La Tomatina festival in Lahore: Can we afford to do this?

Published: September 14, 2013

With our country's being below the poverty line, having events like 'La Tomatina Lahore’ is a gross inconsideration by the elites of our society. PHOTO: REUTERS

It seems as if the time has come for the Pakistani youth to be reminded of the simple yet appropriate pleasure offered by the water balloons. It just so happens that we’ve found a rather unorthodox substitute in the form of the tomato. But we can’t take all the credit for this, or any credit for that matter, as the idea has been copied from Spain’s annual tomato fight festival, La Tomatina’. 

For a country such as Spain, with its own traditions and culture and a far superior economic situation than ours, we might let such frivolities slide. 

Millions of Tomatoes are wasted in the ‘La Tomatina’ every year in Spain. PHOTO: REUTERS

However, when I came to know that the same festival was going to be simulated in Lahore this Saturday as ‘La Tomatina Lahore’, I felt that this has to be where we as a society draw a line on how much we are willing to try and imitate cultures other than our own. The fact of the matter is that in a country such as ours which is mired in poverty, we have to realise that we have to prioritise. When 60% of the population is living below the poverty line, we simply cannot afford such whims as deriving entertainment from pelting each other with a food commodity.

If this event actually does take place, it would not just be the wastage of a valuable food resource. The very fact that tomatoes, which are currently among the priciest of goods in the average sabzi mandi (vegetable market), this event is going to be a slap in the face of any underprivileged onlooker. You would be telling him/her that you have the power of not just affording but also wasting an item that costs more than half of their daily wage.

Although today we have become immune to the feelings and suffering of the poor, we would only have to take one look out of our air conditioned cars to realise that this is not the place to be wasting resources, let alone one as essential as food. There are people who spend their days working hard for their mere survival under the blistering sun, homeless families desperate to find nourishment and children alienated of their right to an education for having to work for their families’ subsistence. In this scenario, there is just no room for a rambunctious crowd of elite class youth spending Rs1,000 for six hours in which they will mindlessly pelt each other with tomatoes, apathetic towards the multitude of their own countrymen who will be spending that night on an empty stomach.

Flood victims in Pakistan begging for food. Photo: AFP

An event that is taking place on such a large scale, attracting the attention of more than 3,000 people on Facebook, would warrant an extremely large consignment of tomatoes. Just this week, it has been stated that there has been an extreme hike in the price of tomatoes all over Pakistan. Some people in our country, the third world country that we belong to, are below poverty line and probably cannot even afford to have a meal inclusive of tomatoes.

On the other hand, I had a brief conversation with one of the organisers of the event, in which he assured me that tomatoes will be given in excess and at no point during the event will there be any lack of tomatoes. At the end of the day we simply have to ask ourselves that is there a huge dearth of entertainment for us, that we can justify such extravagance, and justify the extent to which we are imitating foreign cultures rather than promoting our own?

Celebration of the La Tomatina in Spain. PHOTO: REUTERS

Although it was culturally unwarranted, but the case was different when a simulation of Halloween took place in Lahore last year. A Halloween party would not have raised the same direct questions in the mind of the poor that will be raised if an event like ‘La Tomatina Lahore’ is allowed to take place. The thoughts and emotions that such an event will trigger in the general populace will be enough to widen the disparity that already exists in our society between the elite and the less privileged. Such disparity is detrimental to national unity.

Growing up as part of the current generation has forced me to realise that if we don’t act fast, we as a nation will lose our cultural identity. Our English medium education conveyor belt is producing a brand new line of Pakistanis who are inept at reading the national language fluently. National spirit peaks exclusively on national holidays, only to fade away for the remainder of the year; and after extensively negating our culture we strive to emulate completely foreign cultures.

This latest example of La Tomatina takes this issue to an entirely new level, one which implies a further broadening of the gaps in our society while simultaneously undermining our cultural integrity.

Do you approve or disapprove of the La Tomatina festival?

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Ali Zafar

Ali Zafar

A freshman at LUMS who is passionate about writing, theater and linguistics.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Umair Kapadia

    Nice and good question raised on this unethical entertainment to be conducted in Lahore , But my friend writing would just not be enough for this, because Tomatoes are precious to us being muslim , in fact all veges ,this event has to be stopped ,

    All we need to take is the Action to stop this , only that could make some difference.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    Instead of wasting so many tomatoes,which can be used to feed many many ppl, on a completely pointless exercise, why don’t you guys play Holi instead (without the bhaang ofcourse). Trust me it is way more fun and a better bonding exercise. and before you get started about the harmful effects of chemicals on your skin & eyes, there is a market for bio-degradable holi powder as well.

    Get a bunch of guys & girls ;) together, play some naach-gaana waala music ,get your hands on some bhaang if you can & have the time of your life in a Holi Party :)

    Holi > La TomatinaRecommend

  • Syed Ali Hassan

    This blog has eloquently summed up my feelings towards this unfortunate activity. Its organisers may not have spared a thought towards its insensitivity for the feelings of the common man – somebody who struggles on a daily basis for the sake of a single roti to feed the entire family. Can we at least show our fellowmen, who cannot afford even the most basic of foodstuffs, some respect by not playing around with their means of survival?Recommend

  • Spanish arabia

    Pakistanis couldn’t find a Saudi substitute for the Indian Holi festival,so decided to adopt a Spanish substitute after Hrithik Roshan’s film… the lengths they go to strip off their South Asian identity …Recommend

  • Mj

    “Growing up as part of the current generation has forced me to realise that if we don’t act fast, we as a nation will lose our cultural identity.”

    The issue is not with ‘losing our cultural identity’, but rather with the wastage of food in a country where millions sleep with an empty stomach. The shows extreme level of insensitivity to the plight of the poor. Culture should never remain static, but morph and evolve with the times. Recommend

  • Spanish arabia

    The picture of the flood victims with empty vessels,asking for food,is disturbing and causing heartache.
    Can’t the PM allocate tax payers money towards making better policies and a better budget for disaster relief ?Recommend

  • Sane

    Tomato is Rizq (food) blessed to us by ALLAH. We must respect this blessing and should not follow if such nonsense events occur anywhere in the world. This shall be inviting wrath of ALLAH.Recommend

  • Hunza

    Well I myself had a chat with my friends talking about this festival which obviously is inspired by Spanish culture as you have already mentioned and to be honest at first my reaction was “wow yaar alla shughal lagay ga “(wow it will be great fun) yet at the very next moment same thing occurred to my mind and for once I am pretty sure it would have occurred to every the mind of that every burger bacha attending this festival but thinking alone won’t make difference !will it ? And talking abt my experience I convinced my friend to actually drop the idea of going there and instead of spending your money or if I may say squandering your money on this festival , using to help others would be beneficial in thousand ways ! Although your blog is quite impressive but it would have been better if you could convince the Banda behind this to use this money for something noble !Recommend

  • Adnan Rauf

    if some one is doing a festival on a private farm, using private tomatos what is your problem with it? its not like he is even using public propertyRecommend

  • Travel_Tart

    Tomatoes should not be wasted even in Spain.
    All countries of the world have poverty… while some countries have more than others. There are millions of hungry people in Europe too. Wasting food in the name of fun is not funny and must be stopped with force, if necessary. Recommend

  • Anas Ahmad

    After this event they should also consider running in front of the bulls…Recommend

  • Usman Ilyas

    @Adnan Rauf:
    The “problem” everyone including you should be having is that the man on his private farm was otherwise going to sell the tomatoes in the marketplace. By taking them out of the marketplace for food he is, at least locally and temporarily, creating a shortage and raising the prices of all other tomatoes in the market, putting them out of the reach of more people than if he had sold his own stock.

    But I will say this, however insensitive the idea, I would never advocate declaring this event illegal or stopping it by force. If the market has a conscience, let it vote with its pockets! If too few people sign up for this event, it will probably get cancelled and mission accomplished. If enough people sign up for the event to proceed, well, that will just be more confirmation for what we already know, that this country is full of **s.Recommend

  • Let them eat cake…

    @ Adnan Rauf

    You right about the private farm thing,but perhaps you should also read about the French Revolution and what starving peasants did to Marie Antoinette (another person who seemed to share your, ‘whats your problem’ attitude )
    Being legally right won’t fix your morality when starving people with empty plates revolt.When they set your cities on fire,then it’s too late,to start being HUMANE.Recommend

  • Lokhaze Ali

    Let the youth decide for themselves what they want… We didn’t do anything great in our times saving those tomatoes… Recommend

  • Gemini

    Dude tomatoes are 80 rupee a kilo here, kindly send me a truck If u have that much there.Recommend

  • Danish

    @Adnan Rauf:
    With due respect, that private farm is in the jurisdiction of the state and those private tomatoes are cultivated in every Pakistani’s land. State has much to do with that. When you live in societies, your every action has effect (direct or indirect) on other co-inhabitants. One cannot just negate this fact. Recommend

  • Faryal

    @Anas Ahmad:
    They wont run before or after bulls,they only copy something that is not risky to follow.These affluent people will never risk their lives.Recommend

  • Harris

    There is a fine line between being literate and acting literate.I believe the people who will manage to cherish and celebrate this event will include most of the well educated, affluent class smashing and throwing tomatoes while ignoring the under privileged who are striving and struggling just to afford two meals a day.When the most educated, well equipped and well groomed class of our society will behave in the most ignorant, illiterate and inhumane manner completely forgetting our religious, cultural or even economic viewpoint no wonder soon the whole society will be devoid of what little we have left of these.Those who are conducting and participating in this event should realize that they are not only wasting tomatoes, they are wasting a lot more! Recommend

  • Faryal

    That is why tomatoes are very expensive.Affluent wants to showoff their wealth because they know that tomatoes are a symbol of wealth these days in Pakistan,…hehe..Recommend

  • http://na deep

    If you can’t have tomatoes, play with karelas instead” – so said Marie Antoinette.Recommend

  • SA

    Problem is ……that it is an utter waste of resources in a world that is marred by poverty, hunger and famine. Most of all it is against the teachings of Islam which tells us to stay away from frivolous and asks us to be kind to [email protected] Rauf: Recommend

  • Protagonist

    Pity that our elites have stooped to this level of ignorance and selfishness. The country is on the verge of being bankrupt, masses are homeless, people don’t have food to give to give to their children, wide spread diseases are increasing mortality rates but above all literacy rates are falling but all our so called educated class could think about is celebrating an extravagant spanish cultural event.Recommend

  • AZ

    Wasting resources isn’t just an Islamic principle it’s common sense and anyone with an iota of sympathy would realise that just because you can afford a commodity doesn’t mean you have the right to waste it. And as far as ‘copying da westz’ is concerned, I’m usually in favour of it. What’s wrong with emulating the GOOD of other cultures but sadly that’s not what we do. We are copying frivolous traditions like these and forgetting our own principles. Why is it that none of us copy useful principles like hard work, integrity etc from cultures instead of silly things like a tomatoe festival?
    And why copy at all. BORROWING from a culture is not that bad provided what you borrow is of some substance.Recommend

  • AZ

    Also why not throw water(not drinkable) balloons at each other? Or paint? Hell throw mud at each other! I’m pretty sure there could be an alternative to throwing food.Recommend

  • Hammad

    Ali has touched a very important trait of the Pakistani society. The lack of defining our own culture and associating values to what we ought to believe in and stand by. We adopt the foreign so called entertainments in such a way that they become insanely absured. Shame on the people who would fund such acts, not thinking that the tonnes of tomatoes destroyed in this half day would have fed thousands of hungry souls.Recommend

  • Fatima

    This is just another example of how the privileged class is distanced from the harsh realities in Pakistan. These kids claim to be educated and well informed but this event just goes to show how stupid they are. A classic case of being parhay likhay jahils. Wasting food in a country like ours, where many go to bed on an empty stomach is nothing less than a crime.Recommend

  • Haider Ali

    @Faryal: I dont know about risking their lives but the morons will definitely do anything that will make the world look at Pakistan and laugh at the idiocies. The problem with Pakistan lies in us as people more than anything else. If the dude arranged this event had so much to spare he could have simply arranged a Charity Drive for the poor.

    Also its really funny how our culture vanished from the 2000s, it was right there till the end of 90s. Weird.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    We should have a festival where we pelt food at homeless people. Make a game out of it: whoever catches the most grapes in his mouth wins.

    Sounds cruel, but it’s still better than this criminal waste of food.Recommend

  • Asad Zaidi

    Oh God! This country is going to waste!
    After reading this article and the readers’ comments – it is certain!
    Its just a festival you guys! RELAX! Whats with the extremism? Why is it always that we Pakistanis are going to be against everything that happens here? Its supposed to be FUN. Thats it. In a place where there’s hardly anything else happening recreation wise, I find this to be something positive! The poor don’t need TOMATOES for God’s sake! They need food, education and health services! Tomatoes don’t provide all that! This is a simple fun activity and I am stunned to see a writer from LUMS thinks like this!!! No wonder the same stupid so called ‘intellects’ end up ruling our country! Whoever does not support this event – should simply not go! Stop being the judge! Whoever wants to go should not be stopped by anyone! That is what our religion says! Our Prophet did not spread Islam at gunpoint Mr Ali Zafar. I think you need to stop selling your opinion and get a serious job!Recommend

  • S

    it is pathetic that we are having things like thisRecommend

  • maira

    I have an idea guys, everyone who is in lahore, go to the event with a couple of shopping bags, collect these tomatoes and distribute them amongst the poor. simple. Recommend

  • Zahir

    Even if the elites want to have such festivals, the government should make sure that they are taxed heavily, that it is no longer profitable and infact take a big hit whoever arranges such festival.Recommend

  • Jaffar Ali

    I second your opinion on the language thingy, the new generation does not find it ‘attractive’ to speak the mother tongue, writing or reading is another thing. I just wish we could learn to take pride in the language, as other countries do, i find myself alienated while using the language among a bunch of friends, or sitting among the ‘elites’, how pathetic is that!Recommend

  • AB

    Wow. Unbelievable. Absolutely Infuriating. I’m stunned. I have to say I am in utter shock that an event such as this can even be comprehended in a country such as ours. Such inexcusable waste of a basic necessity that the majority of the nation cannot even afford is unwarranted and an act of malice. Can we so ruthlessly turn our backs away from the harsh reality of poverty that affects our nation, only to satisfy the whims of the wealthy? Really? What are the wealthy trying to prove here, that they have no conscience? That they have no responsibilities towards their fellow, less fortunate brothers? That only their frivolous desires matter? Or are they simply so insecure in their lack of identity that they must adopt others’ traditions as their own, in a futile effort to have some “fun”? Why don’t those resources be used and diverted to serve the poor instead. Why not initiate a noble cause on a large scale, and take this opportunity to do something for the poor. The feeling of satisfaction experienced would be unparallel to anything else. We have a national responsibility to speak out against such ridiculous behavior. This indeed is an act that would attract the anger of Allah. And we wonder why our country is deeply engrossed in such turmoil and struggle. Recommend

  • Maryam Ali

    Utterly disappointed reading about the above upcoming event, I am forced to express my opinion as to the definition of ‘literate’. Literate, my friends, is not a person who has read intellectual books, nor the person who carries degrees from fancy educational institutions, neither is the group of youngsters from a foreign based elite school. Instead, literate is the one who is aware, who has sight capable enough to see past the obvious, ears capable enough to hear past what is conveyed to him, and most of all; mind capable enough to understand.. to feel, to make judgements and to decide what’s right and wrong rather than imitating cultures of other countries.

    The event as outlined in the article above, I feel really sad to say, reflects the thinking of the illiterate. Of those who are either unaware of the economic situation of the country, or those who do not realise their values and responsibilities as a muslim, or those who are just so obsessed by the western cultures that they are willing to sacrifice their own priorities for it!

    However, reading the above comments, i feel relieved to know that majority of us still have our brains in the right place :) Hope and pray it makes a difference.Recommend

  • Adil Khan

    Hey why not through a Massive massive party with all that money, in the honour of our poor and needy countrymen, turn it into a tradition and inspire other nations to imitate us Recommend

  • Sohail Iqbal

    All the nations feel pride to carry their own cultural & values except us. This is the duty of Media, Teachers, Parents and Ulamaa to develop national spirit among youth. The ministry of culture and sports should promote our traditional sports, festivals & folk, sufi music, for strengthening of our own social values and manners. These people don’t belong us, we disown all this.Recommend

  • Mariam

    Not surprising. Lahore is full of “shodas” anyway, who can’t live without their branded Hermes bags. If ever a revolution does come, the first place should be Lahore, because really, they are asking for it now. Recommend

  • Adil Khan

    I think Lahoris have gone a bit over the top in an attempt to please the West, who in turn would mock their enability to celebrate the Spanish festival the way they do it themselves. And whats so cool about pelting eachother with tomatos? I would rather play soccer in mud..
    Please dont waste your time and resources on trying to become something your are not and never were..Be content with what you are and take the lead in fixing the problems your hard earned country is facing..
    We are going through very tough times.. Always give a once over to the poor and their wretched lives when you are out and about.. once you step into their shoes, you will never give a single thought to the idea of splashing your money on something as frivolous as La Tomatina.
    (The best joys i ever had were i served meals to the poor, jobless and homless)Recommend

  • Gp65

    You have two issues – one waste of food items in a country where many go hungry. Another is to celebrate in a way that the Arabs don’t which you consider foreign culture. Now if you celebrate Holi, your first issue will be addressed easily. But of course if you want to just have a dry culture like the desert Arabs – good luck and have fun or should I say ‘don’t have fun’. As long as you do not stop others from having fun, that’s fine.Recommend

  • Iqra

    You’re right at one extent. Yes tomatoes should not be wasted heck no food should be wasted but how do you know that this money won’t be given to the poor? It was just an event for entertainment, stopping this won’t make a difference there are alot of people in this country that don’t give food to the poor and needy at all,You maybe one of them, how can you say that this is wrong when there are a thousand people doing worst things in this country. Buying the tomatoes did help that poor guy, it made his day didn’t it? He didn’t have to sit there in this hot weather and wait for people to come and buy his tomatoes and they were going to go to waste after the end of the day or make it two days max. Don’t you think the organizers helped to a great extent? I am sure that they will give this money to the poor because no one likes doing sinful things. Why are people going against this when they themselves don’t give a rupee to the beggers on the streets.If they have some food product and they see a begger hungry they never seem to help why is that? Not wasting tomatoes will help? No it won’t because the poor people will still have to buy those tomatoes. If you really want to help the poor and needy then help them without worrying what others are doing. Yes it is a good that you tried stopping this but there are bigger problems in this country.What i don’t like about the people going against this and talking about islam is that they themselves don’t follow their religion, how can you say that it’s wrong in islam when the same people are doing worst things? Do you know that the first question to be asked in the grave is how many times have you prayed? Not how many did you stop people from going to an event. To go against this and stand up for islam you need to be a good muslim who follows it fully. Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    I cannot thank Ali Zafar enough for bringing this topic up. This festival is a perfect show of the extent of ‘Bey Hissi’ prevalent in our society. Whoever went to this festival openly slapped on the face of 60% population of this country. Leave this bizarre festival, I have even boycotted cafes and coffee shops from the last year, though I could afford all. I personally feel that drinking a cold coffee of Rs.400 is equivalent to making fun of the majority of your country mates. Recommend

  • mind control

    ‘La Tomatina’ is celebrated in ‘Al Andalus’ .

    As everyone knows the traditions of Al Andalus are Islamic traditions.

    Therefore, it is perfectly ‘Legitimate’ to have La Tomatina in Lahore.

    It would, of course, be un-Islamic to have Basant and Holi.Recommend

  • Talha rizvi

    @Spanish arabia:
    Your comments are moronic and offensive. No Pakistani in his right mind claims to be an arab despite Whatever rubbish you might have read in your local RSS newsletter. How about we rephrase this question as since the Indians could not find anything to make fun of in this news item they immediately assumed that this was inspired by an Indian film. Height of arrogance and stupidity. Pakistanis have far better knowledge of the world then people who show that every Pakistani is bearded, In a burqa or speaks like a member of old UP aristocracy in their movies.
    @ Deep: For a country where a billionaire builds a billion dollar home in a city of millions of Homeless you sure have a lot of concern for Pakistan. Mind your own business as it seems you are already on a diet consisting of Karailas.Recommend

  • Nasir Zuberi

    My friends, be a Muslim and don’t invite Allah’s anger. it’s absolutely not a matter of cultural conflict. It is against teachings of Islam, please keep religion ahead of every other thing.Recommend


    ET: I take umbrage to the 3rd pictures caption. “Begging”??? holy sh*t! Oh for the love of God, don’t degrade these under privileged people, they deserve every inch of this planet and more so all essential things to survive. I just found the term “begging” in bad taste! Recommend

  • Parvez

    Right now its 1:17 am Sunday morning…………….so did it happen ??Recommend

  • Imran

    It is just a little addition to 1.3 billion tons of food, that is wasted every year. According to the “Food wastage footprint” by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO), more than 1.3 billion tons of food, which amounts to USD 750 billion, is wasted in production, distribution and consumption every year. And this is the essence of capitalism. As it will have t do much with demand and supply. So don’t condemn a single bad thing, condemn the whole bad system. Recommend

  • Imran

    @Fatima: You are so right. I’m Agree with your opinion. Recommend

  • Shaheer

    @Adnan Rauf: Dude, unless they guy is not a muslim he can use as many tomatoes as much he want but since in Islam forbids us to waste food, then there is NO point of private farm and tomatoes or not!Recommend

  • Yasmin Elahi

    This is really deplorable! Wasting food for the sake of entertainment is unethical by all means..and in a country like ours where the majority is living below the poverty line, organizing such an event is really unpardonable! Every sensitive and sensible Pakistani is disgusted at the attitude of these filthy rich people who have no consideration of the sufferings of people around them! How low can they stoop while imitating cultures totally alien to ours? It is high time that they stop and think!Recommend

  • Yasmin Elahi

    @Asad Zaidi: with tomatoes selling at rs 50 pr kg please calculate the amount of money that would be wasted. The poor may not need tomatoes but they would certainly need this money, to feed their family, pay their kid’s school fees or buy medicine for their old parents!Recommend

  • maria

    Ohh now I know why tomatoes are being Imported from India so that these fools will waste them and the common man will pay the price for them!!Recommend

  • Ameera

    This is such a ridiculous event that we know it’s wrong on so many levels. Come on, seriously, what is the world coming to? Decency, discipline, proper entertainment and civilised behavior have been replaced with senseless partying, hooliganism and a culture so “free” that it leaves all sensibility behind.

    Living in the US, I see first-hand how low people can sink in the name of entertainment and fun. At the same time, cultured and decent people exist here too and the difference between the two groups is marked. Call me backward or whatever, this is wrong. We’ve lost it, seriously, if we start to justify such events and follow a culture of “fun” that has nothing substantial in it – no sense, no shame, no morals. Recommend

  • Muhammad Musharaf Shehzad

    @Adnan Rauf:
    Problem is that Tomato is a food and and it is under public property! If you don’t belive me go to Germany and order ectra food than leave it! You will be charged fine for wasting food, this thing migrated to many eouropean countries including Scandal Navian countries! But you as a poor nation not only be wealth but also by mind adopted a Spanish voulgar, immature, ridiclous and food-wasting event instead of adopting the above mentioned rule!
    I am sorry to heared such thing from you!Recommend

  • Muhammad Musharaf Shehzad

    @Asad Zaidi:
    need a fun! go run infront of a bull!Recommend

  • ibn arastoo

    The Indians are upset that Pakistanis are going to be celebrating a European festival. Take it easy Indians, you have Holi so enjoy that. We are not Hindus so let us at least have fun with the European cultures. As far as the poor people are concerned we can give them the proceeds from the event (they already are going to give money to the poor). It is better for the poor to have some money so they can buy any food (not just tomatoes). As for the young people who will pay to enjoy this event – enjoy yourselves and try to be nice and loving towards one another. You do not deserve this kindness because the Europeans are far nicer, far more loving, and far prettier and fairer … but you have been blessed by God so be grateful and redouble your efforts to help the poor after you enjoy this festival! Don’t forget to thank Europe and Spain and don’t forget to send some love to the Indians who are upset that you are becoming “less Indian”.Recommend

  • Shahamat

    You dont define any culture you inherit it. and what we inherited we have disowned. it all but that natural that we look to other culture to have some fun. All of us are doing this …… then why judge others who can have more fun. instead of trying to make every one realise that we are poor please put your enegry in being a rich nation.Recommend

  • indi

    Play Holi instead, festival of colours. Lots of fun , Lots of opportunity ( hehe)Recommend

  • Madiha Anas

    Uff Pakistan, how will you ever resolve this schizophrenia? How will the bubble of these idiots ever burst to realize where they are living? How will they ever see the human side of their extremely human, underprivileged countrymen and women. it hurts to see the way people waste food in America and I used to think, well, at least THAT doesn’t happen in Pakistan, yay, we’re one up! And now I see this!Recommend

  • saeeda


    Does anyone know the idiot or idiots who organised “La Tomatina Lahore”? Where is the logic in throwing tomatoes on each other when so many people can barely afford 1 meal per day. Shame on people like this.


  • جوانی پِٹّا

    @Adnan Rauf:
    My problem is that the resulting tomatoes paste will end up in the karahis of Lahori restaurants.
    Don’t go to any restaurant for next 30 days. Recommend

  • Khalid Rehman

    In addition to wasting expensive resource, this is strictly against our religion because when we waste food, we actually deplete what we were to get in the afterlife.Recommend

  • mind control


    ‘La Tomatina’ comes from Spain.

    And Spain is Al Andalus.

    And Al Andalus is Islamic Land.

    Therefore, La Tomatina is an Islamic Festival.

    Or at least more Islamic than Basant.

    Lahore must have La Tomatina.Recommend

  • Furqan Ali Akhtar

    From Al-Bakistan number plates to imported events – Various moments to prove that we do not deserve independence. We love to be monkeys of the Arabs and the West. Nothing wrong in being festive but why cant we promote/commercialize our own events. We are not even a tomato producing country – We produce wheat – and there is a beautiful ceremony post-harvest celebrated in the villages of Punjab,an event that has all the ingredients to counter any such event. Why celebrate the valentines day when we are no short of our own love stories (Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal). Why smoke sheesha when we have our own amazing HUKKA!
    Syndromes of identity crisis must end!Recommend

  • Ali

    Can the organizers throw in some eggs and salt to the mix and then have the less fortunate fill up their bags with a ready to fry omlette once they are done throwing the eggs n tomato on each other :)Recommend

  • sidra shahzad

    Such a waste of time, resouces and money… Its a shame how numb we are to the sufferings of others. I’ve always been proud that no matter how bad we are as a person..but when it comes of helping others we leave our interests behind. But seeing this waste of food when there are hundreds of flood victims fighting for one meal makes my heart ache.
    And then we say we are muslims…!!!!Recommend

  • Mustafa

    These farts are desensitised from reality. Food is taken for granted for these spoilt brats. Careless, thankless, thick, and arrogant they remain. Shame on them.Recommend

  • Agha Pervaiz

    After living in America for long, long time and staying in touch with Pakistani news and some relatives; it is my understanding that parents, leaders, and educators need to get together and devise volunteer activities. We all know that Pakistan has serious issues of safety, security, lack of clean water, and proper education for poor kids. Our next generation wants to copy the West. Believe you me there is good in every culture, but I have seen the poor and women are exploited even in so called advance cultures of the West. I am not judging anyone; it is high time that Pakistani media and resourceful people should encourage youth to take part in neighborhood watch, make a list of the poor and elderly in their mohalla and set up a get together to raise funds for needy people. When we were teens in Lahore, we used to go to River Ravi for swimming and boating, played table tennis, attended, milads, and quwalli sessions; asked our parents for funding to help the poor. At Masjids after Jumma prayers Imam used to announce that few needy families need your help without naming the people, and people gave contributions. We also went to movies with friends, went fishing attended cricket matches. There are lots of constructive things people can do instead of throwing tomatoes at one another, which might have a positive outcome for tomato growers only. I am very hopeful that our youth will make some groups and perform volunteer work in their neighborhoods. Do not leave every thing for government to do. Pakistanis are lucky that a civilian government survived for five years and a peaceful transfer of government has taken place. People should learn to help themselves and pay their utilities bills instead of stealing water and power, like few privileged people do! If you hear and see that someone is plotting to blow up innocent people, you should report such people. If you see someone is leaving bags or luggage unattended in a busy market, report it. Pakistanis as a nation should wake up and refuse to be held hostages by a small minority, who wants to impose their will on the majority. I plant to bring Occupational Safety, Life Safety, and fire safety technology to Pakistan. Also I want to start small business franchises (fast food Kiosks) in Pakistan, but many of my friends are discouraging me. I might visit Pakistan in October 2013 to see how I can help in creating jobs buy helping people start small businesses. Ja Jan Pakistan, Agha Pervaiz Recommend

  • Rahim

    In my opinion, your opinions melt down to only one reliable argument which points out the risks of widening the existing class divide in the country- that I accept to an extent. But as for the rest, My friend, as much as I appreciate your opinions, I think you are falling for the outlook of this event. If you sit down, take a breath and do the numbers you will know there is no economical loss to the country! In fact “La Tomatina” and similar fun events are an effective way of circulating money which we all should know is a prime factor in boosting economic conditions of a country. Let me also make it clear that the tomatoes that the participants will be hurling at each others will be paid for! So technically, the tomatoes that a poor farmer will sell somewhere in Pakistan is getting the immediate reward for it! By the way, when it comes to cultural aspects of this festival, let us not think all negative because playing with tomatoes does not, not allow, anyone to market our national festivals. Indeed I will back you up equally if you come up with an idea of promoting our own culture. Let us think in objective and meaningful terms instead of getting all emotional about it. I do support La Tomatina in Lahore.Recommend


    @ibn arastoo: Dodo… we had the concept of tomato throwing (wasting) a few years ago and majority of Indians shunned it and gave it a thumbs down. Please keep off that bong pipe… its frying your brain cells! Recommend

  • Aizah Obaid

    It’s sad that in Pakistan the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer. It would have been so much better if they could each give a bag of tomatoes to a poor family and see the smiles on their faces. They can easily afford to travel to Spain to participate in the actual festival. Recommend

  • http://- Amna

    @Adnan Rauf: ‘You’re post is directly proportional to ” if some is arranging a rape orgy in a private farm house ( God forbid) it is his property to do so? and he shouldn’t be questioned about it because its private property? Recommend

  • Parvez

    I still could not confirm if it happened or just fizzled out or what ?…………..could someone from Lahore confirm ?Recommend

  • sadia

    Very well writtenRecommend

  • Syed Habibullah Hussain

    shame upon us we r calling us muslim, wasting food for just an enjoyment, this is the reason we all are struggling .. shame upon us..Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed

    Stupid event it is, but why has the word “fun” become an expletive in our country??..Recommend

  • Sam

    i agree that we should not go ahead with this, and it is abit inconsiderate. however, we can tell our youth to spend it on something else.. its not good for people always to advise others to not spend on ourselves, but give to charity. We can for example encourage them to go watch movies in the cinemas, money which will go into our economy, and help the employees of cinemas so on.Recommend

  • Aamir Malik

    If you check historically, it wasn’t marie Antoinette who said these words. It was another aristocratic lady. It is a misconception. French revolution was caused not soo much by the peasants as it appears, it was caused after the Tennis Court Oath, in which not a single poor person participated. It was done by the lawyers, doctors, etc of the French society then, because they weren’t allowed active participation. When the royal family was deposed, these people came into power, and did NOTHING for the poor, in fact the poor suffered for well over a 100 years after that. It was not the middle class consciousness rising for the poor, but rather they became aware, that they had enough food, and decent clothes and houses, but they had no value in society…this inferiority complex of the middle classes brought the French revolution. Who do you think spread all the stuff and lead classes of poor. ding dong politically isolated middle classes. In fact some children of the elite also joined the revolution, because it was the in thing.
    @Let them eat cake…: Recommend

  • Ayesha

    @Adnan Rauf:
    So if you have farm animals on your private property, u can’t batter them to death. People will question Immorality. This is rizk provided by Allah. Just because it’s on land of one person doesn’t give him the right to crush the rizk under his feet. We are answerable for all the resources we are given and how we spent them. Allah has given enough for this world. Some people have way too much while the others have nothing. HE made some people responsible and masters of those blessings. Allah will ask that day, if you had enough to spare, why are my people dying of hunger. People who have soooo much, think they are blessed but in reality, people who have nothing are more blessed. They are not answerable to any acts. Allah will question every one with how they utilized their blessings. Fear that day. He has given you, He can take away your tomatoes and the private properties. Recommend

  • Ayesha

    @Asad Zaidi: It’s sad that this is an idea of fun. Let’s try to empathize with the under privileged. Respect food, have fun in another way. Don’t advocate for wastage of food. This is not a good sign for the future of our nation. Remember how Pharaohs enjoyed their lives while common men slept in pain. We don’t realize we are the Pharaohs of today! Recommend

  • Ayesha Naeem

    @Anshuman Tripathy:
    Uh and why in the world should we play Holi? We, Pakistanis, should be promoting our culture instead of other nations’ cultures. Most of us have already forgotten our values, traditions and culture and this event will only increase this process.Recommend

  • Umar

    While this article does provide a strong basis for not holding the festival (I mean seriously we are muslims and cannot waste food. PERIOD) but seriously the author should think twice before fabricating numbers such as the 60% of people living below the poverty line. As per the last UN census it was 22.3% and you should not change it just to make a point. Recommend

  • http://outlook Falcon Eyes

    sir its not about matching culture with Arabs … We celebrate holi,Havoline,Basant and many more events in Pak ..!!! the point is “TAMATAR 140-170 rupay kilo hain” (tomatoes cost i40-170 per kg) it is equal to price of 1 kg chicken!!!
    .. In last few months my mom is striving to find the substitute!!!! my sweet country is not in a position to play with such a unique item!!! lolx!!!!Recommend

  • http://outlook Falcon Eyes

    @ mind control..
    thanks a lot for this wonderful research sir!!! just at the sake of dragging Islam into commenting section!!! Recommend

  • Ali

    @mind control:
    Please let me correct you. The festival takes place in the province of Valencia; not Andalusia (Andalus) as you pointed out. Recommend

  • mind control

    @Falcon Eyes:

    thanks a lot for this wonderful research sir!!!

    Just trying to understand- Why Lahore would shun Basant but embrace La Tomatina?

    Awaiting your take on this.Recommend

  • Areej

    Wouldnt it be fantastic if this festival turns into a festival of giving – the tomatoes brought in for pulping and throwing around at a crowd of people and to be squashed under their feet are given to poor living around the slums and the outskirts of Lahore. What a surprise would that be? When will we ever be original and promote our own culture? And whats the next best thing to having the time of your life anyways? Its to give and see someone else being truly happy and content. Recommend

  • Zahoor Motiwala

    And some enterprising chap may decide to pick all the tomatoes and process them into cheap ketchup that will be sold in bulk for us all to eat at the roadside food stalls.Recommend

  • Areej

    I think the authors up to date with that info. According to the recent publication of World Development Indicators (WDI) 2013, it is 60%. Pretty saddening. Recommend

  • Spanish Arabia

    @ Talha Rizvi

    What’s moronic, is how you assumed that anyone who has an opinion contrary to yours,is a person who has been weaned off rss ideology …
    You’re mistaken about both,my nationality and my religion !Recommend

  • Np

    Throwing water balloons and paint? Ah that would belie celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival. How can such shirk be committed?Recommend

  • Np

    @ibn arastoo:
    It is not Indians that are upset that you are celebrating this festival. This article is not written by Indians. Most ple commenting against the festival are not Indians. The only suggestion Indians made is that if you find the food wastage offensive but still want to have fun, you could play Holi with water and color. And if you feel that copying Indian traditions is unacceptable AND wasting food is unacceptable, continue with your dry Arabic lives.Recommend

  • Gp65

    @Falcon Eyes:
    Sorty. Your response to me is not factual. Basant is banned in Lahore where this festival is taking place. I have no idea what Havoline is and except for Hindus who celebrates Holi in Pakistan? No one. so continue to copy the dry Arabic culture and reject all sources of fun.Recommend

  • Adil Khan

    @Ayesha Naeem: Yes indeed.. why should we accomadate indian festivities while we have our own distinct culture and religious indentity that we are proud of.Recommend

  • Khalida Khan

    It is a real shame that Lahories have become ‘Copy Cats’. Haloween, something against our faith, and now Tomato Festival. Is’nt there enough dirt in the streets of Lahore to create more. How can we identify with the ‘Tomato Festival? It sounds so alien to our thinking and our culture. They could have celebrated it by making that day a philanthropic event by donating vegetables and flour to the poor, undernourished and the homeless. I fail to comprehend the significance of such an act. I am a senior residing in the United States, but I spent a year living in Gulberg in Lahore. During my morning walks I would come across large bungalows; one can call them mini-palaces, with tall gates and big lawns, and then I would reach a beautifully manicured park, the name of which I cannot recollect. On the other side of the park were the ‘Jhugghies’, with standing water but no water to drink. The place stank of excreta. It was the coldest month and I met a small child, who was eight, but looked like he was five years old, wearing a long shirt and a small worn out chaadar around his bony shoulders, and he had small metal glass in his hand. I asked him where he was going. “My Amma is sick. I am going to get some milk for her tea.”
    I became inquisitive. “How much money do you have?” I asked. “One rupee” came the reply. I wish had more money on me, but I gave him ten or fifteen rupees that I had on me.
    The child broke into tears. and I felt his pain. I witnessed weddings in those palaces and the left over food thrown in a dump. In these very palaces there are ‘Quran Khatams’, and other religious rites or functions. Where are the consciences of these people. How can they enjoy the luxuries, when their poor neighbors are starving? How hypocritical can these people be. They might be valued for their extravagance and wealth by their acquaintances but have they ever thought of their place in the eyes of Allah SBT?

    The youth who should be responsible for bringing about a change are the ones delving into the practices of the west. A Real Shame! Recommend

  • Shoaib Ahmed

    Writing this article must have felt like walking into a park and ambushing amorous couples.Recommend

  • MA

    okay so a few years ago, hardly anyone in Pakistan knew about this festival, and now, with credit to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, the elite have found another way to party and act cool while imitating a Spanish festival.
    And if you ask them, they’ll say we’re too cool to have gotten this idea from an Indian movie.

    I wish they could see something other than just the Tomatina in ZNMD. Understand life better, get the essence of the movie.Recommend

  • Rabia

    that photograph made me cringe. How insensitive and wasteful can we get? Recommend

  • zainab

    Looking at it from a different point of view, those poor tomato sellers must be happy campers! They made a killing selling all those tomatoes. So you guys can rant and rave all u want, but at least someone went home happy. That being said, I am against wastage of food and these people could easily have had a rung party instead.Recommend