Daily Archives: September 3, 2008

Monkey see, monkey do

By Hajrah Mumtaz

A local reality TV show on air these days purports to be looking for the most himmatwala Pakistani – the one who displays the qualities of bravery, derring-do, power, strength and endurance that the Urdu term denotes.
It sounds like a good idea, given that this country could do with some heroes and role models. But what is this channel’s – and that of the citizens who choose to appear on the show – idea of himmat? In the episode I watched it was eating cockroaches. A misguided young man decided that this was the one thing he could do to show that there were himmatwalay people in Hyderabad. The show’s host, having first humiliated, belittled and mocked the contestant, presented a tray of insects and pointed out the insects to be eaten – which the discomfited himmatwala proceeded to do. Continue reading

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Farewell Faraz

Guest contribution by Sadia Dehlvi for Pak Tea House


Lovers of Urdu mourn the death of Ahmed Faraz, undoubtedly the greatest romantic and revolutionary poet of our times. Earlier this week, Faraz was laid to rest in Islamabad, the city he made his home. One by one, the torchbearers of Urdu literature fade away.


I heard of Faraz’s in the mid seventies when his “ranjish hi sahi, dil hi dukhaane ke liya aa,” became a huge hit with ghazal lovers. I met the burly rugged looking Pashto speaking Pathan on a trip to Islamabad in 1988 and we became close friends. He spoke of initial apprehensions of writing in Urdu but was encouraged by the response to his first diwan, “Tanha Tanha”. He wished to become a pilot but a romance in college turned Faraz into a poet.  Continue reading

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Filed under poetry, Urdu