Including fiction old and newfrom Manto and Chughtai to Ashfaq Ahmed and Zulfikar Ghose; Saad Ashraf and Sorayya Khan to Mohsin Hamid and Rukhsana Ahmad, City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore is a sumptuous collection that reflects the city it celebrates.
Amritsar to Lahore: Crossing the Border between India and Pakistan. Stephen Alter is writer-in-residence in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An accomplished writer in both fiction and nonfiction, he is the author of four novels and the memoir All the Way to Heaven: An American Boyhood in the Himalayas.
The ancient whore, the handmaiden of dimly remembered Hindu kings, the courtesan of Mughal emperors, the Paris of the East, Lahore is more than the grandeur of Mughal forts and gardens, mosques and mausoleums; the jewel colours of everlasting spring. It is also the city of poets, the city of love, longing, sin and splendour.
This anthology brings together verse and prose: essays, stories, chronicles and profiles by people who have shared a relationship with Lahore. From the mystical poems of Madho Lal Hussain and Bulleh Shah to Iqbals ode and Faizs lament, from Maclagan and Aijazuddins historical treatises and Kiplings chronicles to Samina Quraeshis intricate portraits of the Old City and Irfan Husains delightful account of Lahori cuisine, City of Sin and Splendour is a marriage of the sacred and profane.
While Pran Nevile paints a vivid sketch of Lahores Hira Mandi, Shahnaz Kureshy brings alive the legend of Anarkali and Khalid Hasan pays a tribute to the late melody queen Nur Jehan. Mohsin Hamids essay on exile, Bina Shahs account of the Karachi vs Lahore debate and Emma Duncans piece on elections are essential to the understanding of modern-day Lahore.
But the city is also about Lahore remembered. Ved Mehta and Krishen Khanna write about going back as Khushwant Singh writes about his pre-Partition years in Lahore. Sara Suleris memories of her hometown, the landscapes of Bapsi Sidhwas fiction, Khaled Ahmeds homage to Intezar Hussain and Urvashi Butalias Ranamama are tributes to memory as much as they are tributes to remarkable lives and unforgettable places.
Bapsi Sidhwa (ed.)