Novelist Mohsin Hamid talks to Terry Gross about using Lahore as the model for the typical global city in How to Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia:
For so long we’ve talked about the city and we’ve used cities like New York or London as our template for our universal conversation about cities and I was thinking, ‘Well, maybe Lahore actually is quite typical of cities around the world now. Maybe I can use Lahore as a template for this global city.’ And that’s what I’ve tried to do. But in Lahore and many other places you do see this collision between tradition and change and so you have, on the one hand, the rise of all kinds of phenomena, whether it’s illegal bars, gambling, protection rackets, immigrants, new sexual and moral and other values. At the same time you do have this persistence of an older themes and older ways of organizing and thinking about a society where family is very important, where marriage is very important, where the bonds between people that come ancestrally and through marriage are vital and those two systems are, to certain extent, in conflict because we have this new market-based system that gets people to move away from their families and move to the city and start their new lives and, over time, abandon many of their initial values, but it doesn’t fully satisfy.
Image of the Lahore Train Station by Joe Sheffer/Flickr