The Yakki gate, originally known as Zaki Gate, is said to be named after a martyred saint, who according to legend, fell fighting against the Tatares who once invaded Lahore. Zaki Pir fought them with great courage and bravery. During the battle he got decapitated near the gate but his body kept on fighting for some time even without the head and finally fell in a quarter of the city some distance away from the gate. One tomb of this great saint is said to be built where his head fell and the other tomb where his body collapsed. Both are revered by the faithful of this soil. People from all over the country come here and pays tribute to this brave man.
Apart from this brave saint Yakki Gate is famous for its beautiful but semi-demolished havelies and temples. Unlike the last three gates this very one was primarily a residential area. There are small shops, mostly run by the immigrants from the Frontier Province and Afghanistan (Pathans). Historically speaking, the people from the royal courts of the Mughals used to live here in their beautiful havelies. Now, most of these havelies have vanished from the face of the Walled City. Along with the old style buildings and small, tiled houses, there are modern abodes too and there is the sky high building of Nawaz Sharif Hospital.
On the face of it, it would seem that this hospital, like Mayo Hospital, is a blessing for the residents of the Walled City after Mayo Hospital but Waste Disposal is the biggest problem over here. We are the kind of people who only want to move forward by hook or by crook. We progress at the cost of leaving a trail of mountains of garbage. In short we might say that we produce the source to spread diseases and after that we make hospitals and receive a round of applause from the patients and locality.
Let’s get back to our Yakki Gate. I was talking about the havelies. Haveli Mian Sultan, Haveli Alf Shah, Haveli Nadir Wali, Lal Haveli and Haveli Raja Endar Naat are the remaining havelies of the Walled City situated in Yakki Gate. Most of these havelies are turned into the katries (a common dwelling place of more then one family). Haveli Mian Sultan was owned by Mian Sultan the founder of Lahore Railway station.
Nowadays this haveli is being used as a residence by a family. Haveli Alf Shah of the Mughal era is now an Imam Bargha. A big part of the Haveli Nadir Wali has been demolished and the remaining section has been turned into a house with a little modification. Lal Haveli is a beautiful piece of architecture which was gifted by Raja Ranjit Singh to his munshi Gulab Chand. Currently the once magnificent Lal Haveli is in a particularly deplorable condition. It is still standing, but it’s hard to imagine that a building can deteriorate to this condition, with walls cracked and semi-blackened, broken stucco and portions collapsed. Haveli Raja Endar Naat is now called the Katri Raja Endar Naat.
The temples of the area have now vanished from the scene or maybe have been turned into houses. Luckily I found one but I failed to be able to trace its whole history because of the hostile welcome I received from the resident. He did not want to talk to me because he thought I was from the revenue department. So I tactfully moved on. Further I was quite stunned to see a building just like the leaning tower of Pisa. Italy is lucky to have a wonder of the world, but we’ll be very unlucky if we do not remove this dangerous structure from there. These narrow lanes and streets can be quite dangerous. They are open invitations to hazards like fire or short circuits of the electrical wires overhead and there is always the threat of some venerable old building falling down.
Yakki Gate, like all the other gates, needs our attention, not only to make it safe to live in but also worth looking at. This is one of the heritages of the world. We should preserve it. It is very strange that hundred years ago when people did not have modern devices and a consciousness of preserving our historical character, they managed to run such a big city fairly satisfactorily, but we with all our scientific and space age technology have failed to maintain it?
Zohaib Butt Started his career as a Sub-Editor at Pakistan Press International in 2004 and then joined ‘The Post’ Daily two years later. He also served as editor of Eyecandy magazine (the magazine distributed along with the paper) on Sunday.
Zohaib has worked as a production associate and researcher in infotainment department GEO TV Lahore. He is currently working as associate producer news on Planning Desk at Express news channels (both Express News and Express 24/7). His duties include planning the “week ahead,” and determining and distributing schedules and releases to the coordination desk. He is responsible for monitoring the news/current events to determine if the bureau will need to re-deploy, change release times, or advance packages. At the planning desk, Zohaib originates, plans, and delivers feature package items for use across the entire network. He also coordinates with all aspects of the desk regarding interviews, obtaining credentials, determining logistical aspects of particular story coverage, and assessing staffing needs. Presenting stories, contributing ideas for graphics, montages, Vox Pops, and debate issues is also a part of Planning Desk.
As a Producer on the planning desk at Express News, Zohaib has developed very friendly relations with all most all the politicians and public personalities of Pakistan, so calling them at anytime and inviting them for any talk show or news bulletin or for conformation of any news is never an issue. Zohaib has recently created a short film named “Via Dolorosa” based on the life of a common Pakistan boy.