Logic is Variable

an argument starts here

Fine Art of calligraphy

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:00 AM, , links to this post

The Thar


Previously, one only chewed over and thought of such far away places, or read about Thar's unusual life, of people, who sang and danced with exciting rhythm and melody, radiant colours in dress, Manik Chowkri, a beautiful and intricate design on ajraks and chadars and colours of rolling miles of desert sand. The remote area on the Southern edge of Pakistan, which is devoid of the basic infrastructure necessary for life or development, is a tourists' attraction.

Antiquity is the first message. The scenery is attractive in its own way. Goths (villages) and hills quaintly intersect the desert soil, open all around. The roads, wherever they are, swings and curves up and down. The vehicles bump up and down the roads and sandy track, giving fleeting glimpses of a rougher, more elemental existence. Villages pass by, with trees surrounding them and beautiful birds swashbuckling on the branches, like crows on a rainy day. The vegetation is reduced to the undergrowth and thorny shrubs. Cows move silently, hordes and hordes of them, jingling cowbells around their necks, and doves flutter in front of the moving vehicles, which may be struggling in the fourth gears. Fine waves of sand with bright silvery particles sparkle in the sunlight.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:00 AM, , links to this post

Mud Construction

This article appeared in monthly Techno Biz

The future lies in mud architecture. Though this sweeping statement may sound prehistoric, but it is very relevant to modern times. Building living spaces with mud is a tradition dating as back as the start of civilization. Some excellent examples from the Great Mosque - the world’s largest mud building and UNESCO’s World Heritage site – to the oldest surviving mud specimens found in the Harappa, Pakistan, show the continuous use of mud buildings.

Having grown up in mud house myself (before I moved to urban center), mud buildings have a special place rooted deep in to my cultural consciousness and this personal bond encourages a more intimate relationship between me and the mud as the material transformed from formlessness to form. Hence my interest in mud architecture and how I see its future in Pakistan.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:14 AM, , links to this post

Lahore Revisited

I first became familiar with city of Lahore during the 70s and after wandering about in different parts of the world for over three decades, I have come once again, to be part of it this time.

Away from Lahore, I used to wonder if all the rhetoric about the magic city has any substance to it. Land of superlatives, Lahore is Pakistan’s second biggest and one of the most prosperous cosmopolitan cities, home to universities and colleges, spiritual centres and historic, cultural, commercial and political centre. It has been a land of plenty since centuries. “Lahore is one of the greatest cities of the East,” wrote William Finch, a traveller from the west, in his journal back in 1610.” I found new answers every day.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:00 AM, , links to this post

Treat Me Like a King

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 assessable roads or other civic amenities of this modern age. No telephone or the Internet, 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 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.

My village is awe inspiring -- pollution free and quiet. Different shades and colors of waving crops and trees - solitary, in groves or avenues - beautify the landscape. The scene changes after the harvest. The air is always fresh and fragrant with the smell of earth. The only sound is singing of birds, ringing of cowbells and sighing of wind or some youth loudly singing Heer Waris Shah, Sassi Punun or Mirza Saheban at night. One sees butterflies fluttering, ladybirds creeping and squirrels jumping around. To me the place feels like a paradise.

My roots are in the village where no body seems to be in a hurry. Every time I go there, from the different cities where I happen to be living, I take small things like candies and toys for the kids of neighbors and my family in the village and they are so happy that the words cannot explain their delight. From the village I bring everything, and more than every thing I bring lot of love.

"I help my neighbors and my neighbors help me", is the philosophy of life in our village. Faith, sharing, contentment, grit, hard work and humor are few others. There are no marriage halls or other renting places. Daras (community centers where cultural diffusion takes place) are very useful 'institutions' for functions or for elders to sit and teach irreplaceable heritage of ideas to the younger generation. The learning that passed on to me in Dara turned out to be very precious: it was the legacy of the fable. Tandoor (Oven for backing bread) is still a meeting and talking place for women.

Guests of one family are shared by ever one at the time of marriage (or death). Hospitality is like one of the cultural benchmark, as villagers strongly believe that a guest comes with the blessings of Allah Almighty. Pull a hay cart into the shad, to rest, to dream. You shall be served with hookka (Hubbell-bubble), water and food. Cooing crows are still considered as a symbol for the arrival of guests in my village.

From our village, a group of seven students used to go to nearby town for attending school (and then college). Ghulam Muhammad was my buddy in the group. After completing the education, my dreams become out of control and took me on the darker roads of the life whereas Ghulam Muhammad, equipped with degree from Faisalabd Agricultural University, started progressive farming in the same village. He was a hardworking, gentleman, economically very sound and ambitious. Ghulam Mohammed's father soon started getting proposals for the marriage of his son from many wealthy landlord families of the area. But, my friend married his cousin: uneducated daughter of one of his poorest uncles and is living happily ever since. Village society is still simple, cohesive and based on similarities.

This time when I was coming back from the village, lot of people - family members, peers and neighbors - came to see me off as always. My mother had packed my vehicle with vegetables (fresh from the farm), palsies, atta (floor), and husked rice and even live chickens. Every body was advising me to consume every thing back in the city, as "they are fresh, pure, nutritious and desi". On my way back, a question kept coming in my mind: how much time this simple society will take to become complex and when will 'development' change the outlook of the villagers to life?

A cluster of memories - some overlapping, some isolated - of 'the village boy' I once always stay with me. I am a result of my childhood experiences. After having knocked on all the doors of opportunity that come in my way in life, I want to settle and spend my future in the village?

(This is what I have brought from the village in addition to the answers I had gone to find.)

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:48 AM, , links to this post

Controversial artist of Pakistan

Pervaiz Munir Alvi




Iqbal Hussain (1950- ) is often termed as the ‘controversial artist of Pakistan’. Although he is equally masterful in painting landscape and still life, yet he is best known for his portraits–mostly portraits of women that is.

He paints his landscape in romantic hues of dusty pink and soft blue and because of that has been called “Turner/Monet of the Punjab Landscape School”. But in contrast to his style of landscape he chooses to paint his women in bright colors under full light with purposeful brush strokes. He is an impressionist and a realist at the same time. It appears as if intentionally, in his impressionism style landscapes he takes his viewers to a retreat of romantic dreams, but in his portraits in a clear opposition, he forces his viewers to see life in its stark realities.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:39 AM, , links to this post

Down to Dipalpur

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 @ 9:15 AM, , links to this post

Federal-B-Area, Karachi

Owais Mughal



This is the fourth part of our series on best planned neighborhoods of Pakistan. We have so far covered Eight bazaars of Faisalabad, North Nazimabad, Karachi and Model Town, Lahore in this series. Today we are going back to Karachi and will give you an introduction of Federal-B-Area which is definitely among the best planned localities of Pakistan.

The town planning of Federal-B-Area dates back to 1950s when Karachi was still the capital of Pakistan and many new neighborhoods were getting built up to house the employees of the Federal Governemnt. The present day neighborhoods of North Nazimabad, Federal Capital (FC) Area and Federal-B-Area were all part of this vision to give Karachi a well planned capital city infrastructure. While North Nazimabad was laid out by Italian town planners, I am unable to research who did the planning for Federal-B-Area. Reader’s help is sought here.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:19 AM, , links to this post

Dolls of the World


See more at Thatta Kedona Dolls' House or read more here

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:03 AM, , links to this post




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