Monday, December 31, 2007

Selected couplets of Mirza Ghalib: Legendary Urdu poet's most quoted Urdu 'ashaar'


Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, one of the greatest poets of India, sub-continent and the world, was born on December 27, 1797. Here is a selection of 25 couplets of Ghalib. People are entitled to their own preferences and there are hundreds of other 'ashaar' that can be termed the best of Ghalib's couplets.


meherbaaN hoke bulaa lo mujhe chaaho jis waqt
maiN gayaa waqt nahiiN huuN ki phir aa bhii na sakuuN

jaate hue kahte ho qayaamat ko milenge
kyaa Khuub, qayaamat ka hai goyaa koii din aur

ragoN meN dauDte phirne ke ham nahiiN qaayal
jab aaNkh hii se na Tapkaa to phir lahuu kyaa hai

kii mere qatl ke baad usne jafaa se toba
haae us zuud-pashemaaN ka pashemaaN honaa


koii mere dil se poochhe tere tiir-e-niimkash ko
yah khalish kahaan se hotii jo jigar ke paar hotaa

bandgii meN bhii voh aazadah-o-khudbiiN haiN ki ham
ulTe phir aaye dar-e-kaaba agar waa na huaa

zindagii yuuN bhii guzar hii jaatii
kyuuN teraa raahguzar yaad aayaa

pakDe jaate haiN farishtoN ke likhe par naahaq
aadmii koii hamaaraa dam-e-tahriir bhii thaa

zikr us parii-vash ka aur phir bayaaN apnaa
ban gayaa raqiib aakhir, thaa jo raazdaaN apnaa


mohabbat meN nahiiN hai farq jiine aur marne kaa
usii ko dekh kar jiite haiN jis kaafir pe dam nikle


hamne maanaa ki taGaaful na karoge lekin
Khaak ho jaayenge ham tumko Khabar hone tak

maiN ne chaahaa thaa ki andoh-e-wafa se chhuuTuuN
voh sitamgar mere marne pe bhii raazii na huaa

aataa hai daaG-e-hasrat-e-dil kaa shumaar yaad
mujh se mere gunah ka hisaab aye Khudaa na maang

hai pare sarhad-e-adraak se apnaa masjuud
qible ko ahle nazar qibla-numa kahte haiN

niiNd uskii hai dimaaG uskaa hai raateN uskii haiN
terii zulfeN jiske baazuu par pareshaaN ho gayiiN

ranj se Khuugar huaa insaaN to miT jaataa hai ranj
mushkileN mujh par paDiiN itnii ki aasaaN ho gayiiN

is saadgii pe kaun na mar jaaye aye Khudaa
laDte haiN aur haath meN talwaar bhii nahiiN

jab maikada chhuTaa to phir ab kyaa jagah kii qaid
masjid ho, madarsa ho, koii Khaanqaah ho

mai se Garz-e-nishaat hai kis ruu-siyaah ko
ek guuna be-Khudii mujhe din raat chahiye

zindagii apnii jab is shakl se guzrii Ghaalib
ham bhii kyaa yaad karenge kii Khudaa rakhte the

dekhnaa taqdiir kii lazzat ki jo usne kahaa
maiN ne yah jaanaa ki goyaa yah bhii mere dil meN hai

apnii galii meN mujhko na kar dafan baad-e-qatl
mere pate se Khalq ko kyuuN teraa ghar mile


siikhe haiN mahrukhoN ke liye ham musavvarii
taqriib kuchh to bahar-mulaaqaat chaahiye

(musavvari=art, painting)

unke dekhe se jo aa jaatii hai muNh par raunaq
woh samajhte hai ki biimaar kaa haal achchhaa hai

chand tasviir-e-butaaN chand hasiinoN ke khutuut
baad marne ke mere ghar se yah saamaaN niklaa

Read five selected Ghazals of Mirza Ghalib in Urdu, Hindi [devanagri] and Roman English scripts at Best Ghazals.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Azamgarh Ijtima: That's the photo of India, not Bangladesh


The photo on the left shows a train on its way to Azamgarh [Uttar Pradesh].
The nondescript Sherwan village near Sarai Meer in Azamgarh district is hosting an Aalami Tablighi Ijtima.
Special trains have been run, cell phone towers installed, hundreds of makeshift eateries set up for the grand gathering.

Dispensaries have already been opened for the devout who will arrive here for the congregation. Here, you can see, how participants are standing on the space on either side of the railway engine.

Surely, the administration should have anticipated the arrival of the large number of people. The railway could have commissioned special trains and in process it would have earned money as well.
Till now we had seen photos of passengers sitting atop trains and hanging by the door of the compartments in Bangladesh where the Biswa Ijtema is held. This sort of overcrowding is not commonly seen in India.

However, the trains on way to Azamgarh present a similar picture. The Tablighi Jamat is holding the meet which will purely be dedicated to self-improvement in the light of Islamic teachings. The Jamat's congregations are totally non-political.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated: Whither Pakistan?

One of the most charismatic leaders of our times, Benazir Bhutto was killed in a terrorist attack in Rawalpindi in Pakistan on Thursday.

Few leaders evoke the sort of admiration that Benazir got from across the world. She is often blamed for squandering her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's legacy.

Also, despite being Prime Minister of Pakistan, she failed to fulfil the expectations during her stints, Benazir still was a people's leader and a champion of democracy.

The charges of corruption against her husband Asif Zardari had tarnished her image. But the Daughter of the East was loved outside her country as well.

She was a courageous woman, no doubt and after several years in exile came back to her country despite the threats to her life.

Ironically she was assassinated at the same place in Rawalpindi where the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan was killed. Truly this is a defining moment in the history of Pakistan.

The Pakistan state, its leaders and its citizens have to introspect of what future course they want their country to take. With the cult of fidayeen flourishing the Islamic state of Pakistan and suicide attacks becoming the order of the day, Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous places in the world.

With her politics, some agreed and others didn't. But such a tragic death! In her interview to Karan Thapar she had said that there was a major battle between the moderates and the extremists going on in Pakistan and that's why she came back. Sadly, she is no more.

Along with her 30 others died in the attack. Just like Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated when he had appeared to have become more mature, Benazir was also assassinated when she seemed to have learnt from her mistakes and was back to her homeland as a crusader for democracy.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Zakir Naik's comments on Battle of Karbala and Yazid


The speech of Dr Zakir Naik during the Aman Conference organised by Islamic Research Foundation in Mumbai has truly been shocking. Regarding his opinion on the battle of Karbala, as 'just another fight for attaining political clout', I am not as astonished as I am with the use of the word 'Raziallah Anhu' with the name of Yazid.

As we all know, the term 'Raziallah anhu' ie RH (or often Raziallahtala anahu) is used as suffix mostly with the name of either the companions of Prophet Muhammad or other leading figures in Islamic history as a mark of respect. It means, one whom God is pleased with.

Though some scholars of a bit of standing here and there have held these views on the battle of Karbala, it is the use of this suffix (RH) with Yazid's name which is absolutely unacceptable to majority of Muslims. I have never listened to Zakir Naik's speeches for long. But this comment will surely damage his reputation.

It is unthinkable to eulogize and glorify Yazid. Dozens of Muslim organisations and scholars have condemned the statement. Says Hafiz Syed Tahir Ali, 'the battle between Hazrat Imam Husain and Yazid was a fight between good and evil'.

Muslim leaders have questioned how a person like Yazid, who was responsible for the brutal killings of the grandson of Prophet and his family & companions, and the person who led the destruction at Medinah, could be held in such a high esteem by Naik.

Such thinking has nothing to do with Shia-Sunni difference as non-Muslims also take inspiration from the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Husain. I remember once a guy was expressing similar sentiments about Yazid in a drawing room conversation and all of us were outraged(of course, everybody was a Sunni there).

He was trying to justify the tyrant's conduct, when Comrade Khalid Saifuddin, who wanted to end the discussion, told the guy, "if you are such a staunch supporter of Yazid why don't you name your son after him". That silenced him. [Zakir Naik is president of Islamic Research Foundation that owns the Peace TV Network]
Post-script:
A year after I wrote this post, Zakir Naik is again in the midst of a controversy. Clerics in several Cities in UP are up in arms against him. Also, a fatwa has been issued by a Lucknow mufti against him.
Naik said that one should seek help from Allah alone, not even the Prophet (PBUH). A few other statements were also responsible for this wave of anger against him. Naik says that there is a conspiracy against him.
Though he is an oustanding speaker with a strong memory, Muslims of Indian sub-continent often feel pride when he compares religions and subtly puts the other religions down. Islam is the second biggest faith in the world in terms of believers and the fastest growing religion.
We have no reason to be insecure or have any sort of compex that we need a fluent English speaking guy to rundown others. Non-Muslims see arrogance in his style. He can be a bit more humble and appreciative of other faiths and also traditions like the Sufi and Islamic sects while Muftis can also keep their cool and contain the habit of issuing fatwas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eid preparations in India: Photos of Muslim youths preparing for the festival


Eidul Adha or Eidul Azha* [Baqrid, as we call in sub-continent] will be celebrated just a few days from now.

The photographs of bakras [goats] are appearing in newspapers. Later we will see photos of Muslims offering prayer on the Id day.

I found two nice photos in the context of Iduzzuha. The first is photo of a youth trying out his cap (topi).

He looks in the mirror to check if the skullcap fits perfectly and looks good on him. In another photograph, there is a girl who is looking at a necklace in a shop.


Markets are abuzz as shoppers are out on the streets, ahead of the festival.

I am sure you will also be preparing for the day. Non-Muslims would also go to their friends' places and wish them.

Remember, on Id, you don't need an invitation. It is considered improper. You are supposed to go and wish them, and of course have 'siwain' or other delicacies.

In case you eat non-vegetarian food, you will be waiting for the day eagerly. I am quite sure about it.

As far as spelling confusion about Eid, I wrote a post on this blog. It is Eiduz Zuha or Eidul Azha  Do read it HERE.

Winning Brass Crescent Award


I am quite far away from my place, a sort of hibernation, and couldn't access net also when a friend rang me up and said that this blog (An Indian Muslim's Blog: By Indscribe) had won the award in the category of 'Best South/South East Asian blog'.


Frankly, I thought I had little chance. I am thankful to all of you, friends and co-bloggers, who have written mails to me, congratulated and also voted for this blog. Over the last couple of years I did spend quite a lot of energy on this blog even when I was occupied elsewhere.


It is heartening to see IndianMuslims.in, emerging as winner in the category of Best Group Blog. All the contributors to the blog, especially Mohib , who founded it and has been a driving force behind it, have reason to be delighted. Thanks to IndianMuslims.info, the pioneering website of Indian Muslims, which published the news of the nomination and also the results. Of course, Shukria is due to Brass Crescent. A blogger loves nothing more than recognition in blogosphere and more hits.

The list of winners in all the categories of the Fourth Brass Crescent Awards is available at their site.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Immortal Couplets of Moin Ahsan Jazbi: Famed Urdu Poet's Life and Poetry

Moin Ashan Jazbi
Renowned Urdu poet late Moin Ahsan Jazbi never cared for fame or critics' attention.

Though his Nazms and Ghazals were more popular than many of the well-known poets, he preferred to remain in the background. Jazbi had a tough life, especially because of stepmothers' harsh treatment.

Jazbi suffered financial problems and remained unemployed for long. A reflection of these frustrations, as well as the lack of love [which he mentions openly in interviews, publicly and in his poetry] are visible clearly in his couplets.

It was after he got a job in AMU that he got financial security. He wrote less than his contemporaries but his couplets have more poetry and lyricism, as well as the poetic strength to survive time. Once he settled in life, he took great care of his stepmother, who had made life hell for him in his childhood.

Moin Ahsan Jazbi was born in 1912. A close of friend of Asrar Ul Haq 'Majaz' Lakhnawi, he initially kept 'Malaal' as his pen name but later changed it to Jazbi. Among the last of the poets of Progressive Writers' Movement, along with Wamiq Jaunpuri, he nurtured young talent till his old age.

Jazbi He passed away in 2005. Read Moin Ahsan Jazbi's eight immortal couplets here. In order to read them in Urdu script and Devanagri Hindi, CLICK HERE:

na aaye maut Khudaayaa tabah-haalii meN
yah naam hogaa Gham-e-rozgaar sah na sakaa

tere karam kii bhiik le aisaa haqiir Gham nahiiN
jaa O sitam-sh'aar jaa, aarzuu-e-karam nahiiN

tuu giraa degii mujhe apnii nazar se varnaa
tere qadmoN pe to sajdaa bhii ravaa hai mujhko

ho na ho dil ko tere husn se kuchh nisbat hai
jab uThaa dard to kyuuN maiN ne tujhe yaad kiyaa

jisko kahte haiN mohabbat jisko kahte haiN Khuluus
jhopDoN meN ho to ho, puKhtaa makaanoN meN nahiiN

terii nazar meN rah ek raaz ban gayaa thaa
gir kar terii nazar se afsaanaa ho gayaa maiN

aah kii dil ne na phir shikva-e-bedaad kiyaa
jab se sharmiilii nigaahoN ne kuchh irshaad kiyaa

daastaan-e-shab-Gham qissa tuulaanii hai
muKhtasar yah hai ki tuu ne mujhe barbaad kiyaa

Past posts on Jazbi:
1. Jazbi's famous nazm 'Maut' in Roman and Devanagari scripts
2. Obituary and the circumstances when he wrote Maut
3. Read his ghazals, couplets and poetry in Urdu, Roman and Devanagari scrips AT THIS LINK

Monday, December 10, 2007

Culture fest begins with Milad & Hari Katha: Remembering Tansen, India's great Musician

Legendary musician, Tansen, is considered the greatest singer-musician ever born in India.

One of the nau-ratnas (nine jewels) in the court of Emperor Akbar, Tansen was born around 1505 AD near Gwalior.

Though a Hindu by birth, the 'Sangeet Samrat' was also a believer in Islam. He was a disciple of Sufi Saint Sheikh Muhammad Ghaus, and after his death the great musician was buried near his spiritual master's mazaar.

The annual Tansen Cultural Festival started in Gwalior recently. The four day long event was inaugurated with Hari Katha, Milad and recital of verses from Holy Quran, as per the age-old tradition.

The bhajan 'Ek raaii ke hazaar hisse, us mein bhii Khudaa basey' was sung. After Naat Sharif and Qawwali, the 'chaadar' was ceremonially brought to the Mazaar of Sufi Saint Muhammad Ghaus. With 'chaadar-poshi' on Miyan Tansen's mazaar, the function started.

Tansen's real name was Ramtanu Pandey. He learnt music under the tutelage of Saint Hari Das, also a Bhakti Sant. (The painting above shows him in the company of his guru Sant Hari Das and the Emperor Akbar). It is commonly believed that this singer-instrumentalist could bring rains with Raga Megha Malhar and candles would light immediately when he started singing the Deepak Raga.

Even till the early part of 20th century, it said that were a couple of exponents who could turn a a place warmer with the raga. Truly Tansen's Ragas laid the foundation of Classical Hindustani music and all the mausiqui (sangeet) gharanas of India trace their linkage to him. Tansen is the most important person in creating the genre of classical North Indian music. Abul Fazl called him the greatest musician since Bharat, the son of King Dhushyant and Shakuntala.

Legend has it that his Pir Ghaus had placed a drop of paan juice from his mouth on the child Tannu's tongue. And the boy after receiving the blessing went on to become be the Emperor of music.

Five centuries have elapsed but the tamarind tree (Imli) under the shade of which he practiced music, still stands though it has dried down and there were plans to cut it recently, which met resistance.

KL Saigal came to Gwalior and tasted the leaves of the tree. Tansen popularised rubab. He created dhrupad style of Hindustani vocal music and invented ragas like Miyan ki Tori, Mian ki Malhar and raga darbari. This great composer musician died in 1589. His tomb is in Gwalior and every year the Sangeet Samaroh is held in his memory. (The photo of Tansen's tomb on the left. The tomb of Mohammad Ghous is close to it)

Tansen had both Hindu and Muslim wives. In Gwalior court, the legendary Queen Mrignayani got friendly to him. Also, there are tales about his affair with Akbar's daughter Mehrunnisa. In popular folklore Baiju Bawra is considered another musician of the era who challenged Tansen and they had a musical duel in the court of Akbar.

Listen to some of Tansen's ragas sung by modern musicians.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Justifying extra-judicial encouters, Sohrabuddin's killing: The Law of Jungle?

'This man has no regard for constitution, how can he be allowed to take oath as head of a state, if he wins the election', a senior police official told me the other day.

I didn't want to discuss Gujarat with him but the officer who generally avoids political discussions was genuinely concerned.

He was also worried about the way a politician can simply disregard the constitution, openly declare his contempt for the law and still get away without even censure from top institutions of the nation including the Election.

Other officials I spoke to were also stunned by the statement. In fact, Modi's justification of the killing of Sohrabuddin has stunned even those who had slight BJP leanings.

After all, it is the question of how Indian state can afford to have a Chief Minister whose who doesn't believe in any legal framework. Communal polarisation is nothing new for the country but such a statement from the head of state of a province is dangerous for everybody.

Even Tavleen Singh, who is considered a bit of BJP sympathiser, had this to write in Indian Express, "When I heard Narendra Modi boasting that his policemen killed a man in cold blood because they suspected he was a terrorist, I thought I had heard wrong.

It was not possible, I said to myself, that a man who swore to uphold the Constitution of India when he was elected to public office would admit proudly to treating it with contempt."

Titled 'Our irrelevant state, she further wrote, "It was not until I watched him repeat his comments in bulletin after bulletin and heard translations by those whose Gujarati is better than mine that I accepted that Modi is the first Indian official to admit publicly that the rule of law, as enshrined in our Constitution, is meaningless.

Others have broken the law, others have ignored the Constitution, but nobody has boasted of this as an achievement as a reason to be voted back to office". She goes on to write, "All the killers are out on bail, living happy, normal lives, while those who lost loved ones in the Odh massacre live in terror.

Why? This is the question we need to ask. Why are the courts not working as they should? If a mere chief minister is in a position to subvert the process of justice, then we are in real trouble."

Read the Article.

And of course, Sunetra Chowdhury's report on how Mohammad Habib becomes Munna and Anwar takes a Hindu name Manu to avoid identification in Gujarat. They even put Hindu stickers to stay in business as there are not many takers for a taxi driven by a Muslim.

Read the article.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Failure of Ulema and Indian Muslim leaders: Mere words, Little action on the ground

Currently, the Urdu papers are full of statements of Ulema ranging from Maulana Anzar Shah to Jama Masjid Imam Ahmad Bukhari on the issue of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen.

There are demands  that she should not be allowed to stay in India because she hasn't apologised for her writings.

Also, illogical statements that better not be quoted here, fill the newspaper columns. Who should she ask for pardon?

She is an atheist [not a Muslim] and has announced it many times. Outs is a democracy. If any Maulana Sahab has any objection to what she has written, they should avoid issuing statements and behaving like street politicians.

The Ulema are educated enough. They can read her books, find what particular lines are obscene or offensive to any community and then go to the court and under particular sections of IPC, get case registered against her.

Hurting religious sentiments is a serious crime in IPC. Let the courts decide. But nobody takes the route. By wasting energies and surcharging atmosphere on such issues, they unnecessarily create problems for common Muslims and the image of intolerant community only gets strengthened. 

Why always make emotional appeals that don't lead us anywhere? This makes the job of non-Muslim secularists too difficult [to convince others or take a stand]. Strangely, are the Muslim leaders [ncluding Ulema].

They rarely make any effort to do to secure interests of community through legal and constitutional ways but would simply cry and shout, always demanding  from government. And in process instilling the sense of persecution among Muslims. Why don't you act?

Muslim leaders should take legal action, rather than holding protests 

The statements are emotional and sharp but when it comes to legwork, they are simply not interested. Take the case of Narendra Modi. Entire Indian Muslim leadership including clergymen who make strong-worded statements and the MPs, MLAs never made efforts to get criminal cases registered against him.

If they felt Modi allowed the genocide, they could have got him booked. It was not that tough. It could be done in any court in any other state in India. Prosecution may not be easy but FIR registration is not that tough.

There were evidences. Tehelka tapes are there. Testimonies can at least point towards complicit or conspiracy. Former officers like Harsh Mander and retired ADG B Sreekumar are just few of the officers who can testify about the collusion of administration and orders from the top.

If not murder, at least case of section 120 (B) or other similar sections of Indian Penal Code could be registered. When police station doesn't register case, the court can be approached and directly private complaint can be filed [through Istighasa].

But is anybody interested? Nobody says that a verdict may come immediately but at least, a legal process can create serious problems for such politicians. Even prosecution could be remote possibility but the tongues worked, not brains.

Even after Narendra Modi's speeches during the recent poll campaign, the election commission says that nobody has complained as yet.* Now why these Maulana Sahiban don't do that. And if they can't they should not always complain inaction by government.

Will Centre and Courts always take cognizance suo-moto?

Will Muslims not do anything except beating their chests?

Either this leadership should take these issues properly and take them to their logical end. If they can't do it, they should simply shut up. It is better for secular Indian set up that will anyhow deal with the grievances, sooner or later, but at least then the atmosphere will not be vitiated.

Let us only focus on development and introspect what is wrong will us. Muslim women's literac rate was 1.49% in Firozpur Jhirka and below 3% in entire Mewat region, that is close to Delhi. What a shame!

And we have seen that it is Teesta Setalwad, Harsh Mander and many others who will fight for victims of violence, in much better way than the Muslim leaders. (*Late development: Again Teesta Setalvad approched the EC that has now issued notice)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My visit to an Indian Fair: Halwa, Haleem, Biryani and Books

The Halwa-Paratha seller in the fair
Across the country wherever I have attended fairs, halwa-paratha is the most ubiquitous sight.

More so in North India. If you take urbane friends who haven't been to small towns and seen such fairs, they are quite amused and excited by such shops and the desi delicacies.

Seeing the size of the huge oily paratha my friend remarked, 'yaar cholestrol badh jaayega' [it will raise cholestoral level]. Instantly came the reply from a bystander.

An old man with a long beard who was listening gave him a piece of advise, 'khaoge to sab hazam ho jaayega, sochoge to diabetes ho jaayegi' [If you eat, the stomach will take care of every thing, if you think this much you will suffer from diabetes].

Haleem or Khichda: It's different from the Hyderabadi Haleem
The halwa is tasty and you can't get it anywhere else other than such fairs.

Second comes the Biryani Deg. In the pix, just see the kids, one of them has got a cucumber with chutney on it and another having an ice-cream.

Apart from Haleem, Kababs and other food articles, stall of Urdu books are also a permanent feature at fairs in towns with substantial Muslim population.

Over the years I have noticed the decline in titles. In the past one could get all sorts of books, novels, poetry and literature but now religious books form the major chunk of them. Books that scare the hell out of you with their titles alone!!!

The authentic kebabs: Not cooked on gas stove
Book on Etiquette of Sexual intercourse

Not surprisingly, books about Azab-e-Qabr and Qayamat mein kya hoga [What will happen in afterlife, once you die] seem to sell most.

Also, Aadab-e-Mubashrat [Etiquettes of Sexual intercourse], Jinsi Masail and Paanch Gunahgar Auratein [Five sinful women] are most commonly found at every fair that I have attended in the last couple of years.

And then their are calendars, diaries and almanacs (jantri) that sell a lot. Coming back to Halwa Paratha makers. 

Their paraphernalia is most impressive and whenever I see them, I recall the basic reader of Maulvi Ismail Merathi, which was widely used to learn Urdu till recent past. 

It was around 1979-80 when I read it and the Urdu primer [set of five books] that had seen umpteen editions over a century, remained same until then and still mentioned that 'bachcho, hamare mulk ka darul-hukuumat Kalkatta hai'.

Biryani Hazir Hai Janab!
As the books were perfect for learning and teaching Urdu, with cute Nazms [poems] on Gaai (Cow) and Panchakki, publishers never felt the need to revise them.

Hence, the old chapter of Calcutta being capital of India [it was capital of British India until 1911] continued seven decades later.

I have drifted from the subject, I know. But it was in these text books, we read Zo for Zuroof and the sight of Halwa-Paratha shops reminds me of my childhood.


Few words start from Zo in Urdu, as there are three other letters for this sound viz. Ze, Zaal and Zwaad. Along with Zuroof, the picture of stylish 'surahis' and royal cutlery lasted on my mind.

Urdu books & digests at a stall
I forgot the Seekh ke Kabab. Where you can get the authentic ones these days? 

Particularly, the Kababs that are cooked on slow burning coal. Hand-held fan used to push up the flame.

Though in a way all these fairs are same from Badaun to Barabanki. 

But they do have a different feel, an earthy touch of real country, away from the neon-lit multi-storeyed landscape of urban India.


[I used my cellphone camera and that's the reason, the quality of photos is not good]

Friday, November 30, 2007

Islamic Art at a rural Fair: Posters showing Sufis, other Islamic imagery vanish from Muslim households in India

Man sells Islamic posters at a shop in North India
By Indscribe

Until the decade of eighties, the posters depicting Sufis and Islamic imagery were quite commonly seen in Muslim households in India.

The calendars showcasing Islamic art like photograph of a Sherwani-clad boy with a Turkish cap reading the Holy Quran were visible on the Muslim street.

At friends' or relatives' houses, such posters were found in drawing rooms. I even remember seeing posters showing 'Sufis' with halo around their heads. 

There were also some photographs with which certain sections among Muslims weren't exactly comfortable.

Particularly, the posters showing miracles or imaginary faces of Sufis dervishes. But they all started disappearing in the 90s. 

I think these posters vanished from houses and shops of Muslims just the same way as photos of freedom fighters began disappearing across India.

In the past photos of Gandhi, Chandrashekhar Azad, Subhas Chandra Bose and other freedom fighters were a common sight in homes, shops and offices. But all that started changing from mid-80s when the film stars replaced them.

Posters show a meeting of Sufis [1 & 2], praying woman [3] and Karbala battle [last]
Probably urban upwardly mobile Indians didn't find them chic enough to put up in the drawing rooms. Recently at a rural fare in Uttar Pradesh (UP), I was surprised to see many shops selling 'Islamic art'. There were buyers also at these shops. 

Seems there is still a market for this kind of art though the variety is less. Some of these posters have a unique old charm. Mr Yousuf Saeed has created an excellent site where you can see some of these beautiful posters. 

As far as thumbnails above are concerned, the first of these four photos shows an interesting encounter between a Muslim Sufi saint, who visits a Hindu yogi on the latter's invitation. That's Indian secularism at its best!!!


The second photo shows a woman praying, the third is an imaginary photo of the meeting of five great Sufi Saints and the last is photo of the scene of Karbala. 

One must see the photos in full size at Saeed Sahab's website along with their description.

Check more photos at Tasweer Ghar. It's a tremendous site and has links to Hindu Art as well.

Taslima Nasreen issue: Have the BJP, RSS accepted 'Alternate Sexuality'?

From Narendra Modi to Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the BJP Chief Ministers are now on the forefront extending invitation to Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen to settle in their respective states.

It is interesting to see the proponents of Bharatiyata welcoming Taslima Nasrin and offering her to stay in these states.

I have absolutely no objection. Atithi daivo bhavah, that is the ancient Indian tradition.

I just wonder if the BJP-RSS leaders have read her works and what are their views about her sexual exploits, her lack of proficiency with the tongue in satisfying the partner and similar other aspects of alternative sexuality, which she has explicitly written in her autobiographical series of novels, which are not fiction but fact.

The BJP and RSS have been quite touchy on the subject. Remember the hullabaloo over the film Fire! The Sangh Pariwar has always treated homosexuality as 'Western disease' and been contemptuous of it. Seems they have overnight endorsed it and accepted as Indian Culture.

I wonder when the BJP leaders from Prakash Javdekar to Ravishankar Prasad seemed so enthusiastic about Taslima, why nobody asked them this question. Is it ignorance about her works or its a sudden broader outlook where there is acceptance of all cultures and lifestyles!

Hypocrisy or change of heart for Hindutva forces. Let it be clear.

Friday, November 23, 2007

BJP's Muslim leader Pasha Patel's growing popularity in Maharashtra

Over the last couple of months BJP legislator Pasha Patel has traversed across Maharashtra.

Patel has been holding rallies for speedy implementation of Sachar panel recommendations, and in process grown in stature.

His soaring popularity has worried Congress. Interestingly, Pasha's appeal cuts across party lines. 'Shiv Sena district president Manohar Chowdhury announces Pasha's arrival on the stage on a microphone as Musalmon ka masiha, aamdar Pasha Patel', reports Hindustan Times.

Soumitro Ghosh writes that his campaign is changing the colour of socio-political atmosphere in rural Maharashtra. The BJP and Shiv Sena are both against implementation of Sachar committee's recommendations but leaders like Nitin Gadkari and others fully support Pasha.

Patel's 30-page booklet 'Sach kahte hain Sachchar, to phir khamosh kyoon hai Musalman' is circulated across the state and Swatantra Bharat Party's Ravi Devang feels he iseven  more popular among Hindus than the Muslims.

'I am tempted to am tempted to compare him with Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj, whose book on agriculture is treated as the Bhagwad Gita of the farmers."Congress leaders call Pasha to public meetings and say that they haven't called Pasha Patel as a BJP MLA but as a leader of Muslims.

Why is Pasha popular? He is a leader in the true sense and has fought his way up unlike many leaders who don't have mass base or are just popular among Muslims. Local leaders in districts from Congress to Lok Jana Shakti are as eager as BJP and Shiv Sena to invite him.

Patel was a firebrand leader of Sharad Joshi's Shetkari Sanghatana and had led countless farmers' agitations, reports Dnyanesh Jathar in Malayala Manorama daily. He says that a Hindu has prepared the most genuine report for Muslims' welfare and not a Muslim organisation has started agitation.

'I want 11 lakh signatures from you', he says. Patel has already travelled 22 districts of the state. Unlike most of the Congress' Muslim leaders, Patel has a mass base and has fought for non-Muslims as well. This gives him the moral authority to speak forcefully for Muslims also amongst any gathering.

Just because he has a political constituency he is not afraid of getting expelled or sidelined by party. Generally, the politicians with little mass base worry that if they are out of the party, they will have not have anywhere to go. Let's see how far he goes. 

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kolkata violence: Irresponsible Jamiat rousing sentiments of Muslims, playing with fire in West Bengal

Kolkata was in flames on Wednesday. Mercifully the violence didn't spill out of control.

As TV channels started flashing the 'alert' about Army called in Kolkata and later the images of All India Muslim Forum activists, I really got worried.

If it was a protest over just Nandigam, I could understand. But the way Jamiat brought the issue of Taslima Nasreen and also the murder of Rizwanur Rahman, it is a dangerous signal. 

For Rizwanur Rahman, the entire Bengal has come together. Further, Muslims surely have other problems to worry about than Taslima. I don't know how many protesters have read her works.

They are not readable anyhow. Even if she has written something that doesn't go well with us, we have the option not to read it or ignore it. With every such protest Taslima's stature as a writer will go up even if she doesn't deserve that much attention as an author.

Violent street protests don't serve anybody. But what perturbs me the most is the involvement of Jamiat-e-Ulama and the Muslim Forum. By communalising the issues and raising the same old 'victimhood' complex, it is not going to help Muslims of West Bengal rather anti-Muslim feelings may rise.

As I saw the stone pelting on streets and the iamges of burning car and mob clashing with police, imposition of curfew, I could imagine what must be going through the minds of many non-Muslims, 'These Muslims, the troublemakers...they are at it again'.

I am not sure about the All India Minority Forum whether it has any following amongst Muslims in West Bengal. But Jamiat's political ambitions are a cause of worry. Muslims must fight for their rights, but peacefully, as as part of the society by taking along others.

Muslims should raise their voice against atrocities on themselves and also other sections of society who are facing injustice. The minority community can't afford to be an insulated group that just speaks for itself. That's my only concern. 

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lucknow and imbibing secular values: Vinod Mehta turns nostalgic, recalls his association with the City

Eminent journalist Vinod Mehta has written quite a long piece in the Outlook, fondly reminiscing the Lucknow of yore.

Titled 'How I became a pseudo-secularist', the Outlook Editor recounts his childhood and youths in the City of Nawabs.

He writes about 'Kazim and Co' and its owner Nasir. 'Nothing exemplifies the clash of civilisations better than what happened to Kazim and Co.

It will come as no surprise that Kazim and Co soon closed down as customers began drifting away to the neon-lit establishments of the Sikhs and the Sindhis who had come as refugees after partition.

However, Nasir went down honourably: he did not put up a fight.' Safdar, who survived on his wits., knew the family history of every person worth knowing in the city, was intimately familiar with the geography of the entire town, a self-styled poet and patron of the arts, he carried both delicate and indelicate romantic messages efficiently, frequently adding his own masala.

He could fix an appointment with any minister, he had a solution to every problem. Safdar died tragically on the street in Hazratganj. Or Giani Bhai, the magnificent wise and gentle Sikh who looking at the crass commercialisation of Lucknow courtesy the refugees, had sighed: "Saale Sardaron ne Lucknow ko tabaah kar diya [These Sikhs have destroyed Lucknow].

Mehta writes about the psychological blow to Muslims in Lucknow after partition and the loss of land holding which resulted in situation:

One of the most poignant and instructive sights in post-Partition Lucknow was to watch an entire class on the run. They had nowhere to go. As a result, they withdrew further and further inwards, locking themselves up in their crumbling mansions, fearful of the outside world.

To survive they did the only thing they could: they sold their heritage. Cars, land, chandeliers, paintings, old books, havelis and furniture. Some asked possible buyers to come after dark because it was too shaming to sell during daylight hours.

But the most important part of the story is how Mehta got his first lessons in secularism. 'Lucknow bestowed on me one invaluable gift. It taught me to look at the human being rather than his religion or his caste or the colour of his skin.

My so-called pseudo-secularism, which I wear as a badge of honour, comes directly from the experiences and the environment of my early years—years which shaped my personality and character. 'Call it serendipity, but at La Martiniere I made a wonderful chance finding. I located three chums—two Muslim, one Hindu. 

That made us two Muslim and two Hindu. This politically correct, equal opportunity co-mingling of faiths had a profound social, cultural and intellectual impact on me besides providing space for copious and sustained laughter. So the bottomline is that nothing is more vital than inter-religious interactions.

You may be emerge a leftist, a rightist, a secular or a pseudo-secular but the friendships override every other thing. If you have close friends belonging to the other communities, this softens you up even if you are in RSS or in Jamaat-e-Islami.

Some of the most communal leaders, manage to speak in abusive language towards other community because they hardly had any social interaction with members of the other religious community. Ghettoisation is a big problem.

Unlike 30-40 years ago, our Cities are now more divided. But this shouldn't stop us from reaching out to the other communities and discovering the joy of friendship. Here you can read the Article Online. Mehta's book 'Shaam-e-Awadh Writings on Lucknow' has been edited by Veeenta Talwar and published by Penguin.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Muslims in Haryana: No radio, TV, photograph in this Muslim town in Mewat

Mundogarhi is a predominantly Muslim town in Mewat region of Haryana. Huge minarets of the mosque catch your attention as you go past this town on the National Highway.

The town is situated almost at an equal distance from both Delhi and Chandigarh, but there is no radio or television. None of the inhabitants has a photograph and they strictly follow the tradition even if they miss out on many things.

From a loan application to a ration card, a photograph is needed for every document but Mundogarhi residents don't have any regrets.

There is no radio or TV in any house. 'I have heard music in the bus when I went out of the town', said a youth.

Ban on getting yourself photographed

Regarding the ban on photo, an influential person of the Mewati 'biradari' says, 'Man has no power to create any living being and if we get someone photographed, can we put life in this photo? 'We can't and thus it is a sin to get oneself photographed'.

Music is banned though some women said that they wished having a radio to listen to music and pass their time. An 18-year-old youth told the Sahara Samay correspondent, who visited the Mundagarhi town that he was learning English alphabets now.

It could have been a very good story had the correspondent Madhuri Singh and the Sahara anchor Punya Prasun Bajpai desisted from making unwarranted comments and passing judgments [though Bajpai was a bit restrained in comparison].

Mewat: The land of Mev [or Meo] 

The reporters's condescending attitude while talking to the women and the Maulana was irritating. After all, things don't change overnight. The town is situated on the GT Karnal Road and it is quite easy to reach the town to do the story.

There are countless other towns in far rural areas where the reporter may not have ventured. It is true that educational backwardness exists in Mewat. This region has one of the lowest rates of literacy amongst Muslim women in India.

In Firozpur Jhirka the literacy rate was just 1.49%. But the role of Panchayats and 'biradiris' whose writ runs large on the communities is not religion-specific alone. Rather across the Western UP, Harayana and parts of Rajasthan, the situation is more or less same.

The onus is equally on Muslim organisations as much on government and the NGOs to work in the region and open schools for changing the scenerio.

And yes, an amusing conversation I recall from the story:

Reporter: Yeh bachche madarse mein hil hil kar kyun paDhte haiN
Maulana: Is se bachche sust nahin rahte aur padhaai andar tak ghus jaati hai

Translation:

[The question was about why the children keep moving forward and backward while reading in Madarsa. The reply was that it ensures that whatever they read goes deep down within the students and settles firmly.]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Campaign to replace doctor's 'Red Cross' with 'Swastika'


Organisations sympathetic to Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh [RSS] have recently  started a campaign to replace the Red Cross with the symbol, Swastik.

The nationwide campaign has gathered some momentum and the organisation claims nearly 50,000 docs have already adopted the symbol.

The office-bearers of the organisation, Arogya Bharati, feel that Swasthik is similar to Red Cross and replacing it will be easy.

Also, it will bring doctors close to the 'Indian culture', they believe. Not all doctors seem to agree though.

Many feel that a religious symbol shouldn't replace the Red Cross.

Some private organisations of doctors that are close to Sangh Parivar are enthused and supporting the campaign.


Whether the campaign succeeds in its objective or not, one wishes that the focus is more on taking health services to the poor.

On the top left, you can see photograph of a a woman riding her two-wheeler.

The scooter has the symbol on it. In fact, the symbol of doctors is not the 'cross' either.


 It is the caduceus--the traditional symbol that shows two snakes, which you can see on the left [in black]. Still, cross is used by doctors as it is more recognisable.
Doctor's' symbol

Often, chemists and those associated to the medical profession also put the cross on their vehicles.

Will Arogya Bharati think of arranging docs' visits to rural areas where no doctor wishes to go and treating poor at nominal fees?

If it does that then it will be a great service and it will support even the 'Hindu cause' better than the mere symbolism. 

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Photo: Muslim boys celebrating Diwali

A Muslim boy lights a 'phuljhadi' as another kid watches.

This is the second day of Diwali and still the SMS messages are taking hours to reach. Many SMSs are simply lost.

Cell phone networks are still not working properly. I will be home soon and have got a dozen sweet packets waiting for me.

[I think the photographer is Nitin Kanotra though I am not sure about the City.]

The demise of Dr Zohra Begum: First Muslim woman who passed MBBS in 1935

Dr Zohra Begum Kazi, amongst the pioneering women to have got a degree in medicines, passed away in Dhaka.

She had got the degree of MBBS from Lady Harding Medical College in 1935.

She was the first woman Muslim doctor of the sub-continent, say newspaper reports.

Begum Kazi had served as head of Gynaecology department of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

At the time of her death she was 97. An activist, she had played an important role in the 1971 struggle. Her husband, Raziuddin, a lawmaker, had died in 1963. She was issue-less. She died on the night of November 8 at her Gulshan residence and was buried at Banani graveyard.

+++

Just when I came across the news, I recalled the letter published in Rashtriya Sahara Urdu daily about the huge money spent on advertisements by the warring factions of Qureshi biradari.

The letter writer had expressed surprise over the manner the office-bearers were flaunting their money and numerical strength, and questioned whether they had opened any schools, colleges or given a thought to how many Qureshi girls are passing PET, MBBS and other exams.

Friday, November 09, 2007

An Indian Muslim 'celebrates' Diwali in an alien land, remembers the childhood

I am not in my City and that has made such a big difference!

It's Diwali and here I am sitting far away from my friends. Will not visit any home tomorrow.

Have no friend to greet here and can't enjoy the holiday either. Though a few SMS I have received, haven't sent many.

No Gujhias. No sweets. A friend called me to tell that my 'mithai ka dabba' is lying in office, and he is going to take it home.

Diwali is the biggest festival in India. Though Dussehra fascinated me more in the childhood because of the huge effigies burnt, Diwali was no less exciting.

I always had more Hindu friends than Muslims and never felt left out during any of the festivals.

The neighbours would come and place 'diyas' at our door and in the verandahs. The mithais would come from every flat.

The young ladies of the nearby flats who were younger would come and touch my mother's feet also. We were the only Muslim family there.

That was an intriguing sight to the new neighbours who would find it strange why rest of Hindu families had this special relationship with a Muslim household. And by the next year, a couple of Eids later, they would also become as close to us as others.

[Who cared about any cultural differences or Hindu-Muslim divide then? Ultimately what matters is friendship and relations...]

As a kid I was not much into bursting crackers but phuljhadis, 'saanp' [the small black tablets which were burnt and unending spirals emerged from them] and chakris were always brought for me. Occasionally Anars also but no patakhe. [Please don't say Phatake or fatake, it really turns me off].

Once though to impress a girl I did set fire to a 'bandar bomb' holding it in my hand. Fortunately the cracker took sometime before it exploded. I got a scolding from everybody in the locality. [I was 12 or perhaps 13]. Boyhood bravado!

Rush of memories. So many incidents, which you relive, when you are free. What else to do! Here I am blogging on Diwali eve. Anyway, just.to refresh our memory. Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Rama Chandra Ji to Ayodhya after 14-years.

So Happy Dipawali to All of You, who have come to this blog. And also to those who haven't :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sher Ali: The revolutionary Indian freedomfighter who had killed the British Viceroy



Do you know that a Viceroy was killed on Indian soil during the freedom movement?

Though many other revolutionary freedom fighters are remembered, the name of Sher Ali who was behind the assassination has been completely forgotten.

In fact, Sher Ali's name find almost no mention in the history. Forget textbooks, the voluminous studies also have his name just in footnote.

It was in February 1872, when this revolutionary who had been sent to Andaman Islands [Kala Pani[, assassinated Lord Mayo, the viceroy who was on a visit to the Andamans where the freedom fighters were kept incarcerated.

Richard Bourke, the 6th Earl of Mayo and Viceroy of India, was visiting the Andaman along with high ranking officials and security personnel, when Sher Ali stabbed him to death. When asked why he murdered the viceroy, the man from Tirah valley of Khyber said that 'Khuda ne hukm diya, is waste kiyaa'.

He was charged with murder and hanged on Viper islands the next year. One may nor may not agree to the revolutionary ways but that was surely one of the few ways in sight to the ordinary Indians to take on the might of the foreign imperialistic power.

1. Here is the Link to the Wikimapia image (the map) of the coast of Andaman where 135 years ago this incident had occurred.
2. Also, a link to the Times of India editorial page article on Sher Ali.

On the 150th anniversary of 1857

[Above photo of Sher Ali on the left and the place on Viper Isles where he was hanged]

Monday, October 29, 2007

AIMPLB's strange stand & HC's welcome decision on Triple Talaq

One of the most representative of Muslim organisations in the country, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) that has 201 members in the board and represents almost every Muslim sect, seems stuck in a time warp.

On issues where the Board needs to take a stand and speak up, it disappoints the community. And whenever it issues a statement it is retrogressive and irrational. Just see their reaction to the Supreme Court's verdict asking for compulsory registration of marriages. SR Ilyasi says it should be optional and that Qazis already register marriages. So what's the problem. Can't there be a mechanism through which the same registration form is forwarded to the authorities?
--

MEANWHILE

The Hight Court judgment that the divorce is invalid if the husband pronounces talaq in anger or fails to communicate it to his wife, is certainly laudable. Justice BD Ahmed's verdict says that the 'harsh abruptness of triple talaq has brought extreme misery to women.

"It (triple talaq) is an innovation which may have served a purpose at a particular point of time in history but, if it is rooted out such a move would not be contrary to any basic tenets of Islam or the Quran or any ruling of the Prophet Muhammad," said Justice BD Ahmed.

Triple talaq is one sitting remains a sword hanging on the head of Muslim women. Muslim organisations and clergy remains absolutely oblivious to the plight of women and the problem faced by children in such broken families. I wish the AIMPLB had issued a statement on Triple Talaq as well. But they keep their eyes close to the real issues.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tehelka's landmark sting 'Operation Kalank' on Mass Murders in Modi-land: Gujarat Genocide

A shocked nation watched in disbelief the revelations about Gujarat riots on Television.

Now it is time all those caught on camera are charged with conspiracy and murder.

Leaders, and if not leaders, then individuals and NGOs must get case registered against him.

If not through police, then through private complaint in the courts, in form of PILs and we should get these bloodthirsty killers pay for their sins against humanity. So that never again any group of politicians could dare to plot such killings.

1. Narendra Modi had given free hand for three days to VHP, Bajrang Dal activists to kill Muslims across Gujarat, claims the STING OPERATION.

2. Babu Bajrangi, Madan Dhanraj Chawal admit killing tens of Muslims in cold blood in Ahmedabad including a pregnant woman whose stomach was ripped open with sword. Such hate just because she was a Muslim!

3. After cutting MP Ehsan Jafri's hands and feet they then phoned Home Minister Govardhan Zadaphia, 'We have done it, now manage the rest and save us'.

4. Arvind Pandya says Modi is hero of Hindutva and talks of bombing Muslim residential areas. Dynamite was used in explosions and later after the pogrom was over, Modi congratulated the rioters for their 'work', they confessed.

5. Policemen worked as hitmen for VHP, BD and killed Muslims with their service revolvers. VHP's Anil Patel killed 60 in Sabarkantha. Patel is Pravin Togadia's close confidante. He said it on camera that police supported him in loot, murder, everything and named police officer, ND Solanki.

6. VHP leader Ramesh Dave says IPS officer DCP SK Gadhvi worked like a sharp-shooter for rioters and killed Muslims in cold blood with his revolver. He promised killing Muslims and one after the other shot five Muslims.

7. Mangilal Jain said on record (on camera) that we just felt 'maaro sab miyon ko' [kill all Muslims]. He [Jafri] called Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi and everybody but still couldn't live, nobody came to save him.

8. Madan Dhanraj Chawal said yes 'We grabbed him, kicked, cut his hands with swords, then butchered him and burnt him'. 'Ang ang kaat diya aur jalaa diya'. Said Chaval, the accused of Gulbarg Society attack.

9. Shiv Sena leader Babu Bajrangi says that it was because of Narendra Modi that such large scale rioting could continue for days. Police allowed them to enter Naroda Patiya, he said on camera.

10. Arvind Pandya, the head of the team of lawyers that is defending Gujarat Government before the Nanavati Commission, says, "Government was ready, people were ready and it was good fortune of Hindutva people'.

11. Sabarkantha government lawyer Bharat Bhatt admits paying money to get 'samadhaan' and help in closure of cases. 'I mislead Muslims', he admits in cases of riot victims. 'I told my Hindus, don't laugh in front of me or keep mum when I scold you in front of others'.

[That's the 'Criminal' Judicial System in Gujarat, which is at work. Certainly we hope that the Supreme Court is watching. ]

12. He says that Hindus have two heroes--Kalyan Singh and Narendra Modi. Had he not been Chief Minister, he would drop bomb. Modi had verbally ordered police to support rioters, says Pandya. 'Juhapura par bomb giratey'.

13. Mehsana's government lawyer Dilip Trivedi, who is also a VHP general secretary, says that all has to be 'managed'. 'Judges have to be bought and managed all over Gujarat, witnesses bought and everything needed is done to get the riot accused, acquitted'.

These and endless revelations aired on Aaj Tak (by Tehelka investigation team) have revealed the kind of planning that was done for the genocide.

Reacting to it, Uma Bharti said that this is Moditva, not Hindutva. She termed the acts as 'kalank' on Hindutva. Kudos to Tehelka and Aajtak for daring to bare the facts. Government of India needs to take notice. Especially regarding the 'Terrorist' men in Khaki, Gadhvi, Solanki and others of their likes.

Read all at Tehelka. Meanwhile, the Tehelka team led by Tarun Tejpal deserves a salute for the expose. Kudos to the Correspondent Ashish Khetan for bringing all the conspirators on camera and make them admit to their crimes against humanity.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boy holds gun at RSS function: What he is aiming at?


The photograph shows a child, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS], holding a rifle.

What he is aiming at, I have absolutely no idea. Is this the age for a boy to be handed the weapon?

All fundamentalist organisations irrespective of the region and religion, indoctrinate early.

I just hope that the boy who is associated with Sangh quite early in his life, doesn't believe that all Muslims are his enemies!

Is it wishful thinking?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Second language status to Urdu in Jharkhand

At last Urdu has got the status of second official language in Jharkhand. It was the demand of the people of the state as Urdu had the status in undivided Bihar since late 80s.

But after the new state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar, the demand to give the language its rightful place was ignored. Chief Minister Madhu Koda needs to be congratulated.

He had promised that he would present the Urdu speakers with a gift on Eid-ul-Fitr and on the third day of Eid, he delivered on his promise with the announcement. Though the role of Lalu Prasad Yadav who gave the go-ahead for the decision, needs to be appreciated as well.

The states where Urdu is an official language for administrative use (additional or second language) include Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh (HP).

In Himachal it remains just on papers and was made the official state language when as part to popularise Southern languages in North, Telugu was made an official language in Haryana in the 70s. In Uttaranchal (now again it is christened Uttarakhand) the language is yet to gets the same status.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nepal government ignores "Eid'

Sunday is a working day in Nepal and though Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated by Nepali Muslims on the day, there was no public holiday and all offices, banks, schools and colleges remained open.

Muslims in Nepal have always been deprived of their rights, according to a report in Hindustan Times. It further says that the government failed to pass the Secular Test on Eid, after it became a Secular nation early this year. And also that there are no signs still that Nepal would transform as a secular nation that has 10% Muslims.

Personally I feel it is not that big an issue. Of course, the adherents of a particular religion feel good if there is a holiday on their festival. They do feel a sense of belongingness. But many parties and groups have raised the issue and with time, may be there will be, at least, an optional holiday or even a public holiday.

Recently there were riots and the violence in which former AMU student and Madhesi leader Moid Khan was killed. Right now, what everybody needs is a stable country where law prevails and democracy takes root. That should be the priority right now. Eid holiday can wait.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Attack on Ajmer Sharif: Terror reaches Sufi Shrine


The bloodthirsty terrorists have struck again. For long they are trying to trigger communal riots.

They attacked temples and mosques and gatherings in Delhi, Benares, Hyderabad, Malegaon and the list gets longer as you start recalling the incidents in the past.

Now one of the most revered Sufi shrines in South Asia (and the world) Dargah Ajmer Sharif has been targeted.

That too in the holy month of Ramzan when the devout were having 'iftar', just on the eve of Alwida course a day or two before Eid.

Terrorists will fail in their aim to instigate ordinary Muslims and Hindus to attack each other. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's shrine is visted more by Hindu pilgrims (and devotees) than Muslims.

[Two persons have died and over a dozen injured in the blast] It always feels good to say that our secularism and communal harmony can't be disrupted by such attacks, but that's no solution.

The terrorist attacks are not ending. Intelligence agencies are unable to stop or anticipate them. The terrorists responsible for such attacks need to be identified and caught. The police is seen in the photo after the blast.

The Home Minister of Rajasthan said that probably due to Gujjar agitation, adequate attention could not be paid to security at the Dargaah.

Aurangzeb granted 300 bighas land for temple at Chitrakut in Ramzan

It was the month of Ramzan, 334 years ago, when Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had granted 330 bighas of land for the Balaji Temple at Chitrakut in present day Uttar Pradesh.

In this holy month, the official decree was issued and the document is in possession of the present pujari Ram Naresh. On the 19th of Islamic month of Ramzan, this firman was written in order to ensure that the idol gets the 'bhog' with the earning of the land.

In the firman, which is available with Ram Naresh, Aurangzeb writes, 'Sant Balak Das gets 330 bigha lagaani zameen of eight villages viz. Hinauta, Chitrakot, Devkhari, Raudra, Siria, Madri, Jarwa and Doharia. The firman written in Persian says that apart from this land, the lagaan of Re 1 should be given per day from Kini Paroshtha pargana. Balakdas of Kalinjar Pargana in Allahabad Suba gets this land.' Chitrakoot is the famous temple town in Uttar Pradesh. Lord Rama spent 11-1/2 years here. It has great religious significance for Hindus.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Muslim girls in an ancient mosque: Photos of Ramadan and Eid preparation

Here Palestinian Muslim girls are seen reading Holy Quran at the ancient Sheikh Nasrallah Mosque on the West Bank village of Salem near Nablus.

The other is the scene from Damascus Gate on Lailatul Qadr. People in a mood of celebration in Jerusalem.

The photo below is also from the same region. Here the Muslims are seen praying at an Israeli checkpost while trying to reach Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem for Lailatul Qadr. A unique photo is from Malaysia where women are seen buying flowers ahead of Eid to decorate their houses. That's new for me. Really cool, isn't it!






Monday, October 08, 2007

Ramzan photos: From India to Indonesia


The first photograph is from Kashmir: A young man offering Namaz under the tree on the roadside in the outskirts of Sri Nagar.

I really liked this Yasin Dar photo. Just seeing the photo one can feel the peace he must be experiencing in the ibaadat.

Mannequins in the second photo have their heads covered, in accordance with the local culture.

The photograph is from a shop in Jakarta [Indonesia]. Jameel Ahmed reads the Holy Quran in his shop in Hyderabad.

He sells Islamic texts and other religious literature. That's a familiar scene in any walled City.


The last is the photo from America. Iftaar in a Muslim house where families of expatriate Muslims from Asia and other parts, break their fast.

The Holy month Ramzan, as we say in Urdu, (many prefer saying Ramadan) is now coming to an end. And Id is round the corner.

I am not sure still about what am I going to do--going home or just being here and taking a day's off on Id!