Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Rock of all Ages

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The legend in Saddo Mazzo, Sindh that lives on through the ages is that of the sisters Saddo and Mazzo, princesses who ruled from a hilltop castle in the rugged and largely barren hills west of Johi (Dadu district). As their forces prepared to set out to attack a neighbouring settlement, the duo instructed the general to see that the flag was kept flying high for them to spot from their hilltop eyrie. This would tell them the proceedings were going in their favour.

The Dancing Girl of Saddo Mazzo

Any lowering of the standard would indicate the field had been lost. Then, in keeping with true Rajput tradition, the princesses were to fling themselves off the lofty ramparts to death on the rocks below. But as the distant fray unfolded, for one brief moment, the flag was lost from sight in the dust and commotion. For the princesses this was enough sign of defeat. Both Saddo and Mazzo leapt off the castle ramparts and died even as their victorious army turned homeward.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 12:00 AM, , links to this post

'Hello, sir. Hello, Jimmy Carter'

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I first met him in the summer of 1979. I was walking down the stairway in either the city courts building or the metropolitan building of Karachi and he was on the way up. He wore a Coast Guards uniform with a subedar's two pips on his shoulders and his chest was a blaze of World War II ribbons. I, fresh out of the army, knew what the colourful ribbons meant and could recognise all of them. He wore the War Medal 1939-45, Africa Star and Burma Star. There were, besides, the Independence medal, the 1956 Constitution medal, Kashmir medal (1948) and the 1965 medals. He would have then retired for he did not have anything to show for the 1971 conflict. As he looked up, he caught me staring at his chest. The man saluted - a proper salute too, 'Hello, sir,' he said and I for a fleeting moment thought we knew each other. But then he quickly added 'Hello, Jimmy Carter!'

I returned his greeting with 'Hello, sahib,' the way we addressed Junior Commissioned Officers in the army. He was a right garrulous, jovial character and was chirping away as soon as our greeting was over. Every passerby who so much as glanced in his direction interrupted our conversation for they would be saluted with a hello either as 'sir' or 'Jimmy Carter'. Now, that was the time when the peanut farmer Carter was the president of USA whose name had somehow caught the fancy of our subedar from Coast Guards. I wasn't the only one to be called that name. We must have stood on the stairway chatting for a good few minutes before he took his leave telling me to come see him at the Coast Guards officers mess in Ingle Road where he was the mess JCO. He said we could have a cup of tea together.
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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