Lahore, Lahore Nahi Raha: This is How Lahore Has Become Unrecognizable

By Hamza Ghaznavi | 24 Nov, 2015

Lahore was the city of saints and intellectuals and freedom of ideas. It was not called a “zinda dil shehr” for its love of food alone, and if you believe that Lahore is for food lovers only then you really haven’t experienced the true essence of Lahore. Though don’t get me wrong, with these evolving times and Lahore’s new found love for bridges and check-posts I still am in awe of this city and it’s people but sadly that love is fading, slowly but fading nonetheless. Lahore will always be my home and no Swiss alps or the pyramids of Giza can change that but yaar Lahore, Lahore nahi raha.

And this is what it means:

 

Basant is no more a thing

Remember the coloured sky, those late night bonfires to celebrate basant night, everyone on their roofs dancing, cheering and flying kites? Lahori basant was not just loved by Lahoris, it was an attraction for people all around the world, especially our neighbors – it was a favorite among Bollywood superstars. Oh those Old-Lahore Basants!

Source: Dawn

And if somebody makes the argument that it caused deaths hence it had to be banned, it’s as absurd as saying let’s ban driving because accidents happen. There is thing called safety measures!

 

Lahore doesn’t have concerts like it used to

There was a time when Alhamra open-air theater was jam packed almost every other weekend to hear there favourite artist perform. Junoon was like the U2 of South Asia, oh and how can we forget E.P? That’s where Fawad Khan started, btw. Artists from all over the world wanted to come and perform in Lahore.

Source: Alhamra

 

The Gawalmandi Food Street is still missed

The khushboo and those classically lit lights of Gawalmandi – the simpler and possibly less boring food street. Not that this food street isn’t lit or food isn’t good but it’s a bit too commercialized and sophisticated in comparison to the Gawalmandi one, right?

Source: Defence.pk

 

Late night mehndis used to be on a grand scale

There was a time when weddings were late and fun for not just the filthy rich. Any home or empty land could be decorated with tents and lots of yellow, and there you had it, an amazing wedding! Though to be honest that’s not Lahore’s fault per se, people also got busier and priorities changed – it’s more important now to have a nicer wedding snap story then enjoying the goddamn mehndi itself.

Source: My Big Fat Indian Wedding

 

There was even a time when theater performances happened aplenty

Alhamara Cultural Complex was the place where you came to live your imagination, thousand’s would throng the halls to get lost in the world of theater. Though as time passed by, theater itself became sort of an artifact which many tried to revive but failed unfortunately. Now Alhamra belongs to the Billos and thumkas of Nargis. And the occasional elitist festival for the society aunties.

Source: Dawn

 

Gaddafi Stadium was used much more before cricket came home, again

There was a time when we were able to watch Shoaib Akhter’s extremely long run ups to bowl, to Wasim bhai’s Howwwzattt echoing all around Gaddaffi. But more importantly it’s the stadium filled with people from all walks of life celebrating cricket together, that Lahore is missing now.

11330491_10155633192590512_760510072_nSource: Shmyla Khan

 

Lahore didn’t check your ID at every single street corner

Yes guys there was a time, when Lahore didn’t look like a semi-war zone. It was a time when you slowed down your car only for a red light or well when the infamous Punjab police stopped you for some chai paani.

Source: Dawn

 

Foreigners coming to Pakistan wasn’t such a big deal

Yes, people actually considered Lahore as a must visit destination on their trip to South Asia. There would come from everywhere to study and enjoy the culture and life of Lahore. Lahore was the talk of the town all across the Subcontinent.

Source: Express Tribune

 

Late night walks were a possibility

Especially for the womenfolk. Well you can still have a leisurely stroll late at night if you live in a compound which is surrounded by military trained guards, but for the rest of the lot it’s not that easy unless you’re willing to get mugged or shot by a drunken dude (or their bodyguard).

Source: CBC

 

And police was just the regular kind

And the huge moral police force was not in existence. There was a time when people weren’t judgmental, your morals weren’t directly dictated from the Kingdom – people were more concerned about moral policing themselves rather than everyone else.

Source: AFP via: Channel News Asia

 

Lahore is such a great, vibrant and loving city. Let’s make it the Lahore about which everyone says jinne Lahore nahi vaikhya o jamiya hi nahi (he who hasn’t seen Lahore hasn’t been born yet).

 

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