National Geographic : 2010 Jul
at the arts college, the young men who attend Aitchison College, an exclusive boys' school founded by the British in 1886, re ect many of the contradictions of modern Pakistan. e boys wear blazers stitched with the Aitchison crest ("Perseverance Com- mands Success") and every day at sunset stand at attention in front of their dorms as the school ag is lowered to a bugler's squeaky rendition of the "Last Post." e Aitchisonians, thoroughly versed in Amer- ican pop culture, chatter at dinner about the rela- tive hotness of J-Lo and Salma Hayek. At the same time, the boys have been shaped by the Islamiza- tion of Pakistani society that began in the late 1970s during the military dictatorship of Gen- eral Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Both they and their teachers are infused with a strong sense of Muslim identity and, at times, grievance, espe- cially toward the United States. "We all thought you were a spy," one of the teachers told me a er I spent time teaching at the school in 2009. "We hate Americans." Lahoris of an earlier generation pine for the more permissive and worldly era that preceded Zia's rule. Yet Lahore's cultural life lives on. One of the more popular lowbrow diversions is a theater that features live performances by comedians and dancers. e grimy auditorium is always packed with men, some obviously drunk. As burly guards with Kalashnikovs keep order, dancers in satin leotards and lmy tunics shimmy across the stage to the screech of recorded Indian lm songs. e dance routines are interspersed with skits full of bawdy humor and double entendres. Men howl vulgarities and at the end of the night shower their favorite dancers with crumpled rupee notes. One of the dancers is Nida Chaudhry. Waiting backstage between numbers one night, she wears RELICS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE include this clock tower in the southern city of Multan, accented with cupolas and keyhole arches borrowed from native styles. Multan is also known for its many Su shrines, like the 14th-century, white-domed tomb in the background.