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Monday, January 24, 2011

Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi

Born February 4th, 1922
Passed Away January 24th, 2011

A few more days and I'd have called him to wish him my usual birthday greeting. Have done that for the last who-knows-how-many years. It was something that I always enjoyed, thanking him for each year that we got to listen to him.

I admired him in ways that are so difficult to describe on paper. And I am in no mood to write anything at all. The music I am listening to, right now, is his Malkauñs (You can listen to part of it here) —It is a piece that I have always loved. The taans are heavenly …

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

“Hope”: An epic poem By Finn Boughner

Finn Boughner is a 'grand-nephew' of mine. He doesn't know me, but his grandfather, Tony Afzal, and I have been friends for a very, very long time.

Tony sent me a poem by him and said, "He sat down and wrote this in 45 minutes flat, with NO prompting from his mother, other than the occasional punctuation corrections. He is 11 years old, going on 40, and an extraordinarily gifted child." Here's his 1st Prize winning poem:

   (an Epic Poem by Finn Boughner)

The world is now in need.
As if power and control will help.
In this world of ours help comes in one place.


Hope, is when a starving Afghani child thinks,
“Maybe tomorrow will be better.”


Hope is when in the Chinese Sweatshops,
A worker says “I think I’ll win that lawsuit.”


Hope is in Pakistan where the farmer who has his
Crops destroyed knows next year crops will be
Ten-fold, and surplus, enough to feed his family.


Hope is when an American, Cancer diagnosed child says,
“They’ll find a cure and I’ll run with the other children.”


Together we can make a change with UNICEF and WHO
And UNPO, with kindness and tolerance and all around

With the world in the hands of our children, we should
Make it better before they take over.

I, as a child, some say shouldn’t have these beliefs.
Dark and depressing as our blackened and saturated
World is,
Hiding it from the community of children and Young adults
Is a grave and perilous mistake.
To let your child believe together we can make a change
Is the right choice of one or of the other.


Hope is when we find a cure to HIV/AIDS.


Hope is when relief aid will come to all in need, regardless
Of religion, culture, or the color of your skin.


Hope is when it’s okay to be
   Muslim in America,
   Christian in North Korea,
   or Jewish in the Middle East.


When all world is at peace, when there is no poverty, no
Crime, no judgment, no terrorist assaults, and no Nuclear War threat.

Listen to my words so that one day the world will be in a perfect world …
Together We Can.

Reflections: Literature
Theme: Together We Can
Grade 6, Room 16, Mrs. Lee
Golden Hill Elementary

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Veena Malik

On Express 24/7 TV our thoroughly amazing Kamran C. Shahid has told us all what crap our TV journalism really is. 

Veena Malik was brought on to a show that started with some scenes which don't usually inhabit our TV screens … except, of course, in 'foreign movies' and in some 'Indian movies'. No offense, of course, since that's what most of our people watch the TV for when not playing DVDs.

The host started - and continued - the program with very little to say other than really stupid things about Veena. Why did she not represent Pakistan? Why did she not represent Islam? Why, in India, was she not even more Pakistani and more Muslim than in any other country - because our image demands that?


Regardless of his own idiocy, he also had a mulla[h] on the program - a chappie who can run you into the ground by pronouncing a fatva. Poor mulla[h]. He did say several times that she had been gifted by you-know-who for her beauty. But he wasn't expecting to be beaten to shit by Veena.

Despite the mad statements that Kamran made, and the marvelously amusing lecture the mulla[h] gave - without ever having seen Veena, he confessed - Veena went into her own arguments and gave all the viewers tons of things to think of: Rapes by mulla[h]s of the children they teach; Corruption; Murder; Bombings. You name it, it was there.

Veena went on to talk about all the good things she had done, too - and the lack of the media's responses to those. She said she was an entertainer and went there as one. She did nothing that was bad in her view.

Maybe it does not strike you as being right - but that's you. This was her.

Yesterday's interview put my heart at rest:
— Yes. Kamran is really a load of BS.
— Yes. Mulla[h]s are useless when they start taking other people's words and then issue edicts.

Thanks a lot, Veena. You were delightful!

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Friday, January 14, 2011

A R Nagori (1938-2011)

One of our country's most talented artist
died at 5.30 PM today after a heart attack.

This has become a really sad year for so many of us! Abdul Rahim Nagori's artwork never failed to stir a controversy. An artist who painted with the fire of indignation, Nagori was known for his strong stance against the way things were run here and his work always caused a strong set of problems with the 'establishment'.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Would You Permit Me?

In a country where thinkers are assassinated, and writers are considered infidels and books are burnt, in societies that refuse the other, and force silence on mouths and thoughts forbidden, and to question is a sin, I must beg your pardon, would you permit me?

Would you permit me to bring up my children as I want, and not to dictate on me your whims and orders.

Would you permit me to teach my children that the religion is first to God, and not for religious leaders or scholars or people?

Would you permit me to teach my little one that religion is about good manners, good behavior, good conduct, honesty and truthfulness, before I teach her with which foot to enter the bathroom or with which hand she should eat?

Would you permit me to teach my daughter that God is about love, and she can dialogue with Him and ask Him anything she wants, far away from the teachings of anyone?

Would you permit me not to mention the torture of the grave to my children, who do not know about death yet?

Would you permit me to teach my daughter the tenets of the religion and its culture and manners, before I force on her the 'Hijab' (the veil)?

Would you permit me to tell my young son that hurting people and degrading them because of their nationality, color or religion, is considered a big sin by God?

Would you permit me to tell my daughter that revising her homework and paying attention to her learning is considered by God as more useful and important than learning by heart Ayats from the Quran without knowing their meaning?

Would you permit me to teach my son that following the footsteps of the Honorable Prophet begins with his honesty, loyalty and truthfulness, before his beard or how short his robe (long shirt/dress) is?

Would you permit me to tell my daughter that her Christian friend is not an infidel, and ask her not to cry fearing her friend will go to Hell?

Would you permit me to argue, that God did not authorize anyone on earth after the Prophet to speak in his name nor did he vest any powers in anyone to issue 'deeds of forgiveness' to people?

Would you permit me to say, that God has forbidden killing the human spirit, and who kills wrongly a human being is as if he killed all human kind, and no Moslem has the right to frighten another Moslem?

Would you permit me to teach my children that God is greater, more just, and more merciful than all the (religious) scholars on earth combined? And that his standards are different from the standards of those trading the religion, and that his accountability is kinder and more merciful?

Would you permit me?

Nizar Kabbani 
A Syrian Poet, Diplomat, Writer & Publisher

1. The Arabic Original - with English Translation - is here in RTF (sent by Frederick Nazareth)

2. The Urdu Translation by Harris Khalique is here in PDF (sent by Hasan Zaidi)

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Maudoodi : Jinnah kay baaray mayñ

Click to see a bigger picture


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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Salmaan Taseer

by an Elite Force Guard
at Kohsar Market, Islamabad, today!

Loved by many.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Ustad Zafar Ali Khan

Giving us a small lecture demo at my house

One of my favourite singers, Ustad Zafar Ali Khan died last night after a heart attack. A great voice and a wonderful teacher, he gave many young performers years of his experience and loved every minute of it. Among his many students were my daughter Ragni and her friend Zohra. Also, there was Sabina Ansari and Rubeena Kidwai. 

I remember hearing him singing, years ago, with his father - and his voice caught my ears. It was rich and wonderful. Much later, as I followed him singing and composing I saw him get better by the minute. 

Pity that we will not hear him sing again or see his laughing, singing face, his taunts, his humour. RIP, Zafar.

You can see his T2F video here posted by Sabeen Mahmud.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

RIP Bajia Jaan

Dearest Tazeen Baji - We'll all miss you.

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