Ancient history of Taxila
10 October 2015
Read in Urdu about history of Taxila - seat of ancient civilization. This article appeared in newspaper Roznama Pakistan [double click the image below to enlarge].Read more »
Meeting Sir Vidya Naipaul at home ground
09 October 2015
I with Lady Nadira and Sir Vidya Naipaul on 18 December 2012 on the patio of our home in Lahore
posted by Salman Rashid @ 12:00 AM, ,
Back from the brink
08 October 2015
There is something about Mian Said Ali that makes you like him. It is the gentleness in his ready smile, the humility of his demeanour and the matter-of-fact way he talks of his predicament that makes you warm up to him. There is also something that tells you that Said Ali can weather any storm without giving up. A native of village Janu on the highroad from Khwazakhela (Swat) to Bisham and only a few kilometres outside the former, he suffered like so many others through the years of militant savagery. Yet he kept his smile.
Said Ali and his two brothers own 17 kanals (two and a bit acres) of agricultural land. Living together as a joint family, the brothers worked their holding together. Because it was spread over undulating ground, the land was terraced and unequally divided between fields for seasonal crops and orchards.Read more »
07 October 2015
Abu Ishaq, that native of Persepolis as the Greeks knew it and Istakhr as it was later called, wrote his Kitabl al Akaleem in the middle of the 10th century after having travelled widely across the Muslim world. His travels brought him to Sindh as well and it naturally features in the book.
One of the cities he visited was Kandabil and Abu Ishaq Istakhri wrote: 'Kandabil is a great city. The palm tree does not grow there. It is in the desert and within the confines of [the province of] Budha. The cultivated fields are mostly irrigated. Vines grow there and cattle are pastured. The vicinity is fruitful.'
A hundred years before Istakhri, we have Ahmad al Bilazuri telling us that Kandabil sat atop a hill. Now mounds signify age because as habitation decays and crumbles new buildings rise on old ruins and over time a mound is created. And so, a town on a mound back in the year 850 would mean a town that was ancient even a thousand years ago.Read more »
Deosai National Park
06 October 2015
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On a track less travelled
05 October 2015
On the twenty-fourth day of May 1883, the Sindhu River was bridged at Attock. The magnificent new steel structure stood within sight of the medieval fort built by Akbar the Great and over this bridge, the first through train from Lahore rolled on to Peshawar. Within the next two decades, new bridges spanned the mighty river again at Khushalgarh, Sukkur and Kotri and most of the railway network that Pakistan inherited at the time of independence was complete.
There is the ‘main line’ that most of us know of that runs from Peshawar to Karachi through Lahore. And there are other lines that only the most ardent railway enthusiast has ever heard of. There is one line that I had long known from hearsay for its very fine railway architecture deemed to be well worth travelling along. This is the railway connection between the towns of Attock up on the Potohar Plateau and Daudkhel in the foothills of the southwestern part of the Salt Range near the more famous Kalabagh.Read more »
03 October 2015
Leopard killer of Dadu
02 October 2015
Something one cannot but fail to notice is the scenes of joie de vivre that blaze across 17th century and later funerary monuments in Sindh, whether carved in stone or painted. Here one sees processions of men accoutred with sword, shield, bow and arrow astride beautifully caparisoned horses with hookah-smoking attendants or dancing girls preceding them. Here we see hunting scenes and scenes from idyllic domestic life with the protagonist and his partner reposing on charpoys with beautifully carved and painted frames while well fed livestock stands about them.
The chhatri with the painted interior sits in the background
On a recent drive through the outback of Dadu district, the late afternoon sun lit up a group of domed buildings that we had missed on the way out earlier that day. It was a sprawling graveyard collectively known as Putt Suleman ja Qubba – the Domes of Putt Suleman. The site contained two white-washed domes, one brick building with a collapsed dome, another intact. The fifth building, octagonal in plan, is commonly known as chhatri – canopy.Read more »