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Lahore, second largest city of Pakistan and the capital of Punjab province. It lies in the upper Indus plain on the Ravi River, a tributary of the Indus.

Little is known of the history of the settlement prior to the Muslim period. Hindu legend attributes the founding of Lahore to Lava, or Loh, son of Rama, after whom it is said to have been named Lohawar. It was the capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty from 1152 to 1186. During the 14th century the city was repeatedly attacked by the Mongols, and in 1524 the city was captured by the Mughal Babur's troops. Lahore's golden age began under the Mughals, and the city occasionally became the place of royal residence. It was greatly expanded during the reign of Shah Jahan (1628-57) but declined in importance during the reign of Aurangzeb.

From the death of Aurangzeb (1707) to the accession of Ranjit Singh (1798), Lahore was subjected to Sikh insurrections. With the invasion of Nader Shah, Lahore became an outpost of his empire, but its history thereafter was associated with the rise of the Sikhs. Under the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh (1799-1839) it once more became the seat of a powerful government but declined again under his successors. The city passed under British rule in 1849. When the Indian subcontinent received independence in 1947, Lahore became the capital of West Punjab province, later known as Punjab province. In 1955 it was made the capital of the newly created West Pakistan province, which was reconstituted as Punjab province in 1970.

Lahore consists of an old city area flanked on the south by newer commercial, industrial, and residential areas that are in turn ringed by suburbs. The old city was at one time surrounded by a wall and a moat, but these structures have been replaced, except in the north, by a garden. A circular road around the rampart provides access to the old city by 13 gates. Within the old city are found the mosque of Wazir Khan (1634) and the northern wall of Lahore Fort, which display magnificent examples of kashi, or encaustic tile work. Other old-city landmarks include the impressive Badshahi (Imperial) Mosque, built by Aurangzeb and still one of the largest mosques in the world; Ranjit Singh's buildings and mausoleum; the Shahdara gardens, containing the tomb of the Mughal emperor Jahangir; and the magnificent Shalimar gardens, laid out east of the city in 1641 by Shah Jahan and consisting of about 80 acres (32 hectares) of terraced gardens containing numerous fountains. An important educational centre, Lahore is the seat of the University of the Punjab (1882), which is the oldest university in Pakistan. Also located in Lahore are the Faisal Shaheed University of Engineering and Technology and numerous colleges and institutes.

Lahore is a leading commercial and banking centre, and it also contains about one-fifth of Pakistan's industrial establishments. Textiles are the single most important industry, but there are many rubber factories, as well as iron, steel, and other mills. It is also noted for gold and silver handicrafts. Railways and air services link Lahore with other major cities of Pakistan. Pop. 2,952,689.


Chandigarh, city, joint capital of Haryana and Punjab states and a union territory of India, situated in the plain just south of the Shiwalik Hills.

A major communications junction, the city of Chandigarh is connected by road and rail with Delhi, Ambala, Kalka, and Shimla. The site was selected to replace the former capital city, Lahore, lost to Pakistan at partition in 1947. Planned by the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier, in collaboration with Indian architects, it is divided into rectangular sectors. Government buildings are located in the north, and there is a large artificial lake in the northeast. The industrial areas in the southeast are separated from the city by a greenbelt. Chandigarh is the seat of Panjab University and many affiliated colleges, including nursing and engineering institutes. There is also a government museum and art gallery.

The union territory of Chandigarh has an area of 44 square miles (114 square km); it contains the city of Chandigarh and the immediate surrounding region. Pop. (1991 prelim.) city, 502,992; metropolitan area, 574,646; union territory, 640,725.

The Turkish conquest.
By 1186 the Ghurids had destroyed the remnants of Ghaznavid power in the northwest and were in a favourable military position to move against the North Indian Rajput powers. The conquest of the Rajputs was not easy, however. The Cauhans (Cahamanas) under Prthviraja defeated Muhammad of Ghur in 1191 at Tarain (Taraori), northwest of Delhi, but his forces returned the following year to defeat and kill the Rajput king on the same battlefield. The victory opened the road to Delhi, which was conquered in 1193 but left in the hands of a tributary Hindu king. Muhammad of Ghur completed his conquests with the occupation of the military outposts of Hansi, Kuhram, Sursuti, and Sirhind and then returned to Ghazna with a large hoard of treasure, leaving his slave and lieutenant, Qutb-ud-Din Aybak, in charge of consolidation and further expansion. (see also Index: Taraori, Battles of) Qutb-ud-Din displaced the Cauhan chief and made his headquarters at Delhi in 1193, when he began a campaign of expansion. He was soon in control of Varanasi (Benares; 1194), Badaun, Kannauj (1198-99), and Kalinjar (1202).

In the meantime, an obscure adventurer, Ikhtiyar-ud-Din Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji of the Ghurid army, conquered Nadia, the capital of the Sena kings of Bengal (1202). Within two years Bakhtiyar embarked upon a campaign to conquer Tibet in order to plunder the treasure of its Buddhist monasteries as well as to gain control of Bengal's traditional trade route leading to Southeast Asian gold and silver mines. The attempt, however, proved disastrous. Bakhtiyar managed to return to Bengal with a few hundred men, and there he died in 1206.

The availability of a large number of military adventurers from Central Asia who would follow commanders with reputations for success was one of the important elements in the rapid Ghurid conquest of the major cities and forces of the North Indian plain. Other factors were important as well; better horses contributed to the success of mobile tactics, and the Ghurids also made better use of metal for weapons, armour, and stirrups than did most of their adversaries. Perhaps most important was the tradition of centralized organization and planning, which was conducive to large-scale military campaigns and to the effective organization of postcampaign occupation forces. While the Rajputs probably saw the Ghurids as an equal force competing for paramount power in North India, the Ghurids had in mind the model of the successor states to the 'Abbasid caliphate, the old Iranian Sasanid empire, and particularly the vast centralized empire of Mahmud of Ghazna.

Soon, however, the Ghurid possessions were insecure everywhere. In 1205 Sultan Muhammad of Ghur suffered a severe defeat at Andkhvoy (Andkhui) at the hands of the Khwarezm-Shah. News of the defeat precipitated a rebellion by some of the sultan's followers in the Punjab, and, although the rebellion was put down, Muhammad of Ghur was assassinated at Lahore in 1206. The Ghurids at the time held the major towns of the Punjab, of Sindh, and of much of the Gangetic Plain, but almost all the land outside the cities still was subject to some form of control by Hindu chiefs. Even in the Doab (the land between the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers, near Delhi) the Gahadavalas held out against the Turks. Most significantly, the chiefs of Rajasthan had not been permanently subdued.

Even as it has sometimes been maintained that the 18th century witnessed a general decline in material life, the cultural life of the period also has often been denigrated. In fact, there appears to be scant justification for such a portrayal of trends. Even Delhi, whose economic condition unequivocally declined, housed a number of major poets, philosophers, and thinkers in this epoch, from Shah Waliullah to Mir Taqi Mir. Further, as regional courts grew in importance, they tended to take on the function of the principal patrons of high culture, whether in music, the visual arts, or literature. It is thus also in relatively dispersed centres, ranging from Avadh to Bikaner and Lahore to Thanjavur, that one finds the courtly traditions of culture persisting. Thanjavur under the Marathas is a particularly fine example of cultural efflorescence, in which literary production of a high quality in Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, and Marathi continued, with some of the Maratha rulers themselves playing a significant direct role. Similarly, it is in 18th-century Thanjavur that the main compositions of what is today known as the Karnatak tradition of Indian classical music came to be written, by such men as Tyagaraja, Muttuswami Diksitar, and Syama Sastri. Finally, the period brought the development of a distinct style of painting in Thanjavur, fusing elements imported from the north with older local traditions of textile painting.

This vitality was not restricted purely to elite culture. To begin with, many of the theatre and musical traditions, as well as formal literary genres of the period, picked up and incorporated folk influences. At the same time, the melding of popular Hinduism and Islam gave a particular flavour to cultural productions associated with pilgrimages and festivals. More than in earlier centuries, the tradition of long-distance pilgrimages to major centres from Varanasi to Rameswaram increased and can be seen to fit in with a general trend of increasing mobility. It was common for post-Mughal states to employ mercenary soldiers and imported scribes and clerks. In 18th-century Hyderabad, for example, Kayasthas from the north were employed in large numbers in the bureaucracy, while in Mysore, Maharashtrian Brahmans were given fiscal offices as early as the 1720s. It is apparent that the mobility of musicians, men of letters, and artists was no less than that of these scribal classes. When a major new political centre emerged, it rapidly attracted talent, as evidenced in Ranjit Singh's Lahore. Here, Persian literature of high quality was produced, but not at the cost of literary output in Punjabi. At the same time, new developments were visible in the fields of architecture and painting. Farther to the north, the principality of Kangra fostered an important new school of painting, devoted largely to Vaisnava themes. Indeed, a surprisingly large proportion of what is understood today to be part of India's "traditional" culture is attributable to this period and also to the preceding century.


Plans for building a new city on the present site of Chandigarh were begun soon after the partition of India in 1947, when the old British province of Punjab was divided into two parts. Pakistan was ceded the larger western part, including the Punjabi capital of Lahore, which left the Indian state of Punjab without an administrative, commercial, or cultural capital. It was hoped that a magnificent new capital for the state would become a symbol of modernity, heal the wounded pride of Indian Punjabis, and house thousands of mostly Hindu and Sikh refugees who had fled from Muslim-dominated Pakistan.

The site chosen for the new Punjabi capital, scenically located at the foot of the Himalayas, required the relocation of some 21,000 people from 58 villages. The city was planned by the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier, aided by Indian architects and town planners. Construction began in the early 1950s, and most of the city was completed in the early 1960s.

The Chandigarh union territory was formed in 1966, when Punjab was reorganized along linguistic lines into two new states--predominantly Hindi-speaking Haryana and Punjabi-speaking Punjab. The city, straddled between Haryana and Punjab, was made the shared capital of the two states. Under the terms of the 1986 Punjab Accord, the entire union territory was to become part of Punjab, while the agriculturally productive, mostly Hindi-speaking areas of Fazilka and Abohar were to be transferred from Punjab to Haryana. Because of political uncertainty and protracted violence in Punjab, the agreement was not carried out.


During the second half of the 19th century, Urdu was the main spoken and written language of the northern half of the subcontinent and understood in almost all the principal cities. The Parsis (originally Zoroastrians from Iran who settled on the coast of Bombay), comprising a wealthy community with sharp business acumen, were the pioneers in establishing a commercial theatre, that lasted from 1873 to 1935 and influenced all the other regional theatres. Though located mainly in Bombay and Calcutta, the Parsi companies toured the subcontinent with huge staffs, sets, and an army of players.

The best known playwright of this period is Agha Hashr (1876-1935), a poet-dramatist of flamboyant imagination and superb craftsmanship. Among his famous plays are Sita Banbas, based on an incident from the Ramayana; Bilwa Mangal, a social play on the life of a poet, whose blind passion for a prostitute results in remorse; and Aankh ka Nasha ("The Witchery of the Eyes"), about the treachery of a prostitute's love, with realistic dialogue of a brothel. Many of Hashr's plays were adapted from Shakespeare: Sufayd Khun ("White Blood") was modelled on King Lear, and Khun-e Nahaq ("The Innocent Murder") on Hamlet. His last play, Rustam-o-Sohrab, the tragic story of two legendary Persian heroes, Rustam and his son Sohrab, is a drama of passion and fatal irony.

Productions by Parsi theatrical companies were large-budgeted affairs. Plays opened with the actors in full makeup and costume, their hands folded and eyes closed, singing a prayer song in praise of some deity, and generally ended in a tableau. Sometimes at curtain call the director rearranged the tableau in a split second and offered a variant. Actors were required to know singing, dancing, music, acrobatics, and fencing and to possess strong voices and good physical bearing. In improvised auditoriums with bad acoustics and packed with more than 2,000 people, actors' voices reached the farthest spectator. Plays began at 10 o'clock and lasted until dawn, moving from comedy to tragedy, from pathos to farce, from songs to the rattle of swords, all interspersed with moral lessons and rhyming epigrams. The droll humour and realism of the comic interludes remain unsurpassed in contemporary Urdu drama. Important playwrights of this period were Narain Prasad Betab, Mian Zarif, and Munshi Mohammed Dil of Lucknow. All took inspiration from Hindu mythology and Persian legends, transforming these tales into powerful dramas.

Imtiaz Ali Taj (1900-70) was a bridge between Agha Hashr and contemporary Pakistani playwrights. His Anarkali (1922), the tragic love story of a harem girl, Anarkali, and Crown Prince Salim (son of Akbar the Great), unfolds the love-hate relationship of a domineering emperor and his rebellious son. Brilliant in treatment and character analysis, this play has been staged hundreds of times by amateur groups and has entered the list of Urdu classics.

In the absence of a professional company, Urdu theatre has found it difficult to strike roots. After 1947 many Muslim actors and writers were absorbed by the Indian film industry in Bombay, and they found it difficult to adjust their great talent to amateur theatrical clubs. All the same, plays have been staged in Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi. The best productions have been those dealing with topical themes--refugee problems, new adjustments, the corrupt bureaucracy, the Kashmir issue, and other sociopolitical issues. Agha Babar in Rawalpindi produced Burra Sahib (1961: "The Big Boss"), an adaptation of Gogol's Government Inspector, setting it in Pakistan. Tere Kuce se Jub Hum Nikle ("Thrown Out of Your Lane"), by Naseer Shamshi, describes the pathetic condition of an aristocratic family in Delhi that is forced to leave home because of communal riots. In Lal Qile se Lalukhet Tak ("From the Red Fort to Lalukhet"), by Khwajah Moinuddin, the comedy arises out of the pitiable condition of the refugees who leave their well-settled existence in Delhi dreaming of prosperity, take a tedious journey, and arrive homeless in Karachi to find shelter in thatched hovels. Ali Ahmed, an avant-garde actor-director in Karachi, presents his plays with polished stagecraft and esoteric appeal.

Lahore remains the centre of amateur theatre based on the tradition of the late directors A.S. Bokhari and G.D. Sondhi, both former principals of the Government College in Lahore. In 1942 G.D. Sondhi built the Open-Air Theatre, situated on a small artificial hillock in the Lawrence Gardens and perhaps the best in all of South Asia. It has remained the centre of dramatic contests and festivals and is a favourite of visiting dancers and actors.

The actor-playwright Rafi Peer, with his knowledge of Western theatre as a result of his training in Berlin in the 1930s, has helped to develop Pakistani theatre. Professional in approach, he has produced radio and stage plays and has been a critical colleague of A.S. Bokhari and Imtiaz in the revival of amateur theatre.

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