mere shahar jal rahe haiN, mere log mar rahe haiN
koi aur to nahiiN hai pas-e-Khanjar-aazmaaii
hamiiN qatl ho rahe haiN, hamiiN qatl kar rahe haiN
[Translation: To whom shall I name these deaths, the burning of my cities, who is behind the scene responsible for our cries]
These are couplets of renowned Urdu poet Obaidullah Aleem's ghazal, which I've posted in Urdu, Hindi and Roman scripts Here.
The second photograph below is from Qahtaniya village west of Mosul in Iraq inhabited by Yazidis*, where a series of suicide bombings killed 400 persons this week.
Country, region, religion, sect, followers of different spiritual leaders, they are all baying for each other's blood. Is it not Iraqi blood? Today blasts and murders are happening from Syria to Indonesia. This is really mindless violence.
It is in this context that I have quoted the couplets here. The family of Obaidullah Aleem, a poet born in India, had migrated to Pakistan long back. It was the sectarian clashes in Pakistan that may have prompted him to write these lines.
Ironically, Aleem belonged to the Ahmadiyya sect, that believes in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani as prophet, though their split branch, Lahoris, believe him as a mujaddid or reviver, but both sects were declared un-Islamic in Pakistan.
I admit that I earlier I was also biased against the sect.
But the kind of persecution they have braved, is also unparalleled.
Recently I heard another ghazal of Aleem in his own voice.
And the melancholy, the intense sadness, in his voice really touched me.
It is saddening how this intolerance has made a mess of so many countries in the entire Muslim world.
It's a long ghazal [read it in any of the three scripts Here] and many of its couplets are not found in the ghazal that starts with the couplet:
maiN kaisaa zindaa aadmii thaa, ek shaKhs ne mujhko maar diyaa
maiN rota huuN aur aasmaan se taare girte dekhtaa huuN
un logoN par jin logoN ne mere logoN ko aazaar diyaa
When he read the second couplet, the lack of applause form audience was palpable. Unlike other Muslim sects, the beliefs of Ahmadiyyas or Qadiyanis do disturb mainstream Muslims as they don't believe in the finality of prophetood, which is the cornerstone of traditional Islamic belief.
Also, the apparently aggressive campaigns of Ahmadiyyas towards spreading their belief and getting new 'converts', perturb us [though followers of any new movement or sect are generally more zealous].
More so, because Ahmadiyyas have come from within Muslims, which make us a little more uncomfortable compared to those belonging to other religions. Beliefs are a personal matter. We have our beliefs, they have theirs.
Difference in beliefs doesn't give the right to any society to deny the right to a peaceful and dignified existence to any group. Any such society will head towards doom. Iraq, Kurds, Sunnis, Shias, Yazidis, Ahmadiyyas, Deobandis Barelvis... I am flying off tangent!
But what we are witnessing in Iraq is a catastrophe of colossal propotions. I must admit that I always felt that the Ahmadiyya persecution was more a propaganda than reality but recent interaction with some people especially an acquaintance's personal account of the way they are treated, was disgusting.
In a government office where he was transferred and joined after posting, some persons mistook him as a Ahmadiyya though he is a Sunni Muslim. I don't want to reproduce what he told me, at this blog.There is an outstanding post at ATP about the Pakistan's dilemma regarding their only Nobel laureate, Dr Abdus Salam. Click to read.
Photo: The US military helicopter blasts dust as it lands at the site of bombing