La Tomatina Lahore

La Tomatina Lahore

The Pakistani rendition of the Spanish tomato throwing festival has the making of a great social gathering for Lahore’s youth. But its participants should bear in mind the fact that the country is home to millions of starving civilians when they go about hurling food at each other.  



On Saturday, September 14, Lahore will be painted red, for La Tomatina – the Spanish tomato throwing festival annually held during the last week of August in the Valencian town of Buñol – has found its way to the city. The event, which caters to the city’s adolescent crowd, is being organized by a company called HK Events will take place at a farmhouse on Bedian Road from 1 PM to 7 PM.



Its description, as seen on Facebook, is as follows:   “Music, Food and.. TOMATOES! These words perfectly sum up the world’s biggest food fight “La Tomatina” that is held in Spain every year!And now on the 24th of August (note that the date has been changed), for the first time, Lahoris will experience the same rush by drenching each other in squashed tomatoes whilst grooving to the beats of the best DJ’s from all over Pakistan. Just when you’d think can’t get any redder, water would be sprayed at the crowd for endless rounds of smash and squash! Remember, everyone’s a target! So wear your oldest tee and shoes and let your wild side take over. “Bring on the madness to La Tomatina!”



This should be an exciting gathering for those intrigued by the concept. After all, it is one-of-a-kind, never having been conducted in Pakistan before.   However, the conveners of the event may not have spared a thought towards its insensitivity for the feelings of the common man – somebody who struggles on a daily basis for the sake of a single roti to feed the entire family. It shows the apathy that many of the privileged show those who barely have the means to survive.



The United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP) stated that 50 percent of the country’s population, or 83 million people, were food insecure by the year 2010. This number increased to over 90 million as a result of the catastrophic 2010 floods that inundated one-fifth of the country’s land mass. The program’s website states: “…worryingly poor nutritional indicators recorded in the recently launched nutrition survey: including 15.1 percent wasting among children aged 6-59 months, with levels of stunting and underweight at 43.7 and 31.5 percent respectively. One third of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies are widespread. An estimated 51 percent of women and 62.5 percent of children under five are anemic.”



The statistics show the severity of food scarcity in Pakistan and the extent to which many of our fellowmen are being affected by starvation and malnutrition. It is criminal that tomatoes – commodities that may be considered lifesavers by such a large proportion of the population – are being tossed around like water balloons for the sake of the merriment of a few teens, when they could be utilized for a much greater cause.



It should be noted that this piece is not meant to question the right to participate in it La Tomatina. Indeed, organizers and participants alike have every right to partake in it as long as it is being paid for with their own money. But I do hope it would get them to reconsider. There are so many of our countrymen who are dying because they do not have the access or the earnings to afford the simplest of food items. Can we at least show them some respect and not play around with their means of survival?

Syed Ali Hasan

Syed Ali Hassan is an A-Level student at Aitchison College, Lahore, who loves to write and is keen on pursuing journalism as an occupation in the near future.

  • M.Saeed

    Boundless madness of a starved nation!
    Is it not axing your own perching branch? Don’t we remember that we were ridiculed by the world financial institutions about our senseless expenditures in marriages known to be highest in the world, when went to them seeking loans?
    That reminds Albert Einstein who said:
    “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”.

  • Ibn-Arastoo Ibn-aflatoon Ibn-B

    Who are these HK Events people ? Could the author or someone else please find out ? More than just the tomatina festival (food or tomatoes) we want our people to be loving towards one another and towards all.

    This is good because you are going to be partaking in a European tradition (even though we are not white nor are we as loving as the Europeans). Congratulations. The Europeans have food fights but they also have dance clubs and dating is the norm where young people make love to dozens of people and are kind and gentle towards one another. Pakistan does not have that. This is not so good also because you do not have food security (as you mentioned), you have infertile desert wastelands in your country. You are a major producer of worthless crops like tobacco and you don’t have snow in Lahore. So when your children lift up those tomatoes to hit one another we hope they will pray for the hungry and all those other brown people. Pray for yourself and that all your lands resemble the lands of Muree (which is just a backwards version or poorer version of European lands filled with pine trees , snow and beautiful people).

    It is important to hold this event during a time when the weather is cool so our youth remain fair and so they are not become even more dark. May God have mercy upon us. May He show the right and constant path of love, non violence and kindness towards one another.


    “I am looking for sanity. Please, somebody help me find it. We, as a starved nation are involved in such extravagance???? Unbelievable!!!! Gloomy state of affairs.”

  • Muhammad Ali

    Shameful act for a country with such high percentage of people who if feed themselves cant feed their off-springs and vice versa. When we learn?

  • S Nasrullah

    Many years ago, I visited Malta on an assignment and noticed huge crops of tomatoes in the bomb created crater in the middle of the city. Rather than subjecting it to neglect, waste or destruction, the City fathers brought it to the attention of the Commercial Houses who forthwith exported fresh vegetable to the neighboring States and also bottled them and used various combinations to enhance the value and taste to exploit the natural bounty. I have also witnessed how people jump into the huge cauldrons to stomp the grapes for extraction of wine, taking care that wastage through spills is minimized. Even in their fun and frolic, there is method in the madness.
    At the farm House, the shrewd owner made it doubly sure that the participants paid for the spoils with entrance ticket and enhanced value for the retails in tow. I entirely agree with Mr Saeed that it is a criminal wastage of a protein filled vegetable that should adorn a dining table rather than trashed in momentary madness.

  • Farooq Hashmi

    What can be said about the nation of mendicants, and its princely pastimes!?

  • Guest

    Shameful for the people living in
    Pakistan, wasting food like this when so many people are starving; here in America
    we are working so hard to raise fund for our county through various fundraisers
    to boost the level of their living…its makes us look like fools..:-(

  • Shaheen K Awan

    Shameful for the people living inPakistan, wasting food like this when so many people are starving;
    Here in America we are working so hard to raise fund for our county through various fundraisers to boost the level of their living…its makes us look like fools..:-(