Up until the late 70s, Peshawar was a dusty town bordering Afghanistan in what was then simply called the North West Frontier Province; almost akin to what the Wild West was to East Coast America- a land untamed and far out. What remained less-talked-about back then, and what remains less-talked-about even now, is the fact it is possibly one of Pakistan’s oldest living cities with recorded history dating back 2500 years. A city of artisans and craftsmen, of music lovers and story tellers, of kehvadrinkers and genial hosts.
Today, it is a place that is broadly defined by its geological proximity to the global war it has been pulled at the forefront of. However, there is more meaning to it for the discerning eye. Despite years of conflict and turbulence, Peshawar has not lost its intrinsic spirit for creating beautiful objets d’art. This ancient town is fighting one battle at a time to reclaim its space amongst the world’s most authentic centers for art and culture.
This issue is dedicated to the unbeatable spirit of this historic city. This land as old as time itself was once ruled by Kanishka, the greatest of the Kushan kings, visited by many conquering forces, and homed many a weary traveler- giving birth to cross-cultures, coexistence between ethnicities, religions, languages and a tradition of story telling, sipping tea together and playing soft music.
Present day Peshawar celebrates this legacy through all the wonderful people who call it home.
While most continue to live there, there are others who despite moving away to farther corners of the world keep coming back periodically. Afan Aziz remains a bona fide resident, and so does Aamer Shafiq of the music band, Khumaariyan making music that is wildly popular. Noted journalist and a lover of his hometown, Iftikhar Firdous also continues to call it home and so do the talented ladies at LОl – Farhana and Mehrunnisa Asad Khan, creating world class furniture and home accents in their workshop with local artisans. Khurram Shah has moved to Lahore and Zeb Khan now lives in the South of France. They remain deeply rooted and are frequent visitors.
This month all eyes are on Peshawar as it embarks on a new journey of rebuilding, restoration and resilience. In a bid to bring the city’s public transportation at par with other modern functioning cities around the world, the Government of KP has initiated the much-needed Bus Rapid Transit System. There’s news of opening Fort Bala Hissar and the Governor House to the public. Planting further trees. Setting up more schools. It seems every few hundred years, time automatically sets things straight here. As the wheels of progress are set in motion, this time we hope peace and glory are here to stay.