TV Journalism NEWSDAY. #LETSDOTHIS #Journalism #StGeorgesDay #Red #White #Black #Salford #MediaCity #Journalist #Presenting #News #Interview #Edit #playback #Showtime #QuayTimeTv #Student #SalfordQuays

TV Journalism NEWSDAY. #LETSDOTHIS #Journalism #StGeorgesDay #Red #White #Black #Salford #MediaCity #Journalist #Presenting #News #Interview #Edit #playback #Showtime #QuayTimeTv #Student #SalfordQuays

Casual look for a productive day @Salfordonline 

#Thursday #orange #dullday #bright #colours #productive day #Manchester #Uk #2013 #news #Riverisland #zara #Dorothyperkins #Aldo #Guess #Topshop #Journalist #Spring #April
Casual look for a productive day @Salfordonline

#Thursday #orange #dullday #bright #colours #productive day #Manchester #Uk #2013 #news #Riverisland #zara #Dorothyperkins #Aldo #Guess #Topshop #Journalist #Spring #April

Yeah 😉

Yeah 😉

And a dreamer I am… #Aladdin #love #princess #streetrat #jasmine #disney #childhoodmemories #cute

And a dreamer I am… #Aladdin #love #princess #streetrat #jasmine #disney #childhoodmemories #cute

Life of a Journalist #IWM #ImperialWarMuseum #SalfordQuays #Manchester #Iraq #Exhibition #Photography #Reporting #QuaysTvNews #journalism #journalist #MediaCity #March #Uk #2013

Life of a Journalist #IWM #ImperialWarMuseum #SalfordQuays #Manchester #Iraq #Exhibition #Photography #Reporting #QuaysTvNews #journalism #journalist #MediaCity #March #Uk #2013

A little lesson for us all… #Listen #Think #Earn #Forgive #Try #Love #Life #SMILE

A little lesson for us all… #Listen #Think #Earn #Forgive #Try #Love #Life #SMILE

Happy Ending… or Not!

Girl meets boy. Girl has a crush on boy. She falls in love. The feelings are mutual. Happy ending? Get real, this isn’t a replica of Disney’s Aladdin. Try, Pakistani Muslim girl Fatima, meets non-Muslim boy. Enough said.

Coming from a fairly traditional background, Fatima was always taught that some friendships depending on ethnic, political and religious reasons would not be feasible. Fatima accepted this, until love entered the picture. Then she was lost. “Why can’t we have what we want?” and “why do we fall in love so easy, even when it’s not right?” were just some of the questions that baffled her. She has not yet found a satisfying answer because even if she gets close it ends with a ‘but’ followed by another question, ‘why?’

Throughout the first 3 years of Fatima’s high school days she was classed as a ‘tomboy’. Unlike all the other girls around her who had just discovered make-up and push-up bras, she was indifferent to her femininity, to an extent. She was more interested in having fun than seeking the attention of other boys. So when did it all change and when exactly did she become love struck?

Her own personal story may be different to the rest. From seeing the Pakistani-Muslim boys at school and their perception of women, from such a young age, only encouraged her to develop negative feelings for any Pakistani boy from then on. “You should be covering your hair, you’re a Muslim” or “you can’t hang out with us, you’re a girl”, are some of the comments they made to the other Asian girls. But not Fatima. She was the ‘tomboy’, they accepted her for being able to hold a conversation with them without giggling after every word from the excitement of having schoolboys around her. Yes, that’s how a lot of the other Asians reacted. Cringe. But that wasn’t enough for her to accept them being the way they were, regardless of how they treated her differently.

In the short-term Fatima was cool with it but this has had long-term effects. Although Fatima felt she may be stereotyping, she thought: “Can you blame me? I have grown up with a large number of my own race and I have been exposed to some of their worst qualities. I describe them as possessive, paranoid and chauvinistic on all different levels and I say this from experience. Obviously they are not all like that.”

So you’re wondering what her story is. How about, ‘The Girl Next Door’, except she’s not an ex porn-star. He on the other hand is like the Indian Matthew Kidman, straight ‘A’ student who spent most of his childhood indoors. “Whilst the kids around my block and I were planning the next house to play knock-a-door-run on, geek-boy was would be indoors busy with his literacy and numeracy work books, even on weekends. This was the story of pretty much his whole childhood.”

Five years in high school, in the same form ended up being one hell of a roller coaster for the both of them. She described it as some sort of an, ‘epiphany’. It went from the tormenting geek related comments: “Why are you so boring?”, “I hate you, you never have time for your friends”, to pure admiration: “your geekiness is such a turn on”, “Can you be my personal tutor”.

How my thoughts for this so called friend at the time changed from negative to positive within 5 years still surprises me,” she said. Fatima never thought the day would come when everything would suddenly change.

February 14, 2009. The day when I realised I no longer possess control over my own feelings. I always knew I couldn’t be with a non-Muslim. That’s what Islam strictly forbids. But on this particular evening, something within me felt so overpowering that it transformed my current thoughts and beliefs. And it only took one look. That moment in Cineworld, watching the super long ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ felt even longer after that one look. It was the lonely evening when geek-boy and I were civilised enough to be able to hang out and as we were both lover-less, we agreed to accompany one another to our local cinema. We made it clear that this was merely a friendship thing and anything more would be gross.

It was about half way through the movie when I glanced to my left and he happened to glance to his right at the same time. That glance turned in to a stare, a stare which even in the darkness of the cinema room was strong enough to block all other senses except our sight. The light from the screen was fixed on our eyes which connected the two together. This lasted maybe just 10-15 seconds before we resumed our heads to face the screen, or was it longer, it certainly felt that way. I remember losing all focus on the movie, trying to recall what just happened. The cool room suddenly turned in to a sauna and I felt the palms of my hands dampen. I wanted to remove my cardigan but I was nervous. What! Nervous? Me? I remember feeling so confused; I wasn’t sure what was happening. I was stuck, I couldn’t move, I was too worried it would be awkward if I did.

“This was just the beginning of what was yet to come. All the things I was taught were forbidden for me suddenly became that much more appealing. My love for geek-boy grew and I wasn’t letting anything or anyone get in the way of it. I was 17 at the time and hadn’t experienced anything like it.”

But don’t forget, she’s Pakistani and even though her parents are liberal in some ways, they are still traditional in other. She can never really bring a boyfriend home unless he fits the criteria of a potential husband. Even then she’d have to be 110% sure before even mentioning him to her parents.

“To them, a potential husband has to be the following: 1) Pakistani 2) Muslim 3) Sunni (branch of Islam that accepts the first four caliphs as rightful successors to the Prophet Muhammad) and 4) Successful (earning enough to provide for himself and their daughter).

“Now my own personal challenge is trying to find someone who not only fits their criteria but also mine. Ok, I completely agree that he has to be a Muslim and preferably Sunni, but Pakistani? I couldn’t care less. Islam does not expect one to marry someone of their own race. Islam is a universal religion; it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, yellow or brown, as long you’re Muslim interracial marriages should be widely accepted.”

But this isn’t the case where she comes from. And it can be ‘frustrating’, as she describes it.
“It doesn’t help that I’m the youngest out of four. The older two have married British Pakistanis and the third is about to do the same. I basically have no choice really but to follow in their footsteps and not ‘disappoint the family’, as the older sibling often reminds me.

“The time came when the two years at our 6th form was coming to an end and he was moving far away to the other side of the country and I was to stay here in the North. By now we were inseparable; hearts chained and locked as one. This wasn’t an easy ride. As much as we tried to keep this between just the two of us, we faced the challenge of trying to act ‘normal’ around everyone else including our friends who were baffled after we repeatedly denied our relationship.

“Many times I have tried to understand what it means to not disappoint the family. What about me and my happiness? For a long time I believed happiness for me would be to marry geek-boy knowing he was an atheist. The first boy I fell in love with regardless of his race and religious beliefs.

“They say time heals everything. In this case we had no choice, he was moving for the next 4 years and who knows if he is ever coming back. Time also made me realise that if I rebelled against my family’s wishes they will forever be disappointed and if you knew me, you’d instantly agree that it’s not worth it. “

Fatima feels that she doesn’t have a good enough excuse to rebel.
“What have my family not done for me? I’m spoilt and I admit it, I’m definitely loved and I know that too. I have learnt that I need to appreciate that my parents are from a different era. I mean, they’re 65 and 60 years of age, back then it was norm for them to go ahead with arranged and forced marriages. I’m quite lucky they haven’t imposed those old traditions upon us. I certainly don’t expect them to adjust to today’s society and way of thinking. It’s not easy for them and I don’t plan on making it any more difficult.

“Many people often tell me they don’t understand how religion can forbid two people who love one another, to marry and be happy. And my answer to those people is; first of all, it’s not religion, it’s just culture and you can choose to accept it or rebel and suffer the consequences. I come from a big united family and I know they want what’s best for me. Even though I know this, deep down it frustrates me to accept that this is just a fact of life.

“So call it what you want, a sad, unfair or complicated story, I will probably end up marrying a Pakistani Muslim. Yes, I believe it will be a successful marriage but I will never in the future forbid my children from interracial marriages. Period.”

Fatima is still the same vibrant individual she was back in high school. However one thing remains the same. She still hasn’t found the ideal British-Pakistani Muslim guy who she feels she could one day settle with. However, she believes, ‘everything will fall in to place at the right time, whenever God decides.’

I guess all she really asks is for you to keep her in your prayers. Inshallah J

The Wavy Bed-Head Look. Fiza Ikram

My first ever article that got published. And what better subject to do it on, than hair :)

Those of you who are lucky enough to know me, will know how I love VOLUME  and BACK COMBED hair ;)

Enjoy X

The Mughal Empire

I wrote the essay on The Mughal Empire a few years ago and recently came across it whilst deleting old documents from my computer. Reading it has just made me sign in to Amazon and order some books about the Mughal Empire. This essay has just reminded me of how much I enjoyed writing it at the time and has made me want to read more about it.

Enjoy ! :)

For my historical research assignment, I will be concentrating on the Mughal Empire in the 16th and 17th century. I will give an overview of the Empire i.e. when it was found, by whom, who the great emperors were and their ways of ruling. I will also elaborate on one or two of the emperors describing their influence on India at the time as a ruler exploring the good and bad effects they had on the Empire. I will also elaborate on the influence the Empire had on culture, architecture, arts and language in India. It will be difficult for me to obtain primary sources; nevertheless, I will gather secondary sources by watching movies, documentaries and studying various books and websites to help me acquire a better understanding of the Mughals.

In the 16th and 17th century, the Mughal Empire also known as the Mogul Empire ruled a large part of India, Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan. The kingdom amalgamated Islam in the southern area of Asia and further spread Muslim and Persian arts, culture and faith throughout the region. Its population was approximately between 110 and 150 million at that time.

Babur- Zahir –Ud- Din Muhammad (1483-1530), who established the Empire, was a descendent of the Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane, through his father) and of Chagatai, second son of the Mongul ruler, Ghengis Khan (through his mother). Their mass of cavalry swept across Eurasia in the 13 and 14th century, conquering everything between Beijing and Budapest. However, by the 16th, 17th century the Great Mughal Empire had fractured, the many royal descendents of Ghengis and Timur fought over the territorial scraps and did their best to hold on to their own negligible sultanates. The biggest thriving of northern Indian culture, art and imperial strength unquestionably took place during the reign of the Mughals in the early 16/17th centuries.The Mughals were Muslims, who regulated a country, which contained a large, Hindu majority. Although the Empire was Muslim ruled, they allowed Hindus to reach senior government or military positions.

One of the secrets of their success as an Empire was their religious tolerance and further, their eagerness for embracing all other religious groups within their sphere.

Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the Battle of Paniput in 1526 and became the King of Central India. Lodhi was the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. He was Afghan and ruled just before the Mughals from 1517-1526. The Empire he founded was a sophisticated civilisation, based on religious toleration. It was a mixture of Persian, Mongol and Indian culture with Mughals inter-married with local royalty. The language of the court was Persian, with Urdun being the language spoken; it was later advanced to Urdu, which originated from Persia-Arabic formation. Today, Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and is spoken by a small percentage of Indian Muslims.

A few years later, he defeated the Afghans Chiefs in the Battle of Ghagra at Bihar, which then made him the ‘Master of Hindustan’. However, he was unable to enjoy his conquests as he died shortly afterwards in Agra in December 1530 and was buried in Kabul.

Humayun was the eldest son of Babur, and the second Emperor; he helped his father with the conquest of India. After Babur’s death in 1530, Humayun came to the throne at the age of 23 with very little skills to manage the immature empire, his brothers, Afghan warlords and Hindu Rajput Princes. His own real passion was for Maths and Astronomy, which he was unable to pursue. In 1540, he lost the empire to Afghan leader, Sher Shah then later managed to get it back in 1556, 16 years later. However, just six months later he died, falling down his library stairs. One memorable thing he achieved was, he introduced Persian artists who, combined with the locals created what is now known as, classic Mughal artistic tradition. His tomb now lays in Delhi, which was built by his widow in 1565-1569. It is the earliest example in India of large-scale Mughal architecture – not only the tomb itself but also the gardens surrounding it and fountains.

In 1556, Akbar was around 13 years old when he succeeded his father, Humayun and became the third Emperor, one of the greatest rulers of all time – regardless of which country empire took over. That year, Mughals control over India was finally established. He conquered many huge new territories, created a long lasting civil and military administrative system (Mansabdari), introduced standard weights and measures, tax structures and a workable police force. He was extremely liberal for his time endorsing religious tolerance; eliminating slavery and prohibiting forced sati. Akbar, like his father, collected Persian poets, painters and musicians, as quickly as though they were going out of fashion.
His policies also included the employment of talented Hindus in senior positions in a government that formerly was wholly Muslim. He took the policy of religious tolerance even further by breaking with the conservative Islam. Akbar announced a new state of religion, ‘Godism’ (Din-I-Ilahi), a mixture of Islamic, Hindu, Christian and Buddhist teaching with himself as the divine one, it never spread within his court and died as he did. He also built the new capital, Fatehpur Sikri as part of his attempt to merge other religions in to Islam. Fatehpur presented a fusion of Hindu and Islamic architecture. The state buildings can be visited today as the deluxe example of Mughal architecture (after the Taj Mahal). Akbar died in Agra in 1605 and buried in Sikandra. Historians see Akbar as the greatest ruler of Indian History.

Jahangir, strengthened the Mughal Empire according to http://www.iloveindia.com/history/medieval-india/mughal-empire/jahangir.html , after his father, Akbar the Great. He readopted Islam as the state religion and continued the policy of religious toleration. Jahangir was a privileged child; he received the best education at the time. Like his father, Jahangir too, married many times. His favourite was the Princess of Rajput who gave birth to Shah Jahan, his successor. He also married the famous Noor Jahan who was the widow of Sher Afghan. She was apparently unparalleled in beauty and intelligence and was the driving force behind Jahangir making him strengthen his Empire. Just like his ancestors, Jahangir too, loved art, poetry, dancing and music. He was also a collector of paintings, many of which have been preserved in museums today. Jahangir was famous for his ‘Chain of Justice’, which was a golden chain attached to some bells outside of his palace. Anyone in misery was allowed to ring the bell, go, and personally speak to this emperor. Jahangir began building monuments and gardens which the Mughals are well recognised for, today. They used to import hundreds of Persian architects to build palaces and create the superb gardens. He also illustrated Urdu as the official language of the Empire. Jahangir died in the year 1627 and was buried in an astonishing tomb in a four-acre garden in Lahore, Pakistan.

Jahan was the fifth Emperor inheriting a nearly bankrupt empire from his father, Jahangir. However, he turned this round, in the process of becoming one of the most memorable Mughal builders, mainly because of his Taj Mahal. He reigned from 1592 – 1666 and like his predecessors he ruled from the Red Fort in Agra, a few miles from the Taj Mahal, which he built as a monument to his wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their 14th child. It was in 1632 when they started building the Taj, taking 20,000 labourers 17 years to complete the job. Furthermore, many of the stonemasons involved in building the Taj, had earlier been involved in the creation of the Blue Mosque in Turkey.

In 1638, he moved his assets to the Red Fort at Delhi where he had these lines inscribed there: ‘If there is a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here’. It was a highly priced area, the money spent on the buildings, and various projects, emptied his treasury, which resulted in him raising taxes, which exacerbated the empire. He then ruled from there until he became ill in 1658. He precipitated a series of battles amongst his sons, which Aurangzeb won, his third son (He became first by killing his brother). Shah Jahan spent the last 8 years of his life locked up in the Red Fort at Agra, only able to glimpse the Taj Mahal through the river mists. His tomb is placed next to his wife’s. http://www.paradoxplace.com/Insights/Civilizations/Mughals/Mughals.htm

Aurangzeb, known as an intolerant religious (Muslim) supporter, became the last great Mughal Emperor. Historian’s judgement on this ruler largely depends on who is writing it, Hindu or Muslim. According to an article by Habib

Siddiqui, Aurangzeb was not anti-Hindu as he was made out to be by some historians. Siddiqui described the Emperor as ‘one of the best rulers of India who was pious, scholarly, saint, unbiased, liberal, tolerant, competent’. Another historian, Babu Banerjee backed this and rejected the accusation made that Muslims at that time tried to over rule Hindus. One can agree with the above, since, if it was their intention then in today’s day and age there wouldn’t be at least four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims despite the reality that Muslims did rule for over a thousands years, almost, in India. Furthermore, Banerjee stated: ‘No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his admin, the state policy was formulated by Hindus…’ At that time, two Hindus held the highest positions in the state treasury. This even angered some Muslims, however, the emperor felt it was more important situating the right people in the relevant positions. Some Hindu historians claimed that the Aurangzeb was responsible for taking down Hindu temples. A Muslim would question this accusation against one who was a ‘strict adherent of Islam’ because in the Qur’an it is written that no Muslim is allowed to impose his will on a non-Muslim: Surat al-Kafirun, ‘there is no compulsion in Islam’. http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2007/mughal-emperor-aurangzeb-bad-ruler-or-bad-history/

Regardless of the above, other sources implications were different. He was different in comparison to the other emperors in that he did end the policy of religious tolerance. A source from the BBC declared that under the reign of Aurangzeb the Hindu community were obliged to follow the customs of the Sharia law (Islamic Law) and were no longer allowed to live under their own laws and customs. This source also reveals that the emperor destroyed thousands of Hindu temples and shrines and re-imposed disciplinary tax on Hindu subjects.

Many sources argue ‘Aurangzeb was a simple man who led a pious life and never touched alcohol’. On the other hand, some sources argue that he was ‘generally a nasty man as far as most of the population was concerned’ and ‘he forbade music, put a stop to Mughal painting and left behind, non of the architectural wonders that earlier members of his dynasty produced’ which makes it difficult to conclude his character.

In the second half of the 17th, Century, he invaded kingdoms in southern and central India surmounting territories and taking slaves. Although under this leader, the Empire reached the height of its military power, the rule was unstable. This was partially due to him introducing taxes inspired in the population and because of the size of the Empire, which grew too large to control.

Although Aurangzeb was a talented warrior, he was protective over his territories; his flaw was that he was cruel and reversed religious policies, which turned the state against him. His invariable battles were costly with long military campaigns with his enormous army; this emptied his treasury, which led to the slow downfall of the Mughal Empire. Shortly after his death, the Empire, ceased to be an effective force in the political life of India. The emperors that followed Aurangzeb became British or French puppets and the British overthrew the last of the Mughal emperor in 1858. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/mughalempire_1.shtml

These Emperors made many changes throughout India; they centralised the government that brought together many little kingdoms; delegated government with respect for human rights (e.g. Akbar the Great employed talented Hindus in senior positions). They integrated Persian art and culture (i.e. Humayun who introduced Persian artists who combined with locals created classic Mughal artistic tradition). The Mughals also encompassed periods of great religious tolerance (e.g. Akbar created a new capital so other religions could merge in to Islam) and expanded architecture (e.g. Taj Mahal, palaces and gardens).

The Mughals vastly appreciated Art and architecture and at the time of Akbar’s reign, many of the artists were Hindu, which is a cosmopolitan approach to the empire. The painters of that time excelled in portraits, painting of animals and book covers. With Akbar being fond of art, he gave great support and encouragement. After Akbar, under Jahangir, Mughal art continued to thrive and he often bought paintings from different parts of the country and the world to show these artists to further their knowledge of different techniques. The Mughal began to decline after Jahangir, as Shah Jahan was not particularly interested in art. Aurangzeb was also uninterested which led the artists to migrate to Rajasthan, and other areas where they continued to produce artwork.

In addition, the greater Mughal emperors were great builders, e.g. Babur, who built a few monuments; on the other hand, Aurangzeb didn’t support the luxury of buildings which is why architectural work in his time was not present.

Shah Jahan, the most productive builder built some great structures, like the most famous one, the Taj Mahal. A massive amount of money went into building these structures. The major building work began earlier, in the time of Akbar’s reign; he built forts, schools, tanks and wells. He was rather open minded and allowed his Hindu craftsman to bring Hindu styles into his structures, e.g. the Jahangiri Mahal in the Agra fort. He was a great builder, second to Jahan and built some of the finest work of the Mughal period. Jahangir who created beautiful gardens succeeded Akbar. At that time, the Mughals highly appreciated huge gardens with streams running through them. For them it reflected the Garden of Eden in paradise, which they believe has four rivers running through them.

The skill of the Indian artists began disappearing and only survived in a few regions the 18th and 19th century.

The Mughals were also patrons of literature and did what they could to remove the barriers between Hindus and Muslims to promote a happy union. It was due to Akbar’s support that gave an incentive to literary activity at the time. He was keen on Hindu culture so had many works translated into Persian. Jahangir also had a fine taste for literature and his memoirs were seen to second to that of Babur. Shah Jahan on the other hand, disliked history and poetry and had a fine taste for Muslim theology; it was under him that the Fatwahi-Alamgiri (basis of Muslim, Sunni Sharia law and doctrine) was written. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatawa-e-Alamgiri

After the last Great Emperor, Aurangzeb, his sons became locked in a life or death struggle for succession. According to Hambly, the Emperors son, Bahadur Shah, had a brief reign lasting from 1707 to 1723. A line of feeble successors then followed him. During the 18th Century, the Empire disintegrated and new forces like Jats, Sikhs and Marathas came forward. The end of this empire was sudden and unforeseen. Then in 1979 an Iranian soldier, Nadir Shag invaded India; the Mughal forces were easily defeated by the Persian despite the superiority in number.

The Mughals left behind an elegant style of architecture with combined indo-Islamic traditions. The most famous buildings associated with the Mughals are the monumental tombs and gardens. And the most famous of all was the Taj Mahal.

Incredible!!

Incredible!!

(Source: feeeeya, via osammanzoor-deactivated20120513)