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Maurine Lines launches her sixth book

'From Disaster to Catastrophe' is memoir of her life in the Kalash valleys



ISLAMABAD, May 12, 2010: Admirers and friends, many of them from the diplomatic corps, thronged National Art Gallery on Wednesday where Maureen P. Lines' photographs of Kalash valleys and Nuristan were put on display and her sixth book was launched.

Maureen Lines is of British origin but Pakistan is her adopted land. Her passion for photography took her as far and as high as Kalash valleys and Nuristan in the north where nature and especially the power of nature and its effect on the emotions were overwhelming.

And when visitors stood in front of her photographs, it seemed difficult to move on to admire the next one as they stared at glimpses of nature captured on film at magic moments in time."She has a keen eye and a deep appreciation for the magnificence of nature and space," said students of photography admiring her attributes.

She immortalises idyllic countryside, spanning the fore and middle grounds of her photographs with rich pastures extending back to dense woodlands that partially hid the great village settlements.

She constructs the identity of the places through depiction of its physical appearance and its people capturing minute details of nature and settlements alike.

"The photo images of 30 years" capture the vitality of the locations, high glaciers, heritage withstanding ravages of times, mountain settlements, men ploughing fields and the Kalash women dancing; streams, dreamlike pastures, utterly silent sierras, the eternally gushing rivers and waterfalls, all bring home the myriad moods of nature in a few artistic clicks.

The book, From Disaster to Catastrophe, is the memoir of her life in the Kalash valleys. It has 344 pages and is divided into several chapters and ten parts. In the first part, she describes Chitral, Saifullah, Tak Dire, barefoot doctors, valley love and winds of change. In Part V, she talks about the new world order after 9/11, the ill effect of which is carried over in the chapter titled Catastrophe in Part-10. The book gives an intimate picture of her life and the ways of Kalash people.

Ms Lines said a number of NGOs working in the Kalash valleys were destroying the local culture. For, instance, she said, chicken was sacrilege to the Kalash yet some NGOs were advocating raising chicken to supplement incomes. "We must preserve the natural heritage of the Kalash people, and not destroy it."

It also showed how difficult it was to run a charity and an NGO where everything and everybody was political. The author related the problems she encountered while trying to help improve the life of the people of the valleys: be they Kalash, Muslims, Nuristani Muslims or Gujjar. Obstacles were thrown in her path by many organisations and people. But she is full of praise for government officials.

Throughout the book, the themes of the innocence of Kalash and their relationship to western influences are contrasted with reality on the ground, her human relationships with the people of the valleys and with animals and nature.--Dawn


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