Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bakarwal Community of AJK

During a recent visit to the State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir for a workshop, had witnessed the beautiful terrain all the way to Muzaffarabad.
On my way happened to witness the Bakarwal community. 
I asked about them from the colleague of mine who is a resident of AJK. He told me that Bakarwals are nomadic shepherds who roam around the lower part of the Himalayan Mountain region of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in search of pastures for their livestock.
Their language is known as Parimu or Hindki being quite different from the Kashmiri and other Dogri languages.
The people are generous in nature. Sometimes they have hundreds of sheep’s in their herd which are protected by Bakharwal Dogs, an ancient working breed of dog found in these areas though there is a rapid decline of this species and it is at a verge of extinction. They also have beautiful horses which carry their basic stuff which is used for making tent and living a nomadic life.

Documenting Bakarwal Indigenous Knowledge:
They have excellent knowledge of the indigenous plants that grow within the lower region of Himalayan Mountain range. They used to trade natural herbs/shrubs in return of food.

As these people are nomadic and fast disappearing due to unprecedented climatic changes within the region. It is imperative that their knowledge of the plants/herbs/shrubs is documented along with their way of life. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

British Alumni Dinner & Awards 2016


Witnessed the first ever British Alumni Awards recognizing the achievements of the Alumni that have excelled in specific fields. This year 3 categories were introduced:

- Professional Excellence, Social Development & Entrepreneurship.

A very well organized event at Acton House, British Deputy High Commission Karachi providing the perfect ambiance for a nice dinner and good music.

It provided opportunity to meet some old friends though majority of our colleagues missed the event.

Well hope to see all our gang in the next Alumni Dinner 2017.

Some Glimpses of the event:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Tale of 2 Schools

Well, today I went to a fun filled carnival organized by Foundation Public School in their O level campus in Defence, the theme was "Be Creatively Alive" which was an artistic fusion of colours, threads, clay, dance and music. The students performed well, and it sure a delight to see the creativity and enthusiasm of these kids. The kids were encouraging their fellow students with cheers and alot of applause, some witnessing the shows from balconies while some were busy taking pictures from their Smart Phones and DSLR cameras.

As the Defence campus is located near a locality where it is rather difficult to find parking space, so arrangements were made in a school compound of Pakistan Railways. Where you can see alot of boys playing cricket and admiring the rich getting out of their luxury cars going to their children school without noticing the fact, that indeed where they have parked their cars is actually a very old and historic school.

The two opposing school portrays the reality of our society's gap between the have and have nots.
If we do not do something to bridge the gap our society will turn into heartless coal that burns bright in the heat, blackens and burn everything that comes in its way just like the building of the Pakistan Railways Secondary School.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Visit to Kunri, Umerkot Sindh- Kunri Mirch Mandi,

A couple of friends decided to visit Umerkot, the birth place of Akbar the land of the famous folktale "Omer-Marvi". Although myself have visited Umerkot several times for official trips but never had the chance to see the world's famous Kunri Mirch Mandi. 
It was sure a surprise, even before seeing the Mirch Mandi one can easily smell the rich and strong aroma of the red chilies. Myself and my friends along with the local peasant when got out of the car started to sneeze like crazy. The strong smell hits your nostrils and then water comes rushing out of the eyes. The merchants as well as the laborers were normal and were laughing to see us sneezing like hell.
Well, I must say that it is one of the most spectacular site and wish that people of the world can see such a wonder. Another important thing that I want to highlight that in Umerkot the majority of the people are Hindus, and as witnessed from the famous Umerkot Fort, Mosques and Temples side by side with people mingling freely is a sure delight. The world needs to know that Pakistan is a vibrant colorful, peaceful place rather the one being promoted by a few. 

I tell all that if you have not witnessed the  Kunri Mirch Mandi, then you have missed a wonder of the world.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visit to the Shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Indigenous Ajrak Maker of BhitShah

Travelled to Bhit Shah to pay tribute the Great Sufi Poet "Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai". Shah Abdul Latif was born around 1689 in the village of Sui-Qandar. He has written extensively on Religion, Philosophy, Tales of Distant Lands, Romance etc. His compilation of writing is called "Shah-Jo-Risalo" During my visit, I also had the opportunity to witness some of the Indigenous Folk Singers, singing tales from the famous writing of the poet. I was amazed to see the instruments used by the Folk Singers, he described to me about the working of the instrument "Tambura" and told me that it was Shah Bhittai who invented it. 

Another important reason for the Town of Bhit Shah to be famous in world map is because of Ajrak (Traditional Block Printed Shawls). To look and learn the basics of Ajrak from the Indigenous People was an unforgettable experience out of this world.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shamanism Practice in Pakistan

The practice of Shamanism in Pakistan is an interesting topic being explored by Afsheen Sajid Ali, of Geo Tv. The documentary will be aired by Geo Tv through their Geomentary Program.

The practice of Shamanism is first completely misunderstood by the ordinary people and most of the people who are not even Shaman are labelled as one. I being an anthropologist, tries to answer some of the myths and clear the misunderstanding about the concept of Shamanism its origin and relation to anthropology. The practice of Shamanism in Pakistan and in other parts of the world and whether Shamanism can be labelled as a "Religion'.

Shamans of Hunza (Bitan)