Monday, July 31, 2006

Crisis in Lebanon: Arab countries 'condemn' Israel's aggression, content with their 'vocal support' once again

"Arabs condemn Israel's aggression", that's what a newspaper reported after the killings of scores of youth and children. One doesn't know how to react to such statements.

Tonnes of ink has been wasted in the Indian sub-continent alone on what we call in Urdu, the 'be-hisi' (apathy) and khamoshi (silence) of Arab rulers.

So what is surprising now? Even my non-Muslim friends ask me why these states don't speak, why people don't come out on the street like in Indian sub-continent.

And questions like why the oil not used as weapon? There are so many arguments, counter-arguments and reasons for the silence in Arab street as well. But I don't think over it simply because Palestinians have suffered for decades.

Not only Israel but entire Middle-East and the Arab world has been humiliated by United States of America through support to Zionist state's terrorism. I don't know whether the Arab states fear that support to Hezbollah would in turn help Shias and led to growing influence of Iran in the region.

Or that they are too dependent on America as their monarchies exist due to its support.
But if the states of Middle-east and their people are still not angry and 'humiliated enough' at the constant suffering of their brethren then why should I cry. It should have been their war, their cause.

It is no shock that monarchies of Arab world don't take a strong stand, we are used to all this for decades. They have their own paradises on this earth. If they are not affected by the disturbing reports and images then there is nothing left to say.

The real Arab is invisible. Expecting those to act who dared to change the Muslim world's Arabia (the Prophet's Arab) to Saudi Arabia, the Arab belonging to a family, The Sauds. I don't expect them to act.

And I don't wish to wail further for the plight of Palestinians, Lebanese and others. Surely those who are fighting the aggression will continue to do so. Qana is no first such incident but one must stop looking at Saudis or anybody else.

I am sure those spirited Lebanese and Palestinians will continue their fight. Neither Israel can fight for eternity. And I can just pray to God in private, nothing else. The aggressor will surely lose some day.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

No stand, no shame: Our politicians are liars of highest order, latest in Kalyan Singh's turnaround

Watching Kalyan Singh on television [India TV], I wondered how easily people in public life take somersaults. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said that he was proud of the events that occurred on December 6.

I wondered how people like Singh and his ilk keep cheating us. If he was genuinely proud of Babri masjid demolition, why did he regretted that after leaving the BJP and joining the Samajwadi Party. At that time he was blaming LK Advani for hatching the plot.

Sakshi Maharaj who took credit for demolition earlier had also changed the statement and overnight TURNED SECULAR when they aligned with SP. Sakshi Maharaj was recently expelled from the Parliament during the MPLADS scam [sting operation].

If you are proud of demolition of the mosque then be proud, why compromise your ideology just for the sake of political survival. But no, they are such liars that they take us all for a ride and even the anchors of news channels don't have the guts to ask them why they lie so much.

It is because they are aware how easy it is to cheat the Indian citizen. [In July 2003 Kalyan Singh who had floated Rashtriya Kranti Party had publicly accused Advani, Vajpayee and MM Joshi for conspring to bring down the Babri Masjid.]

Strange: LK Advani keeps on claiming that December 6 was the saddest day of his life and the born-again Hindutva-vaadi Kalyan Singh says he is once-again proud of the incident on December 6. Terrible and shameless multiple-speak.

Unfortunately we all forget how they stoke communal passions just for personal gains and elect these liars to our parliaments and assemblies. There should be space for rightist and leftists in the politics of our nation but there should not be any space for LIARS. Kitna jhoot, kitni makkari?

[In pix: Kalyan Singh with his protege Kusum Rai. Her prominence in the government was reason for heartburns within the party that had led to the ouster of Kalyan Singh from the BJP]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Faiz Ahmed Faiz' famous verse: Poem for Raqeeb (Rival in Love) in Urdu, Hindi and Roman scripts

My friend, Pandit Ji [not pandit by profession] came excited. Yesterday was his holiday and he had read Faiz' poem 'Raqeeb Se' and pronounced the judgement 'Boh't khubsurat nazm likhi hai, kyaa baat hai, kis tarah raqeeb ko yaad kiya, koi nahin likh sakta...'

Then we all discussed Faiz. I read the nazm again. The concept of Raqeeb in Urdu poetry is unique. Raqeeb is one's rival in love, the person who is also in love with your beloved.

It is a strange relationship with several emotions and elements involved but this particular poem 'Raqueeb se' is different.

Here the poet looks at Raqeeb with the nostalgia and remembers the raqeeb for also loving his beloved, competing with him for the same love, sharing the same emotion and addressing him as a person who alone can understand his plight and passion.

See these stanzas:

'aa ki vaabasta hai us husn ki yaadeN tujhse
jisne is dil ko pariikhaana bana rakhaa thaa
jiski ulfat meN bhulaa rakhii thii dunia hamne
dahar ko dahar ka afsaana bana rakha thaa

tuu ne dekhi hai voh peshaani, voh ruKhsaar, voh honT
zindgi jinke tasavvur meN luTaa dii hamne
tujh pe uThi haiN voh kho'ii kho'ii saahir aankheN
tujhko maa'luum hai kyoN umr ganvaa dii hamne

It's indeed a beauiful nazm, a long one. And the complete
verse I have pasted HERE

आ कि वाबस्ता हैं उस हुस्न की यादें तुझ से
जिसने इस दिल को परीख़ाना बना रखा था
जिसकी उल्फ़त में भुला रखी थी दुनिया हमने
दहर को दहर का अफ़साना बना रखा था

तुझ से खेली हैं वह मह्बूब हवाएं जिन में
उसके मलबूस की अफ़सुरदा महक बाक़ी है
तुझ पे भी बरसा है उस बाम से मेह्ताब का नूर
जिस में बीती हुई रातों की कसक बाक़ी है

तू ने देखी है वह पेशानी वह रुख़सार वह होंट
ज़िन्दगी जिन के तसव्वुर में लुटा दी हमने
तुझ पे उठी हैं वह खोई खोई साहिर आंखें
तुझको मालूम है क्यों उम्र गंवा दी हमने

Read Faiz Ahmad Faiz' Ghazals and Nazms at BESTGHAZALS

Monday, July 24, 2006

On 100th Birth Anniversary Chandrashekhar Azad or Chandrashekhar Tiwari (Jhijhotiya), just a hero of Brahmin sub-caste?

چندر شیکھر آزاد ؛ صد سالہ تقریب پیدا‘یش عظیم مجاہد آزادی

It was 100th birth anniversary of legendary freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad. Few programmes were held, the TV channels hardly had time to remember a freedom fighter though.

Of course, they do remember the birthdays of Shahrukh, Aishwarya and Hrithik every year.

Just one event was held on a large scale that included seminar, discussion, competition for kids, speeches and other events spread over two days and that was organised by the Jhijhotiya Brahmin Samaj in my city.

The invitation card read Chandrashekhar Azad ie Chandrashekhar Tiwari. He was mentioned as Pride of Jijhotiya Brahmins. So we have fragmented ourselves so much in the last five decades that even a sub-caste wants its own icon.

I never knew Azad was Tiwari or even Jhijhotia Brahmin (not kanyakubja or saryupari or bharadwaj) Did you know? He was the pride of India, he has inspired all of us. I remember in my childhood Azad and Bhagat Singh's photographs in offices, shops and houses though its rare to find them now.

Azad had died just at the age of 25. And at that young age he had stirred the nation along with the likes of revolutionaries like Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaq and Bhagat Singh.

I am not angry with the organisation that owned him as hero of this sub-caste. I am sad that rest of us don't seem to remember him as much as we ought to do. At least, Rang De Basanti had seen full houses just a few months back, where is that crowd if our films really affect the youth.

And what about Azad. Most of the websites on the net give faulty information about him. The sites including wikipedia, I checked today, mention him as born in Unnao (UP) though he was born in a hut in a small village Bhabhra (Jhabua) in Madhya Pradesh (So at least MP can claim him!). The hut remains a hut, though it is protected.

For lesser mortals centenary celebrations are organised and Azad doesn't need to have a celebration to establish him, he is a martyr, a legend but the irony is that we have just forgotten everything.

Just the other day I heard someone that Subhash Chandra Bose was a Kayastha hero. Where wll this end? Isn't it all obscene. Rarely nations have got many heroes like the galaxy of heroes India has inherited.

So many heroes who can inspire generations and produce men and women of such character and mettle that can show way to world. Alas, we are just not interested.

It is more important to learn from our history because Azad, Bismil and Ashfaq were born in the era when communal forces were gaining ground and the British policy was succeding in dividing Hindus and Muslims.

But these freedom fighters (Bismil was an Arya Samaji and his affection for Ashfaq is well-knwon) were patriotic to the core, humane and didn't see Indians divided in Hindus and Muslims.

Unfortunately today when we should have learned a lot, we have forgotten everything and are hell-bent on killing our common composite culture.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dil ki bisat kya thi nigah-e-jamal meN....

dil ki bisaat kyaa thii nigaah-e-jamaal meN
ek aaiinaa thaa TuuT gayaa dekh bhaal meN
(nigaah-e-jamaal: eye of beauty)

sabr aa hii jaye, gar ho basar ek haal meN
imkaaN ek aur zulm hai qaid-e-muhaal meN

aazurda is qadar huuN saraab-e-khayaal meN
jii chahtaa hai tum bhii na aao khayaal meN
(saraab: mirage)

tang aa ke toRtaa huuN tilism-e-khayaal ko
ya mutmaiin karo ki tumhiin ho khayaal meN

umr-e-do-roza vaaqai khwaab-o-khayaal thii
kuchh khwaab meN guzar gayii, baaqii khayaal meN

Seemab Akbarabadi's above-mentioned ghazal is one of my favourites. The first couplet is considered one of the ten most popular ashaa'r in Urdu poetry in the last century. Aashiq Husain 'Seemab' was born in Agra in 1880.

He was employed with railway but due to his passion for poetry quit the job and returned to Agra and published/edited well-known journals.

He had set up a full-fledged college of poetry 'Qasrul Adab' and had hundreds of disciples. Seemab had written 284 books in his life. He died in 1951.

His son Ejaz and later grandson Iftikhar Imam Siddiqui carried the legacy. The well-known Urdu magazine Shayar (or Shair as the magazine prefers) is regularly published from Mumbai and has completed seventy years.

For reading in Urdu script. Click

Sahara launches Urdu edition from Patna

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara launched its (Urdu edition) newspaper from Patna. It's after a long time that a national daily of Urdu has gone to Bihar. Long back the Qaum Awaz, when it was expanding, had an edition from Patna.

The Rashtriya Sahara has been expanding fast and Urdu editions in Mumbai and Kolkata were launched recently. The Hindi edition of Sahara has been launched as well from Patna, that has a huge unexplored readership.

Meanwhile, read Josh Malihabadi's Nazm 'Aye Malihabad ke rangiin gulistaan alvida' in Urdu, English and Hindi at

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Saga of Professor Matuknath & Julie: An Amazing 'Teacher-student' love Affair

Prof Matuk Nath & his ladylove Julie
Prof. Matuknath, who taught Hindi in Patna, hasn't faded from TV screen ever since his disgrace that was beamed live into our drawing rooms [and the subsequent redemption] in the first week of July.

The 55-year-old professor and his relationship with his student-girlfriend Julie was lapped up by TV channels. First his wife beat up his girl friend Julie, who is barely 25, after she found them together.

The poor professor's face was blackened publicly and the entire nation watched it on most of the channels. He was taken to police station. Julie remained adamant that her love was divine and media morality shouldn't guide the lives of people. 

Then the stories of Matuknath and Julie forgetting the humiliation and going on a joyride in a rickshaw in Patna appeared and television channels showed it again. The anchors were surprised that they were not apologetic and hadn't run away, rather moving around freely. 

The reports were repeated every hour through out the day. The 'odd-couple' went to a Shopping Mall and that was also on all channels. Psychologists were called, panel interviews were held and impact of such a relationship on society was discussed. However, that was not the end of Matuknath's saga.

He returend to college after all humiation and surprise, the students had a sudden change of heart and they took him to the class on their shoulders. They claimed victory for his love. Stories about his NRI son criticising his father [his LIVE interview] were telecast meanwhile.

That was not the end as the class in BN College where Matuknath devoted the period to love and Julie was seen sitting among students, was aired on most channels. Special 30 min-1 hr long programmes were shown on Ajtak, Star, Sahara, ETV, NDTV, CNN IBN, India TV and all national television channels.

But then the college administration felt it was too risky to let Matuknath continue as professor. He was suspended due to 'infamy' he brought to the college. But then the lovebirds reached Lalu Prasad Yadav who blessed their love. This was also a NEWS.

Devoid of real issues the media groups boosted their TRPs focussing on this affair. The voyeuristic instincts of the viewers that have already grown an appetite for such stories thanks to soap opera news culture of these channels were catered well.

For a fortnight the love affair has been explored with all angles. The magazine Matuk and Julie brought out, its special issue on marriage and their views. But this doesn't seem to end. Some praise Julie for her courage and dedication to the Professor, rest are just enjoying a peek in other's life--humiliation, disgrace, broken family, allegations and counter allegations.

Now Julie-Matuknath fan clubs have sprung up and this just doesn't seem to end. They are now celebrities created by media. Isn't it enough? One wonders how long this coverage will continue. [PS: The issue got settled and the couple lives happily, even visiting other cities and lecturing youth on love]

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Zoroastrian Urdu poet's couplets condemning Mumbai blasts, terrorism

You may not have heard about many Urdu poets from the mico-minuscule Zoroastrians [Parsis] community in the country.

But we surely know that a Parsi doctor is now getting acclaim for his Urdu poetry. The poet's name is Dr Navroze Kotwal.

A Parsi Orthodontist, he not only learned Urdu out of passion but has also turned into a poet
of repute.

Dr Kotwal has recently penned a ghazal on Mumbai blasts. Read some of the couplets here:

nikle the kal jo sub'h ko karte hue salaam
lauTe na ghar ko aa hii gayii zindagii ki shaam

po.nhchaa ke zik kisi ko bhi kiyaa jo zer-e-daam
mansab huaa buland, yeh kaisa khayaal-e-Khaam

The couplets do reflect his command over language as well as his humanism. Parsis are a small minority in India but have made contribution in all fields. Now, we have a poet making his mark in Urdu literature. Perhaps, there may be Urdu poets from the community in Pakistan, but we don't know many Parsi poets in India.

The Afternoon Dispatch and Courier has printed the story and his photograph. Dr Kotwal reads Hamaari Zubaan paper that is published by the Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu Hind. Unfortunately the name of the correspondent who wrote this report is not mentioned as he too deserves to be congratulated.

[Photo and story courtesy:]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mumbai blasts & Maoists: Thousands living in camps in Chhattisgarh but its Naxalism, not Terrorism!

It's not only the terrorism from outside but the terror within that is equally fierce though we may choose to ignore it.

Thousands of tribals are living in camps in Southern Chhattisgarh in India's centre just because the state has failed to protect them.

A government-sponsored army of poor tribal villagers (known as Salwa Judum movement) who have been given guns are thrown in the front to fight the heavily armed Maoists.

The result: Hundreds of deaths and as many injuries, abductions like on Monday when 33 died, 150 were abducted by Naxals and 400 left injured. But Maoism appears fashionable. Our media lets it go as a peasants' or poor's revolution without bothering to check t he turh as the romance associated with Naxalbari and Charu Mazumdar seem to cloud their vision.

The reality is that long back Chhattisgarh police and BJP government of the state surrendered before the Naxals. The pet project of Congress leader Mahendra Karma, a bete noire of Ajit Jogi, led the Salwa Judam campaign and the BJP also supported it.

Now we have a situation in central India where camps like Errabore where thousands of tribal families live and no body outside Chhattisgarh gives a damn. KPS Gill was called as security expert but nothing happened.

It's not Punjab but a state with dense forests and Naxals are no less organised. There are numerous such camps in the state now. Just imagine the gravity of situation when 500 armed Maoists attack police, CRPF, SAF, police stations and entire towns.

This happens in South Chhattisgarh in Bastar and adjoining districts and North Chhattisgarh (Ambikapur, Sarguja etc). There is no law-and-order, it's total war in this mineral-rich state. Often they take control of whole towns but the reports are not mentioned.

How these hundreds come out. Sitting in metros the politicians hardly pay attention to the fact that we have a mini-Darfur in India's belly. Entire villages have been evacuated. At Konta, 15000 live in a camp fearing Naxal attack anytime.

At Errabore where hundreds of armed Red Terrorists attacked, the police was no where seen and 31 were left dead. The fate of 170-odd abducted is not known.

Until a decade back the politicians used to claim that they were not Naxals just Communists who venture into MP and Chhattisgarh from Garhchiroli (Maharashtra) and today we've almost lost Chhattisgarh.

A senior officer recently said privately that had it been a bordering state near China or Nepal it would have been impossible to keep Chhattisgarh from seceding. Isn't it horrifying?
But do English news channels (or even Hindi ones) care?

Killings of 50, 30, 15 villagers has almost become a routine every month apart from murders of police but these news rarely get the attention. Rather a suicide in Okhla or a Matuknath case from Bihar keep the media occupied.

For Rs 1500 odd a month these villagers are combating Naxals. What a shame that Indian state has left law-and-order in the hands of poor and hapless people. The children are not attending schools and hundreds of villages are ruined.

The fact-finding team of historian-writer Ramchandra Guha, BG Varghese, Harivansh (Prabhat Khabar, Ranchi), Nandini Sundar et al that had visited the state had in its independent citizen-initiative report said that the State had outsourced-law and even Salwa Judum activists were accused of gang rapes, arson and violence against innocent.

Meanwhile, the Red Corridor of Naxals now stretches from Terai (UP) to as far as Karnataka. However, the BJP state government has failed to control the Maoists and the Red Terror has only spread since it came to power.

This country is also bleeding from within but hardly an action plan is in place or even discussed for this Maoist crisis that has acquired such a serious dimension. When will Naxalites would be termed as terrorists?

Is their violence is justified (media-sanctioned) because they draw inspiration from Mao? And will the BJP's allied organisations who intensifty their rhetoric about terrorism ever think of taking the Naxals head-on in Chhattisgarh?

Such insurgency couldn't have been ignored in any other country, surely and ultra-leftists/Red Militants would surely have been called terrorists in the press of any other country except us.
Photo: That's the Army supposed to fight Maoist guerillas
Citizen initiative report and findings:
War in Tribal Heartland

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Shervani gharara batua paandaan to Muslim couple, lehnga kataar mukut to Hindu couple

They were serving life term in prison and their children in the outside world attained marriageable age. The marriages were fixed in jail.

Like son of a prisoner married to daughter of another prisoner so that none of the children would ever have to bear the stigma of being called convict's son or daughter as both husband and wife would be son (or daughter) of jail inmates.

But Haroon Khan couldn't have ever imagined attending his daughter Zeenat's marriage and the jail authorities decided to hold the wedding on jail premises so that he and other prisoners like him could participate in it.

Zeenat was married to Javed (son of another convict lodged in jail ) and the entire jail administration, minister and bureaucrats were all present to bless them. The employees of jail decorated the prison and were like baraat.

Similarly, Sarita's marriage was solemnised with Kishor, both also children of convicts. Qazi came for nikaah while pundit conducted the marriage of the Hindu couple. Many other couples were also married. All of them had their fathers in jail and they couldn't have imagined that the confines would turn into a place of celebration for the entire family.

Interestingly, apart from basic household goods like utensils, kitchenware and television set the Hindu and Muslim couple got gifts as per their tradition from government. Batua, Paandaan, Gharaara, Shalwar Suits to Muslim couples and Mukut, Kataar, Saari, Tika to Hindus.

The feast was also held and the band played tunes. It was such an unbelievable event that even after years I would feel genuinely happy recalling the event.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Jazbi's legendary Nazm in Hindi/Roman scripts

अपनी सोई हुई दुनिया को जगा लूं तो चलूं
अपने ग़मख़ाने में एक धूम मचा लूं तो चलूं
और एक जाम-ए-मए तल्ख़ चढ़ा लूं तो चलूं
अभी चलता हूं ज़रा ख़ुद को संभालूं तो चलूं

जाने कब पी थी अभी तक है मए-ग़म का ख़ुमार
धुंधला धुंधला सा नज़र आता है जहाने बेदार
आंधियां चल्ती हैं दुनिया हुई जाती है ग़ुबार
आंख तो मल लूं, ज़रा होश में आ लूं तो चलूं

वो मेरा सहर वो एजाज़ कहां है लाना
मेरी खोई हुई आवाज़ कहां है लाना
मेरा टूटा हुआ साज़ कहां है लाना
एक ज़रा गीत भी इस साज़ पे गा लूं तो चलूं

मैं थका हारा था इतने में जो आए बादल
किसी मतवाले ने चुपके से बढ़ा दी बोतल
उफ़ वह रंगीं पुर-असरार ख़यालों के महल
ऐसे दो चार महल और बना लूं तो चलूं

मेरी आंखों में अभी तक है मोहब्बत का ग़ुरूर
मेरे होंटों को अभी तक है सदाक़त का ग़ुरूर
मेरे माथे पे अभी तक है शराफ़त का ग़ुरूर
ऐसे वहमों से ख़ुद को निकालूं तो चलूं

मुईन अह्सन जज़्बी (मशहूर नज़्म 'मौत')

apni soii hui duniaa ko jagaa luuN to chaluuN
apne GhamKhane meN ek dhuum machaa lunn to chaluuN
aur ek jaam-e-ma’e talKh chaRha luuN to chaluuN
abhi chaltaa huuN zara khud ko sambhaaluuN to chaluuN

jaane kab pii thii abhi tak hai Gham-e-ma’e ka Khumaar
dhundhlaa dhundhlaa sa nazar aata hai jahaan-e-bedaar
aaNdhiyaaN chaltii haiN duniyaa huii jaati hai Ghubaar
aaNkh to mal luuN zara hosh meN aa luuN to chaluuN

voh meraa sahar voh ejaaz kahaaN hai laana
merii khoii huii aavaaz kahaaN hai laana
voh mera TuuTaa hua saaz kahaaN hai laana
ek zaraa giit bhi is saaz pe gaa luuN to chaluuN

maiN thakaa haaraa tha itne meN jo aaye baadal
kisii matvaale ne chupke se baRhaa di botal
uf voh rangiiN pur-asraar khayaaloN ke mahal
aise do-chaar aur mahal bana luuN to chaluuN

merii aaNkhoN meN abhi tak hai mohabbat ka ghuruur
mere honToN ko abhii tak hai sadaaqat kar ghuruur
mere maathe pe abhii tak hai sharaafat ka ghuruur
aise vahmoN se Khud ko nikaaluuN to chaluuN

Trying to write Hindi/devanagri script. Looks fine on my computer but
how many are able to see it clearly?
That's what worries me. The nazm in Urdu script is available on

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Husband puts wife at stake in gambling

Rafaqat Husain, a young man in Moradabad, put his wife on stake during a gambling session. He was losing for hours and his 'friends' asked him to dare put his wife. Rafaqat didn't seem to mind at all.

Rafaqat lost his wife Mahjabin. His 'friends' were not the one to let the opportunity go and like modern Kauravas went to his house to take away the 'property' that had just won. The incident occurred recently.

However, the village elders intervened and a panchayat meeting was called and it was decided that though Rafaqat had himself lost his wife, he should retain his wife.

'He has sinned and God would Himself decide his fate and punish him', opined the panchayat.
Even if he had lost his wife, the chutzpah of the youths who came to drag away his wife is amazing.

For a change though, a panchayat in Western UP gave a sane judgment. The manner in which men deem wife as their property hasn't changed and the moral of the story of Pandavas and Mahabharata has little affect on us.

The Last Legend: Famous Urdu poet Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi passes away

I tuned in to the BBC urdu service yesterday morning and heard the news 'legendary Urdu poet Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi is no more'.

kaun kahtaa hai ki maut aaii to mar jaauuNgaa
maiN to daryaa huuN samandar meN utar jaauuNga


You can listen this ghazal in Qasmi's own voice HERE

He was the last of the legends of Urdu literature who were born in the first quarter of the last century. I don't think any such era in any other language would have seen such a galaxy of poets and authors who were so popular with masses.

Literature was no longer confined to a certain class then. Majaz, Faiz, Jazbi, Makhdum, Akhtarul Iman, Sardar Jafri, Kaifi, Majrooh, Jaanisaar and scores of others had appeared on the scene in the 30s. Poets like Josh, Firaq and Jigar were a toast of the nation.

The classical masters like Seemab, Yagana Changezi, Safi Lucknowi, Hasrat Mohani, Jamil Mazhari and Asghar were all at their creative best. And Allama Iqbal's poetry echoed everywhere.

Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi (1916-2006) was almost 90 and had a creative life of seven decades. Intezaar Husain rightly said, 'He was the last of the great personalities that emerged during Progressive Writers' Movement and now there is no one in the Urdu world anywhere near his stature'.

'Ehtaraam, ehtaraam, ehtaraam...Ahmed Nadim Qasmi bazm meN tashriif laa rahe hain' that was how Fikr Taunsvi had once described his personality.

maiN kab se gosh-bar-aavaaz huuN pukaaro bhii
zamiiN pe sitaare kabhii utaaro bhii

meri Ghayyuur umangoN shabaab faani hai
Ghuruur-e-ishq ka deriina khel haaro bhii
bhatak rahaa hai dhundhalkoN meN karvaan-e-khayaal
bas ab Khudaa ke liye kakuleN saNvaroo bhii

Read Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi's ghazal in THREE SCRIPTS AT BESTGHAZALS

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Mumbai blasts & our role

Resilience, spirit of Mumbai-wallas and the never-say-die attitude: phrases one hears so much after such catastrophes. Of course, residents of this bustling metropolis have an attitude that distinguishes them from rest of the cities.

All of us salute Mumbai for its resilience. But what next? The blasts keep happening and we will keep lauding the spirit! Is that all? Picking the pieces after a tragedy and seeing the silverlining shouldn't become the norm for us.

After all, Mumbai is clearly on target. We forget too easily. The blasts in Delhi were not too long ago. Clearly, terror has infilterated Mumbai deeply. The extent of disaster and the planning has been shocking and no less in magnitude than Madrid bombing or other major terrorist attacks across the world.

Rather, 11/7 suggests that terrorists are getting bolder and we need to take them headon. One thing is clear we have to be prepared and watchful. The police and citizens will have to coordinate and the ordinary people will have to help law-enforcers in all possible ways.

This is through providing intelligence inputs to the security agencies and not just put the onus on police. It is a city of 15 million and if most of them keep their eyes and ears open, such synchronised terror attacks in so many trains across the city, can be warded off.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Irfan Siddiqui and his selected couplets

'Shama-e-tanha ki tarah, subah ke taare jaise/ Shahar meN ek hi do honge hamaare jaise'--Irafan Siddiqui (1939-2004) was probably the most important poetic voice to emerge from Uttar Pradesh in the last few decades.

It was only in late 80s that he got pan-Indian popularity and surprisingly was more popular in Pakistan. He never participated in 'mushairas' and kept aloof. It was not until that Naiyar Masud (prose) and Shamsur Rahman Faruqui (critic) formed a close association with him that this unique poet was re-discovered by Urdu world.

He had avid interest in Sanskrit and had translated Kali Das' works Malvika Agnimitr and Rupsingar in Urdu.

raat ko jiit to saktaa nahiin lekin yeh chiraaGh
kam se kam rat ka nuqsaan boh't kartaa hai
lapaT sii daagh-e-kohon ki taraf se aatii hai
jab ek hawaa tere tan ki taraf se aatii hai
kahiiN Kharaaba-e-jaaN ke makiiN nahiiN jaate
daraKht chhoR ke apnii zamiiN nahiin jaate
usko rahtaa hai hamesha meri vahshat ka khayaal
mere gum-gashta GhazaaloN ka pataa chaahti hai
maiN ne itnaa use chaaha hai ki woh jaan-e-muraad
Khud ko zanjiir-e-mohabbat se riha chaahtii hai
magar giraft meN aata nahiin badan uska
Khayaal Dhunndhtaa rahta hai iste'aara koii
inheN diivaar-e-jaaN hii se ulajhne do ki vahshi haiN
agar chheRa to diivar-e-jahaaN mismaar kar denge
tujhko paa kar bhii terii hi talab siine meN rakhta huN
tamasha karke maiN kashkol ganjiine meN rakhta huN
tishna rakha hai na sarshaar kiya hai usne
maiN ne puchha hai to iqraar kiya hai usne

[To read his ghazal on Gujarat riots 'haq fateh-yaab mere khuda kyoN nahiiN hua...' click]

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jagannath Azad's verse 'Bharat ke MusalmaaN'

In the aftermath of partition, when Muslims who had remained in India were feeling increasingly insecure, Urdu poet Jagannath Azad (son of renowned poet Tilok Chand Mahroom) had written this legendary Nazm.

In those turbulent days, Azad's voice of love and sanity had caught everybody's attention. He had seen the horrors of partition but this had strengthened his belief in humanity even more. Read this Nazm:

Bharat ke MusalmaaN

is daur meN tuu kyoN hai hiraasaaN aur pareshaaN
kya baat hai kyoN hai mutazalzal tera iimaN
daanishkada-e-dahar ki aye shama-e-farozaaN
Aye matla'-e-teziib ke khurshiid-e-darakhshaaN
Bharat ke MusalmaN

bharat ka farzand hai begaana nahiiN hai
yeh des tera ghar hai tuu is ghar ka makiiN hai
taabinda tere nuur se is ghar kii jabiiN hai
kis vaste afsurda-o-dilgiir-o-haziiN hai
Bharat ke MusalmaN

meraa hi nahiiN hai yeh gulistaan hai teraa bhi
har saro gul-o-lala-o-riihaaN hai teraa bhi
is Khhak ka har zarra-e-tabaaN hai teraa bhi
is bahar ka har gauhar-e-darakhshaan hai teraa bhi
daaman meN uTha le ye sabhi gauhar-e-darakhshaan
Bharat ke MusalmaN

mahaul ho to taza hawa tujh ko gavaara
darkaar hai tahziib ko phir teraa sahaara
kar aaj naye rang se dunia ka nazaara
chamkega phir ek baar tere bakht ka taara
ho jayegi taariikii-e-mahaul gurezaaN
Bharat ke musalmaN

gulzaar-e-tamanna ka nikharna bhi yahiin hai
daman-e-gul-e-maqsuud se bharna bhi yahiin hai
har mushkil-o-aasaan se guzarna bhi yahiin hai
jiina bhi yahiin hai marnaa bhi yahiin hai
kyoN manzil se bhatak jaaye woh insaaN
Bharat ke musalmaN......

Its a long poem but I reproduced some stanzas to pay
homage to a great poet. Azad died this month two years ago
after battling with cancer for long. He was 86.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Brijnarayan Chakbast's classic Urdu ghazal 'Zindagi kya hai..'

As a child some of the couplets I was too familiar with because I had heard elders recite them regularly were of Pt Brijanaryan Chakbast, whose name was taken very respectfully in Urdu-speaking houses.

He belonged to a Kashmiri Brahmin family that had settled in Faizabad. He spent most of his life in Lucknow, where he had a thriving practice of law. He was associated with Home Rule movement. Chakbast lays emphasis on character building.

A contemporary of great poet Allama Iqbal, Chakbast is one of the most important poets on the classical Urdu literary firmament. The following ghazal is quite long and I am reproducing a few couplets:

dard-e-dil paas-e-wafa jazba-e-iimaaN honaa
hai yahi aadmiyat aur yahii insaaN honaa

zindgi kyaa hai, anaasir meN zahuur-e-tartiib
mau kyaa hai, inhiiN ijzaa ka pariishaan honaa

sar meN saudaa na rahaa paaoN meN beRi na rahii
merii taqdiir meN thaa be-sar-o-saamaaN honaa

safha-e-dahar meN meher-e-yad-e-qudrat samjho
phool ka Khaak ke tuude se numaayaN honaa

kal bhii woh kal hai jo hai farda-e-qayaamat zaahid
aur phir uske liye aaj pareshaaN honaa

gul ko paamaal na kar laa'l-o-gohar ke maalik
hai ise turra-e-dastaar-e-ghariibaN honaa

hai meraa zabt-e-junuuN josh-e-junuuN se baRh kar
nang hai mere liye chaak girebaaN honaa

The ghazal in Urdu script is available at
Another ghazal:

bahaar aaii taraqqi par hai sauda dam-ba-dam meraa
baRhaa jaata hai Khud zanjiir kii jaanib qadam meraa

likaa ye daavar-e-mahshar ne merii fard-e-asiyaaN par
ye woh banda hai jispe naaz kartaa hai karam meraa

rahii hai ek tark-e-aarzuu ki aarzuu baaqi
isii par Khatm hai afsaana-e-dard-o-alam meraa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Monk starves to death: Is it suicide?

An elderly Jain monk killed himself of starvation in Bhind in Central India and thousands gathered from cities nearby and other states to attend the 'great event'.

After he died, the body was taken around in a decorated vehicle around the town and it was near-celebration. The monk Kshamasgar had stopped taking food earlier and then quit water also.

As news spread, the people kept pouring in. Had it been an ordinary person sitting on hunger strike police would have taken him away, booked and forced him to eat because it is almost a suicide.

However, the debate over this Jain tradition 'santhara' continues. It is also known as Sallekhana. Often elderly females who become 'useless' to family are urged by family members to go for that--the Tehelka had done a story on that in extreme detail.

However, the tradition continues for thousands of years in India. Jains being the rich merchants and due to their clout in media and politics no body speaks on this practice. The Women Commissions often speak on the issue when females do it or girls are turned Jain sadhvis at the age of 8 or 10 and have to live a full life of asceticism.

But none dares speak. After VHP is dominated by Jains. While in most communities and small sects, at least a couple of voices of dissent are heard about practices, not a single voice from within Jains is heard on the issue.

While Hinduism got rid of Sati and even worshipping in existing Sati temples is now made a crime, the Jain community continues such practices and there is support for Sallekhana among the adherents

Monday, July 03, 2006

Indian government, media's obsession with America, Britan: World has 218 more countries other than US and UK

Israel attacked Palestinian Prime Minister's office and damaged it. The airstrikes are getting fiernce. In Gaza buildings, power stations, bridges were destroyed.

Strangely, this action which Israel calls 'collective punishment' has failed to attract our attention in India.

Indian government and media seem detached. What I am worried is that newspapers are not just concerned, they may take sides, but they should report.

Its a big humanitarian crisis for Palestinians. Unfortunately in India, we have seen how during the cold war everything wrong was attributed to CIA and US while there could be nothing wrong about Russia [USSR] then.

In those days, the journalists and writers who went to Russia and returned would write romantic details about the country like a girl who held spade or worked in factory and in the evening went for a date and during the night read literature--epitome of civilised society.

Similarly, once Israel was eternal enemy for us. So much that we didn't play sports with them. Remember how it was only after Rajiv Gandhi's intervention that we could play Israel in the Davis Cup. As long as Yasser Arafat was there he bonhomie remained though since Narsimha Rao's times we got to see Palestine getting off our national consciousness.

Now that everybody in India's middle and upper-middle class have found their Eldorado in US and software revolution has eclipsed all, politics, morality, international affairs, we give a damn to all. We just don't care what happens in the world except US and to an extent UK.

Just to remind that there are 220 countries in this word!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Na kisii ke dil ke nuur huuN...Not Bahadur Shah Zafar's ghazal

It is surprising how the kisii ki aaNkh ka nuur often mentioned as Bahadur Shah Zafar's ghazal. I think it is because the meloncholic mood of this ghazal is similar to a popular ghazal by Zafar and it does reflect the similar pain which poet-King who was exiled might have undergone.

Also, various versions of these ghazals got in circulation. Probably for their convenience some singers even mixed these ghazals and several forms of this ghazal with changes in order and sequence of words came in circulation.

Muztar Khairabadi (1865-1927) was born in Khairabad in 1965. His mother Saeedunnisaa was a poet who gave him initial 'islaah'. Interestingly Muztar took 'islaah' from Amir Meenai but still chose the style of Dagh Dehlvi. He spent his life in Tonk where he was sessions judge.

He is considered a giant among Urdu poets. His son Jaan Nisaar Akhtar and grandson Javed carry the legacy. Scores of his couplets are spread across Urdu world and used in daily conversation.

Muztar ki qaadirul kalaami ka aalam tha ki muqaddame ka faisal filbadih manzuum sunaa dete the ie entire verdict of case in poetry, extempore. It is well-known that once Dagh had mistakenly recited Muztar's ghazal that was in the same style at a mushaira because he probably got confused.

The ghazal of Muztar Khairabadi:

na kisii ki aaNkh ka nuur hai, na kisii ke dil ka qaraar huuN
jo kisii ke kaam na aa sake maiN woh musht-e-ghubaar huuN

meraa rang ruup bigaR gayaa mera baKht mujhse bichhaR gayaa
jo chaman KhizaaN se ujaR gayaa maiN usii kii fasl-e-bahaar huuN

pa'i fatiha koii aaye kyuun, koi chaar phuul chaRhaaye kyuuN
koi shamaa la ke jalaaye kyuuN, ki maiN bekasii ka mazaar huuN

na maiN muztar unka habiib huuN, na maiN muztar unka raqiib huun
jo palaT gayaa woh nasiib huun, jo ujaR gayaa woh dayaar huuN

Muztar Khairabadi

Iroically even the maqtaa has been tampered with and people put Zafar after playing with it. Here I have posted only four couplets. For reading complete ghazal in Urdu script. Click at