Tag Archives: Pak Tea House

Eulogy of “Pak Tea House”

Dr. Irfan Zafar

Am I really dead? No, still trying to breathe but the lights seem to be fading away as I hear voices, not the familiar one’s, strangers walking in and leaving behind nothing but painful reminders of what my past used to be. Broken tea cups, sticky tables, cracking chairs, flies and dust all around is all what is left; staring at me crying for help but as I lay dying, my mind continue to go back bringing in visions of the past ferociously.

I remember the Sikh brothers looking at me for the last time with vacant eyes as they walked away in tears leaving behind the “India Tea House”; my original name which was changed to Pak Tea House by the new owner Siraj-Ud-Din Ahmad to avoid any retribution from the blood thirsty souls roaming around in the streets as a result of the 1947 bloodbath which took place as a result of the great divide which left many lives shattered and many more totally eliminated from the face of this earth. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Pak Tea House, Pakistan

Our Inner Demons

By Adnan Syed

It has been 30 years since Pakistan took the fateful steps of sponsoring the Jihad on a state level. The fight against the Russian aggression in Afghanistan was probably justified. It was a blatant attack on a sovereign nation by a teetering super power. However when Pakistan went on to label the fight as a state sponsored Jihad, flock of die hard Islamists started congregating in Pakistan to fight the godless communists. This was precisely the turning point in Pakistani history when all the internal confusion of Pakistan’s relationship with Islam translated into a thoughtless action by the state that still haunts us to this day.

We can blame General Zia-ul-Haq or Jamaat-e-Islami, or our dreaded indescribable “establishment” for pointing out the path of state sponsored armed Jihad. General Zia and his protégés have already begun feeling the stiff verdict that history has begun recording in its annals. Yet, the conflict was the physical manifestation of Pakistan’s unresolved relationship with Islam. This confusion was fully exploited by Al-Qaeda, Afghan-Jihad oriented splinter groups, and their affiliates in Pakistan. As an internally bankrupt USSR retreated from Afghanistan, the Jihad slowly turned towards the West, the infidels and the vague alliance of Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and the Hindus).

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, FATA, Islamabad, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Justice, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, psychology, Religion, secular Pakistan, state, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism

Our new co-editors

PTH is lucky to have attracted the time and commitment of two formidable co-editors. I am most grateful for BC and AZW to contribute their writings and take the time to edit, moderate and upkeep this cyber-zine. With our formidable YLH, the trio have been helping me in keeping the elusive ‘fine [im]balance here. Please welcome them  – I am sure that their identities are not new to the readers. Here are brief profiles that reflect their interests, pursuits and more – Raza Rumi (founding editor, PTH)

B. Civilian escaped from an unpopular political history as a libertarian into the world of Dilbert. He has recently liberated himself from this refuge and has become a student of Law, not the texts that are taught and qualify a student for a degree, but the great principles underlying the nature and kinds of human interaction. His initial and child-fresh contributions to PTH are based on his dawning understanding of the nature of man and the interaction of man with the cosmos. B Civilian believes in a democratic, plural and progressive Pakistan as envisioned by Jinnah.

AZW is a Pakistani professional, currently found writing for PTH along the icy shores of Lake Ontario. He passionately believes in Pakistan as a progressive Muslim state that can become a model for Muslim world. AZW works in the financial markets, calls reading and long distance running his two favourite interests, if they ever can be classified as interests that are spelled out together. He strongly believes that society is a complex organism, yet for this organism to prosper, the underlying rules are quite simple. To start with, complete rule of law ensuring individual safety, honour, and property rights is a must. The government’s sole role is to provide protection of its citizens, ensure a level playing field for all the society members, and provide healthcare and up to high school education for free to all of its participants. That’s all there is for the government to do. Democracy and capitalism are by nature loud and garrulous. And it pains him to see that Pakistanis frighteningly jump on military bandwagon too often to look for artificial stability. He is cynically optimistic, believing that future is what we make of it, and the direction is as important as where we currently are.

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The tender tea house

Thanks to our excellent team at PTH, we are being noticed and written about. Above all, without our readers and visitors at PTH, this e-zine would be meaningless (Raza Rumi)

The tender tea house (The National, UAE)
From Partition onward, Nasir Khan writes, a dusty cafe was the centre of Lahore’s literary life.

Pak Tea House sits on Mall Road in Old Anarkali, nestled between tyre suppliers and motorcycle workshops. Before Partition it was the India Tea House, but 1947 and a quick paint job changed that. No one knows why it became – along with several similar shops on the same street – a favourite haunt of so many intellectuals. Maybe it was the cheap but good milky tea, or the extra-sweet biscuits. Perhaps it was the literary sensibility of the first post-Partition owners, two brothers from India. It might have been the radio on the counter that was constantly tuned to Lahore’s call-in request programme. And, for scores of struggling writers and poets, the availability of food on credit certainly had something to do with it. Continue reading

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Tender Tea House

From Partition onward, Nasir Khan writes, a dusty cafe was the centre of Lahore’s literary life.


Pak Tea House sits on Mall Road in Old Anarkali, nestled between tyre suppliers and motorcycle workshops.

Before Partition it was the India Tea House, but 1947 and a quick paint job changed that. No one knows why it became – along with several similar shops on the same street – a favourite haunt of so many intellectuals. Maybe it was the cheap but good milky tea, or the extra-sweet biscuits. Perhaps it was the literary sensibility of the first post-Partition owners, two brothers from India. It might have been the radio on the counter that was constantly tuned to Lahore’s call-in request programme. And, for scores of struggling writers and poets, the availability of food on credit certainly had something to do with it. Continue reading

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Filed under culture, Heritage, History, Lahore, Pak Tea House, Pakistan

Right wing backlash against Pak Tea House

Kashifiat has posted an open letter addressed to me. I usually don’t answer such letters but this particular ‘letter’ has to be responded to because if you don’t respond to distorted and mala fide accusations, they come to be accepted as the truth. The superficial reason is that our whiz-writer YLH has used unparliamentary language while commenting but the reasons are far deeper – they have to do with the way we envision Pakistan in light of Quaid – Mr. Jinnah’s ideals and agenda for Pakistan and that we mince no words when exploitation and injustice occur anywhere.We have taken note of the commenting here and fixed the comments on a particular post and hope to have a stricter policy in future. However, we reiterate that we oppose the extremist ideologies which are eating Pakistan from within like termite.  What Kashif and his friends say is their right and we respect that.  Furthermore, I do not blame the young men and women of our age – they have been indoctrinated by the pernicious text-books, Zia’s ideology and the infiltration of Jamaat-i-Islami and jihadis into every nook and corner of Pakistan. This is why PTH, as a voice of reason, faces the dual challenge of tackling the right wing and handling the global stereotyping of Pakistan as a jihadi haven. Not an easy challenge by any account — Raza Rumi

Dear Kashif

I have been constrained to respond to your open letter that not only brings into question my responsibility as the founder-editor of Pak Tea House (PTH) but also distorts what this e-zine stands for.
There is absolutely no article on PakTeaHouse that represents an Ahmadi or any other sectarian view per se. I personally condemn sectarianism of any kind, and my writings testify to that.  Your charge of PTH as a pro-Ahmaddiyat portal is absolutely false unless you feel that speaking of Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan as an inclusive, liberal and secular state is an Ahmadi point of view, in which case  you might as well declare the Quaid-e-Azam an Ahmadi as well.  If PTH authors have spoken about the injustice against Ahmadis for their faith,  and there is considerable injustice against Ahmadis whether you admit it or not.  We have posted many many more articles about the discrimination against Christians.  Does that make us a Christian website as well?  We’ve posted innumerable articles on Pakistani Hindus and their contributions to Pakistani society ?  Do we become a Hindu website? Don’t you think there should be a limit to accusations? Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, Pakistan

PTH gets flak for Gandhi-bashing

Our occasional contributor and a friend of Pak Tea House (PTH), freethinker has written a piece entitled Gandhi-bashing on Pak Teahouse and has complained about the conservatism of yours truly. I respect freethinker‘s views but two things must be made clear: first of all PTH does not indulge in Gandhi bashing by design. In fact, it gives space to all sorts of opinions as some of the robust discussions here would testify to this un-trumpeted policy. Secondly, in an attempt to engage with the mainstream, PTH also tries to tread carefully. The purpose is not to offend fellow Pakistanis who represent the diversity of views, beliefs and layers of social conditioning found in the country as a whole. If freethinker holds that PTH is conservative, there are many others who view PTH’s  earlier attempt to raise issues of sexuality as an insult to Pakistan and one of our hate-commenter termed us as b****rds hellbent on defaming the country. In fact, I had to delete quite a large number of abusive comments simply because they had more expletives than substance.

In any case, let me state this at the outset that Gandhi was a great leader and politician; however, there can be several views on his politics and religious beliefs. In my personal opinion his death at the hands of a Hindu fundamentalist was a tragic blow to Indian secularism and chances of Indo-Pakistan peace right at the start of our respective and troubled nationhood[s].  PTH has no ‘line’ on Gandhi-ji;  and its contributors and readers are free to make their own assessments. This is why I am posting freethinker’s piece here that deals with the issue at great length.

Comments and opinions are invited. Raza Rumi (ed.)

Gandhi-bashing on Pak Teahouse

The radicals among us who have been following Pak Teahouse for some time know that Raza Rumi toes a somewhat conservative line when it comes to the posts that he decides to put up at PTH. Of course he is not to blame… Continue reading

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Filed under Blogging, History, Society