Sunday, June 02, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Elections are just two days away!
Have YOU heard 'The Parties' talk?
A cartoon that I made for 'The Friday Times' 22 years ago …
Click it to see it larger
Vote for a young Independent Candidate
whose views are similar to yours.
They are the ones who will represent you
and vote regardless of any Party Chief's view.
You will also talk to these candidates many times
in the next 5 years
… and not only just a few days prior to 2018 elections.
Vote for a young Independent Candidate
whose views are similar to yours.
They are the ones who will represent you
and vote regardless of any Party Chief's view.
You will also talk to these candidates many times
in the next 5 years
… and not only just a few days prior to 2018 elections.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Al-Buraq (The Lightning) was a Horse?
The Qur'an has no such description, of course.
Where, then, did Buraq's human face come from?
Most often it is a female face.
Hadees does mention the Buraq
… but is the female face ever mentioned?
(In any case, some Muslims do not believe in Hadees)
Here's an image of the Buraq
Many more like this are seen everywhere
including on our delightfully made truck art.
Why Mehdi Hasan thought it was a horse surprised me, too! I know it is the generally accepted form among Muslims, but a well-read journalist should understand that there is no way that he can prove something like this from the Qur'an, a book all Muslims support and accept. It can always be questioned by others, but many non-Muslims will understand his belief if the Qur'an says so and allow it … just as Muslims allow a Christian to believe that Christ came back from the dead in 3 days, though, according to many of them he was 'taken up by God' as they understood it from the Qur'an. Of course, some differ here, too.
Wikipedia says this: While the Buraq is almost always portrayed with a human face in far-eastern and Persian art, no Hadiths or early Islamic references allude to it having a humanoid face. This, which found its way into Indian and Persian Islamic art, may have been influenced by a misrepresentation or translation from Arabic to Persian of texts and stories describing the winged steed as a "... beautiful faced creature."
Here is one Hadees!
A translation of Sahih al-Bukhari (5:58:227) describes Al-Buraq this way (as the Prophet said): "Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me."
Legends grow up and become articles of faith some day.
Here, for example, is the Naqshbandi's view:
When God ordered Gabriel to carry with him the Buraq for the Prophet to ride, he went to the Paradise of buraqs and there he found forty million buraqs. Every buraq had a crown on its forehead inscribed with the words: "There is no god except God, and Muhammad is His Messenger." Under it was written: "Believe in Me, in My angels, in My holy books, and in My prophets." Gabriel saw among them a buraq who secluded himself and who sat alone crying. Gabriel came to him and asked him why he was in such a state. The Buraq answered: "I heard the name of Muhammad forty thousand years ago, and my yearning for him has prevented me from eating and drinking." Gabriel chose that buraq and he took him.The Buraq had the body of a horse but the face of a human being, with big black eyes and soft ears. His color was that of a peacock whose plumage was set with red rubies and corals, on which sat a white head of musk on a neck of amber. His ears and shoulders were of pure white pearls attached with golden chains, each chain decorated with glittering jewels. His saddle was made of silk lined with silver and gold threads. His back was covered with green emerald and his halter was pure peridot.
How many of you actually believe this?
For more details of Isra (and Mi'raj) take a look here. But remember that many traditions that people have been following are much further from the truth. As an example, Masjid-Al-Aqsa (that Muslims take to be in Jerusalem) was not a mosque at the time of Isra! When Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem after the Prophet's death, a mosque was built there.
Recently Mohammad Shaikh - a young scholar of Qur'an - has also challenged this belief of Masjid-al-Aqsa being in Jerusalem. He finds different answers from the Qur'an and lectures on it from his IIPC. Of course, many other ülemaas call his ideas nonsensical. But that's for the believers to decide. I just know him well from the time he was my Cadet on a Merchant Ship, though I knew his family well.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
What — Me Worry?
Death is here to stay … while Life moves on. We now have politicians campaigning everywhere for the elections on May 11th … and being attacked (quite often even killed). Every party has had that happen to it (or will have it, as the election dates get closer).
Here, for example, is Norbalm (Norbert Almeida - who also sends messages of crime out on the Phone if you subscribe to the service) and his first message this morning: #Karachi early morning 4 bodies. Shot/tortured dumped in different parts of the city.
We also have peculiar laws here, too.
Ahmadis cannot freely vote in Pakistan due to the discriminatory processes introduced in the election related laws which climaxed during the regime of former dictator General Pervez Musharraf. He bowed to Islamists' demands (as did Z A Bhutto!) and issued a Presidential Executive Order, effectively barring Ahmadis from participating in the election process. The Executive Order No. 15 of 2002 excluded Ahmadis from the country's joint voter roll, requiring they be registered on a supplementary voter roll, and necessitated that Ahmadis must sign a declaration to renounce their faith in Islamic tenets.
Let's look at a major belief among Shias themselves (and the Sunnis).
'Imam Mehdi'— the 12th Asna Ash'ari Shia Imam — (the Shias believe) was taken away by the Will of Allah when he was a child, and he will 're-appear' before Doomsday. Strangely, the Sunnis, with no information about this from the Qur'an, also believe in Imam Mehdi's coming to Earth because it is mentioned in the Ahaadees. Naturally, there are strong differences: The Shia Imam has been born! The Sunni Imam Mehdi will be born!
Would some of the Muslims in Pakistan (Sunni or Shia) be annoyed, too, if the Aga Khanis or the Bohris were not allowed to vote? They are considered Shias, but are not part of the Asna Ash'ari group which is the major portion of Shias.
The Aga Khanis have a Living Imam, which is why I could not find a proper Imam Mehdi piece on the Internet about their beliefs. The Dawoodi Bohras have this to say, and this … parts of which could even be considered Blasphemy. Bohris, according to an article on the Internet "believe in appearance of Imam Mahdi who will fill this earth with justice while it is filled with oppression. They claim that Imam Mahdi appeared in North Africa whose name was Abdullah and founded Fatimid dynasty which is drawn from the progeny of Ali and Fatima."
And we are not even counting the Alawis/Nusayris of Syria, although Ayatullah Khomeini accepted them as being part of the Asna Ash'ari Shias, despite their heterodoxy.
The mad/bad militant groups from Saudi Arabia, known as the Wahhabis, as well as their growing followers in Pakistan, have claimed that Shias are not Muslims at all … and some other Sunni sects agree with them, including the Barelvis (*). Wahhabis also 'separate' the other Sunni groups from Islam (or consider them as having been shifted away from the 'true' religion) when left to their own devices.
Members of the Deobandis, a stricter version of the Sunnis in our subcontinent, are anti-Qavvaali and Milad and many other things that the Barelvis practice. The Barelvis add new ideas to Islam (considered a küfr by the Deobandis) … and soon these things become an 'act of faith' to their followers.
Startlingly it was a Barelvi who killed Salman Taseer … and he has hundreds of supporters from the Deobandi and the Barelvi crowd.
Yesterday, I saw this item in the news:
Thirty-two members of the U.S. Congress lawmakers have sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. The letter bluntly says they cannot accept the May election results in Pakistan if Ahmadis are not also included as part of Pakistan's joint electorate.The lawmakers impressed upon Secretary Kerry saying, "we cannot stand idly by and allow four million Ahamdis to remain disenfranchised and outside the electoral process. You have a unique opportunity to advocate on behalf of an entire segment of Pakistani society which has long been marginalized and oppressed…"Secretary Kerry has been asked to 'press' Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari to immediately repeal Executive Order No. 15 of 2002 and have reminded President Zardari that with the historical successful completion of a term of democratically elected government, he has a unique opportunity to remove discriminatory voting restrictions on Ahmadis.
Can President Zardari agree? If he does, will Pakistan's Interim Government accept it? Or will Zardari be considered a Blasphemer by the JI and others?
So where are we headed?
Last night I saw a video - something you must see to understand that there are a few voices of reason in Pakistan. I know that this young man may not win … but I think he deserves your vote if you are in NA-250/PS-113. Talk to him first, though! There may be other areas where he may have very different and, often, contrary views to you.
(*) When I was at sea - and studying all religious beliefs - I came across a Chief Engineer who was a Barelvi. He had literature from his sect and gave me a copy of Imam Raza's works to read. Imam Raza is the Head of the Barelvi School of Thought (and is not the Shia Imam Raza). He has written many books, including a Tafseer of the Qur'an. One person had written to him and asked him that if he wanted to marry a Muslim Girl and there were no other Muslims in the area where he lived, what should they do for the required Vakeel. The book had this answer (it's not verbatim, but the gist is the same): If no Muslims are available get a person from Ahl-e-Kitaab (The People of the Book), that is a Jew or a Christian. Do not get Kuffaars (Disbelievers), such as a Hindu or a Shia!
Monday, April 15, 2013
A bit late, but Comics come to Pakistan …
T2F was where 'Umru Ayar - The Comic' was launched a day ago. Take a look at this lovely story. That's a bunch of 6 young people who love Comics and want to bring them seriously into Pakistan. A great start. If you love Comics, do subscribe to their Facebook page. Hope they succeed.
The group intends to bring out loads of classic tales, crime stories of Ibné Safi(!), and much, much more. I am sure they'll need more people and if you are into drawing comics maybe you should join them or have a word and see how your art can be used - independently or with their work.
I certainly wish we develop and bring out the talent to make Comics and Graphic Novels. We need lots of talent. We need people who understand the art of making such things, from the good old style comics … all the way to Manga … and more. We need all our people reading them the way they read them in other parts of the world, from children to grown-ups.
While I love the work these young people put in - (I've read all their previous free issues) - but, on a personal level, I'd rather have my favourite Graphic Novels in good old black & white. Really.
If you haven't seen what they are like, take a look at almost anything from the Master of it all, Will Eisner (often called 'the father of the graphic novel'). He authored some of the most wonderful books ever.
There's, of course, Scott McCloud whose work is amazing and Understanding Comics is in a class by itself. Being an artist isn't enough. Read Physics! Honest! Read this book and you'll see why. Read People, Accents, Expressions … after all, they'll be in your books, no?
Graphic Novels or Comics are brought out by teams of people … and, occasionally, by a single person who knows and understands all this. Become one … or get someone you can discuss these things with.
Art Spiegelman whose marvellous Maus is worth a reading again and again … and specially if you have a CD-ROM version of it to see. I wish they'd re-release it soon. Maus also was the first Graphic Novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Joe Sacco - (whose birthday I share, along with Gandhi Ji) - has written several Political Graphic Novels, including Palestine.
And, finally in this list, there's Marjane Satrapi whose Persepolis was superb. The film was wonderful, too. There are many others one could name and I'll leave them for another time.
Coming close to home, Indian Comics are superb, too, and there's always a good choice to buy new ones when I am in Dilli or Bombay:
Take a look at anything by Sarnath Banerjee (start with his 3 books). He's a wonderful friend who comes to Karachi sometimes. Worth meeting if you are here.
Amit Dasgupta's An Indian By Choice is another way that comics can be made - simple, modern, wonderful, important.
And for a REAL treat, buy Bhimayana - a story by Durgabai and Subash Vyam about the life of Ambedkar. The illustrations are amazing in the fabulous artwork by Srividya Natarajan and S. Anand. This was considered one of the top Political Graphic Novels by CNN.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
RIP Manzoor Sahab
Ustaad Manzoor Niazi Sahab
Qavvaali has lost one of its finest masters
and a great gentleman today!
This was the last time I heard him, singing a naat that, years ago,
he and his elder cousin Ustaad Munshi Raziuddin Sahab,
had sung at the mausoleum of The Prophet in Madina.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
A Piece for Pynchon
in the works of Pynchon
in the works of Pynchon
Zaheer A. Kidvai
Head of the Department of New Media, Hamdard University
1. Contexts of absurdity
The characteristic theme of Hubbard’s critique of postdialectic narrative is the role of the reader as artist. Scuglia implies that we have to choose between deconstructivist appropriation and the pretextual paradigm of narrative.
It could be said that the subject is interpolated into a cultural theory that includes art as a whole. If deconstructivist appropriation holds, we have to choose between postdialectic narrative and posttextual socialism.
But Bataille uses the term ‘the patriarchial paradigm of discourse’ to denote the stasis, and eventually the fatal flaw, of precapitalist sexual identity. The primary theme of the works of Spelling is the common ground between class and narrativity.
Thus, the subject is contextualised into a neocapitalist nihilism that includes culture as a paradox. In Models, Inc., Spelling deconstructs postdialectic narrative; in Robin’s Hoods, however, he examines neocapitalist nihilism.
2. Spelling and deconstructivist appropriation
“Society is intrinsically meaningless,” says Marx; however, according to Hubbard , it is not so much society that is intrinsically meaningless, but rather the absurdity, and hence the defining characteristic, of society. In a sense, Hanfkopf holds that we have to choose between neocapitalist nihilism and postdeconstructivist deconstructivism. The subject is interpolated into a postdialectic narrative that includes sexuality as a reality.
In the works of Pynchon, a predominant concept is the distinction between opening and closing. Therefore, Derrida promotes the use of deconstructivist appropriation to deconstruct and read class. Baudrillard uses the term ‘neocapitalist nihilism’ to denote not discourse per se, but subdiscourse.
If one examines postdialectic narrative, one is faced with a choice: either reject the dialectic paradigm of expression or conclude that art is capable of truth, given that narrativity is equal to truth. However, the premise of deconstructivist appropriation suggests that the goal of the poet is social comment. Lyotard uses the term ‘neocapitalist nihilism’ to denote the role of the observer as reader.
“Culture is elitist,” says Derrida. Thus, many theories concerning posttextual deconstruction exist. Deconstructivist appropriation implies that context must come from the masses, but only if Foucault’s essay on the capitalist paradigm of narrative is valid; if that is not the case, the raison d’etre of the writer is deconstruction.
In the works of Pynchon, a predominant concept is the concept of predialectic language. It could be said that the ground/figure distinction depicted in Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow is also evident in The Crying of Lot 49, although in a more mythopoetical sense. Sontag uses the term ‘postdialectic narrative’ to denote the bridge between class and narrativity.
Therefore, the premise of neocapitalist nihilism suggests that society, perhaps ironically, has significance. The subject is contextualised into a capitalist nationalism that includes sexuality as a paradox.
However, if deconstructivist appropriation holds, the works of Pynchon are empowering. Bataille uses the term ‘subtextual capitalist theory’ to denote the absurdity, and some would say the economy, of neodialectic truth.
Therefore, Porter implies that we have to choose between deconstructivist appropriation and capitalist nihilism. Any number of deconstructivisms concerning the role of the artist as participant may be found.
In a sense, Sontag suggests the use of neocapitalist nihilism to attack class divisions. The subject is interpolated into a predialectic deconstruction that includes consciousness as a totality.
Therefore, the main theme of Scuglia’s analysis of postdialectic narrative is not situationism, but postsituationism. An abundance of narratives concerning deconstructivist appropriation exist.
It could be said that if neocapitalist nihilism holds, we have to choose between submodern desublimation and cultural discourse. Marx uses the term ‘postdialectic narrative’ to denote a predialectic reality.
3. Deconstructivist appropriation and the patriarchialist paradigm of reality
If one examines subconceptual narrative, one is faced with a choice: either accept neocapitalist nihilism or conclude that the State is fundamentally meaningless. But the characteristic theme of the works of Pynchon is the difference between language and class. In Vineland, Pynchon analyses postdialectic narrative; in V he reiterates dialectic discourse.
The primary theme of Parry’s critique of postdialectic narrative is the genre, and eventually the fatal flaw, of subdeconstructivist art. In a sense, the characteristic theme of the works of Pynchon is a self-supporting paradox. Dahmus holds that we have to choose between neocapitalist nihilism and the capitalist paradigm of consensus.
Thus, a number of narratives concerning not construction, as pretextual libertarianism suggests, but neoconstruction may be revealed. The main theme of de Selby’s model of neocapitalist nihilism is the common ground between sexual identity and class.
Therefore, if postdialectic narrative holds, the works of Eco are postmodern. Lacan’s essay on neocapitalist nihilism implies that reality may be used to exploit minorities, given that narrativity is distinct from reality.
It could be said that the primary theme of the works of Eco is not, in fact, theory, but posttheory. Debord uses the term ‘the patriarchialist paradigm of reality’ to denote a pretextual totality.
However, several discourses concerning postdialectic narrative exist. The example of neocapitalist nihilism which is a central theme of Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum emerges again in The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas.
4. Eco and the patriarchialist paradigm of reality
In the works of Eco, a predominant concept is the distinction between closing and opening. But any number of materialisms concerning the collapse, and some would say the economy, of cultural society may be found. Marx uses the term ‘neocapitalist nihilism’ to denote not deappropriation per se, but subdeappropriation.
The characteristic theme of Sargeant’s model of the patriarchialist paradigm of reality is a mythopoetical reality. In a sense, an abundance of narratives concerning postdialectic narrative exist. The premise of prestructuralist discourse suggests that narrativity is capable of significance.
Thus, Baudrillard promotes the use of postdialectic narrative to analyse sexual identity. In JFK, Stone analyses Derridaist reading; in Natural Born Killers, although, he examines the patriarchialist paradigm of reality.
In a sense, textual sublimation implies that consciousness is used to reinforce sexism. Several narratives concerning the role of the reader as writer may be revealed.
But the primary theme of the works of Stone is not discourse, but postdiscourse. Lacan suggests the use of neocapitalist nihilism to challenge hierarchy.
In a sense, the main theme of Tilton’s critique of the patriarchialist paradigm of reality is the role of the reader as poet. Baudrillard uses the term ‘neocapitalist nihilism’ to denote the difference between class and society.
1. Hubbard, Z. Q. H. ed. (1983) Reassessing Constructivism: Postdialectic narrative and neocapitalist nihilism. Loompanics
2. Scuglia, N. S. (1975) Neocapitalist nihilism and postdialectic narrative. O’Reilly & Associates
3. Hubbard, A. ed. (1983) The Forgotten House: Neocapitalist nihilism in the works of Pynchon. And/Or Press
4. Hanfkopf, P. L. (1994) Postdialectic narrative and neocapitalist nihilism. University of Michigan Press
5. Porter, Q. ed. (1978) The Meaninglessness of Society: Postdialectic narrative in the works of McLaren. Harvard University Press
6. Scuglia, C. D. K. (1986) Neocapitalist nihilism and postdialectic narrative. And/Or Press
7. Parry, T. ed. (1974) Precapitalist Theories: Postdialectic narrative and neocapitalist nihilism. University of California Press
8. Dahmus, R. T. S. (1991) Neocapitalist nihilism in the works of Eco. Loompanics
9. de Selby, C. ed. (1984) The Circular Sea: Neocapitalist nihilism and postdialectic narrative. Panic Button Books
10. Sargeant, P. Q. S. (1997) Neocapitalist nihilism in the works of Stone. Loompanics
11. Tilton, R. ed. (1989) Forgetting Bataille: Postdialectic narrative in the works of Gaiman. And/Or Press
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
An Angry Response & My Answer
On my previous post I had written about where we seem to be headed.
It was my personal opinion and mentioned all the minorities, mainly. It was not intended to be an anti-Shia post by a long shot. The murder of Shias has been something that all of us - at least those that are still sensible - have found to be among the greatest of tragedies.
However, it was necessary to look at what has been happening in the past to understand what has been going on.
I got this review - full of lies - on the LUBP website.
The link they have mentioned is my BlogPost Website
and not the Tehelka one
and not the Tehelka one
(Also, I am Kidvai, not Kidwai. They, too, have corrected it later!)
Zaheer Kidwai’s insensitive comments on Shia Genocide in Tehelka http://kidvai.blogspot.com/ is a perfect example of why the World community is so misinformed about this issue. His comments reek of subconscious sectarian bigotry. They highlight that instead of informing the world about Shia Genocide in Pakistan, its civil society, intelligentsia and media would rather recycle the manufactured and false discourse of the military establishment.
Kidwai makes the flippant, false and unsubstantiated assumption that LUBP’s identification of the perpetrator’s being Deobandi has to do with its contributors belong to the Barelvi school of thought.
FACT: This identification is by the perpetrators themselves and the ideological support that they have from umbrella organizations like Ulma-e-Deoband. This identification comes from LUBP always adoptiong a specific stance as opposed to the vague, wishy washy discourse of Pakistan’s English speaking elitest civil society types. This identification is based on decades of research instead of the mathematically-challenged insensitive ramblings of subconscious bigots where ASWJ-LeJ (formerly known as Sipah Sahaba) and Jaish Mohammad have publically aligned and launched themselves from Deobandi mosques and madrasses.
FACT: LUBP’s diverse editorial and contributer panel includes both Barelvis and Deobandis. It also includes Shias, Hindus, Christains, Ahmadis. LUBP has also stood up against the oppression on women, Baloch, Pashtun, Seriaki, atheists and LGBT communities that make a truly diverse Pakistan – in start contrast to the narrow, myopic worldviews of the Punjabi-Muhajir elite that dominate Pakistan’s military-civil bureaucracy and their extensions and flatterers.
In standing up for those who are the victims of State sponsored oppression, LUBP has spared no one. From political parties (PPP, PMLs, PTI, MQM) to religious parties (JI, JUI, MWM) LUBP has been vocal in its condemnation. Unlike the selective moral pandering of Pakistan’s civil society elites, LUBP has also been critical of the Islamofascist Media-Judiciary nexus and its military establishment sponsors.
FACT: Unlike the deeply compromised and vague discourse of civil society and intelligentsia, LUBP has been CLEAR since the beginning about both the victims -Shias, Barelvis, Moderate/Non-Takfiri Deobandis, Hindus, Christains, Ahmadis, Sikhs and the Perpetrators – the State Backed and Saudi funded Takfiri Deobandi militant networks. These networks which include the Taliban, ASWJ-LeJ and Jaish Mohammad are all interconnected and their terrorists move fluidly from one group to the next. All of them have been allied with Al Qaeda since the 1990’s.
The FACT that Zaheer Kidvai does not even bother to once name the perpetrators (ASWJ-LeJ) and the ideology (Takfirism) that guides their acts of violence speaks volumes about his motives of writing what is essentially a very insensitive and factually questionable article.
The insensitivity continues when Zaheer Kidvai uses a statistic that is nearly a hundred years old to downplay the Shia muslim population of Pakistan. This tactic has previously been used by former ISI chief General Hamid Gul to downplay the Shia Hazara population of Afghanistan in the 1990s while they were being massacred by ISI’s Taliban proxies in Bamiyan, Mazar-e-Sharif and Yaekewlung province.
Similar tactics are also used by the ASWJ to highlight that Pakistan’s Shia muslim population is 4% of the total.
Now a lot can change in the nearly century old, pre-Partition benchmark that Mr. Kidvai uses to downplay the Shia population of Pakistan. It could be that census surveys were not that reliable a century ago. However, it seems that Mr. Kidvai needs a basic lesson in maths. If the population of Shias in an “Undivided India” was 2%, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that in Post-Partition Pakistan, where the muslim majority is 97%, that the Shia population is atleast 10% if not more. Similarly, the bulk of South Asia’s Shia population resides in what constitutes Paksitan which likely drives the number even higher. If Mr. Kidvai were to compute the percentage of the muslim population of Pre Partition India, I am sure he would come to the same mathematical conclusion that we did. Or he could still align his perceptions with General Hamid Gul and ASWJ-LeJ.
As for Kidvai’s criterion for separating Shia muslims on the basis of ethnicity, the less said the better. This is a favourite tactic by Pakistan’s compromised media. The massacres of Pashtuns in Parachinar, Gilgitis in Kohistan , Hazaras, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Urdu speakers, Kandharis in Quetta and Seriakis/Punjabis in Bhakkar, D G Khan, Khanpur and Sindhis/Urdu speakers in Karachi were done because they were Shia. Their shared belief is the reason and not their separate identity.
Dividing Shia casualties along ethnic lines serves to dilute the outrage and is a typical dishonest tactic by Pakistan’s media and intelligentsia.
The most unkindest cut was dragging the late Benazir’s faith into this discussion. One can disagree with SMBB and President Zardari on many different counts but why should their outrage and condemnation be based on their faith?
Is Kidvai trying to say that Shias should watch out for themselves and only Shia influentials should speak out on the ongoing Shia Genocide wheras others like him should continue fudging the issue. For the record, President Zardari, inspite of his government’s helplessness and inability to speak out on this issue has been one of the few leaders in Pakistan to speak out against the general scrouge of extremism. When PPP Minister Bhatti was killed, his Taliban murderers specifically threatened Zardari. Similarly, Kidvai only needs to watch SMBB last speech to know her clear and unequivocal stance against the Taliban – unlike Kidvai’s civil society friends who were marching with ASWJ/Lal Masjid and Hamid Gul behind Islamofascist judges.
Aurganzeb Farooqi and ASWJ reserve their hatred for PPP and ANP. As per reports, when SMBB was killed in 2007, the Taliban taunted the Turi Pashtun Shias who were resisting them with words to this effect:
“We have killed your Mother today”
For Kidvai to drag in SMBB into his ramblings was a low blow.
Jaffar Tayyar Bangash – My heart resides in Parachinar
My response was this (and has been posted below Mr. Bangash's article):
My comments, regardless of what you say, do not range from ‘subconscious sectarian bigotry’. I have not said I am whatever YOU think I am …
First of all, I have condemned on FB, Twitter, and in my previous blogpost the killing of Shias and Sunnis and Hindus and Christians and Ahmadis.
The remarks that I felt were strongly anti-Deobandi were also repeated by others that I discussed the matter with. The head;ine read “#ShiaGenocide: In 2012, total 1450 Shia Muslims killed by Deobandi militants in Pakistan” … If they sounded flippant, I am sorry. That was not my intention.
I am also not a Punjabi-Muhajir Elite. My article was about my growing up in a Pakistan that was very different from what it is now. My not mentioning LeJ and others was not that I am in favour of them – a fact that my articles, discussions, and posts will show you. No point, sirs, in starting to create idiotic ideas through peculiarly misinformed or maladjusted points in your amazing article in response to mine.
As for your piece about my rematks on the Shia population, I sent Feisal’s note to a friend – and said that in my post. Feisal Naqvi, I think, is a Shia … but I have no way of knowing that. I am only using a common Shia surname to say that. The friend, however, is a Sunni. He was sent the article for what was great about it. He sent back an answer that negated the Shia population Feisal had mentioned. I listed the article link and his answer. It does not, in any way, say that I believe the former or the latter opinion. I have no idea of the census or why it was held … and just quoted my friend, verbatim, on the subject. The Shia population was 2% of the Muslim population at that census. I have been told that after I contacted my friend!
Mr. Hamid Gul is neither someone I know nor someone whose views I subscribe to …
I did not separate the Shias at all. The majority of the Shias include the Hazaras!!! Please read my article again. On the other hand, the killers are possibly different people in the the murders. I think so … and so do some people who discussed this at a T2F meeting.
The matter of the President being a Shia has been brought up by many of my Shia friends. I mentioned that his wife was one, too, only because 2 weeks ago a debate had ranged on Twitter on whether she was a Sunni or a Shia. People who read my responses on Twitter (as well as friends who read my blogposts) were aware of this and I wanted to mark it in my post again.
It is not just incomprehensible that you say I am fudging the issue. It is downright stupid! A lot of my Sunni friends – including members of my family – went out and stood among the Shias who were protesting. Almost all my Shia friends, naturally, also went.
The funniest line in your post is this: “… unlike Kidvai’s civil society friends who were marching with ASWJ/Lal Masjid and Hamid Gul behind Islamofascist judges.”
Who were they, pray tell? None of my friends supported the ASWJ/Lal Masjid & Hamid Gul, Mr.Bangash. But if you want to spread lies, that’s up to you …
With best wishes,
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The Division Gets Worse
For several years we have had numerous incidents in Pakistan where the targets are minorities or people of a different faith from the attackers. This started years ago but has entered into a major league now.
Once there were Jews. Three of my friends who were in class, or were close friends, have gone to Israel because after the Palestine-Israel War people thought there families were ‘our enemies’. One friend was a year senior to me in the Merchant Navy and went to Israel just a little later as his family had received threats. Their Synagogue and the Graveyard are impossible to find now.
There were Ahmadis (neo-NonMuslims) who stay here – even now – under really bad draconian laws that would make it impossible for many people: They cannot say prayers in public, or sell their books, or quote from the Qur’an. Worse still, they can’t even wish Muslims with the standard Salaam Alaéküm because they could be jailed for it!!! Honest! People from any religion can say this - just like in English schools people would say Good Morning – but Ahmadis just can’t. Muslims are happy when a Hindu or a Christian (specially a Foreigner) uses these words … but an Ahmadi, now no longer a Muslim under our Constitution can’t do so. Their graves are, frequently, ‘thrown out’ of Muslim Graveyards (although buried long before the laws came in).
Many Ahmadis have left the country, but a large population has stayed here, despite having their mosque bombed. Oh, sorry. They don’t have a mosque. They have ‘a place of worship’. Mosques are the Muslim version. And they cannot have Minarets or Domes on their ‘place of worship’, either. Muslims might walk into them by mistake and land in hell! (Incidentally I have seen some Muslim Mosques without Minarets and Domes, but …)
We had our first Foreign Minister, M. Zafarullah Khan, who was appointed by Mr Jinnah. He was an Ahmadi. We had Professor Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel Prize winner. He was an Ahmadi. In fact the Government was so upset at his gravestone which said ” … became the First Muslim Nobel Laureate for his work in Physics …” that they had the word ‘Muslim’ officially removed. It now reads:
The Jamaaté Islami – once strongly against Jinnah Sahab, but now claiming that it was they who made Pakistan – was a group that most strongly wanted to have Ahmadis called ‘non-Muslims’. They just couldn’t do it, despite a skirmish against Ahmadis in 1953, in Lahore, where several people were killed. A Martial law was declared there. Maulana Maudoodi, head of Jamaat, was sentenced to death … but was later allowed to leave Pakistan (Money! Money! Money!) … However, Mr. Bhutto did so, in a way to appease the Jamaat’s anger at him. Didn’t work, though. They wanted him dead, too, and offered sweets to us on the road the day he was killed by the President’s orders. Well, not officially. But Zia was part of the team that wanted Mr Bhutto dead.
There are Hindus – specially a lot of them in Sindh – who have whole series of attacks going on against them. Mainly, recently, their young girls have been taken away and forced to become Muslims … before being married off to a person she may never have known. A look at the YouTube shows you the way hundred of Muslims, led by a Mulla, march into the mosque to celebrate her conversion.
In my childhood a school I attended was owned by Mrs Marie Colaco (a Catholic) and the Principal was Ms Thadani (a Hindu). Her nephew, Anand, was a close friend of mine. Sadly, his family had to leave for Bombay because the 1965 Indo-Pak War somehow meant to some people (specially those that were having fights with his parents in business) that his parents were ‘Indian supporters’. Leaving their “homeland of several centuries”, as his father said to us, was what they had to do.
Strangely, in 1971, just after the Indo-Pakistan War (which, eventually, became the Bangladesh Independence War), I had come back to Karachi on my ship. Their was Navy Police all around the ship. Officers had to take a permit every time they went down to check the draft from the jetty. No one was allowed to come aboard. My wife came to receive me and had to stay several feet away in the car. Three days later I was sitting in my cabin and Anand walked in. Huh? I thought he was in India. Well, he had just decided to visit some family members here a few days before the war and had just come to see me on the ship since a friend told him I was here. “How did you get in? There are Navy Police everywhere?”. He said, “Saala India Pakistan mayñ koee farq naheeñ haé. I paid the guy Rs 5 and got a special pass to come over. Am leaving in a day so I thought I’d meet you here.” He laughed and added, “The partition was all wrong. Our faiths in bribes were what will bring us together, soon.”
There were Christians. Loads of them. Many English schools were Church funded. Most of them were Catholic, but Protestant schools were also there. Some of us went to them and were never told to become Christians or were ever forced into their prayers, just as you can see in India. Christmases, New Years day, Easter … they all came and were celebrated heavily everywhere. Until someone decided that this was against the law – specially because people would drink. That was forbidden, too, by Mr Bhutto – not a very strong Muslim who once said in a public speech when someone remarked that he drinks: “Yes, but I don’t drink the blood of the poor.”
Soon the Christians started to leave. Rather difficult when the people you work with push you around, prevent promotions, make life unofficially difficult for you. Many have gone. The Karachi that used to be one of their best homes in my youth has none of the Christian people I went to school with — and there were many, I tell you. Now there are a host of poorer Christians, mainly, and you see what happens to them. Every few days we have one who is ‘caught for Blasphemy’ and put into jail. Small child. Uneducated girl. Anyone. They spend their time in the jail and are, occasionally, moved from there by some Foreign NGO to a country to save them. Save? I know they won’t get killed! But what about their family and friends who will live here, away from them? What about their own lack of education? How will they cope with all that? Will they have foster parents while their parents and siblings live here every day … perhaps in further fear?
The Parsis have been very lucky as we have never had a crowd coming together against them. A quiet race, they become smaller every year – the young ones move away, the old die. The fact that a lot of them built Karachi is now nobody’s business. Roads, Colleges, Schools, Foundations … there are lots of them with their names on them. I asked someone at Hamdard University in class what NED College (now a University) meant and he said it was the name of an old British Governor who had started it initially. Thank you, Mr. Nadirshaw Eduljee Dinshaw.
But what about the rest of the population, then? Mainly Muslims, of course. We are not counting the small amount of Bahais, Buddhists, and the Sikhs. So let’s move on to the next lot …
I’ll begin with the Bohris, who have been slightly better than the others. There is a major Bohri group and a smaller one that is not accepted by the majority of the Bohris (although they claim they are Bohris but do not follow the current Syedna as their own). Very few of ‘either side ‘have ever been targeted, anyway. They are small, into many small businesses, but not in very commanding authority. Yet, a few days ago while the anti-Shia campaigns were picking up, one small group was attacked. Will it get worse? I don’t know. I hope not.
The next largest group are those that follow Agha Khan IV (descended from the Prophet of Islam, though a few Muslims argue against it). His grandfather – Agha Khan III – was a well known leader and passed the title on to his grandson, Prince Karim, instead of his own sons (Prince Ali who was married to Rita Hayworth, or Ali’s step brother, Prince Sadruddin, father of Prince Karim). This group has given a lot of money to Pakistan. There is the Agha Khan Hospital and a University. There are lots of schools all over the country for Ismailis – which is what they are called – that teach their children about their faith. They also own Pakistan’s biggest private bank: Habib Bank. I have never seen any serious attacks on them – possibly because of the money that they give here, though at one time there were local papers that wrote vehemently against them and the fact that they were getting into the Education Sector in the country and were not really thorough-bred Muslims to be given this ‘privilege’.
I remember a driver of mine who used to read a morning paper every day. He once told me that I had a few Ismaili friends and that they were very anti-Muslims and I should avoid them. I said that was a ridiculous statement. I have known Agha Khan people since I was a child – I used to stay a couple of minutes away from an area where their Jamaat Khana was – and I have never seen them do anything that was anti-Islam. The next day he brought an old paper of his that he had kept. A dubious maulana sahab in it had stated that when the Agha Khan people get married they line their stairs(!) with Qur’an and the would-be-wife has to trample them before going for her wedding! He thought that was the reason they don’t allow Muslims into their homes at such times. Wow!!!
Before we move on to to the largest majority, the Shias, let me add that, occasionally, there are Sunni people murdered by a different sect within the Sunnis. The two major groups - Barelvis and the Deobandis - hate each other, anyway. Barelvis are in the majority here and go to the graves of ‘saints’ and have qavaalis and do lots of things that the Deobandis think is anti-Islamic. A few years ago a large Barelvi crowd had gathered in a park and the place was blasted by bombs, killing several senior Barelvi leaders. The Barelvis believed that it was the Deobandis who did this. Sometimes the reverse happens, but in really small amounts.
Now we come to the Shias. There are two parts here: The Hazaras in Baluchistan … and the Shias of the rest of Pakistan. They are not separate in religion but in their coming from different groups. The Hazaras are one group, one large ‘family’ in a way, and can be almost always recognized as such by their looks. They have a whole bunch of people killing them. Terrorist groups accept that responsibility and keep saying they will kill many more hundreds. This happens mainly in Baluchistan, though. They are shot, taken off buses and killed, kidnapped, you name it. You’ll have to read a lot about them on the Internet to find out why they are being killed and for what reason. It’s complicated. And hideous. Recently – in almost a month – two large groups were killed and they sat with their dead bodies for days to protest against the Government’s inaction. Many Sunnis and Shias joined them in similar protest all over the country.
The other group is the entire Shias population (which includes the Hazaras). How large? One has no way of knowing. Recently Feisal Naqvi wrote an article (An Unholy Alliance) in which he said: Let me state some simple figures. Shias make up anywhere from 15-25 per cent of Pakistan’s population which in turn means about 30 to 50 million people. Even the lower end of that range represents a very large number of people. (I have known Feisal from years ago when he used to write really funny columns in The Friday Times and I used to draw weekly cartoon strips there). I sent that article to a friend of mine to read – and he sent back this: Until 1926/7 census in India showed Sunnis and Shias separately. However this was discontinued on the protest of Raja Sahib Mahmoodabad and the Agha Khan, in the subsequent census. The population of Shias in undivided India was 2% in the 1926/27 census. “There is no reason to believe that it could have increased to 15%” is what he said to me on the phone, later.
These Shias are attacked (1) by numerous Sunni groups, which you can see here mentioning Deobandis as the killers … but the people who write this are Barelvi. In addition there is (2) Political Parties that many say want to stop the election and get the Army to come in, or (3) by Political Groups that had, in the last attack at Abbas Town (Karachi), guns and weapons that they wished to destroy as the Rangers were expected to ‘search the place’. (There were Sunnis in this attack, too, but a minority. The larger population was Shias.)
President Zardari is a Shia (as was his wife, Benazir Bhutto). Many people want to know why he hasn’t spoken at all … and a couple of the journalists say he is part of the (2) group mentioned earlier … but who knows what is happening today. Everyone blames everyone else and no one comes out any wiser.
Is there an answer?
This seems to be the only one that will succeed!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The Chaatgaam Poets
I loved reading the lovely post on Parveen Shakir in Tehelka Blogs. I had met Parveen just a few days before her death, at a Feminist Mushaerah in Lahore, and adored many of her shayrs. (Thank you, Rana Safvi … and also for #Shair on Twitter.) She was great! It was wonderful was to see people who responded to the Rana post. Obviously, shaeri has a strong flavour in India and Pakistan … so I thought there'd be a few people among your readers who are interested in more shaeri. And in audio!
Today I am adding a brief selection of some Chittagong poets (aka as The Chaatgaam Poets) from the last time my Merchant Ship went there. Almost every trip I'd hold a mushaaerah on board. I often invited people from Dacca, too, including Iqbal Azeem and Suroor Barabankvi, but these two, of course, have been heard very often. However there were many others whom neither Pakistanis nor Indians have heard. Most of them moved to West Pakistan when the Bangladesh War was on. A couple also moved, via jails in India, years later.
I was very friendly with two lovely young poets, Nudrat and Shohrat. Sadly, both died in Karachi in the last 2-3 years.
Asghar Gorakhpuri (or Asghar Bhai, as I called him) was a really close friend and one whose conversations I miss often. He spent much time with me in Karachi after escaping from there. He told us of his horrible tale of lying for hours under dead bodies (and left presumably dead by some attackers). But I never heard him argue against me for my love of Bangladesh and its independence.
Yes, there were really awful troubles from the Pakistan side and, yes, Mukti Bahini followers also did really terrible things. My own distant relative, a girl of 3, had one eye removed by a knife in one of the attacks. A non-Bengali friend, from Dacca, who sailed with me on ships and went to look for his family (during the war) discovered that he had lost his father, two brothers, and a brother-in-law in those days, killed by neighbours and 'friends'. He now works, again, in Chittagong after many years of living in Karachi. I hope we learn that independence is a movement and should never be suppressed in India and in Pakistan.
Kavish Umar I have seen again recently. After tracing him for years since he disappeared, in the middle of a strong friendship, he is now back! I hope to have him appear at T2F/Karachi soon for a live session (along with his daughter, Sahar, who is also a lovely poet now).
In the ship's mushaeraah I did recite a ghazal or two and Ustaad Mubaarak Mungeri used to call me Hamaara Chatgaiyaañ Shaaer. I really loved his poetry a lot.
It was sad … but for Chittagong poets getting to mushaeraahs in Karachi was very expensive (or time consuming!), so many people here never knew of them. Even after some of them did arrive, a lot were in tatters and looking hard for ways to make a living, with little financial help to keep them going. Very rarely did we hear them in any local sessions. Today I thought I'd share their lovely verses with some of you in India/Pakistan who may never have heard of them.
I have placed poets in the order that we recited at the ship's mushaaerah, before we sailed away from there for the last time.
01 • Kazim 'Nudrat' Abdi — Ghazal: Ameeré shahr ki bakhshish — The youngest poet of the group. Wrote very few pieces.
02 • Nasir 'Shohrat' Zaidi — Ghazal: Pardaé zahn peh — Another young poet who came to Karachi and was heard often in local mushaaerahs.
03 Mohammad 'Vali' Siddiqui — Ghazal: Hamayñ yaad haé — A very pouplar poet in Chittagong.
04 'Munawwar' Faizi — Rubaaiyaat — A strong leftist shaaer who worked in PIA.
05 Zaheer 'Alam' Kidvai: — Ayk musalsal Ghazal: Door tak zülmat hi zülmat
06 Asghar 'Rahi' — Ghazal: Haé yeh gaysoo — People loved his tarannum.
07 Yusuf Ali 'Laiq' — Ghazal: Aap kay Saqi-o-Jaam — A lovely poet. This ghazal became quite a hit and was published fully in an Urdu paper that covered our session.
08 'Kavish' Umar — Ghazal: Pahloo mayñ khalish — His diction and his command of language won all his listeners. His ghazals and nazms were thoroughly popular.
(His collections have been published now and are available at Urdu Bazaar, Karachi.)
09 • 'Mubaarak' Mungeri — Nazm: Mauzooé Sukhan — An Ahmadi poet, this brilliant nazm mentions the Lahore Fasaadaat (1953) in which a strong anti-Ahmadi movement took place, resulting in a Martial Law in that area. He also mentions in another verse Syed (Z A Bhutto), Shaikh (Mujib-ur-Rajman) and Khan (Pakistan's President Yahya).
(Books were published by his son after Mubaarak sahab died)
10 • 'Asghar' Gorakhpuri — Nazm: Mohraa — He loved the classical style and presented it with new ideas, Great poet. Wonderful conversationalist.
(A CD of all his kalaams that I had is now available)
I have a selection of more of the 'Chaatgaam' poetry and will release a CD or two of them at T2F, soon.
Have no idea where Vali, Munawwar, Rahi, and Laiq are, so if you know, please drop a comment in my BlogPost. Thanks.
Monday, February 18, 2013
He NOSE about it all!
Start from my last blogpost
in case you don't know what this is about.
Look hard at this pic and you'll find that there is a bump on my right side of the nose. Not a very good picture but that's all I could do at that time from my iPhone.
This is where the crooked nose bone had cracked an artery. The doctor cauterised me with Silver Nitrate, put in a cotton wad dumped heavily with medicine (yes!!! all the way up) … and it was painful, even apart from the anaesthesia. But he said it would be over. Although I wasn't too sure.
A night with Lexotanil.
The next day, quite apart from the dismay that an alien object was sitting in my nose, I was Ok-ish but feeling a bit weak with lack of blood and sleep. And computers.
Another night with Lexotanil!
It was 6.15 am when woke up - still feeling groggy - and discovered that my bed cover had blood.
No. Not blood.
LOTS OF BLOOD!
A rush to the bathroom, pouring blood into the washbasin until I thought it was far too much. Blew my nose. Removed the wad. Shoved some cotton with a bit of medicine all the way up and after a couple of minutes it stopped pouring out but I could feel the sounds inside.
Sent a message to the doctor and he said I should come in at 7.30 and see him again. "Nothing to worry about. Just control your bleeding …"is what he said.
Control? Hmmm. I bled from 6.15 am to 5.45 pm - changing wads, flowing with blood everywhere, no food, feeling tired (but not too tired, anyway) and finally got to see him in the evening.
"The nose looks good," said Doc. "The Silver Nitrate has worked. Now there are some capillaries that are leaking because the main artery has been stopped from bleeding. That's why there's this blood."
I didn't really care what was bleeding. I wanted it stopped. I blew my nose - along with heavy clots that had formed - and was then subjected to a cotton full of anaesthesia stuck up my nose while I was standing (which also led to my lips being anaesthetised, I guess). A bit of a pain that i could bear. I sat for a while until the Doc put out a new cottonish wad with loads of brownish medicine and said I should lie down. He then (painlessly for him but very painfully for me) shoved the thingy all the way up my nose, twisting and turning. He said, "The nose is rather crooked and we have to stop everything from bleeding!" … and so, after what seemed like several minutes (btw, the clock showed only 4 minutes), it was done. So was I.
This was followed by more cotton, plain, shoved in the beginning because he said there'd be leaks. Sometimes. They actually started while I was in his office and continued all of the next day.
Given more medicine to do this again if needed, I was told to preferably let the main wad remain inside. I did. I had to have a new ointment made at Kausar Medico before I went to see him again the next day.
The driver went to the Kausar Medico at a chowk nearby and was told that he would get it in 5 days. So he went off to Kausar Medico on Bunder Road and was told that he could pick it up in 5 hours. He did this. I am only mentioning that if anyone needs to go to Kausar Medico for a prepared ointment, Bunder Road is the answer for quick service.At 8.30 I saw the doctor again (That was on Saturday) and he really felt that all was well and I would not bleed at all. I have to remove and reinsert new wads with this ointment for 5 more days and check it with him on Thursday when he will pronounce me, I hope, "All well!"
So bye … and thanks for reading all this. I feel really great. The nose leaks continue with the medicinal secretions. No bleedings, so far. Hope it's over.
Feeling a little weak … but nothing that good old ice cream won't cure :)
(I am sure you guessed what the above picture was!)