This blog is best viewed with the latest browser and an open mind!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Its all going to be online now …

Starting with my very first cartoons (and I mean my very first, coz I had never drawn one before) that started being published in The Friday Times, I did a few other things: A few cartoons for The News; A few Photos or Book Covers or Contents, suitably altered; a few Fake-Ads. And maybe a few more items.

Sadly, my dear friend, my adopted daughter, my mentee … and then my mentor, Sabeen Mahmud (Sab), is not here any more. And I can't even try to tell you how many of us feel about this. There are nothing but tears that flow out. Every few hours. Every day. And there are many silent sobs in between.

Sab had asked me to print quite a few of the cartoons and put them up at T2F for 3 days, beginning with my birthday. (I'll be 75 on the 2nd October this year). The cartoons & similar stuff is now being put up on Tooniyaat. If you go there, start with the oldest post (Howdy) and then move up. This way you'll get the chronological order in which they were published.

There was her idea of having me appear on a program at T2F, on the 2nd & 3rd October, where I'd be asked questions by her about my crazy life and crazier ideas. She mailed me a long list of questions that she'd ask. Yes, Sab. I will answer them, too, in Koee Mayday Dil Say Poochhay, a recent blog that I have started. The posts on these may be written, pod-casted, or video-casted.

Among things that Sab thought T2F would print some day would be my poetry book, and a collection of my father's stories, essays, and poems. My poems are now put up every Sunday, (though not in any chronological order). You can see them on Alam Zadah.

My father, Abi (or Azhar Kidvai), has a website now - and it is being added to every few days. It will have his entire collection, including all his verses in his own handwriting. There are some memories and some pictures, too.


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Abi: 11.04.1900 - 19.09.1963

Azhar Kidvai was born in Rampur (India) on 11th April, 1900

My father, Abi is what I called him, was named Azhar Kidvai by his father (Safdar Ali). Abi was also named Khaaqaan Alam (many people had two names in the olden days), but he rarely used this name after he grew up. In Urdu his name (ازہر قدوائ) had a ز and not ظ. Why? Think of Jaamaé Al Azhar. It means another thing when you write it with ظ. In English it was spelt with a K instead of Q. Why? Because the name is Turkish. Kidvais are descendants of Kazi Kidva who was a Turkish Judge under King Baber's rule. There is no Q for ق. There's just a K. Think of Koran. Also, و is written as V in Turkish, not W. Here is an image of their full alphabet.

The W for و was added when Hindustani Transliteration took place … earlier than Turkish Transliteration. This changed و into a W, despite the fact that the pronunciation is that of V.

A picture from a London Collection of Family Logos.
I have this in my house now in wood and brass.
The Latin translated to English means "I shall not altogether die'.

his blogpost, 52 years after his death, is to tell you of a new website that I have started putting up.It will get ready in a week or two but there are enough things there for you to see.

He went to MAO (Aligarh School and College) and did a BA in English Literature. Was arrested for his political views by the Brits ruling India. Later, he became a Doctor, was a Major in the British Forces during the Second World War. He was also a poet, a writer of stories and essays, and a great lover of classical music (Indian and Western). He sang fairly well, but only among friends. He used to do a wonderful Scottish accent, after having passed his Medicine from Edinburgh. He lived and practiced in Monifieth, a small town in Scotland.

His father, Safdar Ali, did send him there but then refused to send him money, though he had a lot of it. Abi's life there was odd, because of a lack of funds. He eventually was put into hospital where one of his kidneys had to be removed. I heard this from his friends, while he was alive. I asked him and he said he would never have told me this, because it was "between me and my father". (His father died in Dacca several years after Abi's death.)

Abi was an Atheist in his early life, but eventually became a rather strong Muslim. In his last few years one could always see him with a tasbeeeh, reciting his words of faith. He said eight prayers every day: the five Farz many do, plus TahajjüdChaasht, and Ishraq. The last time he prayed was only a few minutes before his death.

Despite being a strong Muslim and reading several religious books, he also read extensively in English and Urdu — Fiction and Non-Fiction. He introduced the writers to me, just as he gave me my love of music.

A strong Congress-person, he decided that we'd stay in Delhi … but our house and his clinic were burnt down so he migrated to Pakistan on a temporary basis (in 1947). Dr. Syed Mahmud (my wife Nuzhat's naana) and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said to him that the troubles in Pakistan would end in 5-6 months and we'd be 'good neighbours later'. These things never happened and showed how little the Congress knew what lay ahead.

Abi died at the age of 63, after several repeated heart attacks over the years, heavy diabetes, a constant ringing in his ears, occasional faintings, and - finally - a brain haemorrhage at Anklesaria Clinic, Karachi. He seemed well as I saw him, arriving in Karachi the day before from my trip. Sadly I was on duty on the ship that night/morning and did not see him pass away.


1. Yaad Daasht

2. Links: A collection of my previous blogposts about him.

3. Stories that were written from 1928 onwards and were published as Nai Paod (نئ پود) in 1939, two years after he wrote his last playlet. The original cover and the inside page (Printed 1000 copies : Price Re 1), are also scanned and shown here.

These are followed by scans from his own handwriting.
(In some places it has not been possible to remove the paper lines.)

4. Ghazals, that were kept in a ruled booklet and named Parvaaz. 

5. Rübaais, Qit'aas, Nazms - which were filed under a small folder, called Parvaaz 2.

6. Humorous verses which Abi wrote under the takhallüs 'Shaikh Ji'. He put them in a separate collection, called Laghv Goi.

7. Tasveerayñ — a collection of some images. More will be added as I find them.


This collection is dedicated to Nuzhat, who constantly insisted that I must print Abi's works. She loved the idea that I was going to print it with scanned images as far as the poems were concerned. It is also co-dedicated to our daughter, Ragni Marea, who loved her grandfather's stories.

Sabeen Mahmud loved his stories that I read out to her. I also recited a few of his verses. She had one piece on her softboard in her office. She wanted me to publish his works, specially in his own writings, under T2F's planned idea of opening up a publishing unit. That never happened.

The collection is now on the Internet
where many will be able to read it.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, September 07, 2015

Bowled Over by Imran Khan!

A Picture of IK that caught Dr. Israr's attention.
Israr said that women should not be allowed
to watch a Cricket Match since
the bowlers actions
[s]excite them.
I loved IK when he was a Cricketer.
I hated him since he moved into politics.
I really couldn't stand his views on youths and women.
(Strangely, both vote for him.)

These quotes are from an old interview in
The Friday Times
(Jan 19-25, 1995)

Parliamentary System

Parliamentary system of democracy is nonsense. I am asked why I do not enter politics. I say that for a start I don't believe in getting into a system in which you have to pay exorbitantly to get elected. Secondly, this party system parliamentary democracy, this is just nonsense.The discipline of the party system means that sometimes you have to compromise, you have to lie in public. Therefore only a certain kind of personality is suited to this system and I cannot be part of it. I'm much better outside politics.

The current leaders haven't a clue which way they are taking us. Someone at the top has to set an example, and then be determined to set things straight. If you paid bureaucrats a better salary, for example, they would collect taxes. Their salaries are unrealistic in the first place. So they become corrupt. l don't want to talk about solutions, or what system would be best for the country because I don't want to get into politics. Every government has asked me to join them and I have always refused.

Karachi's Youths

The reason people here wear trousers and shirts is to show that they are a degree better than the common man. I am ashamed to see the upper class youth of Karachi, for instance. What relevance have they to Pakistan? If you left them in a village they would probably get lost.

The West & Us

Familly is their biggest weakness. Our strength is our family system. While I was in university I read Germaine Greer‘s "The Female Eunuch" and thought women‘s lib was right. I now realise that it's impractical.

[The women] are all on diets and half of them have anorexia. In discos, all the fat women sit on the side and get drunk and depressed.

If reducing clothes means progress then that should mean that the African tribes are very progressive!

I said [in an earlier interview] that having lived in the west I have seen its strengths and its weaknesses. Their strengths are. meritocracy, justice, human rights, and so on. Their weaknesses, their biggest threat. is the breakdown of the family. This is a direct consequence of immorality. Since the sex drugs and rock n roll revolution of the 60s, I myself have seen the breakdown of the family. And then women's lib, which has degraded the status of mother, they say why should we stay home and look after children when we can go out and work too. In other words, motherhood, which is looked up to in our culture, is nothing in the west. As a result their family life has broken down. When men and women both go out to work, soon there is a divorce. How is the home to be run? Degrading the mother's role plus sexual permissiveness has led to the mess that the west is in right now.

l would like to see women have all the rights given to them by Islam. ln my view, men and women are equal but different. What western women's lib is trying to prove is that they‘re the same. They're trying to compete with men. This was never meant to be, it was a complimentary role and never a competitive role. The biggest damage that women's lib has done is to destroy the family. All my friends in the west are divorced.

Men & Women

Men and women are supposed to have complimentary roles, the basis of which is that only women can be mothers. A man cannot change nappies. It is not possible for a man to manage a house. If a woman wants to pursue a career then she shouldn't have children. If you want to have children. then you have to have a woman at home. One has to provide and one has to look after the kids and it cannot be the man who looks after the kids!


The limits of freedom have gone too far. For instance, I disagree with gays getting married. This is against the norms of civil society.


The problem here is that the weak are oppressed, not women in particular, that is all lies. When Veena Hayat was raped the government almost fell, but when a poor woman is raped, no one cares. Think about the poor man whose wife is raped. imagine what he goes through! 


Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, September 04, 2015

Congrats Beaconhouse!

Labels: , , ,