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Empires Of The Indus by Alice

Many of the proselytizing saints who arrived in Sindh from Iran or Middle East gave their mission a boost by putting down roots in ancient Hindu places of worship, or even by allowing themselves to be identified with Hindu gods. Sehwan Sharif, where Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s tomb is located, is the site of an important Shiva centre. The name Sehwanistan, as it was known untill recently, derives from Sivistan, city of Shiva, and the modern faqirs still dress like Shaivite yogis, in torn clothes, with matted hair.

Lal Shahbaz Qalandar also used to be called Raja Bhartari by hindus ; and when I visit his shrine I see, flashing in red neon Urdu script above his tomb, the words Jhule Lal, one of the many Hindu names for god of water. At least untill the nineteenth century, it was believed by Muslims and Hindus that the Indus waxed and waned according to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s whim.

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Meet Alice Albinia, author of “Empires of the Indus”

Meet Alice Albinia, author of “Empires of the Indus”, Sun, 2 May , 4 pm, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, 48 South 7th Street, San Jose, CA 95112-3544 Presented by Friends of South Asia, World Sindhi Congress, and Sindhi Association of North America

“Alice Albinia is the most extraordinary traveler of her generation… A journey of astonishing confidence and courage.”—Rory Stewart

One of the largest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in the Tibetan mountains and flows west across northern India and south through Pakistan. It has been worshiped as a god, used as a tool of imperial expansion, and today is the cement of Pakistan’s fractious union.

Alice Albinia follows the river upstream, through two thousand miles of geography and back to a time five thousand years ago when a string of sophisticated cities grew on its banks. “This turbulent history,

entwined with a superlative travel narrative” (The Guardian) leads us from the ruins of elaborate metropolises, to the bitter divisions of today. Like Rory Stewart’s The Places In Between, Empires of the Indus is an engrossing personal journey and a deeply moving portrait of a river and its people.

Empires of the Indus: The story of a River

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One of the longest rivers in the world, the Indus rises in Tibet, flows west across India, and south through Pakistan. For millennia it has been worshipped as a god; for centuries used as a tool of imperial expansion. Today it is the glue of Pakistan‘s fractious union.

Publication date: 15 May 2008, Published by John Murray

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