Gandhara Civilization in Pakistan

Posted on 28. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Fasting Budha  (Pic by Ghazi Ghulamraza on Flickr.com)

Fasting Budha
(Pic by Ghazi Ghulamraza on Flickr.com)

Pakistan is the land which attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 B.C., with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. During the 2nd century B.C., it was here that Buddhism was adopted as the state religion which flourished and prevailed here for over 1000 years, starting from 2nd century B.C., until 10th century A.D. During this time Taxila, Swat and Charsaddah (old Pushkalavati) became three important centers for culture, trade and learning. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built together with Greek and Kushan towns such as Sirkap and Sirsukh both in Taxila. It was from these centers that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara Sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan together with many private collections world over, as well as in the museums of Pakistan. Nevertheless, the zenith of this Gandhara Art is one and only “Fasting Buddha” now on display in Lahore Museum, Lahore.

Finally, the religion of Islam penetrated in this part of the world as early as 7th century AD. from the west with the Arabs and during the 10th century AD from the north with the Turks. Islam replaced the early way of life of worshiping idols and introduced new philosophy of faith in one God. With Islam in came a new culture in this land from Arabia and Central Asia. Hence, a new type of architecture, hitherto unknown in this area, was introduced. Tens of thousands of Mosques, Madrassahs, tombs and gardens were created by the Muslim rulers all over the Sub-Continent. The new style of Islamic architecture prevailed and matured in this land for over a thousand years. The most important contribution of the Muslim rulers to this land, however, is a new language ‘Urdu’ which became the national language of Pakistan since its independence in 1947.

The legacy of the predecessors at the time of the independence, on August 14, 1947, came to Pakistanis as a treasure which may be called as Pakistan’s national heritage. So rich and diversified is this heritage that Pakistani nation can be proud of its glorious past, be Islamic, Post Islamic or pre-Islamic period as far back as pre-historic times. It is now incumbent upon the future generations in Pakistan to treasure our national heritage and save it from further deterioration and theft.

The establishment of NFCH (National Fund for Cultural Heritage) is much appreciated and a great interest is shown by the general public hence since its establishment in 1994 hundreds of proposals were received from different agencies and individuals for the conservation, preservation and publication of the Pakistan’s national heritage. It is hoped that with the continued patronage of the government, the Philanthropists and the Business Community to the NFCH we shall be able to achieve the aforesaid goal.

Conversation about Weather

Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

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Happy New Year from Muslims!

Posted on 25. Oct, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Friday, October 24th was the first day of the Islamic Calendar. Awal (1st) Muharram (also called Maal Hijrah) celebrates the beginning of the Islamic New Year, and is also the beginning of ten days of remembrance for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali, Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, who was killed in the battle of Karbala on the tenth day of Muharram in the year 680 AD. Muharram, derived from the word haram, which means sinful, is a month considered most sacred of all besides the month of Ramadan. During this time, Muslims are forbidden to fight; hence, a time of mourning and peace.

This first month of the Islamic year coincides with the migration of Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD and is therefore, considered a time for self-evaluation and a starting point for change. Muslims celebrate this event all over the world. The Shia Muslims (Shi’ite) spend the day mourning – some even to the extent of flogging themselves – to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali. The Sunni Muslims fast and celebrate the day according to the Sunnah of Mohammed, which is in honor of Moses’ recue of the people of Israel from Pharaoh, sometimes on the 10th day.

Also on the 10th day of Muharram, most Muslims start fasting when the sun rises and do not eat until later in the evening. Muslims cook sweet rice, also known as Bubur Asyura and share them among family members and friends during their breakfast. It is also during this time that Muslims gather in mosques to usher in the new Hijri year. At the same time, various religious activities will be carried out such as spiritual singing, religious activities and the recitation of verses from the Quran. Since special prayers and sermons are conducted in public halls and mosques, areas around mosques are crowded in the evenings and at night.