Saturday, January 31, 2009

Like a dream

Its a roadside view. And in this photo you can see these two wonderful looking trees nearby a railway track. The whole scene fascinates me so much that I decided to edit my this photo and try to make it look like a dream in motion.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Beautiful red roses

A rose is a rose is a rose.

Some photographs of roses from my home garden in Multan.

A sufi saint under the shade of a tree

Baba Farid with his disciples sitting under the shade of a tree.

Baba Sheikh Farid Ji was a great Sufi saint, very sweet of tongue and who lived an austere life. He asked for only one blessing from God....a life of prayer and meditation.
His following insight forms the subject of this painting ,

"Sweet are candy, sugar, honey, and buffalo's milk. Yea, sweet are these but sweeter by far is God."

In this painting, you can see him pointing at the beehive.

Baba Farid was a 12-th century Sufi preacher and saint of Chishti Order, from Punjab. He was born at Kothiwal (or Khotwal) in the district of Multan. He is recognised as the first major poet of the Punjabi language. Baba Farid is considered one of the holiest and pivotal saints of the Punjab region.

If you want to know more about him, check out these sites:
Life of Baba Farid
Baba Farid

Happy Little Flower - The Pansy

This little happy looking garden pansies are grown in winter season. But it appears that spring has already arrived in my home garden. With other seasonal flowers, I can see them taking prominent place in the garden.

The pansy is a perennial that is mostly grown as an annual plant.

A close look at this flower tells you that it resembles like a human face. And this is a reason why name Pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning "thought", or "remembrance".

The pansy flower has two top petals overlapping slightly, two side petals, beards where the three lower petals join the center of the flower, and a single bottom petal with a slight indentation.

These vibrant colour flowers are easy to grow and provide a burst of colour in your home.

Its scientific name is Viola x wittrockiana. The pansy is linked forever to the viola, its ancestor and this is a reason why these two names are often interchangeable. Viola is a large genus containing 500 species.

The hardy but delicate viola was cultivated by the Greeks for herbal medicinal use and much later inspired William Shakespeare to write of romance.

Uses of Pansies

Both the leaves and flowers of pansies and violas are edible and high in vitamins A and C.

The flowers impart a strong flavor and have been used to make syrup, flavored honey and salads. Both the leaves and flowers can be used as a garnish, such as on cold fruit or cream soups. The flowers are also useful as a dye.

All Photographs by me from my home garden in Multan.

Artificial breeding of two rare species of fish

LAHORE: The Fisheries Department has successfully achieved the artificial breeding of two rare species of fish (Mahasheer and Klbans), said Fisheries Department Director General Dr Muhammad Ayub.

He was presiding over a departmental meeting at his office. He said despite the decreased fish production due to aquatic pollution, the production of farm fish had increased in Punjab.

He said fish farming had evolved to industry status in the province, adding that the department was providing free assistance to fish farmers. He said experiments were in progress for the artificial breeding of more species of fish.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Origin of fish keeping

Home aquariums provide many hours of enjoyment for my entire family. We are bless to have them. I take aquarium keeping as a hobby. My aquarium fishes(koi and Shubunkin goldfish) in this image are of pond variety. I have compiled this time a short note on the origin of fish keeping and aquarium history. It is also a little about the use of fish sign and symbol in our Harappan civilization.

I guess the origin of aquarium keeping started around for about as long as consuming fish as a food. Most probably, the origins of aquaculture most likely originated when fish were trapped in some type of enclosure after monsoon floods receded.

Archeological evidence of fish-keeping dates back to the Sumerians (2500 BC) and the Babylonians (500 BC).

Egyptians considered fish sacred, worshiping the Nile Perch among others. Romans also kept fish in tanks but perhaps not for as decorative purposes as the Chinese; keeping them fresh for the dinner table.

The Chinese, who raised carp for food as early as 2000 BC, were probably the first to breed fish with any degree of success. Their selective breeding of ornamental goldfish was later introduced to Japan, where the breeding of ornamental carp was perfected.

The ancient Romans, who kept fish for food and entertainment, were the first known marine aquarists; they constructed ponds that were supplied with fresh seawater from the ocean.

As far as I have studied about Harappan civilization in Pakistan, it is quite obvious that in Harappa pictures have been found showing fishes as a sacred object. They have occupied a central position in the Harappan civilization. No doubt, fish appears to symbolize as the God of Waters.

Further studies from the early Harappan life shows that the Harappans used the fish sign to represent a star or a planet. The reason why 'fish' and not 'star' was selected to represent the concept of 'god' seems to be that in the Early Harappan religion the fish occupied a central position. Fish is one of the most popular motifs of the Early Harappan painted pottery. This image is of an "Early Harappan" polychrome pot with fish design from Nal, South Baluchistan, Pakistan.

January Rose

Its a beautiful red rose from my home garden.

The roses and thorn relationship is no doubt very close and delicate and thats why many poet, philosophers, writers and politicians have quoted them in a very scented way. So here are some proverbs and quotes from throughout the world about this rose - thorn relationship .
"He who wants a rose must respect the thorn."
Persian Proverb.

"From a thorn comes a rose, and from a rose comes a thorn."
Greek Proverb

"The rose has thorns only for those who would gather it."
- Chinese proverb

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
Abraham Lincoln

"This old world that we're livin' in
Is might hard to beat.
You get a thorn with every Rose
But - ain't the roses sweet?"
Frank Stanton

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses."
Alphonse Karr (1808-1890)

The last quote is very close to my heart. Because I am also thankful to God that thorns have roses.

Justicia adhatoda

It is a beautiful looking plant and mostly used in gardens as an ornamental plant but it is also very important plant used as a folk medicine throughout Pakistan.

Justicia adhatoda is a medicinal plant native to Asia. It is abundantly found in Pothohar region of Pakistan.

It is historically used for hundreds of years in Ayurvadic and Unani medicines as an important herb.It is used traditionally for cough, asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis.

It is said to be the Provincial flower of the Punjab Province.
Its common names are Adhatoda and Malbur Nut.

It leaves are very important. Juice of leaves is used in rheumatism and fevers. Leaves are used in chest
diseases, pneumonia, asthma and tuberculosis. Leaves are used to reduce the swelling.

Justicia adhatoda is also usually used as abortifacient to control birth rate in initial stages of Pregnancy.

All photographs are taken by me from my home garden in Multan.

My searches are from Wikkipedia about provincial flower of the Punjab.

Ayurvada Recipes

Medics Help

Monday, January 26, 2009

Illegal logging of trees in Sindh

Pakistan: Illegal logging of last trees along canals & riverine forests in Sindh.

Federal and provincial governments of Pakistan are looking elsewhere while an illegal tree cutting campaign is being carried out on a mass
level along the canal banks and in the riverine forests in Sindh.

Continuous tree cutting has lent a barren look to the banks of canals
and forests alongside the River Indus, destroying the area’s ecological environment as well as depriving the livestock and wildlife of their fodder.

Recent reports, received from the banks of Rahri canal in northern districts of Sindh, show that trees are being chopped down on a massive scale.

Local villagers allege that the relatives of influential political figures are involved in the
tree-cutting campaign.

The Sindh Irrigation Department’s official records reveal that the three barrages built on the River Indus are Sukkur Barrage, Guddu Barrage and Kotri Barrage, each with a dozen

On the right bank of Sukkur barrage, the three main canals are Main Khair Thar canal, Dadu Canal and Rice Canal while one the left, the four main canals include Nara Canal, Rohari Canal, Khairpur East Canal and Khaiprur West Canal.

On the right side of Kotri Canal, Kalri Baghar or KB Feeder is located and on left side three main canals exist including Phuleli, Pinjari and Akram Wah. These canals are spread all over the province and due to seepage they have resulted in thick forest growth, turning the area into a huge forest range.

The Sindh Forest Department’s records show that some of the important tree varities include Babool (acacica nilotica), Sheesham or Tahli (dalkagia sisoo), Neem (azatrteha indica), Jar (salvudora oleoides), Sufedo (Eucalyptus) and Sareenh (Albizia).

These trees not only strengthen the canal embankments but also provide fodder for the
livestock and wildlife as well as maintaining the ecology balance in the province.

Irrigation Department officials say that a large number of Baildars (guards) were posted to look after the banks and the trees in the past but at present, the Baildars are not working properly. As there is no check and balance to keep the previous system functional, the situation has worsened massively because of the timber mafia.

In the past month, thousands of trees were chopped down along the banks of Nara Canal in district Khairpur and now the timber mafia has moved to Rohari canal in the Sanghar district.

A resident of Shahdadpur, Abdul Satar Khoso, said that dozens of trucks, donkey-carts and
trailers loaded with tree trunks were seen passing through his town. He said that the timber mafia was not only chopping down trees from the banks of Rohri canal but even the trees growing alongside smaller canals were not spared.

mujhe be-khudi ye tuu ne - Abida parveen

Sufi song: mujhe be-khudi ye tuu ne
Vocalist: Abida parveen
Album: Raqs-E-Bismil - Dance Of The Wounded
Lyrics: Hazrat Shah Niaz
Type: Sufi Ghazals


Hairat maraaz-e-har do jahan, bee-niyaaz kard
(Wonder has made me needless from both worlds)
ein khhwab kaar-e-daulat-e-bedar-e-mi kunad(RUMI)
(This sleeping has made me like awaken )
khuli jabke chashm-e-dil-e-hazeen
(when the eye of this sad heart opened)
to woh nam raha na tarii rahee
(no wetness and dampness is left)
hoi hairat aisee kuchh aankh par
(my eye got such amazement that)
be-asar ki be-asarii rahee
(the effect of effect less got on me )
padi gosh-e-jaan me ajab nida
(that sound was heard by the ear of life)
ke jigar na be-jigaree rahee
(only thing left was oblivion)
khabar-e-tahiyyur-e-ishaq sun
na junoon raha na pari rahee
na to tuu raha na to main rah
jo rahee so be-khabarii rahee


Mujhe bekhudi yeh tu ne, bhali chaashni chakhai
Kisi aarzo ki dil mein, nahi ab rahi smaai

Na hazar hai nay khatar hai, na reja hai nay dua hai
Na khayal-e-bandagi hai, na tamanna-e-khudai

Mujhe bekhudi yeh tu ne, bhali chaasheni chakhai

Na maqaam-e-guftugu hai, na mehal-e-justujuu hai
na wohan hawaas puhnchain, na khirad ko hai rasaai

Na makeen hai nay makaan hai, na zameen hai nay zabaan hai
Dil-e-benawa ne meray, wahan chhawni hai chhaii

Na visaal hai na hijraan, na suroor hai na gham hai
Jise kaheyye khwab-e-ghaflat, so woh neend mujh ko aayee

Mujhe be-khudi yeh tu ne, bhali chaasheni chakhai
Hairat mara ze har do jahan be niaz kard
Een khab kaare daulat e bedaar meekunad

Bewilderment has absolved me of both the worlds
This is the consequence of awakening from my dreams

Khuli jab ki chashm e dil e hazeen,
to vo nam raha na teri rahi
Hui hairat aisi kuch aankh par ki asar ki be asari rahi
Pari goshe jaan mein ajab nida ki jigar na bejigari rahi
Khabare tahhayyur e ishq sun na junoon raha na pari rahi
Na to tu raha na to main raha jo rahi bekhabari rahi...
(Khamsa by Nazeer Akbarabadi for Siraj Aurangabadi)

The eyes of an anguished heart open...
No longer moist.. Bereft of tears
The perplexed vision
Remained unmoved.. Devoid of response
The soul heard.. An unusual sound
That took the pluck of life away
As wondrous love revealed itself
The fairy vanished..The ecstasy lost
Nor you remained.. Nor I was found
mere oblivion was all there was...

Mujhe bekhudi ye tune bhali chashni chakhayi
Kisi aarzoo ki dil mein nahi ab rahi samayi

O surrender in love,
You have given me a taste that pales all worldliness
No desire remains
In the heart filled with submission

Na hazar hai na khatar hai, na raja hai ne dua hai
Na khayaal e bandagi hai na tamana e khudai

Neither distance nor fear...
neither hope nor prayer
neither thoughts of subjugation
nor desire of godliness

Na muqqam e guftagu hai na mahhall e justaju hai
Na wahan havaas pahunche na khirad ko hai rasai

No place for exchange of words...
no occasion for further quest
Where neither consciousness reaches
nor thoughts transcend its realm

Na makin hai ne makan hai na zameen hai ne zaman hai
Dil e be nava ne mere jahan chhavni hai chayi

No one resides..Neither habitation exist...
Is where this wandering heart has come to camp

Na visaal hai na hijraan na suroor hai na gham hai
Jise kahiye khwab e ghaflat so woh neend mujh ko aayi

Where there is no union... No separation
no sorrow... no joy
What is said to be an endless oblivion
I enter such a slumber
(Hazrat Shah Niaz)

mujhe be-khudi ye tuu ne - Abida parveen

Truly Awesome.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shajarat al-Hayah

"As the poet said, "only God can make a tree,"
probably because it's so hard to figure out
how to get the bark on."
- Woody Allen

There is a tree alone amidst a desert in Bahrain, that defiantly stands with its roots deep in the sand. It is known to local as the "Shajarat al-Hayah" and its alternative name in English is " The Tree of Life".

No one expected this tree to live or survive, yet it has through God's Will.

Its not a mystery now but ofcourse a natural wonder. Because the source of water for this tree still a question for everyone, as it stands in a place which is completely without water supply.

I wonder how such a symbol of life can survive in such a desolate area. It is such a huge wild tree one expects to see it in a climate that is sufficient with water supply.

But if we study the properties of this tree then its quite evident that it can easily survive on such a desert.

Its a mesquite tree. Its branches are many, extending about as far as its height. Its leaves are full of color and it is a remarkable testament to fortitude in the face of adversity.

As one person said,
“The reason people think its beautiful is because it has no right to be there.”

If we study the properties of this tree then its quite evident that its a specie of Mesquite which is commonly known to be an extremely hardy, drought tolerant plant because it can draw water from the water table through its long taproot (recorded at up to 190 ft in depth). However, it can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability. The tree can easily and rapidly switch from utilizing one water source to the other.

Mesquite trees can grow quickly and furnish shade and wildlife habitat where other trees will not grow. It is also said that such a tree can even regenerate from a piece of root left in the soil.

Therefore, this is a reason why "the tree of life" is still surviving all alone in this oddity.

Image from Flikr tags


Mesquite tree

Raag Purvi Part 1 and 2 - The Ali Brothers - Nazakhat and Salamat

Part 1

Part 2

Salamat Ali Khan and Nazakat Ali Khan were the most famous classical singers of Pakistan in the post independence time. Renowned as Ali brothers when they were singing together and later Salamat as a solo singer reached great heights.

Ali brothers were born in Sham Chaurasi in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab. They received rigorous classical training from their father Ustad Wilayat Ali Khan, the doyen of Sham Chaurasi gharana, and began giving concert at a very young age. They even gave a radio concert from Lahore in 1942. Impressed by their singing, ruler of Champanagar state in Bihar made them is court musicians.

Soon they lost their father and then the partition happened. They decided to migrate to Pakistan. Ali brothers continued to tour India from their base in Pakistan, participating in music conferences and giving concerts.

After the 1965 Indo-Pak war and esp. after 1971 war, patronage for classical music greatly declined in Pakistan. In 1974 Nazakat Ali Khan, the elder brother separated because of a family feud and Salamat had to adopt to solo singing. Nazakat nearly quit singing.

Sham Chaurasi gharana is a very old dhrupad gharana going back nearly 500 years. Credit for bringing khayal singing to this gharana goes to Ali brothers. Deeply influenced by dhrupad, the khayal style they evolved had long alaap and great layakari. In that sense their khayal is very different from other long established khayal gharana-s.

In September 1978 Salamat suffered a stroke while performing at the Ravi Shankar Hall in London. He took a long time to recover and finally was back on stage with his son Sharafat Ali Khan. But the magic of earlier years was gone. In July of 1971 Salamat Ali Khan passed away after a prolonged period of illness.

His sons Sharafat Ali Khan, Shafqat Ali Khan, Sukhawat Ali Khan and Riffat Salamat are carrying forward the tradition of Sham Chaurasi gharana, especially the duo of Sharafat and Shafqat. Nazakat Ali Khan's son Rafaqat Ali Khan is classically trained but prefers to sing experimental classical - pop fusion music. In 1961 they were awarded the "Pride Of Performance" medal by the government of Pakistan.

The Ali Brothers on AOL

On You Tube

Trees in our folktales

This is a painting by Sabir Nazar showing Heer Ranjha in heaven.

In this painting, Ranjha is riding a buffalo (with its udders full of milk, it symbolizes mother earth). Casually sitting on the broad haunches of the buffalo and playing a tune on the flute, Ranjha symbolizes man’s creativity. He is also a passionate and loyal lover.

And the tree in this image symbolizes eternity.

Heer Ranjha is the most widely read folktale of Pakistan. It is one of the most popular tragic romances of the Punjab about Heer [an extremly bold and beautiful woman] and Ranjha [an adventurous young man] along the banks of River Chenab.

Ranjha comes to Heer’s village where she offers him the job to take care of the cattle. Heer becomes mesmerized by the way Ranjha playes flute and they fall in love. Heer’s jealous uncle Qaido catches them and Heer is forced to marry another man "Saida Khera". She elopes with Ranjha and eventually gets caught and poisoned by Qaido. Ranjha wails and mourns as Heer’s grave opens and Ranjha lies beside her in an eternal embrace.
You can read the full details of the story here.

Trees have always been considered sacred and get a prominent place in our folktales. And in this folktale, Ranjha is often shown under the shade of a tree playing a flute and taking care of Heer's cattle. Eventually, Heer becomes mesmerized by the way Ranjha plays his flute and falls in love with him.

No doubt, Sabir Nazar has beautifully illustrated this scene.

Sabir’s first show was held in 1995 at Lahore Art Gallery, featuring a mixed collection of works. Sabir started his career as a cartoonist working for Friday Time in 1991 and designed the famous three horses in Defense. His work revolves around social and symbolic subjects and his cartoons affect his paintings to a great extent, which highlight political changes.

Image credited by:

Heer ranjha by Umair Ghani


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