Ganesh Gali was soon taken over by the fast expanding merchants of Shahalami and the lane was renamed Naya Bazaar — (new bazaar). The official address today is Naya Bazaar, off Chowk Mati, Pappar Mandi, inside Lohari Gate. The Khajoor Khoo in the 1970s was closed and filled up as the water table receded. On the well, land that is officially ‘nazool’ land, or state land, people started construction and built small shops. On the outer wall a new set of very small shops came up.
By the 1990s the entire scene had changed and all traces of Khajoor Khoo and Ganesh Gali or the outer wall of the old city ceased to exits. A paved road was officially made, and nine years ago, traffic started flowing. On official maps no such place exists. In reality it is functioning.
When Shahbaz Sharif came to power, he tried, even though his politics was empowered by the entrepreneurial classes, small, medium and large, he served notice on all illegal dwellers and tried to close this ‘guzar’. The move was opposed and by the time he decided to move in to close the illegal ‘guzar’, he lost power. Today Naya Bazaar is considered among the thriving markets of the walled city, even though the official position is that it does not exist.
What is to be done now? Do we officially accept the new ‘guzar’ and name a gate after the area. It could be called Darwaza Khajoor Khoo and it will be officially the 14th gate of the walled city. But then the entire shops over the old well will have to be pulled down, a wall remade like the old one, as is planned in the Unesco plan for old Lahore, and a proper gateway constructed. Let the 14th gate of Lahore be called Darwaza Khajoor Khoo.
There is more than a legend associated with Khajoor Khoo, for it was over 1,000 years old and made of small bricks. That, too, can be excavated. Also, 14 gates will mean, according to old mathematical calculations, of one and four making five, and five means Panj Pir as accepted by the Hussaini Brahmins. Let’s see what happens.