Light Within

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Ears to ground

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One evening a few months ago, Ghulam Ali Bloch, a retired bureaucrat turned progressive farmer, who has his roots in remote village Jalla Balla in the suburbs of Sargodha, was finishing up a contract negotiation for buying a piece of land for opening an Ostrich Farm when he realised that a crucial piece of information required to close the deal is missing. He needed to know who had the right to haqq-e shufah (pre-emption). He could only obtain the facts from the central registry of the revenue department.

In order to verify the legal status of a property, including business homes and personal estates, one has to go to the patwari, garedawar, tehsildar and it entails a lengthy and laborious procedure. Historically, getting the required information takes a very long time. But thanks to an old man Mir Thana Khan, a minstrel in the village Jalla Balla, the information was available in his private but very authentic record.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, July 28, 2014, , links to this post

Judge the Nations by the Way They Look at Their Women

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Societies pride in different strengths: Some give importance to bravery, some to democracy, and some nations think that freedom of expressions, development and or education are the hallmarks for their long-term sustenance. “The nations should be judged on how they look at their women,” writes Abbas Khan, the author of Urdu novel Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada, his eleventh.


There is a famous saying that every thing in fiction is true except dates. But in the novel written by Abbas Khan even dates are true because he has based his novel in the back ground of five very famous women in the history: Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Qura tul Ain Tahira (Iran), Mughal Princess Noor Jehan and Umrao Jan Ada.

Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and wife of Menelaus, considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Her abduction by Paris caused the Trojan War and made thousand ships drown.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, July 21, 2014, , links to this post

Attitude Tourism

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Attitude tourism - to be distinguished from, say, adventure or seeing the sights - is generally not a particularly satisfying activity. Ideas and those who hatch them tend not to leave behind things large or attractive enough to ogle. So you may go to a place of great historic value but find nothing worth the visit. Lasbela tract is a case in point. Usually, you are left, if you are lucky, with a plaque or just an intrinsic thought. So I expected, more or less, nothing in Lasbela.

What I got was signs in lieu of plaques, hot wind, remnants of crumbling columns, and a long view of the undergrowth of thorny bushes, some wildflowers, functional Persian wells and rocky hilltops covered with camel and sheep droppings. It was all prosaic and quiet and yet real enough to propel me into another fit of wonder: I was driving on the tract where Alexander and Muhammad Bin Qasim had treaded.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, July 16, 2014, , links to this post

Where is my angle?

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An angel slowly touched my life when I least expected, an angel who I longed to have and make her mine. Words are just to describe my feelings for her, yet I stumble to pen down what I feel for her.

Her large deep black eyes were like big emeralds glittering in the dark, shining brightly and laughing within, secrets beholding, untouched and unexplored. Her pouting curvy lips inviting for a desired journey filled with lavishing promises and her husky voice is like a beautiful music felt in heart, a melody which my ears longed to feel and her laughter. Her laughter impact like Supper Moon impacts the sea waves and can fill me with ecstasy. The echoes of her laughter, like chimes, would make one reach the sky above and to feel it like kissing an angel. My angel.

What she can do to me is magical and how I feel it is beyond words. Every time she is with me I feel I have got the whole world under my feet and my heart race against time to hold her, to touch her and to feel her. She is my angel; always will be.

But where is my angle?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, July 16, 2014, , links to this post

Pleased in Pak Pattan

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Pakpattan - the name is enough to start the travelers, cautiously curious and devoted faithful dreaming. Already the magic words like sultans and saints are stirring in the head. Let your gaze slip over the dhaki - original citadel of Pakpattan - and the town will suddenly appear. The antiquity is its own message: the town is heritage, and heritage permeates the town.

Enter the once walled inner-city through one of the existing gates and you will find yourself in archetypal form of an ancient town - crooked and narrow streets, dense housing, intricate woodwork on Jharokas, bay windows and doors. So many historic cities have developed losing much of their original character in the process during modern times, but Pakpattan has survived remarkably in tact. It is the entire urban fabric of the place that is historic. Though, the major portion of the fortification wall has disappeared. At places, the wall has even been utilized as a part of the residences. Four gates (Shahedi, Rehimun, Abu and Mori) have survived out of six but they are all crumbling. Now extensive suburbs stretch from the foot of the wall all around. Thin red bricks from centuries old wall are seen used in the new houses all over the town. The portion of the settlement that sits on the mound can be compared with walled part of Multan City.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, July 15, 2014, , links to this post

Chakwal: Capital of Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

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Discovery of fossils, tools, coins, and remains of ancient archaeological sites give enough historic evidence about Soan civilization and its continuity in Salt Range and Potohar Plateau. The people, colourful landscape, lakes, hill ranges, flora and fauna are sufficient reasons to explore the land that is largely off the beaten track and one does not see many backpackers in the area.


Some of the world history has started from this region. The first residents of the land we now call home were Stone Age people in the Potwar Plateau. They were followed by the more urbane Indus Valley (or Harappan) civilisation which flourished between the twenty-third to eighteenth centuries BC. Some of the earliest relics of Stone Age in the world have been found in the Potohar region, with a probable antiquity of about 500,000 years. The crude stone implements recovered from the terraces of the Soan carry the account of human grind and endeavours in this part of the world to the inter-glacial period. The Stone Age men produced their equipment in a sufficiently homogenous way to justify their grouping in terms of a culture called the Soan Culture. Around 3000 BC, small village communities developed in the Potohar area and began to take the first hesitant steps towards the formation of society.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, July 07, 2014, , links to this post

Travel Writing

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Travel writing is a fine art; accepted literary genre that is read. Writers who are gifted with an ability to understand what they see and can breathe life into a place when they narrate their travel experiences. The Internet that is wrongly considered as a pedestal for instantaneous scribbles mixed with emotions and indecipherable abbreviations has already become a place to find some good travel literature, travelogues and travel stories in addition to online trading of travel services. It can be one of the best display places for travel writers to showcase what their countries have to offer.

Travel is prosperity and leisure pursuit, which is a result of many things; history, heritage, culture, natural beauty and a quest to know what is unknown and meet wonderful people.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, July 01, 2014, , links to this post

The mountains

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Climbing the mountain had been on my mind for almost all my life, particularly ever since I did a course in Rock Repelling and trekked some softer mountains up in the North. But I have never climbed K 2 or Nanga Parbat -- icons of Pakistani climbing, as identifiable and as famous as the Mount Everest. I have been pretty close to them, at the distance that seemed nearly close enough to touch their summits. In different capacities, I had lived some of my life in the base camps of these majestic mountains and some others in Northern Pakistan; with mountaineers, explorers and adventurers from all over the world.

Sitting in the base camps, I have seen determined, committed and sponsored climbers arrive at base camps; some less savvy teams taking a look around and going back. Some staying and waiting for the weather breaks that do not come; some even taking a start only to abort and some conquering the mighty mountains. Staying in base camps is important for climbers to give their bodies more time to acclimate to the elevations.

Life at all base camps is almost the same. Mess tents are the best places in the base camps where every one huddles like a living rooms. It usually is a hole climbers dig in the snow or rocks and cover it with tarp or it is a natural cubby hole behind and in between rocks. "You eat and drink (hot tea, coffee) your way to the top," is a way of life with climbers. Climbers get up early in the morning because moving early in the morning is essential for crossing snow bridges that melt in the midday sun.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, June 30, 2014, , links to this post

Oriental Handicrafts from Swat

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Contact Oriental Handicrafts from Swat, Pakistan (also find ob Twitter, Facebook)

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, June 27, 2014, , links to this post

Conventional Block Printing

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Young Aslam displays his art work (bedspreads sheets, table cloth, wall hangings, a melee of colour and an extravaganza of design) in Thatta Kedona show room at Lahore under the approving gaze of Dr. Senta Siller. Aslam needs no coaxing to display the finished pieces. As quickly as he spreads his art pieces, he rattles off the names. Persian 1, Persian 11, Masjid Wazir Khan, the palm tree, peacock palm, dancing parrots, the elephant tram and six peacocks, also naming the prestigious places where these designs are in use at the moment.

Aslam represents fourth generation of the family carrying forward the art of block printing that is at the verge on extinction. Block printing represents an age when mastery over art was the struggle of a life time of hard labour and Aslam does not seem to forget this philosophy even thought he has ambitious to innovate and diversify the art of his forefathers in a big way.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, June 26, 2014, , links to this post


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