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Images of Pakistan reveal a land of beauty

Published: February 27, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.


 

 

This was written on a blog series about US-Pakistan Relations called Hope Within Pakistan for Senator John Kerry. It is incredibly important for Brandeis students to know not only about Pakistan, but about the entire world. When we look closely and try to learn and understand other cultures, we find how similar we all are and how similar our basic desires and emotions are. You can learn from the most surprising and unexpected places. As the next generation, it is up to us to be a beacon of hope to the entire world. In the inspiration of this I have started a blog called A Forum of Hope about global issues. Please see aforumofhope.blogspot.com. Remember any idea can make a difference:

Ever since I was a child I have always been captivated by the immense beauty in Pakistan. I would eagerly collect and treasure any pictures or memory that I could find. These are my very special memories of my travels to Pakistan. How can anyone honestly not fall in love with these enchanting images?

Pakistan was founded just about 60 years ago but this land is rich with culture and traditions which go back thousands of years. It is home to some of the most ancient civilizations in the world, the Indus Valley Civilizations: Harrappa dating back to 3300 BC with an estimated 40,000 residents, which was very large at that time. Taxila dating back to the 5th century BC and Moenjodaro dating back to 2600 BC. Evidence in these ruins points to the fact that these places had been the earliest villages and cities, with proper centers of learning, writing, industries, dance, art, sculpting, and also with established social, economic and agricultural systems. These are all there waiting for everyone to witness.

And so are the Sish Mahal (Mirror Palace) in Lahore Fort and the lovely Shalimar Gardens with its 410 marble fountains and waterfalls built by the Mogul King Shah Jahan, the one who also built the majestic Taj Mahal in honor of his beloved wife. Pakistan is home to K2, the second highest mountain in the world. The Karakoram Highway, the highest paved international road in the world is a modern and sturdy highway on top of the highest mountains, the Himalayas. Remarkable!

Words cannot begin to describe the true splendor of all of the things that I have seen there. Scenes of breathtaking mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, spectacular and richly detailed ornate architecture, parks, splendid gardens, natural life, peacocks with their magnificent displays of turquoise, green and gold feathers, ancient artifacts, and modern scenes of shopping centers, highways, and buildings. What I miss most, though, are my walks around my grandmother’s garden. Enjoying the beautiful colorful and fragrant roses, jasmines, marigolds, and the palm, mango and pomegranate trees. As a child playing in the warm summer rains, I was mesmerized by views of the beautiful rainbows and vibrant deep orange purple sunsets from the veranda of her house. Such lovely sights, I wish the whole world could experience and feel them.

Pakistan has much to offer and continues to be a source of some of the loveliest treasures: oriental rugs, embroidered and mirrored tapestries, hand woven textiles, handicrafts of leather, metal, brass, jade, marble and wood, pottery, exquisite tiles, furniture, and much more. The royal look of clothes; real masterpieces of art with sparkling beads, real gold and silver thread sequins and embroideries. Glittering and shiny glass bangles. Exquisite gold and silver jewelry with dazzling jewels and gems; all truly glorious.

The greatest wealth the country has, though, is its richness in fine arts and the immense love affair of its people with literature, poetry, dance, music and singing. Having been blessed with some of the most heavenly voices plays a very big part in the lives of people. So lovely is the sound of the poetic, fluid language and the music which is filled with beautiful rhythms, emotions, and energy, all about love, happiness and friendship. The sound of pianos, flutes, violins, drums, guitars, sitars, tablas, dholkis, and harmoniums creates the most magical melodies. The foot and hand movements and gestures of the very beautiful classical dance flow gracefully with the music and translate into so many different emotions, all flowing like water, one with music. The dancing spreads a happy energy that becomes contagious, allowing even the most unwilling of dancers to have a thrilling time. It is all a true celebration of love and life.

So deep is this love affair with music that Pakistanis are always looking for an excuse to celebrate. Weddings are the biggest expression of this love, joyous occasions when not only two hearts, but two families become one. They are a true display of dazzling dresses, jewelry, shimmering lights, music, dancing, and mouthwatering food, another true love of this culture. The celebrations are elaborate and go on and on; they last about three days. Gatherings are not small either, the average being three to five hundred. Big ones, of course, are big!

This land is beautiful but what makes it even more special is the great warmth and hospitality of its people, many of whom I have met and known over the years. These very social people who make you feel like family whether at home or abroad. They will welcome you into their hearts, making you fall completely in love with them. If you had been in their company or have been to a Pakistani party you will know what I mean. Even saying good bye can take forever. Oh it’s simply wonderful. The silent majority needs to wake up, join hands, and work to help bring peace, understanding, and stability to this region.

All these treasures and the beauty of this culture and land need to be preserved for the whole world to cherish and enjoy. You truly have to be there and see Pakistan with your own eyes.

To view rarely seen views of this gorgeous country, check out flickr: WONDERFULVIEWS and search “Images of Pakistan,” or go to http://thehoot.net/external/pakistan