Monthly Archives: May 2008

then they toodled off for a bowl of sushi at the noddel house

hope glimmered like the tempered steel of
a kodachi blade in the nightlight, full
two and a half watts of ether-like reality,
and meandered along a timeline of unwarranted
darkness and despair and dismal misery,
much like that other silvery lining, the
glow worm that you used to want to play with,
but in the end just sliced in two

with a glimmering blade.

minos – may 2008


Filed under poetry

Takht-i-Bahi – (The Water Throne)

Exists in our minds, this place and its past
Well trodden paths, from Alexander to Asoka
In those avenues of history and of its times
Brings you the old Buddhist monks
Their stories of old donation and its marks
Of eyes and of purification from desire
The grand purpose, the grand donation
Descends into that place, Takht-i-Bahi
An old water throne, the old reference
Murmurs to these fields of green
To become a part, of an old civilization
As it became from Amar Daan to Mardan
The land of toil and the land of resolve
My home, where rests my remains
Of an old existence of time and of mine
As the memory flows into Takht-i-Bahi
Out comes the rain, of loss and in despair
As the sadness dwells like a morning mist
In all who live, and of all who are gone
Only the prayers, only the hopes
For peace to return, for fields to bloom
The old harvest awaits; the new beginnings
For the old inhabitants to return again!


This poem  is dedicated to our friend Aadil and his city, Mardan. His friends and to all those departed souls ….


Filed under Pakistan, poetry, Politics, Society

The Last Encounter: Subverting the discourse of exclusion – part 1

by  Shaheryar Ali

The problem in front of the great Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci in the fascist prison was the “problem of sustenance of capitalism” in Europe despite its great logical contradiction. Why the Revolution was not coming when all the conditions were right? In his famous “prison notebooks”, he takes the question into the realm of ideology. This was the start of analysis of “ways of thinking”. He gave the concept of “cultural Hegemony”. Capitalism Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion , but also ideologically , through a “hegemonic culture” in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense‘ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the Working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.

He also made a distinction between the “Political society” (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent. Its this “civil society” whose “thoughts” are being “controlled” to suit the masters [If only Pakistanis understood]. In order to understand these thing the “discourse analysis” was developed. “Discourse” is nothing but all “written and verbal communication”. In line of Gramsci and later Foucault we have to understand “discourse” as “institutionalized” way of thinking, or in words of Judith Butler “limits of acceptable” speech. Its these limits which must be subverted in order to reach a true libertarian discourse. The discourse is controlled by means of “exclusion”, no other opinion simply exists. Foucault writes:

“I am supposing that is every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organised and redistributed according to a certain number of procedures, whose role is to avert its powers and its dangers, to cope with chance events, to evade its ponderous, awesome materiality. In a society such as our own we all know the rules of exclusion. The most obvious and familiar of these concerns what is prohibited

Of the three great systems of exclusion governing discourse — prohibited words, the division of madness and the will to truth ———“

“I believe we must resolve ourselves to accept three decisions which our current thinking rather tends to resist, and which belong to the three groups of function I have just mentioned: to question our will to truth; to restore to discourse its character as an event; to abolish the sovereignty of the signifier…. One can straight away distinguish some of the methodological demands they imply. A principle of reversal, first of all…. Next, then, the principle of discontinuity ….”

I am planning to do all this , i am trying to bring forward the “prohibited voices”, those which have been totally eclipsed in the society by the dominant discourse. This is not “endorsing” one and rejecting “others”, rather, its simply a act of breathing , an act of subversion ,of saying what is not pleasant to hear, Its simply an act of living in the rotten stagnant conformity. “The Bengali Genocide” is one such “absent voice” in Pakistan. We only hear “India -America-Jews divided Pakistan”, the act of liberation and resistance against one of the most brutal fascist militarism is “dismissed” as “sakoot”. The Last encounter is a short story by Kazi Fazalur Rehman , its taken from the anthology of stories from 71 by the name of “Fault lines”

The Last Encounter

By Kazi Fazlur Rahman Continue reading


Filed under Citizens, History, Pakistan, Society, Writers

The Muffled Rage

PTH author Kashkin wrote this article in October 2007. He believes that it is valid even today and “holds true the message” and “how we portray ourselves as a nation and society”. Hope the readers would enjoy this piece. Raza Rumi (ed.)


There we go again- the arrival of Benazir Bhutto after 8 years of her self-imposed exile, (the exile which meant that all her family with her, no dependency on anything, and enough money in millions, enough homes, etc- if this is exile, then what it means to be in your own homeland, only she can imagine!!!!!), numerous statements from herself on media repeatedly how poorly she had been treated in the past, her concerns on her safety, voicing opinions based on her discussions with the Western governments, displaying sense of arrogance and falsely created euphoria of how things will change when she gets in the government and so forth. This was the day she had been waiting for a long time!!!!

So what happened?

Thousands of people gathered from all parts of Pakistan in a procession to welcome her on these streets of Karachi, to hear these sentimental and vociferous speeches by her and her cronies. The words from those years of isolation and exile to fulfill the expectations of the nation on these streets of Karachi. What a joke!!!!

And then comes the explosions. The carnage.

25, 30. 45. 75, and the count keeps getting higher and higher for the dead and injured. The whole machinery – media with its apparatus, the voices in anger against the government, the people behind these attacks “debate” kicks into action. Nothing new, we are used to seeing this patterns.

Then comes the promise of investigation and lesson learnt drill from the government and all the other party leaders- the usual routine – we will do this and we will do that? Great what happened to the investigation to cover off 12th May incidence, what happened to the investigation on incidences in Peshawar couple of weeks ago? What happened to the red-mosque investigation? What happened to the investigations of the investigation – the accountability of our leaders- past and present. This is not the question they would like us to ask.

The perceived consensus amongst the government is to forget all previous investigations and focus on the current crisis. I guess they will let Supreme Court to initiate this when they have nothing else to do – to keep them occupied and busy for the next couple of months!!! Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Citizens, Democracy, History, Islam, Media, Pakistan, Politics, Society, Writers


Met a character from 1947
Only six at that time,
To recite his tale
Story of his sacrifice
Lost he all
His mother and objects of play
As they travelled
Through days of migration
To the river hydraotes
The river of many names
From Greek to Vedic times

Stands there he now,
In the land of pure
To look back
At the purpose and
Of sacrifices – him
And of his ancestors
Of what they left
In their deaths
As they travelled
For vision and for home
With the promise

Then comes the separation
From what remained in his life
For years he begged,
Not out of choice but
Through subjugation
Forced upon him
Cost of separation
No regrets he says
As years went past

One day he returned
To see what was left
Of him and his world
The final reunion
More years went past
As life brought its pearls
Happiness at times and pain
No regret he says, I am at peace

Now an old man,
Through thick and thin
Of those years behind him
Hears he those who doubt
To what happened and how
Dry now this Hydraotes,
From its last fall,
Not much left in him
Only the old promise
As they become one
Six year old sky and Hydraotes!


Comments Off on Hydraotes

Filed under Citizens, Democracy, Pakistan, poetry, Politics

A CASE OF EXPLODING MANGOES – the new Pakistani novel

When was the last time we heard that what this country needs is another Zia?”

– Mohammed Hanif

By Nadir Hassan 

 Born in Okara in 1965, Mohammed Hanif served in the Pakistan Air Force before deciding to take up a career as a journalist. Hanif worked as a reporter for Newsline for six years and is now the head of the BBC’s Urdu World Service. He also graduated from the creative writing programme at the University of East Anglia.

           Q: As a first-time novelist, was it hard to find a publisher in Britain? And given your portrayal of Zia, will it be even harder to find a publisher in Pakistan?

           A: I know it is notoriously difficult to find a publisher for a first time novel, even more so for a so-called literary novel (“a gamble against destiny” as someone put it) but I have to say that luckily it proved to be quite simple in my case. I guess the trick is to get an agent who believes in the book and in whose judgment the publishers have trust. After I signed up with my agent, the publishers were literally lining up, which was a bit surreal. She made the first sale within 48 hours of submitting in Canada. And the rest of the countries followed within a week or so. Continue reading


Filed under Books, culture, Fiction, History, Literature, Writers

A beautiful Ghazal by Ghulam Ali

A blast from the past: a relic of the great works of a musical legend of the Subcontinent – Ghulam Ali.
Rafi Mohammad ka Kalaam:

Hum ko kiss kay ghum nay mara,
yeh kahani phir sahi,
Kiss no tora dil hamara,
yeh kahani phir sahi

Comments Off on A beautiful Ghazal by Ghulam Ali

Filed under History, Media, Pakistan