Light Within

making sense of social media mix

Dr Senta Siller - A Tribue

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Recipient of Floriade (the Netherlands), Gestaltetes Spielgut (Creative Toys – German Toys Industry), Bundesverdienstkreuz (highest civil order of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) and many more honors Dr. Senta Maria Anna turns 82 on November 17, 2017.

I have had the pleasure of working with this great woman, documenting her work since I met her on Okara Buss Stop (Gamber), by chance. I have always found her inspiring, untiring, giving and caring. What is the motive of her work? "I am returning back some of what I achieved in my earlier life," she says. My book Dools Toys and More would never have been possible without step by step guidance by Dr Senta Siller.

She has always been a mentor to me. She helped me look at the life from a different angle. 

Happy Birthday to Dr. Senta Maria Anna – the honorable Mother of Dolls.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, November 17, 2017, , links to this post

When wishes are horses

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Setting eyes on Maqbool and his mule cart for the first time, one culd be forgiven for thinking that he belongs to a working class endeavoring for survival. His shabby dress and toes peeping out of slippers too large for him, do not project an image of a contented and happy man who is fond of good animals and racing.

I first met Maqbool, commonly known as Bola Rehre Wala, at the Multan Railway Station where he works from 6 am to 9 pm every day, no holidays. He takes all the newspapers and magazines arriving at Multan Railway Station from all over Pakistan to various newspaper agencies in the city. He also takes with him any other load he may find on the Railway Station if he is free and his mule is 'willing'. He earns six to eight hundred rupees daily out of which two hundred rupees go to the diet and care of his mule.

Over a period of time, I found out that he has four children, two boys and two girls, none going to school. He and his wife do not wish to send their children to school because the boys are to join him in work as soon as they grow up and the girls are to be married off. His wife takes care of every thing at home. His elder son Nasir Iqbal has already started giving him a hand off and on. In return Nasir gets two hundred and fifty rupees per week as pocket money from his mother, which he spends on rented VCR and five films every week. The family has a colored TV in their in two room house with a separate place for the mule and the cart. Bola is not getting the cable connection because he fears, "girls will see cable all the time."

At the end of the day, Maqbool gives all earnings to his wife. She carefully spends the money on the mule, the family and invests the balance amount in different saving committees in her mohallah. The moment she receives any committee she sends her husband to deposit the money in his bank account. Maqbool says, "She likes the idea of being a wife of a lakhpati." Maqbool had some time ago put some money in a fixed deposit, which is going to be five times in near future. He loves his wife deeply and proudly says that he could not have saved anything without her financial wisdom. They are both illiterate but this does not bother them except that she has to take help from different people for maintaining the record of saving committees and book keeping. How seemlessly, she is changig Maqbool, I keep wondering. 

In his mid forties, Maqbool is fond of cart races and looks forward to participating in the annual mule cart race from Multan to Pakpattan on the eve of Baba Farid Ganj's Urs. He prepares for this long race all round the year but two months before the race the expenditure on the diet of his mule shoots up to four hundred rupees a day. One of his few ambitions in life other than winning the annual race is to slaughter the best cow on Eid Ul Azha. Apple, honey or milk for horses might be common in Pakistan but I had never heard of anybody feeding sweets to his cow. Maqbool does.

"I want to buy a dala for work and keep my mule and cart only for the races," Maqbool informed me secretly, "but my wife says we do not have enough funds yet. My son Nasir will drive the truck and I will collect business for him. Nasir does not like working on the Cart. We have also decided to get him married once he starts working and after we buy a truck."

Apart form his contentment and passion for hard work, Maqbool has almost every quality that one can expect of a happy man living in today's complex world, some of which I discovered during the chance I had to know him better. He has no hostility, fear or alienation. He is free form pretension and phoniness. He has complete faith in God Almighty. Even his work ethics are different than any one in his class. He will often load his cart with luggage at half the fare of what any other cart man will charge. He is famous for being open to persuasion among his colleagues at the railways station. They often refer the passengers "to go find Mooba" once they cannot clinch a deal due to less payment, heavy load, long distance or odd timings.

Surprisingly Maqbool does not complain of the bone breaking price hike or what is happening in the society around him. Nothing bothers him as if he is living in a shell. Though he always comes to know about any thing important happening in the country not by reading the newspaper or listening to the TV news but from the weight of the newspapers he has to carry every day. His load increases whenever some government falls or new prime minister is to be elected in a hurry  or the Supreme Court is to give ruling on cases like 8th amendment or NRO or if there is any other political and or social turmoil in the country.

The big question which comes to one's mind is that whether it is enough for him or for that matter any person to live all wrapped up in one's work, own self, family and be happy or should one aspire for commitment, enlightenment, sharing, giving, reaching for success and affluence.

What do you say? What do you aspire for in life?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, November 13, 2017, , links to this post

Keep A Journal

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No, keeping a journal is not for children. It helps you to become a better thinker and writer. “I don’t want to be a writer” you might think. Well, how many emails and texts do you send a day? Everybody is a writer.

Hence this (scrapbook). 

From here


posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, November 09, 2017, , links to this post

Chaniot's claim to fame

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Chaniot - the name is enough to start the furniture lovers, travelers and cautiously curious dreaming. Antiquity is the first message of the town. And, international quality furniture "made in Chaniot" is collectors delight with potentials for marketing all over the world.

On the bank of River Chenab in area called Sandal Bar, Chaniot town is an exotic place in the foot of series of hillocks that seem to be man made rather than evidence of old mountains. The town is very ancient. It was inhabited before the time when Alexander of Macedon came in the South Asia and was principal City during the rule of White Huns. Chinese explorer Hiuen Tsiang visited it. Alberuni has mentioned in Kitabul-Hind that Chaniot was one of the there most important places in this part of the world.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, September 29, 2017, , links to this post

Surviving Gates of Multan

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One of the oldest living cities in the world, Multan is a significant example of old Islamic urbanization. While many historic Islamic cities have lost much of their original character during the twentieth century, Multan has survived remarkably intact, retaining the classic form of the medieval city encircled by its rampart and gateways. It is the entire urban fabric of the place that is historic.

Inside the walled portion -- archetypal form of old town -- one can still see beautiful bay windows with intricately moulded 'jharokas' in narrow streets or delicate brick work with geometric patterns and tile friezes on the facades of havelis. Meanwhile, modern Multan has expanded in all directions covering over 28 square kilometres of area. And with modernism have come related difficulties. "Problems like overflowing sewerage and a broken down water supply system, encroachments and pollution are taken as hazards of urbanization or attributed to lack of funds," says a resident of Gulgast colony.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, September 18, 2017, , links to this post

Gogera Sadar

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Situated on the bank of river Ravi on Okara Faisalabad Road, Gogera (Sadar) was once an important and dignified town in the plans of Central Punjab. It is reduced to a shabby and sleepy suburb of Okara today. Town still boasts its importance when it was important British power centre and district headquarters from 1852 to 1865 and the part played by the resilient people of the area during War of Independence in 1857. The stories of the war that was fought around Gogera echo in the pages of history books.

The only historic building — a British court — that reminds of the colonial period has been converted into a school. The verandas of the old building with round arches have been clogged to create additional rooms and red thin bricks are covered with coats of whitewash. It was much better if the building could have been conserved in its original shape. That does not seem possible now.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, September 04, 2017, , links to this post

Tukia Nawab Chakar Ki

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An old, sleepy and tranquil village Satghara lies about 80 kilometers from Lahore (20 minutes drive away from Okara) in the quiet backwaters of the Punjab. The coins found at Satghara prove that the place was inhabited at the time of the Kushan dynasty. The rule of Kushans was one of the most decisive periods in the history of the Subcontinent. At the height in the second century (A.D.), Kushans ruled from Oxus to Ganges and yet their influence spread beyond even these frontiers. On the southern bank of the Ravi, it is a typical Pakistani village where farmers live like rustics in the face of urban attractions. Though off the beaten track, it has never been out of limelight. Besides heritage conscious travelers from all over the world, Baloch leaders and contemporary historians visit the hamlet. Reasons: it is a "Tukia Nawab Chakar Ki" - last resting-place of Mir Chakar Rind. I see part of our history buried here whenever I have a look at it. And I do that often.

As per one account, Mir Chakar Rind came to this village with seven families, hence the name. Another legend has it that the village was named Satghara because it was destroyed seven times by floods. Shah Abul Mo'ali, descendant of sixteenth century saint Muhammad Ibrahim Daud-e-Sani Bandgi in his book 'Maqamat-e-Daudi' maintains that Satghara was known by the same name even before the arrival of Mir Chakar Rind. In Baloch history, the sixteenth century was a very eventful period. Baloch fought series of wars amongst themselves. The result of these tribal conflicts not only caused large-scale bloodshed but also resulted in their mass migrations to the Punjab, Sindh and Gujrat (India).
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, September 03, 2017, , links to this post

Khanewal Junction

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Located near old Multan, Khanewal is comparatively a recently founded town. Its only claim to fame is that it is an important destination on the map of Pakistan Railways. Busy railway junction, railway workshop, pre stressed concrete sleeper factory and huge shunting yards have developed a sort of railway culture in this agricultural market town. National highway also passes the town but people mostly uses railways for travelling and transportation.

This area was a vast grazing land before the excavation of Lower Bari Doab Canal. As per the local lore, the grass from this land used to go as far as Burma during the Second World War.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, August 20, 2017, , links to this post

Corporate Blogging

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What I have learnt about corporate blogging is this: Online consumers in 2012 are not impressed simply by a professional looking website or a blog bash. A typical online shopper would do hours of research before making a purchase. Informed consumers want to read about what they are interested in, ask questions, get advice and more. None of this is possible on a simple website. A blog can do all of this.

A blog helps enormously in getting into the top search engine results. Why? Because blogs by their very nature are updated frequently, and search engines prefer fresh content. Search engines prefer sites which have a lot of incoming links. Blogs can get many more of these incoming links than regular websites because people are more likely to link to information (blogs) than commerce (website). Blogs as opposed to websites have a large and growing content. A clearly visible link from the blog to the main website is very effective form of advertising.

Remember the best type of advertising is one that isn't perceived by the customer as advertising.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, August 10, 2017, , links to this post

Local blog context

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Blogs initially started as archives for web links on the Internet. Users could place important links on blogs to be referred and read later. Overtime blogging has matured as a phenomenon and one can see meaningful and useful blogs on any subject online. Blogsphere has become a very strong voice; vibrant, living and ever growing.

Pakistan blogsphere (blogs about Pakistan by local bloggers and those bloggers who are living abroad) has created its own identity that is mostly political and or personal. Pakistan corporate blogging has yet to take off though. Where personal blog create social harmony, well knit community and peace, political blogs add to the positive image Pakistan needs so much, more so in online world. Given the strength of powerful international media and in the face negative content, there has always been a lack of local content. Thanks to able Pakistani bloggers that they are adding meaningful local content in their blogs and that contextual content not only answers some of what mostly ill informed foreign media says but also add to the positive image.

Need of the hour is that Pakistani bloggers come forward and play their role by adding more content that is based on facts and first hand information. You owe this to Pakistan. No?


posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, July 26, 2017, , links to this post

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