Tag Archives: culture

Faiz Ahmad Faiz and reiterating Pakistan’s plural culture

Posted by Raza Rumi

Today is the 26th death anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz whose life and works are national assets. Faiz was a torchbearer of the glorious traditions set by great Urdu poets such as Ghalib and Iqbal. Faiz distinguished himself as a proponent of a revolutionary vision, which blended the romance of classical Urdu poetry with the idealism of revolutionary struggles. Faiz’s political ideology provided modern Urdu verse an unprecedented political and romantic expression. Faiz brought Pakistan international acclaim and the world bestowed on him the highest honours, including the Lenin Peace Prize (1962). He has also left a corpus of essays, editorials and commentaries from his years in journalism. This body of work still needs to be fully assessed for its literary dimensions. Faiz’s literary career coincided with the emergence of Pakistan and its unfortunate history of political instability and militarisation, which isolated its majority Eastern wing and resulted in its break-up in 1971. His famous poem ‘Yeh Daagh Daagh Ujala’ remains an apt comment on the creation of a ‘moth-eaten’ Pakistan, which continues to grapple with issues of identity. The Pakistani state treated him shoddily as he remained under arrest for extended periods or in exile.

The decade of the 1970s witnessed a change when Bhutto appointed him as Chairman of the National Council of the Arts. Faiz authored Pakistan’s Culture Policy of [early 1970s], which was partially implemented. This new cultural discourse broke the hegemony of the Continue reading

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Understanding Islamic Revival In Its Proper Context

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

 My secular comrades and friends will probably disagree with me or maybe not, and it is nothing less than sacrilege for a self proclaimed secularist like myself to say so,   but the core values of any civilization are drawn from the dominant religio-cultural system.   There are contributory factors from other minority strains but ultimately the way society is organized is around the religio-cultural system the majority of its adherents follow.   So for example,  the Western civilization- as we know it today- has for evolved out of a Judaeo-Christian cultural norms and as it is secularized, it is enriched by other cultural strains but it remains manifestly a product of Judaeo-Christian evolution.  It certainly has strong heritage in Hellenistic past but that itself is expressed through established Christian traditions (for example Christmas which is an adopted Hellenistic holiday),  much like Islam adopted a lot of pre-Islamic Arabian heritage as its own.   Continue reading

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BONDHUS MAKE MY QURBANI A BONANZA IN RIYADH!!

PTH has received this contribution from Faiz al-Najdi on the sacrifice rites. Hope the readers enjoy this account. Raza Rumi

For Desis Qurbani has never been an exciting affair in Saudi Arabia. For simple reason and it is that the Desis are expected to follow some strict rules vis-à-vis Qurbani here. They cannot do the Qurbani any where at their free will. They are expected to go and visit the designated cattle-pens for purchasing the sacrificial animals and deposit them at the designated slaughter house for the necessary handling of the same. As an alternate arrangement they can engage with the local meat shop men and register with them to do the needful on their behalf.

Frankly, I always dreaded the dust and filth in and around the designated cattle-pens and in fact was never comfortable with rubbing shoulders with the crowds there. That is squarely the reason why all these years I had resisted the invitation and persuasion from all and sundries to join them in the trip and rendezvous at the designated cattle-pens of Riyadh situated in the south in Azizia district. Instead, for years I have been registering with M/S GEO Meat Shop in Hara-Riyadh for the annual Qurbani at a fee that keeps increasing each year. My friend Sajawal at M/S GEO Meat Shop has been extending special services and favor to me always wherein I was never required to fall in the long queues that often take a bee-line for the aspiring clients. In short, my Qurbani at M/S GEO Meat Shop had always been an easy sail through. Continue reading

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The ‘It-is-not-us’ syndrome

By Hajrah Mumtaz  Dawn Online

A couple of months ago, I wrote a column in praise of certain Pakistani pop stars and bands, arguing that there are a fair number of songs that display political consciousness and a related sense of responsibility. I referred to such songs as Junoon’s ‘Talaash’, Shahzad Roy’s ‘Lagay Raho’ and ‘Kismet Apnay Haath Main’, Noori’s ‘Merey Log’ and Laal’s rendition of Habib Jalib’s ‘Main Nay Uss Say Yeh Kaha.’ Continue reading

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Filed under culture, Identity, Music, Pakistan, Religion, Taliban, USA, War On Terror

Love and Sex at LUMS 2: 9/11 Destined For Misery

From THE LUMS DAILY STUDENT

Friday afternoon I had to read Tajwar’s erotic email and since then I cannot help put picture the three scenarios she had put forth in her email. While I regret not being able to witness these spectacles that have apparently slaughtered the LUMS brand; I cannot help wonder in amusement what the contraire is. It has been a year since I have been in LUMS (touch wood) and I was under the illusion that “making third base home runs” was the LUMS culture. In fact I always thought it was the new black and felt like a pariah the preceding year. While I honor either opinions on the subject of PDA, I am still in shock why would anyone want to picture “………. A girl’s half naked leg and a boys hand up the other half of capries”. Continue reading

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Love and Sex at LUMS 1: The Secret Love Life of LUMS Students

From Dawn Blogs

The campus of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is famous for being a bubble environment where risqué fashion trends are explored and high-school soap operas come to life in the midst of hijab-clad women and the bearded folk from LUMS Religious Society. To an outsider visiting LUMS, or possibly visiting Pakistan for the first time, this campus might seem at first encounter like the ideal multicultural environment akin to an ancient city-state where all live in harmony with tolerance. Continue reading

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Book: The Romance of Raja Rasalu and Other Tales

By Raza Rumi
Story telling has been a primordial urge, never quite expressed in its fullest measure, but always lingering and floating like life. There was a sub-continent before the colonial interaction that brought in its wake an aesthetic hardened by the industrial revolution and its uniformity of life and space. This was a world rich with myriad identities, of whispers and tales all interlaced in a peculiarly complex kaleidoscope. Since the 19th century that particular aspect of folk story telling and transfer of generational accounts gave way to what is now known as education and knowledge – instruments and reflections of power and a linear world view set elsewhere but adapted awkwardly to the local context.
This is why Simorgh Women’s Resource and Publication Centre in Lahore, under the leadership of Neelum Hussain, have undertaken the challenging task of reclaiming the rich heritage that lies in our folklore especially that of the Punjab. “The Romance of Raja Rasalu and Other Tales” is a stunning compilation of the romance of Punjab’s legendary hero, Raja Rasalu and, while it draws heavily on the colonial storytellers, the book twists the narrative in a manner that brings us closer to the origins of our cultural sensibilities. The tales are sheer magic. The romance, the intrigue, the bravery and the integrated nature of human existence where it finds communication even with birds and trees comes to a full life throughout the narrative.
It is one thing to produce an admirable compendium but it is another matter to ensure that the purpose and spirit of the tales are adequately reflected in the illustrations. This particular touch of originality is provided by the eminent artist Laila Rehman whose breathtakingly attractive illustrations add a new layer of meaning and sensibility to the folk stories. It is, therefore, as has been rightly stated in the introduction, a book for pleasure: a pleasure that moves beyond the immediate and the momentary and merges into the real or imagined pleasure of living. Laila’s paintings and sketches are evocative enough to generate a parallel story within the larger narrative. It is as if the reader is traversing into several worlds. One minute Continue reading

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