Tag Archives: Ghalib

Hazaron Khawaishain Aisi …

The author of this brilliant gem of an article is an Indian.  It is not as much a prediction or reflection of events to come as it is of the broader Indian uber-nationalist psyche (which I discussed in detail in my last piece on the bigger picture of IPL decision) which is so terribly obsessed with the idea of smashing Pakistan to bits that it seems most of their energies – when not professing “India shining”- go to thinking up such notions.   There are a lot of psychological theories for the kind but I’ll let the readers decide what is the more appropriate one in their opinion.  What I find tragic is how many people around the world actually think of Indians as a peaceloving lot -YLH

The great four-way split happened five years ago, in 2015, but the impact is still being felt, what with the latest Pashtoonistan crisis.
BY Ninad D. Sheth
time travel
Kashmir has been witness to dramatic changes after the country formerly known as Pakistan was transformed into a loose federation. There are now four ISIs, often shooting at each other in the Valley.
Five years into its formation, the Islamic Commonwealth has called an emergency meeting of the state formerly known as Pakistan. This, loosely described, is a loose federal set-up of Baluchistan, Sind, Punjab and Pashtoonistan. The last of these entities includes a large chunk of what was once Afghanistan. The remaining territories include the US held enclaves of Islamabad, Sargodha, Kabul and Murree, where the US Eighth army is in permanent possession of a nuclear arsenal.

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Filed under India, Pakistan

Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano dies

PTH expresses its deepest sorrow at the passing away of the legendary Iqbal Bani who shall never be forgotten and live through her music. RR

M Ilyas Khan of BBC News reports as under:

Renowned Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano died on Tuesday in the eastern city of Lahore aged 74….

Ms Bano was best known for her semi-classical Urdu ghazal songs and
classical thumris, but also sang easy-listening numbers in 1950s films.

Few singers of classical music matched the brilliance of her voice and her command of musical notes, critics say.

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Filed under Media, Music

A neglected genius

Raza Rumi

Whilst my earlier piece on the IMF programme and the tremendous discussion it has invoked deserves a rejoinder, I want to write on a completely different subject this week. I am perturbed by the fact that thousands of jobs have been recreated for those who were rightly or wrongly dismissed in the earlier dispensations; there is silence about one luminary, a towering one at that, who lost state employment twice. Fahmida Riaz’s name is yet to appear amongst the reinstated ones.

Following the physical departure of the leading Urdu poets – Qasmi, Munir and Faraz – Fahmida Riaz is arguably the greatest living poet of Pakistan. Controversial though this statement might be, her originality and path-breaking poetry has yet to find an equal in the turbulent waters of the Pakistani cultural river. It is hardly surprising that Fahimda Riaz has been targeted all through her otherwise illustrious creative career by state and society alike. She was branded as unpatriotic when she had to run for her life in the Zia-ul-Haq days and live in exile. In India, she was termed as a Pakistani agent since she criticised the communal tensions that the Indian state had encouraged.

Her bold poetic expression was considered indecent in a country where pornography, heroine and arms are sold on every street. And, where stage plays with “hot” mujras and explicit sexual innuendo are patronised by official cultural institutions in the name of commercial viability. Fahmida was sometimes labelled as a non-believer when she questioned the clergy; at other times a communist when she talked of social justice. Even last year, a group of Karachi-based “intellectuals” chided her for eulogising a letter by the fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali (AS) as a model for good governance. This time she was a reactionary and a “toady.” Continue reading


Filed under culture, Literature, poetry, Society, south asia, Urdu, Women, Writers

A tribute to Ralph Russell – RIP

Shaheryar Ali

“Not a famous man” Ralph Russell called himself in his autobiography “Findings, Keepings: Life, Communism and everything“. It’s quite an understatement. Anyone who loves Urdu and has any interest in the literary movements in Indian subcontinent knows Ralph Russell. He was one of those rare men who become legends in their life time. Ralph Russell spent all his life serving Urdu language. He popularized it , built structures and mechanisms of teaching Urdu in Europe especially in the UK. He has been called the “Baba e Urdu of Britain”. He developed friendships with great Urdu poets and writers. He wrote books introducing the classic Urdu poets , introducing their thought and craft to the western audience.

Ralph Russel’s life is an inspiration. His struggle, his commitment to humaniyy and the oppressed and his continuous unrelenless opposition to colonialism, imperialism , capitalism and wars. In that he can be compared to likes of Eric Hobsbawm, perhaps the greatest of historians of our times. Just like him Russell remained till his death “an unrepented communist”

Just like every progressive Russell started his quest by adopting “Atheism”, which led to “humanism” than to Socialism and Communism. The opposition to poverty, war, oppression, colonialism,censorship, imperialism bound him to communism for life. He was sharply critical of the degeneration of Communism in Soviet Union and China. He never accepted their adoption of totaliterianism which is anathema to Marxist thought. Continue reading


Filed under Left, Literature, Urdu, Writers

Jihad and retribalisation in Pakistan – Ayesha Jalal’s new book

This is an important book. We are posting another review by Khaled Ahmed here. This review also cites some revealing passages..

BOOK REVIEW: Jihad and retribalisation in Pakistan

Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia
By Ayesha Jalal
Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore 2008
Pp373: Price Rs 695
Available at bookstores in Pakistan

Not far from Balakot, the votaries of the Sayyid are fighting on the side of Al Qaeda against ‘imperialist’ America and its client state, Pakistan, and killing more Muslims in the process than Americans, just as the Sayyid killed more Muslims than he killed Sikhs

Ayesha Jalal studies the jihad of Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (1786-1831) in India as the most immaculate articulation of the theory of jihad in Islam. Sayyid Ahmad may have conceived his holy war against East India Company while living in Rai Bareilly in the central region of northern India, but he moved his warriors to where Pakistan’s North Western Frontier (NWFP) province is today because he thought that the Pashtun living in the tribal areas under non-Muslim Sikh occupation were better Muslims than the settled Muslims of the plains.

Here was the first indication that Islamic utopia could be constructed more easily in a tribal society. He probably wanted to take on the British after creating a mini-state on the pattern of Madina in the NWFP and probably hoped to reform the contaminated Muslims of the plains as a means of enhancing his challenge to the British. Al Qaeda too discovered the Pashtun straddling the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan as the tribal matrix where an Islamic utopia would grow into a centre of the global caliphate devoted to reforming and uniting Muslims living unhappily as subjects of today’s nation-states. Continue reading


Filed under Afghanistan, History, Islamism, movements, Religion

Mirza Yagana Changezi

Of God and Ghalib

Restraint was what Mirza Yaas Yagana Changezi knew little of all his life. Only towards the end, he realised that the price he paid was rather very high

By Dr Afzal Mirza

That Mirza Yaas Yagana Changezi was an able poet whose talent was mostly wasted on aimless pursuits does not need an overemphasis to drive it home. Writing about Yagana in his Takhleeqi Adab, critic and poet Mushfiq Khawaja said: “Undoubtedly Mirza Yagana is one of the important poets of this century. But due to his literary and non-literary polemics his poetic importance has been generally ignored. What to talk of a detailed critique of his poetry, even short critical pieces have not been written about him”.

Another well known critic Professor Mumtaz Hussain had this to say: “Yagana Changezi was without a sword but he would use the point of his pen as a sword.” According to Mumtaz Yagana had the habit of stinging his friends and foes alike as a “fly sitting on the back of a horse would”.

Dr Abul Lais Siddiqui who was at one time head of the Urdu department of Karachi University said about Yagana: “The personality and poetry of Mirza Yaas are contradictory. On one hand there is a new melody, emotion, strength and energy in his poetry and on the other his ego-centricity and self-indulgence that cross all the limits of poetic standards have tremendously damaged both his poetry and personality. That is the reason that his poetry has been marred by his reputation as a Ghalib basher.” Continue reading


Filed under Literature, poetry, Urdu

Pakistan is a ‘Chick Magnet’

Posted by Samad Khurram
By Smita Prakash
New Delhi, Jan.17 : Britney Spears, the once hot and happening blonde pop star, has a Pakistani boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, wants to convert to Islam and move to Pakistan.

Princess Diana’s great love was a British doctor of Pakistani origin, Hasnat Khan, whom she desperately wanted to marry say her friends and live in Pakistan. Jemima Khan, the lush lipped, luxurious maned blonde, actually married a Pakistani, the hottie Imran Khan and lived in Pakistan, covering her head and wearing diaphanous salwar kameezes. What is it with blonde beauties and Pakistani men? Why is Pakistan such a chick magnet?

Let’s put aside the image that Pakistan conjures up these days…suicide bombers, assassinated politicians, military dictators, Talibanisation, venom-spewing madrassas, atrocities on women, lawyers being bashed up and the media being stiffled. Let us put aside all that’s unpleasant about Pakistan because that’s what these women did. They just looked at the romance of the Pakistani man. Don’t choke. Remember this is the land of Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal and Faiz. This is the land where the most beautiful and romantic Urdu poetry was written. And, which woman can resist being courted by shayari. Continue reading


Filed under Humour, Pakistan, Society