Call it a palette full of colours, both fresh and dry, or call it a book on partition, for that is what my area in Lahore seems like. Sant Nagar, as the name suggests was inhabited by Hindus before partition, and their remnants are what I mentioned before as dry colors, for there stand old, massive houses with Hindi writing carved on them. But that does not make Sant Nagar an area of shoddy, dilapidated houses or a slum, for recently, Mussalmans have embellished it with houses built according to the latest trends in architecture. Sant Nagar is the whole of Lahore; the old Lahore as well as the new one. Living here makes u a moderate person: neither an elite who cannot adjust in a slum, nor a backward person feeling uncomfortable in posh areas.
Lahore, the city of gardens, has somehow evolved into the city of bridges. Lost are the intellectual hubs. Shrubs alongside the bridges in the city mourn the lost beauty of the once city of gardens. Commercial activity has replaced intellectual activity. Dust, noise and pollution have destroyed the purity of the city. Our forefathers took solace in the soothing environment of the city but the hustle and bustle has divided the affection of people for other places. Lahoris no longer take prestige in being called as Lahoris and with every passing moment, the city and we people are losing their identity.
When I think of Lahore, I think of the music that comprises of rushing trucks and blaring car horns expressing the passion of loud angry drivers; the one or two groups of young enthusiasts raising their slogans as the clock strikes 10 at night; the occasional scream and the far cry of an ambulance that is heard in the distance. I do not see any of this. I never have. This is heard from the little roshan-dan in my hostel room.
Zainab F Nisa
All I notice in Lahore now is that it is getting more and more crowded day by day; more and more cars, more and more developments. The city is moving out of its original comfort zone. If I compare, I see lack of originality now than ever. I see all developments, all the inclination towards the areas that were never Lahore in the first place. People find Lahore where it has never been. Lahore was Ravi, Mall and what we call as androon. But people are so lost in their material world to notice the true essence of the city I call home.
The colours have faded from the skies, the seasonal festivals and the monuments that graced Lahore like guardians. A perpetual grey cloud hangs over Lahore. Lahore is dying. Yet, the heart of the city still beats and the hearts of Lahoris beat for their city. Nobody can truly leave Lahore.
A city which once welcomed its lovers with open arms now asks to become a host who charges for its beauty on daily basis. A place which was once known for its cultural aesthetics now has become a hub of the merchants; a place where bureaucrats will sell anything for an offer they can't refuse.
Lahore starts and ends at the 12 gates first established by a Mughal king. It never did expand. The magic stayed within those gates and never escaped it. The opportunity was diminished by a plant that overtook the original's right to growth. The branches are that of foreign origin which do not have the roots in the main body. The city continues to feed its oppressor, sacrificing its own blood for the strength and vigour of the alien lord.