The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Sunday Prayer – Mast Qalandar!

Nicholas Schmidle relates his experience at the annual three-day festival marking the death of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at Smithsonian.com.  Every year, a few hundred thousand Sufis converge in Seh- wan, a town in Pakistan’s southeastern Sindh province for the festival.

In the desert swelter of southern Pakistan, the scent of rose­water mixed with a waft of hashish smoke. Drummers pounded away as celebrants swathed in red pushed a camel bedecked with garlands, tinsel and multihued scarfs through the heaving crowd. A man skirted past, grinning and dancing, his face glistening like the golden dome of a shrine nearby. “Mast Qalandar!” he cried. “The ecstasy of Qalandar!” for the saint buried inside the shrine. The men threw rose petals at a dozen women who danced in what seemed like a mosh pit near the shrine’s entrance. Enraptured, one woman placed her hands on her knees and threw her head back and forth; another bounced and jiggled as if she were astride a trotting horse. The drumming and dancing never stopped, not even for the call to prayer. Continue reading


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Reshma R.I.P.

Reshma, a well-loved singer in India and Pakistan, died in November of this year in Lahore.

Subhash Ghai used her voice in the film Hero, which featured one of her most famous songs, “Lambi Judai”.

During her career she was invited to meet Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In October 2002, Reshma performed at the Brunei Gallery in London to a house packed full with Pakistani expatriates. 

In 2004, she recorded “Ashkan Di Gali Vich Mukaam De Gaya”, which was used in the Bollywood film Woh Tera Naam Tha, and was also a hit record in India.

Reshma championed the cause of Indo-Pakistani Friendship. In January 2006, she was one of the passengers on the inaugural Lahore-Amritsar bus, the first such service linking both parts of the Punjab since 1947. The bus had 26 passengers in total of whom 15 were Pakistani officials, and Reshma had booked seven seats for herself and her family.


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Poetry in Afghanistan: New York Times Profiles Matiullah Turab

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The New York Times features the life and writing of Matiullah Turab. Mr. Turab is a popular poet who performs throughout Afghanistan and works during the day as a metalsmith.

With his unflinching words, Mr. Turab, 44, offers a voice for Afghans grown cynical about the war and its perpetrators: the Americans, the Taliban, the Afghan government, Pakistan.
War has turned into a trade
Heads have been sold
as if they weigh like cotton,
and at the scale sit such judges
who taste the blood, then decide the price
Though poetry is loved, it seldom pays. Some writers have taken government jobs, finding the steady paycheck and modest responsibilities conducive to their work. Mr. Turab, for his part, has stuck to his dingy garage on the outskirts of Khost City.
“This is my life, what you see here: banging iron, cutting it short, making it long,” he said. “I still don’t call myself a poet.” Continue reading


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Action Alert

I personally can’t understand how these heartless…I won’t even say corporations, because at the end of the day it’s people who make these decisions, can simply come in and steal people’s water with no regard for the damage they are inflicting on the local community.  It’s outrageous. Yes, governments should do something, but we enable this behavior by buying their stupid water.  How about, in addition to signing on-line petitions we eliminate the market for their bottled water by not purchasing it?  We have a tremendous amount of power as consumers.  Let’s use it.

Nestlé is draining developing countries’ groundwater to make its Pure Life bottled water, destroying countries’ natural resources before forcing its people to buy their own water back.
Now Nestlé is moving into Pakistan and sucking up the local water supply, rendering entire areas uninhabitable in order to sell mineral-enriched water to the upper class as well as people in the US and EU. Meanwhile the poor watch their wells run dry and their children fall ill from dirty water.Tell Nestlé to stop making Pakistan’s villages uninhabitable by stealing their water.
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Sunday’s Poem

Portrait photo of Noshi GillaniNoshi Gillani

Is a poet from Pakistan who writes in Urdu.

Noshi Gillani was born in Pakistan in 1964. Her fifth collection of poems: Ay Meeray Shureek-E-Risal-E-JaanHum Tera Intezaar Kurtay Rahey (O My Beloved, I Kept Waiting for You) was published in Pakistan in 2008.

Can Someone Bring Me My Entire Being?

My arms, my eyes, my face?

I am a river flowing into the wrong sea
If only someone could restore me to the desert

Life goes on but I want no more from it
Than my childhood, my firefly, my doll

My vision does not admit this new season
Take me back to my old dream

Of finding one face among the many in my city
Whose eyes can read deep into me

My life has been a boat in a whirlpool for so long
O god, please let it sink or drift back to the desert

 


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Malala Yousafzai Addresses United Nations

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai addresses the United Nations as part of her campaign to ensure free compulsory education for every child. “I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child,” she said.  She also invokes the names of Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King while advocating for peace and non-violence.

She marked her 16th birthday by delivering the speech on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York.