“Every time I come to Lahore, I find it more beautiful
than my previous visit…You breathe here and feel the
creativity in the air. It is the best city to live in and
create art pieces and literature.”
–Bapsi Sidhwa, 2008.
Bapsi Sidhwa was born in Karachi in 1938 to Parsi parents and moved to Lahore soon after. She witnessed the bloody partition of India and has been a prolific writer. Sidhwa has won many awards for her writings, which include Sitara-e-Imtiaz, which she was awarded in 1991. She currently resides in Houston, US. She describes herself as a “Punjabi-Parsi-Pakistani”.
She is not the first writer to love Lahore, the city has its fair share of admirers. However, radicalisation since the 1980s has led to the decline of Lahore’s place in the literary world, aided by the closing of public spaces where writers, journalists and free-thinkers could meet and mind meld. The state, and the military, has not been conducive to the development of free thought in Pakistan.
However, we do seen a recent revival of Lahore, a return back to it being the cultural heart of Pakistan. Literature and art festivals have been happening with frequency under relative calm. We can only hope that the calm remains and is not interrupted by terrorist threats and bombs scares that have strangled Lahore’s spirit in the past.