Imran Khan’s Pakistan – A New Way Forward

The charismatic Imran Khan – former Pakistan cricket captain, currently a politician, party leader, philanthropist and a man described as “Pakistan’s favourite son” – has released his latest work grandly titled ‘Pakistan: A Personal History‘. And a personal history it is for Khan, having merged his own changing identity and with that of the evolving culture and states of Pakistan. Interspersed with philosophical musings of both his own personal life (“I soon realised there was a world of difference between happiness and pleasure-seeking”) and the frank, rich history of Pakistan from it’s very creation in 1947, Khan uses his own cricket career, personal beliefs, political ideals and even his marriage as a prism to reflect on the larger issues at hand in Pakistan today. Beginning first with his own upbringing and family, and juxtaposing this with the creation of Pakistan from its very ‘independence’ and roots in 1947, Khan reflects on the sad beauty of Pakistan, while also highlighting the increasing troubles the state and its people have been undignified with.

Keen to show a side to Pakistan which has previously been defamed by media, and whose identity has become distorted, Khan details the underlying problems Pakistan has faced. After decades of corruption, disruptions from America and their puppets who are positioned in significant places, power politics and the country’s passive role in the ‘war on terror’, Pakistan appears to have reached despair over the state of its nation, as well as impasse over the anger of its people. Similarly, Khan’s own life, previously that of a playboy, and spoiled rich boy, soon evolves into anger at the state of his home country, his depiction in the media and the coverage on both his cricket playing and his marriage to a non-Pakistani woman – and most of all further strengthens his faith in the role of Islam. It is clear then, that Khan’s life and its ups and downs are followed in context with the changing scenarios in Pakistan’s political climate.

Yet Imran Khan does more than just present complaints and criticisms about the current handling of Pakistan by the government, and the intervention by several Western powers – instead, he proposes a solution in the form of his own political party, Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice). Highlighting the ideals of Pakistan’s founder, Jinnah and also praising the ideals of peaceful leader Gandhi, Imran Khan emphasises his own objectives as being similar to these esteemed leaders. In addition to this at the heart of these ideas are the ideals and beliefs of Khan’s favourite poet and philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who he believes could help reform and re-modernise the country. It is not a coincidence therefore, that Imran Khan has released this book so close to his political campaign which has kicked off, and his bid to be the country’s next President.

His philosophy (among others) revolves around “equal treatment for rich and poor is essential”, changing policies in appointing ministers and incorporating Islam’s morals into the ruling of the country, as well as withdrawing from the war on terror which has, according to Khan, only led to an alternative type of imprisonment for Pakistan under America’s terms, and has led to millions of unnecessary deaths. As Khan sums up, “Colonialism deprives you of your self-esteem and to get it back you have to fight to redress the balance.”
The book then, is divided into several layers. In the first layer, he describes his own personal life and upbringing, and the revelations which he is eventually led to. The second layer is an accurate, sharp account of recent Pakistani political history, and the issues and problems of contemporary politics which need to be addressed. Thirdly, Khan emphasises the role of Islam in history, how its qualities of tolerance, justice, moral values and education are ones which made Islam the leading civilisation for centuries. And lastly, it is a political manifesto for Khan’s objectives themselves, which details his struggles and his expectations for the future.

Yet in all of this, Khan never strays from the overall pervading message in his autobiography – which is that of hope and optimism. Imran Khan states his hopes that Pakistan will overturn its disgraced image, and redeem itself with its rich culture, Islamic morals and with the promising youths of Pakistan and their changing attitudes. Just as Khan himself has resolved his own personal issues, he shows how he hopes to use his own successes in the political sphere, and become as renowned a politician as was his illustrious career as a cricketer.

Pakistan: A Personal History appeals to me because of my own Pakistani heritage, and the fact that Pakistan has had such negative press in the past few years. While Imran Khan has idealistic ideals, my own belief is also that he is an honest, sincere and courageous politician which will not be much appreciated in the world of politics. Khan has certainly done a lot in the name of humane charity, and it is this compassion in him which appeals to the masses. Whether he will be able to carry this over in a potential presidential role, however, is a different story.

Whether you are interested in the cricketer Imran Khan or the politician Imran Khan or just in Pakistan’s current affairs and it’s rich history, this is certainly an enlightening read, and is an interesting insight into the mind of a philanthropist and politician.


Framed Traditions – Handmade Sari Art

This is a beautiful idea by American company Framed Traditions, which takes vintage clothes and recycling to a different level. Taking parts of old saris which are transformed into works of art, each sari is carefully pleated and bound into frames which can be displayed on walls. What I also liked about the company is that they are willing to donate 10% of each sale towards funding children’s education in India. This is a great way to re-use traditional clothes which are too old or damaged to be worn again, especially, if they have been handed down by older generations and have a personal meanings attached. I’d like to see similar frames made with clothes from other cultures (imagine a flamenco dress frame!) – would anyone try this?

All images belong to Framed Traditions

Field of Light(bulbs)

How pretty is this? A field ‘planted’ with lightbulbs to create a beautiful and certainly unique Christmas exhibition, although I think this is an appeal which will appeal to all, regardless of the season. The exhibition will officially be turned on this Sunday, and will be available to view at Holburne Museum in Bath. I wish this is was more local to me (i.e. anywhere in London) so that I could go see it! Has anyone been able to see/are planning to see this? What did you think?

Image Source

Hitchcock Mosaics on the Underground

Leytonstone tube station has wonderful mosaic art displayed all along the walls of the station, celebrating Alfred Hitchcock’s origins at Leytonstone by depicting the life and work of the famous director. There are several different scenes and images from Hitchcock’s most famous films in mosaic murals scattered all around the tube station, and most of them are wonderfully detailed and quirky, which you can see below.

The first mosaic rendering of his films is, of course, the infamous Psycho movie, with a twist of Alfred Hitchcock being in the shower instead. Can you guess the movies in the rest of the mosaics?

Weekly Finger Art Links

Weekend linkies everyone!

Precision walking anyone? Jawdropping stuff, and really gives a whole new perspective on power walking and marching. Imagine seeing this being taught at kids’ P.E. lessons eh? Click here for the whole sequence this group did.

Ten scandalising facts about historical figures you never knew – you’ll never look at Martin Luther King the same way again.

I never knew how popular finger drawing was until I saw this collection, and how cute are they?

Sometimes you want to talk like a pirate. but you’re not sure what the correct vernacular for “I need to use the restroom” could be (is it “fleabag inn” or “barnacle covered galley”?). Well fear not, there’s a website to turn your words into Pirate, and even translate your webpages into Pirate. Enjoy figuring out what each sentence means.

Tired of getting normal tattoos like every other Tom, Dick and Harry? And who says you need to limit it to boring old skin? Well now this nice couple can tattoo your teeth, in a bizarre expression of body art. With images of famous people and animals, now there’s a reason to pull your cheek to one side and proudly display your crowns to those lucky viewers. Or not.

Enjoy the linkies all, I’m off to try a spot of finger drawing myself, will let you know if there are any successful attempts : )

Harlequin’s TEAPOTS & TEASETS #1: The Alien Teapot

This blog really wouldn’t be complete without some mention of tea sets. Or teapots at the very least. So I’d like to start off with a series of teapots (and tea sets) which have caught my eye and made my day a little more sunshiny. I have a weakness for handsome teapots (they make me weak at the knees) although god knows why, I don’t even drink tea. I’m like those mad old women who collect hundreds and hundreds of gloves which they’ll never wear. Although just to clarify, I don’t actually collect teapots, I’m quirky but I’m not rich enough to be THAT eccentric.

Anyways here goes, this is a wonderful alien-flying-saucer teapot I stumbled across, which I absolutely *loved*. It’s astonishing just how many alien teapots there are (just Google and see), but this has got to be among the top five (the knitted one-eyed tea-cosy in another site also features in my top-five count).
Just imagine, a hot cup of tea delivered by a grumpy looking alien fresh from the teabags of Jupiter. Or something.
And it doesn’t come much cooler than that, does it?

Available to buy online (although it doesn’t come cheap!)

Alexa Meade – turning real life into oil paintings

“I paint representational portraits directly on top of the people I am representing. The models are transformed into embodiments of the artist’s interpretation of their essence. When captured on film, the living, breathing people underneath the paint disappear, overshadowed by the masks of themselves.” – Alexa Meade

American artist Alexa Meade takes real life paintings to a whole other level. While conventional artisits try their best to imitate real life on their 2D canvases, Meade attempts to do the opposite: using acrylic paint to paint directly on top of people in order to create an effect of a painted, 2D image, using background props and walls to add to the illusion. Combining the use of paint, photography, abstract art and statement, Meade has innovated her own style of art, changing the challenging the way ‘viewing’ art and people are viewed.

Cleverly making her paintings ‘realistic’ while at the same time make it incredibly hard to believe that these are real people and not paintings, Alexa Meade creates astonishing images which push the barriers of what is considered ‘realistic’ and what is considered as identity and brings a new dimension to the phrase “seeing is not necessarily believing”. I haven’t yet seen an image by her which fails to impress me, it takes a close look at her work to dissect and understand how she has used the real people under her artwork to create the whole image. In a short space of time, Meade has gathered a large following and much praise for her work – and Meade has warns that she is no one-trick pony, there’s yet more to come, which we will  be awaiting with high hopes.

More pictures can be found on her website and her flickr portfolio.

Alexa Meade ‘painting’ herself

Meade’s combination of ‘real’ life and her art work

Another style of 2D painting by the artist

All pictures belong to Alexa Meade

Blue Glass Trinket Boxes

I love trinket boxes, jewellery caskets, pill boxes and glass jars of all kinds , so I couldn’t resist when I saw these translucent, dreamy blue glass trinket boxes (and one mauve one!). The poet in me thinks of water-like  jewels and intricate filagree dull silver, which promise to hold your secrets (and your diamonds) and offer possibilities with their petite bodies. So of course I had to buy them, and I got one for each of  my sisters and sister-in-law (and one for myself of course). I’m sure if you were to look at their contents now, each glass bauble would hold something very different from the last.