Friday, November 13, 2009

Kashmiri Gate; Ravi used to kiss its feet

There was a time when furious waves of River Ravi used to hit the wall of Lahore. With the passage of time the map of the city never remained the same and today there are only few signs remaining of the boundary wall of old city. Mughal Emperor Akbar built this 30 feet high wall, which was later rebuilt to 15 feet high during Sikh era.
In the north of old city's boundary wall KASHMIRI GATE is located the plinth of the gate is 13 feet high than the circular garden located outside the wall. Circular Road is the path to enter the gate. In ancient days Ravi used to flow at this point across the wall, this is the reason that the plinth of both KASHMIRI and SHAIRANWALA gate is higher than others.
Certainly the part of the city inside the Kashmiri gate is slightly high. Streets are dark and steep inside the gate. Cars are parked outside the gate and one have to enter in the city by foot. The reason behind the name is the fact that the gate is facing towards Kashmir.
Kanhaia Lal wrote in “History of Lahore” about the gate;

"This gate related to Kashmiris that's why it faces towards Kashmir similarly as Delhi Gate is called Delhi gate because of facing towards Delhi. Or may be the reason that at the time of settling the people, as Bhat got settled near Bhati gate, Kashmiris got themselves settled over here. This gate was also in poor condition and british built it again based on English style and shape of Bhati”

Small building of the gate shows it was less important at that time. No wonder the buildings inside the gate are also not a great art work of architect. The only important heritage is “Haveli Chuna Mandi” (mansion of Chuna Market).
In good old days “TAKIA” used to be an important part of the housing socities. In simple wors TAKIA can be described as a place of entertainment. During the day time people from nearby used to gather here to spent the leisure time. Every Takia had a well and a bath room with it. People used to play chess and cards here, Happy and sad occasions were used to be held here as well. Almost every Takia had a Gym and arena in it. Things never remain the same and as soon as the face of Takias changed people stopped going there.
Takia Lalu Sain is located outside the gate at Circular Road. It was very vast and beautiful place. There is shrine of “Hazrat Kamal Shah Qadri Noshahi Sachyari” in this Takia and the grave of “Lalu Sain” is also nearby. There used to be a Gym and Arena where Famous Wrestler like Ghosia used to work out. Inside the gate there is “Takia Kabutar Shah” on the left along with a small two storey Mosque. This mosque is in straitened circumstance, actually its almost a gone story now. The newly built shops have also hid this Mosque and Shrine. There was a wrestling arena and points of fabric dyers. Today the arena is no more but fabric dyers are still there.
If we further go inside Kashmiri Gate there is “Chuna Mandi Square”, there are three roads, the one at right side leads to Masti Gate, and the left one takes to Old Chief Police Station Square, via Pakistan Cloth Market. Chuna Mandi road, Jamadaran Street and Moti Bazaar all three create the triangle where Chuna Mandi Mansion is located. This Mansion consists of three Mansions about them, I wrote in “Sheranwala Gate; The Witness of Many Tales ”.
“Baba Ki Katrhi” (town of old man) in FARSHI BAZAAR is one important place. Its been said that in ancient times a Hindu Sadhu Baba used to live here. The signs of Mandir still can be seen. After the partition; Musician Families from Amritser, Jalandher, Ambala and from many other places settled in this KATRHI.
Along with artists important and famous people from many walks of life belong to interior Kashmiri Gate. One of them is Khan Muhammad Dara The First Fast Bowler of National Pakistan Cricket Team. Famous Hockey players Shahzada Khuram and Shahzada Atif, and the cyclist and former Olympian Shahzada Shahrukh are also resident of this place. Famous writer Anwar Sajjad arranged many literary assemblies here. He lived here for a long period of time.
Beside the fact locating on GT Road, this gate never been a trade zone like Delhi Gate, Shah-Almi Gate, and Bhati Gate. Unlike other gates of Lahore; Kashmiri Gate have not been a cultural point. Near 90% of the residents have shifted to other places after selling there homes. The residential areas are rapidly turning into commercial plazas and may be in future we would not even find the signs of ancient buildings.

Photography by: Afzal Abbas
This Article was published in Daily Waqt Sunday Magazine 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Witness of Many Tales: Sheranwala Gate

In good old days there were three important gates, towards river Ravi , Kashmiri Gate, Sheranwala Gate and Yaki Gate. Ravi used to flow exactly in front of Sheranwala gate. Sheranwala gate was built during the era of Akbar, during Sikh regime it was damaged as other gates were, but British rule rebuilt it. This gate is at the southern east part of the city wall. We can see the building of Khdamudin Bint Public School, and Molvi Ahmad Ali Masjid and at the left side there is Govt Islamia High School Sheranwala situated, it was built by Anjuman Himait e Islam in 1889. On the outer side of gate Masjid Ghosia Hanfia Bagh wali is located.

The old name of this gate is Khizri Gate; its been said that Hazrat Khizer stepped in river ravi after passing through this gate. Now it is called Sheranwala gate (Lions gate) the reason of this name is that; in the era of Raja Ranjit Singh cages of his two lions were put there. During British rule the cages were picked up but the name remains the same.

The main path of this gate is steep and the reason is gate's nearness to there river. This path lead to Pakistan Cloth Market. Where Old Court Yard is located, and Masjid Wazir Khan is also nearby. Architect Ghafir Shehzad describes the map of the gate as “ on a singlesurface map it consist of one pass through having two rooms built on each side. The structure of gate is different because there is no window as Delhi or Lohari gate have. And it is single story building, there are two pillars on the outer side supporting the arch. The cealing is built slightly higher. These days this gate is victim of deviations and it has lost its original face and if it remain neglected it might even lose its signs”.

The Chuna Market located inside the gate have always got governmental importance. In 1822, during Sikh Era, Ravi used to flow beside the gate. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had 444 lions and they were used to punish serious criminals. About 77 acre land was specified for these lions near Ram Gali (ram street),outside the gate at the bank of river. After 1830 due to some geographical changes river changed its flow path. With the change of flow a great area become dry. In 1840 District Police Lines was built over here whose founder was Hawaldar Subhan Khan, that is why Sheranwala Gate has been devided into three parts; Khizri Mohala, Line Subhan Khan, and Nawan (new) mohala. It is a trend of Lahore is that Saints built mosques near the gates of the city and stayed there. This gate has also been a point of Political and Film personalities.

Many grand mansions were built inside the area by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the mansion of Khushal Singh and Mansion of Dhyan sing situated in Chuna Market is notable. Today these buildings are used as educational institutes under the name of “Govt Fatima Jinah College for Women”. Current building of college reflects the great art work of Sikh Era. In 1864 early few classes of Government College Lahore were conducted in these buildings, it was used till 1877 . College was shifted to new building and this cultural heritage remained ruined. In 1986 this building was given to Education Department and this Girl's College came into being than.

This gate is full of historic heritage. The streets and old building tell the tails of old time and people. But this building is loosing its signs due to negligence.Old buildings are in straitened circumstances, abundance of deviations, and illegal construction are creating harm to this historical heritage. If no serious steps taken than it might even lose its existence.

Photography by: Afzal Abbas
This Article was published in Daily Waqt Sunday Magazine 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nostalgia (Part 2)

“What kind of question is this?” She gave me a weird look “I love him more than anything else, no matter in what condition he is, I love my son” saying that she picked up the cups and went inside. She wasn’t bothered by my question but she guessed by my gesture that I wasn’t listening to her. In fact I wasn’t present there. I was somewhere else. 
 I remembered, ten years ago, it was a monsoon evening when I came to this city, with dreams of “bright future” in my eyes. It was raining cats and dogs when I had reached here and swept under the shelter of a shop. I compared that rainy weather with the present time. Two rainy evenings... Now I had everything I wanted. But still there was something missing in my life. I had a home, a good job, a lovely wife and a son. This seemed to be an ideal picture on the canvas of life. We always seek happiness in others; we never search for it inside our souls. For people around me, I was very happy but my soul was wretched, I was shattered. And I was trying to collect the pieces of my shattered soul at this moment. There was some void inside me.
 I recalled my childhood, my family, my past and my first meeting with my partner. I thought I never existed in this world. It was just like a vacuum. Everyone who met me added a piece and made my personality... I was almost complete But still one part was missing... the peace of mind and soul…
(To be Continued) 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


“Look there” She said pointing her finger towards a kid, who was in rags, running in the street, flowing like a river. I was standing with her in the balcony of flat, Feeling the music of rain with mugs of coffee. It was raining since morning. After the hot and humid week, it was a gift of Lord for us. I was feeling dead inside, Rain was reincarnation for me. 

Birds were chanting, music of showers was soothing, drops of water falling on our faces, layers of clouds playing like kids on the sky, watching the unseen and feeling the warmth in rain. I felt life at that moment. “Oh! That’s life” instead of looking towards that creature in the street I replied to her looking at her deep shining eyes. “What are you thinking?” She felt something. “Nothing, Bust wondering,What else I expect from this life" I said "What do you think the people who bring ‘sun shine” in our life are more important or the one who provides shadow” She gave a sad smile and came more close to me. “Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain” I replied putting my mug aside.

After few moments of silence, she jumped and asked again “Do you like watching sun set at beach or dawning?” Instead of replying her question I asked her “Do you like watching your son standing at the door steps or you feel more comfort when he comes back and put his head in your lap?” ….. (To Be Continued)

Monday, February 23, 2009


You may have read many definitions of life, every time you find new words, new phenomenon, new ideology about life. but question remains the same. What is life? Life means Death! Really? Have you ever imagined You are alive just after your death? or heard something like that I am alive because I am dead. Or you can say I am not dead that's why I am alive.
Life .. is nothing... But just a life.. Why we always compare each and everything with other. Life with death, Joy with Sorrow, Black with White, this with that and blah blah! I always keep one thing in my mind, we should enjoy and take pleasure of being what we are. We always try to show off to other which we are not. We should always accept, accept what we are. and what we are? you know you are? then you should try to figure out who you are? why we are? and what will be we?
Life is struggle... struggle for what.. confused? Yes am also.. why we are struggling so much in life? for status? for love? for money? fo job? for family? nah.. we are struggle just for life.. Life is the other name of struggle.. the one who can not struggle for anything or gets everything in his bedroom is not a alive person. he is dead ! so in our whole life we are just struggling for our death and when we are successful and achieve our goals we depart from this life. life mean just living a life. nothing more than that! wish you a happy life.. ha ha ha

Monday, February 16, 2009


I've heard it all before
I've heard it all before

I've heard it all before
I've heard it all before

I don't wanna hear, I don't wanna know
Please don't say you're sorry
I've heard it all before
And I can take care of myself
I don't wanna hear, I don't wanna know
Please don't say 'Forgive me'
I've seen it all before
And I can't take it anymore

I was listening to this song... several thoughts came across my mind... I don't wanna say... I don't wanna know? Don't say sorry... How can it be? Why should I don't say a single word to you!?

Sometimes... I feel solitude in the crowd of my friends... I like making friends... Every day I meet several new faces... But most of them don't remember my face... there was always a Heart... that beats for me... 

I tried to change the music, even tried to switch off! But I couldn't. Song was "ringing" in my mind. Mind or Heart? I couldn't differentiate. 

Even I do not dream about her. I do not want to live in the world of dreams. Sometimes give you strengths but Dreaming is the escape from reality. I feel that somebody is still with me... I talk, tease, cry and smile with her!

She is no more with me. and I do not wanna say "sorry" for the words I said, and for the words I didn't said, for the deeds I did and for what I didn't, for making her happy, for making her sad, for making her precious, for her cry and sorrow, for her love and hate, for her care and for her carelessness, and I do not want to say "Sorry" to her! Because she is with me. I can see her in monitor of my personal machine, I can feel her in the shining sun shine, I can see her smiling face in the blue moon, I can hear her in chanting birds, and I know she knows her worth! Worth of being my soul! I feel her in being me! So... I am not guilty of myself. So why I should apologize to myself!

But I am listening to her echoes 

 “Don’t wanna hear, I don't wanna know
Please don't say you're sorry
I've heard it all before
And I can take care of myself
I don't wanna hear, I don't wanna know”
Please don't say 'forgive me'
I've seen it all before
And I can't take it anymore"