Light Within

Making sense of Social Media

Surviving Gates of Multan

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One of the oldest living cities in the world, Multan is a significant example of old Islamic urbanization. While many historic Islamic cities have lost much of their original character during the twentieth century, Multan has survived remarkably intact, retaining the classic form of the medieval city encircled by its rampart and gateways. It is the entire urban fabric of the place that is historic.

Inside the walled portion -- archetypal form of old town -- one can still see beautiful bay windows with intricately moulded 'jharokas' in narrow streets or delicate brick work with geometric patterns and tile friezes on the facades of havelis. Meanwhile, modern Multan has expanded in all directions covering over 28 square kilometres of area. And with modernism have come related difficulties. "Problems like overflowing sewerage and a broken down water supply system, encroachments and pollution are taken as hazards of urbanization or attributed to lack of funds," says a resident of Gulgast colony.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 24, 2020, ,

Shifting Sher Garh

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An old sleepy and dusty village Sher Garh lies about 20 minutes drive away from Renala Khurd (Okara). The coins found at Sher Garh prove that the place was inhabited at the time of Kushan dynasty. Though “the name Sher Garh was given by the Governor of Molten, Faith Jang Khan after the name of Afghan King Sher Shah Sure,” wrote Abbas Khan Sarauni in his book Tarikh Sher Shah Suri.

On the old bank of River Beas, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Even the electricity and telephone are a recent phenomenon. But the village has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious people from all over the world, the village is venerated by a large number of devotees. Reasons, a massive mud fort and mosque which were built in the period of Afghan Sher Shah Suri. And, it is the last resting place of Saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Kirmani Bandgi. If one wants to absorb the sense of history, Sher Garh is a place to visit. Director Syed Noor has set his film Chooriyan in the background of this village. One has to possess a sensibility shaped in granite not to be moved by the village of past age that has not changed much in last 400 years. In the periphery few van (salvadora) trees, may be as old as the village stand witness to the bygone era. The village is experienced changed due to awareness about various things and agricultural advancements but at a snail speed.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, October 23, 2020, ,

Tukia Mir Chakar Rind

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An old, sleepy and tranquil village Satghara lies about 80 kilometers from Lahore (20 minutes drive away from Okara) in the quiet backwaters of the Punjab. The coins found at Satghara prove that the place was inhabited at the time of the Kushan dynasty. The rule of Kushans was one of the most decisive periods in the history of the Subcontinent. At the height in the second century (A.D.), Kushans ruled from Oxus to Ganges and yet their influence spread beyond even these frontiers. On the southern bank of the Ravi, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Though off the beaten track, it has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious travelers from all over the world, Baloch leaders and contemporary historians visit the hamlet. Reasons: it is a "Tukia Nawab Chakar Ki" - last resting-place of Mir Chakar Rind. I see part of our history buried here whenever I have a look at it. And when I was stationed at Okara Cantt, I did it often.

As per one account, Mir Chakar Rind came to this village with seven families, hence the name. Another legend has it that the village was named Satghara because it was destroyed seven times by floods. Shah Abul Mo'ali, descendant of sixteenth century saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Bandgi in his book 'Maqamat-e-Daudi' maintains that Satghara was known by the same name even before the arrival of Mir Chakar Rind. In Baloch history, the sixteenth century was a very eventful period. Baloch fought series of wars amongst themselves. The result of these tribal conflicts not only caused large-scale bloodshed but also resulted in their mass migrations to the Punjab, Sindh and Gujrat (India).
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 22, 2020, ,

Corporate Blogging

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What I have learnt about corporate blogging is this: Online consumers in 2020 are not impressed simply by a professional looking website or a blog bash. A typical online shopper would do hours of research before making a purchase. Informed consumers want to read about what they are interested in, ask questions, get advice and more. None of this is possible on a simple website. A blog can do all of this.

A blog helps enormously in getting into the top search engine results. Why? Because blogs by their very nature are updated frequently, and search engines prefer fresh content. Search engines prefer sites which have a lot of incoming links. Blogs can get many more of these incoming links than regular websites because people are more likely to link to information (blogs) than commerce (website). Blogs as opposed to websites have a large and growing content. A clearly visible link from the blog to the main website is very effective form of advertising.

Remember the best type of advertising is one that isn't perceived by the customer as advertising.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 21, 2020, ,

Khanewal Junction

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Located near old Multan, Khanewal is comparatively a recently founded town. Its only claim to fame is that it is an important destination on the map of Pakistan Railways. Busy railway junction, railway workshop, pre stressed concrete sleeper factory and huge shunting yards have developed a sort of railway culture in this agricultural market town. National highway also passes the town but people mostly uses railways for travelling and transportation.

This area was a vast grazing land before the excavation of Lower Bari Doab Canal. As per the local lore, the grass from this land used to go as far as Burma during the Second World War.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 20, 2020, ,

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 @ Monday, October 19, 2020, ,

Local blog context

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Blogs initially started as archives for web links on the Internet. Users could place important links on blogs to be referred and read later. Overtime blogging has matured as a phenomenon and one can see meaningful and useful blogs on any subject online. Blogsphere has become a very strong voice; vibrant, living and ever growing.

Pakistan blogsphere (blogs about Pakistan by local bloggers and those bloggers who are living abroad) has created its own identity that is mostly political and or personal. Where personal blog create social harmony, well knit community and peace, political blogs add to the positive image we need so much, more so in online world. Given the strength of powerful international media and in the face negative content, there has always been a lack of local content. Thanks to able Pakistani bloggers that they are adding meaningful local content in their blogs and that contextual content not only answers some of what mostly ill informed foreign media says but also add to the positive image.

Need of the hour is that Pakistani bloggers (also Tweeps) come forward and play their role by adding more content that is based on facts and first hand information. You owe this to Pakistan. No?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, October 17, 2020, ,

Net results

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Computer and the Internet are fast becoming starting points for every work and lumber rooms for what people achieve with them. Any one can foresee that they are modern ways into the future. But the users are sometime intimidated by the sophisticated gadgets and openness of the Internet, hence they are not using them optimally.

It is the same all over the world when it comes to the scare of using computers and the Internet. BBC on the eve of UK National Computing Day reported Computeractive magazine survey and a research study by the Oxford Internet Institute both implying that users are scared of using computers and working on the Internet. Another recent Australian study also found that many people are afraid of their own computers.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, October 16, 2020, ,

Revisiting Abbottabad

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Located north of Islamabad, Abbottabad town is surrounded by lofty peaks and pine scented air. Among Pakistan's towns and cities, Abbottabad -- small, neat and clean in a spacious valley -- is a rarity. Apart from being famous for its educational institutions and Pakistan Military Academy, Abbottabad also serves as the gateway to some most stunning sites in Pakistan. While other hill stations are deserted during winter this place has visitors due to its bracing weather all year around. The town has beautiful gardens and tall, tree lined roads: splendid stretches of turf with plenty of room for polo, football, hockey and golf.


At 1,250 meters above sea level, Abbottabad lies below the lush pines of the Murree Hills. The importance of the town has been diminished a little after the completion of Karakorum highways because, in the past, the only track available to reach Karakorum was through Babusar pass, which could only be approached through Abbottabad. In spite of this development, it continues to be a transit town for those who want to venture to northern areas of Pakistan. Abbottabad is the junction point from where one can go to places like Hunza, Gilgit, Skardu and Indus Kohistan of the Karakorum Range. One can also reach Swat, Dir and Chitral of the Hindukush Range or can approach to Naran, Lake Saif-ul-Muluk, Shogran and Babusar Pass of the Himalayan Range. Neelum, Lipa and Jhelum Valleys are also connected through Abbottabad. It is where the hills start.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 15, 2020, ,

Indigenous Kelash culture

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Centuries old Kelash indigenous culture is at a greater risk today than any time in the past. Despite their remote location - landlocked in winters - last of the Kelash race is maintaining tenacious hold in district Chitral but is vulnerable to ravages of time and different pressures with external locus. The onslaughts are clearly eating at their open and nonchalant indigenous culture. Many have been forced to join the drift to the cities. But when asked what they want, their collective answer was simple: we want our old way of life. Which is why, pastoral Kelash have been able to keep some of their cultural traditions and identity so far.

Some historians and anthropologists think that the Kelash are descendants of Indo-Aryans who overran the region in the second millennium BC. The Kelash say they are from a place called Tsiam, though nobody is sure where that is. Commonly they are considered as descendants of Alexander from Macedon who came this way. Their warrior like forebears managed for centuries to keep everyone - including Tamerlane - at bay. In 1893, the British and Afghan governments agreed on a common border that cut right through Kafiristan dividing the community into two parts. Abdur Rahman who was then Amir of Afghanistan renamed Afghan Kafiristan as Nuristan - land of Light.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 14, 2020, ,


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