Saturday, February 24, 2024

Saddam’s Great Iraq – 3

Iraq Annunaki During month of Ramadan, year 1980, I was appointed to work with a team of surveyors in and around Hilla City. This team consisted of Iraqis, Egyptians, Palestinians, one Polish and one Pakistani. I had been assigned the job of preparation of a comprehensive topographical map of thousand of acres of area for planning treatment of salinity and submerged areas. Taking breakfast very early in the morning, for fasting, I started for the job the very next day of my arrival at Hilla. During month of Ramadan, there was generous relaxation in the working hours in the field. We used to start for work right after fasting time, worked for a few hours and used to return well before intensity of heat of noon time. Pakistanis, Egyptians and a few Iraqis were abiding by the fasting process, whereas Palestinians did not care much about it. The team members who were not fasting simply explained to me that they could not tolerate thirst and hunger. During a conversation with a 55 years old Iraqi, I asked him whether or not he ever fasted in Ramadan in his life. With very serious impressions on his face he clearly told me that only once in life he tried to fast. He had a very heavy breakfast for fasting in very early hours of the morning and cancelled all his outside engagements. He further explained that at about 10:00 A.M, he became so hungry, not thirsty, that he had to break the fast and start eating whatever was available in the kitchen. Name of this Iraqi gentleman was Shaalan. I spontaneously indulged in continuous laughter for a few moments. In Arabic Shaalan means ‘Bright and Illuminated’.

Iraq Ziggurat Ur

Hilla is actually the new name of the city of old Babul. It has been constructed only a few kilometers from the archeological site of Babul. One of the main canals of Iraq passes through the city of Hilla and similarly another canal passes by the side of the ancient site of Babul. Remains of ancient civilization are scattered all around the area. Near by Hilla, grave of Prophet Ayyub (PBUH) is situated. I visited this grave and as a token of respect for the Prophet, I remained by the side of the grave for some time. It is a very simple structure by the side of main road with a government fixed signboard “Nbi Allah Ayyub”. Birth place of Prophet Ibraheem (PBUH) is a few kilometers away from this spot, away form the main road. I made up my mind to walk over up to the sacred place, but people told me that the track was not good.

I happened to see centuries old irrigation system (now deserted or modified) of this historical agricultural territory. Main and minor canals, with several feet high embankments are still intact in many parts of the area, where they brought so much of clay and silt from the river. I used to explore the old time engineering behind construction of these canals whose bed was at general ground level. I used to climb at the top of the embankment then get down over to the inside bed and feel the touch of the centuries old clay brought from the river. In the bed of these old canals with 10 to 12 feet high embankments, one could feel oneself traveling centuries in the past, seeing the farmers sewing and watering their fields. The entire look of the countryside was conducive to that type of imagination. Vast areas had been destroyed by salinity.

Hanging Garden of Babul

Babul had been known for its Hanging Gardens, as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I asked the local people to define a Hanging Garden, but nobody could explain the idea about it. I felt that they did not care much about such a question. Some of them replied me by a simple stair. A Pakistani told me that the government had explored the meaning of a Hanging Garden and it had reproduced that shape of a living Hanging Garden near city of Hilla. I fixed a day to visit that site. This model of existing Hanging Garden was a big patch of land raised by earthwork up to a height of 30 feet with tall trees on it. There was green grass on the slops of this raised mound. No doubt they had accomplished a huge job, but I could not feel the wonder of a Hanging Garden in that.

To be continued…


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Category: Travel

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