By Shoaib Hashmi
So it is the familiar ‘silly
buggers’ season again! I think perhaps it
is the onset of the heat that loosens the synapses
of the brain and we go off on some strange tangent.
This time round a committee met and deliberated
and came up with the gem that many of the streets
and localities of Lahore were named after obscure
dead people who were heathens to boot, and so they
thought up equally obscure and dead people to rename
Fortunately the season was short lived, and good
sense has prevailed and the whole thing has been
shelved, aided no doubt by the hornet’s nest
of conservationists one is liable to stir up in
such a venture. It is all a familiar scenario, like
the seasonal sniffles and runny tummies one is liable
to get at change of season, and it is no great shakes
because nothing ever comes of it. The Mall in Lahore
is the same despite decades of efforts to name it
after the founder, and most people will tell you
to go sit on an egg if you asked them to go to Shahrah-e-Abdul
Hameed Bin Badees! No offence to the gentleman,
whoever he is!
On other fronts though, we are still fighting tooth
and nail and refusing to give up. Like for instance
on our great talent for ‘Banning’ stuff.
As the first and oldest of Lahore’s demarked
suburban ‘Communities’ we Model Town
Wallahs, led by friend Zim are always particular
about our communal rights. Hence we were the first
to ‘ban’ the entry of noisy rickshaws
into out territory.
We forgot two things. First that Model Town is no
longer the exclusive preserve of the prosperous,
and a lot of our neighbors use the rick as their
normal mode. And second that Model Town is no longer
the end of the road, it is the short cut between
major residential areas.
And two more. No he-man Lahori rickshaw wallah is
going to make a detour of three miles for your fetish
over noise. And our usual enforcers are not Elliot
Ness and the Lone Ranger. The only equivalents of
the ‘untouchables’ are the Military
Police, and the people who have them to do things
are going to town!
The Cantonment has not only banned the entry of
rickshaws, it has then gone right on and banned
plastic bags too. I am not too sure about the latter.
For one thing plastic bags are not known for making
too much noise, and if someone wants to sneak one
in in his pocket, a glassy-eyed MP cannot know short
of a strip search.
In any case one gets the impression that people
whose communities have anything to do with ‘Defense’
like to ban things just because they think they
can. Some time ago they dug up the road going into
LUMS and no one get in or out for weeks. When asked
they said LUMS was not their baby and could hire
a chopper or grow wings for all they cared.
Now it is the turn of the Lahore School of Economics.
They use the Burki Road to get to school, and that
has been dug up, and looks likely to stay dug up
for a few years. We started using the brand new
Defense Phase 6 Boulevard, although that was still
incomplete because some more retired defense personnel
have their houses on chunks of it and refuse to
We managed taking small detours, and the society
was happy enough to charge us ten rupees a trick
for our pains. Then they woke up to the fact that
some people were actually using a road that is theirs.
So they have gone and stopped us. You know why?
Because they can!