Lately I have been posting less poetry on this blog. Going through a collection of verses, I had recently stopped at this Nazm. The language is simple and the poem has barely six lines.
In English, these lines may at first glance seem too ordinary. But for a poet like Fazal Tabish, who is known for his complex poetry, it is an unusual verse. Specially for a writer who considered humanism as supreme ideology, there must have been some reason that he chose to write these six lines, which is neither in the traditional format of ghazal nor the rhyming Nazm, which he was immensely capable of.
nahi chuni maiNne ye zamin jo vatan Thahri
nahi chunaa maniNne voh ghar jo khaandaan banaa
nahi chunaa maiNne voh mazhab jo mujhe bakhsha gayaa
nahi chuni maiNne vo zabaaN jismeN maaN ne bolnaa sikhaaya
aur ab maiN in sab ke liye tayyar huN
maarne, marne par
I didn’t choose the country where I was born
I didn’t select my family, my clan
I was given no option to decide upon my religion
And I didn’t choose my mother tongue either
But for all of them I am ready
Read this Nazm in Urdu and Hindi scripts.
Why did he write it in the first place. He could express the feeling in umpteen ways. Yet the divan ends with this prose-poem. He passed away long back. Though communalism, regionalism and casteism had begun gripping the nation, those were still the times when everything was not lost.
Fazal uses no flowery language here. May be it is because he had seen that the so-called educated, the learned, the ones who can play with the words and decipher complex poetry, are capable of greater damage by twisting words.
Perhaps, he felt that there will be times when even the simplest of questions will become the hardest to answer. In his divan, 'Roshni kis jagah se kaali hai', it is the last Nazm that has no title.
Read more of his ghazals.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Lately I have been posting less poetry on this blog. Going through a collection of verses, I had recently stopped at this Nazm. The language is simple and the poem has barely six lines.
Monday, October 27, 2008
This year I'm in my City among friends. Last year I had written the post about my feelings 'Celeberating Diwali in an alien land' when I was away.
As most of us know, the homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years and his victory over Ravana is celebrated as Diwali. The crackers are much more costlier this year, even 30-50% costlier compared to last year.
In my childhood, the rockets, anaars, charkhis (chakri) and the exploding crackers used to be the biggest draw. There used to a sense of awe about families that bought most crackers and their kids would continue bursting them even for days after Dipawali.
Now many of my friends say that they don't buy any crackers at all. I find it strange a bit. Just like those who say that they don't splash colours on Holi. At least, a few phuljhadis and anaars that don't make much noise or pollution, can be bought even if you belong to the ultra-green group and too concerned about decibel levels.
|Diwali Greeting Card. The message in Urdu.|
Let's forget all our differences and eat the sweets together. Barack O'bama has already extended his greetings on the occasion. Mine are a bit late than him but more timely. Happy Diwali & Shubh Diwali to all of you. May this year brings you all, more prosperity, joy and happiness.
More Diwali posts on this blog earlier:
1. Muslim boys celebrating Diwali
2. Diwali in Pakistan: Muslim league ministers celebrate the festival
3. No gujhias & diyas: Diwali in an alien land
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Linking Muslims with Terrorism: 12 cops killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh, 17 die in blasts in Impal
Why only Muslims are called terrorists?
It may seem a rant or that I am over-reacting but in 24 hrs, India braved two major terrorist strikes: In the first, Naxalites killed 12 CRPF policemen in Chhattisgarh and in other incident, 18 persons killed in Manipur in blasts by suspected People Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PRPK). Ironically they were not considered terrorist strikes.
Not one inspector MC Sharma, here 12 central policemen were killed but how much coverage did the deaths get in national media? Chhattisgarh could be far from Delhi but even a blast that kills one person in any other City, gets much more coverage.
The 18 deaths in Imphal didn't send the electronic media guys crazy. Of course, PRPK [or the KCP Military Council that has claimed role in blasts] can't be a story as it has no Muslim-sounding names. Isn't Imphal in India? Had it been in Assam, it may have got a wider coverage.
But the main issue is not the lack of adequate coverage of these tragic events. It is about how and why the killers in Chhattisgarh and in Manipur are never called TERRORISTS. They are called militants or Maoists or rebels or ultra-leftists.
I don't even rue the coverage of these blasts in newspapers [in case of blasts where Muslims are suspects, the headlines are always like 'India Attacked' and special articles on edit pages follow for days] or the comparison to blasts in Bangalore, Delhi, Malegaon or any other City.
What worries me is that these killers are not even referred to as terrorists. As if a Muslim-sounding name is necessary for that. This is a major grievance. I don't say that you should associate these acts with the religion, language or the cause or even these groups.
But, by not referring to them as terrorists, and simply terming PERPK radicals, Naga fighters, KCPC militants or Maoist rebels, the media and our politicians are doing a great discrimination. However, in case of Muslims, the branding is easiy: They are not just terrorists but also insensitively termed 'Islamic terrorists'.
Is it innocence? That's what Muslims ask. But they don't get any answers. After every other blast that happen in mainland apart from Naxal-infested areas, Muslims are asked to introspect. We do. But what about you? Will you--politicians and media introspect?
Just a few hours after I wrote this post, the police have spoken about the role of Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) in the recent blasts in Malegaon and Modasa (Gujarat) ahead of Eid. Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and a few others have been arrested.
After Nanded, Parbhani, Tamil Nadu's Tenkasi, Kanpur and several other places where activists of Bajrang Dal or similar organisations were found involved in similar acts. There are often, small sub-groups, that can get more radical and extremist. Once again, I would say Terror has no Religion.
The Sadhvi's arrest
The first reaction to the arrest of Sadhvi was of shock. Some sections even termed it as a political stunt. The truth is that Congress is not going to gain from the arrests, as it will lead to further polarisation, so it is ridiculous to say that they hae been framed.
And there must have been hard evidences otherwise, it was not easy to arrest a religious person, epecially a woman, who had links with top politicians. It is childish to believe that a particular person can't do it. For the last three years, there were evidences that 'ultra-right wing Hindu organisations were involved in such activities'.
Once again, it is wrong to term any person who has not been tried in the court of law as yet, as terrorist. It is equally wrong to link the actions with religion. But there are fanatics in all religions. Many Sadhvis spewed venom against Muslims during the turbulent period of mid-80s to early 90s.
It is also a dangerous phenomenon to see many right-wing Hindu organisations, already claiming that she is framed, and even offering her legal aid. Some have even justified 'this form of terrorism', as a reply to the 'other kind of terror'.
There has been involvement of such organisations in blasts in various cities of Maharashtra, MP, UP, Tamil Nadu and other states. Even more worrying are the reports that retired armymen were involved in some ways to these groups.
I am more surprised that many people openly express surprise at the arrests and say that 'those associated with the RSS can't do it'. Sangh is surely involved in some charitable activities but it is an organisation that has a different vision of India and it's history has never been of a tolerant group.
Its cadres have played a role in riots and carnages. And it is quite possible for a smaller group within a radical organisation to grow more radical. So let's not brand any particular religion or group, stop justification of any form of violence through Newton's principles and wait for the courts to decide.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Posted by editor at 1:27 PM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is one of the most dangerous terrorist organisations in the world. Even the ultra-liberal would find it difficult to term them as fighters, as the organisation has been responsible for the assassination of a Prime Minister of our country.
In this context, it is strange to see the audacity of DMK, which is forcing the Centre to act and intervene. The Sri Lankan army offensive seems to have pushed LTTE to the wall. And we hear that the militant group has suffered severe damages and may be completely wiped out (though it is doubtful).
However, DMK MPs have been threatening the UPA government on the issue. It wants India to intervene in the matter. Isn't it outrageous? Firstly, it tantatmounts to interfere in the internal affairs of another sovereign country where we have burnt our fingers badly int he past. Secondly, it was barely 17 years ago when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a LTTE suicide bomber.
Of course, Centre can make an appeal (as we have done along with other countries) to Colombo to ensure that civilians (Tamils) shouldn't bear the brunt of the attack on LTTE. But, the amount of pressure exerted on the Congress-led government by the party, is unwarranted and unethical. The Tamil Nadu government wants the military operations against LTTE to stop as the army is closing in on Kilinochi, the rebel capital and stronghold of Eelam.
The Kalaignar [DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi] thunders that 'we can go to any extent to stop the annihilation of the Tamil race' and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appears acquiesing. Pranab Mukherjee is also going to reach Lanka for urging for 'negotations' as the UPA feels that 'there is no military solution to the issue'.
Can you believe it, what our government says. External Affairs Minister has already expresse 'grave concern' over the situation. PM told Sri Lanka president Rajapksa on phone that 'there is no military solution to this conflict and there should be political negotiations for a peacefully negotiated settlement, reports said. That's Congress speaking!
In normal circumstances any such incident, could have caused an outrage and led to questions over commitment to country and patriotism, but it seems that media also lets Dravidian parties go to absurd lengths in furthering their political ends, even if that goes against the national interest.
Posted by editor at 10:13 AM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The anti-Christian violence in Orissa did claim 35 lives but not one person died in Karnataka. Still, the UPA did issue warnings to both the state governments under the Article 355 of Indian constitution--a rare thing.
In sharp contrast, Assam where Congress is the ruling party, no action was taken though the figure of death went past 60 and 150,000 people had to fled their homes. The riots at Rabori and later the Dhule communal clash which claimed dozens of lives, didn't stir the Centre (that was quite perturbed over Karnataka violence). The riots in Congress-ruled AP's Adilabad where an entire family was burnt alive are also a case in the point.
Isn't it strange that 27 mosques were attacked and vandalised in Dhule* and over 20,000 people living in refugee camps but the UPA didn't issue any warning to Vilas Rao Deshmukh's government? True, Muslim countries don't put up pressure [for good, though] the way France and Germany embarrassed our Prime Minister by taking up the issue of Kandhamal.
But isn't it the cleary hypocrisy of Congress. Its clear bias when it rebukes Karnataka CM but doesn't bother about the dance of death in Bhainsa town of Adilabad (Andhra Pradesh) where a Congress government rules the state, Maharashtra and Assam.
It is quite a fashion to brand the BJP as communal, but I must say that the Congress is solely responsible for the situation where communal riots are not treated seriously. Except the short breaks in the last twenty years, Congress has ruled the nation for most the time since independence and its attitude has been the same.
Terming a BJP leader as murderer is okay. But what the Congress' role is? That of Nero! Our bureaucracy turned immune to riots during Congress regimes. As a result, today town in four States in various parts of the country are witnessing the deaths of innocents--Burhanpur (Madhya Pradesh), Adilabad (AP), Assam and Dhule (Maharashtra).
[*The horror tales of Dhule didn't get proper mention in the media also. Apparently, a state like Karnataka that has been identified with software gets attention at the slightest incident but massacres in far-flung rural areas get ignored.]
Posted by editor at 10:37 AM
Friday, October 10, 2008
The tales of Djinns are fascinating and of course scary at the same time. In my childhood I heard numerous tales about the djinns (or jinns) and their exploits.
The photo shows the Jizyagarhi mosque in Kakori, 14 km fom Lucknow. We heard umpteen stories of the djinns living in this ancient mosque. Relatives would tell that when they entered the mosque there would be no soul but when they started praying, suddenly dozens of persons in spotless white dress would appear in the front, side and back rows. Or that when sat for ablutions before namaz, a hand would bring the tumbler full of water.
These are just some of the tales. But when I walk past the old palaces, kothis, mosques and the particular trees in my hometown, a chill still runs down my spine. I don't know if the djinns any longer come to study in the local madarsa, as per the old legends. I didn't ask anybody either but I'm sure the stories won't have vanished. Legends just keep growing.
Stories heard in the childhood have a great impact on one's mind. The friendly jinns who loved to eat coal and bones and in return gave away 'asharfis' and also the ones who fell in love with beautiful girls who never got married as they got possessed.
There were also the 'shararti jinns' who never did any harm except frightening elderly women by extending their hand to say, a distance of 50 feet, or other mischiefs. On my recent visit to the town, I did venture towards the mosque but didn't step inside. It was not that I feared that a hand would come from nowhere to pat me and ask to leave but I walked away after taking a photograph. More about djinns in later posts.
Monday, October 06, 2008
It is no longer a joke if you say that 24 hr TV channel is a monster. Firstly, it has to telecast something round the clock and then also ensure that the TRPs don't fall. But one does expect some basic ethics of journalism to be followed even in the process of grabbing eyeballs.
Ironically, IBN7, a Hindi News channel, seems to have lost all sense of propriety even though it is headed by a senior journalist Ashutosh, who has a credibility.
I am forced to write, as for weeks I have been witnessing how the 'opinionated reporters and anchors' of this channel are trying to poison the minds of people and fan communal hatred.
On Monday, I was shocked to hear the views of the anchor Sandeep Chaudhary in the discussion programme 'Mudda'. Though a seasoned journalist, he appeared convinced when he thundered that why 'liberal Indian Muslims don't speak up against terrorism'.
Doesn't he know that we do hold innumerable protests but not one does his channel show. When Chhamman Miyan holds protest, it is not mentioned. We don't own newspapers and channels and so blogs and sites are our sole media to express our anguish.
After every act of terrorism, on umpteen blogs, Muslims condemn it. Dozens of times I have written on my blog and every other guy is doing it. Can't you see it. When lakhs of Muslims sent curse to terrorists in an extraordinary event, you don't report it.
What do we do? Chaudhary Sahab, besides the fact that you are not aware and don't bother to read, you are doing great injustice by spreading canards and repeating the allegations of right-wing groups. Your attitude during the whole debate clearly showed that you are not at all receptive, not ready to listen and asked questions that were bordering on hatespeak: that's unfair journalism.
You have a power, so you should act responsibly. Delhi alone has half-a-dozen Urdu papers and I wonder you ever get a copy at your office. You can have a translator and get the reports translated to know, how much Muslims are anguished by the terrorism, as we find it most difficult to get a house or job after such events.
The irony is that a same set of panelists appear on these shows. It's not for diverse views but for 'heated exchanges' so that the TRPs soar. Whenever the anchor is uncomfortable, he will force the guy to stop and ask another person to reply or simply fire a fresh question, jump to another topic or say, 'let's meet after break'. He has no accountability.
You can see the show at the website of IBN 7 at IBN Khabar.
It is strange to see how the anchors are speaking the language of BJP and VHP. 'Vote bank politics'. Isn't every politics about votes? Doesn't BJP do it, when it aims to fan communal feelings, as it wants polarisation and in turn aims at 'Hindu vote bank'?
Then there was the same issue of madarsas (though now it seems techies are involved). Yaa, for godsake understand that if one madarsa guy is involved you can't simply demonize the lakhs of madarsas in India, just because you have borrowed the terminology of United States. The topic of the debate in the programme Mudda was 'Aatankvad and Musalman'. Again linking Islam directly to terror.
Even in coutries of Europe where Muslims haven't been living for over a century, there is much sensitivity. Bhai, sab ko gaali doge to kyaa faida hoga. I am writing on blog, the guy who doesn't have a blog and is equally anguished will stop watching TV, get more cynical as his letter to paper may not be published and lose faith in media.
If you are doing an analysis, you can still write that. But when you say it news that 'No stricter laws because of vote bank politics', you simply put the blame on entire Indian Muslim community, as if they are soft on terror.
And this was what IBN 7's Shirish Srivastava was emphatically doing just ten days back. I have got nothing against you or your channel. But the fact that millions watch your channel and such prejudiced views lead to increased communalism and hatred in society.
People trust media and when mediamen air such prejudiced views, it hurts the nation. Yes, Muslims are doing inward looking and are condemning terror and also ready to fight it, but don't judge the 150 million Indian Muslim community on the basis of the actions of a few or pronounce a verdict.
It is unfortunate that a news channel needs this lecture. In times of turbulence we ought to be more careful but it seems you are getting swayed away faster than the common man.
Though I am nobody. I can ask much tough questions but I don't. You guys should also do an inward looking and introspection that what service you are doing to nation by airing such views that only end up hurting a community by your stereotypes and biased charges.
Where has objectivity got lost? Even Ashutosh's post on this subject on his blog on IBN7 website isn't mature enough. He also airs the same views and praised his anchor, who only airs one-sided views.[Jamia Milia Islamia professor Aalam Anwar has meanwhile written a reply to Ashutosh's blog post, which has been published on CNN-IBN (English) channel's website.]
Thank God, the channel doesn't reach entire rural India else they could have ran riots by the reporting. When such programmes get repeated, and are shown all the time with similar biased views, even the most unbiased ordinary person will get affected.
Maun ham nahi saadh rahe. Aap pura sach nahi bol rahe.
News channels like Aajtak, Star News and others are again playing up the 'votebank' issue over statements of politicians demanding judicial inquiry.
No one is belittling the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, but the fact remains that these TV channels are so upset that a martyr [shaheed] is being dragged in controversy after death, but have no concern that by this repetition of votebank theory they are defaming 150 million Indian Muslims each and every day, round the clock.
Ever thought of it? If you don't like a politician's statement, castigate him but don't brand Muslims again, and give the impression that they are soft on terror.
Posted by editor at 3:34 AM