Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Day at the Archives

I have been meaning to write about some of my experiences exploring some of the resources would-be academics might find in Lahore (or at least that was the plan at the beginning of the summer) but haven't gotten around to doing it, partly due to my own laziness about doing such exploration and partly due to the kind of brick wall everyone who has ever come to Lahore knows too well. As a good friend who decided to move back from the states to write her PhD dissertation here once said, "I have completely nativized and therefore have become lethargic." Well said. Lahore: 1, native and earnest would-be academics: 0.

I did however, through the kindness of others, manage to get access to the library of the Lahore fort. Although I could document my misadventures, a friend of mine who accompanied me to it recorded it much more brilliantly than I could attempt to. The day was not a total wash since sights were seen. 

From the pen of the ever-acerbic Fayes T. Kantawala:

Inspired as I am by my recent sojourn to Istanbul (I have repainted my room in ‘Turkish Tile’ – my delusions are my sanity), I was excited when a friend asked me to accompany him to the Lahore Fort Archives. He has been researching Mughal history at a Canadian university as part of his PhD and needed a book found only there. That he had to travel 5,000 miles into the snow and change nationalities to be able to study the Mughals is an irony not lost on him; and I must say I didn’t grasp the whole of it until we went to the archives.

Not gonna lie: I didn’t even know we had an Archive in the Fort. Turns out no one else did either. Carrying only a reference number (and murmuring a prayer), we set out at 9 a.m. for the old city.

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