By Raiq Qureshi
LAHORE, Nov 17 (APP):The cafe of ‘Pak Tea House’, built in 1948, had been in the limelight since its inception as a place often graced by the cluster of renowned legends of literature for sharing their insight on creative and literary works at one place.
Lahore has established its credentials as a creative capital by securing a place on the list of cities that has been designated as ‘UNESCO Creative Cities of 2019’. The city, long known for its culture, is among the 66 cities on the list for 2019 as ‘City of Literature’.
The House has remained instrumental in brain storming of the literary figures like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Saghar Saddique and many more — old and young budding stars who had their thirst in literature and artistic activities.
In the heart of Anarkali, near Neela Gombat, there lies one of the oldest buildings where many linguists, literary figures and social scientists hangout with each other to hold scholarly discussion on ideas and make in-depth analysis of books, literary figures, movements and events on a cup of tea.
Ishfaq Ahmed once mentioned ‘Pak Tea House’ as the home for literature art and cultural studies for the people of Lahore. The two stories building narrate the stories of the mind that were once the talk of the town and are still alive amongst thousands of their followers.
Amongst other monumental and historical structures in Lahore, Pak Tea House has its own especial appearance and position especially within those circles of people who love to explore history. Literature students and lovers from all over the country give a must visit to the place when they come to Lahore.
One of the attractive things of the café is its furniture, which even today gives the same look. The visitors feel the privilege to sit on the seats which were once dragged from the table by Shorash Kashmiri.
Lahore is among one of those few cities of the country which had been able to continue its decades-old culture of mushairas due to places like ‘Pak Tea House’. It is the time to listen to the ongoing discourses in other cities too (big and small) to create a culture of exchange of ideas and a space for intercultural communication.
The place still remains packed with doctors, students and lawyers due to nearby buildings of Lahore High Court, King Edwards Medical College and Meo Hospital. The students often take keen interest in literary atmosphere of the building while enjoying sipping tea from their mugs.
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 rich minds of the literary figures that used to consider it as 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, the local government of Lahore looks after the building after it’s reopening by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef in 2013 after little renovation.
Ali Sher, table manager of the café, said that that the traditions of arranging weekly Mushaira in the café is still conducted with its values. Poets and literate people from all over the country participate in the Mushaira and pay tribute to the literary legends.
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. She said there was a peaceful aroma within these walls that attracts people towards itself.