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Archive for July, 2013

Keats of Urdu poetry-Majaz

barbaad tamannaa pe ataab aur zyaadaa
haanmeri mohabbat kaa javaab aur zyaadaa

roye na abhi ahal-e-nazar haal pe mere
honaa hai abhi mujh ko Kharaab aur zyada

aavaara-va-majanun hi pe maukoof nahin kuchh
milane hain abhi mujh ko khitaab aur zyaada

uthenge abhi aur bhi tufaan mere dil se
dekhunga abhi ishq ke khvaab aur zyaada

tapake ga lahu aur mere dida-e-tar se
dhadakegaa dil-e-khanaa-kharab aur zyaada

ai mutrib-e-bebaak koi aur bhi naghma
ai saaqi-e-fayyaz sharaab aur zyaada.

He is  Keats of Urdu poetry.
He was a darling of Urdu poetry lovers of his age.

Ismat Chughtai recounts,” Girls college mein ladkiyan usse shaadi ke liye qura nikaalti theen”[it was a pastime among hostel girls to draw lots, to decide which girl will marry him].

He belonged to the era of progressive and revolutionary  poets, leading the Progressive Writers’ Movement of Aligarh with Sahir, Josh and Ali Sardar Jafri.

Jalaal-e-aatish o barq-e-sahaab paida kar,
ajal bhi kaanp uthe tu woh shabaab paida kar
Tu inquilab ki aamad ka intezar na kar,
jo ho sake to inquilab paida kar”

He was hopelessly romantic:

Khub pehchan lo asrar hun main
jins-e-ulfat ka talabgar hun main

ishq hi ishq hai duniya meri
fitana-e-aql se bezar hun main

chedati hai jise mizarab-e-alam
saz-e-fitarat ka wohi tar hun main

aib jo hafiz-o-khayyam mein tha
han kuch is ka bhi gunahgar hun main

zindagi kya hai gunah-e-adam
zindagi hai to gunahgar hun main

meri baton mein masihai hai
log kahate hain ki bimar hun main

ek lapakata hua shola hun main
ek chalati hui talavar hun main

And on his unsuccessful love:

Na ayaa’n hui un se, na bayaa’n hui hum se,
Bus suljhi hui aankhon mein, uljhi rahi muhabbat..
Yeh merey ishq ki majbooriyan ma’az Allah,
Tumhara raaz tumhi sey chhupa raha houn mein.

Heartbroken not just in love, but of the prevailing social conditions in those days, he took refuge in heavy drinking,

“Bahut mushkil hai duniya ka sanvarnaa,
Teri zulfon ke pech-o-kham nahin hain.”

Friend and contemporary poet Josh Malihabadi advise him to control his drinking: Majaz ghadi rakh kar piya karo’
A maverick Majaz laughed:,”Josh sahab main ghada rakh kar peeta hoon.”

Another friend, Jigar Moradabadi begged him to quit drinking like he did. Majaz’s response was:“Tum ne to ek baar chhori hai, main to kaee baar chhorr chuka huun.” (You left it just once, I have left it several times).

He died in Lucknow due to  heavy drinking at the age of 44.

Josh remarked on his death: ” Majaz took 75%of his poetry to grave because of early death, otherwise he may have surpassed everyone else.”

“Ab iskey baad subah hai aur subah-e-nau Majaz,
Hum Per hai khatam Sham-e-Gariban-e-Lucknow.”

My favorite couplets of Majaz:

Is mahfil-e-kaif-o-masti me, is anjuman-e-irfaani me
Sab jaam-bakaf baithe hi rahe, hum pee bhi gaye chahlka bhi gaye.
(This gathering of fun and frolic, the erudites all around
All merely sat with the goblets, but I drank to the full).

Sab ka madawa kar daala apna madawa kar na sake
Sab ke gireban see daale apna hi girebaan bhool gaye.

Ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh


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A coup or a revolution, Egypt? Who decides?

While the rest of the world, including me shuddered at the premature demise of democracy in Egypt, my Egyptian colleague sitting next to me in the office was bouncing in her chair. Opened in front of her was her Face book page and Twitter account, receiving and sending congratulatory messages.
I walk into her cabin and before I could ask she rejoiced:
“We have got our country back.”

Me: “But isn’t this a demise of democracy, and army is back?”
Her: “Why? You think Morsi was ruling? Is elections democracy? He was running the Islamist, Salafi agenda?”
Me: “Yes, but in democracy, he would be routed out next elections. Democracy is a painfully slow process, we know.”
Her: “No this is not democracy. Do you know how he had won the elections? He had got the petro-dollars to the poor in rural Egypt , and taken their ID cards numbers for the vote.”
Me: “Yes I can totally relate to that, but still, democracy takes time to work.”

She hardly even listened to my democracy rant, and continued….
Her: “He was not working for Egypt, and was carrying an outside agenda. He even disowned our history. The Muslim Brotherhood had declared Pyramids and Pharoahs, our history and heritage as Haram. Do you know, they even reduced the age of marriage for girls to below 18?”
Me: “I know, but I will still think that a military coup is not a good idea.Democracy may have it’s ills but world still has to discover a better form of rule”
Her: “My dear, this is not a coup. This is people’s will, peoples power. This is a revolution.”
There was an unshakable belief in her tone.
Me: Hmmm…

I still disagreed. But she was hardly paying any attention to my views, and was drunk in her own ecstasy.
Her: “Okay, if you have Talebans elected in Pakistan sometime, the same way, through an external power, will you accept them as democracy? “

She knew she had cornered me, and that I would not agree to that at any cost.

She continued: “See this, I will show you my Hijabi friends in Tahreer Square, sending me congratulatory notes, that “We have won our country back.:”

And she actually showed me her friend’s profiles, who were so.

“It was an external agenda that Morsi was working for, not Egyptian. We have conservative Egyptians, but they don’t support the extremists. Do you know they were giving a quite support to the killings of Shias in Egypt in the past one year?”

I fired her the last question that was knocking in my head: “Do you think with the departure of Morsi, the Brotherhood agenda will go? Will they not organize themselves for revenge, and get violent now?”

For the first time in this discourse my friend gave a pause, and was thinking..

“NOOO,” she said firmly with …”yes they are there, but…. You know they are a tiny minority………. And now they are much less popular.”

There was a long explanation from her, but without much substantial argument and even lacked conviction now.

Going through Twitter there were myriad of interesting pictures depicting the glorious revolution making rounds.
Picture #1 attached Military heart.

Military Heart.

There was a deluge of tweets with hashtag #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup

This tweep was sure it wasn’t a coup, even when she didn’t know how to spell it correctly;
Sara Ameer ‏@EngSarAm 15m
Message from #Egypt to the whole world, this is not a Military Queue #Morsi #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCo

Military Queue

Hany Sadekk @HanySadekk 6h
“@NevineZaki: Another very interesting perspective on why this is not a coup.” #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCo

Coup de'tat.

And those who knew it all…

sweetsammora ‏@sweetsammora 3h
For those who say it’s a Military Coup, I dare you to say that to 33 millions! #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup

Those asking the rest of the world to mind their business:

Mido ‏@midoahm 7h
#EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup This is our Msg to the World!! Dont get involved! !

@Esraa2008 6h
#EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup @BarackObama U r worry now about Egypt, but you weren’t worry when the head power of Egypt was terrorism

And the cartoon:

Obama: I am worried about the situation in Egypt.
Egypt: Fear not, sweet heart.

Egyptian Gothika \m/ ‏@Raven_Angelika 17h
“There is nothing new in Egypt, Egyptians are making history as usual..” #Egypt #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup

And at the same time we heard in News of Journalists being arrested and TV channels including Al Jazeera being shut down in Egypt, I really wondered and tweeted on the same hashtag:

Ilmana Fasih ‏@ZEEMANA 13h
When TV stations are shut down, is it a revolution or a coup? #EgyptianRevolutionNotMilitaryCoup

We had the most horrified and concerned tweets coming from Pakistan, on the demise of democracy in Egypt.

Umar Cheema ‏@UmarCheema1 3h
Military takeover has nowhere been able to fix democracy. Problems have been fixed with more and more democracy. #Egypt

Raza Rumi ‏@Razarumi 7h
Deja vu RT @vali_nasr: #Egypt generals say their soft coup is meant to restore democracy. That is what both Zia and Musharraf said in #Pak

Amidst the euphoria on twitter, I tweeted my worst fear:

Ilmana Fasih ‏@ZEEMANA 17h
Morsi may be gone but Muslim Brotherhood is still there. Will it not get stronger now in #Egypt? #MyFear

Instant comes a reply from an Indian friend:
Reena Satin ‏@ReenaSatin 7h
@ZEEMANA Yes, people should have let them complete their tenure, and reveal their true identity.

Honestly do we blame Egyptians for their euphoria? How many times have we in the past rejoiced at military take over?

As aptly commented by a Pakistani friend Kamran Rehmat on Facebook:

“I’m not at all surprised your Egyptian friend has the views she has. What would Egypt know of democracy, whom democracy does not know!”

And then the same friend remarks:

“Looking at Egypt today, I feel like a million dollars being a Pakistani, warts and all. The fauj cannot dream of doing this in Pakistan anymore.”

Ilmana Fasih
4 July 2013

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