Sunday, August 28, 2011

Published in Express Tribune (22 Aug, 2011)

Via Flickr:
Not sure exactly where. But this is our beautiful Thar desert. Somewhere between Mithi and Nagar on Pakistan-India border. This photograph was published, along with my article on Thar desert travel, in Express Tribune Sunday Magazine issue of 22nd August, 2011.

Portrait: Raja Islam, Railway station

Via Flickr:
This is one of my favourite portraits of my friend, Raja Islam. He is a computer programmer by day and cricketer / photographer by night. This frame just pops out. I have always admired British Raj era buildings including railway stations. So its good to shoot someone there!

Gorhi village, Thar, Pakistan

Via Flickr:
One of the Hindu villages in Thar. This village is famous for the Jain temple from probably 15-16the Century AD. The village itself is beautiful.

Wall painting, Nagar temple, Thar, Pakistan

Via Flickr:
Someone has deliberately damaged the beautiful wall painting inside the Nagar Jain temple, located in the Bazaar area of the town. This temple is compact but is beautiful. Unfortunately, our government and relevant departments don't have any mechanism in place for protection of such a beautiful and important religious structure.

The temple structure shown in the painting is that of the temple itself. I hope this important building will be protected and preserved for future generations.

Tea preparation, Kuchlak, Balochistan

Via Flickr:
This photograph must be seen within the context of its environment. This is Kuchlak, a slow town on the edge of a highway connecting Quetta with various Western cities and towns of the province. This photograph was shot over the brick kilns - these metal covers are actually vents for the hot air. They are removed from time to time to check the heat within this kiln. Therefore, when labour wishes to cook food or brew chai (tea), they simply place their kettle over any of the vents and the cooking gets done.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Red chilli market, Kunri, Sindh

I like this photograph for a simple reason that whenever I look at it I smile a lot. It was a nice day with lot of spices up my nose. In my whole life, I had never witnessed so many red chillies in one place. So many that I later claimed that it must be the largest chilli market in Asia, if not in the whole world. Rows upon rows of chilli would be graded, packed and loaded after intense bargaining between the owner and the middle man.

Most of the growers of chilli in Pakistan are Hindu banyas and they tend to wear starched white kamiz shalwar. They always look stately in their dresses but most of them are very down to earth. The middle man are usually very cunning and come from Punjab or Karachi. At the end of the day, everyone wins. Sometimes, un-expected rains may spoil the crop but apart from that everything is good - and red.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London riots and Altaf Hussain

Pir of London, Mr. Altaf Hussain, would be glad that his adopted motherland is burning to ashes right in front of him. The lovely, 1000-year old capital has hit by worst ever public rioting in living memory. This is something new for Londoners, people whose government has sent thousands of troops to kill and maim Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. People who once ruled over half of the world. Today their own disgruntled youth has turned against them. And it is funny to note that the destroyer and butcher of Karachi, Altaf Hussain, is in London while all this is happening.

In recent weeks, since MQM, the main party of Karachi and Hyderabad, a party which is traditionally supported by Urdu speaking families, left the main coalition party in Sindh (PPP) the city of Karachi has been left in tatters. Hundreds of people, mostly immigrant Pashtuns, have been killed by the violent MQM party. The backlash from the Pashtun supported ANP has been almost equal. Thus, the stalemate. And now, after hundreds of Karachi wallas are dead MQM has again accepted - on certain conditions - the parcels from Mr. Zardari.

Now people are saying - and rightly, I think - that MQM's chief, Mr. Altaf Hussain, might perhaps be responsible for the rioting presently underway across much of UK. This might be a joke but there is an element of truth in this: When you support a known terrorist and give him home and office space, he might just one day turn on you. A snake, they say, never really forgets its real self. Therefore, UK government must not rule out the possibility of rouges such as Altaf Hussain taking part in the freeloading during riots.