Logic is Variable

an argument starts here

The Apricot Road to Yarkand

Is there anything more beguiling than a true tale of high adventure well told? Stories about places like Pakistan and China sides of Muztagh 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 Mustagh 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.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:30 AM, , links to this post

Northern Areas

Pakistan is a country with a beautiful and varied landscape and I am not being ethnocentric here. Tahir Jahangir proves that in his book titled "Travel Companion to the Northern Areas of Pakistan" and any body who goes up there can find this out for himself. The awe inspiring Northern Areas (as well as Chitral and Kashmir) offer every kind of heavenly beauty. Northern Pakistan is a land of contrasts, of surprises, a richly textured melting pot of diversity that leaves a vivid memory in the minds of every visitor, hiker or adventurer – only if the world knows it. The book tells the world what Northern Areas in Pakistan can offer.

Tahir Jahangir, an Economics graduate from University of Cambridge and a very successful industrialist of Pakistan is found of travelling and landscape photography. A book "Travel Companion to the Northern Areas of Pakistan" is his labour of love after countless 'to-ing and fro-ing to the Northern Areas – travellers' and explorers' paradise famous all over the world.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:56 AM, , links to this post

Happy Birthday

To Taqi and Zoya

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:04 PM, , links to this post

Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch - the Honorary Doctor of Science

Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch has been working tirelessly on Appropriate Technology in Cameroon, Pakistan and elsewhere.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:00 AM, ,

Not Speak Easy, Mind It

This article appeared in the monthly Spider.tm

Atrocious! Say linguists, about the way English is thriving on the Net. From prefixes to degrading grammar to words that are getting shorter by the second, the dons of English language are worried the Net is eroding values that make the language a dominant force in the world. In this attention age, should English become a victim of netizens need to say things fast, short and sweet? Some reviews, some arguments, some logic.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:24 AM, , links to this post

Geeky tweet of the day

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 7:33 AM, , links to this post

To my surprise

“Education has broadened the vision. Democracy has advanced equality. Human rights have increased the human value. Most of all, the world has become a global village. Western liberties are finding their way in the east. And all these developments suggest that I will be able to reach the zenith on the basis of sheer hard work.”
I kept looking at him while hearing his arguments and before I could say something, train arrived; my friend boarded it and went off.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:28 AM, , links to this post

Reliving Memories

This article appeared in daily the Nation

There are lessons in the first landscapes of every one's life. Mine is 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 appears very inviting against a sky withering with the morning, interrupted by the dawns’ red and blue brush strokes. My first learning in life is also rooted in my village.

In rural areas, people still live without assessable roads or other civic amenities of this modern age that are taken for granted in the urban areas. No telephone or the Internet, (in our village) even the electricity is the recent phenomenon; so many villages 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 mother, brothers and friends live. It is where I return whenever my active 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 @ 10:59 AM, ,

Blog in Haste, Repent in Leisure

Think Before You Blog

It has become easy to say  with the strokes of keyboard what is not possible in face to face conversation  and so many are seen airing their grievances to a potential audience of millions. Although some people are posting innocuous information about everything from politics to poetry, but many bloggers have axes to grind online. The full legal, ethical and interpersonal implications of these virtual vendettas are just beginning to be explored.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:30 AM, , links to this post

Kafar Kelash

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 @ 9:00 AM, , links to this post

What really matters online

In this attention age, everyone, geek or no geek, spends a lot of time online; [supposed to be] working.

Imagine this. You start your online time with an aim to write a project report that was due last week or to write a blog post you have been thinking (researching) for some time to keep your blog alive. You write your talking points and open your browsers window only to confirm some latest fact and here you go. May be you go to gmail check your inbox, have a look at latest cricket world cup score, see who else has liked your old image on Facebook, also refresh twitter and so on. Result: you end up spending some good part of your working time doing nothing on what you had started.

And when you realize that you have wasted enough time, an old buddy comes up online and give you a shout. You start a chat just to update quickly and then you forget about time flying by.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:38 AM, , links to this post

Straw Engineering

This article appeared in daily the Nation

We are very familiar with straw. Explore the countryside and you will see dried stalks of threshed grains, especially wheat and rice everywhere. Straw is used as a fodder, for covering floors, and thatching roofs, and in weaving mats, screens, baskets, ornaments, hats, fans and more. 

Building homes and other living structures with straw is also tradition dating as back as to the start of civilization. Since prehistory, human beings are using straw as a construction material. The incorporation of machine compressed bales seems to have started in early last century though. Compressed straw bales are being used like bricks in the buildings.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:10 AM, , links to this post

Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan

Celebrated writer of our time, Abbas Khan has written three novels and seven short story books (Zakham Gawah Hain, Tu Aur Tu and Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada (novels), Dharti Binam Akash, Tensikh-e-Insan, Qalam, Kursi Aur Wardi, Us Adalat Men, Jism Ka Johar (short story books) and Reza Reza Kaenat and Pal Pal (afsancha -- shortest story books) and a philosophical compilation Din Mein Charagh.

Abbas Khan says that the world is shrinking fast. In this fast attention age, people don’t find time to read (sigh). There are so many interests like TV, Film, Internet and do much more to keep them engaged. Less and less people are reading fiction (novels and afsana). I have resorted to shortest story writing (afsancha) in an effort to get people to reading very small stories.

Writer of eleven books, Abbas Khan has already two shortest story book (Reza Reza Kaenat, Pal Pal). Wrting short and conveying strong is much more difficult and Abbas Khan say, “I am trying to keep the story writing alive with my shortest stories.”

I will translate the book into English and publish it here while the Urdu version goes to the press. Stay tuned, I will soon start posting the short stories Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:38 AM, , links to this post

At Lahore School Annual Conference on Management of Pakistan Economy

Lahore School Annual Conference on Management of Pakistan Economy May 4-6, 2011

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3:50 PM, , links to this post

Romantic rendezvous

The city of Jhang was built in 1288 by Rai Sial with the advice of Hazrat Shah Jalal Bukhari (his peer). The first ruler of Jhang was Mal Khan in 1462. Sial tribe ruled this city for 360 years and the last ruler of the Sial Tribe was Ahmad Khan from 1812 to 1822 before the Sikhs took over. And from the rule of the Sikh, Jhang was taken over by the British.

Jhang Maghiana is more famous for its people than for its products. The Jhangvis are hardy peasants, healthy, tall, strong and of whitish complexion. The people live in the plains and therefore are plain and straight-forward, broad minded, hospitable and progressive. Jhang is the centre of a purely agricultural based society. Agriculture is the chief source of income and employment in Jhang. About 85 percent of the Jhang’s cultivable land is irrigated. Wheat and cotton are the principal crops. Other crops grown include rice, sugarcane, corn (maize), oilseeds, fruits, and vegetables. Livestock and poultry are also raised in large numbers in district Jhang.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:00 AM, , links to this post

Love me alone, no one else

Calculated love

I saw a matrimonial add online. It was given by a girl herself.
Her profile read, “22 year beautiful girl, MBBS, hight five feet eight inches, color white, a clinic in America and big piece of agri land back home.”
She had also added a semi nude display picture to catch the attention.
We asked our friend Ikram Athar to heave a look, “you were looking exactly for similar girl. Go ahead.”
“How can I marry her,” he replied sadly?
“Like anyone else can do,” we all replied unanimously.
But she lacks one major quality I need.
Which one? We asked.
She doesn’t love me. And I don’t know here, he offered his excuse.
Shoaib Ahmed, another of our friends came up and married the girl in a jiffy.
He was a businessman.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:00 AM, , links to this post

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