Friday, 16 December 2011

Fruits, Vegetables And Untruths

TMy rebuttal is about an article titled 'Islamic cleric bans women from touching cucumbers, bananas for sexual resemblance’, and whose excerpts are as follows:

“An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any ‘sexual thoughts’. The unnamed sheikh, said that ‘if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.’

He said that ‘these fruits and vegetables resemble the male penis and hence could arouse women or make them think of sex’ and added carrots and zucchini to the list of ‘forbidden foods for women’. When asked how to control women when they are out shopping for groceries and if holding these items at the market would be bad for them, the cleric answered saying ‘this matter is between them and God.’

Answering another question about what to do if women in the family like these foods, the sheikh advised the interviewer to ‘take the food and cut it for them in a hidden place so they cannot see it.’"

Who is behind it?

People these days will believe anything and everything that the mass media prints or beams at them. Most people did not find the time to research or ponder over a matter that came to light recently on the internet and which concerned Muslim identity. Thus ran an article’s headline: Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas, cucumbers for sexual resemblance.

First, the cleric in question is neither a cleric nor a Muslim. Second, some female relative within his own unbelieving family might have ‘touched’ the said items in ways that one need not mention in this article. Third, believing Muslim women need not be compared with unbelieving women who, without the fear of God in their hearts, will readily revel in such perversions if the right price is paid.

Red faced Muslim women, who use circular bits of cucumbers only over their eyes to rid themselves of dark circles, were quick to condemn this bogus insinuation but the ones always lying in wait to malign Muslims found another reason to laugh out aloud.

Since God and the Prophets never forbade believers from touching fruits such as cucumbers and bananas or odd looking vegetables, who is this unheard of ‘Islamic cleric’ to prevent one from doing so? Is this the same kind of mind at work that launched the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad or wrote books such as ‘The Satanic Verses’? If one reads the headline under scrutiny (‘Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas, cucumbers for sexual resemblance’) it is plain to see the kind of mind that was able to spin such news.

Programmers of mass ‘controlled’ media

The global media is controlled by a half a dozen conglomerates whose sole job is to mow down true public opinion and replace it with perversion and untruths. Journalists, the channels, websites, the talk-show hosts, all need that elusive ‘something’ to rocket their ratings skywards, and they will devour any lie, spin any fabric and do whatever it takes to serve the media moguls. Every little useless bit is featured as ‘headline’ or ‘breaking news’, trivia triggers worthless debates, and panels of covert spin-doctors work overtime to do the bidding of their invisible pay-masters who know how to ‘programme’ our thought patterns. One only has to stop and think: who is against Muslims in this global war of error (G-WOE)?

The answer is painfully obvious but even more painful is the fact that, leave alone Christians, even decent Muslims fall into deceptive Zionist traps. The root cause of instability in the world is the political climate of the middle east, in the middle east exists Israel which is a nuclear power fully financed by America, America is controlled by Zionists, and many from this ‘chosen race’ are bent upon forcing down our throats nothing but ‘peace’ (war) and ‘democracy’ (anarchy through instability). It is this group that supports pro-Zionists and Communists, and punishes anti-Zionists through the arm twisting tactics of public opinion. Through deception, they keep the public’s mind focussed on non-events and non-issues, and which helps keep all dissent and rebellion against the prevalent exploitive global financial system quite ineffective.
Freaks of Nature?

If one were to type the words ‘Muslim women, cucumbers’ into any decent search engine, what would one get? Loads of links referring to the same article, what else? Who, if not the destroyers of entire countries, the plunderers of Muslim wealth, the conspirators against Islam, are behind all of this?

But what, one may ask, is the reason for creating such sensationalism? The reason is the same that Satan uses against a God-ordained system: corruption of all that is good and wholesome. Because this media onslaught is directed against core human values of modesty, shame and other desireable virtues, it will remain largely unchecked if one only consoled oneself by asking ‘but what can I do?’
 
Apology

Many Muslim women today want more hijab (modest head-scarf), not more skin exposure. They want the exploitation of women to come to an end which the opposing camp helps perpetuate through child pornography rackets in central Europe and sex slave trade linking east European countries with Israel.

While investigating the recent accusation against Muslim women, I came across an apologetic editorial, whose excerpts are as follows:

“As a young news organization (www.bikyamasr.com) we are concerned over the manner of both our reporting on this issue and the way our article was used by a number of global organizations to promote their own partisan agendas.

It was my own editorial oversight that failed in allowing this story to be published. It was my duty to not publish this story before we could gather independent verification about the details behind the original Arabic article from www.assawsana.com.

The “Islamic cleric bans women from touching cucumbers, bananas for sexual resemblance,” article should not have run when it did; it should not have been run at all. We should not have published about an ‘unnamed sheikh’ in an unnamed European country unless we were able to garner more information on the issue, both on the sheikh himself and the news website the information was gathered from, independently.

We have an increased responsibility to not only verify our own material at the highest levels, but further investigate the quotes and articles of other news organizations before referencing their work. This is our error. We apologize for the poor judgment on the matter.

We recognize our pitfalls and their repercussions . . . error in judgment can have serious, detrimental effects. We apologize to our readers for the inadequate editorial judgment. We should not have sourced a piece published by a small website based on such limited, unverifiable information. We accept responsibility for doing so and are working to correct the aspects of our organizational culture which allowed this mistake to occur.

Reporting in a fair and accurate manner on Islam is a difficult process, and one that www.bikyamasr.com takes very seriously. We will continue to push for more information on this story in order to interrogate the accuracy of their original article. If we cannot uncover more information, then we take it as our duty to make this clear and do everything in our power to spread that revelation to those who have sourced and quoted it.

We apologize to our readers for letting them down, and will strive to assure them with our future work that we are making fundamental, institutional changes to assure that mistakes like this do not happen again.”

©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2011

References
English article: www.bikyamasr.com
Original Arabic article at
http://www.assawsana.com/portal/newsshow.aspx?id=58893

http://bikyamasr.com/50403/islamic-cleric-bans-women-from-touching-bananas-cucumbers-for-sexual-resemblance/

Friday, 30 September 2011

Kiss Of The Unveiled Spider-Woman

Who, if not the inventive miniaturization-loving Japanese, could have thought of sending kisses across cyberspace using one’s tongue? Welcome to the digital age in which everything must be digitized, stored, altered, sent, received, recycled in a bin and finally emptied to make more room for more trash.

But first, some kiss history. The word came from Old English cyssan ‘to kiss’, which in turn came from coss ‘a kiss’. Kissing is recent development in western culture and is rarely mentioned in Greek literature. It only recently became a social gesture, a sign of refinement of the higher classes. In the east, the same refinement was once seen writ large on the faces of the men who frequented the rooftop dens of ultra-refined dancing girls of affluent Lucknow.

It is believed kissing was quite rare among the lower and semi-civilized races but was firmly established as instinctive in the advanced societies—whatever the word ‘advanced’ means. The kiss seems to have been unknown to the ancient Egyptians, which makes one wonder about the hold of Cleopatra on Marcus Antonius. However, the kiss was well-established in early Greece, Assyria, and India.

Today, science has convinced us by showing us brain scans of people involved in lovely relationships and found that after that first magical meeting, a complex system in the brain is activated which mimics what a person experiences when under the influence of cocaine. In studies of affection between paramours, when the human guinea pigs viewed images of their partners, the reward and motivation systems (in the ventral tegmental area) was found flooded with dopamine, an internal chemical that is released when one undertakes something exciting.

Kissing requires tremendous muscular coordination of 34 facial and 112 postural muscles, the most important one being the kissing muscle (orbicularis oris) which is used to wrinkle the lips. Lips have numerous nerve endings which make them sensitive to touch and bite. And in the case of the French kiss, the tongue plays an important role.

Affection does reduce stress. When kissing was studied in experiments, it was found that an increase in the frequency of kissing in marital and cohabiting relationships resulted in a reduction of perceived stress, an increase in relationship satisfaction, and a lowering of cholesterol levels. One can now better understand why they convinced the masses to consume fewer eggs instead of promoting marathon kissing sessions.

Kissing causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and norepinephrine into the blood, which brings on an adrenaline rush that benefits the cardiovascular system. When the heart pumps faster during a passionate kiss, one may burn up to three calories per minute—not that lovers carry with them calorie counters.

Of course, most Christians overemphasize the ‘Jesus is love’ bit and neglect his struggle against sodomy in the God’s temples and usurious practices of the rabbis and derive greater inspiration from the second verse of the song of Solomon 1:2 from the Old Testament:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth
For thy love is better than wine

Medicinal properties and religious inclinations aside, kisses could become the next big business with servers across the world dedicated to nothing but storing the lip-prints and audio signatures of millions of cyber-kissers. When thieves begin to steal famous kisses and the Wall Street bankers sell them to vulnerable investors, the police will appear with not fingerprint experts but rather with kiss-and-tell specialists. And whether its Osama or Obama, everyone kisses, therefore, terrorists at-large and those on Washington’s Capitol Hill will all be caught using only their kiss signatures.

This conspiracy of inventing a contraption capable of ‘getting two people so close together that they can't see anything wrong with each other’ in cyberspace was hatched in Tokyo's Kajimoto Laboratory. The device allows French kissing over the Internet by flapping the tongue on a plastic straw to make another plastic straw flap remotely on someone else's tongue.

The French, before they started imposing fines on veiled Muslim women, were a polite and tolerant people. The reason they clung for so long to ‘preserving the French habit of kissing ladies' hands was that they believed that a man needed to ‘start somewhere.’ Later they invented French kissing (sucking lips, moving tongues) but today the bitter truth is that a French man can ‘drive safely while kissing a pretty girl because he is unable to give the kiss the attention it deserves.’

The Japanese remote kissing device, a motorized box, resembles a police Breathalyzer used for finding out if a driver is or is not drunk. It converts circular movements of one’s tongue through motors into a kiss that can be felt across the seven seas. I would much rather prefer a kiss that can be felt across one’s entire body.

Now let us look at the Kiss Machine. When one manipulates a plastic tube on one device using the tongue, a computer program stores the movements on a computer and transmits them to another device, causing its tube to move in the mouth of a distant loved one. The inventor actually wishes to rescue long distance relationships with this ‘kiss transmission devices’ (KTD) by transmitting the tactile sensation of kissing from one person to another. The information can be saved and replayed repeatedly.


The researchers seem to realize that most people might not exactly find licking a plastic tube a sensational replacement for the real thing because even the worst kiss comes with a sense of taste, breath noises and plenty of moistness produced by interactive tongues. The inventors aim to re-create all of those wonderful feelings. Will be soon have wet mouse-pads, speakers that make wonderful ‘mmm’ sounds or inflatable dummies to do our bidding? Are we being changed to hide behind our computer screens?

Just as there are full-contact Karate competitions, in the near future we might have full-on person-to-person experience over the Internet. The inventor of the Kiss Machine dreams of having popular entertainers use his device to record kisses that could generate global interest and profit. I do not think all our social ills and financial woes will evaporate once we begin to swipe our tongues over plastic straws.

There are more serious issues such as how might one decide if the person on the other side is experiencing kissing for the first time? In 1948, the Ladies Home Journal insisted that ‘it takes a lot of experience for a girl to kiss like a beginner.’

Kisses too, like most other things in life, have been categorized into types such as adolescent, sexual/romantic, non-sexual, affection, religious, peace, respect, friendship, and those shown by the entertainment industry.

Once the Japanese start rolling out from their factories the new clever invention, we will have a new breed of kiss criminals (kissminals), or simple people who get caught in the act by their loved ones. The need of the hour is to start cooking the right excuses immediately, such as: honey I was just improving my tongue’s motor skills; sweetheart I was NOT really kissing another woman but rather just a straw; darling I was going to try this on you once I was finished here; or as Chico Marxsaid, “I wasn't kissing her, I was whispering in her mouth.”

Ladies and gentlemen, in the near future, if you find your spouse innocently tonguing a straw late into the night imagining you might be asleep, consider my simple recipe: don’t argue, don’t destroy the crockery, but firmly plant a kiss on his lips that does not taste like plastic because ‘a kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.’

©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2011

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Allama Iqbal: A letter to The Times

Reproduced for your viewing pleasure is Allama Iqbal's letter that he wrote to The Times of London, and which was published on 12 October 1931 on page 8.

Iqbal's poetry may have been full dreams of Islamic revival and all out activism but it does not appear that he ever advocated, let alone dream, of what we are facing today as a result of injecting alien medicines that the body of Pakistan does not require for its cure.

The text

Sir,— Writing in your issue of October 3 last, Dr. E. Thompson has torn the following passage from its context in my presidential address to the All-India Moslem League of last December, in order to serve as evidence of “Pan-Islamic plotting”:
I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Moslem State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Moslems, at least of North-West India.
May I tell Dr. Thompson that in this passage I do not put forward a “demand” for a Moslem state outside the British Empire, but only a guess at the possible outcome in the dim future of the mighty forces now shaping the destiny of the Indian sub-continent. No Indian Moslem with any pretence to sanity contemplates a Moslem state or series of States in North-West India outside the British commonwealth of Nations as a plan of practical politics.

Although I would oppose the creation of another cockpit of communal strife in the Central Punjab, as suggested by some enthusiasts, I am all for a redistribution of India into provinces with effective majorities of one community or another on lines advocated both by the Nehru and the Simon Reports. Indeed, my suggestion regarding Moslem provinces merely carries forward this idea. A series of contented and well-organized Moslem provinces on the North-West Frontier of India would be the bulwark of India and of the British Empire against the hungry generations of the Asiatic highlands.


Yours faithfully,
Muhammed Iqbal
St. James’s court, S.W.1, Oct. 10.

Scanned image of the letter

12 October 1931

London visits

The following year, 1932, Iqbal again visited London in connection with the Third Round Table Conference held between Indian leaders and the British government. At a reception in his honour on 24 November, attended by members of the British Parliament and diplomats from many countries, Iqbal made a short statement which ended with the words:

“Muslims have courage and have always shown loyalty and affection for Great Britain. I hope the Muslims’ legitimate claims and aspirations would be fully safeguarded in the final settlement.” --(Letters and Writings of Iqbal, page 70)
A similar function was held on 15 December in a room in the Houses of Parliament where foreign diplomats and members of the House of Lords and Commons were invited to meet Iqbal and other members of the Muslim delegation. Iqbal summarised the case for the Muslims of India, and ended his speech as follows:
“I, therefore, respectfully submit that the demands the Muslims of India have placed before you are worth your consideration, because a powerful India will solve for ever the question that is most prominent in politics at the present time, the question of the cooperation of the East and West. India lies between the East and West, and if the Muslims are allowed an opportunity, with the co-operation of England, they can serve the people of Asia and of England.”
- - * * * - -

Now listen to what the Allama's own son, Justice Javaid Iqbal, has to say about India, Hindus, and Pakistan:

©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2011

Further reading

Iqbal At Close Range
The Artistic Youth Of Amrita Sher-Gil
The Fantastic Growth Of Amrita
The Dramatic Death Of Amrita Sher-Gil

Allama Iqbals' views were clear on the Hadith literature (compiled 200 years AFTER the revelation of the Holy Qur'an): Spiritual Quicksand Of The Traditions

Friday, 26 August 2011

Crescent Observation Predictions For Shawwal 1432 AH (2011 AD)

They will ask thee about the new moons. Say: "They indicate the periods for [various doings of] mankind, including the pilgrimage." (Qur’an 2:189)

Dear readers, Eid al-Fitr is around the corner. Please use the following data to observe this year’s Shawwal crescent at Lahore.

Consult the visibility curves for 29, 30, 31 August 2011 which will clearly define the geographical locations where the crescent may or may not be visible. Also carefully note the GREEN curves!

By checking things yourself, you will gain confidence in your observation, feel happy observing this ‘sunnah’ action of the last Messenger of Allah, and find out how accurate the Central Rooyat-e-Hilal Committee of Pakistan really is.

Location: Lahore, Pakistan
Expected temperature: 26 Celsius
Expected atmospheric pressure: 1003 hP
Conjunction (birth of new moon): 29 August 2011 at 08:04 LT (03:04 UTC)

Data for 29 August 2011
Best time to observe the crescent: 18:31 LT
Sunset: 18:31 LT
Moonset: 18:24 LT (the moon sets BEFORE the sun sets)
Time lag: (between sunset and moonset): -00:07 minutes
Moon age: 10:27 hours
Moon altitude (height above horizon): -1.2 degrees (note the moon is BELOW the horizon)
Azimuth (direction): 273.7 degrees
Moon’s distance from Earth: 361,991 Km
RESULT: The crescent will NOT be visible


Data for 30 August 2011
Best time to observe the crescent: 18:44 LT
Sunset: 18:29 LT
Moonset: 19:01 LT (the moon sets AFTER the sun sets)
Time lag: (between sunset and moonset): 00:32 minutes
Moon age: 34:40 hours
Moon altitude (height above horizon): 3.9 degrees (above the horizon)
Azimuth (direction): 263.6 degrees
Moon’s distance from Earth: 360,879 Km
RESULT: The crescent will be visible using an optical aid (or MAYBE visible with naked eyes)



Data for 31 August 2011
Best time to observe the crescent: 19:00 LT
Sunset: 18:28 LT
Moonset: 19:40 LT
Time lag (between sunset and moonset): 01:12 hours
Moon age: 58:56 hours
Moon altitude (height above horizon): 8.25 degrees
Azimuth (direction): 253.9 degrees
Moon’s distance from Earth: 361,431 Km
RESULT: The crescent will be EASILY visible



Please click this link to see how THIN a crescent less than 20 hours old really is:
http://www.icoproject.org/album20a.html 
Here is what a crescent that is between 20 and 24 hours old looks like:
http://www.icoproject.org/album20-24a.html 
And now a crescent that is more than 30 hours old (COMPARE all three links):
http://www.icoproject.org/album30a.html

Data for Karachi (30 August 2011):
Best time to observe the crescent: 19:11 LT
Sunset: 18:53 LT
Moonset: 19:33 LT
Time lag: (between sunset and moonset): 00:41 minutes
Moon altitude (height above horizon): 5.1 degrees (above the horizon)
Azimuth (direction): 263.7 degrees
RESULT: The crescent will be EASILY visible 

Data for Peshawar (30 August 2011):
Best time to observe the crescent: 18:44 LT
Sunset: 18:56 LT
Moonset: 19:12 LT
Time lag: (between sunset and moonset): 00:29 minutes
Moon altitude (height above horizon): 3.4 degrees (above the horizon)
Azimuth (direction): 263.5 degrees
Moon’s distance from Earth: 360,879 Km
RESULT: The crescent will be visible using an optical aid (or MAYBE visible with naked eyes)

Analysis
Notice how the latitude of three cities of Pakistan effects the crescent's location above the horizon. Hence, the chances of observation at Karachi is far greater than that at Peshawar:
Peshawar: crescent at 3.4 degrees
Lahore: crescent at 3.9 degrees
Karachi: cresccent at 5.1 degree

LATEST UPDATE
A mosque's imam from Peshwar has announced that 'witnesses have reported seeing the Shawwal crescent on the evening of 29 August 2011'. The Imam claims he 'is not part of the official crescent-sighting committee', has produced no authentic proof (picture, video or sighting data) and is out to create a schism amongst Muslims.

Instead of admitting that he is unnaturally sympathetic towards the Saudi decision and wishes to celebrate Eid on the 30 August, the Imam has lied all the way! May Allah deal with such violators and such fake men of faith.

Data for Peshawar (29 August 2011):
Sunset: 18:44 LT
Moonset: 18:36 LT
Time lag: (between sunset and moonset): -00:08 minutes (the moon sets AFTER the sun sets)
Moon altitude (height above horizon): -1.5 degrees (notice, BELOW the horizon)
Azimuth (direction): 274 degrees
RESULT: The crescent will be NOT be visible

Note:
I gratefully acknowledge the help of Mr Muhammad Odeh (www.icoproject.com/) and Dr Khalid Shaukat (http://www.moonsighting.com/) in learning so many things about the moon. I have used their knowledge and predictive lunar observationarticles relating to lunar observations.

©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

Crescent Observation Predictions For Ramadan 1432 AH (2011 AD)

Due to time constraints, I am unable to complete this article but please allow me to present the data (for Lahore, Pakistan) and two predictive pictures of the globe that might enable you to spot the crescent of 1432 Hijrah.

The predictive software that I use is quite precise (Accurate Times) in helping one look in the correct direction (azimuth) and height above the horizon (altitude of a celestial body).

But first, let us look at this interesting illustration of what various moon phases look like.

Data for 31 July 2011, Lahore:

Conjunction Time (birth of the new moon): 30 July 2011 at 23:40 PST
Moon Age: +19H 20M (even a 19 hours old crescent may not be visible)
Moon Altitude: +03°:02':25" (quite low on the horizon)
Moon Azimuth: +281°:13':06"
Moon Lag Time: +00H 14M (note 'very short time' between sunset and moonset)
PREDICTION: The crescent is NOT visible even with an optical aid.
Please click this link to see how THIN a crescent less than 20 hours old really is:
http://www.icoproject.org/album20a.html
Here is what a crescent that is between 20 and 24 hours old looks like:
http://www.icoproject.org/album20-24a.html 
And now a crescent that is more than 30 hours old (COMPARE all three links)
http://www.icoproject.org/album30a.html

Data for 01 August 2011, Lahore:

Moon Age: +43H 19M (although quite old, it could only be seen after sunset)
Moon Altitude: +11°:05':06" (comfortable to look at)
Moon Azimuth: +270°:02':52"
Moon Lag Time: +00H 53M (note 'sufficient time' between sunset and moonset)
PREDICTION: The crescent is EASILY VISIBLE by naked eye.

As for the two pictures below (31 July and 01 August 2011), please note the legend in the bottom right hand side to see who will be able to see the crescent in which country.

As shown in the first picture, observing the crescent on 31 July 2011 is impossible in our region but will be possible on 01 August 2011. Therefore, unless Allah wills it otherwise, Ramadan of 1432 Hijrah will commence from 02 August 2011.

 
The diagram on the right depicts the phases of the moon as seen from the Earth.

With Eid around the corner I will return to this space with more useful information regarding lunar astronomy, especially with reference to problems relating to Islamic crescent observation methods.

Best wishes for the coming month of Ramadan.

©2011 Tahir Gul Hasan

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressor High Speed Test

WARNING: Unless you are well-connected to someone in the National Highway Authority, do NOT attempt to run your own high speed test like the one shown in this video.
 
Et tu Nawazu?

Despite my poverty on four wheels, I was a happy man in 2003 when I first drove my old 1300cc Japanese car at 140 Km/h on the M2 motorway.
 
The ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, is credited with doing three things: testing an atomic bomb up in the remote hills of Baluchistan, having a six lane motorway built between Lahore and Islamabad and finally going for a hair transplant.

The M2 being a joint venture project between Pakistan and Korea, Nawaz Sharif laid its foundation stone on 11 January 1992 and inaugurated it on 26 November 1997. He did the undoable by ‘wasting huge sums of money on one of Asia’s most expensive highways’.
 
The Fast Lane

The new M2 is a faster alternative to the old GT Road. Although the 367 Km long M2 increases the distance between Lahore and Rawalpindi, it cuts down the travel time considerably. As in the old days, when the GT Road was dotted with caravanserais and trees on both sides, the M2 has plenty of resting points, whose names are associated with nearby towns. Keeping in view the public’s penchant for consuming refreshments, there are plenty of free public toilets all along the route—a major achievement considering that in many parts of the industrialized world, one pays to answer the call of nature.

One must pay a one-way toll fee of Rs 235 on the M2 which is a small price for laying one’s tired eyes on scenic beauty and totally bypassing all the dirt and noise produced by heavy vehicular traffic on GT Road where carefree humans and animals suddenly cross one’s path.
 
History

Indeed Nawaz Sharif upped the ante on Sher Shah Suri who merely renovated the famous Sarak-e-Azam (Great Road) that linked the capital at Agra (India) with his home in Sasaram. Suri extended the road westwards to Multan (now in Pakistan) and eastwards to Sonargaon (now in Bangladesh) in the 16th century AD. The same highway was later re-named by the British as Grand Trunk Road—now popularly known as GT Road.
 
The most interesting points of this scenic drive on the M2 are the world’s largest rock salt deposits and Asia’s highest pillared bridge built at Khewra Salt Range near Kallar Kahaar, home to ICI’s chemical processing industrial plants. Not many who drive by a town called Bhera realise it dates back to the time when Alexander of Macedon, invaded us in the name of democracy in 326 BCE. He was followed By Mahmud of Ghazni, Genghis Khan, Shahab-ud-din Ghauri, Zaheer-ud-din Babur and Sher Shah Suri.
 
Greed For Speed

Life on the M2 begins when you exceed 120 Km/h, the legal speed limit on the motorway. If one has a powerful car, there is much to gain from occasional speeding such as: shrieking children, a scared wife reciting aloud holy verses, one’s own pounding heart (which invariably pounds less after a few years of having uttered ‘I DO’ thrice), an engine revving away on automobile-Viagra and best of all, adrenalized highway policemen lying in wait for the next speed demon.
 
What you see in the video here is a Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse (W211) E200 Kompressor not chased by the police on the M2. While the automobile is capable of reaching a top speed of 236 Km/h (146.7 mph), we could only touch 222 Km/h (139 mph) or 96.5% of the maximum.


While the E200 Kompressor can accelerate from 0 to 100 Km/h (0-62 mph) in a 9.1 seconds, it took us full fifty-eight seconds to accelerate from 128 Km/h (80 mph) to 222 Km/h (139 mph). This slightly slower acceleration resulted because the car was loaded (approximately 380 Kg) with five adults, their luggage, and forty Litres of petrol in the tank—conditions hardly conducive to an ideal speed test.
 
Test Conditions

Elevation: 366m (1,200 feet) above mean sea level
Temperature: 35 Celsius
Relative humidity: 63%
 
Speed Vs RPM data

80 mph (128 Km/h) @ RPM 3,500
90 mph (144 Km/h) @ RPM 4,000
100 mph (160 Km/h) @ RPM 4,200
110 mph (176 Km/h) @ RPM 4,700
120 mph (192 Km/h) @ RPM 5,100
130 mph (208 Km/h) @ RPM 5,500 (drop to 4,700)
139 mph (222 Km/h) @ RPM rise to 5,000

The acceleration rate was 1.55 Km/h every one second. The distance being covered was from 2.13 Km/minute (at an initial speed of 128 Km/h) to 3.7 Km/minute (at a final speed of 222 Km/h).

Finding a five kilometres long traffic-free stretch in the right lane on the M2 was not an easy task considering that the Motorway Patrol watches motorists at such sweet spots for over-speeding. After all, they too have wives and young children to feed at home.

At places, the concrete divider that separated the lanes on each side of the M2 had gaps through which stray cats or dogs could suddenly cross one’s path. At such speeds, even a bird hitting the car’s body might act like a bullet, hence the possibility of a high speed crash was more on the mind than a ticket for over-speeding.
 
Money On four Wheels

Depending upon the options, the current price of an E200 (2011 model) in Pakistan is anywhere from 8.2 to 8.6 million Rupees. Add to that an annual comprehensive insurance premium of at least Rs 250,000, one time registration fee of at least Rs 100,000 and the cost of using high octane (RON 95 rating) fuel at Rs 103/Litre. With this much white money out of a banker’s clutches and moving gracefully on four wheels, one would be a complete fool not to conquer temptation by giving in to it on the M2.

Buying a Mercedes-Benz means one pays for the superb ride quality, lower noise level inside, the ability to touch hitherto unknown speeds and see jealousy writ large on the faces of lesser mortals on the road. Speeding away like a bullet at 222 Km/h brought home the realization this July that life is for living.
 
In Pakistan, millions spend their entire lives saving enough to buy either an 800 cc Suzuki or a 1,300 cc Toyota, always worrying about children’s higher education. The feel of driving a pedigree automobile—such as a Porsche 911 Carrera which I once drove in England at 240 Km/h (150 mph)—is something quite beyond words.

Tail Lights

Men express happiness when women get themselves waxed but almost all women show signs of jealousy when a man pays more attention to his first love: his car. Now, if you ladies will excuse me, I need to go wax my E200 Kompressor.
 
©2011 Tahir Gul Hasan

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Pictures In My Mind

If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. —Oscar Wilde

Reproduced for your viewing pleasure are the obverse and the reverse sides of the invitation card of my first ever solo photography exhibition titled ‘One for the Road’, held at Lahore’s Alliance Française from 5 until 18 March 2005.

The director at the Alliance Française, Matthieu Pinel, was most cooperative from the beginning and matters such as image selection, print size, and framing were left entirely to my Pakistani imagination mainly because his immediate superior, mademoiselle Giselle, had already appreciated my work in private.

Hectic were the days leading up to the opening night but excitement left panic knocking at the door. To be honest, photography seemed an easier job compared with organizing a major public display of it.

More than half of my images were in colour, with no digital manipulation in Adobe Photoshop software. Long hours spent at yet another photo lab that only processed black and white (silver gelatine) prints paid off as well. Ah, the lengths one must go to satisfy discerning eyes.

The cameras I used were good old film cameras from as far back in time as the 1950s. Nothing was digital, all was either shot using the square 6x6 cm format or standard 35mm negative film. Whenever interested viewers or interviewers wished to know what camera bodies or lens I had used, I laid great stress on the power wielded by something considered quite old-fashioned: the negative.

It was odd to note that ordinary people seemed to equate quality images with unusually expensive and complicated digital gadgetry. There is no short cut to hard work and just about any camera in capable hands automatically becomes a powerful creative tool, and the greater the artistic vision, the less important the fixation on equipment becomes, but even this truth takes time to absorb.

At home, I spent endless hours getting the photograph’s titles and the pricelist right. Since I knew that photographs always sold less than paintings did, the prices were kept affordable.

Mine was the first event to be held at the new Alliance Française premises located at Scotch Corner, Upper Mall. The opening day was extremely busy as nearly all the media people and members of civil society descended in time for free snacks—if not fine Scotch—that the ‘French Centre’ had arranged in the front lawn.

The first ever exhibition of my work was a solo show—a great breakthrough for me. Friends, colleagues, neighbours, strangers, famous names and perhaps unrecognizable old flames, all turned up at the venue during those fourteen days. If the public got any wrong impressions from seeing certain images, it was because it did not look long and hard at them.

The public’s comments in the visitors’ book that I had placed there were equally amusing—I learnt nothing new about myself. While the literati used the same book rather wisely, the ignoramuses of our society abused it by penning thoughts that actually showed me how unhappy they were to witness genuine creativity. The latter group—unable to appreciate the meticulous printing, expensive glass-covered frames and the witty titles of the photographs—expected from a first time solo exhibiter, quantity and not quality, inability to expound and not lucidity, mistakes and not perfection. And hence, the shutter-bugs imposed themselves on my work and took little home to brood over. It was their loss, not mine, and that made me very happy.

Alliance Française invited people from the print and electronic media to cover the exhibition. Interesting were the questions of journalists, some of whom wrote entire articles without having laid eyes on me, preferring to plagiarize the text of the invitation card instead. It made me glad that for a change they wrote fine English.

Interviewers from various television channels, woefully unfamiliar with matters of Art, made me feel they were at a political rally. And by the time the gentlemen from Pakistan Television got over, they imagined I taught photography professionally, something I vehemently denied.
 
I was asked, “What should the gore-mint do to promote the art?”

Unexpected for them was my reply, “I think the government should only concentrate on running itself without meddling with Art and artists”.

One TV channel aired my interview so many times I was convinced their viewers had absorbed plenty of Art and knew all my words by heart.

Not everyone came as a buyer but some bought what they liked at the exhibition. With urban and rural landscapes, abstractions and street photographs, there were forty-two prints on display. In any case, I exceeded my sales target and was happy to share the cake with my French sponsors.

By the end of the exhibition, director Matthieu Pinel too was a happy customer who bought a black and white photograph titled, Lord of the Rings, which was a street portrait of man selling rings that common folks can be seen wearing in Pakistan.

I had plans of taking the circus to the Federal capital but decided to spare the capitalists so in love with bad policies plaguing this country. Then I thought of Karachi but decided to let the unhappy ethnicities first decide matters relating to ‘the art of war’ between their rotten selves.

These days, everybody needs a painting to match the interior decor, and calligraphy of Qur’ānic verses seems safe since many believe that if they hung depictions of human beings on the walls, God will ask them to breathe life into them. God has better things to do than that.

Art is one’s individual expression and pays tribute to the unity in diversity. Art is the opposite of organized religion and this is the reason why artificially pious persons, unable to attach unverifiable dogmas to each stroke of genius, hate its unfathomable abstractions.

Lahore now has many art galleries and some still wish to put up my work for sale. Since March of 2005, I have not decided if I should become famous as a photographer or as a wordsmith.

©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2011

Further reading:

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Aliens From Inner Space

Please restrict yourselves to reading my tongue-in-cheek style of written material; never imagine that I have my tongue inside forbidden cheeks. –tgh


You are many in number, are spread all over the globe and have seen me grow over the years.

What is this map here?

Are these locations of Al-CIAda’s bases—as America would have us believe? Are they places where military DICK-tators have hidden our clean money as ‘dirty’ money? Are you still guessing if these are shops that sell red balloons? Give up wracking your frail nerves right away!

Well, this is how all readers, commentators and casual browsers of my blog really look like on the world map! Surprised?

As you can see, from Hawaii to Japan, I have got it covered. Why do so few possess literary tastes in South America is beyond me, and why are there no readers from Australia, Africa, Russia, CIS countries and Greenland? I can take some horses to the proverbial well but I cannot make them all drink.

Use word of mouth, and spread the good word around because I love you all in shockingly different ways and for whose demonstration you must never ask.

Thank you for your support.

Regards.

© Tahir Gul Hasan

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Hotel California (Hotel Abbotabadia)

On 2 May 2011, America again fooled the entire world with news we knew were untrue; that of Osama bin Laden’s state-sponsored assassination at the hands of CIA’s hit squad which violated Pakistan’s airspace to conduct its unintelligent business.

Just like Pearl Harbour and 9/11, the clandestine operation at Abbotabad too begs for answers which, I assure you, we will never get from the MIC (military industrial complex). You see, major charges trumped up against OBL were dropped once the thirst of the American public for ‘enemy blood’ was quenched and Obama’s flagging popularity at home received a shot in the arm.

As of this writing, they are busy doctoring OBL’s pictures, much like those moon landing photographs of 1969 which had so many inconsistencies that NASA never bothered satisfactorily explaining to the sceptics. But people will believe in anything the spin doctors working for the lying governments throw at them. My life is simple; I treat official truth in my patent-pending way: by laughing at it aloud while rolling on the floor.

Many years ago, when I first heard the Eagles’ global hit ‘Hotel California’ (Grammy winner for best record of the year), I was bowled over not only by the fine musicianship and immaculate production standards of this country-rock outfit but also by their writing ability as evidenced in other songs from the album of the same name.

Back then the lyrics seemed to talk about a fancy hotel with a unique policy: ‘you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave’. Now, who in his youth would not wish to land at such a fortunate spot? Many of my friends took things quite literally, crossed the Atlantic to live the American dream, and got themselves blonde wives who home-delivered to them two things: great matrimonial grief and confused children. Years later, most men from the same group returned to Pakistan quite empty-handed in every sense of the word. Their American wet dream had dried up.

Repeated playbacks of ‘Hotel California’ caused my chrome cassette tape emulsion to nearly wear out but it finally dawned upon me that while to the casual listener ‘Hotel California’ represented a tale of a road-wearied man entrapped in a terrifying but appealing lavish hotel, in reality it symbolized the destructive pleasure-seeking culture of America. Justifiably, Don Henley (singer, songwriter, drummer of the Eagles) called it ‘our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles’ and ‘a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about.’
Anton LaVey, a Satanist, in the balcony

Little did I realize back then that years later, none other than the ‘most wanted terrorist in the world’, Osama bin Laden, would check into a house in Abbotabad (Pakistan) in a manner which would attract the attention of seals that the American navy would not want inside Lahore zoo’s pond.

The entire world’s focus was quickly diverted—away from failing capitalism and bankrupting economies—towards a defiant Arab from the royal family of Saudi Arabia. We were told that Pakistan’s army knew about OBL’s opulent accommodation right next to its military academy and that some Islamist sympathizers had made sure he evaded detection by the CIA.

Then we were shown video footage of a huge compound being strafed and raided by the US navy commandos who returned, after completing the ‘successful mission’, back to Afghanistan with a unique trophy: OBL’s dead body which they later buried in a novel way into an unknown sea. I believe the Arab did not go to the bottom of the Arabian Sea.

The roach motel they showed us did not have bullet marks or shattered windows, the neighbours told conflicting stories about how the stealth helicopter was intentionally shot down to make it appear as if a great battle between the American attackers and al-CIAda (note my spellings) had taken place. The media kept humming the tune that the White Washed House of Washing Town composed for them, and the US and her allies kept making excuses for not bringing OBL’s body home for burial with full military dishonour.

It is politically correct to believe that OBL, along with his rather large family checked into a luxury villa in Abbotabad and remained there undetected and quite in control of al-CIAda for five long years without being tracked by those who could not track the 9/11 jet airliners flying about in the most protected airspace in the world. And since OBL was such an able man, by Allah, he deserves to be remembered as a tired traveller in my parody called Hotel Abbotabadia.

OBL was not from Abbotabad and probably never lived there. The Eagles’ too were not from California but they successfully captured in a song what ran through their minds as they drove around Los Angeles at night to review their broken Hollywood dreams.

I am not from Abbotabad but years ago I spent a few days in a house on the slopes overlooking the PMA (Pakistan Military Academy). Much like the Eagles, I too have been able to capture the spirit of that fateful night in my parody. What I mean by certain words, phrases and names used in my parody is up to the reader to find out.

In Chicago, many people called Cook County jail ‘Hotel California’ because it is on California Street. In an interview, Eagles’ Don Henley was asked to explain why he sang the following lines when he knew that wine was not a distilled spirit but rather a fermented alcoholic drink:

So I called up the captain / Please bring me my wine / He said, “We haven't had that spirit here since 1969.”
The Beverly Hills Hotel (Sunset Boulevard, LA)

Henley replied, "Thanks for the tutorial and, no, you're not the first to bring this to my attention—and you're not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor. Believe me; I've consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line in the song has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It's a socio-political statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in song-writing and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.”

The text of my parody appeared to me in a dream in which I saw terrifying commandos marching to the tune of a famous song. The icing on the cake was that instead of the Eagles, it was a military brass band that played ‘Hotel California’. And God, it sounded very soldierly.

I dedicate Hotel Abbotabadia to those who turn a blind eye to universal American aggression, do not mind NATO’s involvement, do not clobber the UN Security Council for acting like a poodle, and to those who arm the extremists and support Pakistani establishment’s collusion in this utterly useless global war of error (G-WOE) being waged in our continent. The original Hotel California (for those who are new to this classic cut):


Please click on the karaoke track of Hotel California and sing along the following lyrics for maximum pleasure:
 

Hotel Abbotabadia

VERSE:
Said a Pak desi, "Hai oye,
Colonel Rind has no hair!”
Bomb-scare and militias
Climbing up through the stairs
Up ahead was resistance, I saw a bearded delight
The lads got angry ‘cause at night we pimped
One more puff, chilled Bud light
There he stood in the stairway
I heard the Colonel yell
“And he’s limping, that’s OBL
Langley’s agent of neo-con hell!”
Then he bit off my handle
And he shoved me away
There were khakis down on second floor
Beards shouted, “God’s great!”

CHORUS:
Hell comes to the Intel Abbotabadia
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lonely base
Plenty of boom at the Intel Abbotabadia
Any time, O yaar (any time, O yaar)
Find your copter here

VERSE:
Radar is stealthily busted
We got the Pentagon’s pants
We got a lot of pretty witty boys, that we call 'friends'
Its a trance in the bomb yard
Sweet C4 pets
Some plan to dismember
Some plan pious bets
So I hauled up the captain,
“Please bring me my Wyne”
He said, "We haven't had that idiot here since M. Ayub Khan's time!"
Be still our bosses are flying out from Ghan base
Shake you up in the middle of the night
Must you say your prayers?

CHORUS:
Hell comes to the Intel Abbotabadia
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lonely base
They lovin' it all at the Intel Abbotabadia
Want a nicer prize? (want a nicer prize?)
Bring your Ali bhais

VERSE:
Choppers on the ceiling
A sting campaign and lies
And he says, "We're all just pensioners here since Gitmo is not that nice"
And in the oval chambers they gather up to meet
They back it with their lying eyes, throw the dust in eyes of khakis
The last thing I remember, Dick was running like a whore
I had to plant fake evidence, get my rear back to the shore
"Relax", said the Gates-man, “We're programmed to deceive
You can poo anywhere you like, but you can never pee."

Guitar LEAD:
TeeoN teeoN teeoN teeoN teeeeooooo ooooN...
Tooo...ooon...ooon...ooon...ooon...ooo...aannn...(until fade)

©Tahir Gul Hasan 2011 Under no circumstances must anyone use my parody for a musical performance or recording in any medium. Violators will be fully prostituted.
Photo credits:
http://uk.ask.com/wiki/Hotel_California
http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Religions/Wicca%20&%20Witchcraft/anton_lavey2.htm
http://www.nevermindthebuspass.com/happiness-archive/classic-album-covers/classic-album-covers-hotel-california-the-eagles/