Thatta Kedona

Culture is a Basic Need

Mud Architecture

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Dr. Gus Van Beek, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, is completing a book on Old World mud architecture, examining methods of construction and varieties of designs in contemporary as well as ancient structures. The work will cover major types of construction in Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and India, resulting from research on arch and vault construction which Dr. Van Beek started in 1971 as the result of examples he uncovered at Tel Jemmeh, Israel. Contact: Dr. Gus Van Beek, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History.

Related: Heavenly Mud


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:45 AM, ,

An Overview

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:12 AM, ,

TTC Products by Zephanja Arzt

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:29 AM, ,

Women of substance

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Societies pride in different strengths: Some give importance to bravery, some to democracy, and some nations think that freedom of expressions, development and or education are the hallmarks for their long-term sustenance. “The nations should be judged on how they look at their women,” writes Abbas Khan, the author of Urdu novel Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada, his eleventh, that I have had the chance to read.

There is a famous saying that every thing in fiction is true except dates. But in the novel written by Abbas Khan even dates are true because he has based his novel in the back ground of five very famous women in the history: Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Quratul Ain Tahira (Iran), Mughal Princess Noor Jehan and Umrao Jan Ada.

Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and wife of Menelaus, considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Her abduction by Paris caused the Trojan War and made thousand ships drown.

Cleopatra (actually Cleopatra VII) was the last of the Ptolemies, the Macedonian-descended pharaohs who ruled Egypt beginning in 304 B.C. Cleopatra has come down through history less for her administrative skills than for her beguiling ways, which she used in an attempt to keep Egypt free from Roman domination. Among those whom she charmed was Julius Caesar, with whom she had a son, Caesarion. After Caesar’s death, Cleopatra joined forces with Caesar’s colleague Marc Antony; they became lovers and political allies against Antony’s rival Octavian. Octavian’s forces finally defeated those of Antony and Cleopatra in the naval battle of Actium in 31 B.C. The two lovers fled to Alexandria and, faced with defeat by Octavian, committed suicide. Legend has it that Cleopatra died by the self-inflicted bite of a poisonous snake called an asp, though no firm evidence exists to support that claim.

Qura tul Ain Tahira created waves in the history of Iran in 1848. Princess Noor Jehan was a Mughal princess who helped King Jehangir rule Mughal Empire. And Umrao Jan Ada, whose poignant tale of misadventure of a little girl, forced into prostitution; and the saga of 1857 at the center of this tragedy as a testimony are famous in history.

Umrao Jan Ada was a dancer girl of Lakhnow (India) and her fame was at the peak from 1896 to 1899. In 1899, Mirza Hadi Ruswa wrote a novel titled Umrao Jan Ada that was published by Maha Dev Parshad Publishers Lakhnow. In turn, Umrao Jan Ada published a novel titled Fasan-e-Ruswa, which describes the love story of Mirza Hadi Ruswa and a French woman Sophia Augustan.

These women are at the background in which Abbas Khan has set his novel. With the help of today’s characters, the author weaves a web around modern world’s family — a basic unit of the society and tells us how that is being disintegrated.

The theme of the novel has been defined by the first sentence which reads, “Family is the bases of society. Both male and female should refrain from every type of waywardness to save the society.” Abbas Khan portrays nineteenth century character (Umrao Jan Ada) living in twenty first century in his lucid style.

Abbas Khan writes on societal issues in the daily Nawa-e-Waqat and his other published work includes three novels, seven short story books and a compilation of his observation: [Zakham Gawah Hain, Tu Aur Tu (novels), Dharti Binam Akash, Tensikh-e-Insan, Qalam, Kursi Aur Wardi, Us Adalat Men, Jism Ka Johar (short story books), Reza Reza Keenat and Pal Pal (afsancha — shortest storybook) and Din Mein Charagh] and now Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada (novel).

Books have been bringing changes in human relationships and making difference in the lives of people. The power of worlds has caused people to loose their existence or to better them. This is what his novel is expected to do.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:36 AM, ,

Pakistan women’s football team enters FIFA rankings

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Pakistan women’s football team enters Fifa rankings

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:56 AM, ,


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Following abbreviations have been used through out this blog:

AeFeA (or AFA) - Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama

BHU - Basic Health Unit

DOW - Dolls of the World

TTTC - Technical Transfer and Training Center

TGD – Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka

WAC - Women Arts Center

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:40 AM, ,

Rural urban migration

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The world is fast approaching the point where the majority of the human population will be found in urban areas.

Somewhere, sometime in 2007, someone migrating from their rural home to begin a new life in a town or city will tip the global rural/urban balance, the UN estimates.

Throughout history, the world has experienced urbanisation but the huge rise in the number of people making their homes in towns and cities is a recent phenomenon.

In 1950, less than one-in-three people lived in urban areas. The world had just two so-called "megacities" with populations in excess of 10 million: New York and Tokyo. Today, there are at least 20.

Greater Tokyo, the world's biggest city, has expanded from 13 million residents in 1950, to today's figure of 35 million.

The United Nations estimates that about 180,000 people are being added to the urban population every day. This means the world's urban infrastructure has to absorb the equivalent of the population of two Toykos each year.

North America and Europe's urban areas already account for about 70-80% of the regions' populations, and these are expected to stabilise at these levels.

Developing nations are shouldering the vast majority of this burden, leaving them struggling to cope with the huge influx of people into urban areas. Some cities' populations are 40 times larger than what they were in 1950.

In the traditional model of urbanisation, which North America and Europe experienced during the Victorian era, people were pushed away from the countryside by the mechanisation of agriculture, and pulled towards urban areas by the offer of jobs and wages.

'Premature urbanisation'

Sub-Saharan Africa, which has the world's highest rate of urban migration, is not following this pattern.

The size of its cities bears no resemblance to their economic wealth and are experiencing what the UN's human settlements agency, UN-Habitat, calls "premature urbanisation".

The agricultural sector is not flourishing and urban areas are not generating economic growth but failing crops, natural disasters and conflicts are forcing people to flood into towns and cities.

Currently, about 36% of Africa's population lives in urban areas but the continent is experiencing urbanisation rates twice as high as those seen during the West's industrial revolution. It is predicted that Africa will be an urban continent by 2030.

Because the urban areas are economically stagnant or in recession, local authorities do not have the money or expertise to provide services such as access to water, housing, education and healthcare.

As a result, 70% of Africa's urban population find themselves living in slums.
Africa is not alone. An estimated one billion people in Latin America, Asia, as well as Africa, live in slums or informal settlements that are not legally recognized.

Without any intervention, this number could double by 2020.
In Asia, China's urbanisation has followed the traditional drivers experienced by the West. Its industrial revolution is the most rapid the world has seen, and the Chinese government says it has helped lift more than 200 million people out of poverty.

Millions of people migrated from rural to urban areas to fill the jobs generated by the economic explosion.

Not everyone sees it that way. Anti-poverty campaigners say many workers receive low wages and live in poor conditions. An estimated 200,000 people each year move to slums on the southern outskirts of the capital, Beijing.
Seeking solutions

Although China's large-scale poverty reduction strategy could act as a framework for others to adopt, not all regions have the export markets and trade links that South East Asia enjoys.

UN-Habitat says the "urbanisation of poverty" has been overlooked. Traditionally, Western aid agencies have focused their efforts on the impact of floods, droughts and conflicts affecting rural dwellers.

In an effort to focus attention on the problem, the UN Millennium Declaration set the target of significantly improving the quality of life for 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

The UK government's Commission for Africa said that the international community had to work together to tackle the urban poverty gripping the continent.

The commission's concluding report warned: "These slums are filled with an increasingly youthful population, unemployed and disaffected. Africa's cities are becoming a powder keg of potential instability and discontent."

More than 10,000 delegates are expected to attend the third World Urban Forum, being held later this month in Vancouver, Canada.

The two-yearly meeting, organised by UN-Habitat, is viewed as a chance to share experiences and knowledge, and aims to forge partnerships that will help deliver the goal of balancing urbanisation with a city's ability to absorb new inhabitants.

The delegates are aware of the growing sense of urgency of the challenge ahead because the next time they gather, they are likely to meet in an urban world.
Interactive urbanisation map
[Via BBC]

Related: PERSPECTIVE OF URBANISATION IN PAKISTAN by by Shujaat H. Zaidi - Sociologist, Free Lance Consultant for Population, Family Planning, Women-in-Development and Honorary General Secretary of MSJ Research Institute.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:22 PM, ,

Dolls for a cause

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:07 AM, ,

Welcome to Dolls Village

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Located on the offside, between Okara und Faisalabad, 45 Minutes eastward of Harappa.


NO Swimming Pool - NO Alcohol - NO Buffet - NO Bus - N O ...!

Pre-condition for Participation: Covered skin, Respect for the traditional culture !

- Last war of freedom in the Punjab in 1857, Murder of Lord Berkeley by the Kharel tribe of TGD
- Region of the best buffaloes of the world as well as cattle thieves;
- AFA / TGD at the EXPO 2000 in Hannover and EXPO 2005 in Aichi
- AFA / TGD silver medal for the dolls project IWSA/UNESCO 2004
- “TV-Programme”: channel ONE-sunset, channel TWO-moonshine and stars

Handicraft production of dolls in traditional dresses of provinces and minorities at the Women Centre

Models of Rickshaws and other metal toys at the Men Centre.

Best time for visits: March and October (as there is no air-conditioner in summer and no heating in winter)

Local Boarding and Lodging is available for visitors @ Pak. Rs. 250 per person per day.

Registration for Transport Lahore - Village:

M.Ilyas, AFA, Showroom Lahore, 0303-7 35 69 86

Registration for Self-Transport: Mr Farooq Ahmad, AFA, Man. Director Men Centre 0300-417 43 60

Mrs Farzana Zahoor, AFA, Man. Director Women Centre 0321-697 21 05

Other Information here and in this site


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:47 AM, ,

Куклы Hародов Mира (Russian)

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Куклы были всегда. Доказательство тому – однозначно идентифицированные в качестве таковых предметы, найденные при раскопках в Южной Америке, Японии, Италии, Греции и в других местах по всему миру. Сделанные из всевозможных материалов – дерева, воска, глины, ткани, – они использовались не только как игрушки, но часто и как символы и культовые предметы, миниатюрные изображения человека в ритуалах жертвоприношения. Еще и по сей день у различных народов они выступают как фетиш, что привело к возникновению культовых фигур или разработанных на их основе игрушек. Куклы – это не только игрушки, имеющие воспитательную ценность, но и реальные документы прошлого и настоящего и, следовательно, важный источник, из которого можно черпать знания об играх, образе жизни, быте и хозяйственной деятельности того или иного народа. Таким образом, куклы являются важным проводником культуры!

Д-р Зента Зиллер основала в ряде стран – Пакистане, Камеруне, Колумбии и др. – различные социальные проекты. Суть их заключается в следующем: занятие художественными ремеслами шаг за шагом прокладывает путь в деле развития сельских областей, обучает их жителей приемам самопомощи, сдерживает отток людей из деревни за счет мероприятий, приносящих им дополнительный доход. Производство кукол здесь – это кропотливая ручная работа; их наряжают в оригинальные костюмы с разнообразными аксессуарами. Вследствие этого забытые виды тканей и детали одежды вновь оживают и занимают важное место в быту.

Куклы из Пакистана

Основанный д-ром Зиллер в 1993 г. женский проект в пакистанской провинции Пенджаб – а на сегодняшний день он разросся и включает в себя также и центр для мужчин – способствовал тому, что к настоящему времени уже 120 женщин имеют доход. Занятость этих женщин в проекте, базирующаяся на их любви к традиции, не препятствует их работе по дому и в поле, а также проведению различного рода праздников, которые определяют традиционную культуру в сельской местности. Деревня Татта Гхуламка Дхирока насчитывает около 1200 жителей. В 1991 г. сельская община основала кооператив «Аньюман-э-Фалах-э-Аама», который сотрудничает с DGFK e.V. (Немецкое общество содействия Kultur e.V.). Сам Аньюман участвует в шести других проектах в стране.

Куклы из Камеруна

Начиная с 1998 г. были основаны три кооператива («Акавтинуигах», «Акаанканг», HandiCraft CAT) в Баменде, столице северо-западной камерунской провинции, которая граничит с Нигерией. Эти кооперативы также сотрудничают с DGFK. Баменда насчитывает примерно 60 000 жителей, которые составляют население семи холмов и говорят на восьми различных языках. Помимо мужчин из кооператива CAT, художественно-ремесленную продукцию изготавливают более 100 женщин.

Куклы из Колумбии

В 1999 г. был основан кооператив «Танто Мехор» в Сабойе, который к настоящему времени сотрудничает с тремя инициативами. Сабойя – это населенный пункт примерно с 6000 жителей, расположенный вблизи от Чикинкиры, столицы департамента Бойака, к северу от Боготы. У этого кооператива также имеются связи с DGFK. Художественными ремеслами здесь заняты более 100 женщин.

...покупая представленные здесь изделия, имеющие высокую художественную ценность, вы не только поддерживаете мероприятия, приносящие доход населению пенджабского региона, но и приобретаете уникальный образец традиционной культуры страны.
Одноразовым либо многократным перечислением некоторой денежной суммы вы поддержите дальнейшую работу проекта развития сельской местности. Вы можете указать одно из следующих назначений для вашего денежного перевода:
a) общее,
b) женский центр,
c) центр здоровья,
d) сельскохозяйственный проект,
e) проект по обеспечению питьевой водой,
f) проект развития центра для мужчин,
g) школьный проект,
h) проект развития туризма.

Переводы следует направлять на следующий счет:

Получатель: ...
Счет №.: ...
Название банка: ...
Пароль: 3S-Foundation / SentaSillerStiftung
назначение: (смотри вышеуказанные пункты от a) до h))

или отправьте чек на предъявителя по адресу


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:22 AM, ,

Centre for Appropriate Technology Cameroon

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Readers at Light Within are familiar with the work of NGOs and how Thatta Kedona (and also SPARC) is making difference in a small village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka situated on the bank of River Ravi near Gogera. Dr. Senta Siller (mother of dolls) and Dr. Norbert Centre (fondly called by village community as chaudhry sahib) keep toggling between Germany and the remote village with fresh ideas and people of the village keep making new products (dolls, tin toys and other decorative cultural mementos) keep travling from village to the entire world. Now the untiring couple has started another project in Cameroon. Heritage and Appropriate Technology Center is born in Cameroon.

Heritage and Appropriate Technology Center Cameroon is Bamenda - capital of North West Region in the Republic of Cameroon - based NGO. The NGO is focusing on development, presentation on exhibitions and promoting of appropriate technology. Do-it-yourself usage of appropriate technology gives a hope of independence from central technical infrastructure. And handmade dolls, dressed in traditional attires from the different provinces are a means of additional income generation in rural areas. Heritage and Appropriate Technology Center Cameroon involves men, women and also children in different initiatives.

Heritage and Appropriate Technology Center Cameroon has develop active cooperation with foreign NGOs like Technology Transfer and Training Centre in Pakistan, Institute for Planning and Consulting, German Society for the Development of Culture (DGFK) and Bamenda University of Science and Technology (B.U.S.T). This blog, in addition to useful information about Cameroon (one of the most diverse African countries that is called Africa in Miniature and its culture and people, will covers CAT initiatives and projects. [Via]


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:34 AM, ,

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Dolls and Friends of Dolls say Salam Pakistan

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4:45 PM, ,

Do you have love for others? How much?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:23 PM, ,

A New Social Movement

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Dr. Senta Siller

The first encounter with people in a traditional Punjabi village in Pakistan took place in the autumn of 1990 at the invitation of a former student. There are over twenty thousand such villages in the densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. To put it generally, the first impression was the following: a poor village, a poor region with no roads, no sewers, no schools, no electricity, no toilets. Shooting a documentary film, setting up a public health service, establishing an NGO, building an NGO-financed school were the first measures towards creating a village development project, which was followed from 1993 on by projects that generated income for the rural population. Ten years of Pakistani-German co-operation at NGO level have provided a clear view and have increasingly shown that Pakistan is a rich country with traditional, cultural, natural and social resources.


Bi-lateral agreements between countries have in the past ensured economic developments and changes. This is not the place to judge the extent to which something did or did not make sense. It is, however, a fact that in many cases the majority of the population in an assisted country has not benefited from the envisaged and anticipated changes, but instead distribution of the benefits has been from top to bottom. Even if hardly anything perceptible arrived at the "bottom," this is particularly where there were and are the most drastic consequences, most neither anticipated or desired.

The forms of support - probably occasionally even well meant are an underlying output of urban cultures, which due to an absence of knowledge and a lack of ability to judge its significance, restrict rural culture at best and at worst even cause it permanent damage. It is difficult to imagine a stop to this practice; nonetheless it is at the grass-roots level, in the countryside, where traditional cultures still thrive that resources are redefined and used in projects. The approach necessary for this differs greatly from standard approaches.

Development phases

Project development in Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka can be divided into five phases:

There is nothing that does not or has not already existed; but there are things that are frequent because they are carried out frequently (graffiti in university library).

  • 1991 - Amjad's Village: Establishment of first contacts, creation of a documentary film, first showing in Germany, fund raising for a school for boys, first private health center to provide medical care for the villagers.
  • 1993 - Thatta Kedona: activating the village women and resumption of the tradition of making dolls. Parallel to this, training is given Ð virtually from the very beginning a successful attempt is made to generate income for women living in rural areas.
  • 1995 - Village Toys from Pakistan: Initially the hand-crafted dolls are offered and sold on the local market at bazaars. Ethnological research results are brought in and ethnic dolls are dressed in the traditional costumes of the various provinces and minorities. A new women’s center is set up and powered by photovoltaic energy. The first invitations abroad follow.
  • 1998 - Handicrafts from Pakistan: Together with the Export Promotion Bureau, handicraft products are exhibited abroad for the first time with other NGOs. First orders placed by foreign customers follow. Young village men are brought in and, independently of the women, make tin toys and ecotechnological products. Invitations from foreign women’s groups lead to a network for the project Dolls of the World. An international network joins the local network of domestic NGOs; the women’s group initiated by the Pakistani village NGO also works with other NGOs in Cameroon and Columbia. Health assistants are trained and a health center set up in order to improve the health of the villagers.
  • 2001 - Gogera Development Program: Growing numbers of people from elsewhere in Pakistan as well as foreigners visit TGD in order to find out about the project and the example of life in the village. This requires involvement of the region in the project. The pre-Pakistan history is an important factor here.


Preliminary work: A fundamental prerequisite of work in local NGOs of countries not orientated towards the West is not political or religious convictions and economic strength, but primarily social infrastructure. This means links with the members of a local NGO. A sense of welcome, receptiveness to external influences as well as economic necessity are the prerequisites of successful activities on both sides Ð that of the local population and that of those invited.

Criteria for volunteers: They need to have the following: eyes that are open, ears that listen, cultural openness and the voluntary nature of work lead to independence; gentleness and resilience are needed; non-pursuits of religious, political or business aims are a prerequisite for successful coaching.

Volunteers in the field (young, middle-aged, old) and honorary nature of work

Three forms of involvement have evolved in the course of time. Work should be in an honorary capacity. The advantage of this is a certain degree of independence; this independence opens up the possibility of adopting unconventional approaches. However, independence also means neglecting certain areas of the culture in question such as politics, religion Ð as well as preconceived models for solutions and approaches to work.

The three forms of involvement relate to age and circumstances and are also to be seen in connection with the respective financing: One, senior citizens with professional and job experience, and independence of external pressure can be deployed in a useful way. Age groups, which in their own countries are only of interest in terms of the national economy, have the opportunity to implement the concepts and ideas of NGOs. Two, middle-aged persons who are interested have the possibility of taking time out and shaping developments in a completely different environment, with the added side-effect of starting afresh with new insights upon return to their own country. And three, young persons are as a rule either just starting their careers or still undergoing training. In sharp contrast to their previous concepts of trades and jobs, existing professional ideas and goals are now being reinforced and new aspects and insights are shaping their attitudes to life and work.

Theoretical training is frequently accorded a higher status in Western countries even though it is well-known that particularly the combination of practical experience and theoretical insights makes it possible to change or strengthen structures.

NGO members sent abroad

The prerequisites for useful deployment abroad on the part of NGO members are knowledge of the project, i.e. those concerned need to be well-informed about the effect, function and activities of the NGO in question. Thanks to Western influences, this refers to an ISO certification, which is nothing more than saying that the right hand is supposed to know what the left hand is doing and why.

Project work reflects life in individual businesses, etc. This is why it can never be pre-determined, but must be capable of reacting flexibly within certain parameters to problems that occur in actual practice. Knowledge of structures and possible ways of reacting as well as dependencies help NGO members to engage in activities outside their own countries.

In view of the contacts that have been developed, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Iceland, and the United States should be mentioned in the case of Pakistan. NGO members were able to gather experience in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai Shopping Festival), Germany (Import Shop Berlin) Iceland (International Week and Workshop). Further activities are possible and are being processed.

Integrated approach

The best way of describing the present organization structure is as "international NGO co-operation with sales markets in the project countries as well as in industrialized countries.” It requires a cohesive view within the project and the networking of projects. Use of the technological means of urban culture (e-mail, etc.) is of vital assistance in this connection.

The experiences with a Pakistani-German NGO initiative upon which these remarks are based show the accuracy of what has been said. The Pakistani NGO is part of a network which by now also includes Cameroon, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iceland; customers are in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand; IT makes it possible to find markets, however it will never be possible to compete with the production figures of an international company; marketing remains extremely tough and is dependent on assistance of a wide variety of kinds, and, unfortunately, no consideration is given to the benefits not in money’s worth (dissemination of living culture, schooling of individual taste versus industrial products and uniformity in many areas of life: food and beverages, film and television, dance, music and painting education and upbringing, changed perception of colors, forms, etc.).

It is easy for critics to dismiss the possibilities that have been outlined, but is actually the microcosm of a village development that reveals the problems of a macro economy.

It was Max Weber who coined the term of the responsible citizen. He has always existed even if forms of government have been different. A wealth of experience leads to wisdom, something has been experienced in actual fact, lived in reality. An abundance of theory in projects in rural areas is only grist to the mill of city dwellers.

Dr. Senta Siller, Voluntary Director, Women Art Center TGD


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:10 PM, ,

Youth style

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The youth style was a European way of living, around the year 1900, and represented a revolt against the industrially produced goods. The speciality of era was the cooperation between artists and craftsmen and the usage of selected materials and techniques as well as integration of non-European motives and cultures specially popular were those from the sub-continent.

An interesting example from the present time is the art of block printing in Lahore and elsewhere in Pakistan. On the occasion of the first handicrafts exhibition in the year 1890 in British-India, Kipling, the museum director of that time and father of the writer Rudyard sat together with a craftsman and used motives from the Moghul period, and walls of the pavilions in Shalimar Gardens were selected.

The English variant of the youth style was the so called modern style, in France the Art Nouveau, and in Austria Sezessionsstil.

A famous name in youth style was of the Vienna designer Carl Otto Czechka, whose 100th birthday was celebrated in July 2010. His work was meticulously followed by another Vienna resident Dr Senta Siller, also a designer, however with a twist directed towards income generating measures based upon traditional culture in rural areas. The youth style movement developed itself soon into art of minorities because it was not based upon mass production and the products, all individual pieces, had their price.

The problem of that time has become more severe as the price is still considered the main purchasing argument. Beauty and the specialness are lost and with it the traditional affect.

Dr. Siller has been working on this problem since many years. She strives to maintain handicraft techniques and traditional motives and forms. With the help of other volunteers, she tries to generate lasting income for the participants while maintaining good quality and limited production. Not only through training and production in projects in Pakistan, Cameroun. Columbia, but also through bazaars in ethnological museums.

This is how Pakistani Chaddars made in the workshop of Mr Aslam in Lahore and dolls from the village Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka (Thatta Kedona) make an impact upon the conscience and give hope for renewed interest of quality conscious customers.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 12:03 PM, ,

Dolls of the World

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Idea and Work on
Sustainable Rural Development in Punjab
by S A J Shirazi
Punjab University Press, Lahore
Printed by Summit, Lahore

read the complete book for free



Ferozesons are leading publishers of Pakistan with a long tradition of numerous literary, educational and research publications on various topics of science, economy, politics and art to their credit. Our publishing house has always distinguished itself through the seriousness and correctness of its publications. It is therefore an honour for us to publish “DOLLS OF THE WORLD“, in which an extra-ordinary project of an extra-ordinary German lady is introduced as trend-setting model for successful rural development.

It is also an honour to publish this work from the Sub-Continent.It may be pointed out, that the author has used a number of sources and information collected from colleagues for better understanding, which has not necessarily been indicated.

The Publisher

The demand for consistency and reliability is more than ever evident in today’s fast-moving pace of life. One wants –at last- a certain level of steadfastness and durability of effort. But how is this supposed to happen, when changes take place so rapidly, that hardly, if at all, sufficient time remains to respond? How can one react so quickly, when the systems are by concept short-term?

1. Sustainable Development
Sustainability has become a favourite term. One uses such hopeless terms, whenever the society is supposed to be warned about success and they seem to enlighten but in reality, short-term and short-sighted thinking and action cannot lead to the desired sustainability. It is specially of dramatic proportions, when in the system “sustainability” refers intentionally or un-intentionally to the priority of keeping the status-quo or the economic-viability.

2. Urban and Rural Population
Even though the urbanization is proceeding rapidly, still the number of people living in rural areas is a considerable portion of the total population. The tragedy of the rural population is the contradiction between its pride, to be able to cultivate and sustain their living independently, on one side and the inferiority complex towards the urban population, on the other side. The urban population, originally also from the rural areas and now well settled in cities, has understood well how to subdue the rural population by reflecting an –assumed- improvement in their standard of living.

We must point out in this case to two realities, which will not please the city-dweller, but are not wrong for that reason:

1) It is not that the rural population needs the city population but
the other way round.
2) It is not that the developed countries need the developing countries more but the other way round.

This opens a new level of discussion for intellectual discussion, which is however not the topic at present.

Only a remark:
The development in the early industrialized nations paved the way for the prosperity. This happed rather quickly and was successful inspite of the basic error, because it was limited in scope to western civilizations. Increasing difficulties in creating the political-economic relationship made it necessary to expand the system to include more and more regions –another sign of limitations of the existing system. That the basic error was therefore not only passed on to other regions but in even stronger potency and in shorter time is scientifically and philosophically of interest and it shows that in context of the complexity, speed and the uniformity, more populous regions will be at a disadvantage –poor people, who honestly believed that they were taking over an advantageous position in the competition for a better life.

3. City Culture and Traditional Culture
Life in a city leads to a tremendous change in its social structure. The sizes of the family change and with it the behaviour and lifestyle. Material changes overshadow the immaterial changes to such an extent, that the importance of the latter is recognized, when it becomes too late to take corrective measures. As already pointed out in the last remarks, the speed of change plays a critical role: Basic errors are not only multiplied with each problem solution but also the speed of change increases exponentially. Not to be underestimated is the fact, that the feeling of short term success often hides the real problems !

To solve these problems, the city culture looks towards “modern time” measures: more energy production, wider roads, higher buildings, so-called better education, etc.

The industrially emphasized education potential is not in a position to question the most basic errors and to find independent answers, for which –as in the development of nature- multiplicity and time are important preconditions. Coming back to the NGO-types, we may summarize here:

Formation of a local NGO in the rural areas should always build up on the roots of traditional culture because herein lies the strength, power and uniqueness of durable and comfortable existence in the village instead of moving to urban areas hereby only adding to the un-solvable problems of the cities.

1.The Village Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka
The residents of Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka lead an extremely rural lifestyle, which by no means may be considered something negative. This is probably due to the location and difficult approach to the village, which can be reached only in complicated way and also there is no thoroughfare in the village.
This leads us to a stunning conclusion, i.e. not the perfect technical infra-structure of approach roads etc. is helpful to a local NGO but rather the intentional separation from outer influences, which allow the NGO members and the village community to grow slowly together with the NGO.

This slow pace is expressed in the day to day development of the NGO undertaken in small steps. This form of an NGO stands in sharp contrast to the usual help methods and NGO projects, in which success is measured in quantities and industrial approach.

Such concepts are generally not suitable for the development of rural areas, but are much helpful in self-destruction of the cities.

2. The Villagers and the NGO
The village life has always been characterized through narrow social contact, -in all cultures. The tasks to be carried out have been regulated through centuries of conditioning. The NGOs established today, in contrast, are a result of developments of the early industrialized societies of the 19th century.

Only when most important elements of such a social construction –we may call them „social infra-structure”- are available, can one speak of the success of such NGO work. It is important that a balance be created between too much and too little of task distribution, otherwise the real success of the effort will remain doubtful.

The work of an NGO with the aim of promoting income generating measures for people in the rural areas should begin after a careful evaluation of the capabilities of the villagers and then develop from within, -something that can only happen on location and not sitting in a city behind a table. And: one should be prepared to sacrifice luxury and still be satisfied.

3. Handicraft and more
In an NGO, traditional values are a basic component of the organization. If these values are not available rudimentary, identification characteristics of the members of the NGO will be missing. It is therefore doubtful, when the NGO’s allow themselves to ignore the traditional rhythm of the rural lifestyle.

In the NGO being described here, distinct roots of traditional handicraft capability were evident in its members, i.e. the villagers, on which the NGO work could tie on. The villagers already used to make dolls, embroider textiles, etc. Time and analytical capacity are needed to recognize these roots of talent and one should be prepared to proceed with non-conventional methods, only after which success may come, which however can, may and must not be compared with the success of an industrial production.

1. Expert Exchange and Project Parts
Two factors are important for the successful work of an NGO: the inclusion of external experts and the possibility of participation by the local members of the NGO within and outside the project. In the first case, it is very useful as the carrying element of the NGO to make use of the outside influences without becoming dependent on them and in the latter case, to have the opportunity to witness the external effect of the NGO work.

The above mentioned capability lets the foreign “coach” of the NGO –who should and must be working on honorary basis- to be accepted as the leader of the community but outside the community as an absurd appearance, -a characteristic of exceptional management qualities, which one may have and can only learn to a very limited extent at a university.

2. Marketing and Financing
An NGO, which is totally dependent upon financing from outside, is so to say the longer arm of a local or foreign institution, cannot be successful according to the “theory of NGO work”. Therefore the correct relationship between the ideal and the material is of profound importance. As in case of a commercial venture, money must be earned in the market through sale of products. NGO’s in rural areas can work together with similar NGO’s and thereby share their resources. They can and must have a philosophy of their own, -but philosophy alone cannot strengthen the NGO.

Production is done in a way which is compatible with the culture, which allows the fields to be cultivated. Work timings are not from 9 to 5 but that one meets in the morning, or also not, works together or individually, or gets the materials for work at home,- work is done lovingly and at one’s ease. With this method of work it is not possible to maintain delivery schedules of high quantities or to honour contracts strictly. For such orders investments for machines and an appropriate work organization etc. are needed, which lead to dependence and do not allow handicraft work in singular production and high quality.

Productive, informal NGO’s create income additional to the income from agriculture, they posess a social Infrastructure and connect to the traditional talents; they produce in limited quantities and quality controlled. The rule is to satisfy the customers and whole-sellers. Customers within and outside the community are to be looked after and contacts to be strengthened. Considering the small production quantities, only the quality and the “special ness” of the item convince the customer. The „special ness“ is reinforced through invitations to fabulous events. The success leads to many other NGO’s trying to copy the process, but they are normally either not aware of the concept or unclear about it. When NGO’s start to think in masses and copy others, instead of creating their own specialties, they actually act like industrial undertakings: they produce in masses, the products are fully inter-changeable with products of other undertakings, the price levels destroy the small manufacturers, who are ruined and led to think, that they must produce more and more in order to earn more. The dependence keeps increasing.

3. Activities in the Country
An NGO cannot save the basis of its local activities from damage through activities in foreign countries. Therefore establishment of a fine network, to maintain it permanently and to adjust it to the given situation.

For this, the NGO must function in some ways like a company, however without its mass production and sales organization. All this must happen with smallest of staff, eventually with some support from outside, for example through the “coach”.

The NGO must be present in the rural area. It must look after the business customers as well as private customers, -although less and less goods will actually be available !

Why? – Because on one hand, production is not done 8 – 10 hours per day and on the other hand the traditional culture is supposed to be protected. The income is supposed to be additional to the income from agriculture.

If the quality is maintained at similar level and the items, inspire of limited production, remain attractive to the buyers, the additional income can definitely be maintained indefinitely.

The often surfacing objection, to increase the production by including other villages, shows the widely spread way of thinking. There are ten thousand villages, however one cannot copy blindly and one should be able to analyze the capabilities of a community.

1. Learning on the Project
As opposed to the city, long-term free education is not possible in the rural areas unless a new dependence is acceptable. The problems emerging from such an effort can be covered up in the city, because the consequences of an education for the sake of education appear not to be recognized by the decision makers. A local NGO must therefore make sure, that the manufacturing of a product and its exploitation go hand in hand, i.e. that the project should be a learning experience. This cannot happen in masses and has to be done in smaller portions, which is something not understandable for the city dwellers, who are used to thinking in terms of masses.

2. Activities Abroad
We have discussed the necessity of creating a soft network of cooperation on village level in order to be independent of the money flow, which however is also a necessity for a “genuine” NGO. At the same time however, an effort should also be made to work together with similar institutions in foreign countries. In this case, the use of available possibilities is almost a precondition, the danger of “milking” of the NGO through the employees also extremely high, so that this human weakness has also to be countered here! Inspire of the independence of the NGO’s, informal control possibilities are available, which may be used for management purposes.

It may be possible to deliver parts on a small scale to another place in order to manufacture economically. This may be done in similar manner as international concerns by delivering parts. It is however important in such a case that the basic idea of the NGO work inspire of other situation (level of education, harvest time, climatic differences, etc.) is not forgotten. Participation in special events (festivals, museum visits, international exhibitions) and active presence in important countries is to be realized with a minimum of financial expense. The eyes should be kept open all the time, because business relationships are not durable !

3. Networking

Also Networking is a common magic word of the city culture in the present, when a cooperation is being discussed. Cooperation is not an invention of the modern time, it has a very long tradition. Perhaps “networking” refers to keeping contact with each other via the Internet. Here the city dwellers are clearly at an advantage unless competencies are clearly defined in a rural NGO, where the payments like in a city cannot be realized. Also here must in an NGO, a lot of voluntary work has to be done, which a member of city community may not afford to do because of the high costs of living.
The difference between a small and a bigger organization can be best expressed in the words „Small Is Beautiful” by Schumacher, whereby a smaller venture has to be better than a large organization, because –as the GM of an international concern said in few words “the large ones will not eat the smaller ones, rather the fast ones will eat the slow ones”. Here, the fast ones must act “wisely” and thereby more carefully.

1. Big politics and village world
Even if one is of the opinion, that a remote village is not affected by the politics of a country, this is valid only in part. It is true that climate has a big influence in the life in villages and rural areas. This is the case, when temperatures have exceeded the average values, which makes work, usual in the cities, impossible to be carried out in the village. The city dweller easily has ready solutions for improvement, which are however unrealistic when seen in context. But it is true that an NGO in the rural area can be ruined by the big politics, e.g. in cases, where sensitive business relationships exist, which can be destroyed through large occurrences, like for example changing of government, weapons tests, attacks on objects relating to other cultures, wars etc. As opposed to private companies and government authorities, the NGO’s do not work with fixed values to an extent that they are not flexible, however they are more susceptible to negative influence. The contracts should not be so inflexible that the independence of the NGO is compromised. That would endanger the NGO.
NGOs should in any case serve the purpose of income generating measures, otherwise they are destined to fail right from the start; when money stops to flow into the NGO, it cannot exist without income and so the beneficiaries should be asking themselves, what is actually required of them, when the financial help of the beginning is forthcoming.
If the NGO is producer of something, it makes sense to work together with other local NGOs; and in any case it should be useful for small NGOs, if they can work together with foreign institutions, -as long as they maintain their independence.

2. Cameroon-Colombia-UAE u.a.

The NGO Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama has received invitations for sale of their products from a number of countries due to the nature of the product manufactured by them. This is an example for the positive use of modern media in a small organizations. With the help of information on the Internet, various initiatives of women’s groups could be supported, so that –among others- similar initiatives could be successfully started in Cameroon in 1998 and in Columbia in 1999.
Even though these Organizations work in similar manner and they are located more or less in rural area, still, their members are differently educated and living in completely different cultures, - a fact, which is not considered in the industrial production, because such values are not able to be captured statistically and therefore considered not to be available.

3. Iceland and Greece

While each women group in Pakistan, Cameroon and Columbia manufactures its dolls in handicraft work separately and apart from eventual supplies between the projects, the mother project functions as supplier of „raw dolls“ also to the regions, where the raw dolls could bec manufactured but a higher cost, which would make the product more expensive for the buyers. This is valid among others for projects in Greece, Iceland and Germany.

1. A Holistic Project

Also the term „Totality“ in the present times is only a content with another cover; in fact, not much else remained possible for the farmers in the villages than to work collectively. Climate and weather, sufficient irrigation water, the counteraction of pests and results of cultivation activity, the cautious use of the land, the common welfare of the peasant population, etc., all this was not unknown in the past, it has only been forgotten through the process of industrialization ands its influence on the village life, which reflects on the absolute wrong track we are treading. The current problems of our time are characterized by hectic research efforts, multiplied problems through short-term solutions and their short-term but extensive implementation, which in fact hinder an improvement or a solution to the actual problems.

2. Grassroot Level and Big Help

The reference „Back to the Nature“ can be a popular accusation, when NGO’s are categorized. Such an accusation however shows the explosiveness, the positive explosiveness, which is not acknowledged by its critics. A classical case of our limited thought, which does not allow contrary questioning, because following the fact would lead to san entirely different conclusion.
The strange slogan „the future lies in the countryside“ should be fundamentally reconsidered, -a basic error of the crooked, generally circulated growth oriented thinking and actions.

3. Independent,- why and how ?

Independence is gladly propogated, which however is not possible as such, especially not to large extent: if at all, it is possible only in small units, the price of which is a special type of dependence: constant vigilance and review of the basic values.

1. Chances and Opportunities

The development of NGO-Projects in rural areas, with the vision to make possible income generating measures in certain regions through handicrafts production and field research is a real challenge, -at a time when the whole world is lapsing into a globalization euphoria, driven by the city elite and strengthened by the people pushed from rural into urban areas, who are prone to fall prey to the propaganda of the virtues of automation and appropriate advertising.When everyone is running in the same direction, this should be reason enough to question the same and to show alternatives, which should protect from the impending dangers.

2. A New Kind of Work

When the whole world is moving apparently in one direction, then inevitably the prevailing system must collaborate, which eludes the participants, who unable to do something about it, can only judge it from a distance.
Without entering into discussion about economical, social and political tendencies, the results must lead us to describe the inefficiency of the growth-oriented economy to adjust to changes.
These signals point to the necessity of a behaviour which needs to be corrected. Even if the change can hardly be expected from the side of the city elite, the necessity of this change must be pointed through change in the work methods. .

3.Either Or and As Well As

Our human navigation system is based on the orientation towards opposites. This is in this way a part of our dealings and actions, so that for us the difference between small and big, dark and light, hot and cold becomes just natural.
Either-Or,- such is the categorical challenge, which has no room for any intermediate solution between two poles. It may be necessary for the purpose of orientation but it does not correspond to the reality in human dealings. Intentionally we build a smoke-screen and see ourselves on a seemingly critical level.
If really everything were so simple, it would not be possible to withstand the complexity of life. Nature did not develop itself in this categorical way, and above all, not with this speed and not without examination of the surrounding situation.
The conclusion should therefore be more like “As-Well-As” instead of the “Either-Or” in order to open our eyes to the complexity of questions.


The speed appears to be the main problem, when the durability of projects is in consideration. The apparent compulsion for success, that the system is supposed to function at all times and the success, say, is also helpful for the political and economic decision making in questions of population, elections and own profit, is in itself a programmed end to the desired durability of the system.

Literature, Articles, Publications, etc.

The author appreciates the assistance of the Institute for Planning and Consulting
as well as German Society for the Advancement of Culture.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 3:44 PM, ,

Story of the Dolls Village

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In the green heat of one of the most fertile lands in the world there is a tiny repository of color -- a doll village. This is Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka (TGD), an ancient world embalmed in amber -- a small village in Central Punjab, Pakistan. This rural and needy community has, in the space of 7 years and with the help of its skilled work, become known to the world as a fact where once it was a whisper on the wind.

The story begins in 1990 when Dr. Senta Siller, a German graphic designer, and her husband were invited by a Pakistani student in her class – Amjad Ali – to visit his ancestral village. They saw a village where country farmers still lived as they did in an ancient era. Time stands still here. To the modern eye, used to civic amenities glittering facades and antiseptic cities it is perhaps a shock to be faced with a rural village such as TGD, which had no roads, electricity or water until the year 2000.

No one in the village could afford fired brick buildings so nearly all the houses were built using sun dried bricks and a plaster of mud would act as a cement to hold the bricks in place. This style of building was similar to the Adobe houses built by Native Americans on the opposite side of the globe.

“My husband who is an architect fell in love with the mud structures and he said,“ they will disappear in the next 10 or 20 years -- we must come back and make a video,” recalled Senta. And so it was that a year later the couple returned with a young filmmaker to the village and rural life in Pakistan was filmed. This video was named “Amjad’s Village” and after returning to Germany they showed the movie to their audience. The entrance fees of about 300 people who watched the film was then used to purchase the cement and bricks needed to build a boy’s school in TGD. The farmers themselves constructed the school.

The farmers also founded an NGO named Anjuman-e-Falah-e-Aama and sought the cooperation of volunteering experts. On her previous visit Dr. Siller perceived the need of the village families for a second income- farming was not able to suffice their basic needs.

The first volunteer in the village was Leila Mason, a young German doctor who established a Basic Health Unit in a private home and trained three women in basic healthcare over a period of 18 months. The village NGO then invited Dr. Siller to create income for the village women through applied arts.

After a thorough investigation with particular reference to the dearth of quality handmade toys in the local market, Senta went back to Germany. “I learnt doll making in 1992 (I never made a doll before- I am a designer) at some evening classes in Germany for the village to multiply the skills of the women.” The following year, after having retired from her post as vice principal of an art college in Berlin, she returned to the village and work began on the income generation project, which is now known under the trademark of “THATTA KEDONA”” meaning “village of toys” in Punjabi.

The village project really started with doll making and it is still this skill, which has earned it global fame. Each doll that is crafted in TGD is marked with the name the doll maker.

It is a unique product and each woman makes her own doll. “We don’t make it like an assembly line in a factory. Each girl learns to be a good doll maker and can maker her own product. They (the women) come if they need material and only if they need training do they come at special hours. Usually they come in the morning to deliver what has been done and take home new material. They deliver whenever the product is ready”, say Senta Siller.

If an urgent order is to be fulfilled then Senta asks a team if they can finish the required amount in the specified time. Usually there is no pressure because the village project is well managed and there is always an inventory of products both in the showroom in Lahore and in the Women Art Center (WAC) in the village. Also, the work is usually completed ahead of deadlines and for special orders. A timesheet is developed so that each doll maker knows when to deliver a particular doll in given week.

In parallel with the doll making activity innovation was required to produce different products for sale. For traditional designs Senta looked for old block prints -- in the streets, in the bazaars-- and wherever she would spot a little elephant or a little donkey, a “more” (peacock), as she says rolling the “r”, or a camel the design would be mentally sketched. These would then be used for designing new products.

Some of the objects developed at the center are actually centuries old. For instance there is the dhota -- a beautiful hanging mobile or pendant. These are still alive as wedding presents in the village- when a girl is married her friends still give her a mobile for her new house. The women’s project copied the mobile but used better material to make an improved product.

There was also the need for innovation and creativity. “We took the original children’s shows of the Punjab -- the Ali Baba and Khussa -- and made a small ornate pincushions. We converted things, which were existent in the culture. For instance, decorations of the braids, “pirandas” are beautiful but nobody will buy (them) -- in the foreign community. “They don’t use “pirandas” so we make a bookmark with this beaded ornament. The same ornament with tiny hooks turns into earrings or it can with a small golden loop become a buttonhole ornament for shits or be turned into a Christmas tree decoration,” says Senta.

After this range of small products Senta observed a technique in the village where a coil of twisted cotton material would be manipulated into animal or human figures. In order to give more definition to the shapes of such inventions and make them more durable Senta taught the women a variation of this method. “We made this in miniature with wire and wool so we invented very small dolls and I brought the brooch needles from Germany and we started with brooches and the next year we invented the finger puppets and the little dolls were used for many applications.”

The Women Art Center grew and now has a beautiful indigenously designed building that was built using a grant from the German Embassy in Islamabad to house it as well as a photovoltaic system that was funded by the Japanese embassy in Pakistan.

The women in the center made steady progress and slowly but surely incomes began to flow into their houses and the difference could be clearly felt. This left the young men of the village watching in envy as the women used their time in creating and also enjoyed themselves whilst the boys were left with no gainful occupation.

The yond men asked that work be found for them and so with the cooperation of the Germany NGO and its local counterpart a Technical Training Institute was developed for the manufacturing of small tin sheet items and the latest technologies such as those needed in harnessing solar power were envisioned as skills training for the boys.

Senta bought a sample solar cooker from and Institute of Alternative Technology in Lahore and then found a sponsored volunteer in Germany -- a young technical teacher who visited the village twice 1997 and 1998. He trained the boys in the making of solar cookers and little tin sheet rickshaws.

The solar cookers are a low cost alternative and are effective in making stew like dishes. Already the prices of petroleum all over the globe have begun to destabilize. It’s to the credit of the village planners that they have had the farsightedness to take this possible scenario into account when planning for feasible training programs in the village.

Special report appeared in Weekend – The Khleej Times.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:50 AM, ,

Urbanization - Rural to Urban Migration Trends

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Tags: Urbanization, Migration Trends

By Brad Knickerbocker

For the first time in human history, the world's population is about to become mostly urban. Citing population growth rates and migration patterns, United Nations researchers and other experts predict that some time in 2008 more people will live in cities than in rural areas.

This demographic shift is mostly taking place in Africa and Asia, largely in low-income settlements in developing countries - much of it in the 22 "megacities" whose populations will exceed 10 million and in some cases grow to more than 20 million by 2015.

The environmental, economic, and social ramifications of such trends are enormous, according to the Worldwatch Institute's annual "State of the World" report released Tuesday. Among the major challenges are the mundane features of daily living: clean water and air, sanitary waste facilities, the cost of food, and the availability of shelter and transportation.

Unplanned and chaotic urbanization is taking a huge toll on human health and the quality of the environment, contributing to social, ecological, and economic instability in many countries," warns the report, which is written by demographers, international program officials, and other experts from the United States and other countries.

But the news is not all bad. Researchers find examples of cities from Karachi, Pakistan to Freetown, Sierra Leone to Bogotá, Colombia with projects aimed at improving the lives of urban dwellers while reducing the environmental impact of concentrated populations. These include urban farming plots, solar water heaters, economic cooperatives, improved sewer facilities, and upgraded transportation systems.

"The task of saving the world's modern cities might seem hopeless - except that it is already happening," says Worldwatch president Christopher Flavin. "Necessities from food to energy are increasingly being produced by urban pioneers inside city limits."

Still, the challenges and the probable costs of addressing them remain daunting. Eight of the 10 most populous cities are on or near earthquake faults. Some two-thirds of the cities projected to exceed 8 million residents by 2015 are in coastal areas where sea levels may rise as a result of climate change.

But the human need is more immediate. Of the 3 billion people who live in cities today, about 1 billion are in slums without clean water, adequate toilet facilities, or durable housing. Some 1.6 million urban dwellers - many if not most of them children - die each year due to causes associated with the lack of clean water and sanitation.

"For a child living in a slum, disease and violence are daily threats, while education and healthcare are often a distant hope," says Molly O'Meara Sheehan, project director of Worldwatch's 2007 report, a collection of articles and graphics produced annually since 1984.

This argues for a reassessment of global development priorities, advocates say, particularly the allocation of national and international aid. According to the Commission for Africa, launched by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2004, problems associated with urbanization are second only to HIV/AIDS on the world's most rapidly urbanizing continent.

Yet from 1970 to 2000, aid designated for cities in developing areas was just 4 percent of total development assistance worldwide. This was the period when many countries in Africa were transitioning politically and economically from European colonialism to independence.

"Too many of us were ill prepared for our urban future," notes Anna Tibaijuka, executive director of UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing universal adequate shelter.

"The promise of independence has given way to the harsh realities of urban living," writes Dr. Tibaijuka, an agricultural economist and native of Tanzania, in the report's foreword.

By 2015, there are likely to be 59 African cities with populations between 1 million and 5 million, 65 such cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 253 in Asia.

"Urban centers are hubs simultaneously of breathtaking artistic innovation and some of the world's most abject and disgraceful poverty," writes Mr. Flavin. "They are the dynamos of the world economy but also the breeding grounds for alienation, religious extremism, and other sources of local and global insecurity."

Cities also exemplify the challenges and promises of sustainability. China, for example, has 16 of the world's most polluted cities. But on an island in the Yangtze River near Shanghai, China this year plans to break ground on the Dongtan ecocity project designed to be nearly self-sufficient in food, water, energy, and waste disposal for its projected 500,000 residents


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:22 PM, ,

Extreme Housing

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By Dr. Norbert Pintsch

We have already discussed and illustrated Technology and Economy in connection with extreme housing in in parts 1 and 2. Here we discuss the area of Philosophy and the Religion in order to complete the whole picture.

First of all a note on, perhaps surprising, aspects of Religion:

  1. The basis of thinking of believers as well as non-believers is identical. If non-believers are of the opinion, they are free of religious limitations and think clearly on scientific lines, so this shows actually their incapacity to admit the influence of religion on our way of thinking.
  2. One should accept this fact in order to understand the errors in the usual way of thinking, giving a shocking dimension to the usual concepts of finding problem solutions.
  3. In western systems, one is inclined in religious matters to make a comparison between bananas and Neem-tree, i.e. one compares, what is actually incomparable, e.g. a religion with a total life system. One can only compare in order to recognize the differences and after that again separate, because the incomparability becomes apparent,- a continuously changing process which should be quite clear.

    The deficient knowledge in the totality approach and the appropriate actions lead to enormous deficits, which are completely covered up in consumption oriented and resource squandering actions. This situation leads to a fascinating situation, which fades away the sense of error.

    In spiritual area, the co-called Knowledge of the Time in the internet is actually misunderstood as knowledge itself, even though experts have called it Pseudo-Knowledge,- the strenuous work of the real search must still be done. In material area, the selection of menu in a fast food restaurant is actually understood as general reality! Especially the field of designing helps towards increased consumption, without questioning usefulness of the products at all.

    Especially in technology and research-oriented areas, the increasing exploration attempts are mostly considered in themselves as development.

    Illlustration 1 shows the various systems ôf the methods in which we proceed: We try to bring order to chaos and begin to recognize the matter, we try to incorporate the gained knowledge into a pattern, the pattern becomes a reality on which new theories are constructed. In this way the distance to reality keeps getting larger and larger and with that also the quantity of the basic fault, which is to be seen in the context of a fiction-reality comparison.

    But the reality is actually different and the correct way would be to move away from the effort to bring order and move towards the reality and then again create a new order. This organizing and re-organizing is a permanent process which should be done deliberately.

    Would the system “Life” function like the industrial, research and economic systems, one would need “the whole surface of Asia for an amoeba”!

    The understanding of known and above all unknown senses is defeated due to erroneous total understanding and can only be compared with the often quoted spiritual dullness of the middle ages in Europe

    The enormous discrepancies between the claim and the reality, whereby we are aware of the error multiplications of the previous generations, can be clearly seen in a production comparison between human and machines:

    In the first case, production is carried out in a compact and integrated manner.

    In the second case the work process reminds of the sorting efforts of early childhood: everything which doesn’t match a toy is put away separately. The development of Extreme Housing does not make such a development unnecessary, rather senseless; this aspect shows the real position of the so-called development.

    Loss of knowledge or ignorance, the problems between belief and thinking as well as between thinking and knowledge may be largely seen as intellectual trickery and of absolute uselessness, however they have still not lost their importance. The only thing lost appears to be the importance of the necessity to look into the matter more deeply.

    It is not new in the history of mankind to attribute all things improper not on natural factors or their personifications but rather on to an unknown, indescribable single power. One has always tried to focus on a single point even before the start of the civic calendar. If one keeps following this method consequently, the way of thinking internalizes to such an extent, that the secondary and tertiary users of the method become incapable of realizing the reality.

    As a consequence of this knowledge, a pseudo-reality is created, which due to the monotheistic influence, leads to thinking and acting in a manner, which is characterized today as success and problem-oriented approach, without actually regulating anything! This is because the capability to manage something is connected to the ability to perceive something. Only that exists, which can also be proved,- what cannot be proved, doesn’t exist at all.

    Paradox are scientific claims, which cannot prove their subject.

    The conflict potential in the cultural system is expressed in technology, in economy, etc. but the basic problem lies in the one-sidedness, one-level of thinking, in the loss of cultural identity, in the loss of values in general. If the distance between technology and economy to philosophy and religion becomes larger (see illustration 2), this leads inevitably to conflicts.

    War & Peace,- Facility Management* and similar terms as income generating concepts and more

    The desire for peace is an ancient dream of humankind. To be silent and to have peace appears to be much sought, although silence is not the same thing as peace. There is the socalled silence before the storm and we have also heard of the silence of the grave.

    War is something inhuman, it is said. At the same time we know, that wars can sometimes be necessary in order to maintain peace. Through wars, such elements which are detrimental to peace are atlast removed after a long process of trying to come to a peaceful solution. War and peace are not limited to economic or scientific factors but they take place almost in all areas of the western and west-oriented world. In the field of philosophy and religion, this is not noticed due to lack of information and in the field of technology and economy, one is unaware of its potential ! By pushing the problems to the consumer level, to which also sport belongs, and the fad of terms like smartest, best, strongest, a war loses its impression of cruelty.

    Peace is only possible, if a basis for understanding is available, a platform from which one can argument. This
    basis is provided generally by theory. As in case of individuals, where one party is never totally innocent and rather both parties carry a part of the blame, so is it also valid for large organizations.

    If it comes to intentional war-like situation between large organizations with loss of lives, it affects the individual person much more than the anonymous mass of the large organization.

    It should not come to war if human beings actually possess the much praised capacity to understand other viewpoints, generally considered as the most important criteria of differentiation between humans and other living beings, without knowing, how other organisms behave. The distribution of insects in a field can mean the beauty of flower fields for the short-term understanding of the human being, whereas it means the ultimate for the micro-organism.

    The path of conflicts can mean for some people new work opportunities and incomes*, whereas one does not really recognize a danger in it, that ist until one suddenly finds himself in the middle of the war, which one did not want at all.

    We had called intellect as a medium of communication. The intellect does not function like a machine, but is rather hormone controlled. Although there are a number of diverse scientific theories and function models about the causes of conflicts, these can normally be explained quite clearly afterwards as to what has led to the conflict, between individuals or between large organizations, -but at that point it is normally too late: the problems are already created and they are compounded in different forms and at different levels.

    In times of general confusion, such conflicts can take place so subtly, that the involved parties do not even realize that they are part of the conflict; because destruction does not necessarily occur through brutal force, but also through negative influence on a value system, which leads to reactions from opposite sides. In this manner apparently beneficial development as understood by one person can create feelings of fear and with that aggression in the other person, without both of them actually understanding the real cause.

    Conflicts do not emerge out of nothing; they are either automatic or cultural additions to the human orientation system; if the system is influenced through pseudo- theories, the basis of understanding with the other party is lost, a further input to the existing confusion!

    Due to this pro or anti position, the conflict moves from one level into another, sometimes coming to agreement, but reaching another level again and again, till it comes to conflict one day (see illustration 3). That is why we often hear, that conflicts occur between individuals due to their inability to speak to one another. An anecdote makes clear such situation, which may also apply to organizations: in the first marriage year the man speaks and the woman listens, in the second marriage year, the woman speaks and the man listens, in the third marriage year the neighbors listen,- in case of large organizations, we can add the factors of self interest, wishes and aims of auxiliary organizations too.

    In a phase of escalation, the physical force is not the only measure, against it, but even together with it, psychological force can also be applied, -in both cases, one is far away from creating an understanding, although the intellect has been used with all its possibilities. In such conflicts, there is an end to the relevant system (the death), a change to the relevant system till agreement, but never can we speak of resolved conflicts, even though it may look like that. This leads us to the knowledge, that development cannot take place, if there is only silence and peace and there is no war, which creates fear and leads to readjustment.

    The changes to the relevant system refer to very different factors, which take many forms of influence: general disturbance, misuse of rules, demonizing the other side, etc.

    The changes and the partly sub-conscious factors of influence take place in current times more and more on a technological level. To these belong not only discussions about human rights, where one party insists they are present and must be valid all over the world and the other party does not share this opinion because of cultural differences. Complex applications in security area also belong to it, so that in case of a conflict, which –it is stressed- nobody wants, what one achieves for its own side, keeping human lives intact. This argument is sold quite well at least to its own people. Even if the described situation appears to be a distant possibility, a civil application of the Facility Management (see illustration 4) is nothing more than a shifting of values, of the influence, of the opposite effects of income generating measures and of the loss of incomes from work. Thanks to, or should one say, due to missing knowledge and the time to reflect, we arrive in current times to the mentioned forms of confusions. For this reason we should utilize, at least from time to time, the possibility to balance out the fundamental deficits, this requires however an appropriate realization. If this realization is not there, it must lead to conflicts, at the end of which a little understanding, a spark, –like a wonder- finds its way into the human understanding.

    Sometimes this spark even helps the human generation develop further,- if there are more -one can assume that there is nothing for free-, the peace is obtained on the shoulders of other unlucky people of other regions. If one would attempt to verbalize this tragedy, it would mean the end of comfortableness for the peace preachers. Strangely, there is something old enough from the middle ages, which represents an important factor to promote peace on an individual level: the love; in large organizations, the only possibility to avoid conflict is permanent dialogue, which should take place even if unresolvable limitations stand in the way. This is because the other option to the desire for a certain social order is the reality of chaos (see illustration 5).

    * The considerations are based upon a model of CULTURE, in which although discussed in different dimensions from various authors, it still holds, that different cultures still have certain commonalities like a written or verbal form of dealing with each other, some sort of method for material exchanges, some form of activity to pull out of the daily routines, etc.

    ** As a precaution, we may point out that there are cultural systems, which have a total approach to their subjects but they are often misunderstood from outsiders as religion,- this is an important cause for many misunderstandings. There is a difference whether we consider the founder of a religion as a rhetoric personality or as a communal politician, who carries the responsibility of creating order among the chaos of human inter-action.

    Technology and economic-oriented persons can gain knowledge about spiritual problems by the following authors:

    1. Paton:Ueber Nicht-Wissen

    2. Skrates:Ueber Un-Wissenheit zu spielen, um beim Gespraechspartner die Vernunft ans Tageslicht zu bringen (Maeautik)
    3. Drewermann: Ueber Glauben & Denken, Denken & Wissen

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    posted by S A J Shirazi @ 1:55 PM, ,

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