By Rafique Ahmed Khan, Dubai
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 6 ………..
Rawalpindi City was surrounded by various small localities called DHOKES, like DHOKE RATTA, DHOKE KHABBA, DHOKE KHILLU, DHOKE PEERA FAQIRA, DHOKE KHANNA, etc; and during pre Partition period these localities were supposed to be fa- flung areas beyond the Municipal boundaries, but now they have become integral parts of the inner city area due to expansion of the city.
Inside the city the localities were made to mainly three types viz; all Hindus, all Muslims and mixed with both the nationalities. Hindu/Sikh localities were Krishan Pura, Mohan Pura, Amar Pura, Kartar Pura, Angat Pura and had beautiful Hindu temples and Sikh Gurdawars in their localities. After the Partition most of these religious places have vanished, converted into residential houses, whereas some are still existing in very poor condition. One such beautiful temple with a large area in Kohati Bazaar has been converted into a school for the blind.
A Gurdawara in Bagh Sardaran was occupied by Police for their official residence. In Lunda Bazaar a very beautiful temple was built by two Hakims which is now in a very dilapidated condition. These Hindu Hakims by the names of Moti Ram & Asa Ram were very famous during the 1920s. During pre Partition days it was a big attraction to listen early in mornings the melodious sounds of Artys and Paatths sung by Hindus & Sikhs audible from long distances.
Upto 1940s of the last century the Hakims of all the nationalities were running their Matabs (Clinics). Few of them were Hakim Abdul Kalique, Hakim Mohammad Musa, Hakim Amir Ali, Hakim Abdul Rabb, Hakim Ayub, etc. In adition to the Hakims there used to be Pansaarys (Pharmists) who used to sell herbal medicines. Some of them I remember as Narain Pansaari, Kartar Pansaari who used to distill the Araqs, like Chahar Araq, Araq Saunf, Araq Ajwaine, etc at their shops. They also used to make pure syrups like Sharbat Banafsha, Sharbat Shahtoot, Sharbat Falsa, Sharbat Anaar, Sharbat Bazoori, etc.
There was another type of herbal medicine called Maajoon. It was a paste and contained many herbs including metals like gold silver and pearls. This type of paste was very difficult to make and had to pass through various stages of manufacture. Many of such Maajoons were so costly that common patients could not think of affording to buy. This medicine was used as a very effective tonic and effectively used in chronic cases. One element used in these Maajoons was Salaajeet which is available on at the extreme and difficult heights of the Himalaya Mountains.
Another herbal tonic was Sharbat Maaul Hem. It was extracted from the juices of many types of birds/animals meat, fruits and vegetables. It was also a very costly tonic afforded by only the rich people.
Another herbal medicine was called Kushta. It was in the form of powder and took various lengthy stages to make. It was also very costly because costly metals like gold, silver, copper, pearls and various poisons were used in the difficult manufacturing stages. It was also used as highly effective tonic and cure of chronic diseases. These herbal medicines were available in powder, liquid and paste condition with all Pansaarys and Dawa Khanas situated all over the city. Some of the famous Dawa Khanas were Shamali Dawa Khana, Delhi Dawa Khana, and Rehmania Dawa Khana.
Every famous Hakim had one small box duly sealed/locked and fixed on his table, which contained his secret recipe. No one was allowed access to this recipe which would remain a secret till his death.
In 1930s radios came in the market; and my father bought one radio set Marconi 6 valves for Rs. 300 from Shaw’s Electrics, a shop owned by two British brothers. Soon the market was flooded with other brands like Phillips, HMV, Midwest, Minerva, Westinghouse, Murphy, etc.
By the time All India Radio had started broadcasting programmes, which started from 5 in the evening till midnight. It was all music programmes with news aired at 9 O’ Clock during night only. Mostly the classical music was a major item in the programmes. I remember one singer took more than one hour to complete his item of some raag. Then the programmes started in three transmissions i.e., morning, mid day and evening till midnight. The children programmes also started soon after. On Fridays the programmes started with the recitation of Holy Quran followed by Naats and Qwalies. On Tuesdays the programmes started with Hindu religious literature followed by Bhajans.
Behzad Lakhnav,i the poet, was a frequent orator reciting his poems. All India Radio started publishing their programmes fortnightly in their Chronicle AWAZ. The annual subscription was Rs. 2. This magazine used to arrive regularly by post from Delhi. This action facilitated the listeners to switch on their radios to listen to the programme of their choice. Soon after the dramas also started being aired, which added to the number of listeners. During those days a private Radio had also started transmissions from Peshawar at 200 meter band medium wave. A famous singer from Peshawar was one Master Faqir Hussain who used to sing frequently from Peshawar. From Delhi the main singers were Shamshad Begum, Umrao Zia Begum, Rafiq Ghaznavi, Master Madan (a young boy singer who sang for a short time as he died at the age of 15 in 1942), Malka Pukhraj, Malka Jharia, Angur Bala and numerous other singers.
In 1939 World War 2 started and many more radio stations started their transmissions from Lahore, Bombay, Calcutta and Lucknow. But they were broadcasting on low power medium wave band, and could not be picked up in Rawalpindi. During war Radio Berlin started propaganda against British in Urdu in the evenings for one hour (5:3o PM to 6:00 PM and then 8:30 PM to 9:00PM).
Every radio owner started listening to Radio Berlin secretly who exposed the Allies in case a wrong information was broadcasted on their radio. I still remember a lot of our friends without radio used to gather at our house to listen to radio Berlin. But we being afraid of CID roaming all over the city were very cautious. Our servant used to stand at our door to watch for any doubtful intruder sniffing around. TO BE CONTINUED …………
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)
Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi
Editor’s Note: Did you find this article interesting? Feel free to share this Post on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media by using the buttons below.
If it is not inconvenient, please do write a brief comment at the end of this page under the heading “Leave a Reply here”.
You are welcome to contribute nostalgic articles about Rawalpindi by sending to: email@example.com