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Gawalmandi is a town located in the central part of Lahore. It is regarded as the cultural centre of Lahore. The famous Food Street of Lahore is located here. Gawalmandi is a made of two words Gawala meaning Milkman and Mandi meaning Market. Formally Gawalmandi was one of the largest buffalo milk producing market in Punjab, until large number of Kashmiris started settling in after 1947. Gawalmandi is the hub of Butt family and many UK Butt nationals can derive their ancestry directly from these families. Formally known for wrestlers and thugs, culture in Gawalmandi shifted highly after Zia regime as more and more people started pursuing higher and even post graduate education. Gawalmandi has significantly high literacy rate.
The area of Gawalmandi is surrounded by four road making an irregular trapezium. 3 out of four roads are named after Lords of British Empire such as:
1. Lord Nisbet
2. Lord Chamberlain
3. Lord McLeod.
At the end of Nisbet road and just at the junction of Qilla Gujr Singh neighbourhood. The square is called Lakshmi chowk named after the Lakshmi building of the same name. However both the name and building has now been renovated and renamed as Maulana Zafar Ali Chowk respectively for increasing demand of name change by the locals. Lahore third largest flea market is located at Gawalmandi chowk.
King Edward Medical University, which is the second oldest medical college in the Indo-Pak subcontinent after King Edward College in Pakistan is also found here. Mayo Hospital, which is largest tertiary care hospital in South Asia is located here as well, situated between Gawalmandi and the famous Anarkali bazaar.
The tomb of Shah Abdul-Maali is located within the vicinity of town as well as one of the oldest mosque called "Mai Laado" (Elder lady Laado) is located near Mayo Hospital.
Traditional Culture (Pre-2013 Elections)
Formally Gawalmandi was known as the heart of Lahore until Musharraf regime changed all the protocols and improper management by then political party PML-Q devastated the rich culture of the town by establishing thug and gun culture. This was however eliminated during (2008-2013) PML-N regime yet elements of such culture had widely affected the mentality of new generation as well as outsiders to the area.
Until 2005 Gawalmandi was the heart of the Basant festival in Pakistan with thousands of people flocking here each year to enjoy the festival.
The Food Street used to flocked with people throughout the year who come from all over Pakistan to enjoy the food with their families.
Thug Life Culture (Post 2013 Elections)
Majority of the new generation guys have adopted a mixture of street culture with that of old thug culture of Gawalmandi. Body building, Heavy weights lifting and Healthy eating along with Westernized Punjabi music is the glamour of majority of guys between age 15-35. All this might trace back to 2011 Unemployment crises where 7 out of 10 men in Gawalmandi were unemployed as a result of global recession despite being highly educated. Extreme reliance and enmity during this session along with PML-N vs PTI rivalry has converted the once traditional Lahori culture to a more westernized and liberal society.
Nearly 60% of population has a graduate degree in either Commerce or Art. Despite its small area, Gawalmandi borders many Educational institutes showing the extreme rich literary culture among the locals. These institutes includes
·King Edward Medical University
·Govt. Dyal Singh College Lahore
·Govt. Islamia College Railway road for Boys.
·Govt. Post Degree College for Girls.
·Sir Dyal Singh Trust Library
·Moonlight School System
·Anjuman Girls High School.
·Govt. Islamia High School for Boys.
·Native School System.
·Vocational Training Institute Labor Hall.
2005 Basant Crisis
Despite being known for Basant festival way before British Raj. During 2005 spring, A number of misfortune events lead to partial ban and then a complete ban on kite flying. The events that persuaded the ban primary includes unlawful use of gun as celebration tool and later some major accidents by kite flyers in which travelers usually get stuck in strings and had major scars since people were then using newly imported unbreakable strings to improve their competition. After nearly a dozen of bloody accidents. Basant was cancelled. Later on during PML-N (2008-2013) regime, effort was made to revive basant.,but again similar accidents caused the chief minister to divert the festival to another open place in Lahore.
2007 Unlawful Political Raids
During 2008 Election campaigns, majority of PML-N workers were forcefully arrested by then PML-Q on direct orders from General Pervaiz Musharraf as Gawalmandi was the birthplace of PML-N leader Muhammad Nawaz Sharief. However supreme court later released all of the workers within a week as the raid was unethical and unlawful having no proof of whatsoever. Since then the area has become a proper hub of PML-N and the party has won twice since 2008.
2011 Unemployment Crisis
During 2011, a devastating unemployment rate was witnessed among young graduates as majority of the institutes were either far off from neighborhood or the employers were rejecting the resumes of locals due to their birthplace. Traditionally Gawalmandi was known for thugs and wrestlers and majority of the Lahoris still believe the culture to exist which was predominant due to existence of such elements at a major level. A formal meeting with then youth leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif by locals revealed the lack of institutes and infrastructure and non creation of major project during Musharraf regime in the particular area. The high discouragement among youth created a new culture. During 2017, it was revealed that although unemployment still remains high in the area but it has been reduced from 70% to 35%. A decent amount of population has requested to change the name of Gawalmandi to either Butt Town or Nisbet Town, which has been rejected by masses.
2012 Giant Rat Crisis
During 2012, The whole area got infested with Giant Rats ranging from palm size to the size of a rabbit. Investigation revealed that improper disposal of eatery, waste and leftover food by the food street shop owners was responsible for extreme large growth of rat population in just a small area. After dozens of rat attacks on kids and infections afterward, a collective petition was signed by the locals to shut down the well known food street, The decision was in favor of the locals and hence the Food Street gates were demolished. A petty attempt to revive the food street was done by well known anchor Najam Sethi to gain political popularity of then PML-Q but even after the failed attempt of revival majority of the food street remain closed due to local disputes.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharief (Former Prime Minister of Pakistan 2013-2016).
Muhammad Shehbaz Sharief (Former Chief Minister of Punjab,Pakistan 2013-2017).
Khawaja Muhammad Pervaiz (Punjabi and Urdu song Lyricist).
Khawaja Saif ud din Shier (Urdu poet, well known for song :Chaandni Raatein)
Khaleel and Ruby Chishti (Pakistan proclaimed Artist/Sculptor).