BARFI VERSUS DHOTI
AN INTERESTING TALE OF 1965 WAR
Happenings in Lahore
The 1965 war with India was a chapter in the history of Pakistan which will never go away. Tricked and invaded in the stealth of night, the Pakistani forces reacted with a reaction of which songs are spun to this day. The war involved not only the fighting forces but the entire population of the country. Crime rate dropped to literal zero, and everyone was willing to contribute everything of their own for the welfare of the country. The bravado of Lahore can be understood from the fact that with empty streets, boys came out to play cricket in the heat of battle. Spectators of the dog fights of jets over Lahore were on all roofs. People cheered the Pakistan jets like it was a boxing spree in a round in a ring. In fact the Pakistan Air Force had to issue a request for people not to be on the roofs as fighters feared for their safety when firing on the enemy. Sufi Tabassum made history by writing the most patriotic songs ever and Nur Jahan sung them with a candour, which sent ripples of martyrhood through the Army on the front.
An incident is unrecorded by any person, and it is befitting that it is recorded here for posterity. There was an ancient Havelli inside Mochi Darwaza Lahore, by the name of Havelli of Nathu Sonay wala, and it was inhabited by at least five of his sons. One was Qamar-ud-din. Qamar-ud-din had out of his savings bought a new DHOTI for himself from the Azam Cloth Market. He was very proud of same. As he passed the shop of MAHTAB HALWAI near the Mosque of Muhammed Salih Kanbo, people were discussing the war that was going on. President Ayub Khan’s speech had roused the sentiments of the people and they were talking about it. Then one person out of the blue said that there was a possiblity that Lahore may fall, and then all the citizens may be taken prisoner. Qamar-ud-din became so sad, when he realized that he would never be able to wear his brand new Dhoti and it was of no use to him at all. He hurried back to the bazaar and sold the dhoti at a much lesser price than its cost. Then he hurried to Mahtab Halwai and bought barfi (sweet-meat specialty) for himself for the amount and sat down to eat and relish every piece of it. Somebody asked him what he had done and why he did that? His reply was simple and pragmatic. He said, “The Dhoti I may never end up using, being dead before that, or even a prisoner. But here is something I am relishing, right now, and nobody can take this pleasure from me.”
Lahore is composed of many kinds of people. The melting pot of many cultures and many different characters. Here is the one aspect of the Pakistani spirit which has not been seen, or written before, by anyone else.