Lahore

Lahore’s pre-1947 Hindu newspapers

Author: 
Abdul Hameed

Category:


Abdul Hameed was born in 1928 in Amritsar. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India. After working at Radio Pakistan for several years, he joined the Voice of America. He wrote novels, short stories, columns for national newspapers, and programmes for radio and television. He passed away in Lahore in 2011.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared at http://www.apnaorg.com/

Before independence, Lahore was home to a number of Hindu newspapers, all of whose offices I can claim to have visited.

The five leading papers were Pratap, Milap, Bande Matram, Paras and Bharat Mata. For some reason, all of them were based in the Gowalmandi and Nisbet Road area. A movie journal called Aabshar was also run from Nisbet Road. Paras was a popular publication and those who wrote for it included members of that select group of writers and intellectuals who called their group Niazmandan-i-Lahore. The leading lights of this group were Dr Muhammad Din Taseer, Prof Ahmed Shah Bokhari ‘Patras', Hafiz Jullandhari and Pandit Hari Chand Akhtar. Lala Karam Chand was editor and owner of Paras.

Old Lahore

Author: 
Abdul Hameed

Category:

Tags:


Abdul Hameed was born in 1928 in Amritsar. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India. After working at Radio Pakistan for several years, he joined the Voice of America. He wrote novels, short stories, columns for national newspapers, and programmes for radio and television. He passed away in Lahore in 2011.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared at http://www.apnaorg.com/

I have always been fascinated by cities, the way they once were and the people who lived in them.

Lahore's magic for me lies in many things, but above all, it lies in the Walled City. My earliest memories of Lahore are intertwined with inner city streets and bazaars and how they throbbed and pulsated with life and colour. 

One old Lahori whom I used to run into at the Radio Pakistan station off and on was Tahir Lahori, whose family had lived inside Bhaati Gate for many generations. He epitomised the old city's culture, its traditional gentleness and its spirit of generosity. He spoke the purest Lahori Punjabi with that lilting unmistakable accent.

My memories of Lahore

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

I was born in Lahore in 1932 in a Christian family. In the 1930s-1940s, Lahore was really a garden city, and a centre of education and culture.

There was, on the whole, harmony in Lahore. Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and the few Christians and Parsis had a good working relationship. On Eid, we went to Muslim families to offer our Greetings. Likewise, we visited Hindu families for Diwali. And we were visited by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs on Christmas Day. I can never forget the way we all celebrated Basant together.

Kite flying was an obsession with all Lahoris. The kite contests (known as पेचे बाज़ी pechae-baazi) were followed with passion. There were professional kite-flyers known as ustads उस्ताद who had their disciples cheering them on. It was all heady stuff.

My paternal Sikh-Christian-Muslim family

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

This family saga has been set down after considerable research. The oldest member I have consulted is Joe Massey, my late mother’s youngest cousin. He is now over ninety years old, and lives in Missisuaga, near Toronto. Thankfully, his memory is still very good.

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Great grandfather and his times

My father hailed from a family of Jats of the Mall clan from Gurdaspur. In the 19th century, about half of the people in Gurdaspur were Muslims\; the rest were Sikhs and Hindus. The Sikh Jats were faithful to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was a fellow Jat of the Sukerchakia misl (military group) of Gujranwala, which is now in Pakistan.

My maternal Sikh-Muslim-Christian family

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ed. Note: Mr. Massey's recorded memoirs of 1947 are available here in the UK National Archives. Another recording is available here.

This family saga has been set down after considerable research. The oldest member I have consulted is Joe Massey, my late mother’s youngest cousin. He is now over ninety years old, and lives in Missisuaga, near Toronto. Thankfully, his memory is still very good.

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Meeting Ved Mehta

Author: 
Reginald Masssey

Category:

Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ved Mehta is a celebrated writer, and a man who overcame severe disability by sheer will power.

Born in Lahore in 1934, at the age of four he was blinded by cerebrospinal meningitis. His father, a doctor, was aware that his son had no future in India since most people in India regarded blindness as a curse, a divine retribution for some great sin or crime committed in a past life.

In 1949, Ved was sent to the Arkansas School for the Blind. From there he went to Pomona College in California, a liberal arts institution with a high reputation. Since few books were then published in Braille he needed a fellow student who could read the text books to him. Fortunately, his friend Eugene Rose volunteered to help. Mehta wrote that his friend's readings were so clear that it seemed as if he was "explaining things".

(Rose later became Father Seraphim Rose, a Russian Orthodox hieromonk and a leading figure of the Orthodox Church in USA.)

Memories of Lahore: Summer 1947

Author: 
Joginder Anand

Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB From Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.

Long retired. Widower. A son and a daughter, their spouses, five grandchildren, two hens (impartially, one black, one white) keeping an eye on me as I stand still and the world goes by.

 

In 1947, I was a student at DAV College, Lahore. It stood fairly close to the Zamzama Gun, an artillery piece cast before Maharaja Ranjit Singh created the Khalsa Empire. An empire, which, despite the word Khalsa, was as non-communal as any. In fact, Ranjit Singh's youngest or junior most Maharani was a Muslim.

Before Ranjit Singh consolidated his hold on the Trans-Sutlej Punjab, the gun was in the ownership of the Bhangi Missal (sect). They were Jat Sikhs, reputedly fond of Cannabis indica. The Punjabi name of the gun was Bhangian di tope (The cannon of the Bhangis.)

It was commonly believed that whosoever held possession of the Zamzama would hold the Punjab. It had the longest range of any then in service in the sub-continent. When the East India Company defeated the Khalsa, they displayed the gun in Lahore.

Hindu-Muslim Relations in Pre-Partition Lahore

Author: 
Pran Seth

Category:

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Pran Seth

Pran Seth started his career as a lecturer in Political Science in a Punjab College in Lahore in 1946. After India's Partition, he helped set up a new Hindi daily called Amar Bharat in Delhi. In late 1948, he joined the Punjab government as a Public Relations Officer. Later, he worked in Delhi in the Publications Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and in the Department of Tourism, Government of India. He moved overseas to head the Department of Tourism promotional offices in San Francisco, New York, Frankfurt and Tokyo. He retired as a Deputy Director General, Department of Tourism, and then started teaching Tourism in Delhi University. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 87.

Editor's note: This is a slightly edited version Chapter 1 of Pran Seth's autobiography Lahore to Delhi ... Rising from the Ashes. The original chapter is available at Early Signs of Pakistan.

It must have been the late 1920s as I was a six or seven year old boy. I was on my way to the Urdu medium primary school where I studied in Lahore's Hindu dominated area of Shah Alami Gate. It was a wintry morning\; I was well covered by woollens and had a fur cap on my head. Fur caps were usually worn by Muslims, and I must have looked like a child from a Muslim family.

India’s First Independence Day

Author: 
Joginder Anand

Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.
Widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.

I was then fifteen years old. We lived in what was to become Pakistan. Several months before that happened, discretion being the better part of valour, my father, his sister, and his brother rented a bungalow in Solan, Simla Hills. The younger generation reached there separately in the summer - as soon as our, i.e., children's, schools and colleges closed.

Solan was the capital of a small "native state" to use the terminology of the British Raj.

The ruler was called Raja Sahib, and I heard him described as HH. Presumably the British Government had conferred the "His Highness" style of address or title on him.

Pre-Partition Punjab Vignettes

Author: 
Joginder Anand

Category:

Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.
Widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.

 

Ed. Note: The text has been extracted from an extended informal email discussion with Jatinder Sethi. Some of what Mr. Sethi wrote is available in Pre-Partition family memories.

Shahukaar. This spelling reflects more accurately, the pronunciation of the local Punjabi word for moneylender. I am sure it was also called Sahukar.

The Shahukaar would generally speaking, sit or rather lie, on the rich Persian carpet, propped up on big, fat, round, pillows. Possibly smoking a hooka. The clients came, requested help, addressing him as "Shah Jee" or "Lalla Jee."

Shah Jee also very often did Aarhat (acted as a middleman). 

Shah Jee had the most impressive house in the town. With a two-horse carriage. Forget what it was called. A few cows, and perhaps a buffalo or two in the courtyard at the back. Generous with lassi and even milk for anyone.

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