of esteemed educational institutions is also a major cause. Of course, the economic turmoil, the always increasing prices of books and always shrinking budgets of ordinary people have played their part too. Having said all that, reading habits shouldn’t have to be taught or installed in a society. It is essential for a society’s intellectual survival and growth. I don’t know if I am quoting right or not but I think it was in To Kill A Mockingbird that someone said in some connection with reading, ‘One doesn’t learn how to breathe’.

A version of this article appeared in The Friday Times. Photo Credits (Top-Bottom and L-R): Sepoy, John Milton, Naeem Rashid, Qualitee, PakPositive

100 Comments on “Growing up in Old Lahore: Chasing Used Books”

  1. Owais Mughal says:
    February 21st, 2009 4:52 pm

    What a wonderful and refreshing read. Darwaish, i think this is your best write-up :) I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I also liked the way you’ve observed many details and have reproduced them here.

    About the yellow-green coloring scheme of androon-e-Lahore, who knows may be this is where Pakistan Railway also got their earlier livery.

  2. Owais Mughal says:
    February 21st, 2009 4:56 pm

    I’ve read your last 30 or so lines again and again. You;ve given a great conclusion and very good observation on the demise of reading culture and creeping of intolerance, anger and materialism in the society. In a sense this is true for Pakistan as a whole too. What you saw in and around old Lahore was proably a symptom of wider change taking place all over the country. Once again my thanks on writing this beautiful set of memories.

  3. adeel says:
    February 21st, 2009 5:26 pm

    I can relate to the joy of browsing books in an old bookshop or a roadside seller. I have a number of such books in my collection.

    The popularity of book reading does seem to have shrunk over the past decade or so and sadly there isn’t much being done to reverse this trend. Watching television seems to have taken over.

    I read this research outcome somewhere that people who watch television (7 hours a day – I think) are at a greater risk of suffering from memory loss at an older age compared to those who, for example, read or knit or engage in more mentally stimulating tasks.

  4. Sarah Ahmad says:
    February 21st, 2009 5:39 pm

    Very well written indeed and surely, one of the best articles I have read on ATP so far. I completely agree with what you have written about Lahore losing its architectural identity. Something needs to be done to preserve the old city or there will be no walled city in ten or twenty years time.

    Thank you for sharing this one.

  5. Watan Aziz says:
    February 21st, 2009 9:11 pm

    Ah, a walk thru the memory lane.

    Wasn

  6. Saeeda says:
    February 21st, 2009 10:35 pm

    The art and the love of reading books has gone down the drain with the media. The attention span has become too short. A good sentence is all people can consume, not even a good paragraph.

    I can relate to the joy of browsing books, which can be as intense as that of reading them.

  7. February 22nd, 2009 12:00 am

    I really enjoyed reading this piece.
    Towards the end you discuss the demise of the reading culture in Pakistan, without discussing the reasons for this. I feel that unless we understand this shift in preferences there is no way we can do anything to improve it. Living in the West I have come across numerous initiatives geared towards the revival of reading – the results are often impressive. In this day and age with easier alternatives children never really try out reading for leisure and are thus deprived of the immense benefits that accrue from reading. One of my religious teachers once commenting on the situation in Muslim countries said that in these countries there should be a concerted effort to promote education in the humanities.
    I think his suggestion is very relevant in our case.
    For anyone interested I will recommend reading the works/about the initiatives taken by people like Neil Postman, John Taylor Gatto, Rafe Esquith and Dave Eggers.

  8. February 22nd, 2009 3:16 am

    It surely geneates Deja Vu.

    Very refreshing indeed in sort of antediluvian way.

  9. Sadaf Fatima says:
    February 22nd, 2009 5:21 am

    The blogpost is lovely! Reminds me of the amazing used books i bought from anarkali a few years back! The description of city is great too!

  10. Amna Kausar says:
    February 22nd, 2009 5:37 am

    I really enjoyed reading this piece of literature. I share with you, like millions of other people, the love for books. But yes, its true, that the percentage of book lovers is decreasing. And it’s very sad.

  11. D_a_n says:
    February 22nd, 2009 7:56 am

    such an excellent post…..
    and really captures the feel of the sheer joy and warmth Ive always felt in an old and used book shop where you never know what treasures you find….

    I didnt spend much time in that house…but I have very happy memories of my dada’s house in Bhaati uptill 8 years old…
    plus the throwback to a happier time with people made of better stuff than we are is always welcome

    especially the part about feeling the energy of past readers while you go through the pages and reading the comments of messages they left….there’s nothing quite like it..

    Ive always felt that the best gift my parents gave me..was a love of reading and they gave it to me early……

    a total break with any type of intellectual activity is almost complete in Pakistan…at least for most of the population….there are numerous reasons for that most of which darwaish has outlined…but mostly I see that reading for reading’s sake is no longer important….even for those that have the excuse of being literate and able to afford books

    best article from Darwaish yet…

  12. Abbas Shah says:
    February 22nd, 2009 8:32 am

    Beautiful description of anarkali and the mall. Your writing style is very simple (no difficult words and no philosophical crap) and yet its hundred times better and refreshing than most of the so called big-name authors.

    Please write about other parts of Lahore too.

  13. Zahid Cheema says:
    February 22nd, 2009 9:13 am

    Brings back great memories. Have spent so much of my youth browsing books. So much more fun than browsing internet. I think the internet has also contributed to killing the book culture.

  14. SAIMA says:
    February 22nd, 2009 9:14 am

    Nice post.

    You should write more about the life in the inner city and also I wish ATP will do more posts on architecture of Pakistan.

  15. adeel says:
    February 22nd, 2009 9:19 am

    @Watan Aziz
    Lovely post! Your response has complemented Darwaish’s write up in the most amazing way. Thank you!

    I used to live in the ‘modern’ part of Lahore and coming to The Mall and Anarkali, which although didn’t happen too often, was nevertheless always a treat. It used to fill me up with joy and bring an ear-to-ear smile to my face. There was something magical about all the stacks of books in the stores and on the roadside stalls. The pace of activity going on in the streets… the flow of energy was reinvigorating.

    In the past decade or so, several ‘old bookshops’ opened in the newer side of the city and provided the populace living in that area with easier access to these treasure troves of old books. It was one of best things to happen there in my opinion. It is true that these were in a totally different league to Anarkali, The Mall and Urdu Bazar in so many ways but still they gave off an alternate perspective that many people would probably have missed altogether.

    I would like to mention two of the bookstores selling old/used books in the basement of Al-Falah building on Main Boulevard, Gulberg (opposite Hafeez center). They had a cool collection of old English novels and stacks of back numbers of National Geographic magazines. Another few such shops ran in Main market, Gulberg… and Barkat market, Garden Town. I’m not sure how many of these are still in business.

  16. Hina says:
    February 22nd, 2009 11:07 am

    Excellnt Post!

    How I wish I can read a similiar article about the city I grew up in, Peshawar or that I was gifted enough to pen a simlar ode to The High Fort city.

  17. February 22nd, 2009 12:37 pm

    There are two (three?) bookstores in the basement of the building opposite Pace, on Main Blvd. I’ve only run across one used bookstore in Main Market; where are the others?

    Readings (next to Telenor, on Main Blvd) has a lot of used books, and cheap new ones. Unfortunately, they have something like twenty shelves for romance, and only three or four for general fiction.

    I’ve found (“raided”) a couple of small used bookstores on Model Town Link Road, in the shopping plaza that has the Sound Creations shop.

  18. Adnan Ahmad says:
    February 22nd, 2009 2:41 pm

    I agree with Owais, this is Darwaish’ best post yet. Lahore’s landscape is changing for the worse and people ought to do something about it. Book stores have been overshadowed by so called food streets, and chicken tikka has overtaken an old gem of a book found in the book stores you describe.

  19. ali says:
    February 22nd, 2009 3:17 pm

    Hope that Gayan Chand got duly paid and so did Nana Jan for his property in Amritser.

  20. bdtmz says:
    February 22nd, 2009 3:27 pm

    I stayed at a frnd’s house inside bottle market behind lohari masjid, the house was 105 or 108 years old at that time n was still standing, frnd explained that they kept maintenance but still the house had lived long enoug n cud fall any time. I actually have seen houses colliding its like rain of bricks, thanks god they didnt use lenters at those times .
    ugly structures r rising due to so many ppls still living in such a tight place.
    I totally agree old books have somethin u cant find in new ones.

  21. February 22nd, 2009 4:10 pm

    Mohtaram Darwaish Sb

    Ek behtariin mazmuuN qalamband karne ke liye mubaarakbaa qubuul farmaayeN.

    Was Gyan Chand, a Hindu or Jain? I just have a curiosity as Gyan Chand is also a common name among Jains and you mentioned Jain temple near your house.

    Though people feel Jains are close to Hinduism, it is an altogether different religion in which there is no God. Though there are all sorts of minorities including large Hindu populations in Sindh in Pakistan, I have near heard about any Jain.

    Has Jainism survived? Have you guys ever heard of Jains in Pakistan. Some (Digambars=sky-clad, the monks of this ect remain naked) of them now write their surname as ‘Jain’ to make them prominent as they are too less in number. Others (mostly Shwetambar sect) don’t use it.

  22. readinglord says:
    February 22nd, 2009 6:22 pm

    A good remembrance of the days I lived in Lahore in Broom’s Hostel of the KE Medical College on McLeod Road as a student. This was the time when the old beautiful Lahore was dying and so was the society it nurtured. I remember there was a hotel, called Standard Hotel, by the side of Regal cinema, which later on in 80′s or so was converted into a book shop. In this hotel dances were still being held. We used to visit it and enjoyed the dance by Anjella (?) over a cup of tea for one rupee per head. On seeing the dancer shaking her bulky breasts too much I asked a friend of mine what kind of dance it is. He replied that it was a milk-shake dance. What amazing days were those!

    Btw, I don’t think the locations descibed in the article can be called ‘Undaroon Shehr’ which is perhaps the name given only to Walled City, the city situated inside the walls.

  23. February 22nd, 2009 9:38 pm

    I wrote a few posts on my blog about growing up in Lahore in the 1980s. Some of you may enjoy them.

    Here is the link to a recent one:

    http://dilsenomad.wordpress.com/2009/02/06/blackouts-in-lahore/

    You can browse around to locate the others.

  24. Ajnabi says:
    February 23rd, 2009 2:13 pm

    First of all, let me thank Darwaish for writing about living in and around the Old city from about 1980’s onwards. The last time I visited Lahore was in 1984; I never had an opportunity to go back. This was not due to lack of any desire ( I still cherish some of the loveliest memories of living in Lahore … the Old City, Outside Old City, and the modern parts of the city about 6 miles away from the good old Bhatti Gate). The reasons were simply having too many other responsibilities in life. The hope is still alive, that one day, I may be able to re-visit and look at the city for myself. I lived in Lahore from 1947 to 1967, and thereafter visited Lahore frequently in the 70’s and then once in 1984. So, thanks again Darwaish for filling the gap, and re-kindling the memories. Allow me to take you back a few more years of what the lovely city of Lahore used to look like some time earlier.

    We used to live just outside Bhatti Gate, but we had an ancestoral home right in the heart of Old Bhatti Gate where my aunt and her family used to live; hence there were frequent occasions to walk through the “once majestic” Gate itself.

    For several years, I studied at the Government Central Model School (http://www.oldmodelians.com/pic_gallery.php). We used to arrive at the school a little before the classes would start. Usually, the routine was to rush towards the playgrounds (when in Senior School); there would be one Soccer Ball or Football (as we used to call it) and about 50 students divided into 2 teams running after and beating the ball to score a goal.

    Thinking of walking out of the school and towards the Old City brings back some wonderful memories of the good old days. About 100 feet away, the road bifurcated in two, one leading towards Data Darbar and the other towards the Old City.

    Less than 100 yards away, you would see on your left two medical dispensaries. The second one belonged to the father of Pakistan’s famous cricketer Saleem Altaf (I remember him walking in that area often, with his characteristic gait). A few yards away, on the left hand side, were a number of shops selling “Asli Khewo or Ghee”, mithai (that’s where my meagre pocket-money went), and dahi ke koondey(yogurt). Usually, you would see a well known pahlawan sitting there (I think his job was basically to eat and to settle any disputes … I never saw anyone arguing with him for long for their own good perhaps!!).

    Right across the street to the right, at the corner of another bifurcated road, was a fish shop that used to sell the famous fish from the river RAVI (Rooh Machli, I think), a few years later this shop moved about 3 miles away closer to chowburji).

    As you walked further towards the old city, you would notice on the right hand side vendors selling Kites and the special Kite String (dore); you could actually see them working the coating on the string called Manjha (sometimes the ingredients would include crushed glass). This place used to bustle especially closer to the Basant festival (I guess that would be right about now). The glassy Manjha was intended to give the competitors a decisive edge to achieve “Bo Kata”, essentially a chant announcing the winner has cut-off the opponent’s kite. Incidentally, if you want to feel more nostalgic you may want to read a book called “the Kite Runner”.

    As soon as you pass the Bhatti Gate ( http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3019/2579753387_34f4bfc789.jpg ) you see interesting shops/eateries on both sides. When I was very young, it was my job in the morning, to go and fetch Taftanas (special naan), bhatooras with mutton, halwa poori; etc. Then there was our favourite kasai (butcher), and right next to him the kabab walla selling seekh kababs. The moment the kabab walla saw me he would order his deputies to prepare special qeema with less mirach (we just could not take the heat!!).

    Little further down on the left hand side lived a class mate Asad Ali Shah ( a brilliant boy, who later on became an engineer); I believe he is head of the planning council in Pakistan now.

    Then of course there was our ancestral home, and right below it, what was believed to be a Saint’s abode; I think they used to call him Dabba Pir (forgive me if I have forgotten or made a mistake in the name). Often, people would pay their respects and leave some flowers, etc at the spot.

    I could go on and on, but let me cover a bit on the other side and then leave rest for another time.

    Walk to the opposite side of the Central Model School, you go across the road and round the bend, and there it was the little shop where we all used to buy our school stationary (right across from the Muslim Model School). Walk another twenty minutes or so and you reach the other end of Anarkali. Walk through Anarkali, with all kind of shops and you would reach what I think was called the URDU bazaar. This is where you would find all the books that you may want to buy or rent; I will not go into more detail here since Darwaish has covered this area already.

  25. D_a_n says:
    February 23rd, 2009 4:16 am

    @ watan aziz

    great followup on Darwaish’s article…. :) .. nothing quite as warm as Lahore nostaligia ..

  26. Madiha Ejaz says:
    February 23rd, 2009 5:51 am

    I really enjoyed the beautiful description of old city you have presented in this article. pls write more.

    Sincerely
    Madiha

  27. February 23rd, 2009 5:53 am

    Beautiful picture showing the culture of Lahore.

  28. -Farid says:
    February 23rd, 2009 8:52 am

    Bravo ! Wonderful piece.

    Though I grew up in Islamabad (also in the 80′s) and so didn’t have the historical surroundings of Lahore, going to the Old Book Shop (there were a few in Islamabad back then) was a big part of my life.

    Later, while studying at UET Lahore, trips to Anarkali’s footpath bookshops were also a ritual.

    Happily the Old Book Shops are still around in Islamabad, and in fact have increased in numbers. So I have to say that at least in Islamabad the reading habit seems to be still there. In fact, visit Saeed Book Bank at Jinnah Super any day of the week and you will always find customers buying books. Admittedly this shop sells new and therefore expensive books, but still the fact that it is thriving gives me hope that people do like to read and are ready to spend money on books.

    Thanks for a wonderful post.

  29. PMA says:
    February 23rd, 2009 9:08 am

    I agree with ‘readinglord’. The places described in the article are from the British period developed after 1849 and are not ‘centuries’ old. Term ‘undroon shaher’ is used to describe ‘Walled City of Lahore’ which indeed is centuries old. Annexation of Punjab in 1849 benefited mostly Hindu community at the cost of Muslims and Sikhs; the two preceding ruling communities of Punjab. As a result most of the commercial buildings and larger private residences in British Lahore that Darwaish has described here belonged to the Hindus and Sikhs. The 1947 Partition of Punjab brought millions of Muslim immigrants from East Punjab and other parts of North India into Lahore. Similarly in the post-independent period millions more from countryside have migrated into ‘Greater Lahore’. These ‘two migrations’ have completely changed the old economic and cultural landscape of the city. No wonder that British era Lodge Road, Anarkali, Mall and Jain Mandar appear ‘hundreds of years old’ to Darwaish.

  30. Atif says:
    February 23rd, 2009 10:08 am

    I used to live on Lodge Road, near Jain Mandir.. hahaha.. I must have missed you while you were eating Naan chana & Halwa Puri…It feels like a fraction of second, Beautiful times. I dont even remember all the names, but every morning, there used to be “pani ka Chirkaoo”,, then my grandmother used to buy “Gosht” for cheel & kawa (Eagle & crow) and throw it on the shade.. The brick laiden streets smelled so pure and clean. I used to play “kainche”, oh and my mother never liked it.. mitti mein lat pat haath yet.. yet those times were so pure and clean.. so sweet & mellow.. like a breath of fresh air after a long dark tiring journey. Anyway.. I know we have talked about those street side book stalls many times,, yeah that used to be really fun activity before internet. Buy cheap novels, books, I found some really old biology books in Matric,, some independent researches and man those were fun to read…and such a friendly book sellers.. They knew many authors and writers, they knew what they were selling and that was the most amazing part.

    Thanks for posting this..

  31. Seemi Pasha says:
    February 23rd, 2009 5:23 pm

    What a brilliant piece of writing by Darwaish followed by a such a refreshing comment by Ajnabi. Great read after a long time. Thank you and please write more about my Lahore!

  32. NamitaB says:
    February 24th, 2009 2:34 am

    Darwaish, what a beautiful, moving piece. In India, we’re having our fill with nostalgia with the release of Delhi 6 which captures ‘old’ Delhi. I do hope you get to see it in Lahore — is that where you still live?

  33. Darwaish says:
    February 24th, 2009 7:53 am

    Thank you all for such wonderful comments, specially Ajnabi Sahab who took us even further back in time.

    @NamitaB: Yes, I am still home and I do hope to watch Delhi 6. Have heard so much about it.

  34. A K Malhotra says:
    February 24th, 2009 8:41 am

    Greetings. I was born in Lahore in 1942. My parents migrated from Lahore in 1947 and they used to tell us about their house in Nisbat road and the Muslim friends they had. Out of my father’s six close friends, three were Muslims, two Sikhs and one Hindu. He never dreamt of leaving his home but then it all changed because of partition.

    It was heart breaking for my father to leave his home, Lahore, and friends and he often remembered the bazaars and narrow streets, which you mention in your article, till his death last year.

    Thank you so much for writing about my home town. I hope to visit Lahore someday.

    Best Wishes
    AK Malhotra

  35. Zahid R says:
    February 24th, 2009 1:28 pm

    A truly wonderful article. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

  36. Amjad Ali Cheema says:
    February 25th, 2009 2:54 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Brought back so many memories so thank you davaish.

    I recently discovered ATP and I must say it has been an absolutely refreshing experience for me. I wanted to congratulate ATP Team for providing this excellent platform for people who have any links with Pakistan. Its wonderful to see a group of people trying to present the true colors of Pakistan.

  37. Amna says:
    February 25th, 2009 7:31 am

    Any conservation efforts being made to protect Lahore’s ancient heritage? Last time I checked Aga Khan Foundation had a project going on protect Lahore Fort. Can someone please update on this?

    Thanks

  38. Basit Ali says:
    February 25th, 2009 3:57 pm

    Amna, conservation is extremely difficult task because of economic issues. People who could have moved out of old lahore to posh areas and the only ones left are extremely poor. How can they even think of conservation when they struggle for basic needs? I am afraid, we will be losing old Lahore in next few decades.

    Aga Khan, as far as I know are not doing anything for old Lahore mentioned in this article. Its a lost battle.

  39. February 26th, 2009 4:39 pm

    I just want to appreciate what you have written. I lived in Anarkali too for four years and used to be a frequent visitor of places you mention. I felt like you are telling me my story.

    Thank you for great memories.

  40. Jehan Aziz says:
    February 27th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Wonderful article! It brought on such a wave of nostalgia for Lahore – the way I remember it!

  41. bhupinder says:
    February 27th, 2009 4:38 pm

    Thanks for a very beautiful piece of writing.

    I have only heard of the places that you mention, never having been to Lahore myself. In some ways, we on this side of the border inhabit an anti- universe, in which I too spent a few years in my grandfather’s house in Jalandhar, in a house left behind by a Muslim family, and scoured the miserly bookstores around the Mai Heeran Gate area. There were no remnants of anything linked to that family or to Muslims in general or even to Lahore where my grandfather used to live before 1947 (in Krishna Nagar, though he used to refer to it as Krishna Mohalla so not sure if its the same place or two different ones). Till the end in 1984 my grandfather used to read only Urdu newspapers and maintained all his notes in Urdu. The karyana store in front of our house was known as ‘Lahori di dukaan’ and that was pretty much all that remained, at my generation, of our link with Lahore.

  42. Abid Mahmud says:
    March 2nd, 2009 11:02 am

    Fascinating piece of writing…. Thank you!!!!

  43. Darwaish says:
    March 2nd, 2009 3:10 pm

    Bhupinder Sahab: Thank you so much for a lovely comment :-). I think your grandfather probably lived in ‘Krishan Nagar’. The Krishna Gali I have mentioned here is located in Gawalmandi.

    I hope to find sometime soon to write a bit more about these places (including Krishan Nagar).

  44. Harbir says:
    March 5th, 2009 5:13 am

    It is as if re-living what my father tells me about Lahore. He was born there and studied there till the 7th Class. He never forgets how life was and how big their house was in Lahore. Also, he told me about his teachers and his love for learning persian then. Unfortunately those memories get faded with every such conversation leading to partition and the struggles thereafter.

    I would make it a point to take a print of this article and give it to him. Probably he would be able to relive some of those excellent times he would have had groing up in Lahore.

    Excellent article and it was as if I was actually present there. Realistic and lively. Kudos.

  45. Asad Toor says:
    March 5th, 2009 6:09 am

    I really enjoyed your article. I have often roamed all these areas that you mention, in the 80s. I would save up my money and would go on a bicycle from Samanabad to get books. I loved collected Archie comics and Mad Magazine, and whenever the vendor saw me he would take out the stuff he had saved up for me.
    On Sunday, it was really amazing, roaming on Mall Rd with books everywhere.
    Now been a long time since I have visited that area, although still live in Lahore. But no time anymore, as have 3 kids of my own.
    Thanks for the memories.

  46. Zainab Majeed says:
    March 5th, 2009 2:38 pm

    Darwaish, these are beautiful memories. You know you can write really well when you want to. Please continue writing like this.

  47. Mera apna Lahore says:
    March 5th, 2009 5:07 pm

    An eloquent post, indeed!

    Reminds me of my trips to Anarkali back in the 70′s. The book stores were amazing. I knew the inner galis of Anarkali like my haath kee lakeerain. Rs. 100 would enough to buy a lot of good stuff, to relish some chaat in Bano bazaar and still have decent change to spare. Though that was a carefree time, looking back I would pass on the chaat due to the hygiene issues.

    Thank God for the priceless experiences of growing up in and around Lahore. May Allah grant peace and contentment to the new generations like He blessed those of us who grew up in relatively quite times. May we learn to be tolerant and compassionate towards all humanity. May there always be good books and avid readers in Lahore. Now that would a the real tribute to my beloved Lahore!

  48. Raheel says:
    March 6th, 2009 5:15 pm

    Wonderful article about what Lahore used to be. But alas… it will be very difficult to hold any entertainment activity in future. Even holding events like World Performing Arts Festival will be a great challenge this year. I don’t think many would take a chance and come to Lahore.

    My beloved Lahore has never been such sorry state as it is today!!

  49. March 7th, 2009 2:00 am

    very beautifully written a lucid and remnicient article that would be treasured by our grandparents and elders who fled lahore during the partition

    Darvaish ji ….do visit my blog too and contribute to it

  50. Saadia Hussain says:
    March 9th, 2009 5:02 am

    Who cares about books and reading when we are busy in long and quick marches. haha.

    Very nicely written btw and I hope you write more about old Lahore we all love.

  51. Zahra Hussain says:
    March 15th, 2009 2:32 pm

    Hi Darwaish!
    Your story is amazing, I am hosting a discussion forum in lahore on 21st of March. The core idea of discussion is around the life of Walled city , Lahore. If you do not mind, shall I read out your story aloud to the people attending the forum as it is very interesting, will also mention more details of you. Kindly reply soon.

  52. Darwaish says:
    March 17th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Zahra, you are more than welcome :). thanks

  53. Tim Baig says:
    March 21st, 2009 9:43 am

    Darwaish, this is beautiful. Very inspiring.

    Keep writing

  54. Arslan says:
    March 22nd, 2009 1:32 pm

    aslam-o-alekum,
    your story is very nice, interesting and inspiring.
    sir i have converted “kashaf-ul-majub” by Syed Ali Hajveri in pdf form an i wnt to publish it on internet so that any one can read it online or can down load it but i have no idea about how i can do it.plz give me your e-mail address so that i can mail you and later on you can post it on your blog.it will be a great contribution.
    please inform me on my email address
    lion003_123@hotmail.com

    regards,
    muhammad arslan asghar

  55. Ailia Azizuddin says:
    March 25th, 2009 3:19 pm

    Darwaish, This is truly a fascinating read. Simple and beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  56. Syed says:
    March 28th, 2009 2:03 am

    Great post. I saw a re-publish of your article on the following page dated February 27, 2009:

    http://lahorenama.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/old-lahore-old-books/

    Perhaps Darwaish and Raza Rumi are the same person?

  57. Shandana Ehteshamuddin says:
    March 28th, 2009 3:56 pm

    I guess not. Raza Rumi is the blogger who maintains PakTeaHouse, Lahorenama and Jahane Rumi blogs. I have seen his posts on ATP too. We know nothing about darwaish as this blog only says that Darwaish is one of the contributing editor. Full stop.

    I have been a silent reader for long time here and its quite unfair that Prof. Adil Najam is the only one we know something about. I think readers deserve to know more about all the writers of this wonderful blog. I hope ATP admin is reading this.

  58. Razi says:
    April 1st, 2009 11:25 am

    Beautiful description of old city. Good work!

  59. Khadija Akhtar says:
    April 6th, 2009 9:54 am

    Nice reverie. I used to live at Mozang Road and remember well the places you mention in your essay.

    I have not been to my beloved Lahore for so long (15 years to be precise). I never thought I would live to see the time Lahore is associated with bomb blasts and terrorism. This wasn’t suppose to happen.

  60. Shahid says:
    May 8th, 2009 2:43 am

    I realy enjoy the article, i have moved in Lahore in 1990 at Town Ship, but i studied in punjab university old campus for 6 years and also visited the places (described in this article), it is real fun to talk about great lahore walled city, mall raod and adjacent places and espacially people living there.

    Thanks for an inetersting article, and share the memories with us.

    Salam to all.

  61. mohammad nizam says:
    July 6th, 2009 3:53 am

    Assalamu……..,

    I am looking for a book .It’s part one is about 178 pages and contains a lot of doas.It’s title is kitabat e twaweezat written by mohammad fazal sidqui ali chawri around 1947 and publish by yangir book agency book agency in lahore.

    The first chapter of the book starts with pahla baab ,pheli fazal, naksh aur aamaliyayyaat ka falsa aur…it also make mention of a second part of that book on page 99 and also on various other pages of the book.
    if you have any clue of where I can have a copy of both books or buy them from, so please send me the required information. Or if you have any idea who took over the press of Yanghieer Quereshi book agency or yanghir qureshi book agency in lahore please do let me know. yanghir is written by [ye,noun,jim and ray]
    Jazakumullah khair,
    May allah reward you for your efforts.
    br nizam

  62. Sidrah says:
    September 5th, 2009 8:09 am

    Such a beautifully written piece. Its really sad that book reading culture is slowly diminishing in Pakistan. Libraries are full of books but very few people interested in reading.

  63. Tushar Doshi says:
    September 29th, 2009 4:24 pm

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. Think about Gyan Chand who must have day dreamt of living that house, he must have planned about it’s inauguration, invitees on that ocation, the living room, kitchen , bedroom & what not ? And one day suddenly he had to leave it and then come back to see it occpied by someone else. The words “eyes full of tears” shaked me. What about your nana jan ? How did he leave Amritsar? You haven’t given any account of it, but I am sure it must not have been more different from Gyan Chand. These are wound on the citizens of both the countries. They may have healed but the scars will stay there for ever. Let’s share our pains.

  64. Bhumesh says:
    October 10th, 2009 5:38 am

    the story of millions who suffered as a result of partition on both sides. i wish you had given a more detailed account of events of 1947. Perhaps some other time?

    My late grandfather lived near a place called vansa wala bazaar before 1947 when everything changed. assuming the bazaar still exists, can somebody explain what is it like.

    Very nicely written!

  65. October 29th, 2009 2:34 am

    Dear Darwaish,
    People of other side of the border always wants to know more about each other.
    The most famous book on Jainism,Tatvarth Sutra was written at Taxila[formerly Taksh-shila].
    Lahore,Multan and many parts were having Jain temples and old book,text and other remains must be there and such ,may be found in book vendors of old and ancient books.
    Please write a detailed article about them.

  66. Nida says:
    November 3rd, 2009 3:30 pm

    Such a refreshing read and equally interesting comments! Thanks for writing this darwaish

  67. Khalil says:
    November 15th, 2009 2:11 pm

    bai wah wah buhat khoob likha hai!! lahore ki yaadein taaza ho gai. shukria darwaish sahib!

  68. Sikandar says:
    January 6th, 2010 3:25 pm

    Very nicely written! Good work!

  69. CIDPUSAorg says:
    January 24th, 2010 10:17 pm

    Lahore remains a colorful city , beauty all around
    Lots of stuff to see and learn
    The Lahore Zoo, Shalimar Gardens, he Lahore Fort
    Jehangirs Tomb, Badshai mosque

    One of the best places for me as a boy was visiting the recycling places for autoparts

  70. Adnan says:
    February 19th, 2010 6:45 pm

    Spectacularly written! Refreshing………

    I am on a deadline which will be over in 5 hours, but this just pulled me into reading the whole article, and it is not even totally related to the research i am doing.

  71. Sana says:
    February 24th, 2010 7:04 am

    What a beautiful set of memories. I feel like I am back in Lahore I once knew well as a child.

    I hope you write more about Lahore and its lost heritage. Thanks again for a lovely article.

  72. Yadvinder Bahl says:
    February 24th, 2010 12:32 pm

    Hi , really nice article and thanks for giving us the brief overview of living style and standards of our Grandfather and Father family . A Bahl Hindu family who also belongs to Krishna nagar lahore , As per my dad ( who is also no more now ) my grandfather name Sh Hukam Chand bahl was a Aarthiye ( an punjabi word or you can call it as grain traders, later they were doing cloth merchant ) . .

    As per my father they had three story house in St. no. 4 , krishna nagar , Lahore . They also use to tell us that There was one famous Pakora Shop nearby .

    If you know something please do let us know , Really after going through ur article , I wish to know whether our home and our any relative still exists .

  73. Jamshed says:
    February 24th, 2010 1:41 pm

    Collecting old books is my hobby too.You never know what gems you may find in those dusty piles of old books.Visiting the Sunday Bazar has almost become a regular weekend ritual for me.I now have hundreds of quality books on a wide range of subjects in my own library as a result.

  74. ayesha sajid says:
    February 24th, 2010 2:39 pm

    logged on to pakistaniat after a long time and as usual something interesting awaited me. brilliantly written article , i was hooked till the end. writer has captured the essence of old lahore.

  75. Farid Qureshi says:
    February 25th, 2010 3:35 am

    Pakistaniat.com was recommended by a friend to me and I must admit, this is the BEST forum on and pakistani issues. Great article darvesh. Thank God there are people writing about things other than politics, shareefs and zordaris.

    Yadvinder Bahl: Your grandfather probaby lived in what we call Krishan Nagar. Krishna Gali (street) is different. I think its somewhere near food street. I haven’t been there in years so I am just guessing here. Nice to see lots of Indian friends remembering their lost connection with Lahore and its people :))

  76. Dr. Sajjad Akhtar says:
    February 26th, 2010 1:28 pm

    Darwaish Sahab: Great description of life in and around old city. Did you know that PPP secretary general Jahangir Badar’s father used to sell pakoraas in Gwalmandi area and it was probably the same krishna streen mentioned in this article and also by our friend from India. My father also lived in the same street and he confirmed me that. May be it was Jahangir Badar’s father who Mr. Bahl has mentioned in his comment? We live in a small world!

  77. Yadvinder Bahl says:
    February 28th, 2010 9:14 am

    Dear Qureshi ji & Dr Saheb
    Great to see so quick response from our Grandparents home town friends . I feel humble to listen from you . Well Qureshi sahab , u r right it was Krishna nagar only where our grandparents were living . Moreover i don’t feel any differnce between india and pakistan . As we both belongs to one God only , we are only separeted due to politics .

    But still We are known as Bahl’s from Lahore . Whenever we have to tell someone about our roots or grandparents we still say proudly that we were from Lahore , krishna nagar .

    Dr. Sajjad ji , Thanks for the important input from ur respected parents . if they know somewhat more about bahl’s from krishna nagar , do help me to tell .

    Well I still love to visit lahore , waiting for the appropriate time . We live very close to lahore , just 120 km from lahore . We are from Ludhiana , Punjab india . Just wish to fly and come acroos
    Regards
    Yadvinder Bahl

  78. Afsheen Niaz says:
    March 1st, 2010 7:53 am

    Very nice. People from both side of border love each other. Its the politicians who create hatred so that they could extend their rule.

  79. Zaheer says:
    March 10th, 2010 3:39 pm

    thanks for a fabolous article!

  80. Benawa says:
    March 11th, 2010 1:18 am

    To Hina who is from Peshawar: Do not despair if you can not
    spare time or effort to write an “Ode” to your beloved city.
    Another votary of Peshawar has already done that for you.
    Dr. Amjad Hussain is an Ohio based heart surgeon who
    has written several books and articles about his native
    city, and loves Peshawar so much that Ahmed Faraz once
    called him “a bulbul” whose “rose” happens to be “Yuk Sher-e-Arzoo”(that’s the title of one of Dr. Amjad’s books about Peshawar). He writes a column for Toledo(Ohio)’s news-paper, Toledo Blade.You can find Toledo Blade’s website on the net.
    “Pakistan Link” also prints Mr.S.A. Hussain’s columns.

    A note to the Indian gentleman who inquired about the
    feelings of the immigrants from Amritsar. A Lahore based
    Urdu writer, A. Hameed, wrote a short-story titled,”Jerusalem,
    Jerusalem…”( you can translate that to Urdu version of it), which was his “Ode,” to his beloved native city, Amritsar!

  81. Simi says:
    March 12th, 2010 10:33 pm

    I have tears in my eyes, this article is so touching. My great grandparents had to leave everything in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) until they passed away they always wanted to go back. We are jains from Pakistan originally, but now in Rajasthan, India.
    I really wish this bloody partition didnt happen and we all could live peacefully with each other. I read an article even Jinnah sahab agreed on death bed creating Pakistan was a blunder, He never wanted it like what it is today. He himself converted to Islam for its good points not for these fundamentalists we see today,
    God Bless you. I wish my grand father who was born there was alive today to read such a heart felt article.

  82. Simi says:
    March 13th, 2010 12:07 pm

    Following up on my previous article, I told about this article to my father who was born in current pakistan or british india. He said he still reads urdu shers and shayari, i forgot the name of a great shayar from Lahore who said, there is no need for visa or train, in my dream i cross the road and go back to Lahore everyday.. not sure something like that, does anybody know about this.

  83. Darwaish says:
    March 13th, 2010 3:22 pm

    Simi,

    I think the poet you have mentioned is Gulzar Ji.

    thank you for lovely comments. It brought back memories of countless conversations I had with my Nana (maternal grandfather) on partition, how it was living in pre-1947 India in a mixed community and how hatred made friends and neighbours wanting to kill friends during 1947 riots.

    My late Nana also had similar feeling about his city, Amritsar, and his home, neighborhood and friends there. He lived in a large 3-storey house somewhere in Mohalla Maan Singh (or Hanomaan singh) in Amritsar where there was a hotel run by a Hindu lady (who considered Nana as his son) and a Christian missionary hospital nearby. It was a Muslim minority neighbourhood. You might find it strange but during the riots in 1947, the mob which attacked that neighbourhood to kill Muslims was led by one of my Nana’s childhood Sikh friend and yet, it was that Hindu lady who saved my Nana’s life by protecting and hiding him in her hotel’s basement for 10 days. I remember Nana’s eyes used to fill with tears upon receiving a letter from that lady. It was his dream to go back to his home in Amritsar, thank the lady who saved his life and meet the friends he left behind. Unfortunately, his dream never came true.

  84. Simi says:
    March 15th, 2010 11:24 am

    Darwaish:
    I am back with tears in my eyes, it is so sad. It haunts me that British could do this so many innocent lives. I wish someone here posted a picture of my grandfathers house in Lyallpur. I always wanted to go see it.
    Again, this is so not fair that Jain/hindu temples are in ruins there. While in my mohalla in India, every few times a year starting 5 or something early morning I hear Allah O Akbar..
    No pls dont take me wrong, I respect all religions, and we were always taught All God is One, religions are different ways to reach him.
    Jainism came out of Hinduism, our ancestors were rajput jains just like Jinnah saab who was hindu rajput. But my ancestors became jain because that religion preaches NON VIOLENCE, we stopped eating meat, etc because it hurts poor animals when they cry for their lives.
    Someone here in this blog mentioned about Jains dont have God or dont belive in God, that is not true. It says All God is one, different Lords are ways to reach that God as long as you dont hurt others and you have faith.
    I am sure Islam says the same thing, but why then all this Jihaad and Fatwa – does it really say in Quran to kill people who are not muslim. But again if Muslim means someone who has faith in God, then other people who are religious are also muslims in their own religion, so why cant we all live peacefully.
    Where do you live now?
    Simi

  85. Muji says:
    March 18th, 2010 12:47 am

    Fascinating read. Whenever I read partition stories, tears fill my eyes because so many innocent people on both sides were killed. British and Congress could have stopped violence but they choose not to, unfortunately.

    Simi sahiba from Rajhistan, with due respect, there is no evidence that Jinnah sahab ever said Pakistan was a blunder. You are factrually incorrect. He was, however, deeply disturbed by the killings and violence that errupted in 1947. Jinnah always advocated a federation of autonomous Muslim States within the framework of India. He never wanted Partition until late 1946. It was Congress leadership who pushed him to wall, a fact now also being acknowledged by Indian leaders like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh. If only Congress leadership was willing to listen to Jinnah, Partition would have never happened and millions of lives could have been saved. And people of sub-continent would have been living a far better life. Peaceful and more prosperous.

    As Jaswant Singh wrote in his book, look in Indian Muslims eyes even today and you will find same old suffering as it was in 1947.

  86. Simi says:
    March 23rd, 2010 5:17 pm

    Muji:
    I understand what you are trying to say, I dont know what happend in 1947, But to what I read here, the congress left the meeting when Lord Mount Batten proposed partition and drew lines on Indian map, Only Jinnah saab and Lord Mountbatten were left later. Jinnah saab didnt bring Kashmir issue then because he knew if he brought it up then he will lose Sind to India because in 1947 Sind has hindu majority. Its all politics, Jinnah saab wanted to keep the part of India where he was born in Pakistan and Sardar Vallabhai Patel wanted the part where he was born in India. But a year later they all realized it was a blunder. Because we still in India hindu/muslims live happily together and even get married. Jinnah Saab himself married a hindu and his own daughter Dina did not leave for Pakistan she still lives in India.
    My own sister married a muslim. The only thing that haunts me is we all were much united and lived peacefully before partition, my dad’s best friend was muslim, where he was born (today pakistan but then India).
    He talks a lot about the village and the jain temple there, I looked up which doesnt exist anymore, all the jain temples have been taken over and converted to mosques or they are residences today in Pakistan, But in India almost every street has a mosque that says prayers freely in loudspeakers. We belive that God is one, and respect all religions because they are only different ways to reach God.

  87. March 25th, 2010 4:29 pm

    I was born in Bhati Gate, Mohallah Patrangan, it used to be nice environments back in mid fifties, neighborhood, although there were middle class and lower middle families living, but they were all joined together with centuries relationships.

    Nazir puri wala, Ustad gam kababwala and lawa qeema tikki wala were nice and prepared their products with devotion and sincerity, you had flavors in them

    Outside Bhati Gate, was Naeem Bokhaari’s house, and his grand father, Dr. Tufail Hussain was a physician. Late Idrees, journalist used to live next to Moeen Bokhari’s house.

    Inside Bhati, Ustad Gam was the figure who would keep an eye on anybdy passing through. His son Justice Nisar and now his grandson Saqib Nisar lived there in Mohalla Chomala.

    I had seen Mohammad Rafi, a great singer of the sub continent in his shop when I was about eight years old I used to go with my father.

    Elahi Bakhsh Zahoor and Nazir amritari had musicalevenings in the hamams. There was no turbulance and no hate. I used to go to Rang Mahal Mission School passing through the Said Mitha Bazar and Gumti Bazar, when hindus lived in those area. I remember we used to drink water on their sabeels but they would not give you their pot to drink and they will put in your two hands joined together.

    I used to buy poories from Lalu das in Rang Mahal Bazar and also chanas. Good old days. People from the old city would go tomorning walks in MintoPark, there used to be agathering of ten to fifteen people outside themazar of Allama Iqbal where discussions used to take place, and people would recite Punjabi Mushaira.

    We used to watch Bano Rani and Malka while passing through Hira mandi. Good old days.

    Aur buhat yaadein hein…bhai

  88. Khakwani says:
    March 26th, 2010 10:05 am

    ahh the sweet memories. very nicely written and great comments too.

  89. Saima Usman says:
    March 29th, 2010 4:36 pm

    The Last Word in Gaddafi Stadium has a decent collection of English language books in Lahore. A bit on the expensive side though but I like the place.

  90. Simi says:
    March 30th, 2010 6:16 pm

    Muji:
    I know if only our ancestors acted differently the partition could have stopped, when millions of people died unnecesarily. Again from what I have read, Gandhiji refused the 14 points of Jinnahsahab because he was a firm believer of equality, he said we all would have equal rights. Nobody is better than others we are all equals in gods eyes.
    There are some other controversies about Jinnahsahab, You should read Sarojini Naidu’s biography on Jinnah, also a must read is M C Chagla, who was a close friend of Jinnah’s and The historian Stanley Wolpert has also alleged some facts about Jinnahsahab. The Pakistan government has banned books (including Wolpert’s) which says some facts about Jinnahsahab’s life that are against islam. Including that he wanted to return to Mumbai to his house.
    Darwaish:
    I am currently in U.S. I will try to get you address of my greatparents house in Lyallpur. I think somewhere near jung bazaar, not sure. My grandfather’s Nani’s family were pathaans her grandfather was Deewan Poonamchand, they were from Lyallpur also. I think he went to Agricultural college there. They had to leave a lot of property and land to move to India. Infact, later they were in Lahore on the way, not sure where, his sister was killed before she could be taken away by some people in train.

  91. Imran says:
    April 1st, 2010 1:44 pm

    Simi: Get your facts straight before spreading false information. Wolport’s book is perhaps one of the most read book on Jinnah in Pakistan. It was initially banned by Zia (and that too for a short period) but its readily available in Pakistan since last few decades now. Your information is outdated and incorrect. Similarly no ban is there on MC Chagla’s book either. I have bought it from a store in Islamabad. Chagla idealized Jinnah sahab till he started advocating for Pakistan (my view: he turned against him because of political differences and his book reflects his frustration and bias). Fine with me because its almost impossible to be impartial in such cases.

    For your information, not one but almost every book by Staneley Wolport is banned in India simply because they don’t like some things he has written. And they are still banned, unlike Pakistan.

    Partition is a fact and looking at the miserable condition of Indian Muslims (your on leaders are saying this), thank God I am in Pakistan. So Indians folks should learn to live in peace with us rather than trying to tell us if partition was right or wrong. Its done now. Get over it.

  92. Simi says:
    April 10th, 2010 11:39 pm

    I found a great article about Raj Kapoor’s house in Peshawar, people seem really nice there, they still remember the kapoors and the current owner is going to convert it into a hospital for poor in their memory.

  93. Bhawnani says:
    April 10th, 2010 11:44 pm

    Great article

  94. Bhawnani says:
    April 11th, 2010 11:25 am

    Very interesting article in dailynews

  95. Naveen says:
    May 11th, 2010 1:30 am

    Beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing.

  96. Aditya Choudhary says:
    June 24th, 2010 3:32 pm

    hi,
    i must say this was a great article which summed up the overall ambience of one of the most eventful decade of pakistan as well as india.I am an indian and it is my utmost desire to roam and explore the streets of lahore,because i firmly believe that lahore
    was the greatest city in indian civilisation till partition robbed it of its multicultural cosmopoliton identity.I would love to see what this city is like and reading this article almost made me feel like i am roaming there.I must say,lahore is like any other common indian city,with an old city,the unique identity of that old city,unique places within the old city,its unique culture and fragrance and the most important part,clustered streets…;).I look to any big indian city and think this is almost common every where in the subcontinent…and yes the reading culture for sure is dying.i remember in the early 90′s i used to go to the govt library in the old city(the old libraries are predominantly in the older parts in every city in india) and i used to see loads of people fill that small space.The collection of govt library was overwhelmingly british….they were the old classics of the imperial united kingdom.You could almost feel the beautiful smell of old books as govt libraries had an amazing collection.I remember i first read a book by R.K.NARAYAN and loved it which ignited my passion towards reading books,then when i was 10 i read a great book..THE LORD OF THE FLIES by william golding which till now is one of my best.Those old days surely were some days to cherish,today every city in india is going transformation and there is a unique war of identity going on in every indian city where the magestic old is being torn apart to make concrete jungles.this article beautifully sums it up…and now i dont see libraries full,leave aside govt libraries….people dont even go to it.The aesthetic beauty of language is being replaced by colloquial english and slangs has become the parameter to define “coolness”…all this is indeed happening in lahore as well.I like this article very much and it has prompted me to write a similar article about my city as well.

  97. Iftikhar Chaudhry says:
    June 27th, 2010 11:32 pm

    If things continue they way they have been, Lahore won’t be the same city we grew up in in 10-15 years. It will be most dirty, ugly, polluted and populous city in Asia, if not world.

    Very nicely written memoir btw. Thanks for sharing.

  98. Mariam says:
    July 9th, 2010 7:08 am

    This is so rich and lively. Thank you for sharing your memories.

  99. Taimur Shahab says:
    July 17th, 2010 8:44 am

    awesome piece!!

  100. Waseem says:
    September 28th, 2011 9:57 pm

    i was ‘actually’ trying to find some clues on how to find old books in this article. it’s really nicely written though..

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