Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

No quiet place

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“There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of insects’ wings … The clatter only seems to insult the ears.” Thus wrote Seattle to the president of the United States in 1854. This piece of prose, all 1,900 words of it, should be the environmentalists’ bible.

Now, Seattle was chief of the Suquamish Red People of North America when the president of that new country offered to buy the Red Man’s land and put him on reservations. Now, also, the letter is somewhat of a controversy because there exist two versions of it — quite alike in essence, however. Some attribute the prose to a 1970s screenwriter instead of Chief Seattle (also spelled Seathl); others to an earlier writer in the 1930s.
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On the edge

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Rabat is an ancient caravanserai situated at the edge of Pakistan. Read in Urdu about history of the place. This article appeared in newspaper Roznama Pakistan [double click the image below to enlarge].
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SALMAN RASHID – ODYSSEUS OF PAKISTAN’S TRAVELOGUES

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by Fatima Arif

This quote by Martin Yan sums up the role travelling plays in the developing our minds. “People who don’t travel cannot have a global view, all they see is what’s in front of them. Those people cannot accept new things because all they know is where they live.”


When it comes to travelling it is not just travelling to other countries that help form your perspective (though that definitely is a plus) but visiting places can introduce to experiences that would help your intellectual growth.
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Grandeur in the wilderness

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The Kalhora dynasty ruled over Sindh for a full century from 1680 to 1783. Whereas the decline of this house of religious and military leaders owed all to inept bumblers, there were in the early years of the rise and power of this dynasty men of remarkable acumen and administrative skill who guided its fortunes.

Drigh Bala necropolis
Many remember the Kalhoras as builders of the most elaborate irrigation system in Sindh prior to the British advent that turned vast desert regions into fertile farmland. The Kalhoras were noted also for raising the new city of Khudabad (Dadu district) and virtually rebuilding Hyderabad from scratch to give it that name after Ali (RA) the last of the rightly guided caliphs.
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Inana or Nani

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There is in south-east Balochistan, on the banks of the Hingol River, a shrine called Bibi Nani. Muslims resort here to celebrate and worship a saint of whom only the vaguest of stories are told. Hindus, on the other hand, believe that the spot marks one of the places where the goddess Durga’s body parts were flung to the earth when she died. They call it Sri Mata Hinglaj. At any given time, followers of either religion can be met with at Hinglaj; both sides wonderfully tolerant of the other’s practices and worship.


There is another Bibi Nani shrine 10 kilometres west of Sibi, at the foot of the Bolan Pass. Here, too, a vague story of her and a pious brother is told. Having come to this country, she and her brother invited the heathens to Islam. But the king took rather unkindly to them and sent out his soldiers to bring them to him in chains. The brother walked into a rock face and disappeared, leaving only a copious spring to mark the spot. We don’t know how the sister Nani met her death and was buried on the banks of the Nari River.
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Jalebi Bend

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I called the bends in the Kuday Dawan jalebi from the name of a stretch of road in Zanskar (near Kargil in India of which I have seen some images). These bends in the Kuday have no similarity with our Khyber Pass. For one, the scale is much grander in Kuday at 3300 metres as against the 600 metres of our Khyber. Secondly, I have seen fewer places as dreadfully desiccated as the Kun Lun Mountains; the Suleman Mountains would be a virtual oasis in comparison. Also there are villages in the Khyber, boys grazing livestock, traffic driving past etc. The Kuday is utterly, utterly uninhabited.

From The Apricot Road to Yarkand - Book is available at Sang e Meel (042-3722-0100), Lahore

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The Wonder Woman of Dadu

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The land around village Kabir Panhwar, a few kilometres from Johi in Dadu district, has remained unirrigated and uncultivated for centuries. Only hardy desert trees can grow in its sandy soil. Amid the prosopis and acacia, the thorny mesquite provides rich and poor alike with excellent fuelwood. The only patches of cultivation that one sees are owned by landowners who have their own tubewells. The landless of Kabir Panhwar and nearby villages can either work on the farms of the rich or, if they are free-spirited, can be wood cutters. The remarkable Laalan Khatoon used to be among the latter.


Every two or three days, Laalan would hire a donkey cart, spend the whole day hacking away at the mesquite even as the thorns cut her skin and tore her clothing to make a cartload of firewood. In Johi she would sell the load for 1,000 rupees. Paying cart rental at 200 rupees per day she would share the rest of the profit with whoever partnered with her, each person ending up with, on average, a little under 300 rupees per day.
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Moola Pass

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Read in Urdu about Moola, the wonderland in Balochistan. This article appeared in newspaper Roznama Pakistan [double click the image below to enlarge].
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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days