Indus Valley Civilisation: The Genesis [2 of 3]


Notable in civilization around the Indus Valley is the lack of strong resemblances to other early civilizations to the west of Mesopotamia, which indicates that Harappa was not a colony. Skeletal remains, however, show that the dominant human type of the peoples who built the civilization was a tall, long faced, dark-haired strain much like those from the Mediterranean region.
And the civilization was anchored on two cities: Harappa in the north on one of the five great rivers that forms the Indus, and Mohenjo-daro, 400 miles to the south on the banks of the Indus proper. These cities formed the town capitals of a complex of smaller urban centers and villages that covered an area four times the size of Sumer and twice the size of Egypt during the Old Kingdom.
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THE INDUS VALLEY & THE GENESIS OF  CIVILZATION IN ASIA

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by R. A. Guisepi·

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Today the script still has not been deciphered and much of the original mystery remains. But decades of extensive excavation at the original site and hundreds of other sites throughout the Indus valley have uncovered a huge complex of cities and villages that made up the first civilization in South Asia. The evidence found so far indicates that Harappan civilization developed quite rapidly in the middle centuries of the 3rd millennium B.C. There are sharp divergences from the village cultures that preceded it in levels of material culture, scale, and organization. (more…)

Indus Valley Civilisation: The Genesis [1 of 3]


Like the Sumer, Egypt, and other early civilizations in the Middle East, civilizations first developed in East and South Asia in the vicinity of great river systems. In South Asia, civilization first developed in the Indus River valley in present-day Pakistan in the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., more than a thousand years earlier than it did in China. In fact, the civilization of the Indus valley, usually called Harappan after its chief city, rivals Sumer and Egypt as humanity’s oldest one. But like Sumer and its successor civilizations in the Middle East, Harappan civilization was unable to survive natural catastrophes and nomadic invasions.

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THE INDUS VALLEY & THE GENESIS OF  CIVILZATION IN ASIA

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by R. A. Guisepi

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INTRODUCTION

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Like the Sumer, Egypt, and other early civilizations in the Middle East, civilizations first developed in East and South Asia in the vicinity of great river systems. When irrigated by the massive spring floods of the Yellow River, the rich soil of the North China plain proved a superb basis for what has been the largest and most enduring civilization in human history. Civilization first developed in the Indus River valley in present-day Pakistan in the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., more than a thousand years earlier than it did in China. In fact, the civilization of the Indus valley, usually called Harappan after its chief city, rivals Sumer and Egypt as humanity’s oldest. But like Sumer and its successor civilizations in the Middle East, Harappan civilization was unable to survive natural catastrophes and nomadic invasions. (more…)

What the ages couldn’t accomplish…


For as long as anyone can remember, water from this pond in Kataas flowed to Choa Saidan Shah in an uninterrupted, never-stopping stream, Kataas being at a higher elevation than Choa. For years past it supplied water to the nearby villages of Wahoola, Tatral and Dulmial, and never for a moment would its water level, fed by spring waters underneath, fall even by so much as an inch.
But what time could not accomplish a nearby cement plant has, its massive turbines relentlessly sucking up groundwater and diverting the flow of the springs, thus bringing about the death – for it is nothing less than that – of the holy waters of Kataasraj. No ashnaan is possible in them anymore. The ancient ghosts themselves would have fled.
[In the image above, shot in 2007 Pundit Vanay Kumar Bansi plays Sunkh during ‘puja’ at the Kataas Raj temples].

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REQUIEM KATAS

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by Ayaz Amir 

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The hills of the Salt Range are amongst the oldest on earth, the valleys of the Salt Range amongst the most haunting on earth. In the Kahoon Valley, over which the fingers of the Almighty must have tarried as He went about shaping it, is a site sacred to the Hindu religion. This is the ancient temple complex of Kataasraj, rising over the waters of a deep and mysterious pond which has existed since the world as we know it – when the mountains rose and the seas receded – was first created. (more…)

Don’t Betray Us, Barack — End the Empire


Obama has taken a bad situation and, in many ways, made it worse. He got off to a good start, immediately taking steps to reverse some of Bush’s most outlandish policies – pledging to end torture and close the detention facility at Guantanamo as well as the network of CIA-administered secret prisons. But he ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from opportunistic Republicans and conservative Democrats over these and other progressive measures and has been in retreat ever since. As a result, his first two years in office have been an utter disappointment disappointment.
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LET’S FACE FACTS

THE US CAN NO LONGER DICTATE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.

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by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick
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“Suddenly, a season of peace seems to be warming the world,” the New York Times exulted on the last day of July 1988. Protracted and bloody wars were ending in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua, and between Iran and Iraq. But the most dramatic development was still to come.

In December 1988, the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, declared the cold war over. “The use or threat of force no longer can or must be an instrument of foreign policy,” he said. “This applies above all to nuclear arms.”
He proposed cutting offensive strategic arms in half, jointly safeguarding the environment, banning weapons in outer space, ending exploitation of the third world and canceling third world debt payments. He called for a UN-brokered ceasefire in Afghanistan, acknowled­ging that, after nine years, the Russians had failed to defeat the Afghan insurgents despite deploying 100,000 troops.
Still, he was not finished. He held out an olive branch to the incoming administration of George H W Bush, offering a “joint effort to put an end to an era of wars”.
The New York Times described Gorbachev’s riveting, hour-long speech as the greatest act of statesmanship since Roosevelt and Churchill’s Atlantic Charter in 1941. The Washington Post called it “a speech as remarkable as any ever delivered at the United Nations”.
Gorbachev saw this as a new beginning for America, Russia and the world, but US policymakers had something very different in mind, hailing it as the triumph of the capitalist west after the long decades of the cold war.
In September 1990, Michael Mandelbaum, then director of east-west studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, rejoiced that “for the first time in 40 years we can conduct military operations in the Middle East without worrying about triggering World War III”.
The US would soon test that hypothesis, beginning two decades of costly and destructive imperial overreach, particularly, but not exclusively, in the Middle East. It squandered a historic opportunity to make the world a more peaceful and just place, instead declaring itself the global hegemon. After the attacks of 11 September 2001, the entire gaggle of neocons was extolling American power and beneficence. “We are an attractive empire, the one everyone wants to join,” crowed the military historian Max Boot.
BUZZSAW OF OPPOSITION
Fast-forward to 2008, when Barack Obama swept to office on a wave of popular euphoria, mesmerising supporters with his inspiring biography, lofty and exhilarating rhetoric, welcome rejection of unilateralism and strong opposition to the Iraq war – qualities that made him seem the antithesis of George W Bush.
Bush and his empire-building advisers – the sorriest crew ever to run this country – had saddled him and the American people with an incredible mess. After two long and disastrous wars, trillions of dollars in military spending, torture and abuse of prisoners on several continents, an economic collapse and near-depression at home, disparities between rich and poor unheard of in an advanced industrial country, government surveillance on an unprecedented scale, collapsing infrastructure and a global reputation left in tatters, the US did not look all that attractive.
Obama has taken a bad situation and, in many ways, made it worse. He got off to a good start, immediately taking steps to reverse some of Bush’s most outlandish policies – pledging to end torture and close the detention facility at Guantanamo as well as the network of CIA-administered secret prisons.
But he ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from opportunistic Republicans and conservative Democrats over these and other progressive measures and has been in retreat ever since. As a result, his first two years in office have been a disappointment.
Instead of modelling himself after Gorba­chev and boldly championing deeply felt convictions and transformative policies, Obama has taken a page from the Bill (and Hillary) Clinton playbook and governed as a right-leaning centrist. While trying naively to ingratiate himself with an opposition bent solely on his defeat, he has repeatedly turned his back on those who put him in office.
Surrounding himself with Wall Street-friendly advisers and military hawks, he has sent more than 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; bailed out Wall Street banks while paying scant attention to the plight of the poor and working class; and enacted a tepid version of health reform that, while expanding coverage, represented a boondoggle for the insurance industry. And he has continued many of Bush’s civil rights abuses, secrecy obsessions and neoliberal policies that allow the continued looting of the real economy by those who are obscenely wealthy.
Obama has also endorsed a military/security budget that continues to balloon. Recent accounting by Christopher Hellman of the National Priorities Project found that the US spends over $1.2trn out of its $3trn annual budget on “national security”, when all related expenses are factored in.
Still, triumphalist rhetoric abounds. “People are wondering what the future holds, at home and abroad,” Hillary Clinton told the Council on Foreign Relations. “So let me say it clearly: the United States can, must and will lead in this new century.”
Despite such blather, the US has been relegated to the role of a supporting actor in the extraordinary democratic upheaval sweeping the Middle East. Decades of arming, training and supporting practically every “friendly” dictator in the region and the use of Egyptians as surrogate torturers have stripped the US of all moral authority.
BACKBONE REQUIRED

Whatever good may have been done by Obama’s Cairo speech in June 2009 has been outweighed by US policy, capped by the indefensible US veto of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory as not only illegal, but an obstacle to peace. (The resolution was sponsored by at least 130 nations and supported by all 14 other members of the Security Council.)

Nor can anyone take seriously the US outrage about repressive regimes using force against their citizens after US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have directly or indirectly been responsible for the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the forced emigration of millions.
Where the foreign policy establishment sees only international peril, Obama should see an opportunity – the chance to reinvent himself – to reconnect with the Barack Obama who marched against nuclear weapons while at college and then promised to abolish them in a speech he gave in Prague in April 2009.
He should look to John F Kennedy for precedent. After two nearly disastrous years in office, Kennedy underwent a stunning reversal, repudiating the reckless cold war militarism that defined his early presidency. The Kennedy who was tragically assassinated in November 1963 was looking to end not only the US invasion of Vietnam, but the cold war.
We know from Bob Woodward that during policy discussions regarding Afghanistan, Obama was often the least bellicose person in the room. He has much to learn from Kennedy’s scepticism towards military advisers and intelligence officials. As Kennedy told another celebrated journalist, Ben Bradlee: “The first advice I’m going to give my successor is to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that, just because they are military men, their opinions on military matters are worth a damn.”
There are many ways in which Obama can begin overseeing the end of the American empire and the insane militarism that undergirds it. He has been urged to do so by none other than Mikhail Gorbachev, who has pressed Obama to stiffen his spine and pursue bold initiatives. “America needs perestroika right now,” Gorba­chev said, “because the problems he has to deal with are not easy ones.”
The former Soviet leader’s solutions included restructuring the economy to eliminate the kind of unregulated free-market policies that caused the current global economic downturn and perpetuate the unconscionable gap between the world’s rich and poor.
But, Gorbachev warned, the US can no longer dictate to the rest of the world: “Everyone is used to America as the shepherd that tells everyone what to do. But this period has already ended.” He has condemned the Clinton and Bush administrations’ dangerous militarisation of international politics and urged the US to withdraw from Afghanistan.
Obama, having wrapped himself even more tightly of late in his cocoon of Wall Street- and empire-friendly advisers, has shown no inclination to heed Gorbachev’s advice. He would be wise to do so, because the older man oversaw the dismantling of the USSR in a smoother and more peaceful way than anyone believed possible, and so knows something about bringing the curtain down on a dysfunctional empire that has long overstayed its welcome.
If Obama would seize the opportunity for peace that the Bushes and Clintons seem so intent on strangling in its cradle, perhaps the vision that Gorbachev so brilliantly articulated in 1988 can finally become a reality.
© 2011 The New Statesman
Filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, Professor of History and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, along with teacher Matt Graham, are finishing a 12-hour documentary “The Forgotten History of the United States,” covering the period from 1900 to 2010. This will be premiered later this year in the United States from Showtime. Sky Television is scheduled to premiere the series in the United Kingdom.
Source,Title image
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Pakistan, A Treasure Trove of Wonders. But do we care!


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The magnificent architecture: of the Shrine of Hazrat Shah Rukn-e-Alam in Multan attracts visitors from almost every corner of the world


Nayyar Hashmey


The Indus Valley occupies a unique place on the world map as the birth place of civilisation. Previously, it was one of the four principal sites where humanity got its birth. However, after explorations done at Mehrgarh by French Archeologist J.F. Jarrige, with amazement learnt the world, of a highly startling fact that first urban settlement on this planet rose in c. 7000 BC in the Kachhi plain of Balochistan. Then the rise of Muslims in the early eighth century in the region yielded a new form of architecture that has the potential even today to attract people from all over the world.

With such prideful history and heritage the country has the right potential to become world’s choice as a top tourist destination.

Till 2006 Pakistan had a regular inflow of tourists. Though meager, yet with a very poor infra structure, no publicity, no brand image and to that a highly unprofessional approach by tourism authorities especially the Babu’s of our tourism ministry and its ancillary corporations, even that meager amount of inbound tourism was not bad (while visiting Pakistan; in 2006, the foreign tourists spent over one million US dollars). However, tourism met a serious jolt when the US and the EU countries put Pakistan on a negative advisory list (even though the country from day one has been aligned to the west in its war against terror). Ever since then the tourism sector has almost come to a halt. Surprisingly countries like Sri Lanka and India where terrorism also takes its toll were not at all put to such restriction. (more…)