11 December, 2012

Khayyam's anniversary - Celebrating Muslim heritage

Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD - A good number of people had a chance to learn about the ‘Renaissance Man’ of the Muslim world in an incredible surroundings that takes one back to the 11the century for it was the time of Omar Khayyam. The exquisite artworks by Irfan Qureshi, the delightful recital by Usman Qazi, and the outstanding mime act directed by Ms. Indu Mitha added charm to the event held at Gallery6 to pay tribute to Omar Khayyam on his 881st death anniversary.
Born in 1048 in Nishapur (a city in Iran), the poet we know today as Omar Khayyam contributed greatly to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy. The event started with brief video clips that enlightened Khayyam was also expert in the fields of mechanics, geography, music and Islamic theology that make him one of the prominent scholars of the Muslim world. It was Edward FitzGerald who introduced the poet of East in the West through translation of Khayyam's quatrains titled as ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’. His treasured verses were recited in Persian with English translation by Usman Qazi, clad in traditional gray shalwar kameez completed with headscarf, who charmed the audiences. 

10 December, 2012

Pakistani Rural Women help revitalize Economy

Sana Jamal 

ISLAMABAD – Out of great disasters come great opportunities. This notion has fascinated and revived the humanity out of hardships since the earliest days. As Pakistan shifts from relief to recovery phase in the post-flood scenario, the focus was the rebuilding livelihoods. During these hard times, Pakistani women have emerged as the strength of the economy and the communities as they are helping the families get back on their feet and start their lives all over again.

A conference in Islamabad, organized by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Entrepreneurs Program, gathered women, particularly from the flood and conflict affected areas, who shared their stories of livelihoods improved, and incomes boosted. The women group from Swat, with their faces well covered in their long hand-embroidered dupattas, is one of the beneficiaries of the Entrepreneurs project. “Earlier these skilled women won’t get due credit or compensation for their art as the major chunk of profits was seized by the middlemen (between the skilled worker and the consumer),” said Farzana Akram, Project Officer at Lasoona, one of the implementing partners of the Project that is providing women micro-entrepreneurs from Swat access to bigger markets and buyers. 

With skilled workers, and access to better markets, the product quality has improved and there has been a huge increase in the incomes of micro-entrepreneurs. “Some 964 women have been trained. And we have just successfully delivered 476 pieces of hand embellished fabrics to Generation, Pakistan’s leading retain chain. The order was worth Rs. 485,000” told Ms. Farzana gladly.

Celebrating the importance of Mountains to life

International Mountain Day

Sana Jamal 
Courtesy: Google Image search

ISLAMABAD – A number of exciting activities were held in the city on the eve of International Mountain Day with intent to share knowledge among the people about the importance of mountains. Pakistan is home to some of the world’s highest mountains and most magnificent mountain ranges: Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindu Kush, Sulaiman, Salt range. Sadly, these long glorified mountains now face the tragedy of being most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

“We have the world’s highest peaks but there is no proper promotion of adventure tourism and mountaineering in Pakistan”, underlined Nazir Sabir, Pakistan’s famed mountaineer, reminding of the dismal fact.