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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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Monday, December 07, 2020

Have aliens from space visited us?

Larry King's 11 year old interview is
It has people that I wouldn't disagree with
as they range from Presidents, Governors, an Astronaut
(who was the second person to walk on the moon),
and many others that include witnesses.

There is also Michael Shermer, a leading Skeptic,
among the panel. Always an important person to listen to.
(He is also the editor of Skeptic, a magazine well worth reading).
He has objections to the standard story and wants evidence.

A documentary, Out of the Blue,
and subtitled
The Definitive Investigation on UFOs
is narrated by Peter Coyote
and many of you maybe familiar with him.

Most people think it's the best film in this genre!

There are, of course, objections by many serious people
about all these being 'conspiracy theories'
and they are mainly right.
But not all of them can be right, either.

One theory that is almost always mentioned
is that the Governments are hiding a secret 
and don't want it out in public view
because it would create a panic.

Some say that beings outside our planet
would create a religious panic:
Why would the 'Son of God' appear just on Earth?
Christianity would then be wrong.

But that's no help, really.
Apart from the fact that hundreds of religions
and their sub-sects don't even accept that
Jesus was the 'Son of God'.
They do not even have him in their 'texts'.

In Abrahamic Religions only 2 of the 3
accept him but only one accepts him as God's Son.

And what about Buddhists who have no God?
Why wouldn't they announce it if they knew this.

And Hindus, with their several gods
- who came from the sky - would accept this, too.

And so would Communists.
Their Atheism has no such problem.

And Scientologists would actually love it!

One of the great pieces that I recall
was the The Walton Affair:

Woodworker Travis Walton was 'abducted',
in the presence of his friends.
Many though he'd been murdered by a friend
and the others were spinning a story.

Travis was discovered a few days later,
by a phone booth from where he contacted
a friend who was with him during the 'abduction'.

In 1993 a film Fire In The Sky was made about him.
(Do watch it! The scenes in the UFO are a treat!)

As Wikipedia stated, some people said this was a hoax.
Shermer criticized Walton's claims, saying
"I think the polygraph is not a reliable determiner of truth.
I think Travis Walton was not abducted by aliens.
In both cases, the power of deception and self-deception
is all we need to understand what really happened in 1975.

However, you can now watch
and make up your own mind.
This is Travis many years later confirming
that his story is true and 100% right!

[BTW, Tubi is a great place to watch some films for free.
But do remember that these are films.
Some are, naturally, based on true stories
but the rest are great fictions, too.]

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Monday, November 09, 2020

Don Haz Gon

At least that’s what most people seem to think.

 Let’s not forget that he is there until Jan 20th. 

1. Once he goes away there will be cases against him in NYC and, possibly, in other States. New ones will also come up, when he is no longer in power.

Even if Biden pardons him - something that he will do for his frenemies in order to show that he is their President, too - he cannot pardon Don in the States cases. 

Hmmm. So that means Don & some of his family will most possibly have to go to jail. 

How can Don avoid this?

2. The least possibility is that he’ll remain locked up inside the WH. That just sounds really funny and ridiculous. 

3. One possibility is that he will resign well before his final date (for health or other reasons) and get Pence to be the President for a few days until Biden takes over. 

Pence will pardon him and arrange for him and his family to travel outside. Don did say he could leave the USA.

Where does he go? Best bet: India. They have tons of old medicines that cure everything (other than lying). And there are Palace-type buildings that Don can buy. He and his family can Tweet from there.

But, come on, this sounds funny, too. 

VP Kamala will ask India to return Don to USA - and Modi will agree. After all a Vice President in USA of part-Indian parentage is better than a Vice Resident in India.

(Also, don’t forget: Kamala has said that the Indo-Pak problems were Pakistan’s faults.)

So what does Don do, then? 

4. He could start a War with Iran.

He’d have to stay as long as that goes on. Changing the Prez in the middle of war would be really dangerous. 

5. Don could start a War with a South American country. I don’t know much about the countries there but I am sure that’s possible to do. USA has wars everywhere and have never had to say why except through more lies. 

But starting a War takes time and the agreement of many people, normally. So maybe this is also just a joking scenario. 


5. Don has almost half of the voters who adore him. They are armed with AK-47s and can even make bombs. Their opposites have guns but not as powerful as an AK-47. They are on ‘stand by’, too. And they are seriously well-trained.

It’s a lot easier to start a Civil War ... and it could take just a couple of weeks to start it.

That’s where I think Don is headed ... (I sincerely hope I am wrong!)

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Friday, July 10, 2020


I keep trying to see which other Country has a White (or any color) Stripe or Symbol on the their flag to represent Minorities? Can someone list them here or in my Social media pages, please!
Placing these items 'separately' on the flag
already 'separates' them.

These minorities are part of the country and should be part of whatever the country stands for. Like Unity, Faith, & Discipline. (and I don't mean the rather new meanings these have been given!)

If Countries want Symbolism, that's fine. India has a Chakra. Many Countries have Crosses. Some have colored their flag backgrounds Greens … and others have Reds. They represent that most of these countries have a feeling about some ideology. They don't have a White Margin, like we do.

So often am I reminded of these things, specially when I pass by the large Christian Cross in Karachi, which is absolutely great to see. It's not about the Brits who ruled us (or the Americans who keep trying). It's about  Christianity. I was told that Christians are People of the Book, so that's OK. Lovely …

But there are a few Jews here (We even have at least one that 'officially' claims he is a Jew, while others hide themselves under different names). They don't have a Place of Worship here but are also part of the People of the Book. Can they build a large statue of the Wailing Wall (or something else) here as a token of being Pakistan's Jew.

I sometimes wonder if Hindus can put up a Large Krishna or Ganesh in a Public Place (but they are even opposed from building a new Temple). But that seems unlikely.

And there are other religions here (Sikhs, Parsis, even non-God religions like Buddhism). Can they build things here in Public Places? Guess not … other than their present day temples or whatever they have.

After all our adopted father country, Saudi Arabia, doesn't allow any religion other than Muslims to have a public place of worship there. So naturally we follow.

On the other hand, imagine Muslims wanting to build a Mosque and being disallowed by the residents of another country to do this. There's be riots everywhere, And protest marches. In fact we'd even have them in Pakistan where public property would be destroyed.

I think I'll give up thinking.

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Sunday, July 05, 2020

My Nānihāl … 4

That's me with my cousins: Najma, Razia, Attiya, Suraiya
at Pudlo & Nighat's Wedding in Bareilly

Of Nana Jan's three sisters (they were all older than him) I will start with the youngest one since he was very fond of her (probably talay oopar kay thay).

Her name (as I can glean from the shajrah I have) was Umme Shafique. She had a son called Shafique (which is why I think that her name may have changed to Umme Shafique after he was born), and two daughters: Nisar and Inam. These two will come in the next two chapters in this blog series. This is Shafique Mamooñ's family;

The First Generation

Qamarul Hasan, married to Anwari Khatoon 
       Children: Nayer (Annu), Nighat, Talat

* I met Qamar Bhai in Karachi and also at Bareilly at Nighat's wedding. Pleasant and affectionate. He was also a friend of my mamooñ, Asaf. Met his children at the wedding.

Qamarul Hasan

Shamsul Hasan, married to Zubaida Khatoon
       He died early. No children.

* Soon after partition Shammu Bhai (along with a relative: Fasih Mamooñ) used to come to our house very regularly. Some cousins (including me) used to call the two Laurel & Hardy because of their weights. Shammu Bhai died after a sudden seizure. My father, a doctor, arrived there at his house as soon as I phoned him but SB was already dead.

(I have no pictures of Shamsul Hasan but Rubina has said
she'd send one next week when she goes to Gorakhpur)

Zubaida Khatoon

Suraiya, married to Izhar Abbasi
       Children: Kamal (Pudlo), Pervez (Pozy), Rukhsana, Mahnaz (Nazo)

* Appi Jan (Suraiya) was a great favorite of mine. I spent much time with her children. I also stayed at her house for a few days in Lahore when I started at Government College.

Appi Jan and Izhar Bhai
Appi Jan & I

Najma (aka Safiya), married to Hasan Wahaj Alvi
         Children: Suhail, Samina, Kausar, Ijlal.

• Appi Jania (Najma) was a wonderfully amazing person. Sadly she died early with Cancer. I spent many nights at her house during my trips to Karachi during my Merchant Navy days. I miss her very often, specially her laughter at everything.

Appi Jania
Hasan Wahaj Bhai

The Second Generation
  — Ragni Marea's Cousins —

Qamar Bhai's Children

Nayer, married to Shahida.
        Children: Rubina, Ahmed

* Rather brief meetings, twice. Once at Nighat's wedding and once later. 


 Nighat, married to her cousin Kamal
        Children: Faisal, Saba

* Having met her at her wedding, I became very fond of her when she came to Karachi. There are so many things to think about when I look back about my life with her. Always a lot of fun and very friendly.


Talat, married to Aziz
        Children: Saman (married to cousin Faisal), Afreen, Omar

* Talat is a remarkable person. She writes well (in fact we started our correspondence when she wrote poems). Her strong interest in political ideas is fantastic and she comes across with some very good ideas.


Appi Jan's Children

 Kamal, married to his cousin Nighat
        Children: Faisal, Saba

* I met Pudlo and Pozy first in Calcutta when I was 6 years old. Later on they became my school-mates at Marie Colaco High School, Karachi. Pudlo was a Scout and Pozy & I were in his group. He was an absolutely adorable person and extremely affectionate. It was really sad to see him go with his illness. Very brave person.

(Pudlo came to the Karachi Port to see me on my ship at 19th September in the early morning. He asked me to accompany him to see my father whom (he said) was sick at the hospital where he had been taken the day before. Actually my father had died, but Pudlo didn't want to say that to me.)


 Pervez, married to Askara
        Children:  Amir, Samia 

* Pozy's birthday was very close to mine. We became very great friends and remained so until his untimely death. He was brave, much like his brother. He died earlier, though. He laughed a lot. Apart from his own business, his skills were in cars, and guns. Strangely none of these were interests of mine, other than his interests in boats and my being in the Merchant Navy :)

(I remember that when I was staying in his room in Lahore he pulled out a gun and shot at the curtain, thinking someone was trying to enter the house. Actually the curtain had been pulled over an open window and the air had blown the curtain. I always teased him saying he could have killed someone … and he always laughed and said "Yār, it was only a curtain").

Rukhsana, married to Iqbal Talib
        Children: Iram, Saman, Aman, Danish

* Rukhsana was absolutely wonderful as a child. I remember she was learning dancing at that time. I spent a lot of my time with her and her siblings.

Mahnaz, married to Hafiz Pasha
        Children: Waris, Mehreen, Aadil, Omair

• Mahnaz - or Nazo, as we all call her - is someone we all are extremely fond of. She brings us all together. Keeps in touch with everyone. Been awfully ill with all sorts of problems … but is happy and always available for anything one wants. May she live long.

Nazo (I just adore this picture)
Appi Jania's Children

Suhail, married to Shahina
        Children: Ishma, Nida

* Suhail has been a great nephew of mine. Very loving. And his wife, Shahina, is wonderful (and has a lovely voice!). — He runs businesses that I know nothing about, but they are successful :)

Samina, married to Asif Kheiri
       Children: Saqib, Adeel

* Once a wonderful little sister … but she has changed from a Rakhi Bandhan Bahen, to a disappearance that I fail to understand! But I do keep wondering!!! I did meet her at her second son's wedding. Asif I had met many times. Good man. They live in USA.

Kausar, married to Iqbal
       Children: Adnan, Arsalan

* Extremely affectionate and very well behaved. Lives in USA.

Ijlal, married to Arshi
       Children: Maham, Insiya

* Great kid … but we meet very little since he has started living outside.

Kausi, Ijji, Sallu, Samina

(The Third Generation will be in a much later post)

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