How many facebook friends you have?
Friday, June 29, 2012
When the 5000 friend limit on Facebook just isn’t enough in this age of friendaholism!
Labels: Sweet Tweets
How to lead higher education through the Digital Age
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Celebrating Mian Muhammad Bukhsh
Monday, June 25, 2012
Twitter is full of regional accents
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Growing up in digital age
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Read Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction by MATT RICHTEL
Monday, June 11, 2012
Celebrating Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Sunday, June 10, 2012
On load shedding
Friday, June 8, 2012
Labels: Load Shedding
This is about you
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Where are you coming from?
Chill out at Chilas
Monday, June 4, 2012
Before leaving Chilas, visit to the famous inscriptions on the rocks is a must. Ancient inscriptions around Chilas date back in a period around first century BC. The most interesting thematic inscriptions are itched onto the faces of rocks between the KKH and the Indus River below Chilas town. One of the most interesting rock drawings we saw depicts two figures dressed in robes -- presumably Buddhist monks -- approaching a stupa in order to worship.
The larger figure with a shaven head is carrying some sort of offering. The stupa to which theoffering is being made consists of a rectangular foundation with a ladder leading up to the path for circumambulation, which is surrounded by a railing. The dome of the stupa is decorated with a zigzag line, may be indicating a garland, and is surmounted by a small rectangular shrine and a vertical shaft with three horizontal discs. The architectural and stylistic features of this stupa drawing are similar to those of stupas found in the Swat Valley and other parts of ancient Gandhara in north-western Pakistan. Above the human figure making an offer and to the left of the dome of the stupa is a drawing of a single pillar with a capital (apparently a wild goat or ibex, which is the most common animal in rock drawings in the area) on a rectangular platform.
The mountain glen sets the tone after leaving Chilas for going to Naran via Babusar. We were on a four wheel driven jeep. In the beginning, the surrounding of Chilas are dry and the mountains rocky. Greenery is limited. As one moves farther from Chilas while zigzagging on hilly road, the greenery increases. Small villages show their distinct beauty. High mountains and clear and cool water torrents flow alongside the track. There are fruit trees (grape, apple, walnut and pear) in the way and some trees are so spread out that their branches touch the ground and touched the jeep as we passed by. Natural landscapes fascinate the hearts. At places jeep passes through water that flows on the road. Water is sweet and too cold to keep hands in it for a long time. The surroundings of the passageway are populated and people are seen busy in their work: agriculture. The innocent faces of kids and their activities reflect the district personality. The verdant mountains are on both sides of the track. The Rocky Mountains are hidden here and there among the lush green patches. The natural beauty of this territory compels the viewers to praise the Great Creator. This is the route up to the Babusar village -- the last habitat (with tea shops and small eating joints for occasional travellers mostly) before the Babusar top.
Leaving behind the village for Babusar top, the track continuously ascends and the jeep moves even slowly on the track. The cool air is penetrating and adds up to the beauty. The jeeps in the area mostly are without tarpaulin or hard roof. The gorgeous natural view attracts so no one wants to miss these views by sheltering. The clouds moves along and it happens sometime that one find his head in the clouds. The entire belt is shrouded in fortress of clouds and at some places we were unable to see landscapes for quite a distance. One of the magnificent views is of Nanga Parbat -- ninth highest peak of the world at an altitude of 26,656 feet above sea level and the westernmost bastion of the Himalayas. No other mountain within 100 kilometres comes anywhere near its size.
Babusar pass is on of the most beautiful passes in Pakistan. Small colourful flowers bloom here and there. It looks like someone has covered the mountains with green velvet layers and the flowing river increase many fold its splendour and majesty. Every scene is lovely on its own. There is snow on the Babusar top that glitters like pearls among the green mountains. It May, it was cold like a December night in Lahore or Lala Musa. I wished to have a home there, where I could take pleasure from the natural beauty of this area, but the locals live tough life, without simplest of the modern day civic amenities. But some of the more traditional food is still on offer in eating joins in the area: apricot noodles, apricot soup, apricot bread, apricot tea -- the secret of long life in the valley is attributed to apricots. In fact, the diet of people in the area as a whole is famous for its health giving properties. One of the best sites to stay at Babusar top is from where rivers (Kunhar and Chilas) originate.
At places the track down the top is so narrow that the four wheels of jeep could barely fit on it. There are mountains on one side of the track, many hundred feet deep ditches on the other side, and the river flows underneath. A spot in the way, namely, Khari is so dangerous to cross by the jeep that I still remember. It is on this route that the nerves are sharply tested. Gripping the jeep bars with full force, I forgot everything except the name of Allah Almighty. With the help of Allah, we crossed the place safely. Later, the skills of the driver were praised by every one! Due to the dangerous track, most people do not prefer this route and they come from the Naran side and return well before the top and they are deprived of the sights near the Babusar top. That is one thing that makes this jaunt more beautiful and fulfilling.
Next in the way is Lulusar -- a beautiful rectangular lake, about half a mile wide with sheer green mountains rising from the opposite side. The water is clear but dark green with the perfect reflection of the white snow in that depth of green. At various points, not far from the water's edge were icebergs, the tips of the glaciers, which had slid into the lake and not yet melted. Before arriving at village Jhalghat, we saw a beautiful circular hole of green water in the way side track. There are many local legends attached with this hole. Some people think that it is the footprint of a jinni that had been mentioned in the romantic tales of Saif ul Muluk and Princess Badar Jamal; others think that something has fallen from the sky which made this hole. The valley is most beautiful where river and track are almost at the same level. The mountains peaks covered with clouds make the place even more exquisite. We spent the night there.
Fresh, we started for Lalazar next morning. Now the track gets wider as well as is in better condition. The most fascinating thing about Lalazar is its curved path around a mountain towards its top. Lalazar is a beautiful spot covered with pine and spruce, with meadows full of flowers.
After spending few hours, we left for Naran and made it in the evening. Naran is the centre of tourism in the Kaghan valley. I was reminded of a British writer James Hilton who travelled to this remote valley in 1931 and found a place so beautiful, so wild and so remote that he named it Shangri-La, an earthly paradise. So apt! The river takes a leisurely bend forming islands and pools and bubbles over rocks. Taking quick round of the Lake Saif ul Muluk, we started our journey back.
Back in to the real life, we went our separate ways: some back to Shinkiari, some stayed in Abbottabad and some went to other stations, places where one lives the real life. Heavenly! The world is etched in my mind ever since.
Higher education from abroad
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
Friday, June 1, 2012
... Ali (AS) had written a comprehensive letter – articulating principles of public policy – for the guidance of the newly appointed Governor to Egypt, Maalik al Ashtar. In this fascinating directive, Ali (AS) advises the new governor that his administration will succeed only if he governs with concern for justice, equity, probity and the prosperity of all. There is a timeless applicability of this famous letter. Selected passages from the text are reproduced below:
Religious tolerance: Amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you [and] are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than yours, [who] are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to; they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realising the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you .
Equity is best: A policy which is based on equity will be largely appreciated. Remember that the displeasure of common men, the have-nots and the depressed persons, over-balances the approval of important persons, while the displeasure of a few big people will be excused… if the general public and the masses of your subjects are happy with you .
The rich:…are the people who will be the worst drag upon you during your moments of peace and happiness, and the least useful to you during your hours of need and adversity. They hate justice the most. They will keep demanding more and more out of State resources and will seldom be satisfied with what they receive and will never be obliged for the favour shown to them if their demands are justifiably refused.
On judiciary: You must select people of excellent character and high calibre with meritorious records . . . When they realise that they have committed a mistake in judgment, they should not insist on it by trying to justify it . . . They should not be corrupt, covetous or greedy . . . . These appointments must be made . . . without any kind of favouritism being shown or influence being accepted; otherwise tyranny, corruption and misrule will reign . . . Let the judiciary be above every kind of executive pressure or influence, above fear or favour, intrigue or corruption.
Poverty: If a country is prosperous and if its people are well-to-do, then it will happily and willingly bear any burden. The poverty of the people is the actual cause of the devastation and ruination of a country, and the main cause of the poverty of the people is the desire of its ruler and officers to amass wealth and possessions, whether by fair or foul means.
Corruption undermines national well-being: I want to advise you about your businessmen and industrialists. Treat them well . . . They are the sources of wealth to the country . . . One more thing . . . you must keep an eye over their activities as well. You know that they are usually stingy misers, intensely self-centered and selfish, suffering from the obsession of grasping and accumulating wealth. They often hoard their goods to get more profit out of them by creating scarcity and by indulging in black-marketing.
On communicating with people: You must take care not to cut yourself off from the public. Do not place a curtain of false prestige between you and those over whom you rule. Such pretension and shows of pomp and pride are in reality manifestations of an inferiority complex and of vanity. The result of such an attitude is that you remain ignorant of the conditions of your subjects and of the actual cases of the events occurring in the State.
Peace leads to prosperity: If your enemy invites you to a peace treaty . . . never refuse to accept such an offer, because peace will bring rest and comfort to your armies, will relieve you of anxieties and worries, and will bring prosperity and affluence to your people . . . Be very careful never to break your promise with your enemy; never forsake the protection or support that you have offered to him; never go back upon your word, and never violate the terms of the treaty.
This document, written centuries ago, reflects an astute understanding of the class structure of society – ages before class as a political construct was defined, analysed and elaborated upon. The underlying ethos of a welfare state is captured here: protecting the poor and the disadvantaged...
Labels: Politics. Governance