Archive for December, 2012

Safi Pashtuns

Safi Pashtun girl

There is a story which goes about Pashtuns, more importantly about Safi Pashtuns. This story infact became the focal point for Pashtun nationalism and led to the creation of present day Afghanistan (the more appropriate word would be, this story or this event implanted the seeds for independence for Pashtuns).

The story goes as following:

During the time of Aurangzeb (6th Mughal Ruler), Revolt was triggered when soldiers under the orders of the Mughal Governor Amir Khan allegedly attempted to molest women of the Safi tribe in modern day Kunar. The Safi tribemen retaliated and killed the soldiers. This attack provoked a reprisal, which triggered a general revolt of the most of the tribes. When news reached Aurangzeb that his general was killed, he appealed to the tribe to hand over the killers , but the naturally elders refused and challenged the Emperor. This was owing to their stance of Pashtunwali.

To be Noted:  I wonder how he would have reacted if his wife or daughter might have been subjected to such a treatment. Aurangzeb would have subjected such men to inhuman torture, a torture which would have been invented for those men only. Aurangzeb was a hypocrite, this event adds significance to those voices against him.

Soon Aurangzeb set out with a large force against the Safi and their allies from other Pashtun clans namely Khattak, Afridis, Shinwari, and Mohmands in the command of Khushal Khan Khattak which was at that time the tribal chief of Khattak tribe. Afghan sources claim that Aurangzeb suffered a humiliating defeat, with a reported loss of 40,000 Mughal soldiers who were killed in the battle and with only four men, including the Governor managing to escape. These events occurred during 1672. This story stands out precisely because it shows the culture of Pashtunwali in it, where Honour for a Pashtun is supreme. Violating that Honour means death, especially if violating the honour of Pashtun women (An ideology also incorporated among many north-Indian warrior communities).

khushal Khan Khattak

Now the most interesting factor in all this was that Aurangzeb himself was married to a Pashtun woman named Rabia-ud-Durrani, also known as Dilras Banu Begum, though “official” accounts state that she was a decendant of Safavid dynasty. Pashtuns have Indo-Iranian origination, so things are hazy when the writers are writing what “master” wants. I say this because such reports have been made about other guys also.This is done to show “higher breed” of the person concerned. Thereby validating his/her rule or authority much like an irrepressible power and propelling feudal command. Liaquat Ali Khan is mentioned as descendant of King in Iran well infact he was a muslim Jat, whose forefathers were given enormous land by AurangzebRabia-ud-Durrani died in child birth in 1657; Aurangzeb had married her as a child in 1637. I am sure that she must have told Aurangzeb about Pashtunwali and Pashtun code of conduct. Though what fails me is that Aurangzeb’s insensitive nature towards the Pashtun men who fight for honour of their women (and more importantly those alike Pashtuns whom he butchered). It seems in this case he was more inclined towards making Pashtuns submit rather than hear them out. This nature of his is seen while dealing with Jats, Rajputs, Sikhs and Marathas too, which eventually led to crumbling of his Mughal empire.

Currently the Safi tribe is well known for resistance to the Taliban regime, and many fierce clashes have broken out between the two.

 Ancestry of Safi Pashtuns:

The ancestry of the Safis reaches back to the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara, and they are related to the neighboring Nuristanis. Besides Pashto, some clans of the Safis speak a Kohistani Pashayi dialect. More could be found after performing genetic test and DNA analysis but given the current state of Afghanistan it might not be possible. They basically reside in the region of Kunar Province is in the northeastern part of the country. The capital of the province is Asadabad. It is one of the four “N2KL” provinces (Nangarhar Province, Nuristan Province, Kunar Province and Laghman Province).

Kunar province

Pashtuns Genealogy:

There have been constant fights between many scholars who claim Pashtuns as the descendants of their respective races/ communities naturally so given fierce warrior independent nature of Pashtun. Though there might be possibility of mixing of races in Pashtun and formation of new clans which came into being during 5-10 Century AD.

Following are the people who lay claim on Pashtuns:

  1. Indo-Aryans/Indo-Europeans/Indo-Iranians or South Asians of Northern region.
  2. Jews more importantly Israelis
  3. Arabs: This one some Pashtun tribe claims decent from Arabs.
  4. Greeks: The Pashtuns of Peshawar region show genetic similarities with Indo-Greek traits as many claims that they are descendants of Alexander‘s army.

Politics behind Pashtuns Genealogy and Genetics:

Now any sane and logical person can understand that political significance of it.

  1. If Israel (Jews) justifies their claim, they can inspire Pashtuns to fight Arabs and Iranians. Not to mention pacify them from fighting Jews and turning against Palestine.
  2. If Iran justifies the claim then it is simple that Wahabbi ( Saudi ideology) will be pumped out and Shia Ideology could be brought in or any sunni Ideology which is not anti-Iran.
  3. If Indo-Aryans justify the claim they can stop Pashtuns from being a tool in the hands of Wahabbi and Salafi elements whose main job is get more land and more people in their religion (Not to mention kill infidels and take their women ,violate these women to be precise).
  4. If Arabs justify their claim or as some Pashtun tribes want to claim, then they could become an asset in the hands of Wahabbi or Salafis. The puritan form of Islamist who preach Islamic supremacy (The fundamentalist Arabs then infuse Wahhabi and Salafi ideology in Pashtun youth and brain wash them to perform suicide attacks ).

Whatever may be the outcome of this “political”  struggle, following words hold true for non-Pashtun people in the region who have watched Pashtuns for thousands of years.Sometimes in amazement, sometimes with respect and sometimes in form of an enemy.

The words could be best summed up are:

You will never find more noble, honorable and loyal friend

And neither will you find more honest and fierce enemy.


 Target 3 Billion: Innovative Solutions Towards Sustainable Development by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Srijan Pal Singh

The book talks about PURA : Providing Urban amenities in Rural Area. It talks about various social entrepreneurs who took a challenge or a task to transform their respective villages and societies. Dr Kalam along with Mr Srijan Pal Singh provides the readers with various steps which could be taken to eradicate poverty in the world by using PURA as a tool for development.

The book starts with mentioning about the other human kind which has no access to good life and lack basic amenities like portable drinking water and basic medical supplies.

Then Dr kalam talks about the vision of 2020 that he had set out when he was the president of India. A target he set that needs to met, in which all the indians would strive to make our country a developed nation by 2020.He talks about a form of socio-economic revolution that needs to take place.He rightly focuses upon the cause of rural to urban area migration.

He focuses on youth of India who could play a major role in this aspect in eradicating poverty. He talks that rural India is an opportunity and challenge at the same time for young entrepreneurs who could bring a socio-economic change.

Dr Kalam provides a list of sustainable features which needs to be undertaken to offer solution to the problem:

  1. Economic sustainability
  2. Technological sustainability
  3. Social Sustainability
  4. Environmental Sustainability
  5. Value Sustainability
  6. Learning and adaptability

He talks how technology could become a major driving force to meet the goal.He also states that environmental conditions should not be harmed in the due process.

Agriculture and PURA:

In another part of the book Dr Kalam and Mr Singh give a detailed viewpoint as to how PURA could be used in agricultural sector.Since rural economies are largely dependent upon agriculture the world over, the work could begin from there to eradicate poverty buy unleashing the potential of agriculture.Both talk about the second green revolution and how India needs another green revolution in which these agro-businessmen of India could play a major role.They then provide information about the many case studies in this field. eg Chitrakoot PURA and WARNA cooperative sugar factory.

They also talk about the Milk revolution which needs to come again. India being that largest producer of the milk in the world and Indian dairy providing 13% employment and 5% to national GDP. The figures are provided to show the potential of Indian milk industry.India has 283 million cattles in the world more than any. Cattle breeding,cattle health care, cattle food and nutrition,processing and marketing of of milk is talked in detail.

Social Transformation and PURA:

Mr Kalam talks about the gap in the Rural and Urban amenities in detail. He provides a bunch of stats in this regard. Here he talks that how technology,management, entrepreneurship and investments need to be used optimally to create a revolutionary change in this decade.Society based on knowledge and skill could be used to utmost advantage in India.There are case studies of social entrepreneurs who made a huge change to society. They also talk how there needs to be building of value based society.

Eco-Friendly sustainable development:

They devote an entire chapter on how the development must be made on Eco-friendly terms. Any development which is done by harming the environment is not right and should be avoided. Climate change and reforestation is talked in detail. The use of renewable energy could be employed for power generation and they talk about the vision 2030 for global energy.

Community driven sustainable development:

In this part Public private community partnership model is talked. The role of community action is been talked in length.

The four fold participation by the community is talked:

  1. Planning
  2. Execution
  3. Sustenance
  4. Growth

Then there are case studies about the barefoot doctors of China which were part of Chinese rural health care movement (started in 1950s). It’s success is talked and how it could be used. Child journalist who create a voice for the community are also in another case study where “Bachhon ki pahel” news bulletin is mentioned. They talk about other organization too such as Magarpatta community, samaj shilpi dampati and female health volunteers of Loni.Emphasis is made on youth to meet the target.

Enterprise creation leading to empowerment:

This was the chapter which interested me the most where social entrepreneurship is talked. This focuses on how enterprises could help eradicate poverty and PURA could be useful tool in it. Micro, small and medium enterprise’s role is looked in depth. A constructive environment which is beneficial for all is talked about which could be built using an enterprise network. Technology’s role is again mentioned and given a prime importance.

Certain PURAs are talked in detail to give a perspective into the way working could be, namely:
1.    Chitrakoot PURA
2.    Periyar PURA

Working culture of Toyota and Fabio Rosa’s work towards bringing sustainable energy to Brazilian villages is also mentioned.

Realization of PURA:

In this part the steps towards implementation and realization of PURA are talked about. The many organizations or people who could setup PURA and worked are talked. It talks more about policy.

The people whom they mention could set up PURA and help realize the dream of poverty-less nation are:

  1.  Government
  2. Individual/NRIs
  3. Entrepreneurs
  4. Industry
  5. Village cooperatives
  6. Academic institutions
  7. International organizations and NGOs

It is mentioned that ministry of rural development in may 2010 launched national PURA program under private public partnership with an active role for panchayati raj institutions. The funding plans of the projects are also provided in detail.Rest of the book talks about that PURA cooperation could bring changes in development and result in the development of 21st century.It is a good book in understanding a solution that Dr Kalam brings about for solving the issue of poverty in the world and particularly in India.


The book is a combination of various articles written by the author over the years. Possibly from mid 1990s to 2002. The author essentially is of capitalist mind and offers solutions based on that model. The author also tries to convince people that capitalism must be sold to people like “Fabian socialism” of Nehru was sold to masses in 1950s. Even though acknowledging the short comings of the capitalist ideology, the author debates that it is the best system forward.

Being the ex-CEO of Procter and Gamble(India) , the author does provides an insight into various issues from the side of a capitalist. I however believe that the author missed out a concept called “social entrepreneurship” or “responsible capitalism“, which one believes should have been talked more in his book. I must say that I was horrified by couple of his suggestions and at the same time sympathetic to some, particularly about export industry .

Author is educated in Harvard University (in 1950s if I am not wrong) , he does bring along a certain mindset. I however believe that his understanding of certain issues were elitist per say ( both social and economical ) even though the author tries to pinpoint to the reader that he is NOT elitist, on this part I would beg to differ with him.

Author also focuses a lot on philosophers and their view points, I presume that is an educational hazard that the author has to live with (since the author did Philosophy honors from Harvard university) and so he uses the names of many western philosophers in putting his view point across. I would have liked if he would have quoted more of Indian philosophers.

The author also makes a point that he is a liberal in every sense ( I presume it is fashion these days to say so), I for one evoke author’s concern towards the reform of the rules and allowing entrepreneurship to be encouraged. It is an average book if any body wishes to read it. I was drawn to it after reading India Unbound by the author. I however doubt that I would be reading any other of his books soon. None the less , some books recommended by him will certainly be on my list for the book TO-READ.



Moving along further, we reached on paradise restaurant which was suggested to us by the locals at SD road, after we had inquired about good places to eat. Paradise restaurant was built in 1950s and had a movie theater along with it. It seems that the theater’s name was paradise. Over the years the theater gave name to the restaurant, the Biryani of paradise became so famous that Hyderabadi Biryani became synonymous of Paradise’s Biryani.

The present paradise is more of a building block on a corner which includes a

  • Paradise restaurant: platinum and normal (we ate in normal one).
  • Paradise Bakery
  • Paradise Take away

The famousness of Paradise could be seen from the fact that the bus stop near the restaurant uses its name and many buses have route names Paradise. I and my friend thought of eating chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani (it was on his instance as I was pretty over with just chicken Biryani itself). Thereafter we tried the bakery offered by Paradise. The royal Kulfi and the faluda shake were important items which we HAD to try.

There was this clip board/information bulletin which talked about the origination of Biryani in Hyderabad Deccan and who brought it here. It also talked about the way Biryani has evolved observe the years and the local touch that it has got.

The word Biryani has a Persian origination and from there it went into Afghanistan and then to Mughal culture. Aurangzeb (The notorious Mughal Ruler) brought it into the Deccan when he invaded it.

Irani chai without doubt was another menu item which we were not willing to miss. After having a good lunch, we thought of moving to Hussein sagar lake that we could go on a boat ride. Since we were unable to find the direct bus and were not willing to pay to the cab or auto driver, we choose to march onto Hussein sagar lake (well actually it was my friend’s desire/decision) and I marched on.

The whole walking process was 8 km long and we made directional mistake.This caused an added effort to us. Since we were more like tourists therefore we didn’t mind the effort but my feet, well they were surely complaining and protesting. It was as if they got squeezed.

We walked through the Marriott Hotel, then past Ambedkar Bhawan and a small Buddha Temple (which was in pathetic condition). Then we went onto Lumbini Park which is in front of Andra Pradesh Secretariat,past NTR garden towards Indira Gandhi statue. From there we took a right turn towards people plaza and finally came to a still on Food court which had pretty much everything (subway,cafe coffee day, sultans, KFC and other local restaurants).

paradise to hussain sagar lake

The pic below I took it infront of Marriott Hotel. The temperature in Hyderabad is usually good and varies from 18 to 31 degrees. However on the lake side, due to the water and winds blowing, it tends to be cooler.The clouds parting from the sky and view of the entire lake is indeed majestic.

There is however one thing which bugged me when I was walking down the necklace road, which is that Hussein sagar lake is not maintained properly. There are instances of water pollution there. People it seems believe that nature especially the water bodies can absorb anything, literally ANYTHING (sic).

The boards on the pedestrian street showed that there is a Japanese company project going on, but clearly things were in a mess. Either the Indians were faster in throwing the garbage into the lake compared to the Japanese removing it ( if that is true, Indians surely know how to beat Japanese) or nobody really cares about the entire mess.


There is a boat club too on the Hussain Sagar lake, which I was not able to notice in my prior visit to the Lake in 2010. This time however I found it. The view from the side of Marriot Hotel was peaceful one. I remember that few days before Rahul Dravid had come to the boat club. The boat club requires a membership card to enter, without that one cannot use their Premises. One was also able to view Caucasians (white men and women) jogging around the Hussain sagar lake which also has this pedestrian walking place.


The IMAX 3D theater also falls in the vicinity and apparently this is the first of its kind in Hyderabad, so the youth come there in large numbers including the IT people who have thronged onto the city in the last decade or so. There is a food court on the road to of IMAX near Hussein Sagar Lake which offers many restaurants/fast food / cafes.

From there on, one could board the ferry. The ferry cost no more than Rs50/- Per person.  We boarded it in the evening when the sun was settling. The Buddha statue was lit up with lights and it looked beautiful. Last time I came was during his hour of day too, that is evening.

Evening usually is the right time for any person to go at Hussein sagar. The other suitable time is  in the morning but I doubt that the boat club and the ferry offer their services then.


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