Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thatta Kedona

Thatta Kedona is a project of the first Pakistan international NGO network in rural area where handmade quality dolls and toys are crafted using all indigenous material and traditional designs based on cultural and folklore themes. The workmanship of the dolls and toys has acclaimed international recognition and clientele through their participation in numerous international events, exhibitions, fairs and display at International Doll Museum Iceland and Deutsche Gesellschafr zur Foerderung der Kultar, Germany. These toys are the embodiment of dreams, hopes and most of all self-reliance of the hands, which breathe a part of the soul into them.

This is a holistic project. Handicraft is in the spot on the stage but the project has a cultural philosophy. Education, science, agriculture, hydrogeology (drinking water project), appropriate technology (men center with around 18 young men), public health (basic health unit with 7 ladies), economy (marketing, distribution), tourism and communication, are all is practice.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I have moved to

I’ve been blogging for long time now but have never really, until last week, looked into “buying own domain.” I have been using Blogger, and always assumed that “I am doing at BlogSpot what others are doing with own domains. It did fine for me. Was I handicapped?

Friends and fellow bloggers have been telling me that getting your own domain name is a must for a long time. Reasons: You don’t really own your Blogger blog (as per Blogger’s ToS, the domain and the platform are properties of Google though you own content). And it has serious consequences. Having your own domain gives you more credibility (and yes, an ego boost – looks much better). And of course it gives you more flexibility.

Above all else, here is another reason. Those who are looking forward to making money from blogs now need own domain. Initially BlogSpot used to be the best way to get your adsense account approved, but later now it’s getting harder to get your adsense account with blogspot. News is that Google may pull down all adsense account on BlogSpot blogs any time. Similarly other paid posting platforms are also offering less and less on free platform blogs.

While I move to, I owe big thanks to all my awesome readers. Many thanks to you all for reading, sharing, liking and leaving valuable feedback that kept me going since 2003. Do please come and join me there. Internet (and blogging) is so lonely without friends.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Have a Blog or a Press

Who all should have a blog? The answer depends on who is being asked this question. Given my personal interest, I say everyone should have a blog.

For marketers, public relations professionals, writers and all those who need to reach out with their ideas and or products and services, blogs are a must; easier, cheaper, convenient. But think outside the box and you will find people have experiences to share, stories to tell and put the things on record. They all need a blog.

Other day I was suggesting to diplomat to have a blog. I remember getting a lot of publicity stuff from different embassies in my school years. Almost all embassies and consulates have publications to tell their governments’ policies and influence the public in whatever way they can. In the age when presidents of the states (Presidents of Iran and USA are known to have their own blogs), I argued that blogs should be a must for any diplomat. Anyone in foreign department listening?

Let me conclude the post on this statement; those who can’t have a blog should at least have a printing press.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Model United Nations Conferences

Lahore School of Economics won the coveted LUMUN Best Delegation trophy for the second consecutive year. LUMUN enjoys the distinction of being the largest Model United Nations Conferences in all of Asia. This ye, 2012, over 2000 individuals from over 100 institutions across the country gathered in LUMS to simulate various United Nation committees. Prominent amongst the universities were Lahore School, GIKI, NUST, LUMS, PU, FAST, BNU, IQRA, AIMC, Bharia University, Kinnaird College, Government College and UET.

The Lahore School of Economics team consisted of Abu Bakr Hayat, Affaan Sherwani, Umar Akram Sahi, Khawaja Talal Sadiq, Shahira Khan, Wasae Imran, Hamza Ghaznavi, Haziq Masood, Saad Sohail and Zain Hyder. The team won an unprecedented 8 out of 10 Best Delegate trophies and in addition two Honorable Mention Awards. Aitchison College stood second in the competition with a 6 out of 10 score.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

D G Khan

By S A J Shirazi

There were many things on my schedule when I travelled from Multan to Quetta by road instead of rail: to see the tomb of Ghazi Khan, to visit famous Fort Monro and familiarize myself with this less travelled rout to Quetta.

For those who take their chance for the first time to the city, it might sound too good to be true but Dera Ghazi Khan (D G Khan) in the past was known as Dera Phullan Da Sehra — ‘land of flowers’. “The canal skirted its eastern side, fringed with luxurious gardens of mango trees, while ghats lined the bank, thronged in summer by numerous bathers.

Ghazi Khan Mirani son of a Baloch chieftain Haji Khan founded the city on his own name on the tract between Suleman Range and River Indus in 1474. Bannu-Dera Ismail Khan-Jacobabad, famous trade route of the ast ran through the city. It developed into a very beautiful and prosperous city of that time. Till 1758, eighteen princes of the Ghazi Khan’s family successively ruled the city and bore the names of their ancestors”, wrote Mr. Bruce in his account in 1869. Kalhoras, Durranis, Mughals, Abbasis and Sikhs also exercised control over the city before it fell to the British.

Mighty River Indus had been steadily and gradually shifting its course westwards for a long time. D G Khan remained on the mercy of the River and great floods occurred in 1812, 1833, and 1842. It was completely washed away in 1856. The River now flows over the site of ancient dwelling.

The founder Ghazi Khan Mirani would not be able to recognize the ‘new’ city that was planned by British engineers on the principle of ‘Grid Iron Pattern’ - all roads and streets meeting at right angle - and built on present location between the period from 1900-1910 about 15 Kilometres downstream on the bank of Manika Canal near the tomb of Ghazi Khan Mirani.

Let us just assume it: D G Khan was a great town on the bank of Indus in fifteenth century. Does the town even exist? Yes, only in history books. Many things combine to show that D G Khan was a gem in the time gone by.

One of the most exciting buildings of the past is the tomb of Ghazi Khan Mirani. The tomb was built in fifteenth century on an octagonal plan, like shrine of Shah Rukn-e-Alam in Multan, with battering walls and corner turrets. Standing in front of the tomb, dismayed, I could feel the depredation and vandalism that would have few parallels. Dome and upper story of the tomb have vanished. The main entrance to the chamber of the tomb is in the East with two smaller doors in the northern and western directions are stripped of the gates. There are 11 mud graves inside the tomb and a graveyard has spread around the tomb. The walls are pitted. The pitchi cari and calligraphy inside the tomb is also fading. The slabs of stone painted with floral and geometric designs are falling. Once magnificent and imposing tomb is now sinking in ground. No body comes to lay flower or pay respect to the dead Baloch Sardar. In the past it had also been used to keep the animals. Relics of the tomb are certainly precious.

Unfortunately, currently, D G Khan, more than any other Pakistani city, lacks sensitivity to its heritage. The condition of temples, dharam shalas and gao shalas is even worse. Most of them have been converted into residential quarters, some are being used as waste receptacles and from few others even the bricks have been taken away. “To retain the heritage and history of the city, at least two temples situated east of Tounsa-D G Khan Road and whatever is left of Ghazi Khan’s tomb should immediately be declared as protected monuments”, says Hashim Sher Khan, a social activist who has written to many national and international agencies including UNESCO for this purpose, “but to no avail” he adds. D G Khan of Waderas, Sardars and Tumandars and patriots like Sher Muhammad who made world Pakistani as part of his name seem to be on its way to decline.

Hashim Sher Khan says, “Dera Ghazi Khan is the cultural capital of Pakistan. It is not only geographically situated on the junction point of all the four provinces but is also a place where their cultural traditions meet”. Besides legendary hospitality, the most famous cultural symbols I encountered in the city during my stay are hamachas and tabaqs.

A son of the soil, Dr Ghulam Fareed once narrated a tale about his childhood to Raza Ali Abdi (BBC). The tale reads, “Big charpoys (coats) are found in every nook and corner of the city. These coats serve as open drawing rooms in the localities. There was one big coat in front of our house too. The day I left D G Khan for higher studies, I saw people sitting on that coat: talking, relaxing, and sharing. I saw the same people sitting, doing same things, once I returned from England after 15 years. Only they had gone a little old.” D G Khan is famous for big charpoys locally known as Hamachas throughout the country.

Another thing for which D G Khan is famous is tabaq meaning cooking utensil with wide mouth. Nanbais prepare meat and beef dishes in these utensils. British traveller Alexander Bern who came to D G Khan in 1936-37 wrote that there were 1597 shops in the city out of which 40 were of nanbais. Once the new city was inhabited, the nanbais also migrated and set up their shops in Pathar Bazaar. Now most of them have developed and converted their shops in modern eating joints but you can still find any thing from Nalli Nihari for breakfast to Siri Pae for dinner if you like. The only difference is that Tabaqs are made of cast iron instead of clay these days. Names of Ustad Allah Yar, Ustad Qader, Ustad Allah Ditta and Ustad Muhammad Siddique who were the best Tabaqis of their times are still remembered with respect.

As per the legend, the throne of Prophet Hazrat Suleman (A S) once landed on the hill range known as Suleman Range. Next to the city on the route to Quetta is Fort Munro Peak in Suleman Range. The first thing that came to my mind after turning on a rocky road to Fort Munro from village Khar (or Kharar) was a famous couplet that was composed by poet Mustafa Zaidi who was once a Political Assistant in Fort Munro. The poet lived here soaking up the scenery and isolation while contemplating his own future and love life. He composed, “Inhe pathroon pe chal kar agar aa sako to aao, mere ghar ke raste main koi kahkashan nahin hey”. The going on the road these days is bad that gets worst in case of a light shower. Later, I also visited the library that was established by Mustafa Zaidi but now it has been converted into an office of some government department. By the way, who wants to read these days?

Related: Carry the dust to Multan

Selling Pakistan Abroad

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Candle Stand Holders

Candles are romantic. In addition to being a utility, Candles and a romantic touch in any settings. Who have not had a chance to have candle light dinner? Aesthetic candle arrangement can change the outlook of living spaces. Imagine how a candle set on a beautifully crafted salt candle holder will llook in your own settings.

Product Impex offers those beautifully crafted salt canfle olders in bulk. Our artisans who chisel out candle stands from colorful natural salt are doing this since generation. And those of you who have had the cnance to visit Khewra Salt Mines – the best natural salt resource around the world – may have seen them crafting different decorative artifacts from salt right at the mouth of the Khewra Salt Tunnel. Fine art of making decorative artifacts from salt is passing on through generations.

Product Impex not only offers salt candle stands and (salt lamps as well as edible salt), we can also replicate your design. Have a look and our display here or ask us and we will make for you what you want and the way you want.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to run NGOs

NGOs represent an alternative to the constructed organizational entities. They are flexible and can react faster to the changes. This is the theory as seen in anthropological and ethnological aspects. In our local context and in the face of rampant corruptions rooted deep in governmental organization, we hear so many debates about NGOs and their work. What is more, some segments in our society are totally against NGOs and their good work. Problem is that those who oppose the mere presence of NGOs might not even understand what are NGOs, how they work and fill the void left by the state or how much NGOs can influence for the collective good of the society.
It is in this milieu that Javed Sajjad Ahmad – a veteran social scholar – has brought How to Start and Manage Non-Governmental Organizations. The author has answered many thorny questions about NGOs that can help all stakeholders. “The book is a guide, a ready reference, or a step-by-step manual to launch and nurture an NGO. Existing NGOs, large or small, will find information in the book that they can use to raise funds, hone their organizational skills or learn how to manage growing pains. It is probably the first of its kind book being published in Pakistan, that meets a felt need of the voluntary sector, at a critical juncture, says Professor (Dr.) M. Nizamuddin, renowned antropologist and the Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat.
Working as consultatnt with Thatta Kedona - an international NGO engaged in poverty alleviation and preservation o f rural culture in rural Punjab - for last ten years, I have the understanding of problems being faced by NGOs and how some people view them. I can say with my personal experience that How to Start and Manage Non-Governmental Organizations can be a text book for anyone from donors to volunteers associated with social work at any level.
Publication of this book by University of Gujrat Press – publishing arm of University of Gujrat – at the time when major donors are taking policy decision to channel their development assistance to Pakistan via the voluntary sector will o a long way. Not only the book will open new opportunities for research and promote scholarly work on this subject but will also affect in a big way.

My recommendation: It is a must read for anyone who is alive to the collective good in the society.