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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

How Little We Know …

OK family and friends. Here's another day.

My Gall Stones

My brother-in-law, Tariq Husain, is generally worried about everyone's health (except, perhaps, his own!) and at every person's slightest problems he will always jump in and try to help. I am grateful for his over-enthusiasm because it sometimes sticks. 

Of course, I get that help from him, too, often despite my protests. Now that I had refused my surgery at NMC after a near disaster, Tariq called from his Haj Trip and said I should look for a second opinion, possibly from Dr Saad Khalid Niaz. Although I believe that a 'friendly doctor' didn't think much of him, Nuzhat got an appointment for yesterday and off we went with all my papers.

Dr Niaz spoke to me and enquired why there had been no Ultrasound even on my first trip at NMC. He said it was a good hospital and he was surprised. Then I showed him the Ultrasound taken at Shamim's insistence and he said fine, you have gall stones and a surgery is necessary. No other treatment, he thought, would work. This is what Shamim had also said, earlier.

I showed him my other papers and explained the process that left me refusing surgery at NMC and all he did was laugh. He said the Anaesthetist was strange. Also there was no need for an Open Surgery and I should have a Laparoscopy, instead. He suggested an Anaesthetist, Dr Jakharani (whom he thought was one of the best here), phoned him up after I agreed, and got me an appointment in half an hour. So off we rushed to see him at another hospital.

Dr Jakharani - an oldish man - saw me, spent some time with me, advised me, and said that Laparoscopy was the right answer. No need to do an open surgery. He said Dr Zia Yaqoob, at NMC, was right in saying I could have it. But he thought I should speak to Dr Maher Mumtaz, the surgeon who'd perform the operation.
Dr Mumtaz was Dr Shamim's first preference, but because I had had 3 surgeries (Hernia, Quadruple Bypass, Pacemaker) at NMC — which is also only 5 minutes away from my house — he also suggested two Professors he knew there, and I chose them.
I now know that the senior of the Professors had been 'trained' by Dr Maher Mumtaz who pioneered Laparoscopy in Pakistan.

Just a few minutes wait and Dr Mumtaz came in. An even older man than Dr Jakharani, he was very good during his conversation. He checked me out. Saw the Ultrasound and said Laparoscopy is the only answer.

When I said I had a right to refuse the NMC surgery, he said:

  • You have had a Bypass – so your heart is working
  • You have a Pacemaker — which means it's keeping the rate right
  • Both things make you better than the average patient
  • The Anaesthetist would have had to give you the anaesthesia either way, so what was he worried about
  • Let's not talk about what happened at NMC. Let's just move on
  • Keep this stupid old report of Hepatitis B out. It might cause a mistake. Just keep the right ones in your folder
  • There is no need for an open surgery at all!!!
  • I should sleep over the right side of my body and not the left … as that could cause the stones to go near the entrance and block it or hurt me a lot.
Dr Jakharani & Dr Mumtaz, both, said they have treated octogenarians and yesterday they did a Laparoscopy on a Doctor who is retired and is 92 years old.

The answer, then, is that if I have to have Surgery, I'll have to go to Dr Mumtaz's assistant after Baqr Eed. Give him my ECG, X-Ray, Ultrasound and anything else he wants. Keep off Loprin for 5 days. And then we can do the operation. Shamim came back last night. I've discussed this with him. He says that's the right way to go since my Gall Bladder is no use now.
All of this seems good, except my faith in Doctors here has shaken. My father was a Doctor of the good old stock. If necessary, he asked for a second opinion or brought another doctor in on the case. He always had extremely good bedside manners. He loved his work! Today, Shamim is also like that. Of course, neither of them made money here!

Anyway, I have to live to 80 … as I promised Ragni this.

"The idea is to die young as late as possible."

Ashley Montague

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Monday, September 29, 2014


Some people are arguing about Medicaid in the USA.
Democrats and Republicans differ.
But that is too far away from us.

Here, however, is an example of what Medic[p]aid looks like.

On the 20th September, at around 3pm I started a rising pain in my stomach. It got worse and worse until 5pm when I was in tears and called Dr Shamim who gave me an injection. The pain remained for a while and stretched now to my back. Nuzhat arrived, too.

The pain abated … but very slightly. Shamim told me to go see a doctor. I was taken to NMC (DHA - Karachi) by Nuzhat and him. Injections and medicine and more injections followed and the pain disappeared in about half an hour. I went home.

We all thought I should get an Ultrasound Test done and on the 21st I went again. The results arrived the next morning.
The report concluded with this: Gall bladder is slightly thick walled and distended. Multiple calculi are seen. One of them measures 1.0 cm. Sludge is also seen. These findings could be secondary to acute cholecystitis. Clinical correlation would help.
I checked on the Internet for what Gallstones really were

… and the effect the surgery would have on my diet.

The sites I visited said after surgery I could not have Ice Cream, Cream, Butter, French Fries, Burgers, Steaks, Sweets, Cheese, … and, much much much worse, no Coffee or Espresso

Of course the site holders live in the Glorious West and didn't mention Bundu Khan's Kabaab, Paratha, Tikka … or the Burns Road Sheermaal & Kabaab. And heavenly Mangoes!!! Obviously, those were not allowed, too.

I decided that this was it. No surgery! You can't ask a man to go through the last year(s) of his life like that! Jehan Ara visited and said Rukhsana has had the surgery and eats everything. A friend's daughter said she eats her usual meal. I was still not convinced.

Rather surprised, I phoned Shamim. He said you can eat whatever you like. He knew a couple of Doctors (Professors Aziz and Asad) who specialise in this and sit together at NMC. He phoned them up and made an appointment for me.

Shamim, as is usual for me to ask him to come along, went with Nuzhat and me. Dr Asad was not there but Dr Aziz saw me and the report and said you should get an operation. He gave me a prescription for being admitted to the hospital whenever I wanted to. His paper said Cholelithiasis. That's from the Greek: chol- (bile) + lith- (stone) + iasis- (process).

I have had a Quadruple Bypass 4 years ago and a Pacemaker put in a few days ago … so I asked if it was ok to have the surgery. Dr Aziz said I should check with my Cardiologist. Shamim spoke to him and he said it's fine. I can do a Laparoscopy and there is no need to for Cholecystectomy.

My next - and a much more important - question: What could I EAT after surgery? (Ohhh, of course, you CAN'T talk about DRINKING here.) Dr Aziz said, "Everything." I listed all my favourites and he said that's ok. I can have all of those things and get my wife to make a nice Biryaani, too. (I am not a Biryaani fan, but it helped to know this.)

Apparently those diets on the Internet are for the West! Don't you think some Pakistani or Indian Doctors should write about our diets, too?

I took the prescription home and thought I'd go into the hospital on Friday so that I could be out by Sunday. Shamim phoned me and said it'll have to be an open surgery as Dr Aziz's Cardiologist said that it would be risky. "Fine", I said. I will be in hospital on Friday.

3:00 pm was the time that NMC gave us after we phoned. Nothing to eat/drink from 1.30 pm. Surgery scheduled for 8 pm.

Now the show starts.

3:01 pm I am in the hospital.
4:04 pm I am in a room.

Or is my dead father in the room?

A young RMO (Dr Zohra Ghanghro) arrives. She is an extremely pleasant girl and is almost the main feature in this story. People take my Temperature. Blood Pressure. Blood is taken for checking if I have Hepatitis.

It's 5 pm. The Assistant Anaesthetist arrives. He is followed by the Cardiologist. Both say they will inform the surgeon before he starts the operation at 6 pm. 

Nuzhat calls Dr Ghanghro. Says I have eaten at 1:30 pm. Why has the surgery been brought forward. Doc goes out and phones people and says it could be 7:30 pm. At least that's what she thinks. I said that the Anaesthetist has not seen me yet. Nor has my Surgeon. She says she was told that the Surgeon had seen me. "Not at all", I say. And she rushes out to phone them both.

It is now almost 6 pm and the Assistant Anaesthetist arrives again. He asks me to sign a form that allows the Surgeon to go ahead. He says its a 'High Risk' operation. We ask him what 'High Risk' means. He says, "You might not come out of Anesthesia. Your age. Your previous operations. Your Pacemaker. Your Bypass. All that make the risks very strong. If you don't come out, they'll have to put you into an ICU. Maybe 1 day. Maybe 3-4 days. If that doesn't work, then they'll put you on a Ventilator."

WTF! All the doctors here have seen my reports. Why didn't they tell me this before I decided to have the operation? I was not going to take this risk for a Gall Bladder surgery. I'd rather have the pain and come back for medication. So I got up. Called Dr Ghanghro. Told her I am not having Surgery. Phoned Shamim and he said, "One shouldn't take such risks on a Gall Bladder or Appendix operation. Don't have the surgery."
(Later Shamim told me that it is the Anaesthetist's job to make sure that he gives the right amount of the right Anaesthesia and make sure I come out of it. There was no reason to think of the last part at all … unless the Anaesthetist had no confidence.)
Shamim phoned Dr Asad who said the surgery is due at 8(!) and he will get there by that time. Shamim decided to come there at 7:30 pm. We told Dr Ghanghro at 8:05 pm that I wasn't having the surgery. We'll inform the doctor when he comes in.

We waited.
And waited.
And waited more.

Dr Ghanghro said she'd get the blood reports ready. It was way past 8:20 pm. Had there been a surgery, the reports should have come in earlier. Anyway, she came back and said that the Hepatitis B report was here. The Hepatitis C would take a while. Right! After the operation, I guess.

My Hepatitis B report showed that the Max Count is 1.00 (One) but my count was 146 (One Hundred and Forty Six). Damn. I had a Hepatitis B problem. [Later at home I checked (Thank you, Google!) and in the USA the treatment was almost over a year and could go unto $25000 per year.]

Ohh … and I am now the w/o rather than s/o!

At 9:40 pm I decided to have a biscuit and water. Starving for 8 hours was making me (and my Diabetes) feel really bad. Shamim said he cannot believe this report to be right. I should check it at AKUH Lab the next day. Meanwhile Dr Ghanghro came back with the report on which she had added by pen that I don't have Hepatitis C. She found this out by phone since the report wasn't still ready.

Isn't that wonderful! I hope the Hepatitis C Report is OK.

We were now told that Dr Asad was in hospital and was operating another patient … after which he'd call me in if I agreed to have the surgery. I had, of course, said no to two people by now. So I was ready to go home. But I couldn't. Dr Asad had to sign the form before I could be released.

Shamim phoned him up and spoke with him. Do Surgeons use the phone and speak to the caller during an Operation? I guess in Pakistan they do. He asked Dr Asad to please tell Dr Ghanghro to speak with the Desk and release me. That was done … and I was finally home.

The next day I got checked for Hepatitis B at AKUH Lab.

0.361! No Hepatitis B.


I wonder where our 99% illiterates go with false reports.
They take the wrong medicine.
They die, I guess.


Thank you Nuzhat and a zillion apologies for all the trouble I have always caused you. Thank you, Sabeen, for being constantly in touch from UK. Thank you Jehan, for all your wishes and constant calls and visits. Thanks Ruhi & Misha for a short but delightful visit from UK.

Thank you, Shamim, for always being there.
Let's have more coffee tonight … and every night.

And thank you, Dr Zohra Ghanghro for being so helpful, full of energy, and being a good RMO. This is no place if your Professors are so faulty and unreliableI am sure your mother will allow you to go abroad and study. C'mon. Press mom hard. Her UCLA background will make sure to let you go and become a great Doctor.


The above was written yesterday. But I have an addition to make. Nuzhat went to NMC to collect my report for Hepatitis C and was given it … as well as another copy of my Hepatitis B that they had given yesterday. Except that it now read 0.25 instead of 146! Wow!!!


Will write more about today … in the next day or so.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

"… And there's one more thing"

Sorry, this post is not about Steve Jobs. Or Apple.
It's about my Pacemaker, fitted on
August 25th, 2014.

In case you (or someone you know) is going to get one,
this is what happens in Karachi.

As you can see, my Pacemaker came from Meditronics,
a world-famous firm that makes great stuff.
Yes, it works. Don't worry.

But "… there's one more thing". Or maybe even more.

The Cardiologist I went to was Dr. Zia Yaqoob (ZY) who was also my Cardiologist during my Quadruple Bypass in 2009. He works at National Medical Centre, which is just a couple of minutes from my house. Very convenient.

(You can read this and this, if you've missed out the past!)

I was admitted and was to have my surgery performed in the afternoon. ZY said he had asked the Vendor to supply the Pacemaker and it would be here in a while. A little later I was taken to the surgery and was being prepared.

Outside, my wife had someone who approached her with a package that she had to accept and pay for. It was the Pacemaker and parts. Pay? I thought the doctor had told us what it would cost and since we were paying the hospital they should pay the Vendor and bill us. But no. In this case you bought it separately.

Fine, said my wife. But could you please take it to the surgery and make sure its the right thing. No, said the Vendor. "You pay. You take it in." My wife gave the person the money (he left right away) and she handed the Pacemaker to ZY&c. It was, thankfully, the right one … but its awful that the Vendor doesn't hand it over himself. The receiver may not know if its the right item or not.

I came out of the surgery an hour and a half later and stayed in the hospital overnight. The next day I was asked to leave and was told that the Vendor would give me an Implanted Device Identification Card in two days. I should carry it with me all the time. I gave Sabeen my Visiting Card to make sure she'd call the guy up and give him the correct spelling of my name. She did. And he said in two days you'll have the card. I thought I'd wait another three days … nothing works on time here.

On the 29th I called him up again. No answer. We continued doing this for several days. No response. Finally, on the 5th September, I went to see ZY for a check-up and also mentioned to him that the Card hadn't yet arrived. He called his assistant and told him to phone up and get the card delivered to the hospital.

On the 8th September we phoned up the guy and he responded. He said he had sent the card via TCS Delivery Service. "Where to?", asked my wife. "I don't know. Could be your house … or the Hospital!", said the Vendor. Wow. Isn't that just great.

Three days later we went back to ZY without a card. He said he'd "chase the chap right away". Nothing happened. On the 15th September I visited him again and the chap at the Reception handed me an open Card and said someone had just left it there a little while earlier. No TCS. No envelope.

I thanked ZY and said I'd had to cancel my trip to Lahore because I could not have flown without this card. He said to me, "The Vendor is a nasty piece of work. There was another Vendor who was better but this chap had him removed. We have no choice. I have told the other doctors about your bad experience."

Got home and decided to scan the card and keep a copy.
Here is what had arrived.

Apart from an overtyping of my name and the Serial Number
there was Hospita.

Khaér. I scanned it.
Then I'd thought I'd check the boxes give to us.
Most people just throw them away.
And, in any case, with an English Literacy rate of 1%
they can hardly read anything.

Fortunately, I did open the boxes up!

The Serial Number should have been
(Just a digit missing, right?)

Worse, the Lead Number should have been
(Absolutely wrong on my card.)

Tried phoning the Vendor. No Answer.

I called up my neighbour and friend Dr Shamim Ahmad, who phoned up ZY, and got the address of the firm. We spent a lot of time looking for an office "above Scholl's". The Scholl chap said the building had a top floor. There was nothing there. The door was locked.

After more searching we went back to a small tailor shop at the other end of the building. He said, "Oh, the ACP store? Come through my shop. It's above us." Actually one could have seen the door from outside, too, but there were no Signs or Names to look at. This is what it looked like.

 On the right you can see a man opening the door and going up

A trip to the stair case took me to this entrance.

That's the Tailor Shop on the left.

After ringing a small bell that had the company's name badly written, I walked up through the door that was just opened by the man I had seen earlier.

What a bell!!! The company name is on it. So easy to spot, no?

There were hordes of boxes on the stairs all the way up to the office, with a couple of people pulling them up and stacking them. The boxes were from Turkey.

Of the two gentleman the senior one asked me what it was. I told him. He said Mr Waheed does the typing and he is "at the Cardiovascular Hospital. Can you wait?" 

The other person said I should come up and sit down. He'll call Waheed on the phone. In I went. Saw even more boxes piled up everywhere.

I am sure the Turks think this is a great company.

I also asked the person that the office must keep a record of what had been given and to which patient. There must be a record in the office. Accounts? Delivery challaan? Huh? Huh? No response.

Waheed came on the line. Was told what had happened.
Not even a 'Sorry' from him.

The gentleman said to me that Waheed had written on the last card they had in the office and sent it on to me. There were no cards left in office. I said it shouldnt't take more than a couple of days to print them here … but was told that they have to be from Medtronics in the USA.

Given the card that I had, it was on a rather poorly printed version with Medtronics in Blue. Easily printed here, I am sure. Specially by their Distributor. I asked him why Medtronics didn't send as many cards (plus a couple more) than the machines they sent here. I mean that seems obvious, right? "It's Amrika", he said "and they can do what they like."

Sad that in a country, with little or no literacy rate, a Pacemaker can be fitted and the card (with the wrong numbers) sent out after 3 weeks … with so much more worrying, and visits to the Doctor, by the patient. What if the patient happens to be a chap from the interior of Sind (and one who cannot even read what's on the card). He may be travelling to the UAE for a job, for example, and have an invalid card. If something happens to him, the Medtronics team will not be able to trace these boxes back, if called.

Although ACP wanted a TCS Delivery Address I have left my phone number, instead, with them and asked them to phone me when the cards arrive. Will go and pick it up myself. And make sure its correctly filled in.

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Saturday, September 06, 2014


 On 24th October 2009 I had a heart attack.
You can read about it here.

So, what's new?

About 7 months ago Sabeen Mahmud (of T2F & my adopted daughter) went to Dr. Cyasp Nowsherwani. She asked me to come along, too, partly because I had complained about an occasional giddiness when standing up after being in a chair for a long time. The Doc asked me if this always happened. I said No. He said I should "get up slowly and hold on to something if necessary … and soon this would go away. It was only temporary." Was it Age? Perhaps!

I waited for months. Nothing happened that seemed connected. But things didn't work out too well. Read the follow-up here to see how some things did happen. But, again, it didn't seem to indicate a heart problem.

Over these months my dizziness kept happening slightly more often, even sometimes while I was walking from room to room. So I went to the Emergency Ward at NMC and the Doctor said it would take a couple of months to get all right … I should continue taking my regular medicines.

More months passed. Nothing happened. The pain attack returned once. I rushed to the heart hospital. A checkout showed that it wasn't my heart. So I came home. Dr. Shamim (S) gave me a medicine to reduce the pain … but no pains came after that.

Then the dizzyness started happening when I climbed downstairs/upstairs. Not all the time, but getting worse. Mind you, the dizzyness came for just a second or two. Maybe three. Never longer.


While Ragni was here and was visiting a doctor. I was in the waiting room. I phoned and spoke to 'Ms. House M.D.' — that's Sabeen Mahmud -  and told her I was feeling increasingly dizzy again.  She (a Lady Doctor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist … without any qualifications) said it could be Tachycardia or Bradycardia.

(See how useful that amazing TV series is!)

Looking this stuff up on my iPhone, I felt that Bradycardia could be the possible cause. For this I downloaded a Heart Rate Monitor Application on my iPhone. I checked it out and it showed 72 beats per minute.  60bpm, I discovered on a website, was low. 40bpm was fairly terrible.

I kept checking my heart rate there in the hour I was sitting in the waiting room … and this is what I saw happening afterwards: 67 - 58 - 65 - 44 -72 - 41.


That website also mentioned Arrhythmia - a missing of heartbeats or irregularity in them. There was no way to find that out unless I went to a Doc. So I had to go see Dr Zia Yaqoob (ZY).

Dr S phoned Dr ZY and told him that a Holten Monitor needed to be attached to me for 24 hours. I went to see him and had monitor fitted by 'Mike'. He asked me if his children should continue to stay in Pakistan or move out. I said if they were Jews, Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus, Shias, Aga Khanis, Bohris, or any other 'breed' that the 'incoming Pakistan' feels should be killed — and that includes several Sunni sects, too — they should leave right away. Mike - (whose real name was Mukesh, I found out later) - told his assistant that I was the second person to say this to him. I guess his kids will soon be on their way out.

Holten Monitor

The monitor records were kept on a USB card that was plugged in. After 24 hours the USB was removed and the events were checked. "You should come back for a report on Monday evening", said Mike, and off we went.

We were almost near our house when Mike phoned and said I should get back and see Dr ZY right away!!! Huh???

Anyway, I got to Dr ZY and Mike arrived there with my report. The Doc looked at it. There were 48 times in the 24 hours that my heart had stopped. Many missed beats were upward of 3 seconds. The longest one was 4.478 seconds.

Fortunately— or not — I was asleep.
I guess I could have died.

Dr ZY said to me that I'd have to have a Pacemaker fitted as soon as I can … and I should rest until then. I came home and we thought that I must have this on Monday, since Ragni was leaving in three days and could be with me at this time.
So it was on Monday, August 25, that my Pacemaker was fitted

(I also posted these pics on Facebook/Twitter)

Pacemaker 1 : The X-ray

Pacemaker 2 : Recovering at NMC

Pacemaker 3 : If I'd been a little fatter this wouldn't be seen!


On 27th August Ragni celebrated her 30th Birthday
(her first in Karachi in 10 years)
and I decided to celebrate my 73rd a little early instead of October 2nd.


 So now, Tony Afzal, you know what happened.


Oh, here's a fact to remember:

SOS is quite often 'translated' as Save Our Souls.
Apart from the fact that there is no 'soul' to save,

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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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