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All this and you are not even worried! Will it help?

My rendezvous with fairies

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All those who take the chance to Siachin sector (via Skardu, the valleys of Shigar, Khaplu, Kharmong, Rondu and onwards), purposefully visit the northern areas of Pakistan and plan to have rendezvous with fairies do pass though Deosai Plains – a plateau among highest mountains and unique landscape in the world. I first got acquainted with the area when Siachin sector was activated. Later, whenever I visited the area, one plan that I always had in mind was to meet the fairies.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, April 30, 2018, , links to this post

What is justice?

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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 @ Thursday, April 26, 2018, , links to this post

From the Mother of the Dolls

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Dear Friends!

I started in 1993 to make handicraft dolls in the village of TGD together with the village girls. The effort was based upon available resources and a respect for the local tradition. Especially the hand-made dolls representing the dresses of the different provinces and minorities became very popular.

Only scarce information was available at that time about these groups and their dresses and obtaining the relevant materials was also a problem. Detailed field studies were needed to obtain and organize the required information, which was quite expensive.

It was very important for the project, which was initially supposed to be only a women  project, to feel and sense the local peculiarities, abilities and skills.

I lived between 1993 and 1998 on invitation of the village elders in the village and trained about 120 women, who practically started to earn some income right from the start through increasing sale of their products in the provincial capitals. But never were and are the NGO-Members dependent upon the project, as only additional income is generated. The village women already have a house for residence and agricultural land, so that the additional income enables them and their families to remain in the village and not move to cities, where life continues to become more expensive and paid work keeps shrinking.

This project is meant to provide for income of women in the rural areas. The daughters have grown up in the meanwhile and since 1998 also young men from the village are integrated into the project and are engaged –among others- with the use of appropriate technology.

The products have been regularly developed further with the help of volunteers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. The NGO Members on the other hand have participated in Workshops in Dubai, Germany and Iceland and contributed in this way to the aims and objects of the effort.

Changes in political situation have necessitated a flexible approach: Nuclear tests, economic changes and local disputes have led to a decrease in sales, which has affected the locals as well as foreigners. The number of Melas has also decreased due to well known reasons. It is necessary to react quickly to changes, so that products were also offered to collectors and other customers, even if the number of orders were small and meant for customers in Japan, Australia, North America and Europe.

The success of the dolls project led to invitations in other countries, so that today women in Cameroon (since 1998) Columbia (since 1999), Iceland, Greece and Germany are also making dolls. The undressed dolls for Europe are made in our village in Pakistan.

With the help of volunteers we were also able to support the project by selling various dolls to ethnological museums in Europe.

I often receive letters and calls and my well-wishers ask me about my whereabouts. Dear Friends, customers and collectors, of course I have not forgotten you. The current intensive but very interesting work in the German project reminds me of the years between 1993 and 1998, which were not possible without the support and help of local and foreign volunteers.

The technological advances of today make many things easier, so that time zones are bridged and you can easily reach me by eMail (sentasiller@hotmail.com) and Skype and information can be broadcast through the Internet Radio of TGD, as well as the Thatta Kedona blog.

In the hope to be together with you and wishing all success to our village women through you purchases and interest in the project, I look forward to seeing you again, - in Pakistan or in Germany, in reality or virtually !

We try to sense future developments in our projects, including ground-breaking concepts to conserve energy. The motto here remains: Words must be followed by actions, so that active environmental protection can be carried out !!

I greet you heartily once again and remain 


Heartily yours,
Dr Senta Siller

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, April 24, 2018, , links to this post

Access to warm waters

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Some places are so idyllic and unspoiled that it is almost unbelievable. One such place is picturesque, tranquil and pollution free town Garam Chashma (meaning hot spring) in at the edge district Chitral. The very sound of it is (sort of) strategic - the role Garam Chashma played during Russian occupation in Afghanistan not very long ago. The town is located on the bank of a turbulent torrent known as Luthko Gol that is full of trout; about two hours drive from Chitral City.


As the small Fokker Friendship hovers over Chitral before committing to landing, one can see the beautiful sights through window of small aircraft: red roof houses dotted on the hill contours, alpine trees, and fruit orchards. Chitral airport is built in one of the serene gorges of the River Kunar. I stayed at the deepest place in district Chitral known as Mir Khanni - over seventy kilometers from Chitral City. As per the plans that I had made to see different sights in Chitral valley during free brakes in the schedule of my assignment, I boarded a passenger Mazda that was ready to go to Garam Chashma right from the airport early one April morning.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, April 20, 2018, , links to this post

Celebrating the 43 Years of Association

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It was on April 17, 1975 when young boys who have been selected to join the Pakistan Military Academy came to Kakul (Abbotabad). Forty three years is a long time and a lot has happened during these years; all of us have retired. Members of 55 PMA get together to celebrate the association and comradeship and to relive their memories whenever they can. Annual Get Together has become one of the best kept traditions. This time they are getting together in Islamabad on 21 April 2018. Here are some images from the past gatherings:
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, April 18, 2018, , links to this post

Urdu Column in Army Magazine Hilal

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, April 16, 2018, , links to this post

Monetizing Your Social Media Space

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Blast from the past


We are living in the age when we can see mass media turning into media of masses. Printing press, back in fifteenth century, started a publishing boom and an information revolution. Along the way, market forces established the rights and rules of the game for the privileged few who could afford to buy printing presses and grind forests into paper. Result: handful few own the industry and control information - they decide what the masses will learn. These few disseminate information on a need-to-know basis mostly. You know them. That's the world of mass media.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, April 15, 2018, , links to this post

If only walls spoke

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An important battlefield for centuries, Dipalpur is now a quite and peaceful town. It is situated at the distance of 25 Kilometres from Okara on an old bank of River Beas in Bari Doab. Dipalpur is famous in the history as an outpost that has played a significant part in the defence of Delhi kingdom against Mongol invasions in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

History of Dipalpur dates back to ancient times. The coins of Sakas (Scythian) period found on the site suggest that the place was inhabited in 100 (BC). After Multan this is probably the oldest living city in the Subcontinent. General Alexander Cunningham writes that the place figures out in works of Ptolemy under different names. As per the tradition, Dipalpur was named after Raja Dipa Chand once he captured it. Dipalpur once used to be the first fortification in the way from Khyber to Delhi. In 1285, Muhammad Tughlaq son of Emperor Balban was killed in a bloody battle with Mongols and the famous poet Amir Khusuro was taken prisoner in Dipalpur. The dilapidated tomb where Muhammad Tughlaq rests stands neglected in a silent corner of the town, for removed from the noisy haunts of men.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, April 14, 2018, , links to this post

Who Own Derawar Fort

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The historic Derawar Fort, enormous and impressive structure in the heart of Cholistan desert, is rapidly crumbling and if the immediate preventative measures are not taken, the edifice will be destroyed and the historians, researchers and sightseers deprived of the view of the legacy of the bygone era. Like so many other historic sites in the country, Derawar Fort is yet another sign of old times we are poised to loose forever due to the apathy of those who are responsible for its upkeep and preservation.

Before it disappears, once again, I was on my way to Cholistan: the place that is crucible of one of the world's oldest civilization, where some of the past secrets are hidden, where history is still active.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, April 13, 2018, , links to this post

The village boy

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There are lessons in the first landscapes of every one's life. Mine was a vista of green paddy fields, smoking with Salt Range mist, against a setting of ribbon of River Jhelum which from distance looked like a shore of another land altogether. The rough, rugged hill range appeared uninviting against a sky withering with the morning, interrupted by the dawn's red and blue brush strokes. My first learning in life was also in the village.

In villages, people still live without roads or other civic amenities of this modern age. No telephone or the Internet (now smartphone works in my village), even the electricity is the recent phenomenon; some are still without it. You see one village and you have seen all. This was the setting where I spent first twenty year of my life savoring the freedom of adulthood. It is where I decided what (and how) I wanted to do with life. It is where my brothers and friends live. It is where I return whenever my active (and now urban) life allows me to. It is where I want to settle and spend my future.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, April 10, 2018, , links to this post

A dot on the map

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The flora and fauna at Astola are as they would have been centuries ago, but spellbinding: The natural vegetation is composed of the type able to survive arid climate. It does not only suffer from extreme drought but also from wind carrying saline particles. Salt sprays coupled with sand particles clog the respiratory mechanism of plants, affecting growth. “Prosopis juliflora is the most significant widespread species distributed in the island. Indigofera oblongifolia and Hycium depressum are also prevalent forming large bushes.

Other types of vegetation found include Sueda fruticosa, Aerua persica, and Tamarix dioca,” The experts gave these names but to me it looked like undergrowth in the form of shrubs and creepers. The island supports a large number of breeding seabirds including Larus hemprichii and several species of terns. The internationally endangered Green turtle and critically endangered Hawksbill turtle frequents the site for nesting purposes along the sandy beach threatened.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, April 09, 2018, , 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 @ Sunday, April 08, 2018, , links to this post


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