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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Harari … Reminder for some who missed his books

Yes, I have written about Yuval Noah Harari, a brilliant historian. However, I feel that some people may have missed reading or listening to him. Please do listen and hear him … and if you have objections, do write them down in your comments here.

The first book I read when it just came out.

I was bowled over. Presented copies to a few friends. Discussed this with them. And we all loved it. A dear friend of mine who had read this book in USA had another friend who thought there were flaws. She came over to Pakistan and was asked to discuss this book with me. Although we became close friends, the discussions never really could not go any further, which - I suspected - were because of our different ideas about life. The book sold millions of copies in many languages.If you haven't read it yet, please do. It's available in Pakistan, as are his other two books that followed.

Both of these are extremely interesting, though I find the first one much more of interest because of my love for the way Homo sapiens evolved and are now (so far) the 'rulers' of our planet.

Will they remain so?
Homo Deus has a few answers, too.

The Third Book has his Lessons and is something you may accept or not. I do, for most part. But, then, I also have Scientists Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasseTyson who have their own answers to some of these ideas.

Right now I have just finished my favourite Graphic Novel (Part 1) of Harari's Sapiens and I'd suggest that you read this if you prefer the styles. It's available at Liberty Books. My admiration of graphic stories is something all my friends know about and I have quite a collection. If you haven't ever tried one, take a look at this one, then.

Just before I finished the above I saw an ad on the Net about this.

So, naturally, I bought it.
For Rs 200 here it is quite a bargain.
16 Essays/Interviews.
Try and get this as a starter.
I finished ths almost a soon as I bought it :)

So while I wait for his second graphic story book (it will be available at October's end) I hope you all will find his books much more than just interesting.

Meanwhile, I also subscribe to this

Yuval Noah Harari

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

(Sabeen Mahmud's Poem)

i am tired.

tired of running

tired of the struggle

tired of arguing

tired of explaining

tired of the machinations of the rich

tired of the mumbo jumbo

tired of the greedy

tired of the bored

tired of the dumb

tired of the petty

tired of waiting for another day

tired of being polite

tired of corporate crime

tired of generals

tired of taxes

tired of banks

tired of coping

tired of the silence

tired of the battles

tired of the smug

tired of the manipulators

tired of being tired

tired of life

stop the world. i want to get off.

Here is my poem on her

Transliterations by Saif Mahmood

English Version by Sophia Pandeya

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Saturday, January 02, 2021

My Nanihal … 6

The Habibullahs

Despite my khalā's repeated attempts at my calling her Bajia Jān … which I sometimes did call her … she preferred my calling her Tazeen Baji. Today is her Death Anniversary and just the right day for me to write about her. 

Inam Khala and Tazeen Baji

She was the youngest child with three older brothers that you can read about in my previous post. Her father was Shaikh Habibullah, who was the V.C. of Lucknow University and an M.L.A. (U.P.) of Muslim League.

Shaikh Habibullah

Tazeen Baji had an M.A. in Philosophy and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology from the University of Lucknow. She was an activist and a Muslim Leaguer. I fact here is a photograph of her seated with Jinnah Saha, Liaquat Ali, and Fatima Jinnah among others at a University function.

Tazeen Baji with Jinnah Sahab and others

Many people may not know this but Jinnah Sahab asked the students to come up with a slogan for Pakistan and TB and her colleague, Abidi Sahab (founder later of BCCI) came up with a slogan each. Abidi Sahab's slogan was a word longer so Jinnah Sahab chose TB's slogan which we now hear all the time: Unity, Faith, and Discipline.

Tazeen Baji married a colleague of hers, at Lucknow University, Abdul Rafay Faridi. They lived very happily together until he passed away.

A. R. Faridi

Faridi Bhai was the (Retired) Chief Executive of Burmah Shell (later PBS), and the (Retired) Chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation, as well as of Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation PIDC). A very pleasing and loving person. I visited him often and the conversations were always delightful.

Tazeen Baji

TB was a beloved cousin and, eventually, a neighbour. Though, of course we had many differences of opinion (I regret about that, sometimes, because of the difference in our age), partly because she was a Muslim Leaguer and I was (at least in my heart) an Indian Congress Party lover, after my own father. 

Tazeen Baji once angrily threw me out of her house when I objected to some 'some so-called Islamic' laws. Baji Jania (Attiya Husain) and Fuad Bhai (F. S. Husain) were also there. I walked out and they came out and brought me back after speaking to TB. Later on I feel that she had changed her views quite a bit, seeing the problems our leaders were creating and their total absence of honour.

Tazeen Baji had three children.


Abdul Waris Taufique Faridi

Toffee, sadly, is very ill
and is looked after by a nurse.

Shehla is how I spelt her name
but just discovered on the Internet
that she spells it differently. 


To read more about Shehla/Shahila go here.



Tazmeen - the girl with a lovely voice that she says has now gone and she doesn't sing anymore - was married to her paternal cousin in Lucknow. She divorced him and has a daughter by him: Tameen, whom you'll hear about later in this blog.

I was 9 years older than Shahila and 12 years older than Buttercup, so I was asked on a couple of occasions to be their 'guardian' at a party. I was even invited to their parties where I met Benazir. Here is a picture of Buttercup with BB.

Buttercup married Bernard Weymuller, a Frechman who loved Sufi teachings and was an extremely lovable and loving person. It was a tragedy that he had a heart attack and died.

Buttercup & Bernard

Faridi Bhai with Bernard

Buttercup & Bernard, had a duaghter: Sonia.
More about her in this blog, too.

Buttercup is also an Abstract Artist.
Here's an artwork of hers.

Art by Buttercup

Tameen, now separated,  has two children.



Buttercup and Tameen's Kids

Tameen is a poet and also many other things. Her book that you can buy off Amazon is wonderful and it's so great to see her write.

Here is her poem that I read today on the Net.
It's about Tazeen Baji.


It is seven years now
Since I smelt your Jean Nate perfume
And snuggled into the soft contours
Of your loving protection

Your naughty laughter ascended from a rotund belly
As you recounted riveting stories
Of the Second World War and our colourful family
Tales of mystic saints, jinns, bandits, adultery and royalty
You were the life of the party

Blessed with a searing intellect and wondrous creativity
I witnessed your brilliant extemporaneous speeches
Mesmerize audiences and enthrall them to pieces
You were not only my beloved grandmother 
But equally my mentor and teacher 

You were also a gourmand, like me 
And we shared many a delicious meal
At ease in your full-figured body
You never let it be an excuse to be somebody
Fearless. Respected. Opinionated. Authentic
With a will of steel

A champion of women’s rights
Was a cause for which you worked tirelessly all your life
From the time you were young
A passionate advocate with both fervent pen and fiery tongue
You were a five foot round ball of vitality
Cramming your days in service to humanity

But also quiet and reflective
As we sat on the verandah by the bougainvillea tree 
Contemplating the monsoon rains
You told me how scared you were of death
And would fight it with your last breath

This fear of the inevitable 
Was at odds with your deep faith in the impenetrable
And the frank admission
Of your considerable powers of intuition

Then one day I got that dreaded call
That immortality was about to make landfall
I prayed for you to hold fast and stall
And you heard my appeal
Waiting for our last farewell 

As your life ebbed little by little
I held your shriveled hand in the hospital
No longer able to speak
Communicating with our eyes
We smiled, embraced and cried
I told you not to be afraid 
As tears drifted down your wizened face

In our final hug
Your body was cold to my warm touch
But I knew I could let go peacefully
Because Nana awaited you on the other side, eagerly 
And as you soar together in eternity
I know that you are both watching over me

Thanks, Tameen. 
This was such a lovely poem!

Sonia is really tremendous.

Sonia Weymuller

She does so many things … I am amazed at her energy and at her work. As Founding Partner of VentureSouq and her other efforts, you can read about them here.

Sonia with Tameen, Maaryah, Luqman

Here is a picture you might enjoy

Can you guess who are the people in the photo?

Tazeen Baji was a Minister in Pakistan, was a Head of APWA,
and was also on the Board of Karachi Grammar School.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

My Nānihāl … 5

Iftikhar Husain Sahab (my Nana) had two nieces. One was Inam Khala who was married to Habibullah Sahab (a friend of my Nana). Here are their pictures.

Inam Khala

Habibullah Sahab

Inam Khala, an MLA, was an author.
Here is one of her books.

Nazré Aqeedat

They had three sons and a daughter.
Habibullahs and their children: Ali, Inayat, Ishaat, Tazeen

Ali Bahadur (aka as Sonny/Sunny)

He was married to Attia Hosain Kidwai
You'll hear more about her in a separate blogpost!

Attia (Baji Jania to me) was his first (maternal) cousin … although many members were upset since she was supposed to marry the next son. They have two children, Waris Hussein (a wonderful Director of TV and Films). You can read about him in the Wikipedia link. The daughter, Shama Habibullah, lives in Bombay (Mumbai) and has been involved in many films (including Gandhi).

Inayat (aka Enayat/Enaith)

Inayat Habibullah opted for India and became a Major General. Manjhu Bhai (which is what I called him) was also a doodh-shareek bhai of my mother. 

His wife, Hamida, was a very prominent parliamentarian. She died recently at the age of 102. This is her with me at a picture on one of her birthdays.

Hamida Bhabi

This was taken just after when I showed my CD-ROM of Faiz Ahmad Faiz in India at the invitation of PM Inder Kumar Gujral

As for their three children:

Dr Nazli lives in Gurgaon and is the senior medical officer at NDTV. She was absolutely amazing whenever we met and I so wish to see her again.

Wajahat lives in India and is married to his aunt's (Tazeen Faridi) daughter, Shehla. They live in Delhi. They have 2 sons, Amar and Saif who are successful businessmen.

Wajahat, Shehla, Amar, Saif.

The youngest daughter, Rummana (nicknamed Chinky) died of Cancer rather early. She was a well known artist and is cited as one of the foremost leaders of conceptual art in India.

Chinky was married to Ishaat Hussain

Their youngest son lived in Karachi.
A wonderful conversationalist and always fun to hear.

Ishaat Bhai

He was married to Jehanara, an amazing lovable person,
who also wrote a delightful book that I loved.

Jehanara Bhabi

The Urdu Version of her book

Muneeza, the elder daughter, is an outstanding person in our literary world, having written several books/articles and has appeared everywhere here and abroad for her views in Literary Festivals.

Muneeza is married to Saleem Shamsie.

Saman Shamsie, their elder daughter, teaches at Karachi Grammar School and has written books for children that are well worth reading.


Here is one of her books.

Kamila Shamsie is well known internationally. Many of her books have won prizes and awards. An excellent writer, she also speaks very well at various festivals. I have always been her 'fan'.


Here is a book of hers that you must read …
but that's unfair. You must read all her books.

You can find most of Kamila's books here

The younger daughter of Ishaat Bhai is Naushaba.


Naushaba with her children: Saad, Samirah

Saad and Samirah live with her in Montreal.

For the daughter of the Habibullahs, Tazeen Faridi,
I will blogpost again next week.

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