Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Legend of a Traveller

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 11:14, ,


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L first met Shahdad Marri in March 2010. It was his third or fourth day in kindergarten school. He had still not received his uniform, but that was understandable. Stranger yet was that Shahdad of Kohlu town was then 11 years old.

The eldest of seven siblings whose father worked as a daily wage earning labourer, Shahdad had never been to school. In Kohlu, virtually a one-horse town then cut off from the rest of the country because of very poor, unpaved road connections, there were few opportunities for his father to employ himself gainfully. He daily went to the town square and waited to be hired to help either at a building site or on a farm. What he made at the end of a 12-hour day — if he was hired — was a pittance.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 10:16, ,

Symbols in Stone: The Rock Art of Sindh

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"The Kirthar Mountain Range, which separates Sindh from Balochistan, is rich in ancient petroglyphs.” Thus anthropologist Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro opens his latest book Symbols in Stone: The Rock Art of Sindh. If anything, this is an understatement, because in Sindh, virtually thousands of examples of man’s artistic expression can be found. In two earlier works, Kalhoro discussed memorial stones and funerary architecture and its art in the province. In this book, as indeed in his earlier works, the author unravels aspects of anthropology and history that had always been right in front of our eyes and of which we knew nothing.

Until the book on memorial stones in Tharparkar, even the informed traveller coming upon them was utterly uninformed of their provenance and meaning. The Brahmi script on the oldest memorials, and Gujarati on later ones, was unknown to visitors and so these stelae — whose exact number was not known — sprinkled around the Thar Desert were just stones with nice carvings of horse riders. End of story.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 10:05, ,


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Balochistan is a land of extraordinary geological and topographical surprises. For the time being we can leave its archaeology alone because, one day when they bring their brushes and scalpels for its myriad mounds dating from 7000 BCE and surely even older, archaeologists will spend the next 200 years just uncovering the secrets of ages gone by. In only the physical splendour of Balochistan — from the dramatic mud volcanoes of the coastal region and Awaran to the fairyland of Moola Pass in Kalat district, to the deserts of Nushki and the immense salt wildernesses of Kharan — there is enough to overwhelm the curious traveller.

My friend Aziz Jamali knew of another marvel: Gerh Bust. Now, in Balochi, Gerh (with a palatal r) means ‘boundary’, while ‘bust’ is the ‘act of making it fast’. That is, the Well-Established or Fast Boundary. He said east of Manguchar town in the wilderness of the Central Brahui Mountains was this remarkable rock formation cut by millions of years of flowing water.
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posted by Salman Rashid @ 12:02, ,

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