Light Within

making sense of social media mix

What Are Criminals Made Of?

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Violent crimes have been at historic up nationwide; they are rising sharply in all cities. The rise seems to have been set off by something more bewildering.

Imagine Lahore only ten years ago: It was a different city; socially cohesive, closely knit. Young children could go visiting neighbors or to nearby shopping centers to get groceries and other things but not now. People then knew each other personally and had strong social bounds; hence courtesies for each other.

Things started changing with an exponential increase in urbanization. Large number of outsiders started moving in Lahore to live and or work. Now even the immediate neighbors do not know each other and people act like total strangers. Garish housing societies have come up on all the open spaces inside the city and Lahore has expanded much beyond what used to be municipal boundaries. The crime rate has grown with mush faster speed than the city.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 26, 2017, , links to this post

Urdu Twitter for Hilal

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This article appeared in June 2012 issue of Pakistan Army Monthly Hilal .
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 24, 2017, , links to this post

Sunday Tending

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 22, 2017, , links to this post

Harand heritage

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Perched in between legendary Suleman Range on one side and mighty River Indus on the other, ruins of original Harand Fort are situated in the area commonly known as Pachaddh. The Fort has seen a lot in the past and looks as if hiding thousands of secrets besides its historical and archaeological importance.

The Fort was originally built opposite historic Chachar Pass in Suleman Range to guard against the invaders. The fading signs of the edifice are still there in the forms of derbies and bricks scattered around the old site. Sikh Governor Sawan Mall used the material of the old fort rebuilt the Fort on a new location in 1831. Present structure of the Fort - a valuable part of our heritage - is situated about 25 kilometres west of sleepy and rustic town Dajal in district Rajan Pur. The Fort is spread over an area of 50 acres. The outer wall of whatever is left of it is one kilometre long and was made of thin red bricks. There are 16 pillars. Main entrance is in the west and another one is in the east. What ever is left of the fort is a clear evidence of its past, solidity of masonry and quality of construction.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 20, 2017, , links to this post

Pakistan Army should blog as a policy

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I remember the days when army soldiers were told not to disclose their locations where they happened to be serving. I also remember seeing those silly signs on bridges saying ‘photography is prohibited’. No more. Things have changed now. Advent of technologies like GPS or cellular phones has changed the way we work and also our priorities. It is in this milieu that I say blogger outreach and social media influence can be of great advantage to any organization including Pakistan Army. Why else other armies have dedicated army blog networks where soldiers, family members, friends and supporters can post video, images and written stories?

By getting into blogging and other social media channels, army can pick up useful insights to successfully and directly connect with people. Blogging can encourage authenticity and transparency to build credibility. Social influence is very much relevant to any army today, more so to Pakistan Army that derives its strength from masses. This may also help army to actively listen to those strong opinionated advocates and those “realist, liberals, progressive, revolutionaries” that are present out there in blogosphere.

It is about time that Pakistan Army should include blogging in its communication strategy and fill the huge void that exists. Army need to update policies and encourage solders to engage meaningfully. And I know soldiers are good at it (I still remember those public speaking lessons that I had during my training in Pakistan Military Academy – one of the best training institution anywhere in the world – and later those Method of Instructions tutorials I had to attend).

Army has great opportunities to offer to its people. They need to tell this to people it serves. Internal as well as external army bloggers can do this better than anyone else.

Can influential bloggers help army in present context? Shoot down if you don’t agree.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 19, 2017, , links to this post

Wheels of Empire

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Wheels of Empire by Salman Rashid

Salman Rashid is clearly Pakistan’s most notable and erudite travel writer. His work is informed not only by deep insight but an even deeper love of his subject. A signature Salman piece welds impressive knowledge of geography, history, ethnography and ingenious and tradition with a writing style that quivers with life.


Salman Rashid is also an accomplished lensman with a sensitive eye for landscape photography that further enriches his travelogues.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 18, 2017, , links to this post

New domains

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Penetrating new IT domains appeared in Profit, Pakistan Today.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is about to expand general Top Level Domaown names (gTLDs). The applications have already been invited from January 11, 2012 through April 11, 2012. During the first round, ICANN will accept only 500 applications, while the subsequent rounds will be limited to 400 applications. The gTLDs expansion program has the potential to add countless new names to the existing twenty one available top-level domains (.com, .net, .edu, .biz, .org) and over 100 suffices (.pk - Pakistan, .ly - Libya) by permitting brands, businesses, geographical regions and even individuals to apply for a virtually unlimited list of new gTLDs in different scripts including Arabic. It is expected that the first gTLDs will come online by 2013.

This news has initiated a debate amongst the various stakeholders since May 2008, when ICANN first came up with the idea of expanding gTLDs “to unleash the global human imagination. The decision to expand respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” says Rod Beckstrom, the CEO ICANN.

Businesses and governments are analyzing the impact of proposed expansion of gTLDs on the internet with caution and concern. The focus for many brand owners has been to argue against the expansion of the name space, or at least to postpone it till the internet really needs such a change and till a more efficient brand right protection system is in place. But ICANN is going ahead with the program. A global awareness campaign to educate the world about the expected changes in the in the cyber space is in the air and will be launched anytime.

The decisions will vary from industry to industry and business to business but one thing is for sure; new gTLDs are not for everyone. The option is costly; $185,000 initial application fee plus $25,000 a year to run the registry. If someone else wants the same domain, bidding will determine the winner. And another fee will crop up when a registry is setting up secondary domains on a top-level domain. One wonders what might be the rationale for the proposed fee structure by ICANN - a nonprofit entity. The price tag alone leaves small and medium sized businesses out of the big name games.

Owning a “.sports” TLD for anyone in the industry manufacturing sports goods sounds like a good idea provided the business can afford outbidding other sports goods manufacturers and the fee. The opening up of new gTLDs is certain to set off a wave of new activities on the internet domain space that could fundamentally change existing practices related to domain name use and search engine optimization, and more broadly impact internet based advertising, promotion and ecommerce. Unless it happens, no one can say how? Big businesses have already started research to judge the impact to their businesses of this impending change, and are reviewing the recently revised and published ICANN draft guidebook closely for insights. Some companies (like Canon) have already announced that they will apply for custom suffixes (.canon).

Biggest advantage to ask for a new gTLD is to have a key generic term in any industry. The new internet domain space may open the potential for new ideas to improve an online presence in the marketplace. It can also open new opportunities for communities, cities and regions who would like to have more powerful presence on the internet.

But who really needs a new gTLD? Analysts say that proposed gTLDs expansion will solve problems that do not exist. The current dot-com structure works fine as it is. The expansion of the gTLDs will only challenge existing online branding and brand protection and marketing strategies at all levels adding more noise. The businesses will feel forced to spend huge sums in fees to ICANN and legal firms in order to reserve names to protect their trademarks from cyber squatters who could use them for spam and criminal activities.

The only winner in this program seems ICANN that will reap millions in fees for domain names that are not needed in the first place and the United States that intends to retain control on the Web's critical naming system.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 17, 2017, , links to this post

Fruit Basket From Pashin

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Visit Pishin at this time of the year and one finds thousands of acres of fruit orchards. The rich harvest of apples, grapes, plums, peaches and apricots is seen every where. I discovered the area, and the taste of the fruit, during my stay at the School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta when we used to walk miles and miles for training maneuvers. It is still the same.

Legend attributes the origin of the name Pishin to a son of the Emperor Afrasiab. Until the middle of the 18 th century, when Quetta finally passed into the hands of Brahvi rulers, the history of Pishin is identical with the province of Kandahar. The earliest mention of Pishin is found in the ancient writing in which "Pishinorha" is described as a valley in an elevated part of the country and containing a barren level plain.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, January 16, 2017, , links to this post

Living with a white peacock

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 15, 2017, , links to this post

Youth on the Internet - Urdu blog

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Read the rest of the article here.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 13, 2017, , links to this post

Joy of being at Lahore School

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 11, 2017, , links to this post

Chaudhry Norbert Pintsch

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Village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka - a cluster of mud and brick houses - looks like any typical Pakistani village. The fact is that awareness, community work and use of appropriate technology has changed the village all together. Influence from Indus civilization from nearby Harappa and modern techniques brought by use of appropriate technology can be seen in the village together.

The toys and handicrafts made in the village are on display in international museums, prestigious galleries and showrooms in Pakistan and abroad. Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka (TGD) got an international fame when village project Thatta Kedona (meaning toy from Thatta) was selected as one of the 767 worldwide projects presented in the "Themepark" at global expo in Hannover (Germany) as an example of thinking of twenty first century. The toys and handicrafts from TGD show how culture goes beyond simple work of art and becomes collaboration among applied and natural sciences as well as other forces that affect our lives.


Thatta Kedona is a project, first of its kind, in rural area where handmade quality toys are crafted using all indigenous materials and traditional designs based on cultural and folklore themes. The workmanship of the dolls and toys has acclaimed international recognition through their participation in numerous international events, exhibitions, fairs and displays. These toys are the embodiment of dreams, hopes and most of all self-reliance of the hands, which breathe a part of their own soul into them.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 10, 2017, , links to this post

Almost famous

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Nasim Shahid at Facebook

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, January 09, 2017, , links to this post

Sailboat in sea without wind

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, January 07, 2017, , links to this post

Have a Blog or a Printing Press

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Who all should have a blog? The answer depends on who is being asked this question. Given my personal interest, I say everyone should have a blog.

For marketers, public relations professionals, writers and all those who need to reach out with their ideas and or products and services, blogs are a must; easier, cheaper, convenient. But think outside the box and you will find people have experiences to share, stories to tell and put the things on record. They all need a blog.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 06, 2017, , links to this post

Calling Abdalians

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Comfortably tucked in green hills north of Islamabad, Hasan Abdal is situated right on the Grand Trunk Road. The town's claims to fame are Cadet College and temple of Panja Sahib. This small and clean historic town neat is sacred for Sikhs.

Hassan Abdal is famous for its cadet college and also serves as the gateway to some most stunning sites in Pakistan. It is from here that Karakoram Highways turns towards Northern Areas. It is a convenient halting point of Grand Trunk Road (G T Road) from where one can go to places like Abbotabad and Northern Areas, Peshawar, Taxila, Wah, Rawalpindi. Coins of the Greco-Bectrians kings discovered from the adjoining tract suggest that the area was inhabited in first century B.C. Accounts of Xuan Zang, a seventh century Chinese Buddhist traveler tells us that the place was also sacred to Buddhists. However, presently the town is associated with Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion and Baba Wali Qandhari, a revered Muslim saint.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 05, 2017, , links to this post

Say it with flowers

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Flowers surely bring people together. Blossoms can fuel a flaming passion, calm a raging jealousy, comfort a living being or earn a living. Presenting flowers is a romantic social folkway. Aside from romantic and literary delights, there is commerce in flowers too.


The town of Patoki is one of the most famous places in Pakistan for growing flowers. The town has one of the biggest clusters of flower, fruit and decorative plant nurseries in the country. Growing flowers and tree plants and selling is a major business concern in this sleepy town situated in the suburbs of Lahore.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 04, 2017, , links to this post

'Tera Dera Ya Mera Dera'

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There were many things on my schedule when I travelled from Multan to Quetta by road instead of rail: to see the tomb of Ghazi Khan, to visit famous Fort Monro and familiarize myself with this less travelled rout to Quetta.

For those who take their chance for the first time to the city, it might sound too good to be true but Dera Ghazi Khan (D G Khan) in the past was known as Dera Phullan Da Sehra — ‘land of flowers’. “The canal skirted its eastern side, fringed with luxurious gardens of mango trees, while ghats lined the bank, thronged in summer by numerous bathers.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 03, 2017, , links to this post

Why everyone blogs and why you too should?

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I have been in bogging for a long time now. In 2007, I wrote a post Why Everyone Blogs and Why You Too Should? I asked readers and fellow bloggers to list their reasons to blog. Some 85 people answered and gave their reasons as to why they blog?

I often go back to the post to find out if those bloggers are still blogging. Sadly there are very few who are still blogging. Rest has faded away.

It is so easy to get lost in excuses when your desire to blog and it is only natural. May be we are programmed not to pursue goals even if we truly believe and we want it. The reasons may be any: fear of failure, other more pressing priorities in life, not enough time. That is why in life you may find usual circle - start something then give up, or you start then stop then start again. Many of us go through this exercise at some poi of time in life. This life cycle is truer in case of blogging. Several studies indicate that most blogs are abandoned soon after creation (with 60% to 80% abandoned within one month, depending on whose figures you choose to believe) and that few are regularly updated.

Eve shorter is the life span of bloggers who start a blog for goal of making  money through blogging in hurry. Too soon, they find that it is one of the difficult tasks and abandon their effort. That is why I suggest that have a solid reason to start a blog, research your subject and plan what you want to contribute Making money is even harder than most of us think.

Blogging should be an informed decision. If you don’t have a thorough plan in place then don’t start.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, January 02, 2017, , links to this post

About

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S A J Shirazi is a Lahore based writer. His writing on diverse subjects appear in Pakistan Today, Dawn, the News, Nation, Spider, BootsnAll and other A list publications. Shirazi holds an MPA (University of the Punjab) and Linguistics (Russian Language from National University of Modern Languages) degrees and is working at one of the leading universities. He has authored three books (Izhar, Ret Pe Tehreer, Dolls Toys and More) and translated Din Mein Charagh by Abbas Khan into Light Within.

Okay, now that we've gotten that referring-to-myself-in-the-third-person part out of the way, here's the more human, less quantifiable description. I am trying to make sense of blogging and other forms of social media [Facebook, Twitter and more]. Here I'm always looking for friends. You can contact me at sajshirazi@gmail.com.

Updates: No, I am not trying to change the world. I am only changing myself!

Follow on Facebook, follow me on Twitter for much more.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 01, 2017, , links to this post


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