Ceylon, as seen in a mallet map from the 1600s (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Ceylon, modern-day Sri Lanka, has often come under fire lately, particularly in the post-war period, for religious intolerance. The case is the same with most other countries in the region, with Myanmar engaging in a genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority, a brutal Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and an alleged Uighur Muslim minority genocide by China. In India and Pakistan, although genocide is not formally state-sponsored, too many “isolated incidents” of violence against minorities tell a different story. India has an extremist right-wing government in power. …

In my last post, I explored an ancient Timurid Quran in terms of its artistic influences. It tempted me to dive further into the apparently unlikely friendship between an Imperial Chinese Dynasty, and a Muslim Persian Empire.

Diving into the artworks on the leaves of an ancient Timurid Quran

The Quran

This is the story of a rare15th century Timurid Quran. It is one of the only four Quran’s which exist today on Chinese wax paper. The relationship between the Chinese Ming Dynasty and the Timurids is interesting, and is certainly a story worth telling, but perhaps another time. Today we will only talk of love, and of art.

It is said that no society exists in isolation, thus, nothing pops out of nowhere. The moment I came across the photographs of this breathtakingly beautiful Quran, I…

The medieval Muslim world was the undisputed capital for culture, knowledge, wisdom, research, and intellectualism. This piece intends to explore reasons, as well as libraries in medieval Muslim empires.

The importance of knowledge in religion

The Holy Qur’an which Muslims believe to be the revealed words of the Almighty lays great emphasis on reading, study, and acquisition of knowledge. The first verses to be revealed were: “ Read in the name of the Lord, Who created, Created man from a clot of blood, Recite! …


At the peak of its power in the 10th and 11th centuries, Al-Andalus was not only an important military and political center, but also the undisputed center of arts, literature, and sciences in the Mediterranean region. During the era of the Umayyad caliphate in Cordoba (929–1031), the city flourished so much so that Al-Andalus began to rival Baghdad as an intellectual crossroads. Qurtuba became a place of dazzling cultural, religious, and ethnic coexistence. Later on, these Western researchers would translate the works of Muslim scholars during the seventh and eighth centuries, providing the foundation of modern scholarship. …

An illustration of Queen Leela in the Chanesar Nameh

Leela and Chanesar, set in Liore or Lihore, Lower Sindh, during the Samma period is about two women. Kaunro, the daughter of a wise, brave king ‘Khanger.’ As expected of royalty, Kaunro expresses her arrogance and pride with a marriage proposal.

Taking on the challenge to ensnare Chanesar, the most handsome and rich person, possessed of pomp, power, and a vast kingdom. But Chanesar already had a wife, Leela, who he loved. She had also fallen in love with him at first sight.

Leela is wise, intelligent, and understanding, but she loses her husband as a result of her greed…

Knowledge and culture indeed can have a pronounced effect on cities. As I have been exploring Muslim intellectualism and libraries from the medieval world, specifically, Muslim Spain, I want to tell you a story about a remarkable woman from a remarkable city: Lubna, the Scribe of Cordoba.

Roman bridge and mosque of Cordova, Cordoba, Spain: The most magnificent city of Medieval Europe

Lubna al-Katib (The Scribe)

As we mark the 25th death anniversary of Krzysztof Kieślowski, here is to a director who was way ahead of his time, a man the world of film shall miss for eternity.

Different people in different parts of the world can be thinking the same thoughts at the same time. It’s an obsession of mine: that different people in different places are thinking the same thing but for different reasons. I try to make films which connect people.

Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941–1996), circa 1990. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

The Polish director made numerous documentaries, feature films, and television films which hit the screens in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s…

Monopoly has a special place in our hearts. It is a game we all grew up playing. It is a staple for sleepovers, and someone cheating on Monopoly or Ludo usually makes the good stories.

An interesting lesser-known story is that of its invention. Today, March 7, 1933, is famously known as the day Monopoly was invented, in Philadelphia, by a man who went by the name of Charles Darrow. However, its true history goes down a slightly different road!

The Tale of Monopoly’s Predecessor

Lizzie Maggie, an actress from Maryland, developed a basic prototype for Monopoly, as an anti-land…

Soviet Withdrawl from Afghanistan

In May 1988 Afghanistan, Pakistan, the USSR, and the United States signed agreements providing for an end to foreign intervention in Afghanistan, and the USSR. Today, thirty-two years ago, the last of the Red Army troops packed their bags and waved Afghanistan goodbye.

The Soviets left behind in their wake, a few photographs. Some of these reminders, of the brutal war, are worth seeing.

Soviet troops are bid farewell with flowers, cheers, celebration and cries of happiness from the Kabuli’s.

Komal Salman

A media student who has a thing for photography, architecture, and cultural heritage, and loves to write!

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