history in lahore


“The legend of Anarkali – the beautiful courtesan who seduced the Mughal Prince Saleem only to be entombed alive in a wall for her transgression by Salim’s father, Emperor Akbar. The history of Anarkali, that heaving, bustling maze of congested streets and tiny shops located outside the Lohari Gate, can be traced back to colonial times. 

Lahore’s oldest surviving bazaar was once the center of culture and style; and remains a popular shopping destination even today… Vibrant and chaotic, Anarkali Bazaar embodies Lahore’s spirit of grandeur, contradictions and co-existence. Amongst shops selling everything from stationery to hand embroidered khussas to fresh nimbo paani, you’ll spot architectural styles derived from the various eras to have shaped the city’s cultural ethos – from Mughal to Sikh to British” -Destinations Magazine


March 23rd 1956: First Pakistani constitution

On this day in 1956, Pakistan formally adopted a new constitution which transitioned the nation from a dominion of Britain to an Islamic Republic. In colonial India, a divide arose between the Hindu majority and the Muslim minority, as the latter felt their interests were not being represented by the Indian National Congress. Thus in 1906, the Muslim League was founded to protect Muslim rights and, eventually, call for independence and an independent Muslim nation state. On March 23rd 1940, the All-India Muslim League passed a resolution in Lahore which called for the creation of a Muslim state, which it was later resolved would be called Pakistan. The Pakistan Movement continued to gain ground throughout World War Two, and despite resistance from Hindu leaders in the Congress, the two-state solution proved popular among the Indian Muslim electorate. Finally, after years of campaigning, the 1947 Independence of India Act passed the Congress, which provided for the two states of Pakistan and India to become independent from Britain. The birth of Pakistan has been hailed as one of the major political achievements of modern Muslim history. The 1956 constitution of the new nation proclaimed Pakistan the first Islamic Republic, and established a parliamentary system and enshrined basic civil rights. Pakistan’s transition to independence was marred by religious violence, conflict with India, and internal divisions. Indeed, the 1956 constitution was abolished following a coup in 1958. However, March 23rd is celebrated in Pakistan as Pakistan Day or Republic Day, commemorating both the Lahore Resolution of 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution.

Happy Pakistan Day!

“The magnificent Badshahi Mosque! I am amazed at the history of the sub continent and greater India! From Alexander, to the Mughals, the British. Our history is rich with stories of greatness. Let’s appreciate and understand the importance of these sites. Let’s help spread awareness about the importance of saving old buildings, statues and monuments for in them lie stories of our ancestors and our lands! We should encourage museums, renovate old buildings and teach an average Pakistani to understand why it’s all so important. Pakistan Zindabad.” Anoushey Ashraf

Carpet with Niche and Flower Design

India or Pakistan (Kashmir or Lahore), Mughal, mid-17th century

Cotton (warp and weft), silk (weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile

This weaving is part of a group that uses the most popular motif of the emperor Shah Jahan’s reign: the single flowering plant, in this case a poppy, set within a niche. The similarity of their design to tent panels with niches and to hangings shown in royal audience scenes suggests that they were hung vertically rather than being placed on the floor.

This week at MoMA: a Straub-Huillet retrospective at MoMA Film, Lahore Biennale director Rashid Rana in conversation with MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry, and more. 

[Der Tod des Empedokles; oder: wenn dann der Erde Grün von neuem euch erglänzt (The Death of Empedocles or When the Green of the Earth Will Glisten for You Anew). 1986. West Germany/France. Written and directed by Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub]


Being Neighbourly

I thought I would bring you something in the spirit of European Election day. After all, Glasgow is a friend to the world.

So much so that we have nine so-called twin towns spread right across the world: Turin, Nuremberg, Marseilles, Cape Town, Bethlehem, Havana, Lahore, Rostov-on-Don and Dalian.

Our friends in Turin, Nuremberg and Marseille are casting their votes this week* and you should get to the ballot box too, regardless of your political stance.

The polling stations are still open for another few hours, so get your jacket on and go stick an X in a box.

EDIT: flashingmonsignor points out that elections in most European countries are on 25th May. Smartypants.

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Shah Jahan was the emperor of the richest empire in the world, the Mughal Empire. This is when the entire world was ruled by kings and queens. In addition to numerous buildings he had built, the Shalimar Gardens are the epitome of Mughal architecture. It is a beautiful mixture of water channels, streams, canals and falls, supported by beautiful terraces. A literal paradise on Earth, the 80 acres Mughal recreation gardens was built on the design of a garden in Srinagar, a popular Mughal vacation spot. This garden may not be as grand as it once was, but remains one of the most well preserved Mughal monuments in Lahore, Pakistan

Badshahi Masjid

India, British Raj, c. 1860

Watercolors on paper

The Badshahi Mosque, one of the last great Mughal monuments, was built in 1673-74 by the Emperor Aurangzeb (ruled 1658-1707). Constructed of red sandstone and decorated with white marble, it was modelled on the Jami Masjid of Delhi, and departs from the local Punjabi tradition of tile-facing. Set on a high plinth within a walled enclosure adjacent to the western wall of the Lahore Fort, the mosque has three domes and an arcaded facade with octagonal minarets at the corners, and is considered the largest in area on the subcontinent. Its interior is richly decorated with painted stucco.