Rawalpindi, as I Remember

By Brig Muhammad Akram Malik, Retd (2nd SSC)

Brig Muhammad Akram

Muhammad Akram

A friend in his article Nostalgic Memories of Rawalpindi wrote in detail about old Pindi. It has prompted me to write something too about this city. My friend got acquainted with Pindi intimately when he arrived at Aviation School in 1975 but I know Pindi a little more than him because I had my schooling there.

Yes, Pindi was once a sleepy but very pleasant town. I remember mashkees (Watermen) spraying water on the streets during summer evenings to make the evenings cool and dust free. Yes, Saddar and Mall Road were the places for gentries to have evening walks as all these roads had lines of trees on their shoulders and quiet walk ways. The environment was so clean that Shezan (Opposite GPO) had a front lawn for people to have outdoor tea. It was not unusual for Anglo-Indian ladies with skirts to roam on the streets of Saddar and Lalkurti without posing any threat to our Islam. I wonder where have they all gone?

Image of intersection of Kashmir Road & Adamjee Road, Saddar Rawalpindi---1960s, old Rawalpindi pictures

Chowk near GTS Bust Stand in early 1960s.

We were never allowed to take our bicycles on the roads after sunset if our bikes did not have the dynamo light and tail reflector. At sunset all tonga walas would stop to set their lamps alight and always used bags under tails of their horses to ensure road cleanliness. Can children of today imagine all this? In those days Liaquat Baagh was really a baagh. I remember playing hockey during my school days as it was close to our school. It had beautiful green lawns and sports grounds. Places like Odeon, Plaza and Cerose cinemas were the places to go. Harley Street, Westridge and Satellite Town were posh suburbs on the fringes of Pindi. Murree Road from Flashman’s Hotel to Faizabad Chowk was wide, lined with thick trees. Near Satellite Town, it had big houses with wide lawns. Cycling along this road on holidays was adventurous and enjoyable. Baagh Sardaran next to Raja Bazar was really a baagh with mango trees.

Haathi Chowk had an elephant statue and Massey Gate had a gate. Ask Pindi walas if any one remembers the location of this Massey Gate? It was  about one hundred yards from Haathi Chowk towards Saddar where there are even now some auto shops. Double decker buses, Pindi Hazara bus service, GTS bus station in Saddar and tonga stands with excellent overhead shades and drinking water channels for horses are now history.

Coming back to my friend’s article. He asked the name of that poor bald-headed owner of Super Cafe, located on Bank Road. Everybody made fun of him. His name was Mukhtar. How can anyone living in those days forget his name and the pranks the youngsters had with him?

Pindi Club was an evening RV for all young and not so old officers to meet……………???

On Bank Road young Romeos were seen strolling in search of their Juliets.

Well, those were real good old days.

Related Articles:
Nostalgic Memories of Rawalpindi

Nostalgic Articles about Rawalpindi 

Photos of Rawalpindi 

Rawalpindi Memorabilia

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  1. Ibney Abbas Jafry says:

    Great you mentioned Haathi chowk and Messy Gate, actually I saw it brought down in 1956 or 57.
    We lived in Mall Hostel opposite Ciros Cinema and remember the hot raisen buns from Silver Grill. Still remember Massey Gate in Saddar which was taken down around 1956-57, there used to be Crown Bakery in Saddar and Haathi Chowk.
    I studied in St. Mary’s from 1956 to 1958. The principal at that time was Father Mallet (a wonderful and great headmaster) and Father Dolans, the other teachers I remember we Mr. Rahat and Mr. Nasir. They were history and geography teachers. Father Mallet was a great character builder and insisted on confidence and self esteem which was the corner stone of that great school.
    Some of the students at that time I remember were Tahir Ayub, Khushnood, Imtiaz, has been such long time. Still carry my sweet memories of that time and would love to hear from students at that time. 
I am in Canada since 1975 after working in Habib Bank in Pakistan, never had the chance to meet my School mates from St. Mary’s.
    Ibney Abbas

  2. Imtiaz Qureshi says:

    Sir, you did not mention “Chacha Fit” a famous character who used to walk on Mall Road footpath between MH (Military Hospital) and old President House! Awwwww good old memories of Pindi. How about the aged toothless waiter of Super Cafe “Lal Khan” and Billiard room of Ciros?

  3. Mehmud Ahmed (Brampton, Canada) says:

    Brig Akram Malik, The Anglo Indian girls in skirts left for Australia soon after the Mullahs realised that Pakistan had come into being despite them and their patrons and
    skirts they had tolerated for 200 years were un-Islamic. And thus died the Railways
    Institutes, the Departmental Clubs and several Lintots and the Silver Grills.

    • Brig Akram Malik says:

      Dear Mehmud Ahmed, How unfortunate. We had such a beautiful, multicultural society but now………??? We our self are at fault. We let this gradually happen without realizing that a day would come that we would find it difficult to breathe and live normal life. I agree “And thus died the Railways Institutes, the Departmental Clubs and several Lintots and the Silver Grills.”

  4. Akram Malik says:

    Welcome. Will help people revive their memories and pleasure

  5. Dr.Munawar Aziz says:

    Reading about Rawalpindi,I thought you are talking about Peshawar!

  6. Hi, after reading this amazing post i am also delighted to share my knowledge here with friends.

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