I received the news with a heavy heart that one of Lahore’s original ambassadors in Delhi, Pran Nevile, died on October 11, 2018. His was a very long innings, close to a century. He was fit like a fiddle the last time I met him in Government College Lahore in 2016. His hair was thick and natural dark, although grey was predominant. Many of us wondered how he could easily go up the steps and descend them with such ease. Nature had been kind and bountiful to him. Pranji was born in the walled city of Lahore in 1922. His father worked in the postal department. The family moved from the walled city to Nisbet Road where he grew up. He was a very proud Lahori and a very proud Ravian. Millions of Punjabis from both sides of the divided Punjab have never been able to visit their original abodes, although the pangs of separation have been part of their quiet, stoical suffering. I know this because I have talked to refugees from both sides, Pranji was one of the few lucky ones who after a break of fifty years visited the city of his birth. Several of his old class fellows were still alive. He described those reunions to me with great feeling and fervour. Nothing is more exciting and touching than to meet those who were once a part of your life, and through a twist of fate those connections are irrevocably severed. That is what happened in 1947. Picture: Pran Nevile on left and Yuvraj Krishan on right. Both from Lahore. This picture appears in my Punjab partition book along with their interviews Whenever I visit Lahore, I visit Temple Road where I was born, look up my class fellows from school, college and university and try to meet them. I have the freedom to do so. Pranji could not assume such freedom, but I must say that Pakistani governments have always granted him visa, in fact multiple visas. Pranji always supported ideas and projects which sought to promote India-Pakistan peace and friendship between their people. Many Pakistani singers and musicians were hosted by him. He scrupulously kept away from politics, thinking of the partition of 1947, with a philosophical detachment, accepting it as something which happened once upon a time and the best thing to do was to move on. I met him first in 1999. The former Indian prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral, whom I had met in 1990, in Delhi and again later in Mumbai put me in touch with him. I initiated a project on the exit of Hindus and Sikhs from Lahore and wanted to interview them. Gujral Sahib told me that Pran Nevile was the man who could help me with this. I wrote to him and Pranji very kindly arranged for me to stay at the India International Centre in New Delhi. I was amazed that he spoke in an unmistakable, inimitable desi and theth (native and authentic) Lahori dialect and distinct accent. It was with his very generous help that I met many old Lahoris in Delhi. My book, ‘The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed’ would perhaps not have been possible otherwise. Like a true scholar, he never tried to influence my research. Moreover, in 2011, I had the privilege to stay with Pranji in his Gurgaon house. On the campus of the India International Centre is a restaurant and a coffee lounge. One corner is known as the Lahore Corner. In 1999 it was thick with former residents of Lahore. I was welcomed by them with open arms. Pranji and several others shared their memories of Lahore and the partition with me, which are also published in my book. Pranji always supported ideas and projects which sought to promote India-Pakistan peace and friendship between their people. Many Pakistani singers and musicians were hosted by him. He scrupulously kept away from politics, thinking of the partition of 1947, with a philosophical detachment, accepting it as something which happened once upon a time Pran Nevile was himself a writer and a music and dance connoisseur, he published books on K. L. Saigal, the dancing girls of India, the British Raj and other such themes. Two of his books are Lahore specific. ‘Lahore: A Sentimental Journey (1992)’, is a classic. It is a must read for anyone curious to learn about the Lahore of the 1920s – 1940s. He shed light on multiple aspects of a robust and pulsating city which evolved and developed under the benevolence of the British Raj. Its schools, colleges, universities, cinemas, film studies and dance clubs and multi-religious demography rendered it a paragon of robust pluralism. Pranji depicted Lahore without making it an exercise in depressing nostalgia. Rather, he describes the people and the scenes of Lahore with wit and humour, which proves to be vastly entertaining for the reader. His recent works, ‘Carefree Days: Many Roles, Many Lives (2016)’, tells his personal story, also his alma mater Government College Lahore receives generous praise as well. He spent six years at GCU (1937-1943). Old teachers and class fellows are named, and tributes paid to them. He underlines that whereas Gandhi’s Quit India Movement had galvanized the masses to protests and agitations, the youth of Punjab, on the other hand, were seeking employment with the Raj. One can add, that the Punjab was drawn into mass action only when it became clear that the British were leaving, and the Muslim League had launched a campaign for Pakistan. He also discussed his eventful career in the Indian foreign service. He was posted in several capitals, serving in the information wing of Indian embassies. As always, the skills of a storyteller are abundant, and he embellished the narratives with humour and a bit of scandal; very similar to the way that Lahoris tell their stories. Even though Pran Nevile is gone now, I will always remember him as a very true friend and a genuine citizen of a Lahore which is no more. Lahore was as much his, as it is mine. A salute to him from one in Stockholm who shared with him, a love for Lahore. The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Visiting Professor Government College University; and, Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has written a number of books and won many awards, he can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, October 14th 2018.