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Afghan Box Camera (KAMRA-E-FAOREE ).

The Afghan Box Camera is a simple box-shaped wooden camera traditionally used by photographers working from a street pitch, who produce, by-and-large, instant identity portraits (aks: عکس) for their clients. In Dari the camera is known as kamra-e-faoree .which means ‘instant camera’. It’s also less frequently called kamra-e-faoree-e-chobi (instant wooden camera) or kamra-e-chobi (wooden camera). In Pashtu the camera is sometimes referred to as da lastunri kamra (sleeve camera: دلستوڼی کیمرہ) because of the sleeve on the side of the camera that photographers insert their arm into.

Customers pose for photographs sitting on a chair against a material backdrop. The lens of kamra-e-faoree are shutterless, so in order to take a photograph, and working only with natural light, the photographer (called akass [عکاس]) whisks away the lens cap with one hand to expose the photographic paper on the inside of the camera; he then replaces the shutter and inserts an arm through a light-tight sleeve giving him access to the camera’s interior which doubles as a darkroom. Inside the camera, he develops a paper negative of the image he has just taken. He then shoots this negative (‘film’) to make the positive (‘positive’), and finally develops the positive to produce a finished photograph.

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Jahangir’s Dream (Alternatively, Jahangir Embracing Shah Abbas) is a painting by Abu’l Hasan, commissioned to him by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in the 17th century. According to to Stuart Cary Welch’s commentary:

"Fretful over the possible loss to the Safavis of the strategic fortress of Qandahar, Jahangir had a dream of Shah ‘Abbas Safavi appearing in a well of light and making him happy. According to the inscriptions on this miniature, he commissioned Abu’l Hasan to paint it.

Qandahar guarded the Mughals’ vulnerable northwestern frontier and had been contested by Safavis and Mughals ever since Humayun had failed to return it to Shah Tahmasp….In 1613, Jahangir sent Khan ‘Alam as ambassador to Shah ‘Abbas to plead the Mughal case. His mission failed. The Persians took Qandahar in 1622 while Jahangir was too preoccupied with Shah Jahan’s rebellion to stop them.

Abu’l Hasan’s portrait, according to an inscription, was based upon inquiries—no doubt assisted by portraits from life by Bishndas, who accompanied the embassy. Eager to please his worried patron, Abu’l Hasan painted a frail Shah ‘Abbas with fashionably hennaed hands, cowering in the embrace of mighty Jahangir…The Mughal strides on a powerful but peaceful lion that has nudged the Shah’s miserable sheep into the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the Iranian has the good fortune to share Nur ud-Din (“Light of Religion”) Jahangir’s refulgent halo, the massed light of sun and moon, supported by European-inspired angels.”

You can imagine Safavid Iran’s reaction to Mughal India after seeing that painting, Iran’s always been the dominant type after all. :’) Their skirmishes manifested in the strangest ways….. 

click for full view!

The ‘Afghani state of Qandahar was conquered in the Khilafah of ‘Umar - may Allah be pleased with him - by the giant leader Asim Ibn Amr at-Tamimi. The state of Qandahar is the origin of the Afghanis and is the capital of their country that was established in 1747 by Ahmad Khan al-Abadaali, known as “Ahmad Shah Baba”, who battled against India 8 times, awakening for it the tribes of Qandahar and that which surrounded it, and in every time, the fronts of his horses stepped in Delhi, the capital of the Indians.

.. And if the Muslims of Afghanistan are conservative by nature, then the Muslims of Qandahar are considered extremists compared to their Afghani brothers. And in the war against the Soviets, they were the most participating & steadfast, to the point that they used to refuse to lay down on the ground during air strikes, as they considered it a dishonor that was not befitting of the dignity and pride of the Muslim Mujahid, and for that they would stay standing daring at great costs. And from there, it is not strange that among the Qandahari’s were the greatest number of those killed (we ask Allah to accept them amongst the Martyrs), & disabled & windowed, due to their pride and sense of honour. [Sheikh Husayn Ibn Mahmud - The Giant Man]

Times 100 List: Maryam Durani

Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan is often called the spiritual home of the Taliban. It is also a home to thousands of NATO troops who, alongside Afghan soldiers, do daily battle with Taliban fighters. Kandahar province is a place where it pays to stay quiet. That is not Maryam Durani’s way. As the owner and operator of a radio station that focuses on women’s issues and as a member of the Kandahar provincial council, Durani stands up for the region’s women with remarkable bravery. She is, inevitably, a target for the Taliban, who believe in a highly restricted role for women in Afghan society, and has survived several assassination attempts.

During a U.S. State Department ceremony in March, Durani stood between Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton as Clinton described Durani’s work and presented her with one of the department’s annual International Women of Courage awards. The clip is on YouTube for any Taliban commander with a computer to watch. Durani sees that not as a reason to fear but as an opportunity for defiance.

It’s amazing what she does, mashAllah.  

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