Lucknow: Still a STUNNER?


By Akash Shukla

From Kakori Kebabs to Lakhnavi Nawabs and from Martin ki Laat to Nakkhas ki Haat, Lucknow still revels in the pink of cultural health. Mystique and mysticism have always been the two crucial epicentres of Awadhi cultural heritage. Does Khazaney Vali Maszid hold wealth in its deepest dungeons or is it barely a far-flung farce?

55039856.BegamHazratMahalParkWeFrom the controversy surrounding Begum Hazrat Mahal’s sexual orientation to the unfathomable Rumi’s Sufi inclinations, Oudh has loads to celebrate and even more to dig and dive into.

While the old city continues to smear its lips in Kashmiri Chai, the former’s new counterpart in trans-Gomti area has made way for tipplers of different sort. Restropubs have mushroomed and hookahs in its exotic avatars have forayed into the lounge.


The gurgling smoke rings speak of a more urbane life that was little known before. Welcome to Neo Lucknow. This new town knows no Nawabi Tehzeeb and it talks pretty ajeeb. This is how Lucknowites from old city rhymingly dismiss the settlers of Gomti Nagar, Indira Nagar and Aliganj.

The state capital is nonpareil when it tries to strike a balance between culture and modernity; welcome to Lucknow’s diversity! Jostling with secular ideas and religious fanaticism, the city not only bears witness to Matam in DSC01773K100Moharram but also scowls scoffs and jeers at radical Slut Walk and unprecedented Gay Pride Parade.

The city’s yearly fun and frolic over an array of festivals spread across religions is exemplary of unity in diversity.So is this how we sum up the Shaan-e-Awadh?

Perhaps not! Barring unity in diversity, this city is also teetering on the brink of inequality in equality. With high on culture and low on tolerance, the city is unabatedly galloping from shine to shame. So when did angry motorists of Lucknow moved from Pehle Aap Pehle Aap to Pehle Mai Pehle Mai?

From peaceable multitude to raging mob, the culture of Lucknow has turned over a new leaf. While Idris ki Biryani and Karim ki Nahri continue to rule the tastebuds of all and sundry, the emergence of model shops has sloshed the otherwise potential achievers, the youths, into a darkness that has no light at the end of the tunnel.

No matter how confusing this cultural amalgam may appear, the brush strokes that paint this picture still hold gilded tips. The city still forgives more than it punishes. Though the urbane youth of Lucknow has moved out of mosques and mausoleums yet they continue to hail with titles like Aap for strangers.

This uniqueness is undying as it is fed by the elixir of Hindi and Urdu alike. The maxim ‘hand is quicker than the eye’ cuts a sorry face as the Lakhnawi zabaan continues to nip the urban rudeness in the bud.