Haroon Khalid’s Imagining Lahore (Published by Penguin) is an anecdotal travelogue about Lahore – which begins in the present and travels through time to the mythological origins of the city attributed to Ram’s son, Lav. Through the city’s present – its people, communities, monuments, parks and institutions – the author paints a vivid picture of the city’s past. From its emergence under Mahmud Ghaznavi to the Mughal centuries where several succession intrigues unfolded on its soil, its recasting as the capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Khalsa Empire, the role it played in preserving the British Raj, to acting as an incubator of revolutionaries and people’s movements, Lahore influenced the subcontinent’s political trajectory time and again.
Today, too, Lahore often determines which way the wind will blow on Pakistan’s political landscape. The Lahore Resolution of 1940, which laid the blueprint for the creation of the country, was signed here.
The city saw the birth of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s PPP, as well as his downfall. It was to Lahore that Benazir Bhutto returned to combat a military dictator, and where Imran Khan heralded his arrival as a main contender on the political battlefield. As the capital of Punjab, Lahore continues to cast a long shadow over the federal state.
About the author
Haroon Khalid studied anthropology at the Lahore University of Management and Sciences. He has been a travel writer and freelance journalist since 2008, travelling extensively around Pakistan and documenting the country’s historical and cultural heritage. He has written over 200 articles for newspapers and magazines, including Express Tribune, the News, the Friday Times, Dawn and Himal, and a weekly column for Scroll.in. He is the author of three published books, A White Trail: A Journey into the Heart of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities, In Search of Shiva: A Study of Folk Religious Practices in Pakistan and Walking With Nanak.