Saturday, June 2, 2007

Constantinos Apostolos Doxiades

The very few knows that the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, was designed and developed in 1960. And the designer was the significant Greek architect, Constantinos Apostolos Doxiadis (1913-1975).

His firm Constantinos Doxiades started work in 1960 and the first building was occupied in October 1966.

Apart from it, he also developed the master plan for the new campus of the University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, in 1960.
It was the fourth University to be established by the British colonial authorities on the Indian Subcontinent.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jelani: Quotes

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jelani(ra), the Sufi sheikh and the eponymous founder of the Qadiri Sufi order (selsela), was born in Ramadan, 470 AH (about 1078 AD), in the Persian province of Gilan (Iran) south of the Caspian Sea. His contribution and renown in the sciences of Sufism and Sharia was so immense that he became known as the spiritual pole of his time, al-Gauth al Azam (the "Supreme Helper" or the "Mightiest Succor").


1. If someone devotes himself entirely to Allah, He will provide him with everything he needs, and if a person devotes himself entirely to this world, Allah leave him in its core.

2. Dear Friend, Your heart is a polished mirror. You must wipe it clean of the veil of dust which has gathered upon it, because it is destined to reflect the light of divine secrets.

3. Do not try to run away from trails and tribulations, but endure them with patience. They cannot be avoided, and there is nothing for it but to endure them with patience, How can you expect the whole of this world, and all that has been created therein, to undergo change and transformation just to suit your convenience? The Prophets are the best of all creatures, yet they have always had to suffer afflication and so it is for their followers, those who tread in their footsteps as they walk along their highway, emulating their example.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Unforgetable Experiance

Yesterday in 'Principle of Management' lecture, when discussing decision making , professor asked to write the personal decision that brought good change in you or that you feel was really good. Although this type of question looses its weightage when compared to life where the life is based on decision making. Hundreds and thousands of decisions, some leaves impact and other just passes away. The only decision that clicked my mind at that time which will always be remembered by me, was the tour of Nothern Areas(Pakistan). The place of which I made my mind to travel every year. One of the few areas of the world which are isolated and most difficult to reach. But its worth it to see the beautiful valleys, lakes, landscapes, high mountains of the world and the people. People who reflects the picture of the centuries old simple life style. Wonderful experiance to be part of. Aurel Stein(1921) quotes in Serindia,

“The way was difficult and rugged, [running along] a bank exceedingly precipitous, which rose up there, a hill-like wall of rock, 10,000 cubits from the base. When a man approached the edge of it, his eyes became unsteady; and if he wished to go forward in the same direction there was no place on which he could place his foot; and beneath were the waters of the river called the [indus]. In former times men had chiselled paths along the rocks, and distributed ladders on the face of them, to the number altogather of 700, at the bottom of which there was a suspension bridge of ropes by which the river was crossed, its banks being there 80 paces apart.”

Justly famous as a destination for trekking and mountaineering Pakistan's nothern mountains also have a rich cultural diversity. There can be few areas in the world where mountains rise in such a awesome splendour. Above some of the longest glaciers in the world rise some of the highest and most inaccessible mountains, guarding some of the remotest valleys where, beneath all the hectic jumble of rock and ice, neat villages cling to their green oases, as if stranded on the very edge of civilization. The people living in the remotest nothern valleys are desended from the combined waves of invasion and migration which entered the Indian subcontinent from the north; from the first Aryans all the way through to the Huns. There was also influence from the south, particularly following the decline of the Gandhara Civilization, when waves of migrants, first Buddhist and then Hindu, pushed northwards from the plains. Today the majority of the people in the region are Muslims, divided between the Sunni, Shia and Ismaili sects. As far as many locals are concerned, the north of Pakistan is still a land of fairies and demons.
Before the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, those areas were extremely hard to access because of terrain and weather. After the independence, Pakistan gave importance to the Northern Areas and made the unbelieveable joint venture with China, Karakoram Highway(KKH) was made through Karakoram mountain range and connected towns and villages, providing better oppertunities for the locals. It was begun in 1966 and completed in 1982 and needs to be maintained every day because of land sliddings. The memorial by the road down to Pattans(Besham to Chilas) reads,

“Some time in the future when others will ply the KKH little will they realise the amount of sweat, courage, dedication, endurance and human sacrifice that has fone into the making of this road. But as you drive along, tarry a little to say a short prayer for those silent brave men of the Pakistan army who gave their lives to realise a dream, now known as the Karakoram Highway”.

No doubt, if KKH is not a wonder of the world, its not even less. Believe me, its hard to explain the experiance. A must have experiance. Apart from oppertunities and open of wide trade this road provided to locals and others, every year thousands of adventurers and nature lovers from foreign countries and south of Pakistan use this highway to reach their destinations. I went to the Haramosh in Karakoram mountain range, just before Hamaliyas starts. Unfortunately I lost most of the beautiful pictures but here are few in this blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhaitai

Shah Abdul Latif(1689-1752) is known throughout the length and breadth of Sindh(Pakistan), not only as a poet of the highest order but as a saint, a sufi and a spiritual guide. Sufi Poetry taken from “Yaman Kalyan” which means “Passage to Peace”. The word Yaman means to control one's mind and make it so conscious that it finds the peace.

Section V
Shunning diversity, sufis safely passed,
Lovers of Lord forget not their task,
Leaving diversity aside, sufis unity got.

Sufi is made one with all,
Like breath in viens, what he achieves he discloses not,
To disclose is a sin, by this he abides.

If given grieved, not given pleased,
So they sufi becomes, taking withselves not a reed.

Sufi is not limited by religious bounds,
He discloses not the war he wages in his mind,
Helps and assists those who with him fight.

When sufi purged his inner self,
Only then, while alive, God's vision he behold.

You want to be called sufi! that behoves you not,
Tear that tall cap, consume it in fire's warth.

If you don sufi's cap, be sufi in spirit,
Secure poison's cup, drink it to the drain,
This is place of those immersed in spiritual realm.

Let your body be Lord's secret tent,
Let your tongue always utter His praise,
In Holy Quran His hidden name seek out,
Go not to other doors, this peerless pearl in Quran find.

Whole world with “I” flaunting twists and turns,
Knowing not that all this magic show He unfurls.

Roomi believed whole world Beauty's origin seeks,
Those who know of it, not a word of it they speak.

Roomi believed whole world Beauty's origin seeks,
Whence came human beings, see you not the magic feat,

Roomi believed whole world Beauty's origin seeks,
From your heart, veil remove and vision beautific behold.

n appearance evil ones, but lost in contemplation,
Blade of true knowledge's search, stuck in their veins,
Within their hearts they repeat dear Lords' name.

n their hearts sufferings' lesson they repeat,
Contemplation's slate in hand, in silence they read,
that page alone they persue, wherein Lord is revealed.

Those who seek not sentence that with Alif* begin,
Aimlessly pages turn, nothing without Lord is revealed.

Those who memorised sentence that with Alif begin,
Their purpose in both the worlds save Lord in none*,
Traversing the narrow path, reconciled with Lord they become.

Unfortunate one! does knwoing words make you learned?
Come not nigh with confusion and conciet,
This drink's taste Azazeel* to you will teach.

Azazeel alone is lover true, others make empty boast,
Through love's extreme, sans obedience, accursed he became in heavenly host.

When I perused the lesson “Am I not your God”*?
My souls' original adobe I came to know,
Where daily souls true knowledge learn,
Separation's wound was healed, destiny's page was turned.

The learned ones, page after page trun,
Their hearts accept not what they learn,
The more pages they turn, the more they sin.

Persue letter Alif alone, forget rest of pages,
Trun not more leaves, brighten your inner self.

The more leaves you aimlessly turn, the more prone to sin you become,
If he himself abides not, of what use are guide's admonitions.

As scribes joining Lam* with Alif* write,
So in our souls is beloved Divine.

Compare not forty days fasting to loved ones' sight,
Scribe! why pages one on another pile?
Turn leaves twenty, find same letter in all that plenty.

Your body is the mosque, your mind contemplation's chamber,
Why day and night your Lord you remember not?
Know yourself that you may see Him, in one and all.

No place is without Him, He is facing all,
Of what use are those cowards who Lord's oneness deny?
Beloved is within me, ignorant have I been of this so far

Forget not this saying, youth's bloom is few days,
Careless ones sleeping till dawn are reporached,
While they slept, their loved ones left.
Friends! trust me, let not your eyes sleep's habit form,
They who keep awake, with them I will be friend,
Prevent your eyes from sleep, at mid-night awake.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Running Art

What catches a visitor's eye first about the Pakistan, in streets, are a colourfully painted busses and trucks. The drawings on the bus portray scenes from the nation's history. The four most important provinces of Pakistan present themselves of the busses: Punjab, Balouchistan, Sindh and NWFP (North West Frontier Province). Lot of the trucks and busses clanking along Pakistan's streets are as elaborately decorated as the silk trading caravans that once trackked the Karakoram Higway.These transports are decorated from roof to tires. Describing the culture, history and the imaginations the owners do have. There is a keen competition among truck owners who take great pride in the distinctive design of their vehicals. Wether its Suzuki pickups, Tayota Hiluxs, rikshaws(3 seaters), etc, they are decorated in the best way they can. Bus drivers know that the brighter the bus the more passengers it will attract.
In the past times, goods were traded along the hazadous routes through mountains and deserts, were carried by camels and donkeys adorned with colourful embroidered silks.

Good luck charms evoked the protection of the Almighty against bandits and the evil eyes. As
motor vehicals got introduced on these routes, replaced the use of animals but the old customs still remains.
Families who have art and painting as a profession from generations turned their interests in
motor vehicals decoration and painting after the independence of Pakistan. Most businesses are still family oriented, with skills passed down from father to son. The style of paintings varied time to time and also influenced by the things going on in Pakistan's environment. Interior is equally beautifully decorated as the outside looks.