Blog

Walls of Piety
01/01/2020

City mosques are often the most prominent landmarks of a neighbourhood. As an Anglicised form of the Arabic word masjid, the mosque is a central institution in an Islamic community, as it serves as the site for daily prayers as well as a place for exchange of community information. The matrimonial and funerary rituals are also performed at the mosques, in addition to celebration of annual religious ceremonies. Without any census of mosques in...

Human, All Too Human
01/01/2020

Animal Rights Day is marked on October 4, every year, to raise the levels of awareness about the status of animals, in order to improve their welfare standards around the globe. It is an annual reminder for the rights of animals; wild as well as domesticated, with whom we share our habitat. It helps us remember that the natural habitat is as much for the humans as it is for the animals. Through increased awareness and education, we can create a world...

University Governance
01/01/2020

Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken a notice of the declining standards of higher education in the country. In a bid to reform the education sector, the Court has started from the ‘home’ ground, the institutions of legal education in the country, which are a small but significant part of state university education, suffering from a severe crisis of governance. As the proverbial fish rots from the head, the crisis of governance in state...

HEC’s Unending Failures
01/01/2020

With an annual budget of Rs 90 billion, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) strives to follow its mission statement ‘to facilitate institutions of Higher Learning to serve as an engine of Pakistan’s socio-economic development’. Last month, HEC released its annual performance report on the state of higher education in the country for the year 2014-15, after a lapse of three years. This defeats the very purpose of an annual report, which is...

The Historical Tombs of the Martyrs of Gomal Valley
01/01/2020

The spread of Islam in South Asia brought in its wake the tradition of funerary architecture in India, where no such custom existed. In medieval Islamic society, the commemoration of the dead and their celebration in architectural form was reserved for the powerful and wealthy. Over the course of centuries, a large number of tombs and shrines of the spiritual and political Muslim elite began to dominate the Indian landscape. Housed in aquatic or...

The Monument of Ideology
01/01/2020

Minar-e-Pakistan is one of the most publicized monuments of the country, which has become the emblem of national identity of Pakistan. Inaugurated in October 1969, Minar-e-Pakistan marks the passing of Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940 by the All India Muslim League (AIML) at Minto Park, Lahore. The resolution marking the anti-colonial struggle called for separate states in the Muslim majority areas of the Indian subcontinent. Twenty years...

A Pictorial Memorabilia of Pakistan’s Independence
01/01/2020

F. E. Chaudhry, Pakistan’s first professional press photographer, extensively covered the activities of the Muslim Leagues' struggle for the independence. Credited to have taken photographs of Quaid-i-Azam, he followed the lives and career of all the Muslim League leaders, including Liaquat Ali Khan. As a visual chronicler of his times, he photographed the upheavals of partition and the migration of thousands of refugees from across the newly-drawn...

Pakistan’s National Culture: A Mosaic of Regional Identities
01/01/2020

14th August is not only the day for celebration of national independence, but also a day for the reclamation of the cultural paradigms of Pakistani nationhood. It is a historic day to remember that the very etymology of the word Pakistan, as coined by a young Muslim nationalist, Chaudhry Rahmat Ali in 1933, is rooted in its regional identities. Like the acronym itself, which draws from the initials of the five regions of Northern India, including...

Connecting the Two Capitals: From Taxila to Islamabad
01/01/2020

When Pakistani government chose to shift capital from the bustling port city of Karachi to the north of Rawalpindi, where the Potohar plateau rises to Margalla Hills, little did they realize that they are establishing a direct territorial link to the capital of an ancient civilization, Takshasila, i.e., the hill capital of the Kingdom of Gandhara. Situated at the pivotal junction of trade routes of South Asia and Central Asia in the lush green...