The yearning of a 78-year-old Indian to visit Lahore

Published: September 6, 2015

“Can it show the picture of my village Uche Ladhe in district Lahore?” PHOTO:REUTERS

My uncle, a 78-year-old retired government officer, recently came to visit and stayed with us for a few weeks. One day, while I was working on my computer, he inquisitively asked,

“What sort of things can this machine do?”

I explained to him that one can write documents, make presentations, seek information on any topic, watch movies and listen to music, and view different places (including our own residence) amongst a zillion other functions. After a brief pause, with an innocent look on his face, he asked,

“Can it show the picture of my village Uche Ladhe in district Lahore?”

Touched by his question and his desire to see the place where he grew up, I searched the location on Google Earth and found his village, Ladheke. His face radiated excitement and it seemed as if a child within him had awakened.  We tried to locate his primary school where his generous headmaster by the name of Faizuluddin (from what uncle could remember) tirelessly taught him and many other notorious boys. His eyes sparkled when he narrated stories of the hullabaloo that him and his friends created while the teachers went for their namaz break.

He later asked me to show him the adjoining village, Ladekee Neewain. He explained that between these two villages was a mazar where an annual fair in the month of Poh (mid-December to mid-January) took place every year which he loved and enjoyed dearly. Even with his fading eyes, he tried to find the location of the fair and reminiscence about the jalebis and laddoos he shared with his siblings and friends. He went to tell stories of a similar fair that would take place in the month of March or April in Pandoke, a village just a few kilometres away from Ladekee Neewain.

He vividly remembers the opening of a warehouse named Pursram (now Mustafabad) on the canal bank on the Lahore to Kasur road, the adjoining area with a police chowki (station) and a Gurdwara. He was amazed at how he could actually spot the Punjab Highway patrolling police chowki at the same place where it used to be, near Nehar Wali Masjid, and even point at his grandmother’s village, Lalyani.

He went to narrate that after living in the village for years, he moved to Raiwind with his family. He still has vivid memories of his primary school teacher, Mr Sher Mohamad who would help students secure scholarships in Raiwind, and his middle school English teacher’s angry rants. He explained to me that during his school days, one had the option of either joining a missionary school in Raiwind or a government high school in Kasur, after finishing middle school. Despite his age, he still keeps a check on his area of residence, Raiwind, knowing that the current Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif owns a huge residence there.

I was amazed at not only his memory but the attachment he felt even after so many years, considering the fact that he migrated from India at the mere age of 10. He was greatly distressed by the British Raj’s decision to divide the subcontinent, which not only divided the country but also the hearts of millions, resulting in immense suffering. Having no hope of being able to visit his birthplace again, he was grateful for Google Earth, for it helped him take a journey back to his childhood. I could see his wrinkled face radiating and his fragile body emanating immense joy, enjoying the village fair which he has left physically but not emotionally.

Kirti Dua

Kirti Dua

The author has completed his BVSc, MVSc and PhD and is a Professor of Veterinary Medicine in college of Veterinary Sciences, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, India. He is also the author of three text books of veterinary medicine.

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

  • sahar

    Right, you were going great with the emotionally touching story but then you decided to press upon a touchy issue wherein I will quote diectly from the article ” He was greatly distressed by the British Raj’s decision to divide the subcontinent, which not only divided the country but also the hearts of millions, resulting in immense suffering.” Please stop with this propaganda, you will only get more hate remarks. Recommend

  • DudeFromDC

    If he wants to visit whereever he wants to visit, just go and visit. Why is this even an article here?Recommend

  • Malveros

    Very moving. Thanks.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    these pakistani hidus get beaten by their own fellow pakistani muslims ,after that they run away to india escaping persecution..not sure why do you run away at first place if you cnat get over it.if i were you,i would have converted and died there rather choosing to live in a state of nostalgia..Recommend

  • Asad

    seriously. they are just so obsessed. never mention their similarities or partition from bangladesh, even though they have high similarities in language, culture, clothing, etc. But every now and then, they write such articles for Pakistan. serious untreatable obsession.Recommend

  • Mohammad

    I really really wish your uncle can go and see the places he lived his childhood. I am not too old but I still use google earth to go places where spent my childhood, the roads I walked, schools I attended, and the house which was destroyed due to flood forcing us to relocate to the city.
    A Child’s brain is strong, it pick up and never forgets.. I have 100% memories of the places I left at the age of 10…
    It would be just like visiting a holy place for your uncle if he can ever make it to his birth place.Recommend

  • ajay gupta

    Surely not everything was idyllic in pre partition india? the maximum number of hindu muslim riots took place before 1947 & in west punjab surely hindus bore the brunt. if he left before he was 10, surely he wud have memories of only about 5 years? the past always seems rosy once you are over and done with it.Recommend

  • Kirti Dua

    Thanks for appreciatingRecommend

  • Kirti Dua

    Thanks very muchRecommend

  • Kirti Dua

    You are absolutely right Mr Mohammad that visit to your birth place is like visiting a holy place. But it is only a wishful thinking right nowRecommend

  • Kirti Dua

    Thanks very much for appreciation..Recommend

  • Kirti Dua


  • Mrs. Raziuddin

    The Hate Mongers are abundant online. What do they know of families and turmoil we go through while growing up. I was nine years old when my parents took us to Mumbai to visit relatives. It was fun eating lunch at one home and dinner and another family home. Then I visited 25 years later.Alas many of my parents immediate family members had died. Two years ago I visited and could not meet the third generation at all. I was on pilgrimage in Gujrat. So your blog is nice and I hope your uncle gets to visit my country.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was such a nicely written piece……I could so relate to your uncles feeling because recently seeing pictures of the place where I was born ( and that too in Karachi…here with you uncle, we are talking of a whole different country ) and the house that is no more……was, putting it mildly, nostalgic.Recommend

  • abhi

    Do you have to come here and show your ignorance?Recommend

  • Danish

    Actually wars leave dismay,poverty, damages behind it .but these materialist things can be recoverd again but the division of relations, division of beloved once can never be recovered still those who are alive wish to see the childhood’s places I know how much they are curious about it .I can feel that curiosity still .that my grandmother used to say always I wish I could see my home again in India but her wish buried along her in grave .I wished she could fulfill her desire

  • chakrs

    Not sure what you mean. A Punjabi will probably not be interested in Bangladesh; similarly a Bengali will have least interest in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Murali

    This nostalgia about pre-partition days is a North Indian, mainly Punjabi, thing and could prove dangerous and fatal. Unlike what people like the author romanticize, if an Indian turns up at the LOC, Pakistanis are likely to shoot first and ask questions later. If an Indian in a Pak city comes under slightest suspicion, he will be handed over to Police. Of course, the reverse is also true. So, let us all grow up and not have any Bajrangi Bhaijan nonsense please.Recommend

  • singh

    You are absolutely right that is the reason there are million of Muslim (Convert in due course) living in Indian sub-continent.Recommend

  • Kirti Dua

    Yes these are the nostalgic feelings of the persons who have gone through those difficult situations. I am in the second generation, who has only heard the stories from my parents. My mother was from Kasur. Her wish to visit her birthplace remained unfulfilled. She is no more. Now we have the third generation- which is having different priorities. I appreciate the feelings of Mr Parvez and Mr Danish could feel the emotions of persons of that age group. regards- Kirti DuaRecommend

  • Abdul Mannan

    Let your uncle come and visit his birthplace. I will personally receive him if he ever comes to Lahore :)

  • Kirti Dua

    So kind of you Mr Abdul. Stay blessedRecommend

  • Syed Muhammad Antiq

    Mr. Kirti Dua i was born in Distt Kasur. Pursram now Mustafaabad is like 2 hours drive from Kasur. If ever your uncle visit Kasur we’ll greet him well with Kasoori Faluda and Andrassay.Recommend

  • CHitvan Dhillon

    How can one article written by the same writer be published at two different places? Doesn’t this amount to plagiarism?Recommend

  • Kirti Dua

    Simply great!!. Last night I was talking to my uncle on phone that a friend from Kasur has a great offer for you- Kasuri Faluda and Andrassay…He was speechless for a moment. He was telling me that Word Andrassay he was listening after ages… It has taken him back to his childhood age. “I received his gift with his kind gesture” and want me to convey his thanks and regards to Mr Syed….Recommend

  • Ahmed Ata Khan

    I just loved your article and felt part of it. I wish your uncle could really visit his home.Recommend

  • Kirti Dua

    Mr Dhillon, Plagirism is taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. This was my article in HT and it was submitted to ET with prior intimation as I was interested to share the feelings across the border and the area of topic is district Lahore.Recommend