“My Old but Ever New Pindi” (Part 1)

By Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai

Editor’s Note: The writer was born and brought up in Rawalpindi. His father was a tribal Pathan and his mother from Delhi. He studied in Denny’s High School; migrated to Mission High School in 1935. Also studied in Gordon College. He worked as a Consultant in Provisioning & Stock Control and Logistics in various Organisations. Finally retired from PIA and now lives in Dubai with his only child who is working in the Emirates Airlines.
He will write a series of articles about the life in Rawalpindi during 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Rafique Ahmed Khan

Rafique Ahmed Khan

While passing through the 9th decade of my age I have evidently obtained rich experience and possess all types of memories of life; though fading fast but still can be triggered if reminded.

Rawalpindi which is famously known and called only Pindi, was one of the cleanest cantonment boards of the then India. Early before dawn as well as in the evenings the water carriers (Mashkys) and sweepers used to clean (without fail) the drains, streets and roads. The Municipal Fire Brigade’s water trucks used to sprinkle water twice daily on the roads which were mostly dusty especially in the city area. The kerosene lamp posts were fixed at convenient distances everywhere in the streets; which were cleaned and filled with oil in the mornings and lighted in the evenings regularly without fail. Lo and behold these lamp were so luminous and glowing; shedding healthy cool and pleasant light that the things were better seen than with the present electric lights which are adversely effecting the eyesight of the public.

There was very insignificant communal tension between Muslims and Hindu/Sikhs; and the festivals were ordinarily commonly celebrated. The sale of beef of course was not allowed publicly; and which was only available in a general market in Saddar area meant for British residents. Though a few “Jhatka meat shops”(goats/sheep killed instantly with swords by the Sikhs) had started coming up by the Sikh community; but Muslims did not seem to be concerned so much.

License for fire arms were issued to either ex Army officers or to specially recommended citizens. However swords were allowed to be kept without license by the Muslims also during late 1930s. I sill remember a good quality sword was sold at 15-20 rupees in a newly opened shop in Hakim Khaliq’s building just opposite the Jamia Masjid run by Seth Abul Rahim an elite who used to live in Saddar area.

An Old Haveli of Rawalpindi

An Old Haveli of Rawalpindi.

Some schools like Denny’s High School in the Cantt area, Mission High School, Khalsa High School, Islamia High School with scattered branches all over the city area, St. Mary’s High School; and only two colleges Gordon College and D.A.V. College were located in the city area. Headmaster Mr. Nisar of Denny’s High School and Headmaster Mr. Fazal Ilahi of Mission High School were very prominent and considered as high gentry figures. Discipline in the schools was vigorously maintained and on all Mondays we had to show our hands in the “Assembly” for any uncut nails; and were bound to have weekly hair cut (mostly Army cut was preferred). There were no uniforms, but we were bound to wear clean dresses. In case of any breach of discipline we were generally sent back homes as a punishment.

In the beginning there were only two cinemas in the city namely Imperial Cinema and Rose Cinema; and later New Rose Cinema, Luxmi Cinema, Novelty Cinema, Nishat Cinema and Moti Mahal Cinema were constructed in various places in the city area. The Imperial Cinema has since been demolished and replaced by Imperial Market; where all types of electronic goods are sold.

There were two banks namely Sindh Punjab and Habib Bank working in the city; and only one insurance company namely Oriental Insurance Company located in the heart of city was functioning.

Famous doctors were Dr. Ghaseeta Ram with his two sons namely Dr. Dhanraj and Dr Roy, a dental surgeon, also started their practice along with their father after studying from abroad. Their clinic was next to Jamia Masjid. After Partition they left for India; and the building was used by Dr. Minhas who later died and the building was being used by general traders. There was another Sikh Dr. Kartar Singh practicing in the Bohar Bazaar. There was only one Muslim Dr, Mahmood Ali Khan whose practice only flourished after the Partition: otherwise he kept himself busy by playing hockey. His clinic was in the building of one Pleader Raja Abul Rehman on Pull Shah Nazar on the same Jamia Masjid Road and who was only one of a very few Muslim car owners. His car a small baby Austin remained off-road often for repairs.

Another very interesting place on the Jamia Masjid Road was a milk shop owned by Hussainoo doodh-wala. The actual business in his shop started only after late night when people started coming to drink hot sweet milk served in glazed earthen huge cups, and salted or sweet “Lassi with perhas” a very tasty drink made with curd and dehydrated/ caramelized milk (KHOYA). He used to close his shop late at two in the morning. ……….TO BE CONTINUED.

Related Pages:
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 1)
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 2) 
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 3) 
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 4)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 5) 
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 6) 
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 7) 
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 8) 
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 9)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 10)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 11)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 12)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 13)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 14)
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 15)
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 16)
My Old But Ever New Pindi (Part 17)
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 18)
My Old but Ever New Pindi (Part 19)
Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi  
Rawalpindi Blog 

Editor’s Note: If you have liked this page, then please share it on FacebookTwitter or any other social media.
If it is not inconvenient, please do write a brief comment at the end of this page under the heading “Leave a Reply here”.
Visitors of this website are welcome to contribute their nostalgic articles about Rawalpindi by sending to: nativepakistan@gmail.com



  1. “In the beginning there were only two cinemas in the city namely Imperial Cinema and Rose Cinema; and later New Rose Cinema, Luxmi Cinema, Novelty Cinema, Nishat Cinema and Moti Mahal Cinema were constructed in various places in the city area. The Imperial Cinema has since been demolished and replaced by Imperial Market; where all types of electronic goods are sold”

    I missed this write up when it appeared for the first time.

    I will take liberty for a bit of corrections.

    The oldest cinemas were Rose, Imperial and Parkash (Not Lakshmi) renamed Nigar. Later came New Rose and Novelty. Nishat was completed just before Partition. After Partition it became dump for movable property left behind by Hindus and Sikhs. Quite often, we used to take out tonga loads of goods and deliver those at refugee camp set up in a school building on Murree Road which later became Girls High School and afterwards, first Girls College. It is now being used as offices of Education Directorate of Colleges. ‘Nateeja’ was the first film shown at Nishat after it was cleared of the dump. New Rose became Taj Mahal after major renovations. As regards schools, St. Mary’s was started much after Partition at the site of old Holy Family Hospital on Murree Road near Company Bagh.


    • Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman says:

      Respected Brig Syed Masud Sahib,
      Thanks a lot for your comment and also thanks to your memory. I wonder if you remember anything regarding Municipal Commissioner of Rawalpindi Chaudhary Gulsiraj Khan or his brother Chaudhary Waris Khan or his nephews Chaudhary Maula Dad and Chaudhary Zafar-ul-Haq?

      • Dear Brig Syed Masud ul Hassan,
        It is regrettably informed that Rafique Ahmed Khan Sahib passed away in Rawalpindi on 11 July 2016 (INA LILLAH WA INA ALLAYH RAJOUN).

  2. Having learnt about the sad news of Mr. Rafique Khan Sahib’s death , I believe the PINDIWALs have stopped checking the articles.
    In fact these are merely not the articles, but the voice of all of your’s heart, which shows the love of your soil and the area where all of you were brought up with all of the pleasant memories now you share.
    Born 1952, used to live in Chotta Bazaar Saddar, where I spent my childhood till 1964. Studied unto Matric (1957-1968) in Model High School Bhusa Mandi. Sir Raza Ur Rehman was Head Master of the school. Still remember the shops in Chotta Bazaar of Moulvi Tayyab (Deeni Kutab Store), Sheikh Younus, Ali Hotel, Iqbal Boot House, Sheikh Amin’s hardware Store and Buxlays paint shop, Kikko (Khokhar) Mehfooz (Billu) Khokhar. Naeem Khokhar (PPP’s MPA), his sister Ms Nasira Khokhar, Qazi di Hatti, Qamar di Hatti, and many others. Used to watch Moharram Procession from the roof of one of the houses with wooden galleries, with its entrance just in front of the ihaata where we used to live. In 1963-64 we shifted to RA Bazaar behind Station School and remained there till 1982, when we shifted to our own house at Tulsa Road, Lalazar (Old PTV office) area.
    Now I am residing in ABAD Cooperative Housing Society Adiyala Road and working in Saudi Arabia as Project Manager Architecture (NCA graduate 1974-79) Session.
    Would like to hear from you all.

  3. Yousuf Haroon Khan says:

    I belong to Morgah Rawalpindi from the family of Khans of Morgah. My grandfather Late Khan Sulaiman Khan was govt contractor & Attock Refinery contractor and former Rawalpindi District Council Chairman. I had gone through all the posts. I know Chohan family, Late Mr. Moula Dad Chohan was my grandfather’s close friend, even the Rajgans of Ghora Gali were his friends.
    If anyone has any old photograph of Attock Oil Refinery Morgah please do reply, thanks.

    Any history of Morgah & Dhamial?

    Anyone here have Rotary Club Rawalpindi Old photographs of era 50-60’s?

  4. SAT GOEL says:

    I was born in Rawalpindi in 1931 and late father was Mool Chand who worked as a Station Master in NW Railways. I was a student of Denny’s High School up to 1947 when I was in the 10th class. During my time, Bawa Moti Singh and then Anup Chand Nanda were the headmasters.

    What we learnt at Denny’s cannot be expressed in words. The discipline in the school was inspiring. The values we learnt stood the test of the time and helped to advance in life and shoulder responsibilities.

    I took engineering as a career and had opportunities to work for the largest engineering company in India. After getting management education at IIMA and HBS, I had privilege to work at the World Bank in Washington D.C. as a consultant.

    I visited my school in 1989 and again in 2014. I wish I can do something for my school which made a man of this rustic boy.

    My regards to all in Rawalpindi.

  5. Farooq Zafar says:

    Hello every one,
    Moti Mahal cinema is still and in running position but not going well due to the fall of Pakistani film industry. It was one of the biggest cinema of Asia and very beautiful cinema of Rawalpindi Pakistan of its time with double galleries.

  6. Sonny Mcauley says:

    Respected Rafique Sahib,
    Thank you for the article, you mentioned my grandfather’s name (Headmaster Mission School and MLA, Deputy Speaker Punjab Mr. Fazal Elahi). Perhaps you also knew my paternal grandfather Dr. Daniel Mcauley, he was Municipal Commissioner, head of the Leprosy Hospital on Zafarul Haq Road. Chaudhry Maula dad Chauhan was known very well to us, his son Ali Nawaz Chauhan is Chief Justice in an African nation.
    I would be grateful if you could send me some pictures of those wonderful times.
    With my best wishes

    • Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman says:

      Respective Sonny Mcauley,
      Aren’t you a St. Marian Murree Road? I do remember reading your comments regarding the school bus on the school page if my memory serves me right, my great grandfather was also Municipal Commissioner namely CHAUDHARY GULSIRAJ KHAN of Rawalpindi and he was Chacha of MAULADAD CHOHAN.

      • Sonny Mcauley says:

        Dear Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman Sahab,
        Yes, its me, St. Marian. Do you know Mr. Anwarul Haque?

        • Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman says:

          Of course I do know Anwar-Ul-haq. He is son of Haq Nawaz and grandson of MAULADAD CHOHAN.

        • For Sonny McCauley I ran into this by accident I know pinky–we have pictures of us in the pram together.
          If you want to get hold of me please leave e-mail. I am looking for a Roy family

          • Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman says:

            Yes my email is chhashmat@hotmail.com.

            • Dear Mr. Chaudhray I’m looking for e-mail for Sonny MCCauley would there be a possibility to get it. I’m also looking for a Roy family that The senior Mr. Roy was with the railroad and died many years ago. One of their sons moved to England but I don’t know what happened to his other children daughters and son.
              By the way my father taught at Gordin College.

              • Sonny Mcauley says:

                Hi Nanadora!!! I just saw your message! catch up with me on facebook Sonny Mcauley (only one “c” in Mcauley). Hope Ronny Donny and Benjie are well. All the best from me, Sonny

  7. Munir Ahmad, Dubai says:

    Rafique Sahib,
    I was born in Jhanda Chichi in 1952, studied earlier in Jhanda upto primary then in Denny’s High School.
    Every time, when I read your articles and the comments of the participants, I feel I am back in my boyhood life. I have no words to express my gratitude for your articles.
    Great Rafiq Sahib, May Allah SWT bless you with long long life and happiness of the world and Hereafter, Aameen.

  8. Rafique Sahib,

    Your blog has been of tremendous help to me. I write to you from India. My grandparents are from Pindi and i would request some assistance to share some news about their native with them. My grand mother always told me that her father worked with Imperial Cinema. She even told me that when they left for India during partition, all their belongings were kept in Imperial Cinema as they thought they would come back. Her name is Raj Mehta. Would you be able to assist me with any photograph of Imperial Cinema or any other information about it.

    Warm Regards,
    Rishabh Malhotra


      Dear Rishabh Malhotra,
      You did not mention the full name of your late father. I may be able to recollect about your family if you provide me with their full details. I remember one Mr. Malhotra who was a fast friend of my brothers and who used to live near the Imperial Cinema. He was a very handsome young gentleman with fair complexion.
      My father-in-law late Agha Ghulam Jilani (the owner of the Imperial Cinema and Odeon Cinema) was very well known in the Hindu/Sikh communities; who kept some of their valuables with him at the time of their departure to India in 1947. he told us on several occasions that he handed back all such valuables to their owners on different occasions on their subsequent visits to Pakistan or through their relatives/trusted friends who visited him for the purpose of collecting such articles. One such lady was Mrs. Vanti (a well known Sikh lady) who paid several visits to Pindi after the Partition.
      Mr. Mehta was also a well known person who was also associated with the Imperial Cinema. The building of the Imperial Cinema was dismantled and converted into the present Imperial Market by my late father-in-law sometimes after the Partition.
      I may recollect/provide more details to your specific queries please.
      Thank you for the contact

      • Dear Rafique Saheb,
        Thank you for the prompt reply. Sir, my father is alive, I was referring to my Grandparents. My grand mother had narrated this story to me. She remembers Imperial Talkies very well, her father who was associated with Imperial Cinema was Mr. Arjun Das Mehta. Would have any information about this family? Any photographs of Imperial Cinema?
        Eagerly awaiting your response, sir.
        Warm Regards

        • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

          Dear Mr. Rishabh Malhotra,
          Can you kindly advise whether Mr. Arjun Das Mehta was related to Mr. Pindi Das Mehta, who was a fast friend of my father-in-law Agha Ghulam Jilani. If I do not make any mistake one Mr. Mehta (may be Mr Arjun Das Mehta) was a Cinema Machine Operator cum general Technician looking after the electric fittings, etc.
          The original name of the Imperial Cinema was IMPERIAL TALKIES, and was one of the only two cinema houses in the City area. The Imperial Cinema was demolished by my father-in -aw, probably in 60s to start the present Imperial Market, which was a better proposal in respect of financial income. The Film Exhibition industry was on the decline due to scarcity of the relevant technical man power, like Directors, Film Actors, Producers, etc.
          If you provide your email address, I may try to send you some photos of your interest.
          Thanking you,

          • Dear Rafique Sahab,
            Yes, she does remember Mr. Pindi Das Mehta. I am so happy that I could bring this news to her. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing me with this opportunity. Sir, I would be grateful if I can show her some photos which may rekindle her memory of Imperial Talkies. My email Address is:

            • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

              Dear Rishabh Malhotra Saheb,
              I have sent you a video of Pindi city. As I do not have any stills with me in Dubai, I will try to send you some photos of the City when I go to Pakistan. Please pay my respects to your grandmother, I can feel her pain of quitting the ancestral place. May God bless her.

  9. Dr. Azhar Sajjad says:

    Respected Rafique Sb,
    It was pleasure to go through a lot of your memories. I know a lot about many people you have mentioned. Do you remember Dr. Ali Raza Jan (Aziz Nursing Home), Nazar ul Haq Lone, Sajjad Ahmed, Malik Zahoor ul Haq…. businessmen from Massey Gate….all were very closely related to me. Lone Sb was son-in-law of Sheikh Ahmed Sadiq, the owner of Nishat Cinema. Sajjad Ahmed was my father. He knew your family very well and we were resident of Asghar Mall Road. Dr. Ali Raza Jan was my real uncle, was the first person to build a private hospital in Pindi.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Dr. Azhar Sajjad Saheb,
      It was a big pleasure to read your worthy comments. My articles have been published as an E- book and can be logged on ” bit.ly/pindi ” One Publisher M/s Gold Publishing are also E-publishing the book in USA shortly.
      I know Dr. Ali Raza Jan very well. Sheikh Ahmed Sadiq was a close friend of my father-in-law Agha Ghulam Jilani, owner of Imperial & Odeon Cinemas in Pindi. All the rest of the gentlemen you mentioned also blink in my fading memory. By Mr. Sajjad Ahmed, do you mean Mr. Sajjad Lone? The Lones were businessmen running various shops inside Massey Gate. Thanking you again to whip my fading memory.

      • Dr. Azhar Sajjad says:

        I am so much obliged by your reply.
        My father was the only Sajjad in Massey gate. He was not Lone. Nazar-ul-Haq Lone had a long association with my late father and was my father-in-law. Sh Ahmed Sadiq was Nana of my wife.
        I had met Agha Rashid Jolson a number of times.
        Do you remember Qazi Ala-ud-Din, another friend of my family?
        I will forward you a photograph of my father during Simla conference 1946 with Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
        With best regards

        • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

          Dear Doctor Azhar Sajjad,
          I believe I know your father also. Agha Rashid was my brother-in-law and Qazi Ala-ud-Din was a cousin of my father-in-law. Are you living abroad or practicing in Pakistan? Please do send me your & your fathers’ photo at my email address:- rafique1@eim.ae
          My phone no. is 00971555259551.
          Any service for me in Dubai?
          Waiting and wishing you the best of everything.

  10. Respected Rafique Sahib,
    Sat Sri Akal/Allah Rakha.
    One of the Choudhrys, Choudhry Tariq’s son has put me on to you. I am quite busy reading your memoirs and comments of new Pindi wallas. I carry my own views on Partition. Born in Rawalpindi in late 1930,I carry nostalgic memory of place of my birth and how
    Muslims/Hindus/Sikhs used to mingle together on all Happy/Sad occasions together.
    Different people remembering different names/places in the same Pindi tickles me as I at that time was at Cross Roads then.
    I am the son of MALIK MUKHBAIN SINGHJI (Bar-at-Law). His friends were Hindu, Muslim & Sikh, gentry of Rawalpindi & Wah. Sir Sikander Hayat and Nawab Muzzafar Khan were his personal friends so was Mian Mohammed Nur Ullah and Dr. Mohammed Alam, a Minister in Punjab PAKISTAN, he even came and stayed with Malik Sahib along with Nawab Muzzafar Khan Sahib. He was a well known figure of Rawlpindi with all communities. Was a member of Pindi Municipal Committee. A Director in Rawalpindi Electric Supply Company Bus Service which used to run within the City.
    Our Bungalow was located at the cross road of Said Pur Road /Asghar Mall Road. My grandfather’s bungalow was on Circular Road opposite the LALA Bodh Raj Suri’s house.
    I am coming to Dubai On 23rd Dec for a stay of over a month. Would love to meet up with you and refresh the Nostalgic old Memories of real PINDI.
    Kjsmalik @gmail.com

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Kanwarjit Singh Malik Saheb,
      I have to thank you for your valuable comment giving your links with Pindi. I know all the localities and personalities you have mentioned. Waiting for your arrival in Dubai anxiously to exchange our views/information to enjoy the memories of our young age. I was really overjoyed to go through your comment which immediately took me to Asghar Mall & Circular Road, Pindi.
      With the best of my regards Wah Guruji Ka Khalsa & Wah Guru Ji Ki Fateh.

  11. Maria Faraz says:

    I want to know more about the history of Rawalpindi particularly its old bazaars for documentation. If you could help me via your blogs here is my e-mail

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Madam,
      Thank you for the comment; but have you gone through all the episodes (Latest 15th) of my memoirs being posted by NATIVE PAKISTAN?
      I may be able to reply after your answer.

      • Maria Faraz says:

        Yes I did read all the articles. That was really helpful. I want some details regarding Raja Bazaar in particular, if you could help me.

        • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

          Dear Madam,
          The Raja Bazaar is the oldest shopping Centre of Rawalpindi, which has now lost its original grace and charm after becoming too congested due to huge increase in the population of the city. The shops, however, are fully stocked and the shoppers never receive no for anything they want. Everything one wants would find in this ancient bazaar, at very competitive prices as compared to other shopping centers. Due to its present too congested situation, without easy parking facility, the gentry now go to the new and modern shopping malls.
          If you kindly provide your Face Book page, I can post a video for your interest in this regard.
          With blessings.

  12. Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman, UK says:

    Respective Rafique sahib,
    I came across your articles regarding history of Rawalpindi while I was trying to search for Sardar Soojan Singh, anyhow once I started reading I just couldn’t stop even though I was born in early 1970’s but the buildings and places you’ve mentioned are still in their prestigious form in my memory.

    I’ve learnt through your article that you’re in kinship of Agha Abdul Rasheed’s family. His only son, Farrukh, was our school fellow, though younger to me but I know him very well.

    I am based in Oxford for the last 21 years but do visit Rawalpindi once or twice a year. I read a comment of respected Vijay Kohli Sahib, who mentioned my late father’s name and also stated that he was an encyclopedia of Rawalpindi’s history. Yes, he was and whatever I’ve learnt and remember that’s because of him. His name was TARIQ AZAM CHAUDHARY, and he was grandson of CHAUDHARY GULSIRAJ KHAN, honorary magistrate and Municipal Commissioner and also youngest brother of KHANSAHIB CHAUDHARY WARIS KHAN.

    You also mentioned about Autar Singh Duggal, I’ve met him personally and still have photographs of me with him, he visited Pakistan and came to our house back in early 1980’s.

    You also mentioned RAJA ABDUL REHMAN the man with Austin car, as far as my memory serves me right he’s the only outsider buried in our ancestral grave yard apart from son of MIAN ALLAUDIN ex BD member during Ayub regime because of close friendship with MAULADAD CHOHAN, also Municipal Commissioner of Rawalpindi. Raja Abdul Rehman’s grandson Colonel Nadeem is a friend of mine and we hunt partridges and waterfowl together along with grandsons of RAJA MOHAMMED SARWAR and RAJA GHULAM SARWAR of GHORA GALI. As Raja Abdul Rehman himself was a keen hunter his grandson shoots with his Holland &Holland royal shotgun which he inherited and is very proud of it and he should be.

    You also mentioned lady doctor KHURSHEED HAYAT, well I along with my other four brothers came into this world with efforts of her and she also attended my wedding back in 2003.

    My late father has left a lot of history in legacy for me and I am trying to live up to that. In his study, he has left the whole account of history of Rawalpindi’s “Who’s who”. I’ve even got the agendas of Rawalpindi Municipality dated back to 1934 and what we call tongas were known as hackney carriage and my great grandfather used to issue licenses for them. I’ve also got gazettes of the tribes residing in Rawalpindi district during British Raj.

    My late father was also a great collector of classical records of all the legends. Someone, can’t remember his name, was asking for your help, well in my father’s library there’s everything. I would love to ask anyone to make up a list what he wants to listen and then tell me, I will hopefully be able to fulfill it and he won’t be disappointed.

    I’ve also got some very old photos dating back to 1899 one is that of Banni Chowk and my ancestors, as you may know that CHAUDHARY GULSIRAJ KHAN used to contest election from Kartar Pura so after winning the elections they had a picture of all his brothers including CHAUDHARY WARIS KHAN and if you do remember BAO PIRTHAVI CHAND, who was like right hand of my great grandfather.

    In short I was very happy after reading your articles and I would love to get in touch with you though I am very young but what I’ve learnt, I remember it. Please do contact me, my email address is chhashmat@hotmail.com

    Thanking you and much obliged and hoping to hear from you soon.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Chaudhary Fakhar Zaman Sahib,
      I was so delighted to read your such a valuable comment in connection with my memoirs. All the names mentioned by you including Bao Prithvi Chand are very familiar to me some being known by me; and the others being friends of my late father-in-law, Agha Ghulam Jilani, father of Agha Rashid Jilani who became Mayor of Pindi and remained on this post for more than ten years.

      One of the cousins of Mr. Vijay Kohli became so enthusiastic that he rushed to see me immediately after landing in Dubai from India; to know about his ancestors. He remained with me for quite a long time and received the information he wanted to know about his late family.

      Lady Dr. Khursheed Hayat was taken as a family member of the Chaudharys of Pindi, and her marriage ceremony (with late Brig Khizar Hayat) was solemnized in one of their houses. She lived in that house for quite a good time. Your elders the Chaudharys were the real oldest residents and very big landlords of Pindi. They were also dominant members of the Municipality and countered the Non Muslims prominently.

      Please advise how you knew my class fellow Avtar Singh Duggal. When he came to Pakistan, he mentioned the name of some gentleman (which I forgot) with whom he stayed during his visit.

      Thanking you for your email address.

      • Ch. Fakhar Zaman, UK says:

        Avtar Singh Duggal came to our house back on 80’s and like I said he was friend of my late father TARIQ AZAM CHAUDHARY ADVOCATE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN.
        I also got a picture of of 1934 of plaza cinema inauguration and all the notables of Rawalpindi are sitting there.
        Kindly give me an email along with your phone number so that we can have a thorough chat. Kindest regards

        • Dear Ch. Fakhar Zaman,
          I will be highly obliged if you could kindly send the photos of inauguration of Plaza Cinema (1934) and that of Banni Chowk (1899) for the following Post of this website:
          You may send the pics at my email address: rashid.cheema11@gmail.com
          Lt Col (R) Rashid Zia Cheema
          Editor, Native Pakistan

          • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

            Dear Ch. Fakhar Zaman
            Thank you for your reply. My email & Phone no. is:
            Also please do oblige the Editor Lt. Col (R) Rashid Cheema by sending him the photos as required by him.
            Tanking you and waiting to listen from you

  13. Omar Farooq Ahrar says:

    What a wonderful account of pre Partition Pindi!! Masha Allah. In that era, Rawalpindi was the centre of the activities of Majlis Ahrar Islam. Sufi Inayat Muhammad Pasruri, Sufi Wasma walay (Eid Gah Road) and his son Sufi Ghulam Naqshband and their colleagues Hakeem Abdur Rehman owner of Rehmania Dawakhana, Hakeem abdul Ghani, etc. were the main leaders of Ahrar. Please write about Ahrar members and their activities with detail, if you can.
    May God bless you.

    • Dear Omar Farooq Ahrar Sahib,
      Thank you sir, for your comment. I know personally Sufi Inayat Muhammad of “Wasma” and familiar with their residence in the Eid Gah very well. I know very well Hakim Abdur Rehman of Rehmania Dawakhana. We used to get pure Araq-i-Chahar from him. His other products like “Maajoons”, “Kushtas”, “Araqs” and various “Tonics” were very famous and liked by the public. You must be knowing Maulvi Muhammad Ismail a famous orator of his time. He was my neighbour. I have already mentioned about them in my memoirs.
      With blessings.

      • Rab Nawaz Tiwana says:

        Mohtaram Rafique Ahmed khan Sahib,
        Aap kay knowledge say bara mutasir huwa hoon. Aapko music sun-ne ka shouq hai? Konsa music pasand kartey hain? Mujhey puraney music say bari dilchaspi hai; like Inayati Bai Dheerowali, Shamshad Bai Diliwali, Badro Multani, Kamala Jharia, Zahida Parveen, Indubala, Begum Akhtar, Munni, etc. Inn singers kay Records bhi talash karta rehata hoon leken miltay nahi. Aap meri madad kar saktay hain ya nahi?
        kindly reply kar dena. Cell. 00923445292219

        • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

          Dear Rab Nawaz Tiwana Sahib,
          Thank you sir, for your nice appreciation. Whereas I do like the classical music very much and I used to listen eagerly to some of the singers you mentioned like Kamla Jharyia, Indo Bala and Begum Akhtar, etc; I regretfully have to admit my inability to offer any assistance to you in this respect. I am living in Dubai for the last more than 25 years, and quite out of touch with the concerned persons.
          With regards

          • Rab Nawaz Tiwana says:

            Mohtaram Rafique Ahmed khan Sahib,
            Can you intimate any person in Pakistan who is in touch with old music of singers which I have already mentioned? Kindly reply me.

            • Dear Rab Nawaz Tiwana Sahib,
              While appreciating your anxiety in the subject sir. I have to accept my inability to be of some service to you in this regard, being out of Pindi for the last 50 years. Thanking you and with blessings.

  14. Dear Khan sb, as I am told, Pindi was a city in the clutches of wealthy Sikhs. I have even found out that the first Indian Pilot was from Pindi, could you shed some light on the Life with the Sikhs ? Also how was their departure ? I am not aware of any incidents in Pindi during the Partition.


    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Mr. Rehan Afzal
      During the period 1920s to 1940s what I had observed was that Hindu traders were in majority and financially much better off than the Muslims. They were in full hold of the trade and business being very rich. Sikhs were on the second to the Hindus. They were in complete hold of whole sale trade and Commission Agencies called “Aarhatt”. In Pindi Division the Muslims were mainly the producers/farmers/tillers for Food Grains & Vegetables. The Muslims were at the mercy of such Commission Agents who controlled the price mechanism in the markets. The farmers were not paid at spot, but received the delayed payment after the sale/delivery of their product. Mostly the payments were made in installments to keep the farmers dependents on the Agents. Those Agents used to be millionaires, and would raise/reduce the rates according to their choice.

      The Hindu/Sikhs were the biggest property owners in Pindi. The Sikhs used to construct their houses as per modern fashion, whereas the Hindus gave priority to safety first while constructing their houses. The Sikhs would not mind constructing their houses in the Muslim dominated areas. That’s why there were many such streets (Mohallas) with combined Muslim/Sikh population/

      During 1920s/40s period there was considerable communal harmony and mostly all the people lived peacefully. But deep down an insignificant feeling of distrust/hatred was also visible, which occasionally appeared during religious functions/processions.

      Muslims dominated in the military, Police and in Civil Courts services (where high education was not that essential), but in the other Government Offices, Banks and Private Companies Hindus/Sikhs were in the majority, being better educated. But in higher cadre in these services were Hindu/Sikhs were in majority.

      During the Partition of India almost all the Hindus/Sikhs departed with a hope to come back after the communal disturbances. But the departure became permanent. The scène of their departure was very sad and tragic. They could carry only the most essentials like gold, silver and money along with their selected clothing. All the rest of their left over belongings were looted or taken over by the incoming Muslims from India. Their properties were eventually duly allotted to them after verified claims. Many of these claims were sold to interested locals, who grabbed a lot of such properties. Bogus claims also became a lot of gain for the crooks.

  15. Munir Ahmad, Sharjah says:

    Some brothers have written about Military Dairy Farm, yes, this was located near Jahada Chichi, my native place. It was a huge dairy farm managed by the Army and served mostly Army personnel needs.
    Janab Rafique Sahib, your this mission about “PINDI|, is creating unexplained joy for me. The more I read the replies from PINDIWALAS,
    more and more it makes me “emotional”.

    • Dear Mr. Munir Ahmed Sahib,
      Many thanks for your encouraging appreciation. As you are from Jhanda Chichi, you must be knowing Chowdhery Walait, Chowdhery Roshan & Chowdhery Tanveer a family of big landlords and famous politicians. Another resident of this village was Mr. Sharif who worked in the Military Farms. His son Mr. Afzal is in Dubai who worked in Rashid Hospital earlier but has now left the job. I was working in the Military Farms during early 1940s, the names of other famous personalities have faded from my memory but if triggered I can recollect a lot more about them. There was a very famous retired Major who died in 1950s & whose son later became Brigadier; both are well known by me. The fortified residential colony for the staff of Military Farms is still there in Jhanda.
      The surroundings of Jhanda Chichi have become so modernized and highly congested that Jhanda has lost its original beautiful scenic looks like a typical British village.

      • Munir Ahamd, Sharjah says:

        Janab Rafiq Sahib,
        Yes, I do know the Chaudhri family very closely, and had seen Ch. Walayat khan, Ch. Feroz Khan and Ch. Nazir Khan. Ch. Walayat has two sons well known by Jhandwala in particular, Ch. Afzal and Ch. Tanvir. Ch. Nazir’s sons Jehangir and Munir were my school mates, in our primary. We all were used to study in Jhanda Chichi Primary School, there were no carpets or chairs like things to sit, we were used to sit either on ground or take ‘taat’ with us. Any way those days were still better because people were not so materialistic.

        I do not remember any Major or Brigadier you have referred to, but we had one “Taya” (Uncle) Major Fazal Hussain, (three brothers M/s. Fazal Hussain, Ghulam Hussain and Mohammad Hussain). Major Fazal Hussain (late), has three sons, two Ahmad and Ayub joined Army and had good positions (Col-Brig), Taya Mohammad Hussain’s son Javed also joind Army and became a Brigadier. Dairy Farm has completed been occupied now by “Askari Villas”, and those fortified quarters are still there. There was a big ground, where in our school
        time, we were used to play hockey or football has also been converted into residential area.

        If I happen to get contact of Mr. Afzal, s/o Mr. Sharif (late), may be I could find more acquaintances.

        • Rafique Khan, Dubai says:

          Dear Mr. Munir Ahmed sahib,
          Within fifteen minutes after posting my reply yesterday, the name of my friend Major Fazal Hussain struck in my memory suddenly; but it was too late to edit my reply. Chowdhry Walayat was very well known by me. I still remember he gave me one pistol as a token of friendship during 1949. He was a friend in need and used to help the needy persons always. I still remember his marriage with a widow. He knew all my family also. Late Mr. Sharif was the original inhabitant of Jhanda; and when I next meet Mr. Afzal I will collect his contact for you.
          Thanking you.

  16. Ajay Malhotra says:

    Khan Sahib,
    I am regular reader of your articles. I am living in Delhi and our fore fathers used to live in Bhera, I shall be highly obliged if you can guide me how to contact any person who can help me to locate my roots in Bhera and help me to guide the way to enable me to visit Bhera.
    I hope you will try your best.
    Ajay Malhotra
    Ph. +919810380608

    • Dear Mr. Ajay Malhotra,
      Many thanks for your comments. There are a lot of persons originally from Bhera but now residing in Pindi. As a matter of fact the people from Bhera are big business entrepreneurs and used to go out to even very distant places like Calcutta, Bombay And Madras in connection with their trade. Mostly they were in Shoe/leather industries. After the Partition of India a lot of them came to Pakistan, but a portion is still living in India. Please open “BHERA” in GOOGLE.COM, and you will see a tremendous information about your ancestral historical city thousands years old. You will find videos, photograph and complete history therein to satisfy your thirst for knowledge for the history of your forefathers
      I have noted your email address/phone for any further communication in this regard.
      With regards.

      • ajay malhotra says:

        dear khan sahib,
        shuriya is a very small word to thank.

        my great grand father late sh fateh chand bahri used to live in bhera, he went to south africa for bussiness but never returned. the name of my great grand mother was late smt. ishwar devi. my grand father late sh. sunder dass bahri was in railways in bhera and my grand mother late smt. rampiari malhotra, told me that they use to like near sahinyan da mohalla and the house or late film star meena kumari was at the back side of their house.

        if you forward this information to any one known who had lived bhera may help me trace my roots.


        ajay malhotra

  17. Niaz Ahmad Khan says:

    Esteemed Rafique Sahib,
    May you live a very long and healthy life. I don’t belong to Rawalpindi but have some very fond memories of old city and Cantt area. My earliest memories date back to the city I used to stay in and travel through, as a child, with family to Kashmir, by bus. My subsequent association with the city came off in early and late sixties as a trainee and later instructor at Police Training College, Sihala, and later on during service/ posting(s) in Rawalpidi/Islamabad, in seventies. What a clean and memorable place it then was!

    • Dear Niaz Ahmad Khan Sahib,
      So nice & kind of you sir, for your esteemed & gratuitous appreciation for me and Pindi to where you don’t even belong. I have been working in the Ammunition Depot., Sihala during fifties. You may be astonished to know that I used to go to Sihala daily from my residence (a distance of 12-15 miles) on Pull Shah Nazar Jamia Masjid Road on bicycle. It went on for years which I used to enjoy the trips as picnic rather than being fatigued or bored. Kindly do read my subsequent episodes of the article, which Col. Rashid Cheema has promised to publish serial wise. May God bless you

  18. Vijay Kohli says:

    Respected Rafique Ahmed Khan Sahib, you’ve done an excellent job with your piece on pre-Partition Pindi and some of its leading personalities!

    I am Dr. Dhanwant Roy’s son-in-law (both my parents were also pure Pindiwals!). My wife and I along with a childhood friend of mine and his wife – Jagdip Singh Chandhok, grandson of popular ‘hasya'(humorous) Punjabi poet: Paiya Ishar Singh Ishar, had visited Pindi in 1982. We’ve very fond memories of the trip, especially the love, affection and hospitality extended to us by my father’s and father-in-law’s friends.

    We had the good fortune of meeting Ghulam Jilani Sahib and his family. Jilani Sahib was an affectionate, kind and a generous host. He treated us like his family and thought of my wife as his own daughter!

    Jilani Sahib had stayed in regular touch with my father-in-law. In fact, the very day Dr. Dhanwant Roy passed away, he, on some premonition, had telephoned to speak to his old friend. He was heartbroken to learn of Dr. Roy’s demise.

    Rafique Sahib, during our said visit to Pindi, we had met an amazing gentleman, Chowdhry Tariq Azam, an advocate of Pakistan Supreme Court. Tariq Sahib is a walking talking encyclopedia on old Pindi and its residents. It will be worthwhile getting in touch with him.

    Let’s all endeavor to keep this blog going to draw out lovable, nostalgic memories of our common ties!

    On a lighter note, my mother used to narrate an old Pindi folk song which went something like this:”Pindi Sher Wayaiee Hoie Han, Ik Paa Nakhara, Do Pug Zimmi Tun Chaiee Hoie Han”

    God Bless!

    Vijay Kohli ( father’s name: Mr Jagdish Kohli of Bohr Bazara)

  19. Khan Sahib, in your reference to Mr. Agha Jilani, owner of the Imperial Cinema – well, my sister and her husband, Vijay Kolhi had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jilani in person in 1982 during their visit to Rawalpindi. Also Mr. Jilani kept in touch with my late father, Dr. Dhanwant Roy while he was alive in 1980.

    • My dear Raj Roy & Vijay Kolhi,
      How ambitious I had become after going through your messages to see you at least; being the sweet children of the family who used to be the best of every thing to us. I have a personal sentimental attachment with Dr. Dhan & Dr. Roy who both treated my parents personally; especially Dr. Dhan who was at the bedside of my passing mother.
      Kindly do visit us in case you pass through Dubai. I can feel the sweet pain in your heart to miss your “janam Bhoomi” where your illustrious ancestors lived so peacefully, but had to leave under the most tragic circumstances leaving behind their best but bewildered and helpless friends. May God bless them and May God bless you.
      Your grand uncle

  20. Khan Sahib, Reading your article has brought tears to my eyes. I thank thee for such a precious gift, a gift I couldn’t have dreamt of. In your article you have mentioned Dr. Ghasita Ram of Raja Bazaar in Pindi and his two sons, Dr. Dhanraj and Dr. Roy, Well Sir, Dr. Dhanwant Roy was my father and I am grandson of Dr. Ghasita Ram now living in Canada. I Thank you again and hope one day our paths cross and I may be able to express my gratitude in person.

    • Dear Raj Roy,
      I can not explain my sentiments in words after I met one of your cousins Deepinder Kapany who dashed to my residence soon after he landed in Dubai yesterday. He knew from me more than what he expected. As a matter of fact I was more anxious to know about well being of your family; whose ancestors had most intimate relations with my family. Dr. Dhanraj was at the bedside of my mother when she expired. He was the last person with whom she was talking moments before. Dr. Roy treated my father’s dental problem and arranged for his dentures. My son has gone to Pakistan and I have asked him to take snap shot of your ancestral residence on Jamia Masjid Road Rawalpindi which is located a few hundreds yards away from my old residence. I will forward it to you when I have it.
      Please you will receive the same warmth & sweetness of affection if you see me in person, which you used to receive from your elders. May God Bless you all.
      Yours very sincerely,
      Rafique Ahmed Khan

      • It will be great to receive the pictures of the ancestral home, Khan Saheb.

        • Khan Sahib,
          I am in Calcutta today and happened to meet my tayi ji, Prem Lata granddaughter of Dr. Ghasita Ram. she was mentioning about knowing daughter of Jilani Sahib owner of Imperial Cinema who was sister to 7 brothers and whose wedding was a grand affair in Pindi. Is she by any chance your wife? whom I met in Dubai?
          Also if your son has come back, I was anxious to know if he could get some pictures of the Haveli, ancestral house of Dr. Ghasita Ram?

          • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

            Dear Deepindar Singh Kapany,
            Thank you for your message. My marriage took place in 1948, when the country was still in the recovery process after going through the 1939-45 great war and the creation of Pakistan after the historical partitioning of India. During the aforesaid war the markets were very low in stocks due to huge consumption by the Military Forces in India as well as on the various fronts in Europe and Far East. All the essential items such as food, fuel and clothing were rationed and were available through Ration Cards on very limited quantities
            In 1948 the situation had started coming near to the normalcy; when we were married. Being a very rich family, my father-in-law (Agha Ghulam Jilani) held the ceremonies with big pomp and show. For the first time after the general social condition improved the loud speakers, decorative electric lightings, flood lights in marriage ground were used. The catering was arranged by a famous catering company M/s Spencers who were the caterers to the N W Railway for their Refreshment Rooms and Dinning Cars. The food was served on the dinning tables unlike the traditional system of service on ground using Durrees, carpets using “Dastar Khwans” the long Mats. Musical Bands from Military & Police were hired to play music before a huge gathering. The function was long remembered for its grand show.

      • Prerna Dharni says:

        For our generation, who only hear about the life of our family in Pindi, it is touching to read your article, Khan Sahib. I am the youngest granddaughter of Dr. Dhanwant Roy. My grandmother still talks fondly of her times in ‘Pindi’ and ‘Murree’. I hope someday I will be able to visit the land my ancestors call their own.
        Thank you.

        • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

          Dear Madam,
          Thanks for your appreciation; but can you kindly ask your grandmother whether she knew or heard of Agha Ghuam Jilani owner of Imperial Cinema. If she knew or remembers we can open more memoirs.

  21. Rafique Ahmed Khan, I am from the family of Dr. Ghasita Ram whom you mentioned in your article. Happen to be in Dubai for 2 days and would love to meet up with you. If you could pls give me your cell number or call me on 050 4989455. kapany@hotmail.com

    • Khan saheb, it was a pleasure and honour to have met somebody who had been a family to my great grandfather. Sir, thoroughly enjoyed your hospitality and the love and affection that I got from you and your son. Hope we are able to welcome him one day in Mumbai, India. Will surely travel with him to Bhopal. Wish you all the best.

      • Shahid Salam, Canada says:

        Amazing how the Internet has been instrumental in making those long lost connections. I guess all of us, the human family is connected in some ways. It was quite heart warming to read about your chance meeting in Dubai. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • Dear M/S Deepinder Kapany & Shahid Salam
        Thanks for your comments.

  22. Pervaiz Iqbal says:

    Aah, Pindi!! I have many memories of this city. I first visited Pindi in 1963, and stayed with my Parents’ uncle living in an old house but at a prime location, the gali linking Murree Road to Collage Road, facing Islamia High School. My family moved to Pindi in 1947 after Partition, my father joined Military Finance but later came to Karachi & joined the Foreign Service. He was posted to Sweden in early 1950, 4 years later returned to Karachi, since then we are living in Karachi. My grandfather who was a civil Engineer, worked at Jabban Power Station to get started again. He left his house at Pindi and also came to Karachi.

    When I went to Pindi for the first time, I just don’t know why I fell for liking Pindi, I can’t relate my feelings. I still go to Pindi but it has changed a lot since change is imminent with passage of time but in my opinion I guess old memories should be preserved for the generations to come.

  23. What a wonderful account of pre Partition Pindi. I was born in 1954 and have lived in Pindi nearly all my life really. The inner city had such beautiful architecture the remnants of which can still be seen in the old decaying double storey buildings as they were called in local terminology in Raja Bazaar, Bohar Bazaar, College Road and Murree Road. The wooden facades and coloured glass windows never seize to amaze me with their quaint beauty. I feel very strongly that the government should make special laws to stop the destruction of these ancient buildings and their replacement by crude and ugly multi storey plazas.

    • Dear Madam.
      I have witnessed personally that the old wooden structures were removed from the old buildings and sold at what a price to be fixed in the new buildings as fancy fittings. The carvings on the wooden structures in different geometrical shapes remains to be worth seeing. It was much better if these structures were placed in the museums for the public to see the skilled designs by the ancient technicians; and maintained as a heritage.

      Such expectations from our present governments look to remain wishful, unless some miracle takes place.

      You call them Plazas? Kindly go out in the world and see the “Plazas”. I invite you to see the “Plazas” at least in your near neighborhood Dubai; wherein there is no water, no land and no manpower; and yet they have made it to be no less than any other ultra modern city, and which has become one of the most attracted tourism spots in the world.

      Thanking you for comments.

      • Asma Tanvir Usmani says:

        I live in what was once one of the most beautiful residential areas of Rawalpindi city opposite Company Bagh which is now called Liaquat Bagh, the Company Road also changed its name to Khawaja Yaseen Road after Partition and then Liaquat Road after the shahadat of Liaquat Ali khan in 1951. On one side of the road was the lush green Company Bagh while on the other side was a row of grand houses ,one of those grand houses in my neighbourhood belonged to Khwaja Shaukat Yaseen a notable businessman of Pindi whose family owned the Rose Cinema near DHQ hospital and the Yaseen petrol pump on the main Murree Road. His wife Mrs. Kishwar belonged to the famous Bandey family mentioned in a previous post. Next to Khawaja Yaseen’s house was another grand residence which belonged to a famous lawyer whose name was Rauf. And the corner building has always been the Government School No. 4. On the other side of my house were the properties belonging to Gordon College and then the college itself.

        I have witnessed the destruction of my neighbourhood with demolition of these two beautiful houses which have been replaced by hotels; Akbar international and Khawaja classic. In another country these houses would have been listed as heritage houses but alas not in Pakistan.

  24. Sahar Balouch says:

    AOA, Sir!
    What a lovely piece of writing! I am Brig. Dr. Khizer and Dr. Khurshid’s grand-daughter! What a small world! Your article caught my eye randomly and upon reading the comments I found out that you know my daadi! 🙂

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

      Dear Sahar,
      Walaikum Assalam.
      If you mention my name (Rafique, son-in-law of late Agha Ghulam Jilani now residing in Dubai) to your Daadi Dr. Khurshid; she will tell you about me. She is our very respected family doctor and more than our near relations. May God grant her long, happy and prosperous life. Ameen.

      • Sahar Balouch says:

        Yes! Even my parents know you well! You’re Zaibun Aunty’s husband, right? 🙂

        • My Dear Sahar,
          Thank you for tracking me. Please do stay with us when you come to Dubai next. BCs from me and Aunty Zebun who is most attached with Dr. Sahiba. May God Bless you all.
          Uncle Rafique

          • Sahar Balouch says:

            Will definitely get in touch with you the next time I visit Dubai!

            I added you on Facebook, hoping to keep in touch!

  25. Dear Rafiq Sahib,

    Aap tou hamarey Mohallah-dar nikley. Yes, I vividly remember Agha Jilani a very famous personality of Rawalpindi. He was the the owner of Imperial Cinema and Agha Masud Sadiq was the owner of Nishat Cinema and Rose Cinema was owned by Bandey Family, who later on added Sangeet Cinema. Plaza and Odeon Cinemas were owned by someone (I am forgetting the name) whose son went to Army in 41st PMA Long Course.
    There was a Lady Doctor Khursheed Begum close to Jamia Masjid near Pull Shah Nazar. I remember, at that time the circumcision (Sunnat of Muslims) used to be done by the Mohallah barbers. My circumcision was done by Lady Doctor Khursheed. Our family lived next to Gurdawara in a haunted house (T 285). This four storeys house was between Mazar Shah Chan Chiragh and Gurdawara. There was a small little school very close to Pull Shah Nazar. When you enter from Puul Shah Nazar side, where the street becomes narrow, it was located right at that bend. That was my first primary school, in 1954 I went to that school in Kachi class. There was a a kachi class and then you were promoted to Pucki class, then Class One would start. My fist teacher’s name was Miss Shamshad, she later on moved to D Block Satellite Town near Modern Girls School. Later she became our family friend and we had very close relations, even after joining the 44 PMA Long Course I used to go see her. She was very proud of her student.

    I am sure Rafiq Sahib, you would remeber, there was a Simla Cloth House in Raja Bazar, in Cloth Market. The first shop was opened by my wonderful Late Father Sheikh Ali Mohammad.They were four real brothers and one sister. Hifiz Ansar Ludhianvi, a very famous Urdu and Pushto poet, who migrated to Peshawar. He was blind from the age of 1 year and did his Masters from Islamia College and later used to teach in the same college. Other brothers; Haji Ghulam Hussain and Haji Mohammad Tahir used to work on Simla Cloth House with my father. Their sister was married to Dr. Abdul Rashid in Gujar Khan, a very known political figure and old Muslim Leagui right before the Partition days. His son Dr Abdul Hayee was the first President of Pakistan Peoples Party of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Bhutto’s time.
    My father was known as Sahhab in the business community and was one of the few who owned latest model cars every year. He parked it in Sarafa Bazar Ahhata, from where the Moohallah Shah Chan Chiragh started towards Bazar Sarafaan.

    I used to have my pictures done from Benjaman Photographer near Mission High School. I remember the owner had displayed my 2 pictures on the wall, as long as he owned the shop, as his master piece and I used to go and see those pictures and one of my late Brother Khalid Masood.

    More Later.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Col Tariq Masood,
      After going through your previous comments, my sixth sense tickled me that we might be knowing each other due to our living in the same locality. The Odeon Cinema was lease owned by Agha Ghulam Jilani who modified/broadened the building to make it cinema scope. The new building was inaugurated by Gen Ayub who was then the President of the country; and knew Agha Sahib personally. I doubt that you are referring to Sheikh Masud Sadiq who owned the Nishat Cinema.
      As regards Lady Dr. Khurshid Hayat: she was our family doctor and fast friend. After resigning from the Civil Hospital, she opened her clinic in the building adjacent to the Masjid Wahabian. This building owned by Mian Shafi, maternal uncle of Agha Jilani and used to live in the house quite adjacent to the Ziarat Shah Chan Chiragh. Dr. Khurshid married late Brig. Khizar Hayat who Commanded Military Hospital during 1960s. A nurse of the Civil Hospital Sister Iqbal also resigned and started working with Dr. Khurshid since the beginning. I am sure though not 100% that it was Sister Iqbal who circumcised you because such type of minor operations were performed by her being highly experienced. Dr. Khursid is very well off but has become very old and now enjoying private life. I will mention you when I talk with her on phone next time. I think you have been studying in Sikandria School located in the dead end of Shah Nazar Street.
      I know Simla Cloth House in Raja Bazaar very well; because the building actually belonged to my elder sister who was married in India: and which was declared an evacuee property as my sister was still in India and did not come to Pakistan being owner of a big property in India also. We took the matter to court and after a long battle we won the case and all the tenants (Punjab Boot House the owner of which died, and Simla Cloth) were asked to pay rent to us being the rightful heirs. The case was restarted when these tenants appealed; but later on we were paid some lump sum mount and the case finished. Later another Simla Cloth was opened in Saddar also now they are in a big business.
      I still remember Mr. Benjamen the Photographer though I never visited his studio.
      With best wishes and hoping to be remembered for any service for me at Dubai.

    • Dear Col Tariq Masood,
      Its a small world. I know your family well as your uncle Haji Ghulam Hussain worked very closely with my father late Hafiz Abrar Ahmed Usmani to bring about changes in Moti Masjid situated on Liaquat Road. Haji Ghulam Hussain and my father were instrumental in bringing Qari Mushtaq Ahmed Panipati to Moti Masjid from Lahore. Haji Ghulam Hussain, Haji Shareef and my father were in the board of management of Moti Masjid.

  26. Hello All the current and Past Residents of Rawalpindi,
    If you wish to see the Historical Pics of Rawalpindi/Islamabad and all other cities of Pakistan then do visit my Facebook Page “My Historical Pakistan” where you will find tons of pics. If you wish to contribute the pics from your personal Archives, please do send me the pics at Hamshaf@gmail.com
    Enjoy the pics.

  27. Dear Yash Pal Sethi,

    Please share your email address so that I can communicate to you directly through email.


  28. Sir, I was born in 1931 in Mohalla Shah Chan Chiragh facing Bazaar Sarafan. After initial schooling in Govt. Primary School, Murree Road (Now Alama Iqbal Primary School), I studied in Mission School, near Rose Cinema, Arya School, Moti Bazaar, then in DAV High School, Murree Road.
    I may add about Dingi Khui, there was Sanskrit Vidiayla (School) run by Jogi Ram Nath. Behind the School there was big compound besides flour mills, there was a big Oil expeller and the oil used to collect in a small well and the oil was filled in the tin with the help of hand pump. Near Nishat Cinema there was Bus Stand for Murree and Kashmir. At the end of the Red light street after entering from Raja Bazaar there was famous shop of Mathura Dhoodh wala also. At Bhori Mohalla there were two shops of kasabs just opposite the Banyan tree. Dr. Kartar Singh was not only practicing doctor he had a Chemist Shop also. Regards.

  29. Dear Rafique Khan Sahib,

    Could you please send me the Old pics of Rawalpindi from your personal collection. I would love to share them on My Facebook Page “My Historical Pakistan”.

    Thank you.

    • Dear Mr. Hamad Mian Sahib,
      Though the photography was my favorite hobby both Cine and still. In late forties I used to have many movie and still cameras.; but due to frequent transfers during my service time I regretfully could not maintain any album. I am out of Pakistan for the last more than 25 years; and now I am in possession of more than 10 big albums but all portraits of the family not fit for any exhibition or display. Anyway thanking you for the message.

  30. Respected Rafique Sahib.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your memoirs of the Rawalpindi city. Looking forward to your next piece. Just a few questions:
    1. What is the reason for the place name “Pull Shah Nazir” near Jamia Masjid? Was there a bridge ever?
    2. Where was “Dingi Khooi” on the Dingi Khooi Chowk.
    3. Banni Chowk is named after Mai Vero Ke Banni? What was place like? Was there a water pool?
    Best regards.

    • Dear Rafique Sahib,
      I have also a few inquires.
      1. Was Dingi Khooi named being curvey or Tehri & when and by whom it was dug/made?
      2. Similar question about Sultan Ka Khuh?
      3. What is the history/background of Porian wala Pul (Wooden bridge) connecting City Saddar Road?
      4. Was RA Bazar (near GHQ gate & FWO HQ) named after Royal Artillery of Britishers?
      Many Regards.

      • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

        Dear Maj Arshed Butt,
        1. The DINGI KHOOI is an ancient segment of Pindi, without the presence of any curvy or well, and is situated about 500 yards from Raja Bazaar and Jamia Masjid. During pre Partition of India, as far as I have seen there used to be a CHAKKI (flour mill) and poultry shops. There was a huge “Pipple” tree, in front of the CHAKKI. It was an insignificant, scarcely populated area with a deserted look and no lights in the evenings. There were a few grocery shops run by Hindus & Sikhs.
        2. Similarly “SULTAN DA KHOO” used to be a suburb of the City area, scarcely populated, with a deserted look situated on the road leading to the Chaklala Airport. Only one or two significant buildings, like a Glass Factory and the Leprosy Hospital still being run by the Christian Mission headed by a European Lady Doctor. This hospital still presents signs of very good management with thoroughly clean and best maintained wards maintained wards with no complaint from the patients who are being treated free of cost. It is run on the donations only. Now it is a highly congested area and the main road is mostly occupied by old M.T. spare parts dealers. Any car stolen in the city can be seen in this market in completely knocked down condition including its body, chassis, engine, & seats all scattered in various shops.
        3. The railway bridge was constructed at the time of installation of North Western Railway during last quarter of 19th century, and served as a link between City and Saddar area. It was not a wooden bridge; but a steel structure with brick walls on both sides of the stairs. Once during early fifties on a certain holiday the walls on both sides of the stairs collapsed resulting into many casualties . Then the walls and roof were both removed to avoid such loss of human lives and vacate the floor from the beggars who used the same as their living place.
        4. R A Bazaar was of course named after the Royal Artillery. In fact the whole area was occupied by the British Units. The only Indians moving about were the cooks, bearers, orderlies and all such type of menials.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

      Dear Mr. Nadeem Omar Tarar,
      1. There was a very small “PULL” (rather PULLIA) Which covered the underground sewerage outside the street where the Mizar of Hazrat Shah Nazar Deewan used to be. This was a very famous tomb of a saint by the aforesaid name, where all the marriage processions from far and near places, used to stop and pay homage. The “PULL” was situated almost in the center of Jamia Masjid and CHOWK IMAM BARHA at the beginning of BAGH SARDARAN Road.
      The Mizaar along with all so many graves have been demolished by the “Mujawar” family looking after the Mizar and collecting all the money presented by the devotees. Now it is residence area occupied by the Mujawar family, who have built their houses there upon.
      Interestingly many of the grandchildren of this family (headed by the late Molvi Mohammad Ismail) are now senior Army officers.
      2. “Dingi Khooi” was a very ancient locality, situated about few hundred yards from the Jamia Masjid. There used to be a small flour mill, and poultry shops. In my life I have not seen any such “Well” called Dingi Khooi, for which the locality was called by this name.
      3. ” BANNI MAI VEERO” was a huge swimming pool much bigger rather five times bigger in size than the present /modern swimming pools. It was surrounded by tiled stairs on all the four sides. It remained full with water and used by mostly the Hindus till the time of the Partition of India; but started disappearing thereafter. Now there is a cluster of shops, converted into a market.

      • Sir, Many thanks for your explanations. We are trying to identify the locations from where the city spread outward. It appears as if the site for Purana Qila and Dingee Khooi were the city’s oldest quarters around which the bazars of Rawalpindi began to develop over the centuries. It was during Sikh period (1765-1849) that city’s bazar/mandi grew in size and outreach.
        As we know, the name Rawalpindi appeared in the Tuzk-a-Jhangiri in 16th century. What would be the city like in those days?? Any hypothesis based on your 20th century experiences? Really grateful for your clarifications. Warm Regards.

  31. Maj Gen (R) Parvez Akmal says:

    Respected Rafique Ahmed Khan Sahib,
    Asslomo Alaikum,
    Sir, the Editor has indeed hit a gold mine! We had mostly been reading nostalgic personal accounts by a number of authors, with a fine sprinkle of humour and satire. Your description of old Pindi and Pindi-wals is simply superb by all accounts; we keenly look forward to many more parts of your beautiful narrations. May you have a long long, healthy and happy life. Aamin,
    Profound regards,

    • Dear Sir,
      I thank you very much for your kind and encouraging comments which have boosted my courage to put more pressure on my aging and fading memories. The Editor has informed me that he will publish my memories on weekly basis. I hope and pray that my next memoirs will also refresh some more old and forgotten events Thanking you and expecting to be remembered for any service for me at Dubai.

  32. Thank you Rafique Sahib for recounting the old tales of Pindi. I must compliment your photogenic memory. My fond regards and best wishes.

  33. Dear Rafiq Sahib,
    I admire your memory. Khalsaa High School was on Said Pur Road and another branch in Center of Banni known as Banni Chowk. The chowk was the center, the roads from Raja Bazar, Jamia Masjid, now Murree Road, Kohati Bazar, Kartar Pura and Said Pur Road join here . Khalsaa High School was later named as Muslim High School. This was in the outskirts of Pindi. From here the green fields would start and there was very less inhabitants in the area of which is now New Katarian. A small track used to lead to Noor Pur Shahan and Barri Imam, a small road from Chandni Chowk would lead to Murree.
    Tongaas were the only sawari available or few Buggies were available for the well to do families, other wise bicycle or on foot were the means for travelling. I was born in Naya Mohallah in 1950, which was in the center of 2 main transports companies. Mechanical Hamalya, which used to go to Lahore having various stops en route and other was Jhelum Transport which used to ply between Jhelum and Pindi. These Transports stands were in front Of Imperial Cinema and next was GTS stand few yards away from Cinema. There was another transport infront of Gordon College, Gujar Khan Transport which used to go u to Gujar Khan only. There was another transport whose owner was Asghar Ali Shah who became famous in ZA Bhutto’s time. I remember there was a famous Ali Baba Hotel in front of Nishat Cinema, where Anna Roti and Daal mufft was sold till late sixties.
    I lived in H. No 285 Mohallah Shah Chan Chiragh a mysterious house, where ‘jinns’ used to live and I am sure would still be living. It was located in front of Gurdawara. I vividly remember the incidents happened in this four story haunted house, which were dreadful and even now shudder remembering those things. I will write in details about that house getting some more from my dear mother.
    May Allah Bless you all.

    • Dear Col Tariq Masood,
      Thanks for appreciation. I am sure you must be knowing us. If you remember Mian Shafi lived in the house adjacent to the Mazaar Of Shah Chan Chiragh. His eldest son was one Mr. Rafiq. You might also be knowing Agha Ghulam Jilani, the owner of the Imperial Cinema, who was my father-in-law. Mian Shafi was maternal uncle of Agha Jilani. We used to live at Pul Shah Nazar; a very famous spot in Pindi. Thanking you again and praying for you.

  34. Maj (R) Khalid Saeed Shah says:

    Dear Rafique Sahib,
    Very well narrated article, indeed you have taken us back to golden era of Rawalpindi. We hope to get next episode of the article soon Insha’Allah. We pray for your health and long life, Aameen.
    Best Regards.

  35. Brig (R) Khalid Hassan, USA says:

    wonderful Rafique sahib; keep it up. These are really sweet memories of the good old days of British Raj as our elders used to remember those times. We should not be miser in praising the selfless and principled managers of those times. We’ll expect more such episodes from you. Please keep contributing.

  36. Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

    Thanks for nice comments by all. Your appreciation encourages me to put more strain on my ‘very old brain’ and recollect more memories.

  37. Rawalpindi is fast changing its landscape with new structures and bridges- replacing old and historical buildings and cinemas. This post would continue to remind of the memories of old Pindi.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Thanks for your comment.
      It is really very unfortunate state of affairs; but it is up to the young members of the nation to take care of their heritage.
      You are talking of these old buildings, one is worried about the wrong policies of “horizontal expansions” of the cities, which is reducing the agricultural growth of the country due to shrinking/finishing of such a fertile land of the Punjab and Sindh. Wisely the expansion should have been horizontal to avoid the wastage of the agricultural lands.

  38. Syed Shahid Salam, Canada says:

    Mr. Rafique’s article takes us back to long before my time. We now have a bigger picture from the 30’s to the 70’s.
    Every human being has his or her own distinct journey through life and the environment plays a big part in it. Some experiences we share and some we don’t.
    It makes the canvas that much more interesting.
    There are several buildings in old Pindi similar to the Haveli, which have beautiful facades. It is unfortunate that no effort has ever been made to restore these buildings to their old glory.

  39. Dear Rafique Sahib,
    It’s really a very interesting account of old gold Pindi. In fact ‘history’ is narrating beautiful story of inside of Pindi city (androo-e-shehr). Anxiously waiting for next episode.

    I wonder if you can share old photos of that golden era of pre-Partition. May Allah bless you with good health and remarkable elephant memory!!!!!!

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

      Sir, thank you very much for your kind appreciation. With your innocent prayer I shall become strong enough to gather more strength to compile my memories.

  40. Shaheda Rizvi, Canada says:

    Respected Sir,

    Thank you ever so much for sharing your sweet memories on this page…You wrote: “Another very interesting place on the Jamia Masjid Road was a milk shop owned by Hussainoo doodh-wala”. Railway houses on Westridge Road, I am told were once owned by Sikh families and later taken over by Railways—Each house came along with 12 servant quarters, three or 4 of the quarters were allocated to the doodh wala—-It was Buffalo-milk and not cow-milk…..that was in the 50’s and 60’s. A Brig. Tariq who recently took pictures of that Railway house reports that the acreage around the house is still devoted to feeding the doodh wala’s stock….How wonderful!!

    Looking forward to your next story.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

      Madam, thank you for your sweet comments. In 1944 I was Supervisor I/C Of Military Poultry Farm in Westridge. Which now is being used for breeding the Army dogs. I will cover up the Westridge Area also in due course.

    • Syed Shahid Salam says:

      Ms. Rizvi, you are quite right about the servant quarters which came with all the big bungalows in the Cantonments. I am not sure how all of them were used. I do remember one occupied by the cook’s ( khansama’s ) family and the other by the mali’s ( gardener’s ) family. As for the milk and butter supply, we used to get it from the Military Dairy Farms, near the first Chaklala bridge. Initially the deliveries were on horse carriage, changing to trucks later. The milk was delivered in bottles; which in the old days was also the custom in the U.K and Canada; bottles delivered to the doorstep. In fact some of the old apartment buildings in Toronto have small openings next to the apartment doors for milk bottles. Two deliveries one could be certain of in those days; one was the milkman and the other, the postman in his khaki uniform. God bless his soul; always had a smile on his face when delivering the mail on his official bike.

      • Dear Shahid Salam Sahib,
        I have worked in the Military Farms in early 1940s for almost a decade, and in the Military Poultry Farm Westridge for more than two years. I know much more about this area. I will cover your points in my next installments. Kindly wait for the next publication. Thanking you.

        • Syed Shahid Salam says:

          I am not a hundred percent sure but I believe the Farms were part of the Army’s Veterinary Corps. In the 1950’s and 60’s a couple of distant family members worked for the Veterinary Corps; Brig Zafar and his brother Brig Yousuf. Not sure if the third brother Brig Afzal was in the same branch of the Army.

          • Dear Shahid Salam Sahib,
            All the three Services (REMOUNTS, Veterinary & Farms) were amalgamated to form R.V.& F C. I have a very faint memory of these Officers whom I knew then, but working as in junior ranks I will put more strain on my mind to refresh my memory in this regard also in next installments of my Memoirs.

  41. Dr. Arif Qureshi (USA) says:

    Salaamz Rafique Sahib,
    Thanks for such beautiful memories of Pindi of the old. Is it possible that Plaza and Odeon cinemas were around then?
    May Allah Raheem keep you and your family and everyone in his amaan.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

      Sir, Thank you very much for your comments. Of course the Odeon and Plaza Cinemas were there in the old Cantonment Board Ground on the Mall adjacent to the Board Office. Incidentally my father-in-law Agha Ghulam Jilani was owner/tenant of the Odeon Cinema which was modified into Cinema Scope Screen after broadening of the old building which was very narrow in width. The new modified building was formally inaugurated by Gen. Ayub Khan the then President of Pakistan, and he watched the film “GUNS OF NEVERON”. Mr. Easdon the then Manager of the Odeon migrated to Canada later. I will cover the details when I start writing on Cantt area.

  42. Lt Col (R) Zafar Mustafa says:

    Respected Rafiq Saheb,
    Your vivid memory and lucid expression have deeply impressed me. May Allah SWT grant you a long healthy life so you can keep narrating memories of good days gone-by.
    Best regards.

  43. Azam Gill, France says:

    Thank you Rafique Sahib, for sharing these precious memories with such coherence to which we have no claim except through the generosity of persons like you. I look forward to the next installments.

  44. Rafique Sahib, Very nostalgic article indeed. You are the senior most writer of Rawalpindi Blog. “Old is Gold!!” We will wait for Part 2 of your article.

Comment Box (Leave a Reply here)