Archive for the ‘7 Gifts to the World’ Category

Sir, we can’t control this. “Then ban it”

Basant was a thing of beauty and was one of those rare events where a truly cultural event gathered people from all over the world. Yes, the world. Lahore owned basant, regardless where it came from. Even Lahore Metblogs has a separate category just for Basant!
But you had to be living in a hole to not know that basant has been banned for some time. A petition moved sometime around 2005, initially by none other than the mayor of Lahore, Mian Amer Mahmood. Slowly but surely, you witnessed an exercise in ‘how to control and change a city’s very culture through the power of political will’. The reasons quoted were not many – two in fact, one being the loss to human life and the other being disruption in WAPDA’s electricity supply causing monetary loss.
But here’s how I see it all:
The ban on basant is silly. Loss of life and loss of the ever-so-present WAPDA supply are not reasons at all. And here’s why: the loss of life is not because the kite-flying itself is dangerous. Kite-flying has been around for quite some time. The murderous streak now automatically tagged with basant itself, has been introduced through the development of stronger string. A lot of people think that it is the razor-like solution that the string is soaked in that causes the string to be a knife-on-the-loose. Although the sharpness is part of the reason, the main reason is that the string itself is very strong. There was a time, I remember, when I was able to snap the string by pulling on it with both hands. It is a typical way of checking a string’s strength – tug at it and see when it breaks. But recently, I would notice that it has become harder and harder to just ‘snap’ the string. You would have to resort to either some serious pulling or just use to teeth to sever the string. It is the combination of ultra-strong string with razor-sharp solution (a.k.a. manja) that makes the string a killer.
The real culprit has always been the string itself, and building upon that, you can see that the makers of the string are also the culprit. And by culprit I mean the ‘reason’ for the chaos, not the guilty party (guilt is for the courts to decide, remember?)

The reason the basant was and is still banned is not because the festival has turned deadly, it is because some people have invented and then sold this killer string to a lot of unsuspecting people. In fact, the real reason is that the administration has found it beyond them to crack down on the few string producers that manufacture the deadly string.

Lahore’s 5th Gift to the World: Virus Threat Realization

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world. Lahore comes up with its 5th Gift to the World.”

Lahore not only just generated the world’s first computer virus, in fact, it gifted world the realization of threats posed by Piracy and Viruses.

First detected in January 1986, (c)Brain, is the oldest PC virus known.

As Wikipedia reports it:

(c)Brain (the industry standard name being Brain) is a 1986 computer virus that infects the boot sector of storage media formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table (FAT) file system.

It was written by two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, who lived in Chahmiran, Lahore, Pakistan. The brothers told TIME magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy and was supposed to target copyright infringers only.

The virus is also known as Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, and UIUC. Businessweek magazine at the time called the virus the Pakistani flu.

(c)Brain affects the computer by replacing the boot sector with a copy of the virus. The real boot sector is moved to another sector and marked as bad and infected disks usually have three kilobytes of bad sectors. The disk label is changed to (c)Brain.

Lahore’s 4th Gift to the World: ‘Nobel’ Scholars

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 4th Gift to the World.”

Many are not aware of the contributions that some of the most prominent Lahorites have made towards various fields of learning including science, mathematics, philosophy, arts, and literature.

Lahore proudly gifts to the world, four Nobel laureates:

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (Nobel Prize in Literature 1907) – Born in Bombay and later lived in Lahore for a few years, Mr. Kipling was a literary genius, with such classics as Jungle Book, Kim and many more under his belt.

Har Gobind Khorana

Har Gobind Khorana (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1968) – Mr Khorana did his Msc from University of the Punjab, Lahore and then proceded for PhD at University of Liverpool. He later became a Professor of Biology and Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lahore’s 3rd Gift to the World: Anarkali Bazaar

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 3rd Gift to the World.”

Anarkali Bazar, named after the famous courtesan of Emperor Akbar’s court, Anarkali, is one of the most enchanting places in Lahore.

Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore

Founded by Emperor Jahangir some 400 years back, Anarkali Bazar is one of the oldest surviving markets in South Asia. Originating from the Mall near Lahore Museum, it’s just like a maze of narrow alleys and lanes stretching northwards towards Old Lahore.

It has a captivating history related to the character after which it is named. According to the legend Mughal Emperor Akbar’s son Prince Salim fell in love with Anarkali, Emperor Akbar’s coutesan who was given the title of Anarkali; ‘Pomegranate Blossom’ due to her charm and beauty by the Emperor himself.

Anarkali’s Tomb, Lahore

When exposed, their relationship was disapproved by Emperor Akbar as Anarkali was a dancing girl and was of no noble birth. When the lovers rebelled against the Emperor, Anarkali was buried alive in a wall which is said to be located within the bazaar. Her tomb is still there housed in the Punjab Secretariat near Anarkali Bazaar. Engraved on Anarkali’s grave is a couplet in Persion by Prince Salim a.k.a Emperor Jahangir:

“Ah! could I behold the face of my beloved once more, I would give thanks to my God until the day of resurrection.”

While strolling through its narrow paths, one can imagine the legend to be true and go back in time to the era of Anarkali. Hundreds of years old buildings, dazzling shops and buzzing streets make this bazaar so unique in its charm and character.

Anarkali Bazar is a shopper’s heaven selling virtually everything from handicrafts to soveniers; antiques to artifacts; electronics to every sorts of cloth, ready made garments and woven clothing. Prices are quite affordable and much lesser than other commercial areas of the city. Plus, while in Anarkali, you must bargain hard, for chances are you may succeed in getting things on as much as 50% of their listed price.

Lahore’s 2nd Gift to the World: Basant

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 2nd Gift to the World.”

The second most important aspect of Lahore’s cultural character is the colorful event of Basant; the Kite-flying festival in spring.

View of Lahore on Basant Night

Basant is a true Lahori celebration of colors, flowers, kites, fragrances, of love & of a sweet youthful time called Spring. Each March brings the colorful blooming of Lahore, the city of Gardens.

Whole of the city is decorated with colorful sponsor banners and lights all along the canal, the Mall Road and Main Boulevard, Gulberg. All major landmarks are lit up to show grandeur of Lahore’s rich architecture and its Mughal & British Colonial heritage.

Queen Noor Jehan’s brother, Asif Jah’s Haveli; all lit up for Basant

Friends and family gather at common places to celebrate reunions and party for most of the Basant Night. Starting from the sunset, flood lights are lit up all over the city’s skyline as people start off with white-kite flying. BarBQs are served with traditional Lahori dishes as the cries of “Bo Katas” & Dhol (traditional drums) echo throughout the next day.

Friends & Family celebrate Basant Source: Rehan Fazal’s Flickr

People from different cultures and countries are welcomed by their hosts. Many foreign dignitaries, diplomats from the federal capital, Islamabad are invited over to different Basant events in Lahore.

Lahore’s 1st Gift to the World: Lahori Khabay

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 1st Gift to the World.”

The word ‘Lahore’ is almost synonymous with food. Lahori Khabay or Lahori Food is something that has become a culture blended in delights from Desi cuisine to Western culinary.

For Lahoris, eating out is the favourite past time and food in itself is considered a celebration. You can experience this when you venture out on the city streets in the evening. There’s not a single locality without its own specialities. Road sides are lined up with small desi cafés; Khokay or Dhabas serve local delicacies from Chicken Tikka to Mutton Nihari and all of them never are devoid of hungry customers You can have a seat on those wooden benches or char-pais while enjoying fresh from the kitchen with hot n’ crispy bread; Tandoori-Roti. Add to it a chilled drink of Sprite or Desi Soda and you won’t have to worry about any digestion problems.

Gowalmandi Food Street, Lahore

In addition to these small scale outlets, Lahore boasts of specialities that are nowhere to be found except in this city of delights. Some of the most popular food points are named after their owners and founders. These include Ustad Phajjay kay Payay; Asif’s Nihari; fried fish at Sardar Machhli and Bashir Dar-ul-Mahi; Bhayay-kay-Kebab at Model Town; Butt kay Chanay; Yousuf Falooda; Benzair Kulfa and the list goes on and on.

The latest trend in Lahore has resulted in mushroom growth of European style Coffee Shops and Delis. Some of the most popular ones include Masoom’s Café, Coffee Tea & Company, Café HideOut and Moods Café. Another very popular place is the Cuckoo’s Den. Housed in centuries old haveli in Lahore’s old red light district, Cuckoo’s offers an experience from its views of the grand Badshahi Mosque, all lit up in lights and glory at night.

Cukoo’s Den

Although, these local cafés and eateries are not to be missed out, the best part of Lahori Khabay are its Food Streets. Lahore’s two main attractions are its two food streets; the one at M.M.Alam Road and the original desi Gowalmandi Food Street in Old Lahore.

Lahore’s Seven Gifts to the World

In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout this week. Ranging from Seattle’s jet planes to Karachi’s Nihari, these gifts are as diverse as interesting. We are a bit late in the club, however, will definitely try to catch up!

Lahore, as one of the most dynamic cities in Asia, has a lot to offer. Some of these ‘gifts’ are unique and have a particular Lahori touch to them. We’ll be wrapping them up and then present to the world. So, hang on to see what Lahore gifts the world.

Your suggestions regarding Lahore’s Gifts to the World are most welcome. Just drop a ‘Story Suggestion’ or email me your point.

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