‘City of colleges’ vs ‘city of lights’
It is easy to claim all modern cities look like same. Modern cities put up great shows of social, political and cultural developments coupled with high skyscrapers, health and education facilities, job opportunities, human development and the list goes on. ‘Lights’ and ‘colleges’ further ‘illuminate’ cities and ‘minds’ of the citizens.
Yes, you reached well. It’s going to be ‘city of colleges’ vs ‘city of lights’.
I’m going to shed some light on what makes Karachi and Lahore different as well as same from each other.
Karachi and Lahore are just names of the cities. What they originally constitute is the people. So, whenever we talk about a city, we actually talk about its citizens. Like we consider population, traffic, social welfare and institutions important- all these tell us a story about the life of the citizens.
Let’s move on to discuss Karachiites and Lahoris: their histories, their lifestyles, their infrastructures.
First, to give you a shock, considering Lahore a mega-city is skeptical. We do so because it has given shelter to the highest number of citizens in Pakistan, after Karachi. Mega city demands skyscrapers, wide roads, cultural diversity, industries and many more. Unfortunately, Lahore is far behind in having all of them with the quantity Karachi possesses them.
Lahore, in contrast to Karachi, is ethnically less diverse, less populated and has fewer industries, making it more peaceful, healthy and an equitable city.
Second, Lahore has a splendid local transportation system in the form of bus systems like Metro, Daewoo, LTC (Lahore Transport Company) and local wagons. In contrast to Lahore, local buses of Karachi are wrenched and travelling in them is unsafe. Whatever political factors come in is none of our concern.
Anyhow, Lahore wins.
Karachi also proves to be victorious in another segment of transportation.
If you hire a Rickshaw in Lahore, Rickshawala would treat you as if you are new to the city. The first demand for the money would be extravagantly high. You would have to tell him you’re not an outsider. While in Karachi, the demand is not excessively high. The Rickshawala will treat you professionally.
Third, if you, as a group of male friends, go to a park in Lahore, they will highly welcome you. But if you do the same in Karachi, you would be stopped from going inside the park unless or until you are with your family (necessarily females). This is the most annoying experience that proves all my pre-suppositions wrong. I assumed Karachi to be more open regarding gender. But the story seems to be different.
Fourth, educational institutions of both cities compete well with each other. Contrasting them is less significant for me. But I can name them by adding ‘vs’ between them.
– LUMS vs IBA
– KE vs AKU
-PU vs KU
(IBA refers to the Institute of Business Administration Karachi; LUMS is Lahore University of Management Sciences; AKU is Agha Khan University Karachi; KE is King Edward Medical College Lahore; KU is Karachi University; PU is Punjab University Lahore).
Fifth, food preferences of the denizens of both the cities are different. Butt Karahi, Phajjay k paye, Chaman Ice Cream are famous in Lahore. Biryani and Ghaffar Tikka are famous in Karachi. Karachiites usually like spicy foods.
Sixth, architectural developments of Lahore and Karachi possess different history. Architecture in Karachi usually reflects British colonialism while Mughals can be sensed from the architecture of Lahore-Badshahi Mosque, Shalamar Garden, Masjid Wazir Khan, Chauburji Chowk- all these were built by Mughals.
Finally, what makes Karachi and Lahore same is what makes all modern cities same: speed, materialism, cynicism, callousness. Still, Mall Road Lahore and Shahrah-e-Faisal Karachi have some parallels being the busiest roads of both cities. Same is the case with Anarkali Lahore and Saddar Karachi; both are crowded and diversified. Natural water resources are also found in both cities: River Ravi in Lahore, sea in Karachi.
This blog is based on my personal experiences and opinions living two years in Lahore and almost two in Karachi.