Chaudhry Map


The journey embraces you with lovely colours, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.
As harvest approaches, the traveller, especially in the irrigated tracts, rides through endless expanses of waving crops of different shades of colour, out of which the villages seem to rise like islets in an ocean of green. After the harvest all is changed: the dull brown of the fields is relieved by the trees, solitary or in groves and avenues, and by the hamlets and village ponds.
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TRAVELLING ALONG THE LBDC COUNTRY SIDE

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by S A J Shirazi

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While travelling, off the National Highway, not only you travel in soot free and serene environment but you see more too. Riding my trusted old motorbike on Band Patri (not a thoroughfare) of Lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC) from Sahiwal to Balloki Headworks, many new and interesting things come in the way, which normally remain hidden from commuters on the National Highway or travellers in the area.

The journey embraces you with lovely colours, atmosphere, people and bits and pieces of history. And, there is no hassle anywhere in the way.

Rich, ripe wheat harvest

As harvest approaches, the traveller, especially in the irrigated tracts, rides through endless expanses of waving crops of different shades of colour, out of which the villages seem to rise like islets in an ocean of green. After the harvest all is changed: the dull brown of the fields is relieved by the trees, solitary or in groves and avenues, and by the hamlets and village ponds.

I took the side route and got onto the LBDC from Sahiwal — the city famous for greenery and best breed of mammals. The first thing along the LBDC that attracted my attention was Mandi Maweshian (animal market) near Okara — one of the largest in the country.

It is a complete bazaar where a large number of fine quality animals changes hand every month. You can find makeshift hotels (with arrangements for night stay), veterinary doctors, milk and fodder shops and even provision stores. “It is a complete market that keeps moving from one place to another as per its permanent schedule,” told me an astute manager, who establishes a hotel wherever the market goes.

Ripe sugarcane field en route my journey along the LBDC.

“We have beoparis (businessmen) from Karachi to Peshawar, local farmers as well as people working in the market as our customers,” he added. Another shopkeeper informed, “Farmers sell their live stock here and buy provisions for their homes.” The market has its own unique culture.

Near Renala, you see one of the first Hydroelectric Power Stations constructed in the Subcontinent. Sir Ganga Ram, an Engineer and famous Philanthropist had built this Power Station in 1925 in order to irrigate about 70,000 acres of agricultural land that is higher than the normal level in the area and could not be irrigated through the LBDC.

Ganga Ram forked the canal, built the Power Station and installed five motors to generate electricity. The then Governor Punjab, Sir William Malcolm Hailey laid down its foundation stone of the station on March 22, 1925.

Engineer in charge of the station Mr. Iqbal explained the working of the station and briefed about its excellent performance despite the old vintage. The Power Station is not linked with National Electric Grid and only provides electricity for the five pumping stations for lifting the water from the LBDC. The Power Station remained with Power and Works Department till 1958 when it was taken over by WAPDA. Why not more similar hydroelectric stations in the country? The question keeps coming back to my mind.

First sight of the Power Station reminded me of Venice City. The power house building seems to be floating on water. The canal is covered with trees up and down stream. There is a small white mosque inside the canal in front of the station building. Green areas adjoining the station are very restful.

Just about three Kilometres from Renala, you see a huge colonial era mansion standing tall in the fields. This used to be headquarters of the Renala Estate — the land leased by Major D. H. Venrenen in 1913 on the condition of horse breeding (ghori paal). The company had been producing very fine breed of horses in the past. Villa — a symbol of the past era — is still owned by the family of landlady T. F. L. Taylor.

That is the place from where my real ‘hardship by choice’ started. I was travelling on a rural route, seeing the path but not knowing what was coming next. Not knowing what one is going to see ahead is sometime inspiring. But, about 11 Kilometres from Power Station, rear tyre of my bike went flat.

There was no place in sight from where I could get it fixed. Advised by Chiragh Din, a local, I waited for the ‘help’ to come and we talked.

Chiragh Din, relaxed and amiable old man who was fishing asked about my destination, purpose of journey and why I was travelling on a bike. He did not seem convinced with my answers once I told him that I am travelling just to see the area. He was surprised instead. I enjoyed talking to him though. He was so candid and frank about every thing he said.

It pays to get out into the countryside and talk to ordinary people. They are eager to help — on their own expense — when you ask any body. I found volunteer ‘guides’ who were forth coming with wealth of information from history to myths prevalent in the area. But ‘chaudhry map’ is as vague in Punjab about the distances as is anywhere else in Pakistan. I learnt not to rely on chaudhry map during my days in the army but still cannot resist asking.

Where is village Thatta Ghulam? Ask any body when you are riding a motorbike with haversack and water bottle on your sides. The replies will always be same: nearby. Apart from seeing pure rural built heritage, I was surprised to find a Solar Energy Station working in village Thatta Ghulam that is without electric connection.

The ionic counter point is the lack of attention in maintaining the bits and pieces of unique heritage – the resource base of tourism industry. The neglect may be attributed to lack of awareness, education, coordination between authorities, economic constrains and or simply the natural hazards. The magnificent vistas of a land of plans, fields and orchards have to be opened to the rest of the world.

There is a need for information in the form of travel guide writing, pure travel journalism, travel book writing and geographical description in form of maps. No ordinary coldness of phrasing can express the surprise and delight, with which one makes acquaintance with the rural sites. Their perspective gives you a wonderful sense of being there. In fact, that is my recommendation: be there.

Mechanical and animal transport, plying on Pakistani highways and roads has almost equal right of the way. But, I was greatly pleased once a Tonga appeared on a track coming out of sugarcane and blooming mustard fields. A bit of usual haggling about the charges, and I loaded my bike on the back and rode a sturdy Tonga to reach Akhtarabad — the nearest place on National Highway with vulcanization facilities. It took me three hours to get on to my way to Balloki headworks.

Near Balloki Headworks on River Ravi, one passes through a wide water reservoir that looks like a lake. In winters, this lake is full of native waterfowls. Flocks of Wild Ducks, Cranes, Strokes and black winged Stilts are the commonest sights in the area. The fish kababs at Balloki Headworks are a speciality and culinary delight.

I had a dinner break at Balloki, treated myself with fish kababs — fresh from the river — and proceeded to National Highway for onwards journey to Lahore via more familiar route.

S A J Shirazi is a Lahore based writer, blogger and speaker. Shirazi has authored two books (Izhar, Ret Pe Tehreer) and translated Din Mein Charagh by Abbas Khan into Light Within.

More from S. A. J. Shirazi on Wonders of Pakistan

1. Who Owns Harand Fort? – Pakistan 2. King’s Treatment  3. Hiran Minar 4. Around Abbotabad 5. The Wonders of Deosai Plains

You might also like:  

1. Rural Pakistan: More Colors, More Scenes [in four parts] 2. Colors of Punjab, Rural Pakistan [in four parts] 3. Life in a Pakistani Village
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Rural Pakistan: More Colors, More Scenes [3 of 4]


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This picture of grand old maa [maternal grand mother] reminds me of the famous song by late Jagjit Singh. In this song Jagjit while singing the unforgettable Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shohrat bhi le lo…… recounts the story telling sessions with grand old maa…..
Mohalle ki sab se nishani purani
Wo burhiya jise bachay kaehatay thay Nani
Wo Nani ke baton mein pariyon ka dera
Wo chaihray ki jhuriryon mein sadiyon ka phera
Bhulaye nahi bhool sakta hai koi
Wo chhoti si ratain wo lambi kahani
Wo kaghaz ki kashti Wo barish ka pani….
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RURAL  PAKISTAN - MORE - COLORS - MORE  - SCENES

 

Text: Nayyar Hashmey

Images: Saraiki Youth Forum/Value9·

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A-typical-Pakistani-Village

The life in Pakistani villages is simple, the people here enjoy a clean pollution free environment and they eat simple, healthy and pure diet. Here in this image is a typical Pakistani village. Look at the simple mud house. The life of villagers likewise is also simple yet enjoyable. [Image via http://nativepakistan.com/photos-of-pakistani-villages/]

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The village kids enjoy swimming and making fun in the village ‘toba’. The clay mound along the ‘toba’ used by children has been turned into a playground slide as they slip from the height to the base of the pond.  

A-village-house-during-rain

A Village House during Rain. [ [Image via http://nativepakistan.com/photos-of-pakistani-villages/]

A foggy village morning

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Soap bubble seller making soap balloons to attract his customers, the children (of the village). 

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An ordinary house in a village. Noteworthy, however, are the the beautiful hand made designs of flowers on the walls of the house.

A sheet in natural dyes/block printing from Karorh Pacca in the Saraiki belt of Pakistan.
Ancient techniques of applying designs on textiles with pigments and dyes are admired as one of the honorific achievements in the textile arts of Pakistan.
It is most likely that block printing also evolved here at an early date because the most ancient techniques are still practiced in Sindh where the cotton textile industry and the art of dyeing were highly developed at the time of the Indus valley civilization.
Terra-cotta stamps probably used for printing textiles in the 1st century AD were excavated in Taxila. Lahore’s calicoes were widely exported during the Mughal period. In southern part of the Punjab, block prints are noted as one of the best prints produced in the subcontinent.
Punjab appears as vestiges of a craft that was so widespread that most villages had their own block printers to provide the printed fabrics required by the local people.

Saroan Da Saag with butter, cherry tomatoes, onions and green chilly.  Saag is a spinach and mustard leaves based curry dish highly relished in rural Pakistan. Taken with bread such as roti or naan, the dish is liked as much by the young as by the old.
Saag can be made from spinach, mustard leaves, or other greens, along with added spices and sometimes other ingredients.

Mahra breed of camels is a fine, fast and gracious looking type. These animals are lightly built, medium sized with medium head which is carried on a lean long beautifully curved neck.
These camels have strong, fine and well shaped legs. They are a perfect fit for the camel dance. Competitions are held in major towns of Cholistan, Multan, Muzaffargarh in southern Punjab and different parts in Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

A herdsman with his staff leading the cattle

For many of us the village folk, the most wonderful time of the year is the harvest time. …. when we get home from the fields, always well after much of work and usually at high noons….. The tree cast a large area of shade, and there are several free meters of shady space in every direction. …. We do manage to evoke a couple of “cool” hours and when we have finished the hard day day work, after dinner we go to sleep in the open,“wow” the sound sleep and the sweet dreams…..

The village halwai at work. He could be of your village, mine or anybody else’s, he is integral part of the village culture in Pakistan.

The village hand pump and a bath in the open is the real cool thing when there is much of biting heat in summers.

Another view of  a village home. A manji (the charpoy) to lie down, or just to have a nap at noon, A hand shovel can also be seen in the court yard.

A beautiful shot by Razaq Vance

Another good shot. A farmer with his goats.

In Pakistani rural hoseholds, a churning staff called Madhani is used to separate white butter from milk. The utensil having yogurt and water is poured into a chaati, and then blown with a staff which separates out butter from yogurt-water mix called lassi. In the picture above, an innocent successfully tries to move the staff (madhani) mimicking his mother’s everyday core .in the morning.

A village man sitting on a charpoy with his goat lying in a resting mood on the same charpoy, while his cattle are idly sitting on ground eating the green fodder or snoozing.

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Halwa poori is a part of the traditional Pakistani cuisine. The dish consists of poori bread with channa masala, along with halwa.
Halwa poori is taken as a breakfast item mainly on weekends in big metropolitan cities as well as the villages and towns in Punjab.
Halwa poori is taken at all times, but it is usually a part of breakfast. Its also a part of the special dish preparations during Ramadan and other occasions such as Eid, birth day parties and casual get-togethers.

It was the last visit that I had to my home village, I got to relive some of my village childhood culinary pleasures. Have you ever taken jalebis. When you take a sip of warm milk and bite the lump of jalebis, heaven could not be better than this.
After dinner I chat with old buddies and we drink some hot tea – made the “paindoo” way; milk with lot of sugar. Just thinking of all of this makes me home sick.

At a toba in Cholistan near Bahawalpur district in the Punjab province, camels drinking water and two village women collecting water for households.

Girl making pairhas (dough balls) to put the same in the tandoor to get hot, crispy chappatis for customers.

Me and my village and the rains. And the walk in the wet.

Granny making breakfast for the family

Stapoo is a game mostly played by the girls.  This game is played within a small boundary (court), drawn on the ground and a piece of stone. In the image above, girls are playing stapoo in a village near Faisalabad.

Pakistani truck art is famous worldwide. Many truck drivers here use their vehicles as a medium of expression for themselves. From some intricate paintings to romantic verses, film heroes to portraits of Qaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal anything could be put on these vehicles.
But this guy here [the rickshaw owner] had a unique idea. He attached his donkey to a richly painted cart and now plies from place to place with his khota rickshaw, his prideful version of the famous truck art of Pakistan.

Giving knots and ties to a charpoy

What a sight!!! A tractor carrying a mountain? Yes, a villager here is carrying the mountain but of green fodder. You can see on back of the tractor, there is nothing visible but fodder. On the top young men are sitting over fodder enjoying their journey back home.

The Cholistani peope lead a semi-nomadic life, moving from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals. The dry bed of the Hakra River runs through the area, along which many settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization have been found.
The Desert also has an Annual Jeep Rally, known as Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally. It is the biggest motor sports event in Pakistan.

 Fresh Jalebi, still hot from the karhahi is the best In Pakistani sweets,. The halwais make it so fast and have great style- blurred hands. During our visit to a nearby village, we spent a while there admiring the skill of the man preparing the jalebis for us, when he gave us our change, his gratitude for our praise nearly brought me to tears! He calmly and repeatedly thanked us so sincerely just for being blown away by his snacks. Such is the pride in their work and open hearts… 

Spectators enjoy a performing monkey show in a Pakistani town. Dressed as a monkey bride, the animal dances to the beatings of a dugduggi to earn money from passers-by for the owner at a roadside. Throughout Pakistan, but mainly in the rural districts the traveling buskers do street shows with monkeys. They often come into a village/city, set up and do their performances in the streets for a few days, and then leave before the public gets bored of them.
More often than not, these shows are not as exciting, yet the village boys and girls find them real entertainment when the monkey shakes hands with the crowd and takes their money, dancing, acting with props, and, in general, putting on a comedy routine with their trainer. Whatever is the case, it sure beats most busking acts.

·Its “my village”, where the trees are still green, the sky still blue which counted for something. It was July and raining and all the ponds and streams were swollen .. gerania and lilies fluttered as the wind was blowing ..the long winding path that led to our village mosque, where we have been praying for years. The peace transcends into joy when we stand before the Almighty..Ferns pushing through the cracks and crevices,the white and red flowers rejoicing..me and my village and the rains.
“We both live in the same village”
We both live in the same village and that is our one piece of joy.
The yellow bird sings in their tree and makes my heart dance with gladness.
Her pair of pet lambs come to graze near the shade of our garden.
If they stray into our barley field I take them up in my arms.
Bees that have hived in our grove go to seek honey in theirs.
Flowers launched from their landing stairs come floating by the stream where we bathe.
Baskets of dried kusm flowers come from their fields to our market.
The lane that winds to their house is fragrant in the spring with mango flowers.
When their linseed is ripe for harvest, the hemp is in bloom in our field.
The stars that smile on their cottage send us the same twinkling look.
The rain that floods their tank makes glad our Kadam forest.
(Rabindranath Tagore)

Next: Rural Pakistan: More Colors, More Scenes [4 of 4]

Pages:   1    2    3    4

Contd…

Note:  As always, click the individual image to view in full size.

You might also like: 

1. Colors of Punjab, Rural Pakistan [in four parts] 2. King’s Treatment 3. Life in a Pakistani Village 4. Kanjwani Mela – The Spirit Lives On…
All Images  Tagore’s poem

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If you own copyrights to some material and you want us to remove it from our pages, contact us to claim your ownership and we will either credit you, or if you wish – completely remove the content.

Colors of Punjab, Rural Pakistan [4 of 4]


Give me a home where buffaloes roam!
Most of the villagers live in a mixed environment, of a home with numerous different crops and livestock. The livestock include goats and sheep cattle, cows and water buffaloes. Here in a barha (the cattle yard), buffaloes are being given wanda ( beef fodder comprising mainly of hay, rich protein meal, minerals, oil seeds cakes, and carbohydrates).
 

MEDA JISM VI TOON - MEDI ROOH VI TOON

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by Nayyar Hashmey & Nidokidos

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Country life is sweet. No doubt about that. The greatest of the poets have sung the praise of it. And the prophets too had the greatest admiration for village life. Great thinkers and philosophers spent their invaluable lives in the countryside. No surprise that village life is highly cherished by all, in all ages, and all societies

 A stunning shot taken on the dawn of a new day.

Me, meadows and my cow.  But for now, going home.
Green green crop of home….
Even the autumn scenes  offer colorful look.

Back home with a bountiful harvest.

Previous:  Colors of Punjab, Rural Pakistan [3 of 4]

Pages:   1    2    3    4

Concluded.

Note:  As always, click the individual image to view in full size.

You might also like: 

1. King’s Treatment 2. Life in a Pakistani Village 3. Kanjwani Mela – The Spirit Lives On…
Source: All images by nidokidos.org

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

We do not claim exclusive rights on all articles, images or videos published on this site. The sources we use to create our articles, images, videos etc. are credited with a proper linkback. However, we do host material from unknown authors we receive via mails, from friends and our readers.
If you own copyrights to some material and you want us to remove it from our pages, contact us to claim your ownership and we will either credit you, or if you wish – completely remove the content.

Colors of Punjab, Rural Pakistan [3 of 4]


Villagers mostly prefer sleeping on a charpoy in the open. Here in the courtyard of a village home, the manjis with khes, bedsheet and pillows still can be seen lying in the open. After the men or women of the family are free from making/taking breakfast, the manjis will either be removed inside the house or will be stacked along the walls.
 

MEDA JISM VI TOON - MEDI ROOH VI TOON

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by Nayyar Hashmey & Nidokidos

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Tree along the roadside: A common yet scenic view of the country side 

 Autumn scene captured through lens of the photographer. I do not know whether this image has been photoshopped. If not, the shot is superb. If photoshopped, even then the view here is simply amazing.

(more…)

Colors of Punjab, Rural Pakistan [2 of 4]



Children of a village while away in the courtyard of a house. They just finished off a tough ‘fight of the kites’ (paitch larhana). Kite flying is a popular game in the villages of Punjab.
Punjabi boys and girls are known to have keen interest in sports. A variety of indoor and outdoor games are played. These include Gulli-danda, Chhuppan Chhupai (Hide-and-seek), playing Bantay (Marbles), Stapu (Hopscotch) and Pugan pugai.

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MEDA JISM VI TOON – MEDI ROOH VI TOON

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by Nayyar Hashmey & Nidokidos

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Though mini vans, wagons and Chingchis have gradually replaced the animal transport chiefly a tonga, (horse drawn buggy) in the cities, villagers still find tonga as a cheaper mode of transport. And being conventional transport in the countryside since centuries, they prefer its ride over auto transport.
Moreover, besides being economical, tongas are airy and not prone to atmospheric pollution as do their automotive counterparts, that daily send tons of waste gases to our atmosphere causing the deadly greenhouse gases effect.

Village dwellers are always so eager to reach their home that they would occupy any nook, any corner of a bus plying to their village. In the image above, village youth are sticking on different parts of the bus like a swarm of flies.
Some are even standing on the roof top and other sticking on the footsteps, while still there are others who find the minimum possible space anywhere just to stick on to enough width and hold on to a support anywhere to stay in tact.
Risky! yes a high risk endeavor indeed, but for villagers, the love of their home is so pressive that they would go for taking such risk every day than compelled to stay overnight in a big city.

(more…)

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