Daily Archives: June 28, 2008

Karachi calling – Mohammad Hanif

posted by Raza Rumi

When novelist Mohammed Hanif told friends he was returning to Pakistan after 12 years in Britain, they were aghast. Why would he and his young family swap London for a city with daily power cuts and rampant gun crime? The answer proved surprisingly simple …

  • Mohammed Hanif writing for The Guardian (Tuesday June 24, 2008)
Mohammed Hanif

Twelve years ago, I arrived in London from Karachi with eight suitcases, a new wife and a three-year job contract. Before leaving for London, we had put our books, furniture and even some of our kitchen utensils at our relatives’ houses. When I told my friends and family that we would be back after exactly three years, they gave us a knowing smile and encouraged us to sell that sofa instead of putting it in their store room.

Two months from now, we are planning to return to Karachi with a container full of furniture, more pots and pans than we left behind and a 10-year-old son. Friends and family in Pakistan are aghast. From London to Karachi? Why are you coming to Karachi? Do you know what happened to Sana’s friend the other day? Do you have any idea how you’ll live without electricity for 10 hours every day? And, by the way, have you discussed this with Channan? How does he feel about it? Continue reading

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Filed under Books, Karachi, New Writers

Awami Jamhori Forum’s new issue

Awami Jamhori Forum’s latest issue 44 (20th June 2008) has been uploaded here.

In the current issue AJF magazine, you will find some important articles regarding left, liberal and nationalist politics of Pakistan along with some articles on international issues. Some highlights for those who may be interested are:

• An eye opening interview of a Bengali Nationalist, Mr. Kamal Lohani who unfolds weaknesses of Bengali nationalist movement and also throws light on 37 years post freedom Bangladesh.

• Two articles on great Mian Iftikhar ud Din (one by Kashif Bukhari and other by Rauf Malik) who was the first Muslim leaguer who opposed Qarar Dade-Maqasad. He was founder of daily Pakistan times, Imroz and weekly Lail lo Nehar. He also was the founder of Azad Pakistan party which later joined National Awami Party.

• Regular columns of Prof Khalid Mahmood, Salman Sawati, Hukam Singh Siasi, Iqbal Bali,

Regular articles of Tufail Dhana, Shah Mohamad Marri , Dr. Ravish Nadeem, Mahmood Qazi, Qaisar Nazir Khawar and Dr. Afshan Zaheer

• A critical article on Faiz-Izat Majeed controversy by Dr Manzur Ijaz

• Two special articles on situation of ‘tribal belt’ by Raja Waliat and another by Mujahid Mirza

• An exclusive article by Khurshid Javed on Bukharin

• An article by Mahfoz Khan on bleeding Multan

• An exclusive book review on a book regarding the struggle of Punjab University students in recent times by Q.N.Khawar. Also a stunning Film Review on film ‘AMU’ a must see.

You can also visit their archive web site http://www.sajjanlahore.org.

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Filed under Books, Left, magazines, Politics

The end of Taxila

by Salman Rashid

With the defeat of the Huns in 528, Taxila attempted to make a comeback. But forsaken by its upper classes, Taxila perhaps became home to rustics from surrounding settlements and began its final journey into the long night

Beginning with the annexation of Taxila to the kingdom of Alexander, there began a three hundred year-long period of Taxilan Hellenisation — save of course the century-long hiatus of the Mauryan period. The successors of Alexander’s general Seleucus Nikator annexed Afghanistan and Taxila together with most of modern Pakistan.

A hundred and fifty years later, they were overthrown by the pale-skinned Scythians (Saka to the Indians). These horse-riding warriors so overwhelmed our part of the world that Sindh became Saka Dvipa — Island of the Sakas for the people of India and Indo-Scythia for the distant Greeks.

Taxila was now ruled by the Scythian king Maues. Within a few years of his death in 53 BCE, the land was overtaken by yet another wave of equestrian warriors. The Parthians had much in common with their distant kinsmen, the Sakas; only they were a good deal culturally less refined than the people they replaced. They had, nevertheless, the desire to appear as Greek as possible and therefore emulated Greek fine arts, even if in a somewhat cruder form.

By the year 19 CE, Taxila was firmly in the able hands of the Parthian king Gondophares in whose reign the Greek philosopher Apollonious visited the city to tell us so much about it. When Gondophares died in 50 CE, so too did the great age of Hellenisation of Taxila come to an end. No long after this great king’s death, Taxila was visited by the plague which wiped out a major part of its population and left the city reeling.

In that enfeebled state about the year 65, it was run over by the Kushans — another Central Asiatic race. Unlike the nearly bloodless takeover by the Parthians only fifty years earlier, this change was bloody: as the Kushans tore across the Yusufzai plain leaving death and destruction in their wake, and even as they came over the fords of the Sindhu River, Taxila was seized by a frenzy of terror. Continue reading

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