Light Within

Making sense of Social Media

This may happen in Pakistan

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Mukhtar Masood, author of Awaz-e-Dost, Safar Naseeb, and Loh-e-Ayyam, writes that north western part of Persia was called Media and it comprised of small regions in 350 B.C. Keqabad was ruler in one of the constituencies. He was famous for his fairness so much so that people from other districts used to bring their feuds to him. He used to hear the cases and decide notwithstanding where the parties belonged.

With time justice seekers from other counties grew and it had to be announced that only those cases will be decided in which parties involved were from areas directly under his command. Masses were so fed up from their own rulers that they declared Keqabad as a king of entire Media.

If the rulers are incapable of delivering justice, populace can choose new. The countries where justice is not mated out, natives may merge it with another.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, December 31, 2020, ,

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

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Is there anything more beguiling than a true tale of high adventure well told? Stories about places like Pakistan and China sides of Muztang Pass, braving difficult odds under overwhelming conditions in far flung locales, relating to people of Pakistan and Chinese Turkistan who had been in the area centuries ago, can keep anyone glued to The Apricot Road to Yarkand by Salman Rashid.

The Apricot Road to Yarkand is a spellbinding tale of journey from Shigar Valley to Yarkand in the North, over the glaciated Muztagh Pass by Salman Rashid. The author is master of conveying what seems to be going on in his heads in gripping prose that is never clichéd.

First, a word about the author. Salman Salman is Pakistan's foremost travel writer. His passion for writing is matched by his passion for photography. His research, range of visual subjects and narratives make a remarkable and powerful combination. In addition to eight travel books, his work appears in leading English language journals. In The Apricot Road to Yarkand, Salman Rashid has also told how he switched his career in the army to become a full time researcher and a writer. (I keep thinking how Salman Rashid would have been in 'appreciation of tactical situations' on battle grounds if he was still in army?)


Salman Rashid is a historian in the truest sense. He writes from a knowledge standpoint as opposed to a position biased toward the dominant paradigm and its conquests. A moving writer, Salman reminds the heart of its search for power in a world which has forgotten its purpose for existence. As usual, Salman Rashid, 54 when he undertook the journey, delivers a ton of current information all based on historical research. No one else seems to have half the energy of this man. What is more, Salman Rashid is currently translating the book into Urdu language.

In The Apricot Road to Yarkand, Salman Rashid recounts his journey from Shigar Valley to Yarkand and he does so in frank and honest terms. Result of sixteen years of dreaming about everything that sits on the historic route from Baltistan to Yarkand, The Apricot Road to Yarkand is an epic to the essence of exploring mighty
mountains, but it is also about of the cultural, geological, and biological make up of mountains, people of that area, human behavior in difficult situations, and history; and about joy of  watching purple-gray clouds spreading out like an atmospheric ocean in all directions as far as the eye can see.

Alan Hovaness once wrote, "Mountains are symbols of mankind's search for God," and Allen Ginsberg told us, "Things are symbols for themselves." In The Apricot Road to Yarkand, Salman Rashid allows the mountains to be symbols of the seeking soul and at the same time symbols of themselves - they are encountered as we internalize them in our quest, and they are encountered as they really are: cold, hard, lonely, mighty and sometime hazardous.


The Apricot Road to Yarkand inspires its readers to explore the less explored areas and experience for themselves what only a few had the fortune to discover. Well-written and wonderfully presented, the book is a must read for anyone remotely interested in mountains, adventures or for those who want to find out why a chunk of land was handed over to our best friends. I highly recommend it.

Fellow of Royal Geographical Society, Salman Rashid is author of eight books including jhelum: City of the Vitasta.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, December 30, 2020, ,

Children are never satisfied

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Sheik Manzoor Ilahi was commissioner Bahawalpur when Nawab of Bahawalpur was alive and Nawab of Kalabagh was the Governor.

Sheik Manzoor Ilahi writes: I was going to attend Commissioners’ Conference in Lahore when the Nawab of Bahawalpur sent for me and asked to convey to the Governor that the agricultural reforms should not be imposed upon Abbasi family in his life because he knows better how to look after the interests of his protegee  I got the chance to approach the Governor in a dinner hoisted by him at the end of the conference. Nawab of Kalabagh was sitting sandwiched between American Council General and the British Deputy High Commissioner when I overheard the Governor telling them, “I have told Mr. President so many times that no kind of democracy is feasible in this country.”

Ahan, so the Governor was opposed to the democracy which President Ayub Khan was about to give to the masses through 1962 constitution. When I gave him the message of the Nawab of Bahawalpur, the Governor spontaneously said, “Please tell Nawab Sahib to leave the issue alone. Children are never thankful what ever the parents do for them.” 

I was surprised.

Now one knows what destiny has in store for any one. Nature was speaking through the mouth of the Governor it seems (The Governor was murdered by his son.)

Extract from Light Within by Abbas Khan

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, December 29, 2020, ,

Dolls, Toys and More

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How have the topics been selected?

Dolls, Toys and More is a story of two decades of work by NGO in a village called Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka. How change has come in the village?


Large number of volunteers have worked in the project since its inception. It would have been less interesting for the readers, if we were only to describe project in detail as they would know less about the location, the background and the history of the local toys in the Punjab. The life in the village is definitely interesting from the point of view of literature, but this topic may be discussed separately. An idea can be obtained however by reading the three short stories taken over by me and written by Ulrike Vestring. It would also be inappropriate to discuss and describe at this point the concept of Mud Housing and the Appropriate Technology, both of which can be discussed separately.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, December 28, 2020, ,

The Budget

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Budget War and what is in it for common citizens


Annual budget in democracies is such an important event that involves every one. There is much hype and hoopla before and after. As the fiscal year comes to close and governments begin preparing the budget, economists start debating fiscal issues and policies in the media, pointing out the implications on national economy as a whole and effects on common population. Lots of interest is generated and masses wait for the budget statement with enthusiasm, hoping for the relief mainly. Other stallholders like industries and corporate sectors also try to influence the budget makers by highlighting their needs during the preparatory process.

But not much happens here. At least nothing seems to be happening. No body waits for the budget speech any more. For couple of past years, the federal budgets here have reduced to yet another official exercise devoid of any substance. They neither address long term development programs nor give any immediate respite to the commoners. All those who have been following the budget promises in the past will testify that whatever was announced can hardly be seen on ground.

People are not interested in the budget because budget exercise is not for the people of the country. There is nothing for us in the budget," says Abbas Khan, a senior citizen," its usual significance is lost over the last few years because of deregulation and privatization that de-links the utility prices (natural gas, electricity, oil, telecom and commodities) from the federal budget. These prices are fixed separately on quarterly, monthly and even fortnightly basis. We come to know when a vendor selling lady fringes (bhindi) tell that vegetable prices have shot up because prices of petrol have increased or when meat seller charges more on account of increase in the cost of iron ore." What has prices of petrol or iron ore to do with the lady fingerer or meat one wonders?
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, December 26, 2020, ,

Virtual Communities

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Virtual world is seamlessly getting into real world. Social side of technologies is making the World Wide Web much more localized by bringing like-minded people together and in the process creating closely knit online communities.

Combination of features like worldwide accessibility and instantaneous communication has made it possible for backpackers, globetrotters and other curious from all over the world to join together at different online platforms to exchange information, experiences and plans in their favorite pursuit; travel.

Subscribers range from the professional travel writers to hardcore travelers and adventurers and commoners who are simply interested in reading online. Travel communities are accessible by millions of interested people all over the world.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, December 25, 2020, ,

At war with myself

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You seem to be doing odd thing all the time – sitting in sun and avoiding cold water during summers, sitting in shad and having chilled water in winters, keeping awake during nights, eating less and walking the streets despite having the facility of transport. Everyone else goes to gardens whereas you go for wilderness.

I am all right. Only I am at war with myself.

What for?

To conquer myself!

What will you achieve by this?

I will be able to get what I want done by myself – creation of a new world.

Translated from Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan by Abbas Khan

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, December 24, 2020, ,

Shalimar Garden

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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 @ Wednesday, December 23, 2020, ,

Social Media Marketing - Proposal

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Promotion, Branding (including Personal Branding), SEO and Creating Buzz Online through Blogs, Twitter, Facebook

Introduction

A strong online presence is important for businesses and even individuals in today's high-speed and competitive world. Blogs have already become a new buzz in marketing and a welcome mate for corporate sector. Businesses are taking advantages to reach out to uses in fast growing Pakistani users’ base.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, December 22, 2020, ,

Hilal – publication where I started writing

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Pakistan Armed Forces Monthly Hilal is a very popular magazine read by every one from Jawan to General. My own association with this esteemed publication started in 1977 when I was commissioned as a second lieutenant and posted to an artillery regiment in Lahore. Our commanding office Lt Col Ghafoor was to open our tree plantation drive by planting a sapling in the unit ground. He desired the event be covered for Hilal. I was the ‘baby of the unit’ so I was asked to do the needful. That is when I asked about Hilal. Our unit head clerk gave me a complete file of previous issues of Hilal to read and familiarize myself with the then weekly magazine.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, December 21, 2020, ,

National University of Modern languages

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Human beings - fortunate of all the creatures- are unfortunately plagued with needs. We want material things and comforts of life besides our basic wants like love and social recognition. Sometimes ago, in an effort to improve material well being, my outer adult joined an educational institution to study the behavioral sciences that are at work to shape the very complex society at present time. This brought back memories of student life: students’ culture, fun of the school days, aspirations I used to have when I was very young, prophecies of my teachers and the missed opportunities I (now) think I should have availed. My admission also brought in focus the main stream education system working in our country.

Earlier, I learnt most of what I have known throughout my life during early stages from my parents and in the primary school. My teachers in small village primary school taught me reading, writing, counting and other basic skills required to lead a successful life. I have never forgotten the efforts of junior Vernacular Teachers to instill some kind of discipline in me. They also taught me about giving, sharing, enjoying, commitment, helping, smiling, trying and caring in addition to the academics.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, December 18, 2020, ,

What it takes to be happy?

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In some way Ashiq Mang knows so much more about life that anybody else does, about grief, about happiness, about pretense and falseness of life. There is nothing in his own life, which he would like to hide or not talk about.

Ashiq has been working as a cleaner at our home for two years. My friendship with him developed when brought me laddoos on the birth of his son. It was a very pleasant surprise though later my wife and children hesitated to share the sweets with me. I offered him a cup of tea over which he started talking and gave me the chronological narrative of the life, experience and reminiscences. Then we used to talk whenever got chance to meet on holidays mostly, when he was late doing his job at our place or I came home early. He may not be a good communicator, but has definitely enriched my vision. He is so candid and honest about every thing.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, December 17, 2020, ,

Men or Machines

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Developments in computer technologies, in the past decades, have had their impact on human life in more than one way. But where this increasing interaction between human beings and computers is leading and how is it defining the focus of research in the field are some of the valid fields of study that are likely to make difference in human lives in future.

The emergence of information technology (IT), the availability of the web, and the user friendly designs are rapidly increasing the use of computers. Despite odds like literacy, availability (and reliability) of phone connection and affordability, the use of computers is significantly increasing in Pakistan as well. E-mail, real-time text correspondence and voice exchange are already popular asides from word processing and spread sheets. But in Pakistan, most of the new concepts are still untested, which makes any analysis inconclusive.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, December 16, 2020, ,

True Blue

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Multan retains in many respects the historic form of the medieval city — the towering citadel of Multan known as Qillah Kohna Qasim Bagh with its noble monuments sheltering the dense and compact walled city shrines and bazaars below. Its history goes back to pre Islamic and possibly to that of Indus valley civilisation and even beyond.

The history of Multani arts and crafts also goes back to medieval period. Kashi work the glazing and hand painting of ceramic products is an important art for which Multan is famous all over the would. The use of foliage or branches and leaves of trees and superb richness of colours (mainly blue) in Kashi work is a evidence of Persian influence. As Persian arts themselves have been under Chinese Mongol influence, there fore some historians are of the view that Kashi work had originally come from Kashghar, China. Over a period of centuries Multani Kashi work has matured and developed a unique and distinctive style of its own.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, December 15, 2020, ,

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.


Baikal is what I am reminded of whenever I see the Sadpara Lake, situated at a short drive (an easy walk) south of Skardu. The walk along the torrent is more pleasant and shorter than following the jeep road. The lake surrounded by bare mountains abounds in fish, and is an ideal place just to sit there and think of fairies. Who wants to fish anyway?!

A meditating Buddha carved on the northern face of a large rock about half way between Skardu and Sadpara is of interest mostly for the foreign tourists. It is off the road across the Sadpara stream: cross a footbridge over the stream and up to the slope on the other side at Manthal. The Buddha, carved on a big rust brown rock, perhaps in the 7th century, is the same style as one at Kargha near Gilgit.

The Deosai Plateau, known as the highest plateau in the world, is located at the boundary of the Karakoram and the western Himalayas. Deosai Plains are a backwoods country at about 30 kilometres from Skardu. It is a beautiful summer pasture with greenery and countless species of Fiona flora. The view of the Karakorum Range from the top of the 4785 meter pass is legendary. Apart from fairies, this plateau is the habitat of the greatly threatened Himalayan Brown Bear and many other wild animals. Although few people will see a bear, quite a few are said to make their homes in the heart of the plateau. At an average elevation of 3500 meters, Deosai officially is a National Park and protected area for wildlife.

The undulating meadows here have no trees or shrubs and the area is snow covered for most of the year. Spring comes to Deosai late, when millions of wild flowers begin to bloom all over the lush green grassland. This is a time when Deosai looks like a fairie’s land, with a landscape full of wild flowers on green rolling hills and crystal clear water streams with snow-covered peaks in the background. That is the season when most travellers go to the area.

On my way to Gunma, at Deosai, army men break their journey at Sheosar Lake. This place offers beautiful views of distant peaks and a panoramic view of Deosai Plains. At Bara Pani, one may spend hours in a hope to watch a bear or you may enjoy fishing in the cold waters of Barwai Stream. From Deosai, you can travel back via Skardu and Gilgit to enjoy the most thrilling drive along the Indus River, or continue to Gunma if you have to.

The Deosai Plains is interlaced with streams, a large brown bear population, and multitude of golden marmots. Its remarkable biodiversity has recently earned it recognition as a national wilderness park. Its brief summer brings out intense July-August mosquito swarms, which are relieved by strong daytime winds. Early September frosts restore peace to the plateau, making trekking pleasurable.

A jeep track crosses the Deosai between Skardu and the Astor Valley. From Skardu, the road heads south up the Sadpara Valley, passing Sadpara Lake and a small sleepy village. It continues west across the Deosai plateau, crossing large clear streams via bridges. As it leaves Deosai, it skirts the northern shore of another charming lake, and then crosses the Pass (4266 meters) to the upper Astor Valley.

A careful observation has shown that an amazing number of alpine plants are living under the extremely severe conditions of this area. This is a meeting place for three types of plants of Japanese and Chinese origin, Central Asian origin and Mediterranean origin. Variegated plant species also grow in harmony.

The area is surrounded by snowy mountains exceeding 5,000 meters in height and suspended glaciers. In June, one can see full blooms of purple meadow cranesbill (geranium pratense), which cover all the slopes, mauve flowers of eritrichium sp: the densely tufted knotweed (bistorta affinis) in a sheet of dark red flowers, a line of yellow flowers of pedicularis and many more in thick clumps.

The rock anemone, paraquilegia microphylla, grows in rocky crevices skilfully utilizing exuded water and taking advantage of the protection from strong winds and cold. Its cup-shaped flowers of bluish white with yellow centre bloom all together. The neat and clean pure white saxifrage sibirica also blooms at this time of year, while the pretty white-fringed flowers of the alpine campion (silence moorcroftiana) bloom secretly in the shadow of rocks. Pseudosedium condensatum, a rare alpine planet, displays pink flowers like a royal crown in a shrub of ephedra. Large groups of pseudomertensis motikoides exhibit bright blue flowers, while other alpine flowers noted in the pasture at Dalsangpa include the large golden-yellow flowers of inula grandiflora, reminding some of sunflowers, the dark purple flowers of lindelofia stylosa, pretty yellow poppies, and the red flowers of the Himalayan stonecrop.

The most enchanting feature of the Deosai Plateau is its huge field of alpine flowers, the scale of which is largest in the Karakoram and the Western Himalayas. You can look out on an endless scene of alpine flowers as far as the eye can see — the gently rolling hills are carpeted in large part by the purple flowers of adenocaryum anchusoides, or the reddish-purple flowers of the long tube louse-word (pedicularis siphonantha). The mauve flowers of Aster carpet a wide area, and two kinds of primroses with pink and red blooms can be found growing in large clumps. Flannel mulmein (verbascum thapsus) and pedicularis bicornuta, both yellow in colour, stand tall on the plateau.

Natives will often present you with a goodwill bundle of Horros flowers, which produce so much aroma they will intoxicate anyone. It is an unforgettable experience to be in this colour bonanza in the full bloom. The peaceful atmosphere of the night, completely devoid of synthetic noise, being broken only by the sounds of rolling stones and falling ice.

For a layman, alpine plants in Deosai are simply too numerous to mention. The colourful plateau is changed to a burning yellow carpet in autumn under a clear sky. There are many places suitable for summer camping: on the bed of edelweiss or at the riverside or lakeside. Chakor Pass (4,266 meters), located at the south end of the plateau, is the most impressive part of the Deosai trip. The deep blue Shaucer Lake, nestled in the pass, offers picture-book scenery. The view looking northward is of the endless series of peaks of the Karakorum Range.

For adventure-loving tourists, there are few paradises in the world that can compare to northern Pakistan for unspoiled natural beauty: a combination of soaring mountains, shimmering glaciers, crystal clear water streams and flower bedecked alpine pastures. In addition, the gentle, warm and hospitable character of the villagers makes your trip to this part of the world a fantastic and unforgettable memory of a lifetime.

And, did I have had the chance to see the fairies during my to-ing and fro-ing, at time zigzagging in the area? Yes, I met fairy Jia Ku once in my dream, that is. She said, “do not waste time running after fairies. Try finding what you want among humans. And that is what I think I am doing ever since.”

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, December 14, 2020, ,

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 @ Saturday, December 12, 2020, ,

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 @ Thursday, December 10, 2020, ,

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, December 10, 2020, ,

Fog in Lahore

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Winter in sprawling Lahore spells horror for thousands of residents. Not because of cold but due to the phenomenon of smog. Let your gaze roam over the cityscape while standing on top of the Yadgar-e-Pakistan and one finds how the skyline of the minarets and domes looks dark and sad against the clouds of thick smog.

The fog is triggered by temperature inversion -- the formation of a static layer of cooler air close to the ground as the nighttime temperature drops. Normally, air closer to the ground is warmer than the air above it, and therefore rises. Inversions are frequent on winter nights after the ground has cooled down so much that it begins to chill the air closest to it often causing mist to form as water vapor precipitates on dust particles. Normally the morning sun swiftly breaks through the mist and heats the ground, which warms the air above it, breaking the inversion.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, December 07, 2020, ,

Why blog?

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Why do you blog? I asked bloggers this question. First, I posted the question on my own blog Light Within and then emailed the post to bloggers soliciting their comments on the post. Earlier, I have been scouting blogsphere in an effort to find out different motives for blogging.


Some 20 bloggers posted their comments and almost same numbers replied through email, pointing to posts on their own blogs answering my question.Here is a kaleidoscope of opinions from bloggers that I was able to contact and read their posts.

Some bloggers blog for themselves, for sheer joy of it. For some others blogging is a source of expression of their egos, for venting out frustrations, for getting noticed by others, for admiration and affirmation or simply for meeting people - hoping for intimacy with those whom they are unlikely to meet in real life.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, December 04, 2020, ,

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 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. 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 @ Wednesday, December 02, 2020, ,

Historic Trilogy

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The first thought that came into my mind after visiting Okara can be described by four words: milk, butter, mammals and farms. Peers also told me the same. Besides Harappan ruins, I did not know the area. But one thing I did know, though, was that I should be happy to say goodbye to the place. Two years later, I felt drawn to the area and its people and it was very hard for me to part. There is so much to be seen, so much to be done. Above all, it has spirited, sincere and full-of-love people living in Gogera, Dipalpur and Pakpattan historic trilogy. The distances in the hinterland are short but the landscape is so enormous that it had to be studied in parts like a large mural seen by a child.


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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, December 01, 2020, ,


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