TRANSLATION I


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     Arabia is a land of unparalleled charm and beauty, with its trackless deserts of sand dunes in the dazzling rays of a tropical sun. Its starry sky has excited the imagination of poets and travelers. It was in this land that the Holy Prophet (SAW) was born, in the city of Makkah, which is about fifty miles from the Red Sea. 
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     The Arabs possessed a remarkable memory and were an eloquent people. Their eloquence and memory found expression in their poetry. Every year a fair was held for poetical competitions at Ukaz. It is narrated that Hammad said to Caliph Walid bin Yazed: "I can recite to you, for each letter of the alphabet, one hundred long poems, without taking into account short pieces, and all of that composed exclusively by poets before the promulgation of Islam.
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     In the fifth and sixth centuries, mankind stood on the verge of chaos. It seemed that the civilization which had taken four thousand years to grow had started crumbling. At this point in time, Allah Almighty raised a prophet from among themselves who was to lift the humanity from their ignorance into the light of faith.
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     When Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) was thirty-eight years of age, he spent most of his time in solitude and meditation. In the cave of Hira, he used to retire with food and water and spend days and weeks in remembrance of Allah Almighty.
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     The period of waiting had come to a close. His heart was overflowing with profound compassion for humanity. He had a pressing urge to eradicate wrong beliefs, social evils, cruelty and injustice. The moment had arrived when he was to be bestowed with prophet-hood. One day, when he was in the cave of Hira, Hazrat Jibril (Gabriel) (AS) came and conveyed to him the message of Allah Almighty:
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     The flow of the Divine message which continued for the twenty-three years had begun, and the Holy Prophet (SAW) had arisen to proclaim Oneness of God (Tauheed) and the unity of mankind. His mission was to destroy the nexus of superstition, ignorance, and disbelief, set up a noble conception of life and lead mankind to the light of faith and divine bliss.
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       Since this belief was threatening their dominance in the society, the pagan Arabs started to mount pressure on the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his followers. They wanted them to renounce their cause and take to idol worshipping. On one occasion, they sent a delegation to the Holy Prophet's (SAW) kind and caring uncle, Abu Talib. They told him to restrain the Holy Prophet (SAW) from preaching Allah Almighty's message, or face their enmity. Finding himself in a dilemma, he sent for he nephew, and explained to him the situation.
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     And the Holy Prophet (SAW) did go the way Allah Almighty had chosen for mankind. Imbued with Divine Guidance and firm resolve, the Holy Prophet (SAW) encountered all the challenges with grace and dignity. In no time he elevated man to the highest possible level in both spiritual and worldly domains. He was also a driving force behind Arab conquests, which have created an everlasting impression on human history.
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     Such a thorough transformation of man and society owes to the Holy Prophet's (SAW) deep faith in Allah Almighty, to his love for humanity, and to the nobility of his character. Indeed, his life is a perfect model to follow. In reply to a question about the life of the Holy Prophet (SAW), Hazrat Ayesha (RA) said: "His morals and character are an embodiment of the Holy Quran."   
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     Patriotism gives people the strength and courage to safeguard the interest of the country and nation. For a patriot the sovereignty, integrity and honour of the country are supreme values on which no compromise can be made. Patriots render sacrifice for the preservation and protection of these values.
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     Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a nation builder and a great patriot. He wanted to protect the values, culture, and traditions of the Muslims of the subcontinent. He gave the Muslims a sense of identity by securing a separate homeland for them. He said: "We must develop a sense of patriotism which galvanizes us all into one united and strong nation."
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     The spirit of patriotism makes us stay alert in the wake of foreign invasion. In the history of Pakistan there are many instances when people laid their lives for the defense of the country. In the wars of 1965, 1971 and the Kargil War, many brave soldiers gave their lives in an attempt to protect the homeland.
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     Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Major Tufail Muhammad, Major Aziz Bhatti, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas, Major Muhammad Akram, Major Shabbir Shaheed, Captain Karnal Sher Khan and Havaladar Lalak Jan -- all embraced martyrdom while fighting bravely for their motherland. All of them were awarded Nishan-e-Haider, the highest military award given to great patriots who lay down their lives for the country.
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     Media helps people to share knowledge of the world. Their feelings and opinions are expressed through it. Media attracts the attention of a very large audience. Have you noticed that the first thing we do soon after entering the house is to switch on the television?
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     Yes, well said. It would not be wrong to say that media is the most vigilant institution that keeps an eye on every segment of the society. Through debates, reports and talk shows it makes everyone answerable and accountable. That is why media has become an integral part of our lives. Now, I would invite one of you to sum up the discussion.
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     The Holy Prophet (SAW) and his close companion, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA), migrated from Makkah to Madina in the year 622 A.D. When the chiefs of various tribes of Makkah came to know about the migration of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his close companion, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA), they got furious. The chiefs were determined more than ever to find them out. They offered huge rewards and bounties for their capture, dead or alive.
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     The preparation for this journey was made at the house of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA). Hazrat Asma (RA) rendered useful services in this regard. She prepared food for this journey. She tied the food on the camel back with her own belt as nothing else could be found. For this service she was given the title of Zaat-un-Nataqin by the Holy Prophet (SAW)
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     During the perilous journey, it was very difficult for anyone to supply food to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It was so delicate that the slightest mistake could have endangered the life of the Holy Prophet (SAW). This grand task was nicely undertaken by Hazrat Asma (RA), the daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA). Every night, with the pack of food, she would quietly venture towards the rugged mountains in which lay the cave of Thawr. She took care of the minuted detail in accomplishing the task.
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     On the night of the migration, a tribal chief of disbelievers, Abu Jehl, in a fit of fury headed towards Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique's (RA) home. He began knocking at the door violently. Addressing Hazrat Asma (RA), he demanded, "Where is your father?" She politely replied, "How would I know?" This response shows the wisdom and courage of Hazrat Asma (RA).
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     Her grandfather, Hazrat Abu Quhafaa was a disbeliever at that time. He was very old and had become blind. He said to her, "Asma, I think Abu Bakr has taken all the wealth, leaving you and children empty-handed and helpless." At this, she instantly ran to a corner of the home. She gathered some pebbles and put them at the place where her father used to keep his money and jewels. She covered it with a piece of cloth. "Come grandfather, look! he has left all this for us." He touched the cloth and thought it was full of gold and jewels. His concern was alleviated and he felt relieved to know that Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) had left all his wealth at home.
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      Hazrat Asma (RA) was amongst the early few who accepted Islam. She was the daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) and step sister of Hazrat Ayesh Siddiqua (RA). She was wife of Hazrat Zubair bin al-Awwam (RA) and mother of Hazrat Abdullah bin Zubair (RA). She died at the ripe old age of about hundred years. Hazrat Abdullah bin Zubair (RA) used to say that he had not seen anybody more generous and open hearted  than his aunt Hazrat Ayesha (RA) and his mother. Hazrat Asma (RA) was so generous that she sold the garden inherited after the death of her sister, Hazrat Ayesha (RA). She gave away all the money to the poor and the needy. Nobody never returned empty-handed from her doorstep.
   
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     During the early and difficult times of Pakistan's emergence, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, undertook a countrywide tour. He aimed at raising people's spirit.
"Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task", he said in a speech at Lahore, "There are many examples in the history of young nations building themselves up by sheer determination and force of character. You are made of sterling material and second to none. Keep up your morale. Do not be afraid of death. We should face it bravely to save the honour of Pakistan and Islam. Do your duty and have faith in Pakistan. It has come to stay."
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     The whole journey of the great leader's struggle for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent was based on the pivot of the Muslim unity and oneness as a nation. he talked about Pakistan in such clear terms that a common man could understand it.
"We are a nation," he affirmed three years before the birth of Pakistan, "with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, manes and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calender, history and tradition, aptitude and ambitions -- in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life."
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     Quaid-e-Azam was a man of strong faith and belief. He firmly believed that the new emerging state of Pakistan based on Islamic principles would reform the society as a whole. In his Eid message, September 1945, Quaid-e-Azam said, "Islam is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life collectively and individually."
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     Today the Quaid's Pakistan is facing numerous challenges. We had forgotten how much struggle Muslims had made under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. We can overcome our present difficulties by following the Quaid's golden motto, "Faith, Unity and Discipline". We can make our nation strong by remembering his advice to the youth, "It is now up to you to work, work and work; and we are bound to succeed."
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     The Sultan Ahmad mosque is one of the most impressive monuments in the world. It is also known as Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that embellish its interior. Situated in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of Ottoman Empire from 1453 to 1923, it has become the most popular tourist attraction.
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     It was constructed between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmad I. As was the custom, this mosque like other mosques of the time, comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrassah and hospice.
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     Construction of the mosque started in 1609. The royal architect Sedefhar Mehmat Aga, was appointed by the Sultan as in-charge of the project. The opening ceremony was held in 1616. Unfortunately, the Sultan could not see the completion of the mosque in his life. It was completed in the reign of his successor Mustafa I.
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     Blue Mosque reflects the architectural style of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church. Hagia Sophia, a mosque, one of the wonders of Muslim architecture was also kept in view as a model. Blue Mosque even today is considered unmatched in splendour, majesty and size.
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     The mosque has a spacious forecourt surrounded by a continuous vaulted arcade. It has ablution facilities on both sides. In the centre there is a fountain which is rather small in contrast with the magnitude of the courtyard. A heavy iron chain hangs in the upper part of the court entrance on the western side. This side was meant for the Sultan alone. The chain was put there so that the Sultan had to lower his head every time he entered the court. It was the symbolic gesture to ensure the humility of the ruler in the face of the divine.
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     The interior of the mosque at the lower level is lined with more than 20,000 hand-made ceramic tiles in more than 50 different tulip designs. At gallery level the design becomes flamboyant with representation of flowers, fruit and cypresses.
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    The upper level of the interior is adorned with blue paint. More than 200 stained glass windows with intricate designs allow natural light to brighten up its interior and the chandeliers further illuminate it with their glow. The decorations include verses from the Holy Quran. The floors are covered with carpets.
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     The most important element in the interior of the mosque is the mehrab, which is made of finely carved marble. To the right of the mehrab is a richly decorated pulpit. The mosque is so designed that even when it is most crowded, every one in the mosque can hear and see the Imam.
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     The royal room is situated at the south east corner. It has its own pulpit that used to be decorated with jade and roses.
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     The Blue Mosque has six minarets. Four minarets stand one each at the four corners of the mosque. Each of these pencil shaped minarets has three balconies, while the two others at the end of the forecourt have only two balconies.
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     In the evening, a large number of tourists and Turks gather in the park facing the mosque to hear the call to the evening prayers. The mosque is flooded with lights and so are the hearts of the believers with divine love. Though much has been lost of Blue Mosque over the years yet it has not lost the love of its visitors. The mosque is still one of the most frequently visited monuments of the world.
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     It was the beginning of my profession as a nurse. I worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of neurology ward. As a young professional, I wished to save the world. I was excited to see patients making quick recoveries from devastating accidents, yet I was pained to nurse those who were struck with acute neurological disorders. 
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     One day, standing at the beside of a young bus-accident victim, I wondered if she could make the same recovery as others. Hira had received severe head and spinal injuries as she was hit by a speeding bus while crossing a busy road. I took her lifeless arms in my hands and tries to do several exercises on her but in vain. Also, I made her younger sister come and talk to her, thinking that the voice of a near and dear one might activate the nearly dead neurons. She could see but not talk. Her eyes showed a certain helplessness. I could read her mind through her eyes. Perhaps she wanted to say, "Please help me."
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     A fellow nurse came near me and asked, "Rahila, what are you doing? Fighting a lost battle?" I was shocked at first to hear a colleague making a hopeless comment. Then I replied, "I'm trying to make her brain process her sister's voice. Also, I am doing my best to ensure that her arms and legs get proper exercise. This might help her walk like a normal person." Meanwhile, a senior doctor on duty, walked in. He gave me an ironic smile and said, "If you spend most of your duty hours on one patient, we will have to recruit more nurses to attend other patients. Please go and see other patients. We do not have much hope for her. I don't think that she can ever walk again".
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     I was upset. The advice to leave the patient unattended did not seem right. I knew that she had suffered from major neural damage, but she needed to be given a chance. An inner voice somewhere within me spoke, "Try once for her."
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     I went to the senior nurse and told her that I wanted to help this patient and work with her more closely. The senior nurse looked at me with utter surprise and remarked that she had orders from the doctor in-charge to shift her to the general ward. The doctors thought that she was a hopeless case and the bed must be spared for other patients. I was shocked to hear this. The patient's family also requested me to help them fight the case. Something needed to be done. I could not leave my patient fighting a lost battle on her own. I made up my mind to risk my career and help the patient. I requested the senior doctors to allow me to attend to this young helpless patient. Somehow, I was able to make the patient stay in the ICU.
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     I continued to work on Hira. But she was not make much recovery. I felt as helpless as she was to see her lie on bed in a miserable state. Could I be able to justify my stance before the senior doctors? I did not lose hope. I continued to work with patience and kept doing exercises with her. Gradually, I could see her making a slight recover. One day, I was thrilled to see her lift her little finger. All was not lost!
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     I was sent on a three month's training course to Karachi. I made all possible attempts to leave my patient in good hands. I returned after three months to see my patient's bed taken up by another. My feet froze to the ground. I did not have the courage to ask, "What happened?"
     As I stood near the bed with several questions popping in my mind, I felt a gentle pat on my shoulder. I turned around to see a young woman, smiling at me.
     "Are you looking for your patient?" she said and gave me a big hug.
     "Thank you for everything you did! I know you did not allow them to make me lead a crippled life."
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     I stood still, until her family came around with big smiles on their faces. Thanks to Allah, she was my patient, standing and walking on her own feet. I could not recognize her without the machinery and tubes around her body.
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     She walked on crutches, which she would leave in a few months. I was so glad that I had done those exercises on her to keep her limbs in motion. I was glad that my efforts bore fruit. But most of all, I was happy that Allah Almighty had helped me win a lost battle.
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     She and her family had entered into a considerable bond of friendship with me. I was humbled by their sense of gratitude towards me. I felt a sense of renewed strength in me. 'Where there is a will there is a way.' I was proud to be a nurse. 
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      Drug addiction is a common problem all over the world today. There are many forms of drug addiction, but the most dangerous of all is the absolute dependence on it. Long-term use of drugs causes permanent mental and physical sickness. The more dangerous a substance is used the more risky it becomes. Its continuous use causes total dependence on the drug. Some kinds of drugs that cause disturbance of mind and body are heroin, marijuana, tobacco, valium, cocaine and alcohol.
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     Drug addiction is caused by environmental factors. A few important environmental factors that may cause drug addiction are bad peer influence and troubled domestic background. When young people remain in bad company and do experiments in the name of adventure, they may fall a prey to addiction. The people who are discontented with their lives may also resort to drug addiction in order to seek an escape from responsibilities of life.
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     The most important measure to be taken in this regard is the rehabilitation and recovery of a drug addict. In many countries, including Pakistan, addicts, their families, and friends consider it a taboo to share their problem with others. They feel embarrassed to talk about it for fear of being declared an outcast. This not only makes the cure difficult bit in most cases the addicts die due to lack of timely treatment and counselling.
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     Rehabilitation centres are the best places for the control and recovery process. These centres look after them. Complete medical support and guidance is provided to these people in these centres. Drug abusers, therefore, must be taken to proper and certified rehabilitation centres where proper treatment and cure is available for them. However, this involves rapid identification of the problem of drug addiction and total cooperation of the victims with the team of these centres.
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     The other factor that contributes in rehabilitation of the drug victim is proper counselling. The sooner it is done the better it is for the victim. The counselling process must continue even after the drug abuser is rehabilitated because of the dangers of a relapse. Doctors, family and friends must continue to critically watch and counsel the victim for better motivation and adjustment.
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     Drug addiction is really a very serious threat to any society. In Pakistan alone, there are almost five million drug addicts. Addicts undergo numerous economic, social and health problems. The governments all over the world have been trying to eliminate drug addiction from society but still more efforts are needed to completely wipe it out. This can only be made possible if the people become increasingly aware of the threats that drugs pose. They should vow to live a healthy and meaningful life.  
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     Noise pollution is defined as any form of noise that disrupts the normal functioning of life. If left unchecked, it can have serious effects on the mind and body of humans as well as animals. 
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     Noise pollution is one of the biggest sources of discomfort, stress and nuisance in Pakistan. In urban areas and big cities, noise pollution has reached dangerous level. For instance, a survey by the Punjab Environmental Protection Agency claims that the level of noise in Lahore has reached 91 decibels whereas a maximum of 75 decibels is acceptable. This means that the mental and physical health of so many people is already at risk. 
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     The major causes of noise pollution in Pakistan are road traffic construction sites, careless use of electronic appliances and loud speech patterns. Noise coming from different modes of transport i.e., vehicles, airplanes, trains, ships, proves to be highly stressful for human communities. With the population growth and development in urban areas, the vehicular traffic has also multiplied. This has given rise to immense noise pollution, largely in the form of unwarranted honking by drivers. Also, the mushroom growth of residential colonies near airports and railway stations has exposed residents to permanent and unavoidable source of noise pollution. 
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     Another source of noise pollution in urban areas is the work on construction sites. Construction work in urban areas is usually slow and time-consuming. The transport and equipment used at construction sites, its grilling and piercing sound is a big source of noise pollution. It not only disturbs the general public but also affects construction workers by causing mental fatigue. 
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     Use of technology is another cause of noise pollution. For example, unmonitored use of mobile phones, electricity generators, music systems and TV, all become irritants from time to time. People usually do not switch off their mobiles or put them on silent modes when they enter offices, hospitals, schools and colleges. They also use electricity generators excessively in residential areas and put other residents ill at ease. Moreover, listening to loud music or TV on a loud volume is another source of noise pollution. For this, people need to develop some civic responsibility so that others may not be in trouble because of these careless actions. 
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     Noise pollution causes not only environmental damage but it also has a negative impact on human health. It can cause aggression, hypertension, high stress level, hearing loss, restlessness, depression and insomnia. Insomnia can further lead to anxiety, bad temper and emotional stress. In addition, noise pollution can seriously affect the learners. This gives them unnecessary mental and physical tension. 
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     In Pakistan, there is a dire need to bring down the noise level, coming from different sources. The government must gear up and utilize various means to control unwarranted noise levels. For example, the Punjab Environment Protection Agency recommends around 55 decibels of noise level in residential colonies and 75 decibels in commercial areas. These figures must ensure smooth traffic flow, block noise emitting vehicles from roads, use noise barriers where necessary, and expedite construction work to minimize noise pollution. Also, the residential societies should come forward, frame and enforce rules in their areas to check unnecessary noise producing agents. Offices, hospitals and academic institutions should strictly prohibit the use of mobile phones on campuses for better noise management. Moreover, people should be discouraged to speak loudly in these areas. 
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     Noise pollution is a serious issue and needs more attention at local and state level. People must develop more awareness about the dangerous impact of noise on human health. It is, therefore, a need to acquire more civic sense and responsible attitude to avoid the unnecessary use of this irritant in the environment. Only then our country would be a much quieter and much more peaceful place to live in.
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     Sometimes, I have thought that it would be an excellent rule to live each day as if we should die tomorrow. Such an attitude would emphasize sharply the values of life. We should live each day with gentleness, vigour, and a keenness of appreciation which is often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama of more days and months and years to come. There are those, of course, who would adopt the epicurean motto of "eat, drink, and be merry" but most people would be chastened by the certainty of impending death. 
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     In stories, the doomed hero is usually saved at the last minute by some stroke of fortune, but almost always his sense of values is changed. He becomes more appreciative of the meaning of life and its permanent spiritual values. It has often been noted that those who live, or have lived, in the shadow of death bring a mellow sweetness to everything they do.
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     Perhaps I can best illustrate by imagining what I should most like to see if I was given the use of my eyes, say for just three days.
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     On the first day, I should want to see the people whose kindness, gentleness and companionship have made my life worth living.
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     The next day -- the second day of sight -- I should arise with the dawn and see the thrilling miracle by which night is transformed into day. I should behold with the magnificent panorama of life with which the sun awakens the sleeping earth.
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      This day I should devote to a hasty glimpse of the world, past and present. I should want to see the pageant of man's progress, the kaleidoscopic of the ages. How can so much be compressed into one day? Through the museums, of course?
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     The following morning I should greet the dawn, anxious to discover, new delights, for I am sure that, for those who have eyes which really see, the dawn of each day must be perfectly new revelation of beauty. This according to the terms of my miracle is to be my third and last day of sight.
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     I shall have no time to waste in regret for longing; there is so much to see. The first day I devoted to my friends, animate and inanimate. The second revealed to me the history of man and nature. Today I shall spend in the workaday world of the present, amid the haunts of men going about the business of life. And where can one find so many activities and conditions of men as in New York? So the city becomes my destination.
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     Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see. Recently, I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, I asked her what she had observed. "Nothing in particular," she replied. I might have been incredulous, had I not been accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little.
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     How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour in the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who cannot see can find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my lovingly hands about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough shaggy bark of a pine. In spring, I touched the branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud, the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter's sleep. I feel the delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable convolutions; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me. Occasionally, if I am fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers. To me, a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. To me the pageant of seasons is a thrilling and unending drama, the action of which streams through my finger tips.
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     If I were the president of a university, I should establish a compulsory course in "How to Use Your Eyes". The professor would try to show his pupils how they could add joy to their lives by really seeing what passes unnoticed before them. He would try to awaken their dormant and sluggish faculties.  
     

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