LAHORE: Over the years Lahore has cemented its place as a bastion of the arts, culture and literature. This year the city even made it to ‘UNESCO Creative Cities of 2019’ – a list of over 66 cities renowned for their contribution to arts and culture.
UNESCO declared the Punjab provincial capital as a “city of literature.
Among the many spectacles said to bear testimony to Lahore’s thriving culture is the Pak Tea House.
Frequented by literary stalwarts such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ismet Chughtai, Saghar Siddique and many more, the house played host to the literary, social and political movements of the country.
Ishfaq Ahmed once described ‘Pak Tea House’ as the home of literature, art and cultural studies for the people of Lahore.
Amongst other monumental and historical structures in Lahore, Pak Tea House has its own special appearance and position especially for those who love to explore the city’s history. Admirers of literature from all over the country make it a point to visit the House whenever they come to Lahore.
One of the most attractive features of the café is its interior which was revamped in 2013 to make it resemble the look it had back in the 1960’s when it was used as the headquarters of the progressive writers’ association.
The visitors have the privilege of experiencing the same environs that Shorash Kashmiri when he wrote his famous poem, Al Jihad Val Jihad in 1965.
Even today the Pak Tea House continues to facilitate literary activity in the city.
Lahore is among the few cities of the country where the mushaira culture still exists; that to a large extent is because of places like the Pak Tea House.
The place still remains packed with students, lawyers and artists due to its proximity to the Lahore High Court, and educational institutions such as the Punjab University and GC University.
Talking to APP, Advocate M. Hamza said, “The place stands for decades’ old history of literary activities which fascinates visitors from around the country. He said that every inch of the café opens new chapters of history while explaining the legacy of the rich minds of the literary figures who considered this place their second home.
Another visitor Ghulam Rasool said that the place is still known for the market talkies as it tells about the updates of the town with its own decency. Keeping the glory and history of the café alive, the local government of Lahore looks after the building after it’s reopening by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef in 2013.
Ali Sher, table manager of the café, said that that the traditions of arranging weekly Mushaira in the café is still alive.
Poets and literate people from all over the country participate in the Mushairas and pay tribute to the city’s literary legacy.
A medical student of KE Medical College, Dr Aisha, said that ‘Pak Tea House’ due to its reasonable prices, is one of the favorite socializing places for students.