تمہید قرآن کریم نے جتنا زور توحید کے اثبات اور شریک کی تردید پر دیا ہے اتنا زور کسی دوسرے مسئلے پر نہیں دیا۔ اللہ تعالیٰ نے شرک کو ظلم عظیم قرار دیا ہے:
ان الشرک لظلم عظیم (لقمان: 13)
یقینا شرک بہت بڑا ظلم ہے۔
قرآن پاک بتاتا ہے کہ تمام انبیا کی دعوت کا مرکزی نکتہ ایک ہی تھا: لا الہ الا اللہ یعنی اللہ تعالیٰ کے سوا تمہارا کوئی بھی الہ نہیں ہے۔
وما ارسلنا من قبلك من رسول الا نوحي اليه انه لا اله الا انا فاعبدون (الانبیاء: 25)
اور جو پیغمبر ہم نےتم سے پہلے بھیجے ان کی طرف یہی وحی بھیجی کہ میرے سوا کوئی الہ نہیں تو میری ہی عبادت کرو
اللہ تعالیٰ کے قانون میں شرک کتنی بری چیز ہے اس کا اندازہ اس بات سے لگائیے کہ سورۃ انعام میں اللہ تعالیٰ اٹھارہ انبیائے کرام علیہم السلام کے نام گنوانے کے بعد فرماتے ہیں:
ولو اشركوا لحبط عنهم ما كانوا يعملون (الانعام:88)
اور اگر وہ لوگ بھی شرک کرتے تو جو عمل وہ کرتے تھے سب ضائع ہو جاتے
یعنی مشرک کا کوئی عمل قبول نہیں ہو گا۔
اللہ تعالیٰ کو اس کی ذات کے کسی کو شریک ٹھہرانا کس قدر ناپسند ہے کہ خود رسول اللہ ﷺ کو خطاب کرے کے کہا جارہا ہے:
ولقد اوحي اليك والى الذين من قبلك لئن اشركت ليحبطن عملك ولتكونن من الخاسرين (الزمر: 65)
اور (اے محمدﷺ) تمہاری طرف اور ان (پیغمبروں) کی طرف جو تم سے پہلے ہو چکے ہیں یہی وحی بھیجی گئی ہے کہ اگر تم نے شرک کیا تو تمہارے عمل برباد ہوجائیں گے اور تم نقصان اٹھانے والوں میں ہوجاؤ گے۔
گو کہ نبی سے شرک ہونا ناممکن ہے لیکن امت کو سمجھانے کے لیے اللہ تعالیٰ نے یہ ارشاد فرمایا ہے۔
انہ من یشرک باللہ فقد حرم اللہ علیہ الجنۃ و ماوہ النار وما للظٰلمین من انصار (مائدہ: 72)
یقینا جو شخص اللہ کے ساتھ شرک کرے گا اللہ اس پر بہشت حرام کر دے گا اور اس کا ٹھکانہ دوزخ ہے اور ظالموں کا کوئی مددگار نہیں
حضرت عبداللہ ابن مسعودؓ فرماتے ہیں کہ میں نے رسول اللہ ﷺ سے دریافت کیا کہ سب سے بڑا گناہ کون سے ہے؟ آپ ﷺ نے ارشاد فرمایا:
ان تجعل للہ ندا و ھو خلقک (صحیح البخاری)
کہ تو اللہ تعالیٰ کا شریک ٹھہرائے حالانکہ اسی نے تجھے پیدا کیا ہے۔
حضرت ابوہریرۃؓ فرماتے ہیں کہ رسول اللہ ﷺ نے ارشاد فرمایا کہ ہر نبی کی ایک مخصوص دعا ایسی ہوتی ہے جس کو درجہ قبولیت حاصل ہوتا ہے اور ہرنبی نے ایسی دعا دنیا کے اندر ہی کر لی ہے لیکن میں نے وہ دعا ابھی تک نہیں کی وہ دعا میں نے اپنی امت کی شفاعت کے لیے چھوڑ رکھی ہے۔ لیکن یہ دعا کس کے حق میں قبول ہو گی؟ پڑھیے:
فھی نائلۃ ان شاء اللہ من مات من امتی لایشرک باللہ شئیا (صحیح مسلم)
تو وہ دعا اللہ تعالیٰ کے حکم سے میری امت میں سے ہر اس شخص کو پہنچ سکتی ہے جس کی وفات اس حالت میں ہوئی کہ اس نے اللہ تعالیٰ کے ساتھ کسی چیز کو شریک نہیں ٹھہرایا۔
اس حدیث سے یہ بھی معلوم ہوا کہ مسلمان کے شرک میں ملوث ہوجانے کا خطرہ ہے۔
حضرت ابودرداءؓ فرماتے ہیں مجھے میرے محبوب ﷺ نے یہ وصیت کی ہے:
ان لاتشرک باللہ شیئا وان قطعت او حرقت (سنن ابن ماجہ)
کہ اللہ تعالیٰ کے ساتھ کسی چیز کو شریک نہ ٹھہرانا چاہے تم ٹکڑے ٹکڑے کردیئے جائیں یا قتل کردیے جاؤ۔
خلاصہ یہ کہ شرک سب سے بڑا گناہ ہے۔ یہ اللہ تعالیٰ سے بغاوت ہے۔ مشرک ہمیشہ ہمیشہ کے لیے جہنم کا ایندھن بنا رہے گا۔ اس کے باوجود لوگ شرکیہ عقائد اور اعمال میں ملوث ہوجاتے ہیں۔ نہ صرف یہ، بلکہ قلب کی گہرائیوں سے اپنے اعمال کو اسلام کا حصہ سمجھتے ہیں۔ اس تمام تر گمراہی کی بنیادی وجہ ایک ہے وہ یہ کہ عام مسلمان سمجھتا ہے کہ شرک صرف بت پرستی کا نام ہے۔ اور اس کی وجہ یہ ہے کہ اسلام جن لوگوں میں آیا وہ بت پرست تھے۔ کیونکہ وہ بت پرست تھے اس لیے وہ تمام آیتیں اور حدیثیں جن میں شرک کی برائی آئی ہے ان سے بت پرستی والا شرک ہی مراد ہے۔
اس مضمون میں اس مغالطے کا جائزہ لے کر حقیقت بیان کی گئی ہے۔آیئے سب سے پہلے یہ دیکھتے ہیں کہ مشرکین عرب کا خود اللہ تعالیٰ کی ذات کے بارے میں کیا عقیدہ تھا۔ مشرکین عرب کا عقیدہ اللہ تعالیٰ کے بارے میں
کیا مشرکین عرب اللہ تعالیٰ کے وجود سے انکاری تھے۔ یقینا نہیں! مشرکین عرب اللہ تعالیٰ کے وجود سے انکاری نہیں تھے۔ وہ نہ صرف اس کے ہونے کے قائل تھے بلکہ بہت ساری چیزوں کو وہ صرف اسی کی طرف منسوب کرتے تھے ]حاشیہ: [ مثلا مشرکین عرب اللہ تعالیٰ کو آسمانوں اور زمین کا خالق اور رازق، کائنات کے امور کو چلانے والا، اور ہر چیز کا اختیار رکھنے والا مانتے تھے۔ ملاحظہ کیجیے۔
ولئن سالتهم من خلقهم ليقولن الله فانى يؤفكون (الزخرف: 87)
اور اگر تم ان سے پوچھو کہ ان کو کس نے پیدا کیا ہے تو کہہ دیں گے کہ اللہ نے۔ تو پھر یہ کہاں بہکے پھرتے ہیں؟
ولئن سالتهم من خلق السمٰوٰت والارض ليقولن الله (الزمر: 38)
اور اگر تم ان سے پوچھو کہ آسمانوں اور زمین کو کس نے پیدا کیا تو کہہ دیں گے کہ اللہ نے
رزق دینے والا اللہ، مالک اللہ، زندگی دینے والا اللہ، موت دینے والا اللہ،دنیا کے امور چلانے والا اللہ
قل من يرزقكم من السماء والارض ام من يملك السمع والابصار ومن يخرج الحي من الميت ويخرج الميت من الحي ومن يدبر الامر فسيقولون الله فقل افلا تتقون (یونس: 31)
(ان سے) پوچھو کہ تم کو آسمان اور زمین میں رزق کون دیتا ہے یا (تمہارے) کانوں اور آنکھوں کا مالک کون ہے اور بےجان سے جاندار کون پیدا کرتا ہے اور دنیا کے کاموں کا انتظام کون کرتا ہے۔ جھٹ کہہ دیں گے کہ اللہ۔ تو کہو کہ پھر تم (اللہ سے) ڈرتے کیوں نہیں؟
زمین و آسمان کا مالک اللہ، ہر چیز کا مالک اللہ، بچانے والا اللہ، گھیرنے والا اللہ
قل لمن الارض ومن فيها ان كنتم تعلمون () سيقولون لله قل افلا تذكرون () قل من رب السمٰوٰت السبع ورب العرش العظيم() سيقولون لله قل افلا تتقون() قل من بيده ملكوت كل شيء وهو يجير ولا يجار عليه ان كنتم تعلمون() سيقولون لله قل فانى تسحرون (یونس: 84-89)
کہو کہ اگر تم جانتے ہو تو بتاؤ کہ زمین اور جو کچھ زمین میں ہے سب کس کا ہے؟ جھٹ بول اٹھیں گے کہ اللہ کا۔ کہو کہ پھر تم سوچتے کیوں نہیں؟ (ان سے) پوچھو کہ سات آسمانوں کا کون مالک ہے اور عرش عظیم کا (کون) مالک (ہے؟) بےساختہ کہہ دیں گے کہ یہ (چیزیں) اللہ ہی کی ہیں، کہو کہ پھر تم ڈرتے کیوں نہیں؟ کہو کہ اگر تم جانتے ہو تو بتاؤ کہ وہ کون ہے جس کے ہاتھ میں ہر چیز کی بادشاہی ہے اور وہ بچاتا ہے اور اس سے کوئی بچا نہیں سکتا، فورا کہہ دیں گے کہ (ایسی بادشاہی تو) اللہ ہی کی ہے، تو کہو پھر تم پر جادو کہاں سے پڑ جاتا ہے؟
ان آیات سے معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ مشرکین عرب اللہ تعالیٰ کو مانتے تھے۔ یہیں سے یہ بات بھی سمجھ آجاتی ہے کہ وہ بتوں کو اللہ نہیں مانتے تھے۔ سوال یہ ہے کہ جب وہ بتوں کا اللہ نہیں مانتے تھے تو پھر وہ بتوں کی پوجا کیوں کرتے تھے؟ درحقیقت بتوں کو وہ اللہ تعالیٰ تک پہنچنے کا وسیلہ سمجھتے تھے۔ ان کا ذہن کسی پیکر محسوس کے واسطے سے اللہ تعالیٰ سے جڑنے کا طلبگار تھا۔ اسی لیے وہ کہتے تھے:
والذين اتخذوا من دونه اولياء ما نعبدهم الا ليقربونا الى الله زلفى (الزمر:3)
اور جن لوگوں نے اس کے (اللہ) سوا اور دوست بنائے ہیں (وہ کہتے ہیں کہ) ہم ان کی اس لئے عبادت ہیں کہ ہم کو اللہ کا مقرب بنادیں۔
ويعبدون من دون الله ما لا يضرهم ولا ينفعهم ويقولون هؤلاء شفعاؤنا عند الله (یونس: 18)
اور یہ (لوگ) اللہ کے سوا ایسی چیزوں کی عبادت کرتے ہیں جو نہ ان کا کچھ بگاڑ ہی سکتی ہیں اور نہ کچھ بھلا ہی کر سکتی ہیں اور کہتے ہیں کہ یہ اللہ کے پاس ہماری سفارش کرنے والے ہیں۔
A boat anchored on the creek by Siddique Roonjho village
“Humein roti, kapra aur makaan nahi mila, to hum ne chai, pakora aur paan pe guzara karna seekh lia hai,” (We never received 'bread, clothing and housing' [PPP slogan] so we have learnt to survive on tea, fritters and betel leaves) says fisherman Ali Raza. Hailing from Siddique Roonjho village in Sindh, the 35-year-old manages a small smile, incongruous with the frown edged on his forehead; a young face deepened with early lines of stress. Ali has lived his life on the water, hunting fish for his family since he was a teenager. His village is almost an island in the middle of the Indus River that provides livelihood for the entire village, but ironically there is not a drop for them to drink. Ali and the rest of the villagers have spent a greater part of their lives in search of drinking water. The village is nestled on the left bank of River Indus, in Taluka Kharo Chan of Sindh’s Thatta district. It is a five hour journey from Karachi and an hour long boat ride to the little hamlet. Aloof from the mainland, the village is physically cut off from land and surrounded by water on three sides. The island itself is an arid plain. There is no electricity, no hospital, no school; no human contact for miles. The population of 140 own only two boats for fishing. One of the two boats that the village owns. “We migrated from Sokhi Bander near the Indus Delta years ago because there was no more fresh water available there. The land dried up. We only used to get salty water,” says 40-year-old Zulfiqar. “Our families settled here at Siddique Roonjho but now we are facing the same problem here.” The sea's intrusion into the Indus has caused hundreds of villagers living around the river's creeks scrambling to find sweet water. Hoping to ease their plight, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan came up with a solution for the water shortage. A reservoir has been built to store fresh water from rain and the Indus Delta during the monsoon months. “This system works because there are natural fresh water flows during from July to October, which lessens their dependency on rain. The stored water is then used for the next six months,” explains Muhammad Tahir Abbasi, site coordinator at WWF-Pakistan. “We have also installed bio-sand filters that reduce the impurity in the water by 40 to 55 per cent.” The murky water of the WWF reservoir. This alone has not curbed the water shortage however. The villagers say the stored water is insufficient, forcing them to travel to the nearest town, Gharo, to fill water cans for Rs 20. Zero literacy rate The WWF is trying to solve the water crisis, but development and progress in the village continues to be nil. The literacy rate is zero, though all the men do own mobile phones. None of them know how to type a text or save a contact number except for few tribal leaders who are able to read some Sindhi. “We sometimes warn them about an approaching storm through text. At least the tribal chiefs are able to communicate that to the rest of the fishermen,” says Muhammad Tahir. For every little commodity, even fetching sweets for children, the men have to hop on to their boats and make their way to the nearest town and walk a long distance to finally reach the marketplace. Hidden from sight When it comes to the women, they are largely invisible to visitors, instructed to stay in by the men; only females are allowed to approach their homes. A light summer breeze blows through a small compound, shaded by huge swaying trees. The women are welcoming with broad smiles and handshakes, dressed in their best self-embroidered dresses. Inside the huts, there is no furniture aside from a straw sheet. In the cool environs of the houses, all agree to be photographed. Women wait for their portraits to be taken and men who had previously been reluctant, happily oversee the photo session. A group of children are close by; little girls, dressed in brightly coloured, embellished clothes and dupattas on their heads, carried with perfection. The boys sport vibrant, summer shades of shalwar kameez. Group of women welcome female journalists. The decorated interior of one of the houses. The women are quick to point out their most pressing difficulty: a lack of emergency facilities. “In case of health emergencies, especially during childbirth complications, we have to go all the way to Ibrahim Hyderi which is more than seven hours away on the outskirts of Karachi,” says 65-year-old Asiya, who has never stepped out of her village all her life. 65-year-old Asiya says she has never stepped out of her village all her life. The health conditions are indeed dismal but villagers do not actively try to overcome them either. It is hard to miss the eroding, discoloured teeth of all the women as they speak, their mouths constantly chewing ongutka. The women say they give the dangerous stimulant, known to cause severe health issues, to their children to stop them from crying. It puts the children at ease, they claim. “We have heard of cases in other villages about mouth cancer, we know it’s harmful but we are just not able to stop having it,” admits Asiya, other women solemnly nod in agreement. It is painfully clear that the government has failed to better the lives of people in villages like this. The villagers share with an almost comical tenor how a politician, a certain Mr Tappi, had sent a generator in the village prior to the General Elections in 2013. The generator was set up, then taken back from the village post elections. The villagers were once steadfast Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) loyalists, but not anymore. The small village, perched on dry land next to the serene river has been let down, abandoned. The residents will continue to catch fish in their two boats, cook on logs, chew gutka and search daily for sweet water. Would the villagers ever consider leaving this life for an urban centre like Karachi? “What would we do in Karachi? Fishing is the only thing we know”, Zulfiqar says. A straightforward "No" is his answer.
Exploring Siddique Roonjho The literacy rate is zero at the village, yet all the men do own mobile phones. Children are often given gutka by their mothers when they don't stop crying. A blue painted hut serves as a mosque. The village women wear self-embroidered dresses. The reservoir constructed by WWF. Villagers seeing off the journalists. A mosque at Gharo, the nearest town from Siddique Roonjho village.
Hyderabad, one of Pakistan's most historic cities, has sadly not received the recognition it deserves. The history of this land on the Ganju Takkar hillock can be traced back to the Mauryan era (322-185 BC). The heritage and culture has been overlooked to an extent where even the city’s own residents, in general, are not aware of its significance.
To connect the people of the city, and especially its youth, with its history and culture, the “Hyderabad Photo-Walk” was organised on May 30, 2015. I was a part of the initiative, which was backed by Pakistan-US Alumni Network and Lahooti Live Sessions, and led by Sana Khoja, a Hyderabad-based youth activist. Our team comprised of Ahsan Abro, Asif Ansari, Omar Qureshi, Muazam Memon and Furqan Buriro. Enthusiasm was the keyword on the day of the Photo-walk. —HPW Participants being told briefly about the history of Hyderabad before the start of the walk. —HPW Sana Khoja, who led the event. —HPW The main event was preceded by a photography talk a few weeks before, by renowned Pakistani photographer Danial Shah. Danial guided the participants and shared his experiences with them, along with photography tips and tricks. The session on photography. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed Renowned photographer Danial Shah answered questions during the session. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed On the day of the main event, over 100 participants gathered, along with the team of the photo-walk. The participants belonged mainly to Hyderabad, while a few were from places such as Nawabshah, Karachi, etc. The participants were taken to different spots of historic, cultural and social significance, facing the scorching sun throughout the course of the event. The first spot was the set of the Kalhora tombs, including the tomb of Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhora, who laid the foundation of modern-day Hyderabad in the late 1760s, and gave the city the name it has today. He built it over the ruins of an old fishing village called Neroon or Neroonkot. Traditional buses were used as transport. —HPW Team Hyderabad Photo-walk posing with the participants. —HPW The wall around Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhora's tomb. —Rahul P Maheshwari Participants at the Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhora tomb complex. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed The participants were then taken to Hirabad, one of the oldest parts of the city. Hirabad is filled with buildings built during British Raj by Sindhi Hindus. Participants photographed the old buildings, including a Shiv temple which was first built in 1895 and then rebuilt in 1945. Next up was Rani Bagh, a botanical and zoological garden in Hyderabad where we all had lunch. Then came Niaz Stadium, a historic stadium where the first ever hat-trick in One Day Internationals happened in 1982. The bowler was Pakistani right-arm seamer Jalal-ud-Din, and the opposition was Australia. Pakistan has never lost a Test or ODI on this ground. The Shiv temple in Hirabad. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed A house in Hirabad built in 1923. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed Participants interacted with the people too. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed Niaz Stadium, Hyderabad. —HPW The final spot of the photo-walk was none other than the historic Pakka Qila, built in 1768 by Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhora. Participants photographed the crumbling remains of the once-majestic monument. One of the most wonderful things about the photo-walk was the participation of girls and women, whose enthusiasm knew no bounds. Pakka Qila ruins. —Rahul P Maheshwari On June 14, a one-day exhibition titled “Tale of Hyderabad” was organised at the Sindh Museum (Hyderabad), where the photos submitted by participants were showcased. The 57 entries (chosen from a pool of over 150 photos) were judged by artists, photographers, teachers and intellectuals. Khudeija Ansari’s photograph of a group of children wearing traditional prayer caps was judged as the best of the lot. The one that came in second was taken by Fazila Amber, of a ladder inside the temple. Khudeija Ansari with her prize-winning photo. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed Runner-up Fazila Amber with her photo. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed The exhibition featured over 50 photos taken at different places throughout the city in a day. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed The exhibition was visited by over 200 people. It also included the session “From Neroonkot to Hyderabad”. I headed this session as the photo-walk’s guide, and used it to discuss the history of Hyderabad. The participants shared their experiences of the photo-walk, followed by a folk-music performance by Faqir Zulfiqar, who sang the poetry of Shah Latif Bhitai. Another highlight of the event was musician Saif Samejo (of the band Sketches, and the mind behind Lahooti Live Sessions), who has been backing the event since the very start. The music session was one of the highlights of the exhibition. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed Fakir Zulfiqar performed Sindhi folk songs, which included renditions of Shah Latif Bhitai's poetry. —HPW Halar Khoso, one of the participants, said,
Quote:In such a congested society, where people are fighting for their basic rights and everyone has the fear of going out on streets, an initiative like Hyderabad Photo-walk is a breath of much needed fresh air for youngsters who love history and want to explore it through photography.
Another participant, Ali Raza Soomro said, "It (Hyderabad Photo-walk) provided a platform for newcomers like me, and I felt like writing a story while capturing the photos. I never knew Hyderabad had so much to tell." The Hyderabad Photo-walk team were also made a cake by Hira Brohi, one of the participants who also happens to own a small baking company. The Hyderabad Photo-walk cake, made by one of the participants, Hira Brohi. —Syed Zeeshan Ahmed Group photo taken at Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhora's tomb. —HPW
Magic carpet journey: beautiful colours and intricate designs make this gallery a must visit — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid
Are you a fashionista looking for style inspiration? Or are you just curious about Pakistan's textile industry? Either way, the exhibition A Flower from Every Meadow: Design and Innovation in Pakistan’s Dress Traditions at Karachi's Mohatta Palace Museum will keep you interested. The exhibition is not just a tribute to various artists and craftsmen involved in the production of a single piece of cloth; rather, it is a comprehensive tour of Pakistan, where the visitor becomes a traveller and embarks on a journey into the snow-capped peaks, lush green meadows and sandy dunes of this culturally rich country, represented by the traditional attire worn by the dwellers of each area. The exhibition is expansive, showcasing diverse crafts like ajrak, dyeing and khaddi from Sind and Punjab, woven cloth from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and lungis and embroidered shirts from Baluchistan. Before curator Nasreen Askari could explain the idea behind the exhibition, she laughed loudly at the suggestion that food and clothes were two things Pakistanis are obsessed with. Be it an occasion or just an ordinary day in our lives, eating well and dressing up keeps us occupied. Perhaps this is why it is important for all of us to view A Flower From Every Meadow. The exhibition is on for four months. The gallery dedicated to weaving, dyeing and block printing. — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid The making of the meadow: A Flower in Every Meadow aims to let its visitors admire the detail and intricacy of Pakistan's textile industry. Ms Askari put it simply: “We feel it is extremely important to take pride in what is ours and not to let it go because it’s so easy to let it go.” Describing the journey from conceiving the idea of A Flower from Every Meadow to showcasing it, Ms Askari spoke at length about the eight month process: “This exhibition has been a result of different collections. Some families and individuals were extremely cooperative in providing us with different items and some of the collections already belonged to us so we had around 150 pieces. These unique samples of different times were extremely beautiful so we wanted to showcase them. When we received the pieces, we joined our heads to come up with a theme to bind them together.” The gallery featuring pieces by contemporary designers — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid Obstacles are expected, especially when the set-up is so elaborate, and Ms Askari shared that she was most concerned about protecting items given by people from all over Pakistan, even the settlers in the Northern areas: “Textiles are very fragile, and special care has to be taken in terms of light, setting and physical contact; perhaps that was a tough call in exhibiting the items but we somehow managed it successfully." A theme emerges: Magical Rhythms — The Master Craftsmen of Sind, the first gallery in the exhibition, was home to the three basic processes involved in making a finished product: printing, dyeing and weaving. In the printing atelier, one was surprised to find dried cow dung, but upon inquiring it was found that the dung enhances the colour in block printing onajrak. The block printing process could not only be seen in a video but on the wall as well. These wooden blocks are used to print patterns on sheets of ajrak —Photo by Ibtisam Zahid In the dyeing atelier, pots held colourful dyes to be used in bandhnis, the local term for tie-and-dyeing. A khaddi, or a loom, was also placed in the room to represent the process of making cloth using hands. Explaining the importance of the three craftsmen, Ms Askari said: "We started off withkaarigar, the craftsmen. We met them and realised that we needed to start with how a dress goes through various processes like designing, printing, etc. Hence, the first gallery is like a tribute to our craftsmen, especially those who are involved in the three processes namely: printing, weaving and dyeing." “We acquired a loom, talked to these craftsmen and they agreed to help us. Then, after a cohesive introduction for the gallery was ready, we decided that colouring and printing was done before other processes, hence their galleries had to come next. This is followed by weaving, so that came next and the third aspect we took was embroidery so these three processes have been divided into separate galleries,” she added. Ties That Bind— painted, printed and tie dyed fabrics: With different styles of chunri and ajrak on display, the intricacy of the work in the first was aptly visible. Ranging from areas of Sind to Kutch to Gujarat,bandhni is all about tying the knot and being careful about the colour spread. A small display of artefacts from Indus Kohistan were also displayed: some kitchen items and furniture showed visitors the lifestyle of distinctive Swati groups. The usage of wood was commendable as people not only use it for building but also in their daily use. How an ajrak gets its true colours — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid Referring to the room, Ms Askari pointed out the need for it: "After the galleries’ division, we wanted to add life to the galleries to make them more interesting so that the visitor might not call it boring with a unified sense that everything has been placed on the walls like any other museum." A small display of items of daily use from Indus Kohistan — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid "We put up a small house representing Indus Kohistan to set the mood and portray their lifestyle, their dishes, furniture and clothes to fit the theme. If we would have put up, let’s say one shirt, then it wouldn’t have gripped anyone’s attention," she added. Wandering weaves — woven fabrics Used for thick, checkered cotton in Sindh and Punjab, a khes can go as far back as 5000 BC with the designs being bolder in Sindh than Punjab. However, the fabric varies in KP owing to the harsh weather conditions and men and women usually wear coats with characteristic embroidery. While some woven fabrics are used for garments, Sind, KP and Baluchistan are also famous for their woven carpets and sheep wool is used for the felts. It was fascinating to find articles like lungis worn by Khan of Kalat on display, since they would otherwise be locked away for good since their owners do not live in the country anymore. A flower from every meadow— embroidered fabrics: Folk embroideries from Sindh, KP and Baluchistan were the most stunning. The exhibition not only displayed garments, but also textile ornaments used to adorn camels in deserts — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid A specialty of the Baloch, an embroidered pashk has four panels of embroidery: a large yoke covering the chest (jeeg), the sleeve cuffs (aastheeg) and a long rectangular pocket (pandohl). Each Baloch community has its own design for representation, which is distinguished by areas of embroidery that never overlaps. It is interesting to note that some of the fronts worn by women symbolise their status as widows or as mothers who do not have husbands. These embroidered pouches are popular among the Baloch — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid Embroidered garments evolve over generations to become integral part of their birth owners’ lives, playing an important role during occasions like birth, circumcision, coming of age and marriage. Here and now— contemporary dress: The last gallery was dedicated to contemporary designers like Bunto Kazmi, Faiza Samee, Nilofer Shahid, Maheen Khan, Rizwan Beyg, Sonya Battla, Shamaeel Ansari, Sana Safinaz and Khaadi, selected for the different ways in which they incorporate traditions into modern-day garments' design, cut, colour and embroidery. Nilofer Shahid's work on display. — Photo by Ibtisam Zahid “Whichever designers had accepted inspiration from our traditional dress, we chose them,” said Ms Askari. "There is no concept of a museum" Lamenting on the sorry state of affairs, Ms Askari's team representative, Mr Hamid Akhund pointed out the reasons why museums are seldom visited here: “In Pakistan, there is no concept of museum. By an exhibition, people think stalls where clothes are being sold or when an artist puts up his or her work on sale." "All across the world, there are tourist industries where tourists visit museums. Secondly, the institutions working under the government are actually orphaned. Neither do they have funds nor do they have innovative ideas to curate, and one major reason for the latter is that they don’t get anything out of this. At Mohatta Palace, however, we switch exhibitions every two to three years and people who are interested do visit," he added.
On a summery afternoon of June 29, Sikh pilgrims, like every year, gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. With the divine memories of his rule, they commemorate his 176th death anniversary in the eastern city of Lahore.
Hundreds of Sikh pilgrims arrived in Pakistan to attend the ceremony. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh empire, was a former ruler of the united Punjab region under British colonial rule. Sikh pilgrims attend a prayer session inside the compound of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum. -AFP
Pilgrims enter the mauseleum. -AFP
Sikh pilgrims arrive at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 176th death anniversary in the eastern city of Lahore on June 29, 2015. -AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 176th death anniversary in the eastern city of Lahore on June 29, 2015. -AFP
Pilgrims gathered to pray at the 176th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit SIngh. -AFP
Pilgrims arrive to pay their homage. -AFP
Female pilgrims raise their hands as a gesture of praying. -Reuters
The mausoleum decorated and lit up in the honour of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. -Online
Chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board Siddiq ul Farooq presenting a book to Leader of delegation of Indian Sikh Pilgrims, Ram Paul Singh at Dera Sahab. -Online
Members of Sikh community performing religious rituals to remember the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. -Online
Sikh pilgrims attend a congregation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on his 176th death anniversary in Lahore, Monday, June 29, 2015.-AP
Sikh pilgrim visits the 176th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. -AP
The hustle and bustle of Karachi often overshadows its historical significance, but amidst its smog-filled dingy streets and crumbling edifices lies a city full of intriguing stories.
The construction of a port and other infrastructure fueled Karachi’s growth, which attracted not only businessmen but scholars, artists and educationists, who found it an ideal setting to pursue their dreams. Some of them moved on, while some stayed back and were buried in its sandy soil, but not before leaving their mark on the city's landscape. Sometimes, street names, plaques and nameplates are the only reminder of the acts they did for the city and its denizens. Finding Maulvi Abdul Haq’s eternal abode
The big black gate was shut. The grim afternoon heat was unforgiving and I was drowning in my own sweat. My friend told me that the gatekeeper might have gone for afternoon prayers and suggested that we take refuge under a nearby tree. A few people were already sitting there on a bench. A mechanic was taking dents out of a vintage jeep. I took a tissue paper out of my pocket and wiped the sweat off my forehead. Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Urdu. Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Urdu. Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Urdu. “So is this where Maulvi Abdul Haq lived and was buried?” I asked. “Yes. I was brought up in this area and have been seeing his grave and this building since forever,” my friend told me. I found it very intriguing that Maulvi Abdul Haq, popularly known as Baba-e-Urdu, was buried in the same compound where he lived and worked after migrating to Karachi. Therefore, when I had heard of it, I instantly arranged for a visit. We saw the gatekeeper slowly moving towards the gate. We exchanged greetings and he happily let us inside. Over the entrance of the building hung a board that said, ‘Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Urdu’. Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Urdu. At once, I spotted the grave on my left and walked towards it to offer fateha. The gravestone read: Baba-e-Urdu, born on 20th August 1870, died 6th August 1961. A couple of plaques were lying by the entrance of the building, one a replica of the gravestone and another one which bore Hindi inscription and looked much older. I asked the gatekeeper what was written on the second tablet, but he was unaware. After taking a few photos, I asked him if I could go upstairs, but he said it was locked and asked me to come back another day. The temple of the goddess of wisdom
The next day, I showed a photo of the second plaque to a friend who could read the Hindi script. He started reading it slowly: “Shri Bharat Sarswata Mandir ki yeh Adharshila (Foundation Stone) Poj. Mahatma Mohan Das Karm Chand Gandhi ke pawitar kar kamloon duara…” “Gandhi? Did you just say Mohan Das Karm Chand Gandhi?” I inquired. “Yes, it clearly states that but I can’t read the dates,” my friend replied. The foundation stone. As it turned out later, that very building was a Gujarati school founded in 1921 by Mahatama Gandhi himself. The school was named after Shri Sharda Devi Mata, the goddess of wisdom in Hindu mythology. Jamshedji Mehta, the founder of modern Karachi and its mayor, was chosen as president of the school. Gradually, the school turned into one of the finest institutions not only in Karachi but the entire region. Mahatma Gandhi had laid the foundation stone of the school and also took a keen interest in its management, visiting whenever he came to Karachi. Other notables visiting the institute included Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. There were around 1200 students in the school at the time of the partition. After the great divide, the school management decided to shift their focus towards India, and the first school was founded near Mangrol (in the Junagadh district of Gujarat). Second floor book storage. Molvi Abdul Haq and Anjuman-e-Taraqi-e-Urdu
The next day, a political party had called a strike and the city was shut. So it was the day after that I drove to the building again, where a different caretaker was waiting for me. He opened the gate and we stepped in. Both plaques were lying near the door, relics from a different time – a story left untold due to sheer negligence. The caretaker was rather young and had never met Baba-e-Urdu in his lifetime, but spoke affectionately of him, almost as if he were a dear family member. Molvi Abdul Haq was born on November 16, 1872 in Uttar Pradesh in India. He was a graduate of the famous Aligarh University, where he spent time in the company of imminent scholars, but it was in Hyderabad where he earned his merit as the foremost scholar of Urdu language. He served as a translator at the Home Department, Provincial Inspector and was also elected as Secretary, Department for the Promotion of Urdu at the Delhi All-India Muslim Educational Conference. He founded the Anjuman Taraqi-e-Urdu in Aligarh in 1903 and later became the Principal of Osmania College Aurangabad, from where he retired in 1930. His later achievements included the compilation of a comprehensive English-Urdu dictionary. He championed Urdu’s cause and resisted the Indian Nationalist Campaign for making Hindi the national language of undivided India. Second floor book storage. Second floor book storage. Second floor book storage. In 1947, he migrated to Karachi and was allotted the school building which had been abandoned by then. Working from this building, Haq spearheaded Urdu’s cause as a lingua franca, launching several literary magazines, publishing books and establishing libraries. Although most of his personal collection was left behind in India, several manuscripts found refuge in the Urdu Dictionary Board and Anjuman’s archives. On August 16, 1961, Maulvi Abdul Haq passed away after prolonged illness in Karachi. According to Jamiluddin Aali, whom Haq donned the responsibility of Anjuman’s affairs on his deathbed, he did not leave behind any will. Jamiluddin Aali sahab found it befitting to bury him on the same premises. It was not considered legal and even the property was not transferred in his name. A large crowd gathered for the funeral and despite resistance from the then commissioner, Maulvi Abdul Haq was buried under the shadow of the building of Anjuman which he nurtured with undying passion. The building
The gatekeeper told me that the first floor was used by the office bearers of Anjuman but have been closed for a long time now. The second floor was used as storage space. The rest of the Anjuman’s operations had been shifted to a new facility in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, but they still used it as a storage space. A small bookshop had also been setup inside the building, which made it easier for bookshops across the city to procure books published by Anjuman. Inside Anjuman's bookshop. Inside Anjuman's bookshop. We strolled through the first and second floor. I saw the name plates of Jameel Jalbi, Noorul Hassan and Jameeluddin Aali’s offices, which were closed. In a large hall on the second floor, dozens of books were lying on the floor. The ceilings were high and the corridors were airy. We walked outside through the same staircase. First floor offices. First floor offices. Second floor book storage. The caretaker also told me that the compound used to have a few trees planted there by Gandhi, Nehru and other dignitaries, which could not survive the brunt of times. Perhaps, the building, completely neglected by the government and in dire need of restoration, will join the fate of the trees once planted here by Gandhi and Nehru.
Gulyana, a 900-year-old historic village of Potohar, is located 10 kilometers south of Gujar Khan. The landscape here is dominated by old buildings, havelis, temples and Sikh samadhis which were erected before the birth of Pakistan.
During my frequent visits to the village, I met many oral historians who narrated stories from the pre-partition times. Of these, Gulzar Khan, 85, was one of the more well informed persons. Gulzar gets up early in the morning and goes to sit with his friends under the old banyan tree in the village, recalling memories of the pre-partition days. He still remembers his old Hindu and Sikh friends from childhood. In the community, he is greatly respected for his knowledge of history and oral traditions of the Potohar region. In fact, he is considered an expert on the oral history of Gulyana village. Sikh samadhis in Gulyana. A closer view of the Sikh samadhis. A Sikh haveli in Gulyana. A Sikh haveli. Gulzar Khan of Gulyana Village. During my conversations with him, I learned that Gulyana was predominately inhabited by Hindus and Sikhs before the partition. Diwan Prithvi Chand, Tek Chand and Bakhshi Moti Ram were the notable Hindus of this area, who controlled the business of Gulyana and its neighbouring towns. I was amazed at his descriptions of the minutest details on the nobility and the monuments of Potohar. From the names of rivers, hill streams, lakes, monuments to dignitaries and tribes, I recorded everything that Gulzar shared with me. He also knew the names of an entire list of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh merchants and philanthropists in the area. Two of the eminent Sikh merchants of Potohar, Bali Singh and Tara Singh, belonged to Gulyana; they built schools, hospitals, havelis, temples and gurdwaras. Explore: The havelis of Potohar: Pakistan's opportunity to promote heritage tourism Today, the buildings constructed by the Hindus and Sikhs break the skyline of the village. There are about four havelis, one temple and two samadhis, all preserved very poorly. The haveli of Tara Singh, which still stands out in the landscape, is three-storeyed and noted for its wooden windows and ornately carved doors. The main entrance to the havelis is decorated with floral designs. The main entrance to the Tara Singh Haveli. A carved wooden door in the Tara Singh Haveli. The two samadhis lie one kilometer east of the village. Of these, one is larger, with shikhara (superstructure). The interior of the samadhi is decorated with paintings depicting Sikh and Hindu mythologies. On the southern wall is the painting of Baba Guru Nanak, with his two companions Bala and Mardana. And, on the western wall are depictions of Ram and Sita with Hanuman and Laxman. Hanuman, the monkey god, is shown paying homage to Ram and Sita. The southern wall depicts the stories of Krishna, with gopis (milkmaids) and Radha. The northern wall depicts Shiva with his wife Parvati and Vishnu with Lakshmi. Depiction of Baba Guru Nanak with Bhai Bala and Mardana. Floral painting in a Sikh samadhi. Paintings of Rama and Sita with Hanuman in a Sikh samadhi. Floral painting in a Sikh samadhi. A depiction of Radha and Krishna in a Sikh samadhi. Shiva and Parvati. On the western and southern sides of the samadhi are three old wells, two of which are still used by the locals for irrigation. On the northern side is another small samadhi. Gulzar Khan and Abdul Rahan (another oral historian in the village) confirm that two Sikh notables were buried inside these samadhis. To the west of these Sikh samadhis stands a Hindu temple. Intricate floral designs decorate the interior of this temple. A Hindu temple in Gulyana. A closer view of the temple. A painting inside the Hindu temple. The temple is believed to have been built by Bakhshi Moti Ram, who was the grandfather of Tek Chand. According to Gulzar Khan, Tek Chand embraced Islam after the partition. He had three sons, Roshan, Bhera and Shal, who migrated to India. Sadly, all of these magnificent buildings lie in complete neglect; the locals use the samadhis to store firewood. The walls are decaying and so is their glory. There is an urgent need to initiate their preservation and appoint a night watch to protect this heritage from vandalism. Until that happens, these structures will die a slow death and eventually, so will Gulzar Khan's stories.
Last year, I went to visit the Shaikh Bhirkio shrine in a town by the same name some 30 kilometres from Hyderabad in Sindh. This was my fifth trip to the shrine, which I made for my book Sufis, Saints and Shrines: A Journey into the Sufi landscape of Sindh.
When I entered the tomb of the saint, an elderly woman yelled at me, telling me to first seek permission to enter. She asked me to wait until she had cleaned the floor of the shrine. Then with a watery smile, she said:
Quote:This saint is only mine, you need to seek my permission first.
I waited at the door for her approval. She turned back to cleaning the floor. I wondered why she was cleaning the already sparkling floor of the marble courtyard. After she had finished and allowed me in, I asked her why she was doing it. “I know that it’s clean,” but it gives me sukoon (relief) when I come to pay homage and brush the grave and floor with peacock feathers.” At almost every shrine in Sindh, one is bound to find elderly people like her, either leaning against the walls, reciting the Holy Quran or sleeping on the floor of the shrine; these shrines are source of solace for them. The Shaikh Birkhio shrine complex. The tomb of Shaikh Birkhio. Spires on the domes. The facade of Shaikh Birkhio's tomb, covered with glazed tiles. Located 25 kilometers southwest of the Tando Allahyar town, the shrine complex of Shaikh Bhirkio is one of the important Suharwardi (a sufi order) centers in Sindh. I have always been greatly mystified by the dual identities of shrines. TheSajjada Nasheen of this shrine told me that Shaikh Birkhio was also venerated by the Hindus as Raja Veer. Before the partition, Hindus swarmed the shrine during the mela. Now, only a few families visit the shrine, a majority of them belonging to lower Hindu castes. This is not the only shrine in Sindh which carries dual identities. There are over a dozen such shrines in lower Sindh. For instance, Shaikh Tahir is also called Uderolal by his Hindu devotees, Pir Patho is called Makhdoom Naimatullah by his Muslim followers, Mangho Pir was Lala Jasraj for Hindu Nath yogis, Ram Jago in Samaro (Umerkot) is venerated as Makhdoom Shafique-ur-Rahman. Shaikh Bhirkhio was a sufi saint who belonged to the Suharwardi order of Sufism. He lived in the 16th century and travelled to many parts of Sindh, Punjab, Kutch and Gujarat to convert a large number of locals. The shrine as seen from the nearby mosque. A distant view of the entire complex. One of the distinctive features of the Suharwardi shrine complex in Sindh are the grand mosques and tombs there, all adorned with ceramics and paintings. At the Shaikh Bhirkio complex, there are two mosques in addition to the tomb of the saint. The tomb is decorated with enameled Hala tiles. The interior of the tomb is painted in fine taste, but recently whitewashed, thus wreaking havoc on the murals. Sadly, the interior of a nearby three-domed mosque has also been whitewashed. The mehrab of the mosque has the painted names of Allah. A view of the shrine and the mosques. The three-domed mosque adjacent to the tomb. A closer look at the painted names of Allah. Luckily, another nearby mosque stands with its original beauty intact. The wall of the mosque is painted upon and the ceiling decorated with ceramics. The wooden pillars and fretted panels are a peculiarity of almost all the mosques built by the Suharwardi sufis of Sindh. Suharwardi shrine complexes like these can also be seen in Bukera Sharif and Kamaro Sharif in the Tando Allahyar district. The other mosque. A closer look at the paintings. The beautiful interior of the mosque. Artwork on the walls. The mehrab. Another view of the exquisitely designed walls. Painted ceiling. Calligraphy. A painted panel. Intricate designs on recesses in the wall. Each time that I have visited the shrine, I have seen both Hindu and Muslim men and women at the shrine of Shaikh Bhirkio — an equal source of succour for them all.
Where else can you take a peek into history and set foot on the honeycombed network of an underground city, complete with sleeping chambers; kitchens (even granaries with grindstones); air shafts; chutes; stables (there are handles that used to tether the animals) and storehouses?
Where else can you clamber the rocky cliffs that have been carved out by humans, or venture into the cool interior of a monastery or a church dug in a mountain eons ago (with altars and baptism pools) and decorated with colourful frescoes (actually 'seccos' – a type of mural painting where paint is applied to dry plaster on the wall)? Where else can you see the famous hot air balloons rise just before sunrise or explore these stunning valleys on a rented bike or on foot? Where else but in Cappadocia, Turkey? It is a holiday destination like no other! Cave dwellings. Love valley with its phallic rock formations. Pyramid shaped rocks strew the landscape. Uchisar castle from a distance. View from Uchisar castle. The first thought to cross my mind after I saw the huge, 100-feet or so, phallic-shaped rock formations popularly known as the "fairy chimneys", was: what would our mullah brigade make of this hilarious feat of Nature? The landscape of Cappadocia, in Turkey's eastern Anatolia is literally littered with these rocks. There is just no escaping them. Called hoodoo (a thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom), these formations range anywhere from 1.5 to 45 metres (4.9 – 147 feet). It is said these spires are made of a light, porous rock, and are a result of consolidation of volcanic eruptions. Later, the wind and rain chiselled them into sculpted valleys with sinuous cliffs and pointy fairy chimneys. These rock formations are drawing hordes of tourists from all corners of the world, armed with nothing more than a hat, a cell phone and a selfie stick. According to news reports, a record one million people visited the region in 2013. Atop Uchisar castle. Bird's eye view of Goreme from Uchisar Castle. Fairy chimneys. Tourism, in Turkey, is the third biggest earner in the $820 billion economy, generating $35 billion annually. So, if you're heading for Cappadocia, make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes for that is all you will be doing for most of your stay. From the Uchisar castle, the highest point in the region and from where you can get a 360 degree view of the Nevsehir province, to the Rose (at sunset, the rocks take on a pinkish hue, thus the name), Pigeon (hundreds of pigeon houses riddling the cliffs) and the lush riverside Ihlara Valleys (boasting the deepest gorge in Asia Minor), to Goreme and Zelve open air museums, to the Byzantine-era monastries and churches, nestled in the cliffs – it is walk, walk and walk. By evening, you'd be aching everywhere, but it will be a good ache, trust me and it is not a difficult trudge. Rose Valley. Cave dwellings in Rose valley. Homes of the elves. Ihlara Valley with monastries. Goreme open air museum. If you're not with a tour group, you can do Cappadocia in three to four days, but if you have a car, you can cover a lot of ground much quicker. There are around 30 to 40 or so underground cities (when the Christians were persecuted, first by the Romans and then raiding Muslims, they often went into hiding here) and more coming up as we speak, but not all are open to visitors. We visited the almost 3,000 year-old labyrinthine city at Derinkuyu, also the deepest. Extending to a depth of approximately 60 meters, experts say, it could have sheltered approximately 20,000 people at any given time, together with their livestock, water and food stores. Derinkuyu, the underground city. Ceiling of a church in Ihlara Valley. Wild flowers abound on the Rose valley trail. Farming in the Rose Valley. A local family. Handmade dolls made by local women. While snaking your way through a web of tunnels and stairways, it may get frustrating and you may feel trapped if there are big tour groups at the same time. A note of warning for those who are over six feet tall: you will be ducking at several places where the rock ceiling gets shallow and walk bent in tunnels or on stairways. The pièce de résistance of your trip will be the hour-long hot air balloon ride. It is truly a mind-blowing experience. Try to book the 'before sunrise' slot, which means you will be picked up at an ungodly hour of 4:00 am and it will still be dark when you get to the site, but it is well worth it. More than looking down at the province that comes alive in all its splendour and colour, people end up looking at some hundred or so colourful balloons dotting the sky that fly all at the same time. The whole process of how the balloons are readied and then let out is another fascinating experience. Caves carved out in Rose Valley. When the sunrises. Hundreds of hot air balloons dot the skies as they take off at the same time.
KARACHI: The devastating heat wave that struck Sindh last weekend, is slowly subsiding but the death toll was still climbing up on Thursday and Friday.
The death toll in Karachi and other parts of Sindh passed 1,000 on June 25, 2015, medics and welfare workers told AFP, with further fatalities expected. Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and Edhi morgue ran into crisis as the number of dead bodies surpassed the number of beds in the emergency room and shrouds for the dead bodies. Chaos reported from the cold storage of Edhi centre as people couldn't find ambulances enough to carry the dead bodies to the graveyards.Voluntary transport services by citizens came into action, later on Friday. The worst heat wave to hit Pakistan's southern city of Karachi for nearly 35 years and lack of government surveillance for the victims of heatwave, caused morgues to run out of space. Despite the emergency conditions all over the city, awestruck residents rushed to supply biscuits, juices, water bottles and hydration salts to the over-stretched public hospitals. A heatstroke victim is treated at a government hospital in Karachi. The death toll from Pakistan's killer heatwave rose past 1,000 with more fatalities expected, as cloud cover and lower temperatures brought some relief to the worst-hit city Karachi. —AFP
A child drinks water mixed with hydration salts to avoid heatstroke and dehydration due to extreme weather in Karachi. —AP
Relatives tend to heatstroke victims as they are treated at a government hospital in Karachi. —AFP
A heatstroke victim is treated at a government hospital in Karachi.—AFP
Relatives prepare to bury a victim of heat-stroke at a graveyard in Karachi. —AFP
Family members bring an elderly person to a hospital suffering from a heatstroke in Karachi. —AP
Relatives prepare to bury a victim of heatstroke at a graveyard in Karachi. —AFP
A man pours water on a girl to cool off outside a local hospital in Karach.—AP
People bury a person who lost his life due to extreme weather in Karachi.—AP
Relatives bring a heatstroke victim to a hospital in Karachi. —AFP
A relative of a heatstroke victim waits at a hospital in Karachi. —AFP
An old man suffering from heatstroke is brought to a hopistal Karachi. —AFP
Relatives accompany a loved one suffering from heatstroke. —AFP
Relatives prepare to bury a heatstroke victim at a graveyard in Karachi. —AFP
A doctor treats a heatstroke victim at an emergency ward of a hospital in Karachi. —AP
Labourers build mass graves to bury victims of the intense heatwave in Karachi. —Reuters
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Historical, Cultural, Agricultural and Education Background
District Mandi Bahauddin takes its name from the town headquarters. In 1506 A. D. a Gondal Jat Chief Bahauddin established a settlement namely Pindi Bahauddin, after his migration from Pindi Shah Jahanian to this area.
During British era in Sub-Continent
In the British rule in 1916 Pindi bahauddin Railway station was setup. It was a time when the British were Establishing and introducing modern and essential public use Equipments in their best Interest. Above mentioned Railway System was introduced and laid down to defend their Empire from the North. So it was called North Western Railway (NWR). After the first world war the British gave and introduced new settlements in Sub-continent. This Region called "Gondal Bar" some of its land lying Barren was reconstructed and a great Irrigation plan was surveyed and dug out by manual work. Main route of the canal Lower Jhelum was dug. Water was released in 1902 in its main route.
Chak Bandi was made by Sir Malcum Heley and approximately 51 Chaks were settled and notified. In these 51 Chaks , the land was awarded to the people who worked for British Empire. The town grew up in early 20th century near the ancient village [Chak No. 51], where Sikh, Hindu and Muslim businessmen and land owners came to settle. The twon was named Mandi Bahauddin after establishment of grain market in the area. Chak 51 became the center of this newly established town. The map of this Chak was made by John Alam. A famous grain market was setup in this Chak. After this the Chak No. 51 was called Mandi-Bahauddin. In 1920 this name was notified. In 1924 Pindi-Bahauddin Railway station was notified the above mentioned name. In 1937 when Mandi-Bahauddin was town, it was given the status of a town committee. In 1941 it was given the status of a Muncipal Committee. In the Master plan of reconstructing this town, in 1923 all the streets and roads were laid straight and wide. In 1946 nine gates and the wall surrounding this town was completed due to reites.
After the partition when the Sikhs and the Hindus have migrated to India, bulk of muslim population migrated and settled here. In 1960 this city was given the status of Sub-Division. In 1963, the Rasul Barrage and Rasul-Qadirabad link canal project under Indus Basin irrigation project started. The Project was managed by WAPDA, and a large colony for government employees and foreign contractors was constructed a few kilometers from Mandi Bahauddin. This projected was completed in 1968 by Engineer Riazur Rahman Shariff as the Project Director. This project brought lime light to Mandi Bahauddin and helped the city grow commercially. In 1993 by its own name Mian Manzoor Ahmed Vato Chief minister Punjab announced and notified this city as a District. H.Q.
The district forms central portion of the Chaj Doab lying between Jhelum and Chenab rivers.
Jatts consisting of sub-castes Gondal, Warraich, Tarar, Ranjha and Sahi dominate Mandi Bahauddin, consisting of three tehsils Mandi Bahauddin, Phalia and Malikwal.
However, Gujjars and Mohajirs are also prominent in local politics. Agriculture is the major profession in the district. Formerly a tehsil of Gujrat district, Mandi Bahauddin district consists of two national and five provincial assembly seats
The total area of Mandi Bahauddin is 2,673 sq kilometres. The total number of male voters in Mandi Bahauddin is 370,528 and female voters 278,521. The annual population growth rate of the district is 1.87 per cent and the urban ratio is 15.2 per cent. Around 99.1 per cent of the total population of Mandi Bahauddin are Muslims, 0.6 per cent Christians and 0.2 per cent Ahmadis.
The main languages of the district are: Punjabi 97 per cent; Urdu 2.5 per cent; Pushto 0.5 per cent; Seraiki 0.5 per cen. Main occupations of the district include agriculture workers 40.7 per cent; elementary occupations 40 per cent; service workers 6.5 per cent, crafts and related trade 4.2 per cent; professionals 3.1 per cent and machine operators 2.4 per cent.
More than 150 lakh populated city has its own great importance. In the Western side of Mandi-Bahauddin at the place of Khiwa , the famous and historical war "Battle of the Hydaspes River" between Raja Porus and Alexander The great , a Greece Invader have been fought.
A painting by Charles Le Brun depicting Alexander and Porus during the Battle of the Hydaspes
Alexander's crossing of the Hydaspes river, courtesy of The Department of History, United States Military Academy
The Battle of Hydaspes River was a battle fought by Alexander the Great in 326 BC against the Indian king Porus on the Hydaspes River (now the Jhelum) in Punjab. The kingdom of king Porus was situated in that part of ancient India which has become modern day Pakistan. The battle was the last major war fought by Alexander.
At the first day of this war, Harry Roy the son of Raja Porus was killed at 11 o-clock. At the same day, the horse (Bucephalus) of Alexander, The great, was dead. After the death of his son, Raja Porus (initially stationed at Nazampur) came with Elephants and fought against Alexander the great. This war was on the Southern Bank of the River Jhelum. As a result of this battle, Alexander founded two cities, Nicaea (Victory) at the site of modern day Jalapur and Bucephala at the site (possibly) of Bhera in Pakistan.Bucephalus was the name of the horse that Alexander rode on, having died either during battle or right afterwards of weariness and old age.Wazir Abad Cuttlery industry has its own pride to sharpen and prepare the swords of this great Invader.
At a few distance from here, second Sikh war in 1849 in the reigeon of Lord Guff, the British and the Khalsa Sikh Army fought at the place of Chillianwala.
A grave yard at Rakh Minar near Chillianwala has its own Ancient Mamorandom where many British Army soldiers and officers have been buried and lie there.
Tehsil headquarters towns of Phalia and Malikwal are at the distance of 22.5 and 28.5 kilometers from Mandi Bahauddin, respectively. The shape of the district is like a parallelogram. It is bounded on the north by river Jhelum (which separates it from Jehlam district); on the west by Sargodha district; on the south by river Chenab (which separates it from the Gujranwala and Hafizabad districts); and on the east by Gujrat district. Total area of the district is 2,673 square kilometers. The district comprises of three tehsils, namely, Mandi Bahauddin, Phalia and Malikwal.
Mandi Bahaud Din: Out of the way city by shirazi
Originally Mandi Bahauddin was a village called as Chak number 51. It started expanding after the completion of Rasul Hydroelectric Power Station on Upper Jhelum Canal in 1901. Today, Mandi Bahauddin is an over crowded market town famous for its agricultural markets (Grain Market, Vegetable Market and Livestock Market) and local industry of making colourful bed legs.
The name Mandi Bahauddin originates from two sources: Mandi (market) was prefixed because it was a flourishing grain market and Bahauddin was borrowed from nearby old village Pindi Bahauddin, which has now become part of the town. After the partition, thousands of refugees from India rehabilitated on the evacuee property of Sikh and Hindu landlords. Lately, after the construction of Rasul Barrage, people from the belt along southern edge of Salt Range up to Pind Dadan Khan and other areas across the River Jhelum came settling in the town. Due to migrations and increase in business activities, the town has expanded in all directions. The result is that more than half of the population is living outside municipal limits without any civic amenities. More unplanned localities and kachi abadies are coming up everyday. The tendency to move from rural areas to urban centres is on the increase.
People from adjoining villages come to exchange their agricultural products like grain, chickens and Ghee with matchboxes and other commodity items and see the â€˜bright lightsâ€™ in this dusty town. Donkey carts to heavy vehicles are plying indiscriminately on any road they feel like. The town roads have bumps, wobbles and unauthorized speed breakers (sleeping policemen). The right of way has been shrunk due to encroachments and fast growing traffic. Most cross-junctions like Hospital Chowk, Gurha Chowk, Sut Sire Chowk, College Chowk and two railway crossings are always busy and there are no traffic signals.
The sugar mills constructed â€˜farm to millâ€™ road that can be used as a bypass for the traffic not concerned with the city. But it is not being utilized because there are no arrangements to divert the heavy traffic on to the 20 feet wide metallic road. Mixture of slow and fast moving traffic, lack of footpaths, parking facilities, presence of bus and wagon terminals and many tonga stands has aggravated the situation in this agricultural market town. It is located away from Grand Trunk road but well linked with Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum, Kharian, Lalamusa, Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sargodha with railways and good road network.
The small town having gridiron pattern (all roads and streets meeting at right angle) has developed haphazardly into an overcrowded city. Rehries and temporary shops have intruded all the main bazaars. The rehriwallas have a strong union. They thwart any effort by municipal authorities or district administration to remove the encroachments. The result is that what to talk of vehicles even the pedestrians cannot pass through the bazaars. Dual carriage way was introduced from Sadar Darwaza - gateway built in 1930 - to municipal committee office but the encroachers have also occupied this bifurcation.
The right of way on roads going out of the town has also been reduced due to unchecked encroachments and linear development along the roads. Number of shopping centres has come up in the residential areas. Beside sugar mills, local shaped industrial concerns are spread in and brick kilns around the town. Bed legs and colourful furniture are famous products of the town. Commercial and industrial activities in the residential areas have put a great pressure on the demand of already deficient houses.
Grain Market is located in the centre of the town. Goodsâ€™ Forwarding Agencies and lack of amenities have made miserable the lives of merchants and customers of the Market. Large number of goodsâ€™ trucks is always standing in the 4.3 acres of market area, which adversely affect the business. The surrounding area of townâ€™s landmark and highest building, majestic Jamia Mosque built by the corner of Grain Market is also noisy and bustling with commercial activities of â€˜Loharâ€™ bazaar.
Even worst is the condition of Vegetable Market. There was time when much of what is today Sabzi Mandi was tranquil and pollution free market consisting of few shops. People could go to the market and buy some of the freshest fruit, vegetables and some of the choicest of spices, nuts, meat and chicken. But now it is very difficult to move in and out of this largest perishableâ€™s market in the area because there is no regular sweeping or lifting of garbage and all the free space has been occupied by vendors who buy any one item in the morning and sit on ground to sell inside and around Sabzi Mandi.
Well chalking is another problem of the town. Political, religious, commercial slogans and different advertisements can be seen all over the town. Political slogans respecting one candidate who contested last elections, every time from a different platform can still be found written on the walls of the town.
Besides going to nearby Rasul Barrage for eating fish Kabab, there are no recreational or cultural facilities and no healthy activities Mandi Bahauddin that was made district headquarters in 1993. This has far eaching effects on the youth of the town. They are seen playing cards on roadsides or snooker in corners of every street. Large numbers of video shops have come up and are doing good business. Video shops rent TV, VCR and as much as five films at a time even in the period when multi channel satellite has become a household item. There are two old cinema houses with 803 seating capacity. Degree colleges (one for boys and one for girls) are doing good jobs but given the resources of the municipal educational institutions, they are not enough for the youth of the area.
A Lalamusa-Sargodha-Khanewal railway is a profitable rout. At present only one Peshawar-Karachi train - Chenab Express - runs on this route. It could be useful to introduce at least one more Peshawar-Karachi express train for passengers, agricultural products produced in the area and a few of the minerals from Salt Range. This track is linked with Khewara Salt mines as well. Moreover, this track is strategically important in case of any threat to Peshawar-Lahore-Karachi main railway track. In that case, Lalamusa-Sargodha-Khanewal rail route could take all the rail traffic.
The â€œMandi Bahauddin Development Plan 1986-2012â€³ has not even come on the tables of people responsible for is execution. But a possible nice start for the town may be to declare at least two bazaars (Sadar Bazaar and Committee Bazaar) totally pedestrian, vehicular traffic and animal transport contained out. Any body listening please!