Paans and Pehelwans

Qasim Jafri remembers a more cultured and genteel Pakistan

Paans and Pehelwans
Despite the usual discord, Pakistan and India continued to have civilized cultural exchanges during the 1950s. Every time the Pakistani poets would return from an Indo-Pak Mushaira in Delhi, my father the late Hasan Jafri would go to Lahore from our home in Gujranwala and drive the poets back for a mushaira at Hasan Manzil, our abode. Between 1955 to 1961 there were three such sittings.

Zareef Jabalpuri, Shaukat Thanvi, Himayat Ali Shayr, Adeeb Saharanpuri, Zehra Nigah, Syed Mohammad Jafri, Sehaab Qizilbash, Arshad Mir and other local poets would recite their work. During the mushaira, Paans were served in a city of Pehelwans and the local populace would wait eagerly for these literary gatherings.

Zehra Nigah with ladies of the Jafri family

Adeeb Saharanpuri with a toddler Qasim Jafri

Himayat Ali Shaer

Paans being served

A young poetic voice - Zehra Nigah

L to R - Syed Hasan Jafri, Zehra Nigah, Syed Mohammad Jafri, Adeeb Saharanpuri

Zareef Jabalpuri

The gracious hosts and connoisseurs of poetry - Hasan and Aliya Jafri

Hasan Manzil, Gujranwala,
well-maintained heritage site to this day