Liberal Arts Blog — Peshawar — Oldest City in Pakistan, the 2014 School Massacre, The Mahabat Khan Mosque
Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Miscellaneous Day
Today’s Topic: Peshawar — Oldest City in Pakistan, the 2014 School Massacre, The Mahabat Khan Mosque
Peshawar is in northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghan border, about 189 miles from Kabul and about 100 miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. It is “the sixth largest city in Pakistan and the largest majority Pashtun city in the country.” Peshawar was the capital of the Kushan Empire under the Buddhist Emperor Kanishka the Great (120–157 CE) who “played an important role in the development of the Silk Road and in the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China. Around 127 CE, he replaced Greek by Bactrian as the official language of the Empire.” But you already knew that, right? Well, I certainly did not. Today, I decided to learn more about Peshawar. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE 2014 PESHAWAR SCHOOL MASSACRE — “world’s fourth deadliest”
1. “On 16 December 2014, six gunmen affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School.”
2. “The militants, all of whom were foreign nationals, comprising one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans entered the school and opened fire on school staff and children, killing 149 people including 132 schoolchildren ranging between eight and eighteen years of age, making it the world’s fourth deadliest school massacre. A rescue operation was launched by the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG) killed all six terrorists and rescued 960 people.”
3. The mastermind of the attack, Omar Khorasani, was “executed by the Afghan Taliban after their capture of Kabul.”
THE MAHABAT KHAN MOSQUE (1630) — location, structure, uses
1. Located at the highest point in the old city, “its open courtyard has a centrally-located ablution pool and a single row of rooms lining the exterior walls.”
2. “Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, refugee tribal elders would congregate in the mosque in order to forge unity amongst Afghans against the Soviets.”
3. “The minarets of the Mohabbat Khan Mosque were frequently used in Sikh times (1834–1856) for hanging prisoners. Five people per day were hanged from the minarets, 'as a substitute for the gallows’.” Is this really true?
THE TAKHT I-BAHI MONASTERY and the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Gandhara
1. Near Peshawar are the ruins of a great Buddhist monastery (1st to 7th century CE).
2. The region was called “Gandhara” in ancient times and was centered on the Kabul and Swat River valleys.
3. The remains of the Gandhara capital of Pushkalavati are located “on the banks of the Swat River, near its junction with the Kabul River, with the earliest archaeological remains from 1400 to 800 BCE in Bala Hisar mound.”
NB: “There are four main areas of the Takht Bahi complex: the Stupa Court, a cluster of stupas located in a central courtyard, the monastic chambers, consisting of individual cells arranged around a courtyard, assembly halls, and a dining area, a temple complex, consisting of stupas and similar to the Stupa Court, but of later construction, the Tantric monastic complex, which consists of small, dark cells with low openings, which may have been used for certain forms of Tantric meditation.Additional structures on the site may have served as residences or meeting halls, or for secular purposes. All of the buildings on the site are constructed from local stone, and are mortared with lime and mud.”
FOOTNOTE: THE KABUL RIVER CONNECTS KABUL AND PESHAWAR
1.”The Kabul River passes through the cities of Kabul, Surobi, and Jalabad in in Afghanistan before flowing into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan some 25 kilometres (16 mi) north of the Durand Line border crossing at Torkham.”
2. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the river passes through the cities of Peshawar, Charsadda, and Nowshera.”
3. “The Kabul River is little more than a trickle for most of the year, but swells in summer due to melting snows in the Hindu Kush Range.”
NB: “The Kabul empties into the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan.” The Indus eventually flows into the Arabian Sea near Karachi.”
LAST THREE YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY:
Anything miscellaneous to share? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes? Or, what is the best cartoon you have seen lately? or in the last 10 years? or the last 50? Or what is your favorite holiday food? Main course? Dessert? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare?
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.