“My Old but Ever New Pindi” (Part 2)

By Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai

Rafique Ahmed Khan

Rafique Ahmed Khan

Editor’s Note: The writer was born and brought up in Rawalpindi. He studied in Denny’s High School, Mission High School and 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. He is writing a series of articles about the life in Rawalpindi during 1930s, 40s and 50s.


Continued from Part 1……

The old areas both in City & Cantonment have become highly congested, commercialized and over populous due to rapid increase in population. But prior to Partition the shops were located only on the wide roads and bazaars; and the residential areas were so peaceful and quiet.

Banni Chowk, Rawalpindi

Current pic of Banni Chowk, Rawalpindi.

Some localities like Banni Mai Veero, Raja Bazaar, Chitian Hatiyaan, Boharh Bazaar, Teli Mohallah, Sarafa Bazar, Moti Bazaar, etc. were in centuries old buildings which were worth seeing and enjoying. Banni Mai Veero was an ancient huge water pool built by a Hindu lady Mai Veero, where people used to bathe, swim and refresh. It was a sort of picnic spot for the public in the very heart of the city. But now our greedy authorities have constructed shops and converted it into a bazaar. Adjacent to it was a “Tonga Stand” of a horse driven two wheeler four seated comfortable carts the only means of transport in the city. It was an attractive stand with waiting beautifully coloured/polished tongas with healthy horses; which were periodically inspected by the Municipal Veterinary doctors. There used to be a British Lady (who  was called “Berehmi wali meim” (merciless lady); and was dreaded by the “Kochwans”  (the Toga drivers) as she used to surprise check on the roads to inspect any wound or injury to the horses, and would shoot the injured horse at the spot. The “Tongas” also have vanished with the abolishing of the same in the city and replaced by taxis and auto rickshaws which have further added to the huge traffic congestion and pollution.

In Bohar Bazaar all the chemists shops were located, both whole sellers as well as the retailers doing business. Once I went to the Shamsi Chemists shop in 1950s, he was writing a letter to his mother. When he wrote the word “Walda” (Mother), the ink in his fountain pen exhausted and he could only complete the half word. While he was filling his pen, suddenly a Postman dropped in the shop and delivered a telegram to him. Immediately Mr. Shamsi collapsed on the chair while reading the telegram, which carried the news of the death of his mother. It was a strange and sad unforgettable incident in my life. His dying mother contacted him “spiritually” before the message came.

There were mainly two roads which connected the city area with the Cantonment also called Saddar. One was City Saddar Road which was the shortest and the Tonga Walas used to charge only two paisas (one rupee was equal to 64 paisas) per person. The other route was Murree Road  which was longer but better route with a very little traffic. Almost entire Murree Road existed in a residential area, whereas the City Saddar Road existed in commercial area. Though the vacuum created during the Partition by the departure of Hindu/Sikh emigrants was filled by the influx of Mohajars from East Punjab mainly; the population grew so fast thereafter that  the existing areas became excessively congested. The need to meet the uncontrollable growing population became unavoidable; and the city started witnessing excessive and ill planned construction of the houses in the heart of city, which caused the complete vanishing of existing breathing places like gardens and playgrounds.

During late 50s and early 60s, Gen. Ayub Khan started the construction of Satellite Town and the city of Islamabad. The situation started becoming easy but an extensive damage had already been done by the greedy corrupt authorities while converting the gardens and playgrounds into housing schemes.

Photo of Chaklala Railway Station

Chaklala Railway Station.

In the meanwhile the capital of Pakistan was shifted from Karachi to Islamabad during early 60s. I still remember the day the first train arrived at Chaklala Railway Station during an afternoon in almost a very cloudy and freezing weather. I still remember when the staff of Capital Secretariats, mostly Urdu speaking, landed at the platform, they started shivering to their bones. They were dressed in only ordinary sweaters or “Banddees” (waistcoats made of quilts), and were rubbing both the hands to get some warmth, but in vain. The welcoming Administration had arranged for hot tea for the “guests” who jumped for the tea and started gushing the boiling hot tea in their throats, holding the glasses with both hands. As their trembling started beyond their control, they were hurriedly transported to their already allotted quarters in beautifully planned Islamabad. Subsequently most of the staff fell sick with cold related problems, and became a headache for the Administration for their odd types of demands for their personal comforts. In Karachi they felt better weather wise and financially also where they were doing illegally additional jobs other than their Government duty. Eventually most of such staff left and went back to Karachi. 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 

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  1. Masood Baig Mirza says:

    I was born in Rawalpindi city in Banni chowk, center of Rawalpindi. My father Mirza Yaqub Baig and other family memberts live in Rawalpindi But I miss old Banni Tallab and Banni Dispensary, but all is changed in Rawalpindi. I miss all old building and places.

  2. Rajinder Singh Kohli says:

    Khan shaib,
    It is really a mind relaxing to read the details you have cited about pre Partition Rawalpindi- the mohallas, streats and the beautiful childhood I passed in Rawalpindi till the age of eleven, when I had to migrate to this part of India. Allah keep you happy and healthy-
    Rajinder Singh Kohli

    • Mr. Rajinder Singh Kohli,
      It is informed with the deepest sorrow that Rafique Khan Sahib passed away in Rawalpindi on 11 July 2016 (“We surely belong to God and to Him we shall return.”).

    • malik javed says:

      Dear Mr.Rajindar kohli.May i know where at pindi you lived?

  3. Saadia Khalid says:

    Thank you, Rafiq Sahib.
    You have brought to life my father as the details of pre Partition Pindi are exactly like he told us. You must be his age fellow. My great great grandfather came to Pindi from Uzbekstan. My ancestors lived in Telli Mohalla. My father was in Army (Lt Col M. I. Moghal). He studied at Gordon College and was classmate of Khawaja Masud in BSc.


      Dear Madam,
      Many thanks for your nice comment. If you could kindly give the full name of your respected father I may be knowing him. I knew Khawaja Masud who studied in the Gordon College in Forties. I also knew a few persons from Central Asia who used to live in various localities of Rawalpindi like Purana Qilla, etc.
      Thanking you again,

      • Saadia Khalid says:

        My father’s name was Mohammed Ijaz Moghal. His grandfather, Firoz Din, lived in Telli Mohalla. My father lived with his grandfather in forties while studying in Gordon College. After BSc he went to Lahore for engineering. Later we lived in Pindi Cantt. One interesting thing – Ayub Khan government banned rickshaws in Pindi and it is still so.

  4. Respected sir,
    My grandmother & grandfather belong to Rawalpindi (Norbasra, Pind Qazian, Tehsil Gujar Khan). They migratde in 1947 and are currently in Delhi. Your article is very good. Please upload photos of city Norbasra and Gujar Khan before 1947.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Mr. Ashok,
      Thank you for the inquiry and appreciation. Pind Qazian is almost 40 miles from Rawalpindi in Tehsil Gujar Khan. Norbasra is unfamiliar to me. It may be incorrectly named/spelled. Can you mention the neighbouring villages. I will try tracing the old photos of Gujar Khan & let you know.
      Thanking you again for your interest.

    • DR ABDUS SALAM says:

      Mohallah Noor Basra – Qazian – Wikimapia

  5. Sajid Baig says:

    Dear Rafiq Ahmed Khan Sahib, Another exhilarating detailed artcle which takes you down the memory lane.You deserve all appreciation.The comments are so enjoyable to read.I was born in Bohar Bazar.My Nana jan was Mirza Fazal Karim, his ciousins Mirza Lal Khan who owned properties in Trunk Bazar.Also Mirza Akhtar Mirza Muzaffar amongst there properties were Davies Hotel and currently Azhar shaheed plaza and Akhtar plaza in Saddar.Sir i am sure you must be knowing my ancestors from Pindi, my Dada jan Mirza Imdad Ali was Inspector in Police AJK .My father Mirza Anwar Beg was programme Organiser in Radio Pakistan Peshawar Road.May Allah grant Jannat to all my deceased ancestors i have mentioned above.Special thanks to you sir to bring back old memories.

  6. Fauzia Parviz says:

    I’m also a Pindite now settled in USA. All the places you mentioned have a stamp of my childhood memories. Chittian Hattian was my grandfather’s home, on City Saddar Road was my father’s timber business. My Dad built a huge house on Murree Road Satellite Town. Khursheed Jeweller’s daughters Mussarat and Nasreen were our schoolmates in Presentation Convent. Dr Minhas’ daughter studied with me in Gordon College, when Prof Mull was the Principal, I was taught by Dr. Tebbe (Chemistry), Dr. Nasir (Botany), Dr. Daskawi (English), Prof Shafqat Munir (Physics), Prf Shamim (English), and Khawaja Masood (Maths).
    Dr. Waheed was family. My mother shopped in Moti Bazaar and Purana Qila, or Bombay Cloth House and Vogue House in Saddar. Sadiq and Rashid were her Tailor masters, and Madina and Patialla were her Jewellers (I don’t know how all these names come rushing back to me).
    Places of interest in or near Pindi were Topi Rakh (which later became Ayub National Park) and I learned bicycling there. At the location of present Rawal Dam was a small waterfall and we’d go there for picnics, and Wah Gardens – very cool stream for summer bathing and swimming.
    In Saddar near the Pindi Club roundabout was a statue of Queen Victoria that we passed by when going to school. Later it was struck down by ‘Buut Shikans’ and lay on the side of the road for a long time.
    Liaquat Bagh’s old name was Company Bagh and my Dada Ji would take us there for walks or on Eid Mela.
    Old Saint Mary’s School was on Murree Road, next to it was Saint Teresa School, across it was Govt College for Women which later shifted to Satellite Town.
    It’s good to share memories.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Madam,
      Many thanks for such a post saturated with full information regarding your youth you spent in Pindi. But inspite of all the details you did not mention the names of your father & other ancestors to enable me link my memories. You have put me into a condition as if to have a big bank account without the cheque book. When a person becomes a memory, the memory becomes the treasure. With all such acquaintances you mentioned I am sure I must be knowing your family members. I know almost all the personalities you mentioned in your note. Please do advise me with the personal details of your elders to enable me proceed further.
      Thanking you & waiting for your reply and with the best of my regards.

      • Fauzia Parviz says:

        LOL, It seems I have aroused your curiosity – I just by chance came accross this site and every place and name was familiar. In the rush of excitement and impulse I wrote that post otherwise I am a very private person.
        By the way, Dr. Minhas’ daughter’s name was Abida and there were three other Minhas surname sisters – one of them being Mubeen in Gordon College in late 60’s.
        I will have to look up my old albums to see if I have any memorabilia until then Khuda Hafiz.

    • Shahid Ihsan Ullah says:

      My late mother Mrs. Nasim Zohra whose family was Chaudhary’s of Rawalpindi also studied at Saint Teresa School before Partition. My late father Col Ihsan Ullah who was basically a Pathan, he had built Al-Ihsan Hospital near Marreer Hassan Chowk on the land which was owned by pre-partition probably by the first surgeon of Pindi Dr. Goush. Does any one has any interesting information about the Chaudhary’s of Pindi and D.r Goush?

  7. In Banni Chowk there is a big house gate which opens towards Banni Chowk, I spent my childhood there. This house is very big and has many rooms. Do you know who lived in this house before partition? I am so anxious about it and dreams about this house.

  8. Sultan Jamshed says:

    Dear sir,
    I really enjoyed after going through your memoirs pertaining to Rawalpindi. I may like to add something which will surely interest you. The Mai Veero’s Bnani was also a place of entertainment on the eve of Eid festival when mailas were held here. The tongas plying from Banni to far flange areas like Holy Family Hospital when shifted from its old building adjacent to St. PatricK School Murree Road (Alma mater of our present Ambassador of Pakistan to China H.E. Mr. Masood Khalid).
    I wish you best of health &spirits for burning midnight oil in keeping so many memories of Pindiwals.

    P.S. I can contribute more info in respect of Cantt area of Rawalpindi.

    • Dear Mr Sultan Jamshed Sahib,
      Many thanks for the appreciation. As a matter of fact I am writing my memoirs with regards to era prior to forties. It will highly be appreciable to read more about the Cantt area from you.
      Thanking you again

  9. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, USA says:

    Dr. Mahmood Minhas was one of the earliest Muslim medical practitioners in Pindi. He had two sons Kakkoo and Masud and one daughter Islam. Dr Minhas’s daughter-in-law Dr. Sabiha still runs the clinic. Kakkoo Uncle was perhaps one of the first GMs of Intercontinental Hotel.

    • Dear Faisal Niaz Tirmizi
      Dr. Minhas was our family friend & family doctor both. I know every one you have mentioned in your valued comments. Dr. Minhas had an autistic child also.

      Kakkoo was the son of Dr. Mehmood Ali Khan a brother-in-law of Dr. Minhas, His real name was Maksood called Kakkoo with his pet name. Dr. Sabiha was Kakkoo’s wife. Kakkoo was never a GM of Intercontinental Hotel. But he lived in Europe for sometimes & died very young. Masood became a doctor..

      • Faisal Tirmizi, USA says:

        Dear Rafique Sahib,

        Thank you so much for correcting me. Yes Kakko Uncle’s real name was Maksood and he paaawd away very young in his 40s.

        You have done a great service to Pindi by writing these pieces. You must consider to turn these into a book. You have brought back to life the times and people who are no more.

        Its a pity that I could not meet you during my stay in the UAE for three years. I was able to convince two prominent Pakistanis to write books on Pakistanis’ contributions in making UAE: Amb Jamil Ahmed Khan and Mr. Abdul Hafeez Khan. Mr Abdul Hafeez Khan’s has recently been published while Amb Jamil’s book is in finak stages of editing.

        With my respects.

  10. Again a wonderful write up of our city’s history by Mr. Rafique Ahmed Khan. I can actually relive my childhood in Bohar Bazaar through these articles. I was born in 1954 and from this article I can gather that till the sixties things had not changed drastically from the pre-Partition era so beautifully described by the author whose words flow so smoothly like a fresh water stream depicting beautiful flow of loving memories.

    My mother late Dr. Begum Amina Usmani established her clinic in Bohar Bazaar after I was born, so I as a young child was a frequent visitor to Bohar Bazaar. Her clinic was next to the Bohar Bazaar mosque opposite Pure Drug Store. I remember rows of chemist and homeopathic shops. Opposite to my mother’s clinic was a retired Army doctor late Col Faqir Muhammad’s clinic.

    We would buy our clothes from the cloth shops situated in Moti Bazaar, our favorite entrance was the one which started with a Zari house called Dukhan Zari House. We would also get elaborate zari work done at Purana Qila and all the famous gold shops like Khursheed Jewelers, Patiala Jewelers & Madina Jewelers were located in the Sarafa Bazaar near by. We would buy our school books, stationary, colour pencils and geometry boxes from Urdu Bazaar and simply loved to go there.

    I look forward to the third part of your write up Mr. Rafique Ahmed Khan and I congratulate you both on content and style of your write ups.

    • Dear Madam,
      Thank you for your appreciation.

      I knew late Dr Usmani personally very well. She was colleague of Dr. Khurshid in Civil Hospital Rawalpindi. Later Dr. Usmani opened her Clinic in Bohar Bazaar. My wife (Daughter of Late Agha Ghulam Jilani, owner of Imperial Cinema) was also her patient. I also knew Col Dr Faqir Muhammad very well personally. There used to be a Radiographer who was always referred for Xrays by both Drs. Usmani & Khurshid, because he was also in the Civil Hospital along with them.

      I used to live in Shah Nazar Street near Jamia Masjid upto 1973, when I shifted to F Block Satellite Town. If we enter Bohar Bazaar from Urdu Bazaar, there used to be old M T spare parts dealers around Lal Haveli. There was one Hakim who had his clinic either next or very near Dr. Usmani’s clinic. On opposite side there was entrance to Paris Bazaar, where ladies used to shop and eat chaat.

      I also knew personally Dr. Minhas, Dr. Waheed, Dr. Hafeez, Lady Dr. Suriya, Lady Dr. Zaheera, Lady Dr. Shamim, Dr. Yazdani, Dr. Siraj who came after Partition. During pre Partition I knew Dr. Teal whose residence was purchased by Dr. Mehmood, Dr. Wania, and Dentist Dr. Shah, etc.

      I am writing my memoirs serial wise. Please do read to refresh your memories also.

      • Abbas Hayat Baloch says:

        Interesting . I happen to be the eldest son of Dr. Khurshid Hayat and retired as Professor of Pathology Rawalpindi Medical College last year. Your writings have become one of the best account of Rawalpindi of the last 80 years or so.

  11. Brig (R) Farooq Maan says:

    Dear Rafiq Khan Sahib.
    Your, ‘PINDI NAMA’ is wonderful narration of Pindi’s history and you have told us about those facts which we may not have learnt otherwise. My memories of this city start from the year 1962 when I joined Gordon College and last till 1966. I’ll like to share some of the memories I have of that period. We lived in house number 200 Mayo Road near kutchery Chowk, which later on became part of Presidency where late Ch. Fazil Illahi lived and now it is part of Fatima Jinnah Women University.

    My first impression of the city was of it being very neat and clean city with wide roads, no rush of vehicles or people and it was pleasure to move around on these roads. Pindi Cricket Club used to host international cricket matches which are just history now. Just a passing reference to the sound of galloping horses of the tongas, there were two other very rhythmic and musical sounds produced by these tongas. Some of the tongas had a bell installed on the floor of the tongas which when pressed would produce the musical sound and more common mean of warning by the kochwan was his ,’CHANTA’ which he would press on his tonga’s wheel and produce a sound which was not unpleasant to the ears.

    The progress and development do extract its price and Pindi is no exception to it. I remember that in Bohar Bazar there used to be some shops of ‘ZAR KOBAN’ a term used for people who made ‘warq’ of gold or silver which were used as decoration on mithai. While passing through the bazaar one would hear a very musical sound produced by beating of the gold or silver with small hammers. I would stand there for a while and enjoy the music. Now you only hear the noise of transport and unpleasant sound of honking horns. The city is fast losing its old character, may it be the social life or its architecture.

    The city had a very active and lively social life. There used to be a open air theatre in Ayub Park where functions were held regularly and is missing now. I remember library of Pakistan National Council which was rich in wonderful books. Lectures and discussions were a regular feature.This organization was primarily meant to increase interaction and harmony between both the wings of Pakistan. I passed my Bengali language course from here. This organization no longer exists now.

    • Dear Brig Farooq Maan,
      Your worthy comment added a wealthy reminder to my old and fading memories. The pedestal bells and kerosene oil lamps along both sides of “Tongas” vanished soon after the Partition; along with the general lawlessness which started prevailing in the country. During old days there used to be a bag attached under the tail of the horse for the collection of feces, which also vanished. The “ZAR KOBAN” used to work with the musical rhythm “KHATA KHAT” in the adjacent streets of “BAZAAR SARAFAN”
      I invite you to kindly do read my memoirs which are being published serial wise
      Thanking you again and hoping to be remembered for any service in Dubai.

    • Shahid Ihsan Ullah says:

      Dear Brig Farooq Maan,
      My fater Col Ihsan Ullah Khan was from Corps of Engineers, 13 PMA, PA 5224. He also studied at Gordon College probably during that time.

  12. Very good pen picture of old Pindi.

  13. Maj Gen (R) Parvez Akmal says:

    First, a very Happy New Year to all; may Allah shower His countless blessings on you and your families and grant you the best of health, happiness and prosperity.

    Respected Rafique Ahmed Khan Sahib,
    As-salamu Alaikum,

    I wonder if you saw my belated note of appreciation on Part-One, wherein I remarked that the Editor had really hit a gold mine into the good old Pindi; it’s turning out to be so true. We had so far been mostly reading interesting personal accounts, with lots of satire and humour, but you have given new dimensions to the historic account of Pindi and Pindi-Wals; these accounts are a class apart. You have also triggered nostalgic narrations from this web’s readership. My hearty greetings and sincere thanks for your excellent writings. May Allah grant you long long, healthy and happy life to keep writing with such amazingly sharp memory. Ameen.

    Although born in Sargodha in 1949, my memories of Pindi date back to early 1960s. You beautifully recalled the arrival of first Karachi train at Chaklala that brought the new capital staff, of which some were lodged in soldiers’ barracks turned living quarters, stretching from the Pindi railway station turning on the Mall to the Transit Camp, and then right up to Westridge-3, where we lived nearby in Allahabad Colony. I have fond memories of my childhood spent with the Karachi kids who took quite some time to get acclimatized with Pindi’s cold. We would play cricket, hockey and football in vast sports grounds, of various army units, where we had free access. Alas, these sports grounds have now been built upon (greedily, as you said) or show high wall surrounds with barbed wire atop in the present day eerie terror environment. We can hardly blame kids for confining themselves to computer games and cells etc.

    Some time in early 60s again, when the first PTV arrived, we cycled from Westridge to the railway station to watch a documentary alone. The TV had been brought all the way from Karachi on a special train that reportedly stopped at major stations en-route to entertain people; we had something to talk about for days!!

    Would keep in touch,
    Warm regards.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      I have already confessed in my earlier replies that being a non-professional writer my scripts may not be that arresting or attractive academically. The memories are quite extempore & totally based on my recollections at this advanced age of nineties especially when the Alzheimer is also hovering above. That is why I am taking my time to write in parts. Thanking you for your most gracious
      encouraging appreciation. May God bless you.

  14. Maj (R) Khalid Saeed Shah says:

    Sir, excellent recollection of events. It is PINDI NAMA we are eagerly waiting for the next article. Many thanks for sharing.

  15. Brig (R) Asad Hakeem says:

    What an insight. I never knew the complete name of Banni and if a pond existed there at some time though I have seen the tonga stand near the Chowk. These articles on Pindi and Lahore would be of immense value to the coming generations indeed. Some time people wont believe that I used to live in an 8 Kanal house (1-C, Satellite Town owned by Khurshid Jewllers). I am sure the writer will at some later article write about the vendors and melas of Liaquat Bagh as well.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai says:

      Dear Brig Asad,
      The full name of the huge tank was BANNI MAI VEERO. She was a Hindu lady who built this tank or some of devotees built it in her name. The tank vanished in early 50s and the land was converted into shops.
      Mr Khurshid was our family jeweler who built this house in 60/70s when he had become well established.

      • Brig (R) Asad Hakeem says:

        Dear Mr. Rafique,
        He built this house (1-C, Sateellite Town) in early 60s and we were the first occupants in Feb 1963. Looking forward to your follow up write ups. We had the top bureaucrates living in the locality. I can remember the names of Mr. Roedad Khan who lived in 5-C, Mr. Shafi-ul-Azam who was later Chief Secretary in Bangla Desh and a Federal Minister besides Mr. Shah Zaman Babar an ICS officer from Balochistan.
        A very Happy New Year.

      • Lt Col (R) Mohammad Javed Iqbal, Engrs says:

        The huge tank at Banni Mai Veero didn’t vanish in early 50’s. I swam in the tank in early 60’s. I lived in the nearby Mohalla Saidpuri Gate in a street near Muslim High School # 2.
        Respected Rafique Sahib you have done an excellent service to the Pindiwals. Beautiful memories. Thanks a lot.

        • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

          Dear Lt Col Javed Iqbal,
          Thank you very much for kind appreciation. As a matter of fact I had shifted to Karachi during 60s on my transfer and finally came to Dubai, I used to go to Pindi casually for few days to return to Dubai again; having permanent residence. I am writing my memoirs of the period before 1940s.

  16. Shahid Salam, Canada says:

    Thank you Mr. Rafique for refreshing our memories again. Those ornamentally decorated tongas were quite a sight in the old days; the tonga wallas used to take pride in their tongas. And I might add the sound of the galloping horse was a lot more pleasing than the blaring horns of today. That sound also gave enough warning of someone’s arrival.
    We lived in a pollution free environment.
    I remember too that the specially designated tonga stands also had a trough for horses to drink from.
    I had forgotten all about the paisas; you are quite right about the 64 paisas; the 16 annas were 4 paisas each.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Mr. Shahid Salam,
      The water troughs were scattered on all the roads during pre-Partition days, regularly cleaned and white washed after short intervals. It may be astonishing for you to know that the horses knew the location of the troughs and would straightaway go to the troughs when passing nearby; and would leave only after quenching their thirst.
      The breakdown of the currency then was One rupee coin, eight anna coin, four anna coin, two anna coin, one anna coin, two paisa coin(Takka), one paisa coin, half paisa coin (Dhela), one pie coin. One paisa was equal to three pies, One anna was equal to four paisas.

  17. Azam Gill, France says:

    Thank you Rafique Khan Sahib,
    As expected, Part II is another engrossing read, and I look forward to Part III.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Mr Azam Gill,
      Many thanks for appreciation and encouragement. Kindly do read my coming articles on the subject.

  18. Shaheda Rizvi, Canada says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for sharing your cherished memories on a forum where others might read.

    Your stories are rich, informative and one segment, although there are many others, demands a mention. Most touching is the episode where you enter a medical store at the very minute where Mr. Shamsi is writing a letter to his mother, ostensibly, the pen runs out of ink, and he has to refill, and then a postman with a letter from his “Walida” who had just passed away! Life is such a mystery. That moment, that man, that Bazar, that postman have now become ‘ETERNAL’—Living forever in your memory.

    Reminds me of a writer who wrote about the human spirit and its connection: “One must abandon the cultural conceit that human language is superior to other forms of communication. One must stop listening to the words in one’s head and listen to the wordless wonders being expressed all around us in nature.”

    ‘Influence of a vital person vitalizes the society’—In this case, a vital story that vitalizes us, the readers.

    ” It was a spiritual message from his Mother.” Of course that’s exactly what I meant, when I wrote: “One must stop listening to the words in one’s head and listen to the wordless wonders being expressed all around us in nature.” And these spiritual messages are truly wordless wonders.

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Madam,
      Thanks for the appreciation and encouragement. The climax of the incident in the Chemist Shop was that the ink finished when he wrote the word “WALDA” and at the same time the postman came with the news of the death of Mr. Shamsi’s mother. It was a spiritual message from his mother.

  19. Sir, splendid article so full of detail. I was born in a house at Bohar Bazaar, near Moti Bazaar in 1952. We later moved to Satellite Town in 1956. Your article is really nostalgic!!

    • Rafique Ahmed Khan says:

      Dear Mr. Sajid Baig,
      Thank you for the appreciation.
      I also shifted to “F” Block, Satellite Town, and had some relatives in Bohar Bazaar by the name of Qazi Moazam. If you elaborate we may be knowing
      each other.

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