A. Hameed’s first collection of short stories Manzil Manzil was published in 1948. There never has been a day in the sixty years when he has not written a story, a novella, a newspaper column, and a radio script, a screenplay for the movies or a fairy tale for children. His versatility is unmatched, as is his love for the city that has been his home alters he and his family moved here following the great 1947 upheaval. Although he still loves and misses his native Amritsar, it is Lahore that he has since given his heart to. This book is his tribute to this once and Forever City, this Shehraan da Shehr Lahore.Khalid Hasan, who reports from Washington for Daily Times has published 45 books that include a large number of translations from Urdu and Punjabi. He has been instrumental in bringing the work of Saadat Hasan Manto, Ghulam Abbas and Faiz Ahmed Faiz to English readers, at home and abroad. When Daily Times asked A. Hameed to write a weekly column on Old Lahore, Khalid Hasan offered to translate it from Urdu, a task he has performed without losing any of the original’s bite and flavour.
LAHORE LAHORE AYE
A. Hameed has always had the remarkable gift of bringing the past to life. His reminiscences of Lahore as it was in the early years of independence and through the 1950s are to be treasured because such evocative writing is rare in our literature. He writes about the city and he writes about his friends and those he came across in a long career entirely devoted to writing. His memories of old Lahore are like periscopes through which we can relive those times and catch a glimpse of the men who made the city what it was. That Lahore has passed on, as have many of those in whose company the young A. Hameed walked its streets. But in a way they are not gone, because he brings them back to life and with it the city as it once was. The old restaurants of Lahore are gone. So is the old Radio Pakistan, which did what it could, within its modest means, to keep A. Hameed and his friends, in tea and cigarettes, something that was enough to keep them happy. A Hameed takes us to the Coffee House, where we see Maulana Charagh Hasan Hasrat surrounded by friends, waiting to be served. “Maulana, is that white-bearded waiter the one who took your order?” someone asks. “It was quite black when I placed the order,” replies Maulana. With A. Hameed we return to a Lahore whose roads knew no more than the occasional car. We are back there on a dear winter day, with white pigeons flying in droves in the blue sky, and the trees waving gently in the breeze. This book brings together columns that A. Hameed wrote for Daily Times, which Khalid Hasan translated into English. So welcome to old Lahore, its history, its food, its people, its musicians, its writers, its streets, its wrestling pits, its theatres, its most memorable characters, in short, the entire unique culture that makes Lahore, well, Lahore.
Publisher: VANGUARD BOOKS
Author: A. HAMEED