A little piece of Lahore in India | Pakistan Today

A little piece of Lahore in India

A line drawn a couple of kilometres from Ludhiana may have defined borders and changed the world for most people. But on either sides there are some things that have become vestiges of another time, another place. TOI traces a few of these legacies of Partition in the city that trigger memories on this side of the border
Walking zig zag between vehicles and people at Lajpat Rai Market near Clock Tower, it is easy to walk past the Lahore Book Shop without much incidence. But, that is only for the uninitiated. For everyone else, the not-so-fancy bookstore is a legacy of the Partition and a destination in itself.
Ludhiana’s literature lovers file into the shop, go through the piles of books stacked one on another and find their pick before heading out with a smile. They say the store is a faithful witness of change while sticking to its roots.
The year was 1940, the place Lahore and Jiwan Singh, who had just finished post graduation in English, had many career opportunities staring him. He could have a cushy government job or work as English professor in any college of the time. But Jiwan decided differently and started the ”dicey” business of publishing Punjabi literature. His motivation was the desire to promote Punjabi and help students easily get books in the language.
Three generations down, Singh’s venture has become a family business that his grandson is taking forward. And in the last 70-odd years, the book store has become a brand in itself.
”Before Independence, we had two shops by the same name on Nisbat Road and Mohanlal Road, in Lahore. My father could have taken a lucrative government job but he chose to publish Punjabi literature,” said Tejinder Bir Singh, who joined the family business in the early 70s. But that was not the only eye brow-raising choice the Senior Singh made. ”Though there were many publishers in English, Hindi and Urdu, nobody was publishing in Punjabi at the time. My father took it as a challenge and was successful,” he said.
In 1947, after Partition, Lahore Book Shop shifted to Ludhiana.
Lahore Books began its journey with publishing Punjabi books and subsequently moved on to all kinds of fiction, novels, poetry and religious books in Punjabi and English and is considered as the pioneer of Punjabi publications. It has published more then 10,000 titles in Punjabi and English out of which 1200 are still part of its catalogue. It also received the best Punjabi publisher award in the year 1994 by IK Gujral (the then honourable prime minister of India).
Today, Lahore Books is a full spectrum general trade publisher covering every gamut of publishing. It started with exports in 2004 to different parts of the world and has been successful in making books available in Punjabi in different parts of world.



4 Comments

    • Husain Nasir said:

      yes Amir ,its a beautiful piece… partition was on paper..it could not divide people. connections, language and culture. Bits of Lahore in India..Lucknow, the richness of Oudh in Pakistan. ..and so many memories in the minds and hearts of people torn apart.

  1. ali said:

    nice one. Lahore is majestic city. India and Pakistan should resolve their issues soon. People from both sides want solution

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