Light Within

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Thatta Kedona slide show

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Pakistan Slide Show

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014, , links to this post

Owning Fred Bremner

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Pervaiz Munir Alvi

Fred Bremner was not born or raised in Pakistan. In fact during his life time there was no country on the map by the name of Pakistan. Yet, for thirty five years he lived and worked among, owned studios and properties at, and traveled through out the areas that would later become Pakistan.

He was a commercial photographer who like thousands of other enterprising Britons earned his living by working his trade. But he was one of the pioneers of his art working in Karachi, Quetta, Rawalpindi and Lahore, the four important and major cities of Pakistan today.

He was not a diplomat, historian or a journalist, yet his photographs and publications have become an important source of historic records of the cities, events, places and people in Pakistan. By helping record the history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century he, however unintentional it may, has rendered important services to what would later become Pakistan.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, October 20, 2014, , links to this post

Pakistan Ramsar Sites

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The twin villages Ucchali and Dhadhar are the place to be for those who seek happiness in being close to the raw nature and to find the most alluring and fascinating places off the beaten track.

To travel as a person interested in nature (as if there were other ways to travel) is to have regrets these days. More and more that one would like to have seen is - inevitably, inexorably - already gone. But there are, of course, many such places out there. Only one has to find them.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, October 14, 2014, , links to this post

No love like salt

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The Salt Range derives its name from extensive deposits of rock salt. It stands as remnant of forts with bastions and temples. Exceptionally, this region maintains an almost continuous record of history that can define the evolution of society. Forts and temples surviving along the range are a reminder of how untouched many of the ancient remnants are. Alexander from Macedon came to this range twice: one from Taxila and later once his forces refused to go any further from the banks of the River Beas. From here he marched towards the Arabian Sea on his way to Babylon. And, now an NGO is constructing the monument of Alexander near Jalalpur town in the foot of the salt range in district Jhelum.

For those who take their first chance to the area, the landscape all along the Salt Range is rock-strewn, lacking in softness and loveliness. In many parts, it becomes barren and uninviting. But, in truth the range is dotted with historical wonders, romantic legends, archaeological remains, and varying geological formations. Surroundings are very quiet. Urial is also found in the range though facing extinction. A journey along the range is exiting as well as informative.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, October 09, 2014, , links to this post

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 @ Wednesday, October 01, 2014, , links to this post

The Republic by Plato

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The Republic in which Plato presented concept of the state starts with a query. “What is justice,” sitting in his academy Plato asks students who were all experts in their own respective fields.

As per Plato every thing in the world should be given its appropriate place. Biologically human body can be divided in three distinct and incompatible parts. Wisdom comes from head; stomach is responsible for distribution of calories to the whole body through intakes; hands and feet work for the body and act as guards. Humans die when this appropriation is disturbed. Head cannot act in the place of stomach or hand and vice versa.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, September 30, 2014, , links to this post

In Shalimar Garden with squirrels

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It's easy to love a place where residents make efforts to feed the squirrels. In the Shalimar Garden, a few senior citizens party with the squirrels every morning.

When my friend Hussain Qazi who is naturalist and a photographer told me about people feeding birds and squirrels, I planned to skip my ‘ritual morning walks’ and decided to visit Shalimar Garden instead; hopping to find more about the party with the squirrels.

The care and feeding of squirrels in Shalimar Garden is a recent phenomenon. Long overshadowed by heritage talk (it is on UNESO’s world heritage list), Shalimar Garden is overcrowded during day. Whether or not Shalimar Garden ultimately can maintain its past glory - and with it, an influx of foreign and local tourists - it's a surprisingly satisfying open space during early hour of the day.

Every morning, two charismatic old men, loaded with biscuits, rice and pluses came to the waiting population of birds and squirrels in the Shalimar Garden. They sit on the same benches and start throwing grins to the birds. When this is happening, one can see squirrels coming down from nearby trees for their breakfast and then those gentlemen dig deep down their satchels and take out biscuits and start feeding the squirrels. The tiny winy animals are so use to those caring hands that they jump to take the first bite.

One of the old men Fazal Karim – a retired primary teacher who lives in nearby Daroge Wala – explained me this phenomenon and said, “I am coming here for my morning walk every day for a long time now. I feed the bird population and squirrels and find them very friendly. I miss them and look forward to meeting them every day. I think they miss me too.”

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, September 25, 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 @ Monday, September 22, 2014, , links to this post

Envy, love, desire, prejudice or self-indulgence

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We, human beings, live in four cells as per empirical observations of one scholar: First are natural restrains. Humans are bounded by natural environment, seasons, atmospheric conditions, other living beings, calamities and every thing else present in the eco system. Second confine to humans is history -- the chronology of the past. It is so very difficult to get rid of the past. Third is society. Humans simply cannot live oblivious of the societal traditions and customs. It is not possible to live alone nor is it workable to violate folks, mores and norms of society while living as its part.
And last is own self: Envy, love, anger, joy, desire, sex, prejudice, self-indulgence and fears that compel humans to restrict behind the walls. I also find some friends living in self denial.

How can one throw away all these yokes and truly set free. Science can take control of nature. Understanding of philosophy can free the humans from burdens of what went before. Knowledge of social sciences can steer them safely through the society. But getting away from self is the most daunting of the tasks. For that one needs altruism. And that can only be attained through passion for others. Can you suggest any other way?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, September 20, 2014, , links to this post

Justice Muhammad Shahab ud Din and Prime Minister Pakistan Muhammad Ali Bogra

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Muhammad Shahab ud Din came to judiciary from Indian Civil Services. He rose to the coveted post of Governor East Pakistan in 1954 but history always recognises him as Justice Muhammad Shahab ud Din.

Prime Minister Pakistan Muhammad Ali Bogra once gave a statement about East Pakistan without consulting him. Justice Muhammad Shahab ud Din resigned in protest. Bogra apologised and requested the Justice to continue but he did not agree.

He took out his pen and dried its ink in the pot in his office before leaving the Governor house. His ADC Major S. G. Gillani was with him who asked, “Sir, why have you returned the ink to the pot here.” Reply of the Justice was, “It belonged to state for official work. How I can use the official ink when I no more hold the office.”

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, September 15, 2014, , links to this post


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