Society for the Promotion of Art and Culture

TGD Housing Competition

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One of the most cherished Spring activity in the village Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka is annual housing competition. This is an open competition and everyone in the village participates. Judges select the best mud house, best details and best exterior and cash prizes are given.

This annual competition keeps the Dolls Village spanking round the year in addition to keeping the cultural morals alive. This year Winner Bibi Bashiran was the winner once again. Professor Aamir Rafique gave the cash prize.

Compitition with aims of preservation of rural cultural, heritage and environment protection was supported by FPAC and SPARC in Lahore through students from Punjab University.

The students were so impressed, that they have collected additional money for the winners.

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Workshop by Annemarie-Schimmel-Haus German Cultural Centre

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Growth as a criteria for future

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Prof Dr Norbert Pintsch, SES, SPARC, FPAC

Is a future with further growth thinkable, plausible, imaginable,- or is it better to restrain oneself , and if yes, at the cost of whom would this happen.

So are approximately the widely-separated opinions about the future.

It is of course good and important to contemplate about the future. But this is quite difficult because there is no space available for understanding of realities. Clearly, the production of academic talent is industrial friendly and growth oriented. The parents desire a rosy future for their children. The magic word Education, as basis for a secured future, appears to be all popular for solution of all current and future problems. If everyone thinks and does in the similar way, it is of course positive, but it indicates how obscure time is. One almost feels like living in middle ages, about which it is claimed that religion replaced thinking at that time. If one could go into the time gone by, one would realize, that life then was quite normal. Analog to the present time is therefore valid: Education is the solution to all problems!

The borders between belief and knowledge are always disputed!

Fact is that what we know, we hear it so often repeated in the media, we tend to forget, that we actually know nothing. We believe a lot, but do not actually know it!

Out of this situation, it does not make any sense to quarrel about more or less growth. The times cannot be pulled-back and the often praised capacity for prudence may sound very good but it does not appear to be realistic.

The individual person moves through life on the strength of the thing called intelligence and always finds a reason for his deeds in order not to have any problems in justifying his position.

The best criteria for reasonableness here is the measurable materiality, specially the financial magnitude. If it tends to increase, so is it -according to understanding of haves and have-nots-, a sign for correctness of their dealings.

The discussion is further complicated by the belief in the concept of market which is supposed to regulate everything. A comparison according to Greek thinker Sophokles about the meaningfulness of democracy goes: it is imaginable in a collection of for example 200-300 persons!

Globalization is nothing new. According to our ancestors, the political thought, understandable but not excusable, was accepted in multiple ways. There it now stands and the error in thinking has distributed itself over time in all possible areas.

The instrument of stock exchange values is considered highly in the religion of economics. The memory of the human being is very limited and, similar to weather forecast, differences between theory and practices are quickly forgotten by majority of population, - for the contemplator, a special income generating measure, reason for new theories, which are then discussed in the society and time spend enjoyably. Violent disputes are unavoidable.

The simple knowledge, that material and immaterial growth must come from somewhere, appears to be too much to understand. The stock exchange prices represent the economy but not the burden, on which the progress and the growth is built. Capabilities are evaluated in relevance to business, which can only work, if their elements are recognized by the selected few and utilized appropriately. The unrecognized value is not captured at all. Were this done, so would the calculated progress of the captured value of the taken-away put in comparison to that, what the producers and doers are doing and make them understand the contradiction and senselessness of their actions.

Then what remains? – What is logical? – How should one proceed? There is absolutely no reason to worry! Most logical is, not to stop, rather let the growth take its course, because only catastrophes can shatter the belief. And, one must consider things long-term, for which the model of a Closed System is very helpful; as a closed system, we may use the example of a spaceship, which moves over a long period from A to B. material values here do not play any role! A big house, a new car, a yard, new clothing, etc, these values are not important. Reference to Utopia may occur, but they changes nothing in the existing reality, which now gives hope and creates new chances and possibilities, limiting repetitive discussions between growth and un-growth.

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Possibilities of Cooperation

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Dr Norbert Pintsch, senior expert from SES, Germany is back in Pakistan for the spring. He has a lot up his sleeves that will unfold in this space as it happens.

To start with, he had his first meeting with Prof Dr Malik - Hydrogeologist from COMSATS / IPC and Dr Saeed M. Chaudhry - President of DPF to discuss and have discussed the new possibilities of Appropriate Technology and chances of traditional medicine,including clean drinking water in mountain areas. This discussion is part of greater cooperation between AFA (NGO of Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka) and AFWA (NGO in rural area in the vicinity of Islamabad).

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Solar and Wind Energy in Pakistan

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The use of sun, wind and hydro power is really nothing new. The question of energy has always arisen as the industrialization has progressed. One has however, not been able to achieve a permanent solution and rather been satisfied with purely economic and short term solutions, which have turned out to be only a deferment of the actual problem.

Solutions leading towards decentralized technical infrastructure are not popular, because they are less interesting for the industry.

Multipliers from politics, economy and science from Pakistan visited Germany, from 2nd till 26th September, and got acquainted informed about the possibilities that abound this filed.

A number of companies and projects were visited in Hamburg and Berlin for this purpose. The event with delegates from Pakistan was organized by the Near and Middle-East Association (NUMOV) / Sebastian Sons in coordination with Prof. Aamir Rafique  /PU, FPAC.

Closed System, example

Solutions based upon central technical infra-structure suffer from its specialization and a missing holistic approach in the so-called Open system. We have already written about the closed system in various articles. As an extreme example of this model, we have made use of the example of a space ship on its way from the Earth to the Mars.

Material values on the Earth lose their meaning. A big house, boat, etc., luxurious clothing and food and drinks are not possible.

What appears to be quite clear and convincing in the above model looks far-fetched on the Earth. Now why should one voluntarily leave the growth oriented world? Who has the strength and wisdom to voluntarily abandon these luxuries? Why should one try out a new way of working when there is apparently no need for that?

Above questions are understandable and our ancestors from yesterday have reported on the advantages of an autonomous ways of life, far before the beginning of industrialization.

One answer is to be found in "Eigg"- What is this ? This is an approximately 40 square kilometer big island of the inner Hebrides. Less than hundred people live there and spend their life based upon public good. Here, one does not forego the advantages of the digital era, but is autonomous not only in the technical infrastructure but also in a social infrastructure.

One helps each other in house construction, is not oriented towards earning lot of money, is flexible and understands how to put various capabilities to good use; playing music is possible while helping with house construction, teaching children is still possible while working in the kitchen garden, a life without commerce and consumption, for which the urban and industrially oriented contemporaries on the mainland need money for restaurants, free time activities, shopping etc., which are not needed here.

The social life of these people revolves around their fellow citizens. Those of us who would like to be inspired can take an example from the new work methods of computer developers and service providers.

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Housing, Cooperation, Communication and Information Skills

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Dr Norbert Pintsch is arriving in Pakistan on October 1, 2014. He will be followed by other veteran volunteers.

Through October, Dr Norbert Pintsch will be busy in Lahore for Housing, Cooperation with Universities and General Communication and Information Skills with SPARC. At the same time, Marlis will work on natural medicine (Moringa has grown fast) project in Basic Health Unit in Dolls Village (Thatta Ghulamka Dheroa) on the request of AFA, the village NGO.

Monika Kupler is also coming to the Village and she will work in Woman Art Center of AFA in pottery and handicraft section. After heavy monsoon, programs includes a physical building check of the Woman Art Center building.

Students from Lahore are also expected to visit during the October activity season.

File photos from previous visits. 


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Dr. Norbert Pintsch and Other Participants of Mud Village Project

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Ghayyoor Obaid
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Special Mud Project Project

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The Mud Housing Project [MHP] was initiated through SPARC (local NGO) in 2010, but it has a history, which began in 1990 in a village development project (Thatta Kedona) in the district of Okara (Gogera) in southern Punjab.

The mud construction has a long tradition (Harappa) in this region and it is still used extensively in the rural areas. However it has not developed further due to the influences of the city culture. Double storeyed mud constructions are however found very seldom. This although mud housing has many positive-construction biological properties and it is much more energy efficient than constructions of baked bricks and steel concrete. Purpose of the MHP is to emphasize the usefulness and importance of mud construction in city development.

An attempt is being made in cooperation with architecture students of PU, COMSATS, BNU, NCA and a constructor (Thekedar) from Harappa-Museum to develop solutions on the basis of a traditional mud hut, which would ultimately lead to a change in urban development strategies.

As a start, construction was started at the premises of the Peersada Cultural Complex; the mud construction serves as accomodation for the handicraft workers.

In cooperation with SPARC and the DGFK (german NGO's), support through the SES (Senior Expert Service) in Bonn and the German embassy in Islamabad was obtained. The MHP has gained additional importance due to the consequences of the recent floodings in Pakistan.

Financial means are to be used effectively, local solutions are to be found, the daily requirements (e.g. hot water, cooking, etc.) are to be considered. Possibilities of using Appropriate Technology are to be explored. The MHP should be understood as the initial flame and its aim to urgently establish a facility for experimental construction, which requires availability of suitable piece of land.

In connection with MHP, this term the special-project "SHE" via SPARC was organized. For this we had a meeting with Prof Malik from COMSATS in Islamabad and with Prof Khan from IVSAA in Karachi. We had discussed excursions with students from Islamabad and Karachi, together with students from Lahore Universities, like before.

The five institutions from Lahore have experience with Mud Housing, because their exposure to the experimental houses on the BNU Campus and the buildings in the village Thatta Ghulamkha Dhiroka.
Excursions are one side, but more important is, to bring a workshop as a curriculum in the curricula of the schools, which is very time-consuming.

A graphic below shows the present situation as an opportunity and chance, both.

The cooperation with SPARC (Society for the Promotion of Art and Culture) in Lahore and FPAC (Foundation for Promotion of Academic Collaboration) works good for the project. In case of FPAC, they have to work on organization level.

Unfortunately GreenMag, like a mouthpiece for architecture, solar and appropriate technology for students-projects for architecture in Pakistan and abroad was not published last year, the issues are ready in digital form though.

Perhaps, we have a chance in the future.

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