Reality Check – a disturbing picture of Lahore

Further to my post on Lahore and its various colours, the picture below offered a little reality check..

This ugly commercialism is unbecoming... 

From Today’s Daily Times  – the photo above, captioned “Taking a Backseat” laments: The Genesh Building on Lakshmi Chowk, one of the older buildings in the city, is obscured by billboards.

I had earlier written about this, quoting an Urdu verse:

Ek ham hain liya apni hi soorat ko bigaar
Ek woh hain junhay tasveer bana aati hai

Loosely translated (for the non-Urdu readers)

We who have distorted their own countenance
While there are many who create newer images
 Click here for more on this theme of architectural neglect.

Lakshmi Chowk named after the goddess of prosperity and wealth – Lakshmi – is an essential landmark of Lahore’s history. I think it was re-named after partiton but no one uses that name. It is still known as what it used to be before 1947.

The buildings there require conservation. After all, what is the meaning of the present without a link to the past. Devoid of heritage, a city loses its identity and this is what we are aiming for…?

Published in: on January 24, 2007 at 4:56 pm  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I saw this building on my last trip to Lahore (recently). It was terrible to see such beautiful buildings that should qualify for protection and renovation be abandoned in such terrible state. So much history being destroyed. If we don’t respect our past, how do we preserve our future?

  2. it is very true that we have spoiled the elevation of lahore. we move within huge signboards, without traces of any buildings.
    the picture you have placed is of lakshami chowk, named after the sculpture which was right on the top of this building but i guess its not there anymore.
    all these sign boards have advertisments of gujar badshah, wahshi rajput etc etc i guess lahore doest miss the sculpture of lakshami because we see saima and reema there.

  3. it is very true that we have spoiled the elevation of lahore. we move within huge signboards, without traces of any buildings.
    the picture you have placed is of lakshami chowk, named after the sculpture which was right on the top of this building but i guess its not there anymore.
    all these sign boards have advertisments of gujar badshah, wahshi rajput etc etc i guess lahore doest miss the sculpture of lakshami because it has been replaced by saima, meera and reema.

  4. ‘To let’ means wishful thinking and not all wishes come true. You might also want to study the beautification monster ads of Manila.

    Can you get into blogger accounts from Pakistan now?

  5. Jorn, Sumair and OR
    Many thanks for your incisive comments.
    Jorn: Yes I must write about the billboards in Manila. Better if I borrow some amazing pictures from your blog..
    thanks again, Raza

  6. Incidently I was born and raised in a house wall to wall with Laxmi building, I have seen internal decay of this beautiful exterior. Buildings adjoining Laxmi were occupied in 1947 as they belong to Hindus who fled on the eve of independence, my father was instrumental in saving these building from the roit fire including the Isherdass building and Rattan Cinema with a reasoning where would the displaced people from across the border take refuge. They still do not have the title therefore the condition of these buildings are in the present state. These properties are the ownership of Evacuee Trust Board,except for our house which is still there and we refuse to sell for profit in the memory of my father and grandfather. Just a piece of personal history from Laxmi Building which has TOLET sign after the demise of Lollywood.

  7. Hafeez Saheb
    Many thanks for sharing the personal history and the troubled tale of these historical buildings. I wish there was a sense of history, such as yours, among our urban planners and commerical developers.
    Keep visiting the blog!
    regards, RR

  8. Glad to come across such topic as I just able to revisit the great Lahore last week and thanks to a foreigner who helped me to explore Lahore with the eyes of beholder.

    Lahore is magnificent! Starting from too symmetric mirrors of Sheesh Mahal of Lahore fort to still rich in color stones at Jahangir’s tomb, one remains lost in visualizing the Mughal life hundred of years back until and unless your mobile rings a couple of feet away from Jahangir.

    Some comments from that British visitor:

    – If west people come to know these places one could not find a place to pray at Badshahi mosque

    – Having a couple of paragraphs in tourists books on such places is extremely unjustified!

    – In Britain one needs to have a booking in advance at least a couple of months before to have a dinner at Cuckoos’ cafe with stunning view of Bashahi mosque and Lahore fort

    – I dont know why I’ve not been coming to Lahore before though traveled across the globe…

    – I wish I could have time to visit Harrapa

    – Lahore and Pakistan could get a top slot in tourism sites if more easily accessible

    – and many more….


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