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Aown Ali

Lahore, Pakistan
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About Aown
I am a reporter and photojournalist with over 10 years experience in the industry. Based in Lahore, the cultural and media hub of Pakistan, I am writing and photographing for various print and online media outlets and for numerous target audiences on topics such as Heritage, History, Tourism, Travel, Sports, Security, Fashion, Music and general news and events. 
Currently I am working with Radio FM 103, a popular radio network in Pakistan and Weekly Humshehri, a widely circulated weekly in Urdu language.
In photojournalism I have done extensive work in documenting historic architecture of Pakistan. Most of my work is stocked on www.orientalarchitecture.com. I invite you to visit the website to see my work. You can visit it by selecting Pakistan in the Select Country list on the website.
I am competent in English and Urdu writing and editing and in my career I have worked in various position such as Reporter, Feature Writer, Blogger, Sub Editor and Editor.
English Hindi Punjabi
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast) Vox Pop
Business Finance Politics

Life on the Fringes: The Gypsy Tribes of Lahore's Riverbanks

05 Apr 2023  |  www.dawn.com
The article describes the living conditions of gypsy tribes along the river Ravi near Lahore, Pakistan. These nomadic families, originating from various districts of southern Punjab, face social and political marginalization, lacking basic rights and utilities such as electricity and water. With a high rate of illiteracy and large family sizes, many rely on begging as their primary source of income. The community has a few individuals with basic education who have taken it upon themselves to teach the children. Despite the interest in education among the children, racism and social isolation hinder their access to government schools. The article also highlights small businesses run by the gypsies and the efforts of individuals like Ashraf Adil and Sajjad to provide education within the community. The piece paints a picture of a community striving to survive and improve their situation despite numerous challenges.

"The women of the Punjab find in the story of Heer and Ranjha an expression of that reasonable liberty of action to which they vainly aspire, and a triumphant vindication of the inalienable rights of their sex of which centuries of wrong and oppression have deprived them’’

In Jhang, a Nobel laureate’s home stands forgotten

25 Jan 2018  |  The Wire
The article discusses the family home of Nobel Laureate physicist Muhammad Abdus Salam in Jhang, Pakistan, which has been designated as a national monument. Despite his achievements, Salam is largely forgotten in his native country due to his Ahmadi faith. The author visits the well-maintained house, now overseen by the Punjab Archaeology Department, and the local school Salam attended, which has preserved his classroom and records. The school principal shares memories of the city's pride in Salam's achievements. The article reflects on the irony of Salam's recognition as a scientist and his alienation from his homeland.

Pakistan's only cricket museum – hidden away at a ground that hosted India's first international win

15 Jun 2016  |  scroll.in
Lahore Gymkhana Cricket Ground, the second oldest cricket ground in the South Asian subcontinent, houses Pakistan's first cricket museum, founded by cricket historian Najam Latif in 2010. The museum, located in Lahore, preserves the rich history of cricket in the region, including the ground's role in hosting significant matches such as India's first international cricket win. Despite its historical importance, the ground fell into disrepair until efforts to recover and preserve its legacy began in 2000. The museum now showcases artifacts like autographed bats and balls, personal belongings of legendary cricketers, and rare photographs, including one of Muhammad Ali Jinnah with Nazar Muhammad, Pakistan’s first opening batsman.

Umar Hayat Mahal: Chiniot’s dying ‘wonder’

03 Dec 2015  |  www.dawn.com
The article discusses the Umar Hayat Mahal, an architectural masterpiece in Chiniot, Southern Punjab, Pakistan, known for its intricate woodwork and craftsmanship. The palace, built by a wealthy trader named Umar Hayat in the early 20th century, stands as a testament to the city's rich cultural heritage. Despite its initial grandeur, the palace fell into ruin after the tragic deaths of its owner and his family. Over the years, it suffered from looting and neglect, with valuable architectural elements being sold off. Efforts to restore the building in the 1980s and 1990s led to its temporary conversion into a library, museum, and cultural center. However, due to a lack of sustained interest and funding, the Umar Hayat Mahal has once again deteriorated, highlighting the challenges of preserving cultural heritage in the region.

The Decline of Bradlaugh Hall: A Witness to History

26 Sep 2015  |  www.dawn.com
The article discusses the deteriorating state of Bradlaugh Hall in Lahore, a significant historical site linked to the Indian freedom movement. Constructed in the late 19th century, the hall was named after Charles Bradlaugh, a British MP and supporter of Indian self-rule. It served as a venue for political gatherings, cultural events, and educational purposes. Notable figures like Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Bhagat Singh have been associated with the hall. After partition, it was used for various purposes, including technical education by the Milli Techniki Idara. However, due to neglect and illegal encroachments, the hall is now in a state of disrepair. The Evacuee Trust Property Board has sealed the building, which continues to suffer from lack of maintenance and preservation efforts. The article also refutes false narratives about Charles Bradlaugh's history in India and emphasizes the need for factual understanding and conservation of the hall.

Etched on walls: The unknown glory of an old Punjab town

26 Aug 2015  |  www.dawn.com
The article explores the historical town of Eminabad in central Punjab, Pakistan, detailing its rich past and architectural heritage. Founded in the first century BCE by Raja Salvahan, Eminabad has seen numerous rulers and has been known by different names such as Saidpur and Shergarh. The town boasts significant Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh architecture, including the havelis of the Diwan family and ancient temples. The article describes the town's changing fortunes, from its days of prosperity under various empires to its current state of neglect. Despite being home to one of Pakistan's oldest mosques from the Lodhi period and other historically significant structures, Eminabad's heritage sites suffer from deterioration and lack of restoration efforts. The author highlights the indifference towards these monuments, which continue to degrade with time.

The fading tradition of Eid cards

20 Jul 2015  |  www.dawn.com
The article nostalgically recalls the tradition of sending Eid cards in the Indian subcontinent, a practice that has declined with the advent of digital communication. It highlights the joy and personal touch associated with selecting and sending physical Eid cards, a sentiment that is missing in the modern practice of sending wishes through SMS or social media. The article provides a historical perspective on the emergence of Eid cards, linking it to the expansion of the railway network and printing facilities in the late 19th century. It also mentions companies and individuals who have been part of this tradition, such as Hafiz Qamruddin & Sons and collections like the Priya Paul Collection. The piece includes examples of Eid cards and the specific Urdu poetry found on them, emphasizing the cultural richness of this fading tradition.

The lost art of Eid greeting cards

20 Jul 2015  |  dawn.com
The tradition of sending Eid greeting cards, which began in the late 19th century in the Indian subcontinent, has declined with the advent of mobile and online communication. The early cards were often modified European Christmas cards, and specific Urdu poetry was a notable feature. The peak of this tradition lasted until the end of the 20th century, and while technology has made sharing greetings more convenient, those who experienced the personal touch of handpicked and handwritten cards find the digital alternatives lacking.

The Forgotten Fort of Ramkot and its Potential as a Tourist Attraction

03 Jul 2015  |  www.dawn.com
Ramkot Fort, a historical site from the 16th century, stands on a cliff at the confluence of the Jhelum and Poonch rivers, now overlooking Mangla Lake in Azad Jammu Kashmir, Pakistan. Despite its strategic location and unique architecture, the fort is in ruins and has been neglected by both the Azad Jammu Kashmir government and the federal government. Dr. Anis ur Rehman, head of the Himalayan Wildlife Foundation, discovered the fort in the late '90s and initiated restoration efforts with the help of the Federal Ministry of Archaeology, Professor Abdul Rehman, and architects Sohail Akbar Khan and Raja Khalid. The Pakistan Army contributed old model canons for the fort. However, due to lack of maintenance and damage from the 2005 earthquake, the fort's condition has deteriorated. There is potential for the fort to become a tourist attraction and generate revenue, but preservation efforts have been inconsistent, as seen with the nearby Fort Barjhan, which was destroyed with no government intervention.

Where Sikh Queens Once Resided: The Sheikhupura Fort

20 Nov 2012  |  www.sikhchic.com
The article, written by photojournalist Aown Ali, explores the historical significance of Sheikhupura Fort, located in West Punjab, Pakistan. Originally constructed during the reign of Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1607, the fort gained prominence during the Sikh Empire, particularly as a residence for Sikh queens such as Rani Datar Kaur. The fort witnessed key events, including the imprisonment of Rani Jind Kaur, the mother of the last Sikh Emperor, Duleep Singh. After the British annexation of Punjab, the fort served various administrative and military purposes. Despite its rich history, the fort has suffered from neglect, vandalism, and institutional indifference, leading to its current dilapidated state. A failed restoration project, due to a dispute between federal and provincial departments, has left the fort's future uncertain. The author expresses grief over the fort's condition and the loss of cultural heritage it represents.

The Samaadh of Maharaja Sher Singh

19 Nov 2011  |  www.sikhchic.com
The article discusses the dilapidated state of the samaadh (funerary monument) of Maharaja Sher Singh and his son in Lahore, Pakistan. It highlights the historical significance of the site, which is now in ruins and at risk of disappearing. The samaadh and the nearby baaraadari (mansion) were damaged during retaliatory attacks in 1992, following the destruction of a mosque in Ayodhya, India, by Hindu fundamentalists. The article notes that the local population often confuses these Sikh heritage sites with Hindu temples, leading to further neglect and vandalism. Despite the historical importance of these structures, there are no current plans for their restoration or conservation. The author, Aown Ali, is a photojournalist who specializes in documenting historic architecture and archaeological sites in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Dribbling Through The Hourglass: The Baradari of Maharaja Sher Singh

21 Oct 2011  |  www.sikhchic.com
The article, written by photo-journalist Aown Ali, discusses the historical and architectural significance of the Baradari of Maharaja Sher Singh located in Lahore, Pakistan. The baradari, a summer residence with twelve doors, was built during the reign of Maharaja Sher Singh, who ruled the Sikh Empire from 1841 until his death in 1843. The structure has been neglected for decades and was severely damaged in 1992 when it was set on fire by mobs in retaliation for the destruction of the Babri Mosque in India. The baradari now lies in ruins and is occupied by drug addicts. It is further threatened by nearby construction and waste from the Solid Waste Management. The article also mentions the adjacent ruins of several samadhis, where the ashes of Sher Singh and his son were once housed.

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