Monday, January 28, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Rana has attained wide acclaim for his couplets on 'maa.n' (Mother). They have been compiled and published by people in many scripts. His poetry is available in Urdu, devanagari, Bangla and other languages.
There has been criticism of his poetry. But the fact remains that he connects with the crowd.
Here are ten selected Urdu couplets:
hum kuchh aise tere diidaar meN kho jaate haiN
jaise bachche bhare baazaar meN kho jaate haiN
naye kamroN meN ab chiizeN puraani kaun rakhtaa hai
parindoN ke liye shahroN meN paani kaun rakhtaa hai
mohaajiro yahii taariiKh hai makaanoN kii
banaane waalaa hameshaa baraamdoN meN rahaa
tujhse bichhDaa to pasand aa gayii be-tartiibii
isse pahle meraa kamraa bhii Gazal jaisaa thaa
kissi bhii moD par tumse vafaa-daarii nahiiN hogii
hameN maaluum hai tumko yah biimaarii nahiiN hogii
tujhe akele paDhuuN koii ham-sabaq na rahe
maiN chaahtaa huuN ki tujh par kisii ka haq na rahe
talvaar to kyaa merii nazar tak nahiiN uThii
us shaKhs ke bachchoN kii taraf dekh liyaa thaa
farishte aake unke jism par Khushbuu lagaate haiN
vo bachche rail ke Dibbe meN jo jhaaDuu lagaate haiN
kisii ko ghar milaa hisse meN yaa koii dukaaN aaii
maiN ghar meN sabse chhoTaa thaa mere hisse meN maaN aaii
sirphire log hameN dushman-e-jaaN kahte haiN
ham jo is mulk kii miTTii ko bhii maaN kahte haiN
Read these couplets at Best Ghazals and Nazms in Urdu and Hindi [devanagri script]
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Hindus and Husain: Muharram, Yaum-e-Ashurah and composite culture in India [Communal Harmony Project-6]
Many Muslims call it a form of idolatory and of course some Hindus now object to this Islamisation of Hinduism.
Friday, January 18, 2008
The brave woman was six-months pregnant when she was gang-raped, saw her eight family members slaughtered and her own 3-1/2 year old child killed by a bloodthirsty mob in Narendra Modi's Holy Land of Hindutva.
Six years later, a Mumbai Sessions court held 13 of the 20 accused in the case, guilty of rioting, murders and rapes, letting seven others including a doctor couple that fudged evidence, for lack of evidence.
Justice UD Salvi's landmark judgment will go a long way in healing the wounds of the riot victims, who had lost all hopes from a Rogue State (Gujarat), where administration, police and sections of lawyers colluded to shield the accused.
For riot-scarred Bilquees Bano, it has been an excruciatingly long fight for justice. At least, 20 times she changed her residence but remained committed to her pledge to get justice in her own country.
The court decision has again strengthened the belief of Indians, especially minorities in this great Nation, its democracy, its judiciary and its age-old values. And reinforces out belief why Indian Muslims even after such major carnages, have
We must Salute the Indian judiciary. Public Prosecutor RK Shah did a great job in presenting the case. We can't forget how the head of the team of government lawyers, Arvind Pandya, was shamelessly caught confessing on camera in a sting operation that he was saving the killers.
Supreme Court had shifted the case from Gujarat, after reports of harassment of the victims and witnesses apart from attempts to tamper evidences and delays in the case proceedings. The CBI also conduced the investigation in a fair manner.
The NGOs, Teesta Setalwad for her rigorous testimony, social activists like Huma Naqvi and umpteen others who stood by Bilkees Bano, played a great role in this fight for justice through financial, legal and emotional support to her.
The quantum of judgment would be known next week. Now all of us can hope that victims of Naroda Patiya massacre, Best Bakery Case, Sardarpura killings and the murders in Gulbarg Society will also get justice.
It is a big judgment in the context that such verdicts go a long way towards sending the signal to the poor victims that despite all odds, there is a sytem in place in this country that can get you justice though the road may be hard and long.
Bilquis Bano's son may grow up to the stories of atrocities in Gujarat but I am sure he will be proud of his country and his mother. Of thinking that his mother fought this case, hundreds of others with no kinship came along, and this country and its courts gave his family, Justice.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Naqvi, the Muslim face of the BJP in the post Sikandar Bakht-era, exceeded all limits and allegedly said that Maulana Mohammad Ali was the Osama Bin Laden of his times.
Naturally the statement has drawn wide condemnation. There is anger across UP. "BJP should answer whether fighting the British rule was a terrorist activity?", said All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat.
Maulana Mohammad Ali, a great patriot, had vowed at the Round Table Conference, to never return to Ghulaam Hindostan and come back only when the country would attain freedom. After his legendary speech against British imperialism in London, he had collapsed and died.
He was buried in Jerusalem. A close associate of Gandhi and top leaders of the era, Maulana Mohammad Ali (and his brother Shaukat Ali) was a great freedom fighter, and his role was not limited to the Khilafat Movement alone.
Maulana Mohammad Ali was passionate about India's freedom. Mohammad Ali was a champion of Hindu-Muslim unity. He was fiercely against British rule and played a vital role in establishing the Jamia Millia Islamia. Maulana Muhammad Ali was at the forefront of the freedom movement and was also the president of Indian National Congress.
He suffered enormously in process but espoused the cause of freedom movement with a missionary zeal. It is true that during the course of non-cooperation movement, differences cropped up between him and the Mahatma. He drifted towards the Muslim league due to the disillusionment with Congress but it remains debatable whether he would have sided for division of the country.
Gandhiji always held him in high esteem and used to say that "I learnt Siasat from Ali brothers." Maulana was a journalist par excellence and his newspapers Comrade, which was published from Calcutta, and Hamdard were popular for his straightforwardness.Though he belongs to Rampur and has a political rivalry with Azam Khan, founder of Mohammad Ali Jauhar university, the sick remark took everybody by surprise. Even RSS leaders in the past never uttered such lies.
Naqvi has probably lost his mental balance. After all, does he have credentials to make such commentsBut he must answer, whether his party believes that opposing British rule was terrorism. And what is his definition of patriotism in his eyes--Godse and General Dyer?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Just a fortnight back the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh had declared that this young lad arrested from Kolkata was a hard-core militant, dreaded Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami activist and was responsible for serial bomb blasts in the courts of Uttar Pradesh.
The Union government must take cognizance. Rogue cops are plenty in our policing system. There are demands of action on the guilty cops from various quarters. But what about dozens languishing in lockups without trial.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Some Sunnis did. Stilll a few Sunnis, most of them poor ones, carry on the tradition. But the zeal of Hindu familes like the Kushwahas and the thousands of others in this country depict in the true sense, the composite culture of India, for which we are always claimants but ourselves do little to enrich or protect it.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Barack Obama could be the next President of United States of America. I was not much interested in Obama and was faintly aware of the controversy regarding his Islamic past, until I realised that he had established some lead in the campaign and appeared to have strong chances of getting elected as President of USA.
It was then I came to know that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and the Barack is probably a variant spelling for Barkat or Baraka. So he has no connection with Islam and isn't a Muslim but Urdu tabloids in India appear quite interested in him, and intrigued by the name which appear Muslim to them. Headlines like 'Barkat Husain to become US President' do boost circulation for small newspapers for a few days. Of course, his father was a Muslim.
He is Black and if elected, that will also be a first in US' history. He is surely a favourite for the top post in USA and has established a lead over John McCain. Despite repeated malicious attacks and negative propaganda from his opponents, his popularity has soared and it proves that people trust Obama & expect a change from him.
Obama has done his best to clear if anybody has any misconceptions about his Islamic past. He says that his father Obama Senior (a Kenyan) was raised as a Muslim in his childhood but later became an atheist and married a Christian woman.
After their divorce little Obama's mother took him away. She married again, (it was also a Muslim this time and a 'radical' one, we are told) and they settled in Jakarta (Indonesia). Though Barack O'bama denies that he was ever a Muslim but some reports said that he did study at Madarsa and also used to go to Friday prayers to mosque.
Naturally there was a controversy recently and the pressure built up on Obama to 'come clean on his Islamic past' in a nation with strong 'Judeo-Christian values', especially after the War on Terror has divided the world. Obama vehemently denied some of these charges though he accepts that his father was a Muslim who had later become a 'confirmed atheist'.
Now the senator from Illinois is a democratic candidate for the Presidential Election year 2008. Though he has called for ending Iraq war, Barack O'bama had said that as President he could go for air-strikes in Pakistan, which was termed a diplomatic goof-up (US still has close links with Pakistan and it was naturally not considered a proper comment).
May be the hard stance against Muslim countries was to buttress his Christian credentials. After all, there is an 'adage' in Urdu , naya mulla pyaaz zyada khata hai (the new Mulla eats more onions), and he was trying to be a staunch Christian. During the campaign malicious questions have been raised that whether he is really a Christian and how much he has tried to conceal about his past.
There are many blog posts on the subject. And videos (like this video) on YouTube. Obama studied in a madarsa in Indonesia but in later years he got converted to Christianity and joined the United Church of Christ. But now it seems, Obama has struck a chord with majority of Americans.
The Blacks are around 15% of American's population and it is not possible that their acceptance alone can propel Obama to such popularity. There is an opposition to him from right-wing Christians and section of Jews, who aren't happy that he would occupy White House.
Of course, Muslims outside America also don't have much stakes in US election. (I am talking about perception and interest of Muslims outside US as the percentage of Muslims is America is not enough to tilt balance in the polls.
But surely he has support among other sections. He is not a Muslim, it's sure. One thing is clear, as a Black and as a person with a Muslim name (especially Hussein) he is a surprise candidate. And if he wins, it will be a new chapter in US's history of almost 220 years. Either intentional or due to slip of tongue, anchors on TV have also said Osama instead of Obama a couple of times. Surely it is going to be an interesting election, this November.
He may display a stronger bias against Arabs, Asian countries and Muslims, who knows! We can't predict. He may even go after Iran. But the fact that his strong position reflects a greater acceptance and inclusiveness for the other groups and minorities in America.
Update: This was an old post. Now Barack Hussein Obama has been elected US president and Indian newspapers in all languages are ecstatic at his victory. Urdu newspapers are playing up his name and his Muslim connection.
Monday, January 07, 2008
She had devoted her life to literature and teaching. She hadn't married but Shafiqa Aapa probably never felt lonely as she had numerous friends, a great social circle and admirers. Such was her simplicity, warmth and hospitality that everybody felt drawn to her.
Shafiqa Aapa was a humanist and a strong believer in secularism. She had friends in all communities. I remember an incident involving Hindi writer Kanti Kumar Jain whom she considered her elder brother.
Once her relatives from Pakistan had come and they saw her tie the 'rakhi' on his wrist and putting tilak, they were quite horrified. Shafiqua Aapa was sitting on the floor with all the paraphernalia that was required to celebrate raksha-bandhan with her brother.
One of her sisters objected and said that she had turned this house into a temple. Shafiqa Aapa got enraged and categorically told her that this was her own culture and of this country, if they are staying here they better accept it or push off. It was rare of her to get into such rage.
Her father, who was a police officer in British India, was a strict man. After shifting from Nagpur to Bhopal in 1950s, she became an intrinsic part of the literary circles of the city. She was Head of Department of Urdu in MLB College, which had for long one of the best Urdu departments in the country.
A prolific writer, she has many books to her name.When she finished 'Jaane Anjaane Chehrey', President APJ Abdul Kalam had met her in the ambulance, as she was seriously ill then. Later she had recovered a bit. Once again she was active as always, planning literary meets or concerned about students' problems in a particular college due to lack of teachers.
Despite her failing health, she remained active till her last days. I still recall the excitement in her voice when she would call me up and tell me about her upcoming work or a special issue published on her works. She often invited me and a photographer friend of mine to her house in Koh-e-Fiza.
She was always concerned about marriage of the photographer friend for whom she always suggesting girls. She was headstrong and remained firm on her beliefs but unlike many other litterateurs, she was always generous in praise for fellow writers.
She had just finished her novel on Bhopal Gas Tragedy and insisted that it was her best work. Unfortunately she passed away, even before a function of the book release. She was buried in Bada Bagh graveyard in Bhopal, the City she had made her home and which gave her immense love.
I didn't delete her number for years after her demise. The name 'Shafiqa Farhat' remained in my phone book for a long time. But then I lost the cell phone. Still, I remember her voice, the affection she had for me, as if it was just yesterday.
[The photo shows former President APJ Abdul Kalam, when he was in office, meeting Shafiqa Farhat, who is in ambulance]
Thursday, January 03, 2008
What's so special about Aroosa Alam? The Tribune devoted three special comprehensive stories on a single page to this lady who is said to be quite close to Punjab's ex-Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh.
The coverage is surprising. But it had to happen. After all, the 'dynamic' Amir-e-Ahrar Shahi Mufti Punjab Maulana Habibur Rahman Saani Ludhianvi has issued fatwa. He issued the fatwa from Jama Masjid and termed her friendship with Amrinder as 'Najaaez and Haraam'.
Aroosa, the controversial Pak journalist, then left Chandigarh and has flown back to Pakistan but the controversy continues in India. Maulana Habibur Rahman Sani is quite active and his 'activism' was again at display when he said that 'she violated Shariat for having visited a man without any male relative as her companion'.
The Maulana has also called the Sikh clergy to ask Amarinder about his faith and check if he has changed relation. He urged CM and even PM over the issue and expressed suspicion that she could be an ISI agent.
Meanwhile, Tribune is all praise for her 'sharp wit' that floored the Indians. She said that 'daayan das ghar chhod deti hai' (even the witch leaves ten houses), while commenting on the controversy and her name being linked to Amrindar Singh. Read the extensive coverage here. The newspapers in Pakistan say that she has been gifted a huge house worth crores in Lahore by Amrinder.
It's really strange to see such uncalled for edicts. The moderate voice of Milli Council's Jamilur Rahman who has criticised the fatwa and said that the friendship is not un-Islamic, has been rubbished. Even heads of other religions have supported the fatwa.
Posted by editor at 4:02 PM