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Monday, August 18, 2014


Visit the Website

and watch this to see what people have to say about T2F

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Real Independence Day

Yes dear friends.
Today, 15th August 2014, is our Independence Day
(altered to 14th August, much later).

Here is a picture of Jinnah Sahab's writing pad.

15th August was Jüma'tul Vidaa in 1947
and he thought it would be ideal to have
our Independence on that day.
The Congress had no objection.
The day was immediately decided.

Rashid Latif Ansari (ex-EMI and ex-Minister at BB's Government),
a respected older friend of mine,
says the date was altered to suit the Mullaas much later.
They thought the 27th of Ramzan (14th August 1947) was a better day.


Trust them to alter all forms and ideas of history.
By the way, Rashid Bhai was at Abbey Road
recording the famous Beatle's Album.

He was also told by the Government to remove the original anthem
at EMI and to leave no traces of it.
The tapes and records were all deleted/destroyed.
Radio Pakistan Karachi sent its Musicians to record
the new Anthem by Hafeez Jullandhari.

The original anthem was by Jagan Nath Azad, a Hindu poet,
selected by Jinnah Sahab to show our seculariness.

Many people now say that there is no record of this.
But they can ask Rashid Bhai, if they want.

Most of our first Postage Stamps were from India
with PAKISTAN written on them.

But we also began printing our very own stamps
that celebrated our Independence Day.


On the 15th of August 1948 Jinnah Sahab gave us his message
reproduced here from DAWN.

(I adored our first Ekco radio!)


Finally, here's another Govt. of Pakistan Publication
from our Press Information Department.


14th August 1947 was, actually, the last day of
Pakistan/Hindustan being under British Law.

Why celebrate that???

The slavery came to an end at 00.01 on 15th August 1947.

Khaer. Chalo — ab to phañs hi gaé!


Here's something to end this post on a good note.

The Government of Pakistan brought out a book of
Jinnah Sahab's photographs in 1997.

They even had someone forge his signature, pretty well.
Sadly, the forger forgot about the date ;)

(1897 or 1997)


Have a great day!

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Friday, August 08, 2014

RIP Tunnu Apa

You were a source of strength, laughter, love and more!

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Saturday, August 02, 2014

You're gone but I will always love you


Friday, July 25, 2014

As Allah is my witness …

When I was about 9 a (Muslim) teacher, who was our Scout Master and also taught Arabic and Persian, said to us that the "Islamic word Allah" had no other meaning and that it meant 'to whom we pray' ... And he added "it has not been derived from another word and no other adjective, adverb, or other derivation could be made from this word."

I was pretty confused.

At home we were told that our Prophet's father was named Abdullah (Servant of Allah) well before Islam came into being. So the name was hardly Islamic. Also I had never heard of a name (my surname was Kidvai) being used in anyway as an adverb or adjective.

Were he alive in Malaysia today, he'd be considered a great 'Muslim', I suppose. The country that many of my Pakistani friends think is amazingly modern and Islamic has announced that no one other than Muslims can use the word Allah. 

Do remember that the word Allah is a name for God, which is used by Arabic speakers, both Arab Muslims and Arab Christians.  This word cannot be used to designate anything other than the one true God.  The Arabic word Allah occurs in the Quran about 2700 times. In Aramaic, a language related closely to Arabic and the language that Jesus habitually spoke, God is referred to as Allah.

Despite the above fact, Malaysia decided that Christians could not use this word and a Christian newspaper was asked to stop using it. I suppose Arabic translations of the Bible in Malaysia would have to be redone.

I am wondering that to convert to Islam and become a Muslim a non-Muslim person needs to state “La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammad ar Rasool Allah" and understand its meaning … so how does one convert to Islam in Malaysia?

As I grew up and read several religious books (of most religions), as well as treatises and books related to them, I discovered that the name Allah had been derived from Al-Lah, the highest of all gods, which is why Abdullah was named thusly.

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Friday, May 02, 2014

RIP Latif

May 1st - 2014


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Pakistanyoñ Se

Today was Abi's birthday.


In 1949, just a couple of years after Pakistan was born,
Abi recited this Nazm at a Mushaerah celebrating
our independence.


Here is the complete original in his handwriting.

For those who cannot read Urdu,
I have recited just the lateefa for them
which can be heard on here.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Rage that is Ragni …

This is just a quote from the CUNY Newsletter


Rage M. Kidvai (’14) Awarded Equal Justice Works Fellowship

March 24, 2014

Rage M. Kidvai (’14) has been awarded a two-year Equal Justice Works (EJW) fellowship, starting in September, to work at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), providing legal representation on asylum applications for low-income transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGNCI) immigrants.

Kidvai pursued the EJW fellowship to address the “huge gap in providing asylum and deportation defense services to TGNCI people with criminal records.” This is especially important “where transgender and gender non-conforming folks of color and immigrants are disproportionately poor, policed, and incarcerated.”

Prior to law school, Kidvai represented survivors of interpersonal violence and trafficking on cases regarding public assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, and housing, and decided to pursue a law degree to be “better able to listen and serve” those facing transphobia, homophobia, racism and xenophobia in the forms of state violence caused by criminalization, incarceration and deportation.

During the EJW fellowship, Kidvai will file asylum, withholding of removal, U-Visa, T-Visa, naturalization (citizenship), adjustment of status and employment authorization applications on behalf of clients, and will also provide legal assistance to the Prisoner Rights and Survival and Self-determination Projects at SRLP, assisting clients with public benefits and name change applications.

While at CUNY Law, Kidvai participated in the Criminal Defense clinic, and interned with SRLP, Brooklyn Defender Services Family Defense Practice, Orleans Public Defenders (through the CUNY Law Mississippi Project), Brooklyn Defender Services Criminal Defense Practice, and The Bronx Defenders.


Lots of Love, Hugs, Kisses.
We are so thrilled!

Ummi & Abi

Marvi Mazhar, [Me], Jehan Ara, Nuzhat Kidvai, Hareem Sumbul, Sabeen Mahmud

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dead at 99 … and we'll all miss him

Khushwant Singh

I was visiting my friend Tarun Tejpal in Delhi and one night I was invited with him to Khushwant's house for dinner at 9:00pm by his son. I said I wanted to meet Khushwant Ji. The son said I should come at 8:30 and meet him as he goes to his room at 9:00pm.

Meeting Khushwant Ji was a pleasure. He was eating his daal and chatted away with me about Pakistan for which he had a great love. At 9pm he started to reach his room and I saw that the door had a large kalmah around the sides. I asked him why that was and he said "Hindu bohat ghabraatay haéñ daykh kar …"

His books on every subject, serious, laughable, biographical, and his novels, have always fascinated me … but his Train to Pakistan was totally remarkable.

RIP, Khushwant Ji

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getting the facts right …

I have to start this post by saying that I am in no way willing to accept the 'rules' suggested by the CII for marrying again without the wife's permission or to allow underage marriage.


Take a look at cutting off limbs in stealing. Do we cut off the hands of a poor man who stole to eat his only meal … and also of the businessman who took away millions from his firm illegally?

No. We don't. Even in this Islamic Republic.

We have courts. The Judge listens. He announces his Judgement. He may say that the poor man is wrong, warn him for further crimes, but add that he doesn't have to be put in jail. On the rich man he will also pass his Judgement. A long sentence, fines, and maybe more.

To force us to obey 'all the rules of the 7th Century' today would be wrong. Rules change as times and spaces become different, as the world becomes different.

Do we still burn witches today? No.

I can come up with many more examples that have changed because we have jails now, and insane asylums, and medical practices. We understand that a murderer may have killed in self-defence. 


So why am I writing all this?

This morning I found Iqbal Ismail's Facebook account having quoted Laal (or Taimur, to be precise). Here's what Taimur had to partly say:

Taimur's Reactionary Proposal is OK, I guess, but let's just get our facts correct. The Qur'anic Verse that he refers to is badly translated. There is nothing that prevents one from marrying a widow, an orphan, or a regular virgin here. Nothing!

The Prophet married THIRTEEN wives. Apart from not marrying until Bibi Khadijah's death, he married Bibi Soodah who was a widow. But then, as his THIRD wife, he married Ayeshah. She was neither a widow, nor an orphan. As his TWELFTH wife he 'married' Bibi Maria about whom we do not know if she was a virgin. She may have been an orphan or a widow. Victors picked up slaves from every area when they won wars. Others bought them. She was gifted to the Prophet by al-Muqawqis of Abyssinia. Some historical records show that she was a concubine and the Prophet never married her: Read Ibné Saad's "Life of the Prophet"

Some of the Prophet's marriages certainly happened after the Qur'anic Verse quoted in Item#3 above. He did not divorce any and had many wives at at time. There is a Qur'anic Verse (XXXIII:52) that shows that the Prophet was not allowed to add more wives than the ones he had … something that others could do, as you will see in this post.

If you think that I may have faltered in my perception here, let me get to the fact that the Qur'an had certainly been completed just before the Prophet's death. Which means that anyone after that time should not have married more than one wife (except, of course, widows and orphans … if the verse meant that).

Let's look at Hazrat Ali, who remained married to Bibi Fatimah until her death. After that he married eight more wives. Some of them were NOT widows or orphans. He was the father of 15 sons and 18 daughters (of which 12 daughters came from two slave girls… Humia and Umm Shuaib).

Hazrat Ali's son, Hazrat Hasan, who died while he was in mid-forties, was known as Mitlaaq (=Great Divorcer). He was married, according to Philip K. Hitti's "History of the Arabs", to around 100 wives whom he divorced. Some people say that all this took place in his later 9 years.

To make FOUR WIVES as the prevailing rule … it is an Islamic rule from the Hadees rather than a Qur'anic Injunction … we have people saying that Hazrat Ali had only four wives at a time, as did Hazrat Hasan.

Surely when you marry it is for all times to come, unless you or she have problems when there can be a divorce. It does not mean that you marry one and divorce her and marry another and divorce her and go on and on like that.


Let's go to the Qur'anic Verse (IV:3) which has been misinterpreted. While there is a part in the verse that says 'one' would be better, the phrase that causes the major problem is "Mathana va Thülaatha va Rübaa" (=Twos and Threes and Fours). This phrase certainly does not mean 'unto four' as it is now interpreted. It meant 'many' in those days. This is much the same way as when you say to a child, for example, 'I have told you hundreds of times not to lie'. 'Hundreds' does not mean 'several hundred' … it means 'many'.

If you think that the Qur'an is the best way to decide things if the same verse is found elsewhere, let's go to (XXXV.1) where it says that Angels have wings that are "Mathana va Thülaatha va Rübaa" (=Twos and Threes and Fours). Surely it means 'many' here. Muslims do not have an article of faith that says an Angel can only have 2, or 3, or 4 wings. Several legends tell us about Angels with numerous wings.

Incidentally, here's another part that will convince you further. Read (XXXIV:46) which says "... that you stand up for Allah in twos and singly". This does NOT mean that Muslims can offer prayers in twos or ones … but not in a Jama'at.

Good luck!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This is where it's at …

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gaé Dinoñ Kaa Süraagh Lay Kar …

Musadiq Sanwal — known to many as Musadiq and to others as Sanwal —was named Muhammad Musadiq Iqbal at his birth. Sanwal means pyaara (loveable) in Seraiki and (probably) has the same roots as Sañvali (which means dark and delightful in Urdu/Hindi).

We met him years ago when he was performing a play under his group, Baang … and we chatted and talked and discussed music that he loved and I listened to constantly. We became close friends. He said to me that among his favourites was Munshi Raziuddin. That brought us even closer.

I used to have programs every month at our house with people sitting in the garden and Writers, Poets, and Musicians performing on different days. Musadiq came to sing there once and stole everyone's heart. We sat after the event in a small group and he sang a few more songs. Amazing.

One day he came to my office and I asked him to sing a song for the 20-odd people there. We moved into the room (which, eventually, became The Second Floor — or T2F). He sang my favourite piece from Mirza Saahibaan. That was without any music … and even people who couldn't understand the words cried! Here it is for you all, but not recorded that day. Sad — because I loved his voice even more without any musical instruments. It was powerful and carried me into a heavenly abode..

Tehrik-e-Niswan decided to perform Jinnay Lahore Naeeñ Vaykhia. Sanwal did the music and sang the songs. His performances were unbelievable. Many of my friends attended the play again, just to hear him sing.

Nuzhat was in the play, too, and during the partition scene Ragni (about 6) was among the 'little girls' who travelled with the migration group. Ragni loved Musadiq's singing and always wanted him to sing theNasir Kazmi ghazal: Udaasi Baal Kholay So Rahi Haé.

One night, later in 1990, Sanwal and Khalid Ahmad (a friend who is a beautiful Director, Actor, and Reader …  and plays the flute beautifully) came to my house. A small group gathered in our den and heard them sing and play. Ragni, feeling slightly sleepy, woke up fully as Musadiq began to sing her favourite. This is his recording from that night.

A CD of his recordings, called Aajzi, was released and sold at the original T2F. He performed there and at T2F's newer spot.

A few months ago he asked me to come over to his office (DAWN - The Web Edition) and to talk to his staff about Urdu Poetry and recite a few verses for them. I prepared the program but when I phoned him he was ill and was rushing off to the USA. Cancer had gotten to him and he seemed to be in a dangerous position.

After months of treatment in USA, he recovered fully and came back, working at his office again. One day, a few weeks ago, he came to T2F at a program and he was all smiles. I asked him if his voice was back. He smiled and said, "Tho∂i si, but I can sing again at your place". We decided that Khalid and he would come and sing-play again … but he was rushed to the hospital the next week.

He smoked all the time and I felt that that is why his lung had to be removed. The surgery was successful. Doctors celebrated his return from his Cancer. He was cured. I phoned and was told that he'd be home in 2-3 days. He was in the ICU so I thought I wouldn't go there, but see him at home when he got back.


That night (Friday, 17th January) I saw a message on Twitter saying blood was needed for him at the hospital. This was followed by more such messages. Sabeen wanted to go that night to give blood but was told that she should come the next day.

In the morning we received a message that Jehan Ara's father had passed away … so Nuzhat, Sabeen and I rushed there. On the way we received Nadeem Farooq Piracha's message that Musadiq had passed away.


I went to his funeral after Mushtaque Sahab's janaaza prayers, and saw Musadiq's body being put into a casket and made ready for a flight to his home in Multan. His wife, Shehla, told us that he had recovered from Cancer and was going to go home in 2-3 days … but a bug in the ICU killed him! Damn!


On Sanwal's soyem his friends Khalid Ahmad and Mohammad Hanif read out his verses. We all shared his stories. Shehla's mamooñ came over and said he always felt he was Musadiq's mamooñ for that's how close Musadiq was to everyone in their family. Actually he loved everyone who became his acquaintance.


There's little one can say about a friend after he has died. Sanwal was a constantly smiling individual (even until he passed away), a sahaafi, a brilliant poet, a loving person, a great musician, a delightful film-maker, a talented Director at plays. Perhaps Hasan Zaidi's lovely column may help you understand him more.

This evening I will attend A Celebration of Musadiq Sanwal at Karachi's Arts Council where friends, his students, his office staff, and fans will all be there.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014



I have written several pieces in my blogs about Abi. He had many friends who adored him. He was a good doctor and had the finest bedside manner I have seen. Even after his heart attacks he would go to a patient if they called at night, thinking that they may not get anyone else to attend at this time.

He loved books (English and Urdu), published a set of short stories (Naee Paod) and wrote poems (to be published soon) in Urdu, loved music (Eastern Classical, Qavvaali, and Western Classical), could read musical notes and tried his best to teach me … but failed, sang fairly well (in Urdu and English), spoke English well (and sometimes, as a joke, in a perfect Scottish accent when we asked), wrote Urdu with a lovely consistent writing, loved Science and Arts. And he adored sweets and mangoes (as do I).

Abi was extremely religious in his last years … but very liberal in his conversations with me even when they were against some parts of his beliefs at times. I owe him so much. My love of literature (and specially Urdu poetry), arts, and music, come from him.

When Abi was in Scotland for his medical studies he had been left with no money (specially from a father who had a lot of it). Abi never brought this up in any conversation and, once, when I said that this was terrible, he got angry at me and said that was between him and his father and I had no business criticising my dada! He finally had to get more money to pay for his examination fees and his last semester. He borrowed this from a 'friend' of his in Scotland (Auntie Dorothy) and promised to pay back soon when he started his practice in Monifieth (Scotland). However, he was called back to India when his mother had Cancer … and then he did not go back to UK.

He got married to my mother and told her in two days that he had to send most of the money he earned here to Dorothy in Monifieth. Ummi decided that it was a bad idea to owe someone money at all … and sold some of her jewellery and gave the money to Abi. That was within a fortnight of their marriage. I met Aunty Dorothy years later when I was in the Merchant Navy and went to Dundee, close to Monifieth. She spoke very fondly of him and of my mother whom she knew through letters.

From his practice in Aligarh (which began soon after his mother died), he eventually moved - in a few months after I was born - to Qarolbaagh in Dilli. He was taken into the British Army as a doctor and we travelled everywhere (Jhaañsi, Mayruth, Attock, to name a few) … but he also went to Palestine, Iraq, Cairo, Babylon, and many other places.

Then came the Partition. Ummi and I accompanied my Khaala and Khaalu (Abbu Jan and Ammi Jan) to Bombay where Abi was supposed to meet us. He did. He had just come from Dilli and found that the house and his little clinic had been burnt completely. Ummi was shocked at all the good things they had saved and bought … and never ever wanted us to buy anything, thinking that it would disappear one day. We set out to Karachi after Abi (a Congress Party member) had been assured by Dr Syed Mahmud (Nuzhat's Nana) and Pandit Ji that things would quieten down in six months and we could return.

That never happened :(

Life in Karachi was fairly bad. We had no money (the first few years Abi would treat refugees free from Ramakrishna Mission Hospital that he was working at. He had been called to join it by his friend and colleague from the UK who was now a Doctor and a Priest! They also gave us a small flat near where they lived. Despite this he and my mother had several friends and relatives who were coming from India to stay over at our house. Often a dozen, sleeping everywhere. How did Ummi manage their food was always a mystery, specially as I grew up and started understanding the 'finances'. Ammi Jan used to laugh and say that Ummi put in a lot of water to make the dishes seem larger than they were.

Abi's health kept getting worse … and he could not keep a job for long after having left Orient Airways as the Chief Medical Officer. He was in his clinic one day and off for days at a time. On some days he made nothing. On other days he made a few bucks. Doctors who were his friends told him that he should give up the refugees and move to a bigger place (Dr Afzal Habib offered to have him in his clinic), but Abi was Abi. The refugees came first. Then relatives. Then friends. Alwaysnd a book, if he ever had money.

When I ran away from home to join the Merchant Navy (there was no way that my father could have paid for my education, college, medical school, going off to UK to learn about the Surgeon I wanted to be), it was quite a tragedy. Abi was really hurt … although he soon discovered that I was a good cadet. Sadly he never lived long enough to see me pass my Second Mate's exams and get a prize for Navigation (from the Commonwealth).

It was the 19th of September, 1963, that Abi died.

His death - at 63 - was a shock to us, despite the fact that he had often been unwell: Heart problems (and small attacks, much as I have had until I had to go in for a quadruple bypass), Diabetes (he'd have his sweets once in a while and add an anti-Diabetic tablet with it … something that I do, too), High Blood Pressure, and an occasional lack of 'balance' as he lost his hearing in one ear and it made him fall at times (I have that now … though I haven't fallen, so far). Despite all these medical problems, Abi died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage when his Blood Pressure was Normal and his heart seemed fine.


It was on January 13th, 1988, that Ummi died.

Ummi lived through most of this widowhood of 25 years in a wonderful way — until she was confined to a wheelchair, having hurt her spine in a fall at the kitchen. She laughed, watched TV, went out to picnics among family and friends. Some of our relatives and Abi's friends visited her and she would begin to, occasionally, laugh with them.

She had always been a great wife and a lovely mother … and what was really important were two of her qualities: (a) she laughed a lot (and loved mad jokes), and (b) read tremendously (in Urdu). Among the numerous things that Ummi taught me was to laugh at everything. Even in a tragedy - after the initial crying - Ummi would laugh and talk about all the good things the person had said. Most important: she taught me not to be worried. That has been a remarkable thing in my life. I get over most things almost the way she did.

It was a pity to see her on an armchair in the last few years as she spoke less and less, laughed rarely, ate very little so that she could die and just prayed to be taken away. It was sad to see her go but I am glad she went.

Ummi liked animals. Specially mainaas and cats. When we brought Lenny home from our ship and decided to leave her with Ummi, she fell totally in love. Lenny was a strange cat. If Nuzhat and I left the house Lenny would come to the gate with us and wait there until we got back. Even if it was two in the night, there'd be Lenny. Waiting. When we left for our trips, Lenny would be in Ummi's room all the time.

She once said to me that I had one of my father's good habits: I loved books … But I also chose a bad one: I smoked. Abi gave his smoking up the day Ummi asked him to. I had started smoking when I was 14 … and now I was 37 years old. I went into the room and brought my large collection of pipes, my Lucky Strike cigarettes, and 2 Cigars that were in the Phillipine Wooden Box that had my name engraved on it, and told her to pass it to whomever she wanted. I would never smoke again. 

And that's true …

Not having a child for years after I was married — (Nuzhat and I married in 1970) — must have hurt Ummi, though she never told us about it. Or asked us to go to doctors. On our own we did go … and all doctors said was that we were OK. But soon we gave up thinking of a child, until a day in Hong Kong when, Muzaffar, a close friend of ours, asked us to adopt a Viet Nam baby. His wife, Gulnafar, was working with an agency that helped people adopt these children. We agreed after their insistence to come over in two days and see.

While both of us would have been happy with a baby, I felt that it wasn't the right thing to do. Nuzhat's had 5 brothers. They'd have babies. Their children would be the Nana/Nani favourites. My adopted child (and I) would never be able to handle this at all. Still, we had promised and the day came. I went to office and told Nuzhat that I'd pick her up as soon as I returned. Nuzhat said she had a headache and went to a doctor. She came back home and phoned me saying the doctor says she is pregnant. I rushed off and went with her again to the doctor. I wanted to see the baby and she said she'd just 'seen' the baby in the womb — but Nuz and I insisted. She showed us the child. Amazing. 14 years of marriage … and now we were going to be parents.

Nuzhat and I came back to Karachi. I left her and went off to sea. Thought I'd take leave closer to the birth. One day I got tons of calls from Karachi and they couldn't get through (telephony was really bad!) and when I got a call from the Port Office I was told that I had to rush out from the berth and come to office. Had no idea what was happening.

Soon Anwar, Tahira, their children, arrived. I was told that I had a daughter. I said that's silly. Its only 7 months. But they drove fast and picked up Jehan on the way and took me to Saulat (the head of our company) who had arranged a flight for me to Karachi. I got here and saw Ragni: Fairly blue! It was like having given birth to Krishna.

I was told that Nuzhat had gone with her sister-in-law who wanted to see the doctor. Nuz felt a bit of pain. The doctor checked her out and said she must have an operation right away. Called another doctor who arrived. Doctors told her that the baby had the umbilical cord around her throat and could die if they waited anymore. Her sister-in-law rushed home and brought the family. The blueness of Ragni was because of the lack of breathing well. She became alright after a few months with the blue fading away. (Well, almost!!! - Eh Ragni?)

Nuzhat and I named her Ragni Marea: The Melody of the Sea. Jan Ammu (my father's first cousin and the older brother of Talat Mahmood) came a recited the Azaan in her right ear and, at my insistence, he sang an alaap of Raag Darbari in her left ear :)

In the last four years Ummi saw my daughter … and that thrilled her. She adored Ragni. She didn't even cry when Ragni jumped on the bed and rolled over her aching feet. She spoke constantly with Ragni and that made Ragni improve her Urdu. Ragni started using words that we all laughed at because they were really big words. And she told Ragni numerous stories.

On the 13th January evening Ummi was lying on her bed and Nuzhat, Nihal Bhai (an old family friend who was staying with us), and I were with her. Ragni, now 4 years old, came in and started speaking to Ummi. Ummi held her hand and looked at her grand-daughter. I heard Ragni saying a few minutes later :  "Can't you see me, Amma Jan?" … Nihal Bhai said Ummi was feeling very weak. Nuzhat and I went immediately to get a doctor. Ragni fell asleep on her side by the time we came back.

The doctor arrived and said Ummi had passed away.

We didn't let Ragni come into the room and sent her off to school the next day (14th Jan) while the funeral was being prepared. In the afternoon we told her that Ummi had been take up to the heavens where angels would treat her. She looked at us and said, "Please don't alter her room. I want to see it look like that." (Now, that's her room when she comes back for a holiday from New York.)


(A whole year later, Nuzhat's father - a younger brother of Ummi - passed away on the 14th January 1989 …)

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Happy Birthday, Iqbal …

A very dear friend of mine decided to post this on FB on his birthday today.

Iqbal IsmailIt is sad day, Quaid's Karachi is burning. 'Sindh' is resisting division. Altaf Hussain is scheduled to set Pakistan on fire. I don't know how to react to all this. But let me here point out that this is the legacy of ZAB. He was the first civilian martial-law administrator. We know that in the PNA movement against rigged election, Asghar Khan and Wali and the rest were arrested. He was the one who relied on Martial-law in selected places. He was the one that caved on the Qādiyānī issue, He was the one who adopted extreme Islam and encouraged the Maulvis by adopting their agenda. No drinking... No sex... No nothing. Be good Musalmans. And the Indians we will destroy them. We will eat grass to have an atomic power. So, tell me on what grounds does the 'PPP' talk about democracy? And to cap it all, everything that was a gift from other states went straight to his account and BB inherited the habit and bought 'Surrey Palace' and other properties. On what grounds does the PPP talk about democracy? Democracy is its own revenge says Benazir Bhutto. I reply, If this is your revenge, BB. I am migrating to the 'United States'. Keep your democracy, cheat your people, produce more "Jiyalas" I don't care.

And, as he says, he will move to the USA soon. Pity. I'll miss him when he goes. But I had to respond to his piece above, so I wrote, twice, on his Facebook page under the comments of his message. Both times, for reasons that I do not understand, the comment disappeared … so I thought I'd write a blog - based on my comment - and include all of my points in it.


Dear Iqbal,

Democracy is no one's prerogative in this country. What you have written about Bhutto is true. But let's not forget the BB and NS were removed, twice, because of their own stupidities and corruption. And BB did not storm the court — something the NS did!

A friend of mine said, "BB understands - but won't listen; NS listens - but won't understand." While you have added BB here, there is a large amount of money that NS also took - perhaps not as blatantly as Zardari. But let's not forget that there was money that was transferred out of Pakistan and it was disclosed, with bank account numbers, to Hakim Said. He was going to read out the list at ILM in Lahore. Sadly he is not here to tell us anything. Someone killed him. NS thought it was the MQM and recalled, on TV, that they had the recorded voice of an MQM man negotiating the killing. Soon he changed his mind … and one of his ministers told me that I (and hundreds of thousands of others) had heard it wrong. NS never said that.

Are they democratic? No. They headed their party under the names of BB's father and NS's godfather (Zia). Elections inside their party? No. Oh … and that letter (that we didn't see) that, eventually, made Zardari our President.

Now we come to your party: the PTI. Let me tell you that I am (was?) a great fan of IK. His Cricket was excellent. The Cancer Hospital was absolutely amazing. I wish he'd stayed at that and been our hero forever.

I have had a couple of meetings with him (although he may not remember them at all). He was late at the meeting at Naeem-ul-Haque's house the first time he came to Karachi. I left when he arrived an hour late. What was the point for a leader to not be there when he was going to show his face for a meeting.


At one point he called a group of several people to LUMS Lahore to discuss the schooling system. There was Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dr Q Isa Daudpota, and about two dozen others who were called. I was also invited.

I went to the meeting at LUMS. Everyone was there. IK wasn't. He called and found everyone was there and came in about 30 minutes late. Again!!!

There he told us that everywhere he went people threw money, women threw the gold ornaments, etc., at him, asking him to 'do something for schools and education'. He had called us all to sort out the best plan to do what he wanted to do.

My question to him at that time was that he'd built a great hospital with the help of doctors  and should now build a school, or a couple of them, to alter things here. Others will soon follow. The governments will also understand and support it. We moved on and at some point - perhaps because of Pervez's suggestions - it was decided that he would 'build three technical schools: Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi'. A gentleman got up and said he was from Baluchistan and was surprised that IK had ignored the province. He stated, when IK asked, that he had come to the meeting with his own money and was very interested in having a school there. So we finally had four institutions to be built.

IK stated that it was important that the school would make everyone a good Muslim. I asked if non-Muslims would not be admitted and IK said they would … but we'd teach them Islam and they will adopt it themselves. That left Isa and me feeling odd, though we stayed for the meeting. Pervez was finally chosen to head these schools. Pervez did start the beginnings of this project but left within months, just as we thought he would. I am not sure how far it went …

My next meeting was at Khurshid Kasuri's house at a small party. I discussed matters with IK and his view was that I didn't "really understand Islam". He'd been there. Done that. He really understood our problems and was going to change all of that.

Years later, IK /PTI (no democracy there, either!) are now in power at KPK. He and NS want to 'negotiate' with the Taliban. Which group from the Taliban's 50 sects, I don't know. But negotiate they will. In fact NS has already asked Mulla Sami Sandwich to lead the team on Pakistan's side to start with this lovely Islamic and Nationalistic project.

Sami Sahab says that the earlier Taliban's were trained by him. Their early leaders were taught by his team. And he fully subscribes to their views. Fine. Let's look at their views then:Taliban will begin the negotiation talks when Pakistan meets the following conditions:1. All our Army will have to be removed from 'their areas'.2. Sharea - as practiced by them - will be made  the Law in our country.3. All prisoners, regardless of which country they are from, who have been caught for being Taliban supporters, will have to be released.4. Khilaafat will become the mode of operations here. Until then they do not accept our Constitution.5. Since Islam does not recognise political boundaries we will have to accept that the Durand Line is no longer the border between us and Afghanistan.

We can't do very much about their 'demands' since they are no longer Pakistanis under these requests, but if Sami agrees with all this, he should be in jail - tried for treason. How can he represent Pakistan and talk to his brothers from our side?

IK hasn't given us as crazy reasons so far because he has to take both feet out of his mouth to speak. But he wants to negotiate. That's for sure.

The word Negotiate in the dictionary says this: • [no obj. ] try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion with others: his government's willingness to negotiate.• [ with obj. ] obtain or bring about by negotiating: he negotiated a new contract with the sellers.

Compromise is what the Taliban means. So, once, NS/Sami/IK start the discussion and end it by giving the Taliban all they want (Taliban cannot give up their 'claims' since Allah has ordained these things, according to them) we'll have a Taliban Government, I guess, which will disregard Pakistan as a Nation-State. That sure sounds good. Right?

Can you imagine …

• Women won't learn anything. That's forbidden in their Sharea. How will the women find a Gyno is difficult since there will only be men practicing. Ayatullah Khomeini's idea will have to be turned around: Men can practice or surgery on women if they look into a mirror and do it. (Have you ever tried to put a thread into a needle while looking at the mirror?)

• Shias will, of course, all be killed (which will lead to an encounter with Iran, for starters … but, then, who cares if the fighters have Angels on their side). So will Ahmadis  be killed, as will Aga Khanis, Bohris, and other sects … like Barelvis. (Shit! No qavvaalis, either.)

• Christians (and the two Jews we may have here) have to accept Islam or pay the Jizyah. Or be killed. At least that's what Dr Israr stated on TV once. He said the Ahlé Kitaab have been given this option … otherwise we will fight with them 'on behalf of Allah'.

• Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, and Budhists will have to leave for some other country, I suppose … since they are not Ahlé Kitaab. Or they can be converted. Or killed.

Soon this will open the door for Afpak to start their negotiations with India about Kashmir. Slowly, in the fullness of time, the world will become Talibanized. Anjem Choudari for the Khalifa?

My question is how do Leaders, who were voted into power under our Constitution, give up their country - to damned foreigners, insane people, and their chamchaas - without even asking the people who gave them this tremendous power? Has almost everyone gone mad?
If there's anyone who can talk to IK, Iqbal, you can! Try. Get him to listen and understand.

Love … and a very happy birthday

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Monday, December 09, 2013

A Travel Guide to Karachi

Attended an interesting event yesterday at T2F. The book launch of a twisted, alternative, humorous, funny, serious guide to Karachi, done by 7 artists. The book is called Right to the City. While the entire evening was more than enjoyable, the screen show was fun, too.

I got carried away by the first piece from Sara Khan. The screen showed a video with Bandar Road Se Keamari being played as the background. It took me back to the old Karachi that I knew when I was young … and Karachi was Karachi.

Sadly, the piece was sung by Moin Akhtar. No, no, he didn't sing it badly at all. It was just that I kept thinking of the original piece sung by Ahmed Rushdi, who died so young.
Don't you remember Rushdi? This is what Wikipedia says about him: Ahmed Rushdi, SI, PP (Urdu: احمد رشدی‎; April 24, 1934 – April 11, 1983) was a versatile Pakistani playback singer who worked in film music and was "an important contributor to the Golden Age of Pakistani film music." Rushdi is acclaimed as one of the greatest singers who ever lived in South Asia and was a natural baritone, yet could sing high tenor notes with ease. He is best known for his distinctive, melodious, powerful voice, complex and dark emotional expressions which led many critics to state his voice as the greatest and most distinctive they ever heard. Born in Hyderabad Deccan, he migrated to Pakistan and became a leading singer in the Pakistan film industry. He is considered to be one of the most versatile vocalists of the subcontinent and was capable of singing variety of songs. He is also considered to be the first regular pop singer of South Asia and credited as having sung the first-ever South Asian pop song, Ko-Ko-Korina.

We all loved Ko Ko Korina and his delightful English Version of Dama Dam Mast Qalandar  … but what I adored most of all was his Bandar Road Se Keamari  taking everyone through the major road that started from Puraani Numaish (Old Exhibition) and reached the harbour in Keamari.
The road was renamed M. A. Jinnah Road after Jinnah Sahab died and was buried in that area. I remember being part of the funeral procession as a cub-scout and also recall how a colourful tower at Puraani Numaish ground was very quickly painted black while the procession was heading towards the burial ground.
I met Sara and told her that I had the piece in two sides of 78 RPM (those wonderful waxed discs that we played on a hand-wound gramaphone) and would put it on the computer for her. Came home, looked through my list, and found that I actually also had a 45 RPM that had the full song. (This was the shorter version of the 33 1/3 RPM Long Play 12" - our great delight when it appeared and, except that the record got damaged soon, it was the best record … and that includes today's CDs!)

Now Sara can hear all of these and also add her 'favourite' to the video. And all of you who have missed these or never heard of them should hear them and think of what Karachi was like … and how our musical genres were always so different from the others.

Happy listening!

PS: The book - well worth having - was Rs.300 only at the sale. (Nothing comes for Rs. 300 in Karachi, I thought, except for a small conical shaped Moong Phali newspaper packet.)

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Friday, December 06, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

July 18, 1918 -  December 5th, 2013
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,
South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician,
served in Jail for 27 years.
He became President of South Africa
One of the greatest leaders we have seen.
He adored Mahatma Gandhi and,
like Bapu, he chased the awful White apartheid regime
out of his country after their centuries of terrible rule.
People the world over thought
the Blacks in South Africa
would kill several Whites
after gaining their independence.
He made sure this never happened.
He loved Cricket.
In fact, the very first question he asked,
when he got out of Jail, was
"Is Bradman still alive?"
In 1972
Nuzhat and I sat with his daughter
(outside a London Church)
protesting about his being jailed for 10 years.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Let the court decide …

I put the earlier post up on my blog because several people told me they could not read the post on Shumaila's website that I had quoted on Facebook and Twitter. I am glad that many people have now read it … and also the letter by the girl in response that Amima posted. I think more people should read ALL the stories. Question them. Have views. Not be abusive. Write about what they think. But wait before the court's decision …

As far as I am concerned, I am neither for nor against the girl — I made sure never to mention her name anywhere on Twitter. I know it because of having seen her at ThinkFest.

Tarun (even though I do know him) has to accept what the court decides after looking at all evidence. I don't think I, or anyone,  has the right to pre-judge it, but people do. Again, I do not criticise them. That's their choice, I guess.

The Indian Media has gone haywire, just like the Pak media does. I hope they'll show the decency of not bringing his wife or his kids into this and writing articles. Yes, that I very certainly hope, as I would for my daughter in case I was being criticised.

A 'once-friend', which is how she'd now prefer to be known, has been overly critical of me for defending Tarun. I have done nothing but to retweet links that show that he must be given a fair trial, that the CCTV footage must be shown. There are enough media links favouring the girl, which maybe fine, but I think someone should get this out as a message, too. Whether it is bad for Tarun, I don't know. Both sides MUST be heard is what I want!!!

Sadly I am not too happy with most of the Indian Media which, at times, is worse than our own — and that's really something! Their bizarre handling of this is understandable: It sells papers/airtime. But its not the best way to approach this, in my opinion.

The BJP's extra-ordinary pressure was also disgusting, including Jolly's actions at Shoma's house. I haven't seen any Congress members come to the fore, but if they do, I'd hate that, too. Let the court decide!

I have been asked in email about what I would do if Tarun were my son. Nothing. I may be have been very fond of him, even cry at what has happened, but I'd have to let the law take its proper course and find out if he is true or not. Whether it is rape, molestation, murder, whatever. That's how I feel.

I have been asked by a chap (and again by the once-friend) on Twitter, who told me that I should not respond to her so I didn't, what would be my view if the girl were my daughter? Again, I'd hope the case was right and be helpful in all ways … but the final verdict would come from the court. Not me.

This is why we have courts. Personal emotions, however sad, cannot over-ride the court's finding — except through going to another court and so on. In the case of Talwars who have been given a Life Sentence in India (though there is little to say that they were guilty, since no evidence was found) there are several people who feel that they should appeal against the verdict. This is AFTER the court has made its decision, which I am in agreement with, too.

Finally, the once-friend says I 'censored' the girl's mailed response. I didn't. Someone called Amima posted it as a comment. If she did, one will have to ask her why.


Saturday 30th November. Shumaila asked me questions on the Facebook and I responded to all of them. Somehow (?) the responses got deleted … Shit! Here they are again, in the Comments spot, though not exactly as I had written them as I have no record of the originals. But the gist is the same.

Do read.

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