Lahore, as its inhabitants say, is Lahore: The personality of this city - a city more ancient than most places in the human world has always been richly distinctive, its way of doing things always unique. From ancient times, through the days of the storied Mughal empire, down to the present times, Lahore has inspired artists, musicians and writers. The ancient whore, the handmaiden of dimly remembered Hindu kings, the courtesan of Mughal emperor', the 'Paris of the East', writes Bapsi Sidhwa, editor of this volume, in an earlier novel of hers. Lahore is more than the grandeur of Mughal forts and garden, mosques and mausoleums; the jewel colours of everlasting spring; the city within a city. It is also the city of poets, the city of love, longing, sin, and splendour. It is also a city celebrated as one of the major centres of fine art in the Subcontinent and especially in Pakistan. It is this aspect of the city's cultural tradition that inspired this illustrated edition of the Beloved City-decorated with the works of a few of the many great painters who made Lahore their home or were inspired by it. Thus, this anthology brings together verse and prose: essays, stories, chronicles and profiles by people who have shared a relationship with Lahore alongside images by similarly inspired artists. A sumptuous collection, The Illustrated Beloved City: Writings on Lahore is a reflection of the city it celebrates.
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