About

Pak Tea House is a little corner in the blogosphere that will endeavour to revive the culture of debate, pluralism and tolerance. It has no pretensions nor illusions but the motivation of a few people who want to see Pakistan a better place – where ideas need to counter the forces of commercialism, adverse effects of globalisation and extremism. And, ideas must translate into action that leads us to an equitable, just and healthy society.

Please join us – through writings, contributions, discussions, and spreading the word…

Raza Rumi – chief editor/founder Pak Tea House blog-zine

On Pak Tea House

“It was a different world when coffeehouses and teahouses flourished. They flourished in the background of a rich restaurant culture, which distinguished the Mall from other cultural spots of the city. Those sitting there were never seen in a hurry. They could afford to sit for long hours discussing ideas and ideologies over a cup of tea. Each literary theory had its protagonists, who when engaged in a discussion gave the impression of being the defender of a noble cause most dear to them. And it was not simply an intellectual exercise with them. What they discovered as truth in the process of their literary or intellectual thinking stayed as an article of faith with them.

Such were the devoted souls for whom ideas and ideologies meant more than worldly benefits. It was because of them that certain restaurants gained a cultural status. Now we are living in a different world. This world cannot afford to have such souls and such haunts within its fold. The age of coffeehouses and teahouses is gone. Food streets are now the hallmark of life in Lahore.”

From Intizar Hussain’s essay Revisiting the Past.

History

“It is said that both the Coffee House and the Pak Tea House, which was across the road, belonged to two Sikh brothers. The two places used to be known before partition as the India Coffee House and the India Tea House. The two brothers replicated their two Lahore restaurants in Delhi where they were forced to migrate as the 1947 bloodbath took hold of Punjab.

Sirajuddin, who turned India Tea House into Pak Tea House (now dead like its owner and only a memory), once told me – or was it his son who did – that one day, he noticed a Sikh standing across the road, just staring. When he asked the stranger to come in, he told him that he had come from India and this place and the Coffee House across the road used to belong to him and his brother. The Coffee House has long been gone and in its place there now stands a bank. Nila Gumbad, where these restaurants and intellectual hangouts were once located, is now a bustling auto parts and car tyre market. Although there is no shortage of hotels and restaurants in Lahore today, there is not a single place that could claim to be a true successor to any of those wonderful establishments.”

A Hameed translated by Khalid Hasan

48 responses to “About

  1. the idea is interesting…what’s the plan?

  2. Atif Agha

    I lived in old Anarkali for nearly 12 years, Although I never really took an opportunity to actually go inside Pak Tea House, I remember the old board, I remember walking past the Pak Tea House to check out the books on the floor towards the bazaar. My uncle used to visit pak Tea House once in a while. Tollinton Market http://www.ualberta.ca/~rnoor/tollinton_market.html
    Lahore – Ahh.. Lahore ke fizaein, Lahore kee barsaatein, Pakore, Chaye, Falooda and Lahore ka culture. University Ground, sarkon per cricket, Lahore ke khsubhoo yaad ate hai..
    Sub ko ahista ahista zang se he lag geya..

  3. My best wishes to this website.

  4. Pak Tea House “…want… to counter the forces of commercialism, globalisation and extremism. ” Why include Globalisation? Is it bad?

  5. shafqat hussain

    Bhaee Atif Agha, aap ko chaye or pakoroun kee puree hey, yehan life (zindagee) pay amerjunsee lugee hey…

  6. hasnat

    i suppose it could not breath in those tyres around it.

  7. Yousaf Hassan

    Hello to all Readers!
    I am sure none of you have ever thought where is the TEAM of PAK TEA HOUSE the 1st owner and his family? I don’t think anything is mentioned about the family owner of the PAK TEA HOUSE. Just said little about Siraj Ud Din Ahmed(late) and not even mentioned the name of the person who had been running the place since 1978 after the death of Mr.Siraj.
    What a double standard of our WRITERS LIKE A.HAMEED. He doesn’t even remember that who told him about that Sikh person who was staring!
    I know the family of PTH.
    I know how much they have suffered because of our print and electronic media and the 3rd class writers such as A.Hameed, Hussain Majrooh, Jawaid Aftab, Intizar Hussain, Asrar Zaidi and all other rubbish whom you think they are very big names.
    I know the family who had been running the business since 1948. I am one of them!
    I am Mr. Zahid Hassan’s son who is a current owner of this place IF ANY OF YOU LIKE TO KNOW WHY PTH HAD BEEN CLOSED DOWN?
    What ever have read and advertised about my family on our MEDIA was wrong.
    You are more then welcome if wants to know more about our PTH.

  8. Pak Tea House is still a new website and it will be too early to predict its future course. But I’m following it since its conception. During intial days, it seemed good and proper and informative. I liked reading it. But something has changed. I’m reading it almost daily since past few days and only now have I realised what a precious blog it is. So wonderful. My best wishes to the entire team.

  9. ive only just come to know about the legend that was Pak Tea House.

    Im a Brit living in Lahore…working in TV news, journalism….I look forward to sharing the Pak tea experience..albeit online.

    please feel free to check out my pak blog on myspace page

  10. PTH

    Rockestani
    Many thanks visting this cyber Pak Tea House. Indeed, we should meet but alas only in the blogosphere as the real Pak Tea House is long dead and gone.
    This is why we have set up this space to revive the original spirit, even if in a truncated manner, of the great idea. Let’s hope this youn blog-zine turns into a platform for writers and those who care.
    Looking forward to your visits again
    cheers
    Raza

  11. mahmood

    Very nice,I want to writeonPAk Tea House ,how mcan i contribute?

  12. What a profound and moving site. I wish you heartfelt good luck in your endeavors!

  13. madiha

    yea ryte most of the ppl are not that much familiare

  14. Zachary

    Fascinating. Count me in!

  15. Ata Ur Rehman Malik

    It is bad luck of lahori’s that they have destroyed historical place of literary people although lahori’s are traditional.
    Infact they have vanished lahori traditions. No body has come forward and bodly say please save our traditional place other wise it could have been servived because lahori people can sacrifise money to safe the traditional place.
    I hope Inshallah Pak Tea House will be reopened with the efforts of young and old people.

  16. mdy001

    Thanks for the link (which has been duly reciprocated). Very much enjoying your work and the perspectives your site reveals.

  17. Shama T. Bukhari

    For all and Mr yousaf HASSAN..SINCE MY CHILDHOOD ,I HAVE BEEN VISITING pak tea house till 1993.what a illustrous place it was !a haven for literary people.who were not concerned about the outside world.they WERE HAPPY THAT THEY had a place to think,write,rewrite,weep and smile ,SITTING THERE FOR HOURSi I have photogrphs WITH ME..an old waiter served us for a very long period with lamb chops and karak chai.i feel so sorry about its being shut down…lahorites r happy to have the food street but they should mourn at the sad demise of an literary age or era…that was PAK TEA HOUSE.

  18. for those people ,who used to sit in the pak tea house for hours and hours.it was a haven for them.

    uttha kabhee dhuaan na kabhi roshni hoee
    jaltee rahee hayaat baree khamushee k saath…

  19. Safwan Chauhdry

    Dear Team

    At sad news of PTH’s closure, I memories a PTV drama in which a Lahore’s book seller who loves books and believe it a sacred business. At the end he dis heartedly windup his business and said ” Now People are more found of meat rather than books”

    I open PTH website with a hope that the previous news might be wrong.

    Anyway, a very nice attempt and wish you best of luck.

  20. Safwan Chauhdry

    PTH Team

    Would you please do an attempt to collect views and votes of Pak Tea House visitors for re-opening of Pak Tea house.

  21. Yousaf Hassan
    December 9, 2007 at 3:15 am
    Hello to all Readers!
    I am sure none of you have ever thought where is the TEAM of PAK TEA HOUSE the 1st owner and his family? I don’t think anything is mentioned about the family owner of the PAK TEA HOUSE. Just said little about Siraj Ud Din Ahmed(late) and not even mentioned the name of the person who had been running the place since 1978 after the death of Mr.Siraj.
    What a double standard of our WRITERS LIKE A.HAMEED. He doesn’t even remember that who told him about that Sikh person who was staring!
    I know the family of PTH.
    I know how much they have suffered because of our print and electronic media and the 3rd class writers such as A.Hameed, Hussain Majrooh, Jawaid Aftab, Intizar Hussain, Asrar Zaidi and all other rubbish whom you think they are very big names.
    I know the family who had been running the business since 1948. I am one of them!
    I am Mr. Zahid Hassan’s son who is a current owner of this place IF ANY OF YOU LIKE TO KNOW WHY PTH HAD BEEN CLOSED DOWN?
    What ever have read and advertised about my family on our MEDIA was wrong.
    You are more then welcome if wants to know more about our PTH.
    This is not a proper way degrate someone.Islam and humanity does not allow us to do such things .Anyway I graduated from dental college lahore .I personally like to go to pth i am very happy that someone remind me my past..keep it up .
    Dr.Butt london

  22. I never went to Pak Tea House, but i seen it several time while going on Mall road. I Know its history belongs to poets & writers of Lahore. Today i was just searching some other web, there I found the link of this website, I am wonder to see the web for PTH.
    I am not in Pakistan now, My best regards & wishes are with PTH and all other historical buildings of Lahore.
    I love my city, and my love is growing while my long absence from Lahore.
    For PTH, i want to add my best wishes, regards & cultural emotions here for reopen it for save the history & culture of my beloved city.
    Thanks,

    SALMAN KHALID
    JEDDAH-SAUDI ARABIA

  23. Raza Sahib, you say:

    “…Indeed, we should meet but alas only in the blogosphere as the real Pak Tea House is long dead and gone. This is why we have set up this space to revive the original spirit, even if in a truncated manner, of the great idea. Let’s hope this young blog-zine turns into a platform for writers and those who care…”

    Even though the real Pak Tea House is gone, its spirit still lives on. But we should not suffocate the purpose for which the tea house has become so well known with our affections for it. Let its spirit roam free. Let it manifest itself in another tea house in a different corner in Lahore. Let it be a beacon of light for our young and old, for the ignorant, and for all those who believe in its purpose.

    We have the potential. All we need is a will, a little spark to set our hearts ablaze.

  24. Sa'ad Abbasi

    A great and promisung venture.

  25. This is a very nice blog. Enjoyable reading. I love to learn so this will quench my thirst. Excellent!

  26. ameena

    A place for social, cultural and political thought without barriers is most definitely needed.

  27. Faisal Tirmizi

    No one has written better on Pak Tea House than Abdul Hameed. I used to read his columns regularly which used to appear in the weekly magazine of Nawa-i-Waqt many, many years ago. I wonder if he is still writing those delightful pieces.

    Faisal Tirmizi

  28. natashalatiff

    I finally found a great Pakistan-blog. Thank yoU!

  29. WHERE in this frantic and highly-stressed age have good manners and common courtesy vanished?
    Who bothers today to stand as a mark of respect….Even this PTH blog is a victim of our social behaviours,lack of direction and everyone claims of his own policy of PTH
    I have searched back PTH previous Entries of last few months,though a long list of contributors,Just two or three of them are contributing here….And in comment session,every issue comes to a narrow pathline,useless,irritating,and repeating same arguments…Thanks to the Editor who delete indecent comments

  30. Abdur Rehman

    I read about this website in our local English Daily DNA ( Daily News & Analysis ) today. This news paper has e-edition, too. This is my first peep into Pakistan and glimps into the literary and cultural world. Thanks to DNA.

  31. kluss

    in this era of obscure and selected truth or black mailing to diver this nation to irrational and blind mythical world to control the minds souls and spirits of weaker nations .PTH doing good job to snatch the masks from the bloody faces of our history and invaders in the name of saviors

  32. fatima

    reading the info i really enjoyd and it motivated me to visit the it at least once.i realized that how v r going far from our culture.as i have just heard its name but donot know its history but now i am happy to know about it.

  33. Amjad Mahmood

    I am wonder Y i m so late to b here.Chalo der ayed darust ayed.Every one hwo love this site plz advertise it and talk about it to freinds circles.I m afraid that interest of people may decrease.Literary circles too, are requested tojoin this place and increase its grace.
    Well wisher.

  34. What a wonderful and pleasant surprise it is for me to stumble over something as close to my heart as “Pak Tea House”. The last time I visited this unpretentious and mystic place was in early 90s while I was doing my M.A from the ever mystic and magical Government College Lahore. It conjures up a moving image of Muzaffar Ali Syed reading his biographical essay (inshaia) on Sufi Tabassum’s life as “Adamgar” . Yes, that was the title of the essay that summed up beautifully the role of that generation of great teachers who groomed poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The culture of debate, pluralism and tolerance is what died in the wake of Zia’s brutal and merciless abuse of religion in our beloved land of Faiz, Faraz, Yousafi and Khawaja Khursheed Anwar. My generation woke up to a culture of violence and hypocrisy which continue unabated since.
    I congratulate the whole team of Pak Tea House who have sought to revive and rehabilitate the true soul of my country. Thanks

  35. Abdul Qadir Baloch

    Now days i live in Toronto,Canada. couple of years back when i lived in lahore i saw many times closed PTH, but i always wish to see in side view. is anyone have its old inside and outside picture? please place it on this web side,it will be ahistory . I shall bee thankfull.

  36. Ali Muhammad

    I recall whilst living in Peshawar during the early nineties that I lived in what was commonly known as ‘the coffee house’. The other house where we lunched was known by the appellation: ‘the tea house’. Why was that you may be considering? I was an expatriate then and moved into the predominantly Dutch/Belgian house. Whereas ‘the tea house’ housed the English contingent of the team. I am English but consider myself as an honorary Pakistani nowadays. Tea remains my beverage of choice.

    St. John’s Wood, London.

  37. Tariq Zia

    Best of luck Pak Tea House. Hope to see you flourishing

  38. See the pictures and video (first time ever on internet) of a veteran writer Janab A Hameed who used to sit in pak tea house in good old times:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/41786707@N05/

    Taken and recorded By:
    Rashid Ashraf -Administrator
    http://www.wadi-e-urdu.com (a web site on ibne safi sb)

  39. Shoaib Jaffri

    This is really very fascinating to read about the Lahore of 1950’s; a city that was flourishing in literary activities despite of the fact that the country was in nascent stage and the literary people were not financially prosperous by that time. That was the golden period for Pakistan’s literature when some remarkable works, especially the poetry, was produced. Pak Tea House and the Coffee House were quite prominent in those times which provided historical venues for the literary people to gather. Personally, I never visited Pak Tea House or Coffee House but I heard so much about these two places that I feel nostalgic about them. During that time, Lahore was quite serene and noise-free having an atmosphere very conducive for creative literary activities. Pak Tea House and Coffee House hosted many renowned poets and prose writers including Nasir Kazmi, Intizar Hussain, Sheikh Salah-u-Din, Ahmed Mushatq, Muzafar Ali syed, Hanif Ramay, K.K.Aziz, Ashiq Batalvi, Anwer Jalal, Zaheer Kashmiri, etc. Though there were a number of good quality restaurants in the city, especially along with the Mall, which were permanent meeting places of these men of letters, but Pak Tea House was perhaps the most visited place by these literary people. Thus Pak tea House deserves a prominent mention in the literary history of Lahore.

  40. Sherry Naveed

    I agree with Mr. Shoaib jaffri that those days were really graet for the growth of literature in Pakistan. It was a newly created state. People were not having sufficient wealth but they used to take interest in literary activities. Those days really look beautiful when we hear about them from someone or read about them. Though I am just 19 years old now but I have heard so much about the beauty of those by-gone days that I would even love to go their through time machine i.e, in 1950’s & 1960’s and meet Nasir Kazmi.

  41. Seema Khan

    Those days were really great, I agree with the views of Mr. Shoaib Jaffri and Ms. Sherry Naveed as mentioned above. I would love to see Pak Tea House revived again. It served the literary community of Lahore very well.

  42. @Yousuf Hassan: I sincerely wish I could take you to spend a day with Hussein Majruh. Never met a more dignified literary.

    It’s hard to imagine the past owner of Pakistan Tea House passing such crude and ill-found comments on Pakistani literaries that are, in any case, so few and far between.
    Such is life.

  43. Pingback: Video and Blogging From Lahore Under Attack - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com

  44. Moosa

    My father lives in Lahore in the 1950s, he used to go for coffee with his friends and discuss life with them there. Now in modern UK, I go to Cafe Nero or Costa Coffee, but I’m sure that this is not as evocative as the teahouses of Lahore at that time. If you are ever in London, then please accept my hospitality and permit me the honour to invite you for a coffee.

  45. Tehseen Awan

    I hope Inshallah Pak Tea House will be reopened with the efforts of young and old people.

    Tehseen Awan

    Ex Ticket Holder PML(N) PP-52 Faisalabad at PML(N), Coordinator PP-52 at PML(N) 03005000918

  46. It is rather sad seeing the gradual demise of the Pak Tea House that I used to pass by in my school and college days. Somehow we cannot protect our heritage and only move ahead with shallowness and obliterating our footsteps.
    My commendation to Mr Reza and all those who have chosen a dying name and are keeping it alive for the next generation for their intellectual growth.

  47. kiran Rizvi

    This is Kiran Rizvi I am the reader of pak tea house, I want to submit my article here please tell me how can I sent it to pak tea hose?

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