A journey into 1940s Lahore

Staff Report

LAHORE: Pran Neville, an Indian author, recalled his memories of the time spent at the Government College University (GCU) and said it was an unforgettable part of his life.

He said, “70 years ago, I entered the GCU as a student of the first year, and now I have entered the university as an old Ravian.”

He expressed these views on the launch of his book ‘Lahore A Sentimental Journey’ at the GCU on Monday. The book – first published in 1993 – is a tribute to the land of the author’s birth. Neville’s reminiscences depict the cultural and social life of Lahore as it was in the 1930s and 1940s, where the people coexisted harmoniously, unfettered by consideration of religion, region or caste.

The author has cherished his overwhelming experiences in the historical city and recorded his observations on its changing fortunes.

He has tried to recreate the atmosphere and lifestyle that he witnessed in the city years ago.

The revised edition of the book includes a chapter about Neville’s experiences at the GCU and an epilogue on his latest perceptions the city that he has revisited after 50 years. Neville said he wrote the book in December 1992 and later thought it was incomplete without his memories at the GCU. “I have added a new chapter in the book’s revised edition, mentioning my time at the GCU.”

The author said he had spoken about Lahore in every function around the world. GCU vice chancellor (VC) Dr Khalid Aftab said, “Neville is a true Lahoria and personified as an old Ravian, an experienced diplomat and a creative man.”

Oxford University Press managing director Ameena Sayed said the book would open a door into the past and help readers cherish their memories about the city. She said Lahore of 1930s and 1940s was indeed a city for hedonists and intellectuals – a place that was free of bigotry and meant to be lived in with liberty.