AERATED WATER COMES TO LAHORE
NABI BAKSH DEHLAVI FACTORY 1851
Lemonade good for digestion
Every day we see advertisements on our media. Girls and boys frolicking over a bottle of Pepsi and Coca Cola. But they were not always there. An obscure advertisement in the newspaper Kohinoor Lahore of 1851 tells us that Nabi Baksh of Calcutta, had come from Delhi with an aerated bottle factory and ready to sell lemonade in Lahore. Very simple news. Who could have imagined the end results? The funny thing is that the factory was of Muslim origin and the Hindu population refused to partake this aerate water of the Muslims., Can you believe that?
The earliest aerated water in Lahore as we remember was the one sold by beverage shop in the bazaar of Hira Mandi. It is sold to this day. Not only was it good for digestion, it was also used to mix with locally made alcoholic drinks. Drinks and prostitution went hand in hand. To those who regularly visited Karachi, Pakola could be found there. A long time back Coca Cola found its way into Lahore. The bottle was for 5 annas each. Then Seven-up came to Lahore and was much loved by the city guys. Digestion made easy with them, for all these drinks brought burps to the drinker easily. In fact Lahoris were very suspicious at that time that a few drops of alcohol had been introduced in every bottle of Coke. That was common sense then. Nobody denied that.
But where aerated water was concerned, there was need for Iced bottles too! When did ice come to Lahore? It is reputed that Ranjit Singh used to get carts laden with ice all the way from Kashmeer. The icepits were situated in a large ground near Training College Lahore. The method of freezing some ice was to lay kiaris on which a layer of rustic straw was spread. Then pans of burnt clay were placed, all leading to some freezing of ice during the night. This ice collected used to be sold. Then in 1870s a regular machine factory was installed to make artificial ice but also at the same place. Then the same was shifted to the ground opposite the Commercial Buildings in Lahore. Regular market for same particularly in summer. Today traditional barf khanas are at many places in the city but one of the oldest was opposite Mochi Gate Lahore. Ice cream also started with these barf khanas and one of the oldest was SNOW FLAKE in Lahore. All in all, the history of Lahore is worthy of being recorded for the future.
THE BACKGROUND OF GENERAL POST OFFICE LAHORE
WHEN, WHO AND WHAT? UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
The Architect M. Starmer Hack of London and Bombay
It is usually heard in circles that the GPO Lahore was designed by Sir Ganga Ram and completed in 1887. Fine, but is that all to it? If we look at the History of Lahore by Judge Latif, he has this to say about the GPO Lahore, that is in 1892:
“The General Post Office is in Anarkali near the Museum. It was built in 1849, but considerable additions have been made to it since. There are three branch Post Offices.”
It may be kept in mind that he is not talking of the present GPO at all. Old views exist of the Post Office. Then we have a design published in the magazine ARCHITECTURAL in 1902 and it is worthy of note too. It says design for the new entrance to the GPO Lahore by none other than by Mr M. Starmer Hack of London and Bombay. It has intricate designs in it. Was this merely a design idea that never came into being? Or was the design modified with time. We do not know. But it is worthy of being researched. It is fashionable to attribute everything in Lahore to Sir Ganga Ram and Bhai Ram Singh. Is that really so, or we are merely paying lip service to a Hindu and a Sikh person, to discredit all others who contributed to Lahore, too. It is not for us to judge. Find out!
The writer of NUQOOSH LAHORE has more to say. He says the Post Office existed near the Lahore Museum (a barrack sort of building) along with the bungalow of the Post Master General. And straight way tells us that the present GPO was constructed in 1912. It was constructed under the guidance of Director Telegraph himself. No mention of who designed it? Although we see a 1902 design by M. Starmer Hack which looks very much like the present GPO. We get more clarification from the Lahore Gazetteer itself, which tells us in 1916, that the building was completed in 1904 and occupied by the Post Office the same year. This shows us that the 1902 design by M. Starmer Hack was there and modified into the new building. The case rests on is own merit.
Our problem is that we are not research oriented nation. Whatever is fed to us, we gulp it down, uncensored, un-moved by other conflicting claims. As said before, research is required before we make claims about anything at all.
MAKING ZEROS HERO, HEROES LITERALLY ZERO,
VESTED LOBBIES TRYING TO UNDO OUR UNITY
Holding on to Quranic Ideals make NGOS zero
I often talk about Secular and Religious bodies as two sides of the same coin. A friend sitting in front of me talked of the dangerous interlude of another related lobby. THE ATHIEST GROUPS TRYING TO DEFAME EVERYBODY ELSE. It was amazing for me to read many books announcing shamelessly that SATAN himself is the proclaimed hero of humanity. I could burst out laughing, but this is no laughing matter. Elimination of all religions their aim in life. Obviously religions have picked up flaws with time that can be easily exploited even on a rational level. They do not realize that ISLAM ITSELF IS A CHALLENGE TO RELIGION (another blog required). They believe that Islam can be ridiculed to the point, where no modern thought can allow it to continue in existence. Morons with all their so called wisdom!
Questioning the wisdom of Allah is slowly creeping in our media. A TV thing has penetrated now even respectable newspapers. Worldly wisdom considered superior to Divine one. Obviously when nothing Divine is considered to be there. Of course there is question of Ijjtehad and things can be changed by consensus. But there are permanent values given in the QURAN and QURAN alone, which cannot be changed till eternity. Obviously Hadis(s) are actually there which contradict each other, so we do not rely on those, nor give a value of a reliable or unreliable Hadis, with our personal judg’ment. The standard of judg’ment is always the QURANIC VALUES itself. Nothing else!
If someone wants to believe in an existence without a DIVINE force, let that person be welcome to his views. Why should he enforce his own whims on us? There is no proof required for God’s existence. The proof is in existence itself. The beauty of life, in it evolution is proof of a force behind creation, of which we only know 99 attributes. The rest Allah has hidden from us. The Quran itself is proof of Divinity. No faith required here. The Quran tells us to think and ponder all the time, and it is this capacity to think itself, is proof enough of God’s existence. It may surprise people to even know that Allah does not ask us to believe on our own. Allah has asked us to think and ponder over everything. Without reason, without science, without knowledge, accept nothing as absolute. Life and its set of values is itself proof of Divine existence.
The silliest part is to create a set of VALUES based on negative perceptions only. From where does SATAN comes from? From our irrationalities, our destructive forces, our emotional demure, yes, in fact, everything that tends to destroy the very fiber of life. Making Satan a hero is the most irrational concept conceived by man in any time. In these times such conceptions mean the indulgence of rationality on foolish thoughts. Allah is creation; Satan is destruction. Very simple two and two. Who are the imbeciles who cannot understand this? Plenty in reality. Moneyed people, buying naïve people (the easiest encroachment is addiction to alcohol, drugs, or plain sexual inducements) and building up NGOS for them to destroy the world in to oblivion.
Stopping this nonsense is our faith in life built on thought itself.
QUEEN MARY COLLEGE LAHORE 1926
SHYAMA ZUTSHKI’S AUTOGRAPH TO A FRIEND
The trail of the past is often not understood. However much we may say that nothing remains, some remnants always turn up to refute us. On the path of Zutshkis sisters, I was not even able to find an image for decades, and then an image turned up in a college student scrap book. A hidden lover no doubt as many others of that time. And then this Autograph book.
Strangely Queen Mary College was home of girl students from the best families of Lahore. Founded as Victoria May Girls High School, Lahore, in 1908, it was renamed after Queen Mary, in 1911. In 1926 Kinnaird College had also moved to its present site, but was of no significance at that time. As a School it existed near the Railway Station but not for girls from esteemed families. Very famous personalities got their education there, but so was a number of artists. We hear of Sughra Rabbabi, Razia Feroze, Razia Sirajajuddin, Jahan Ara Shahnawaz, Geeti Ara Bashir Ahmad , and so many others, attached to the place. This Autograph book contains Autographs of many teachers as well as many prominent students. Our emphasis was of course on Shyama and we have touched that alone.
If we come across anything new, we will refer to that too. It was as rich period in our history and intellectualism abounded in Lahore. The Paindos had not swept Lahore as well a the bigoted Mullahs. Lahore’s soul was as free as a soaring bird.
THE TREE OF CHUGHTAI FAMILY
MOVERS AND SHAKERS FROM MONGOLIA
Shook the World of their times
The Chinese girl came with a delegation to our museum. We talked of Chaghatai Khan. The way she pronounced the name was like a song YAGH TAI. Every time she uttered the word, a tremor ran through me. Just who was this Chaghatai Khan. Very simply, the second son of Genghis Khan, the Khan of his tribe from 1226 to 1242 AD. Yes the Chaghatai language as well as his clan takes the name from him and him alone.
Died: 1242, Ghulja, China
Siblings: Ögedei Khan, Jochi Khan, Tolui
Parents: Genghis Khan, Börte
Children: Yesü Möngke, Baidar, Mutugen
The funny part is that Lahore was full of Chughtais, and yet we hardly see them. Why is there a dearth of Chughtais in the world? A compere on TV was rectifying the fact of the absence of the Mughals in Lahore. He said that Ranjit Singh hated the Mughals and had put a price on their head. This was in retribution to the price on the heads of the Sikhs in Mir Mannu’s time. The difference here was obvious. The price at that time was due to the dacoitry activities in Lahore, which needed to be curbed., But the head on the Mughals was due to vengeance alone and nothing else. Who said rationality wins all the time? Nothing like that. The result that most of the families changed their names and were not happy to be spotted as of a certain ethnic group. And the Sikhs were not alone in this. The English after Bahadur Shah Zafar and the War of Independence, hanged and executed whichever Mughals they could find with any kind of Royal links. Dwyer is reputed to have drunk the blood of Mughal Princes. So the Mughals went into hiding. And the hiding was so strong that their children even went absent from their roots. It was in the late 19th century, that families found their roots again. The upsurge of ethnicity had sprung and that too due to the English administration, who insisted the ethnic roots being written on any official form. But then fashion took over.
The Chughtais came back into fashion. The result that that everybody started acting, feeling and pretending to be a Chughtai. No harm done except to themselves. But a Chughtai can be recognized from the face itself. They are particularly different from the other Punjab residents here. Their habits are different. They were rulers of dynasties and this royalty springs from even the weakest of them. Our M.A. Rahman Chughtai brought fame to the city of his ancestors all over the world. Yes, indeed Lahore is Lahore, and nothing like it anywhere.
BY 2015 PAKISTAN NO LONGER ON WORLD MAP,
HA! HA! HA! ANYBODY LISTENING NOW
2015 ULTIMATE YEAR OF STRENGTH FOR PAKISTAN
From the last few decades we heard the same RATA TOTA (Clamouring parrot) say that by 2015 Pakistan will no longer be on the map of the world. I think by now most of these jackasses should eat their own crap, for Pakistan is now affirmed as the rising country of tomorrow.
We believe in Allah. We believe in making our destiny. A new group is emerging and all the carefully planned hanky panky for our country is no more. Soon the Mamas and the Chachas, as well as the Comrades and the kalay coats will go into hell. Even the usual money will stop and for failure, the outside hyenas will be after the blood of those who promised them much. We have a saying in our culture. When you start digging graves of others, your own grave gets dug up. Stop wasting your time. Pakistanis here to stay and with friends like China, who can stop us now?
TUM APNI KOM KA NAHI BANAY, HAMARI KOM KAY KESAY BANO GAY!
THE PORTRAITS OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI
HARDLY ANY EXIST IN LIFE, ONE CAN WONDER WHY?
People welcome to try their luck
M.A. Rahman Chughtai unlike other pygmies of art here, never attempted a Self-portrait. The closest he reached was a portrait done by Ustad Aziz in the Ustad Allah Baksh Studio, which was later signed by Ustad Allah Baksh himself. I was there when it was being made, and later even borrowed it once for a show of ours. I do not know where it is at present. In any case it was from a photograph made of the artist, but the artist had himself corrected it for Ustad Aziz, and that was as near as you could get to a portrait. No image with us.
There was an attempt at a pencil sketch by an artist from Gujrat, Ravishankar Raval in 1939, which was published in Bombay in 1946. I do not know if it exists at all. We have an image. Saeed Akhtar wanted to make one, but nothing was published for the Stamps series, for there was a certain lobby trying to undermine the Ideological impact of the artist. Even Stephen P. Cohen, the great American Pakistani expert, had noted this and we talked about it, when he visited us here. A Sindhi artist had made a Multani tile of him. We have it in our possession.
After the death of the artist, we noted the lack of this in the life of the artist. Incidentally we read about an art student, namely ANJUM HASSAN from Karachi in the Herald Magazine. And invited her here to do a portrait on the artist. The sample she sent is still with us. We had issues about the actual one, but she was adamant against changing anything, and we respect her for that. For us the sample brought more of Chughtai’s character, rather than the finished product. We are told that she is somewhere in the United States but we still remember her fondly. She was not only beautiful but had a lovely personality, very suitable for a portrait of Chughtai Artist. Her maternal uncle and aunt I met all the time here in Lahore, for he was managing an Airline office here. Mirza Baigs they themselves. Our best wishes to her ever!
Recently a SCULPTOR of Lahore has offered to make a portrait in STONE of the artist. We have welcomed him. Let us see how the same will proceed. I have done my best and doing my best in very limited resources. No one really cares, but we know the future of Pakistan is telling us again and again, not to give up. The future needs us. We stand free, for unlike others WE HAVE NOT EVEN TAKEN A SINGLE PAISA FROM THE GOVERNMENT, NOR EVEN ONE FAVOUR OF ANY KIND. This freedom let us soar high in the sky!
RESPECTING AND SAVING GODS OF OTHER RELIGIONS
A BURIED GANESH MADE IN LAHORE IN SULTANATE REIGN
A Hindu god of luck
The image of Ganesh is ever there in Hindu mythology. The strange part is that mostly the image is of a robust fat Ganesh. Like the Starving Buddha in the Lahore Museum, I have not seen a starving Ganesh. I am not familiar with the imagery associated with Ganesh, but there is a fish at his feet in our Ganesh Lahori.
Discovered deep down the earth, we nurtured it with relevant preservative oils. I often use pure ghee for this restoration, which actually is good for the clay work. The Head Crown, the clothes, even the handling is totally unique. I do not think Ganesh worshipper have ever seen a Ganesh like this. It is to the credit of the artists of Lahore to put the stamp of individuality in whatever they created in life.
In the symbolism of Ganesh it is said that a fat stomach is meant to digest all good and bad in life. But our Ganesh has a fat stomach. A fish like this is used in the imagery of the Chinese fish man. That is also a god of luck. In any case we wish our Hindu friends happy viewing of a unique clay work of Lahore.
EARTHQUAKE IN GHAZNI IN 1974 BROUGHT DEVASTATION
STORY ABOUT THE OPENING OF GRAVE OF SULTAN MAHMUD
No documentation of Muslim’s spun stories
The Story of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi is a household one in this region. For one section of the people, the greatest hero of all times. For the other section, the greatest curse for their way of life. The truth really is hidden in massive stereotypes. But that is not the point of this blog.
In 1974 Ghazni was devastated by a massive Earthquake. Buildings went down , including a lot of monuments. A massive reconstruction plan was started, and there was massive American aid for all this. It is reputed that the Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi was damaged and the grave sprung open by itself. The internet delivers a video and a lecture by Maulana Tariq Jameel that the body of the great Sultan was found intact, and his hands were so soft, as like he was buried there and then. A thousand years had made no difference on the decomposition of the body. Fine, but then, the incident should have been recorded, photographs taken and the fact announced in massive campaign. Simple stories leave person in doubt.
We know of the body found in Austria in Snow after 5000 years. It was intact, but not really in the modern sense. Everything was there, but withered in its on way. Mummies of Pharaohs are of the same line, or the Aztecs or the Mayas. Even Chinese mummies have been discovered in liquid. But in in simple wooden coffin, or otherwise, it is not possible for any body not to suffer decomposition. If it an act of faith in people, to believe in the supernatural, scientific thought does not allow any speculation.
A more probable thing could be that for research purposes, the body of the Sultan was stolen by some foreign lobby., We can speculate on a certain lobby which hated the Sultan so massively. And the body replaced by a fresh one so that the original may not be missed by others. We are men and women of science. We do not believe in speculation. We would have loved an image of the great Sultan himself. We know what the Russians did with Amir Timur and reconstructed him. But only bones were there. Here is just another mythical story for religious consumption. No documentation, nothing!
WHEN “KANJRIS” STARTED CUTTING LABEL RECORDS,
NEWER FAME, NEWER RESOURCES AND TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT
Professionals became respectable names in Industry
Our elders were very fond of music. Where could one hear music? Obviously in those times at brothels sung by kanjris. Very respectable people frequented these music shows. The lust for music would not grow away. My grandfather used to visit some music houses to hear music at the end of the day. His Phopha (uncle) used to play the Sitar in the Hujra of the Wazeer Khan Mosque. Music was totally acceptable to people in Lahore as well as other places, before the Mullah put his idiotic stamp on it. But that is a different story.
The invention of the Gramophone brought new energy to the Industry. It invaded our region like a storm. No house was complete without one. Different people could afford different versions of same. My cousin had access to one of his own, which was actually owned by a friend of his own (Khalid of Omnibus Lahore). The needle was perfected at all times and the same wound again and again. My mother lamented all her life of the Gramophone and records she left behind in her Amritsar home. A house burnt to the ground in the area of Farid da Chowk, Amritsar. Music was here to stay in our region.
This was the time when these prostitutes realized that instead of people visiting their brothels, it was time for them to go to the people. Thomas Edison had perfected the gramophone and it had come to our region. The top brothel centers of this region, namely Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Lahore, Multan and Peshawar were forefronts in providing singers to cut records for the first time. In the beginning the records were on STONE, even marble. People here have records in their possession of this era. Many people have tried to preserve the Songs of those times in the greatest music ever written or recorded in our region. But the apathy of our people is phenomenal. No one really cares. The collection of Hafeez Jullundri’s brother is actually rotting under the bed of his grandson. The cultural machinery is ever silent.
In one function Hafeez Jullundri along with Malika Pukhraj, sang his immortal poem of ABI TO MAY JAWAN HOON. Strangely it is being sung by prostitutes even today. A singer and dancer lamented that when they perform it is called a MUJRA and when others perform, it is called a PERFORMANCE. The difference created by society. But once everyone knew the background of the musician and nobody cared for that. Music was the only worthy thing to be concerned about.