Visiting Heera Mandi - The Hidden History Of Lahore
I have been waiting for Rasheed Al Hasan and Qamar Ali Murad since this morning, standing here on the road. Some viewers ask me to sit in a room and narrate historical events to them. I can't do this because Lahore and its surroundings and rather in the whole of Pakistan history is embodied in every place in the form of buildings, in the form of tombs and shrines. . . In the form of gaushalas, in the form of temples, in the form of gurudwaras, in the form of mansions. History is scattered everywhere, how can I sit in a room and make a vlog? I have been waiting since this morning for Rasheed Al Hasan and Qamar Ali Murad to come.
Look, they have come Asalam O Alaikum sir, Walaikum Salam how are you? Fine On the upper terrace, the children have come to say goodbye. They also watch Baalwala with great interest. Interested in history a little confused whether to associate history with the Arabs or with the Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Shamans? Because they go everywhere, they travel, they inspect the history and experience the history. Sir, by the way fruit is very important for our life.
I am talking apart from dengue sir and juice is very important. Because juice quickly reaches place of occurrence The place of occurrence hahaha. have you felt this feeling at this age? That juice is very important or found out because of dengue? Sir, it is important that you think separately from dengue. He is a mosquito that does its job. Fresh fruit is very necessary in our life.
Brother, will you give us advice or suggestion? Or will you ever offer to feed some fruit or juice? . Or just for our education? Sir, let me feed you fruit. . . Fine It is a very good kind of fruit, very good for our stomach and I will give you the juice again. . . Yes, ever again? Brother Rasheed? Dude, Sir, over there, look at how nice guavas are placed there. Yes, of course
Yes guava is cute, talking about pomegranate and apple he wants to feed guava haha. Its fine . Sir, I will give you pomegranate juice in January 2024. Minto had said that a harlot could possess a bright soul despite her dark trade. Very well said. I have to ramble today and whenever I ramble it means I have something to say.
But its physical expression is not in front of me or I don't want to show it. I have to go to Bazar -e- Husan, heera mandi. I will go there to the place where heera mandi was I will go there. I have passed there hundreds of times in my videos but seeing the old havelis and food street, eating kebabs, eating phaja's Paye, seeing the barodkhana haveli, seeing the Badshahi Masjid and the Shahi Fort.
But last few days some viewers insisted to show heera mandi so much that I was forced to make this vlog. I got a chance to see this market in its final state, thirty years ago today. I saw nothing but the wretched life of forced women who were made a mere commodity by the rich، nouveau riche, the priests of lust.
My heart was very sad, after that I never went. Now I wonder how some people romanticize it. I am sorry to say that they seem to me to be suffering from a strange morbid cynicism. From Agha Shorash Kashmiri to Fauzia Saeed, Pran Nevile, Louis and many others have written books made films on this market called heera mandi. The filmmakers here have written the story of a forced woman doing business in her own way. Those interested in this topic want to hear the story of a girl from a respectable family reaching Heera Mandi.
The most interesting story for them is the same. However, I will walk around this market, talk about its history and my range. It was never my topic, so forgive if something was missed or something was missing. Yes, after reading Saadat Hasan Manto, I realized how a writer expresses his feelings about a woman whether she is a prostitute or any other field. How does he express the feeling of this (woman)? ۔ 30 years ago, when I bought a shawl here, in the fading shade of the evening the sometimes dull and sometimes loud sounds of tabla, sarangi and sitar mixed with semi-darkness and yellow light and perfumed my breath.
Behind the door of a window, in the rich light coming from the edges the sounds of bangles shaking, the fluttering fabric of the red sari, the muffled laughter were weighing on my heart, panic, overpowering my passion and curiosity. This happened thirty years ago. I was a twenty year old boy. I wanted to stay there, I wanted to run away from there. Sometimes it was terror, sometimes it was a state of intoxication. This was my first and last introduction to Heera Mandi. After that I came here today.
The mirrors are alone and the balconies are deserted. . . The clinking of bangles turned into the noiseless sound of shoe factories and machines. All the romance, all the charm, all the morbid pleasure has been turned into the noise of shoe boxes. The drummers are still sitting here. Masha Allah, this profession has been going on for the fifth generation have you been playing drums? Yes . . For five generations. . . ? Yes . .
How long has it been in Lahore? Only my father came to Lahore. . By migrating? Yes Father came here and made his name. Father's name was Lal Singh Dholwala. Lal Singh Dholwala. Yes.
Father became very famous. Then we took his name and proceeded with the work. The woman living in this market had different names in India. Tawaif in North India, Dev Dasi in South, Baiji in Bengal, Naikin in Goa, and then Nach Girl in British era. Kasbi , Wehshia how many names of had been for them . .
People changed their many names but the feeling of this woman was not understood. Manto says that not every woman is a prostitute, but every prostitute is a woman. I am disgusted with myself. to categoraize any woman.
As a Kasbi, Prostitute, Nach Girl or any other form that she takes as her profession under compulsion. Very few people know that prostitutes have been associated with which status, profession, institution while reaching this market. That is, you should see that somewhere she is Amrapali. In her life, the fairy under the mango tree turns from an infant girl into the most beautiful dancer of Vaishali. And then she becomes a follower of Buddha and preaches his dharma.
See the dramatists of the 5th century BC Vasant Sita, by Bhasa and Shadraka is seen entertaining Purusha, teaching him asanas. In the 19th century, when Amrao Jan Ada was created, the stories of Lucknow's dancing houses came out in a different style and color. And then comes Manto. Touches the feeling of prostitutes from every aspect.
The poets made the subject of every act of prostitutes. Someone said a flower lying on a grave, someone said a rose branch, someone said the status of a statue, then someone got excited. . . Someone said nice manners and gifts, while someone else said the boat of heart's sorrow. But in the history of India, the concept of prostitutes is unfortunately associated with keeping a woman in a shawl and four walls. I know many people will object to this, accuse me and call me bad. But it is a fact that we kept the woman away from knowledge and perfection prevented her individual freedom, associated the concepts of good and bad honor and sanctity with her, considered her as property.
Apart from acquiring knowledge, a woman had to do something to express her creativity. She had to use her creative power. She had to express her feelings somewhere.
Somewhere in compulsion, somewhere in grief Somewhere with the wound of love. When we confined the woman to the harem, women's rooms, and four walls then she had to give some expression to her aesthetic sense and her creative potential. Women paid attention to dance, music, poetry, eloquence and decorum Long before the arrival of the Mughals in India, women used to provide entertainment. It is also objected that why do we start the history of India with the Mughals? . . .
And this objection is absolutely correct. But the fact is that the profession of prostitutes has never been institutionalized in the history of thousands of years of India. The Mughals honored the art of these women. It is written in Aain Akbari that men play Pakawaj and Rabab while women sing and dance. Akbar called the dancing and singing women Kachini, meaning Zargarwali.
Princes and rich people used to invite them for feasts. Men play pongi, mirdang, cymbals, ghagri, sarang and women dance wearing ghungarus. It was a group. When Heera Mandi was there, the era was good. There was business and peace people also had money. The one whose rise was earlier cannot come now. Who buys pongee? These are the Christian people who worship, the Hindu, the Sikh community. . . Sikhs sing hymns on it.
Its use remained in religious matters. So you are doing this with your parents? If the job is over, why not leave this profession? Man, what else to do? I don't understand anything else. Can start selling sugarcane pieces? The culture of prostitutes was hybrid Hindu Muslim. The Tawaives of North India enjoyed wealth, power, prestige and political access. Even Begum Samro, the ruler of the empire, started her professional life as a prostitute. This was the period of 1753-1836.
Look at Begum Hazrat Mahal of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Oudh, she was also a prostitute. Nobles and nobles considered it a matter of pride to be associated with prostitutes. And often the reputation of all of them was sustained only because of prostitutes. For example, in 1913, Hakim Mehdi, who became the Prime Minister of Oudh, owed his success to a prostitute named Pyaru. It is said that if the singer Nawab Jan had not sung the ghazals of Mirza Ghalib he might not have become such a household name in Delhi.
People did not recognize Mirza Ghalib as Mirza Ghalib. Mirza Ghalib's ghazal could not reach the royal court, could not reach the public. . . Who doesn't know Gohar Jan Calcuttawali? Gohar Jan, the daughter of an Armenian father and a British mother recorded her first song in India.
She recorded 600 songs from 1902-1922. And at the end of every song, she would proudly say My Name is Gohar Jaan. When Akbar Ilahabadi met her, he said this poem: Who is fortunate here today, except the Gohar everything has been given by God except the husband. . . Hahaha Qarat-ul-Ain Haider wrote in the Gardish-e-Rang Chaman that when Feroze Shah Mehta praised Gohar Jan's song, Gohar Jan gave a good speech in English.
He said that Gohar Jan was proficient in Arabic, Persian, French and English. She sang songs in many languages. . . Wealth kissed her feet in such a way that one day the governor of Calcutta was going somewhere in his car when suddenly, he saw 6 Arabian horses pulling a cart. In that era, the kings, maharajas and governors had the right to ride on carts driven by 6 horses.
The Governor was surprised to see Gohar Jan's dignified manner. Legal action was initiated. Gohar Jan was fined 1000 rupees for following this. That who is she who drives a cart with 6 Arabian-bred horses and rides it with great pride? So, what Gohar Jan did? She deposited the fine amount, used to deposit the fine amount daily and enjoy the rides.
The prostitutes of Lahore were also not lacking in literature and manners. Walai Khairpur Sindh Mir Ali Nawaz, was a poet. His literary name was Naz. Educated from Aitchison College.
Once he passed through Heera Mandi, Iqbal Begum's melodious voice attracted him. He sat there and continued to sit there. He was fascinated by the voice. And above all, Iqbal Begum turned out to be the disciple of Ashiq Ali Khan of Patiala family. There was a lot of opposition to this, but when Iqbal sat on the throne after the death of his father So he was eager to meet Iqbal Begum. . .
On the other hand, Iqbal Begum's brother was very cunning. They accelerated the indecisiveness of Walie Khairpur. Even Mir Ali Nawaz Naz. . . He was forced to write a letter to the governor of Anbah.
He assured him of his love, begged for love from Iqbal Begum's brothers. Do not ask since when in the world I am such a wreck what could not be erased is magic, what could not be removed is hijab Jigar Murad Abadi ۔ ۔ ۔ Finally he married Iqbal Begum. He built "Dilshad Manzil" for Iqbal which was no less than a palace. Dilshad Bagh was built, a throne was built in the desert. Every day Iqbal Begum was weighed with flowers.
Iqbal also used to pretend to be angry and Walai Khairpur used to walk like a cat on the tin roof. It is said that Bagu mian, who was the brother of Iqbal Begum, used to light cigarettes with British notes on which the photo of King William 5th was made. Once Iqbal Begum got angry and went to Lahore, so Mirnaz Sahib reached Lahore with a train full of people from Sindh to remove her anger. But Iqbal Begum, could never be his However, in the last days, he (Mir Naz) Iqbal Begum was very sad and disappointed with the hard-heartedness and settled in the desert. Iqbal reached there to meet Mir Naz but he was not found. Died in 1935.
We know something about the pleasure of your street otherwise God's creation keeps on moving. . . People used to come from far away. Listen to the song. Listen to the song. Then there was a copy with a note of one rupee, a copy of one rupee? Yes, there was a copy then. The truth of those who talk that the currency used to hit on the fan? A copy of such a currency used to be caught and thrown away. Chaudhry and well rich used to come and there were very beautiful women in the bazaar.
They used to come and sit in her room after sunset at eleven o'clock. Music teachers with tabla and sarangi used to sit along with them. good What kind of clothes did those dancers wear? They used to do makeup and dress very well. Really? Yes . Because of these things, there was a glow in the night.
Tell me where people used to come from? from far away In cars? Yes, they used to come by car. Cars were parked here and there. Very rich people used to come.
It is said that rich people came here and returned after doing damage. Indeed, they have done damage. Well, those prostitutes did damage? Yes, some people came here very rich and stayed here, they fell madly in love. . . really ? I saw that they were feeding their children. . . Prostitutes in my time?
Yes, the children of prostitutes used to play with those people. . . At one time, prostitutes used to be their lovers, then when there was nothing left, they were left alone. I got married when I was 19 years old. . . oh . . Captured before flying. . . . I live on the back side of the police station. Ok . So I used to work at the shop here too. So you will listen to the song? No, I don't hear. . Why . . No, not at all.
Because I am sitting in the neighborhood, it is also my home. Were the singers considered outsiders or their own? No, she was considered an outsider. She did not interact with the local people. Her parents had told, not to develop friendship with those who live nearby. Because they will come from home after eating, then they will drink water here at your place. . . Not even a straw can be found from them. . . Ok Do you understand? So those who come from far will not take food? They will not take food. . .
They used to take food from me, there was a shop in front of me with Faisal pan shop. . . . Well, They order food from you? Yes Do they give money? Yes, of course . She who came from outside Punjab did not know how to sing? She had to learn.
Had to rehearse. We have heard that because of them (prostitution), there were murders and fights. . . That was something like that if someone came from Gujranwala and he fell in love with that prostitute there was a Nigu Bai . . . Her house is near here. . . So her lover said, "Take the money from me and keep quiet." . . But Nigo gave time to someone else. . . Her lover then asked that why do you give time to someone else if I spend it on you?
She was killed on this. . . So was Nadira. Two children were born to him from a gold merchant She was told that now you become a housewife. . . she did not stop her action, she was killed. . . There was one here too, after killing her too, the man went to a foreign country. There have been many such incidents.
But what about it, not even a cent is useful. . . It does not benefit even a cent. But those who were forced women who used to leave home, they used to give shelter to them. They were not abused? There are some examples that those girls will stay in shelter if they earn. . . . All this happened in front of your eyes? Yes, everything happened in front of me. . . Are you a witness to all these events? All this in front of me because I have traded for 22 years at the front shop. Chicken curry was the job The prostitutes of Delhi were no less.
One of them was Noor Bai. Who used to take valuable gifts to appear in front of someone. She did not wear pajama, and she used to make the lower part of the body like pajama with the help of colored prints. She used to sit among rich people and they were all crazy about her.
Jahandad Shah became mad at Lal Qamar, a prostitute. That is why she was called the queen of song. Everyone knows Queen Pakhraj, Queen Pakhraj used to sing and dance in the court of Maharaja Hari Singh. Jaden Bai who was the maternal grandmother of Sanjay Dutt founded Movietone. Mother of actress Nargis. Not only that prostitutes taught literature and manners, sang songs laid the foundation of the film world, prostitutes also worked on the freedom movement.
Gohar Jan gave a concert on the request of Gandhi ji. And Gohar Jan requested that Gandhi ji himself come, Gandhi could not come due to some engagement so Gohar Jan sent him a check of 12 thousand from 24 thousand rupees. During the Non-Cooperation Movement, a group of prostitutes in Varnas formed a movement called the Freedom Struggle Prostitutes Sama Ram. They used to wear iron shackles instead of jewellery.
After the failure of the war of independence, the British oppressed prostitutes a lot. They were sent to entertain the British soldiers in the barracks. Humiliation and disgrace became their destiny. They faced a lot of disgrace because of their support for the freedom movement.
The prostitutes who were the creators of the works of art, were the most important means of popularizing them They were skilled in Kathak, Dadra, Thumri. They were expert in ghazal. After the war of independence, they were limited to dancing for the soldiers and being an object of physical pleasure for the soldiers. After the Suez Canal was opened, many English Madams began to come to India and brought with them the notions of Victorian morality. In the 19th century, the Christian missionaries and the colonial administration declared the dancing and music of prostitutes as immoral. That is, against morality.
Gradually teaching manners is a far-fetched thing Every oppressed woman who ran away from home, was cheated in love, was beaten by poverty, ran away from domestic violence, came and sat in this market. The entertainment went from singing music to the useless cry of the body ۔ ۔ ۔ After the partition of India, those who took charge of the Tawaives entire house increased their trade and the line between dancing and prostitution in the Heera Mandi became blurred. Gradually, the new riches started camping in Heera Mandi. Hey, Salam wa Alaikum sir, how are you, I am your big fan. Thank You.
How are you Sir? How many guests are there? How come our poor house? How many customers? We are just three people. . . Various books have written the stories of this market, read it. Read the stories printed in Ahmed Basheer's Chitan newspaper, I have already mentioned the book of Shoorsh Kashmiri, Uss Bazar Main. Similarly, Pran Naval's book The Nautch Girl Of The Raaj.
Louise Brown's book The Dancing Girls of Lahore. All these are very important books. Women run away from their homes, cheated in love, after being sold, fed up with hunger, eager to become actresses, kidnapped, lost in gambling. . . Born in the house of prostitutes. . . In short, oppressed women started prostitution here.
Some people fell in love. Trying to dominate someone by masculinity and try to make someone their property. They would kill and loot for someone and shower wealth on someone.
And Islamization started slowly, as a result of which dancing and singing came under scrutiny, where the business of prostitution was carried on. . .Where does prostitution work? . . Girls turned to movies and dramas. And a new class was born which moved out of Tibbi Gulli and Heera Mandi and went into posh areas.
I can't say more on this subject women who are forced and destitute, women who are tired of economic conditions women who are oppressed by society women who are scolded by strict fathers Don't know where are they from to fulfill their dreams, to fulfill their economic responsibilities. To fill the hell of the stomach, the woman came and sat in this market under some compulsion. For us, this is a place to cry. It was a crying place.
We exploited woman's compulsion, helplessness in a very bad way. Prominent noble children used to come here, pour their waste and leave. Saadat Hasan Manto's Hatak is a beautiful story.
A story based on the feelings of a prostitute. You must read, stay with us, give your opinion and comment. . . Your opinion is very important to us.