Sunday 20 April 2014

Remembering Follett on Iqbal's Day

Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) was a woman endowed with a gift to see how Plurality exists in singularity and vice versa, her work is an amazing testament ensuing collective consciousness.

On the 76th death anniversary of Allama Iqbal when I am reading Follet again, I find a universal soul in the message of both these geniuses:

 The aim of all proper training is not rigid adherence to a crystallized right (since in ethics, economics or politics there is no crystallized right), but the power to make a new choice at every moment. And the greatest lesson of all is to know that every moment is new. "Man lives in a dawn forever. Life is beginning and nothing else but beginning. It begins ever-lastingly.
(The New State by Mary Parker Follett 1918)

Stability is an illusion of eyes,
For every atom in the world pulsates with change.

The caravan of life does not halt anywhere,
For every moment life renews itself.

Do you think life is great mystery?
No, it is only a desire to soar aloft.

(From a poem Saqinama in Bal-e-Jibreel by Allama Iqbal 1930)

Monday 25 March 2013

The Flight: Iqbal and Bach

Wrote a blog in October 2009 about one of my all time favorite book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach, at that moment  and earlier I really missed that this work was so much resonating with Iqbal’s poetry, just check this:

 "When Jonathan Seagull joined the Flock on the beach, it was full night. He was dizzy and terribly tired. Yet in delight he flew a loop to landing, with a snap roll just before touchdown. When they hear of it, he thought, of the Breakthrough, they’ll be wild with joy. How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!
and precision flying is a step toward expressing our real nature."

See how this resonates with Iqbal's poetry:

ہر اک مقام سے آگے مقام ہے تیرا
حیات ذوقِ سفر کے سوا کچھ اور نہیں

تہی زندگی سے نہیں یہ فضائیں
 یہاں سینکڑوں آسماں اور بھی ہیں

قناعت نہ کر عالمِ رنگ و بوپر
 چمن اور بھی آشیاں اور بھی ہیں
تو شاہیں ھے پرواز ھے کام تیرا
  ترے سامنے آسماں اور بھی ہیں

Friday 23 November 2012

Waheed Murad- a study in his classic movements

Waheed Murad was an artist with lithe and supple movements.  His movements were measured and he used his movements of head, hands and feet in such a graceful manner that his overall persona conveyed a poetic balletic expression.

His physical charms were related to the physical expressions that conveyed a lot about the man that he was and the art that he created which addressed to bring about the unity and homogeneity in the society.

This is the study of one of his famous songs from his own production Arman (1966) in which he has used the full range of the movements that was in his repertoire and this full spectrum of grace turned this song into a unique visual classic of Pakistan cinema.

Akeley na jana is one song that has  seven  distinctive movements, a symphony of movements that define a cycle of seeking and discovering :

Movement ONE-Search : The song starts with lover's hand clasped behind back it shown an apprehension of starting a search, but then he moves forward with one hand moving towards the beloved and when he finds a tree trunk he rests his elbow on the trunk that defines nature's help, then tilt his head to show that he is pondering while thumb rub against his finger tips in pin rolling manner a sign of an anticipation, so the search is initiated.
Movement TWO-Love: The next movement is when he takes and hold hand of the beloved which is the only occasion in the song when the lover and the beloved touch each other, this touch of hands conveys that search found the beloved and love manifests.

Movement THREE-Understanding:
The setting of next movement is astonishing, one sees the trunks of four trees visibly standing in close proximity a sign of natural balance of universe- the four dimensions, length, breadth, depth and time. The lover moves from the second tree to the third put his elbow on trunk and back of his head rests on his palm a gesture showing understanding.

Movement FOUR-Detachment:The move carries forward but in a very subtle manner the fourth trunk which should have featured   next in this move is bypassed and the lover following the beloved detach himself from this natural support and swings forwards while holding a  pillar of a patio, this gesticulation  shows detachment as natural support is forfeited. 
Movement FIVE-Unity: Then he bows his head and puts one hand on the chest as the mark of submission to the beloved, the dichotomy ends and unity takes place.

Movement SIX-Wonderment: One hand on the hip in a teapot position while the other placed on stem shows that he is hanging in between outer and inner awareness of space and time and this move very eloquently suggests wonderment.

Movement SEVEN-Nothingness: The song ends on the final gesture when he turns his back on the beloved whom he was following in the whole song, and now it is the time for beloved to turn around and follow him, the song ends on this beautiful sequence as the lover who turned his back on the beloved senses her following he moves his head slightly sideways to have a glance backward and this moment freezes as if he turns into stone on looking back this paraphrases nothingness.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Simurgh Pakistan


Khurram Ali Shafique has a profound thesis that everything is subservient to literature, because literature is the seed from which sprouts all imagination and all action that follows, he sums up this idea very well when he says “You know that Iqbal believed that literature plays the most important role in the life of a nation. In fact, he treated literature like a collective dream which comes true. Therefore, the most courageous and daring stand which Iqbal Studies demands from us is that we insist that if anything is wrong in the world, its ultimate root can be traced in the kind of literature that has been venerated, and if we want to bring any positive change, the first step has to be the representation of that change in idealistic literature: "No new world can come into being around us until it is first created in the depth of our souls (i.e. in our imagination)."

 He divides the history of Pakistan  into seven stages since 1887, and gives us a list of the most POPULAR authors of these stages: one for each stage. Then he tells us that these authors, and their messages, are exactly parallel to the seven stages of ancient history studied in the "DNA Course", the 7 visions of the Sphere of Moon, the 7 chapters of Javid Nama, the 7 verses of Surah Fatiha, the 7 valleys of Attar, and any other model of self-development which we may find reliable.

 On basis of this model of Khurram Ali Shafique, this is what it looks in a netshell: 


                                                                           Seek Consensus

خودی کا سرِ نہاں لا الہ الا اللہ      خودی ھے تیغ فساں لا الہ الا اللہ
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
The Valley of Search (First valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Asrar o Ramoz    (First book of Iqbal)
Sphere of Moon   (First Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
Knowledge and Religious Experience (First Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Qibla Ro/ اطاعت (First act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)

                                                           Think Long Term

یہ دور اپنے براھیم کی تلاش میں ھے      صنم کدہ ھے جہاں لا الہ الا اللہ
Muhammad Ali Jauhar
The Valley of Love (The second valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Payam e Mashriq  (Second book of Iqbal)
Sphere of Mercury (Second Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
The Philosiphical Test of the Revelations (Second Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Qayam/ مجاھدہِ نفس (Second act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)


                                                           Rise Above Yourself                                            

کیا ھے تو نے متاعِ غرور کا سودا       فریبِ سودو زیاں لاالہ الااللہ
Allama Iqbal
The Valley of Understanding ( Third valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Bang e Dera (Third book of Iqbal)
Sphere of Venus (Third Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
The Conception of God (Third Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Tilawat / ذ کر  (Third act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)


                                                       Respect the Law

یہ مال و دولتِ دنیا یہ رشتہ و پیوند        بتانِ وھم و گماں لا الہ الا اللہ
Ibne Safi
The Valley of Detachment ( Fourth valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Zabour e Ajam (Fourth book of Iqbal)
Sphere of Mars (Fourth Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
The Human Ego (Fourth Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Raku/ عجز و انکسار (Fourth act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)

                                                           Unite Organically

خرد ھوئی ھے زمان و مکاں کی زناری       نہ ھے زماں نہ مکاں لاالہ الا اللہ
Waheed Murad
The Valley of Unity ( Fifth valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Javidnama (Fifth book of Iqbal)
Sphere of Jupiter (Fifth Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
The Spirit of Muslim Culture (Fifth  Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Sajda/ معرفتِ نفس (Fifth act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)

                                                          Learn Experientially

یہ نغمہ فصلِ گل ولالہ کا نہیں پابند         بہار ھو کہ خزاں لا الہ الا اللہ
Mustansar Hussain Tarar
The Valley of Wonderment ( Sixth valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Bal e Jibraeel (Sixth book of Iqbal)
Sphere of Jupiter (Sixth Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
The Principle of Movement in Islam (Sixth Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Tashahud/  سکونِ قلب (Sixth act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)

I am Pakistan 
اگرچہ بت ہیں جماعت کی آستینوں میں         مجھے ھے حکمِ اذاں لا الہ الا اللہ
Pakistan Simurgh
The Valley of Nothingness ( Seventh valley of Attar from Mantaq ul Taier)
Zarb e Kaleem (Seventh book of Iqbal)
Beyond Sphere  (Seveth Chapter of Javidnama by Iqbal)
Is Religion Possible (Seventh Lecture of Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam)
Salam/  تمام علائق سے نجات (Seventh act in Namaz from the meaning of prayer by Hazrat Ali Hajveri from Kashf al mahjub)







Tuesday 4 September 2012

We are Playing a Symphony

A sound of Kun created everything and another sound (sound of horn) will destroy everything that was created.

What is Rhythm? It’s an interval between two sounds. What is Life an interval between two heartbeats? So we can say sound is the basic denominator of our life?
I feel that between the first sound of Kun and the second sound of horn is the interval where lies symphony of creation, a music that all creation is playing as a grand orchestra. In this grand orchestra is participating this ever expanding universe along with the majestically glowing sun, the glorious cool moon, the towering iced mountains, the deep flowing oceans, the tantalizing warm deserts, swaying trees in the woods, the elegantly flying birds, the roaring beasts in the jungle, an infant sucking his thumb in lap of her mother, a father escorting his daughter to an open air school in a village under Bo tree, a peasant plowing wheat fields, a laborer milling a machine, a scientist examining the big bang theory, a woman milking a cow, a young man in silicon valley developing a software, an artist lighting up a canvas with rapid brush strokes and much much more….

We humans a unique part of this symphony are the only creation assured to survive once this symphony ends, but the rewards on our resurrection depends on the merits of the symphony that we have played. The merit in music is simple! Were we in harmony with others when we played our music or not? On answer to this depends our next Life.

Saturday 1 September 2012

The Classic/Higher and the Popular

There was a time not too long ago when we knew no dichotomy between the Classics and the Popular,  and our literature and arts had no such divisions. Our popular literature and cinema was as literary and sometimes even more than the main stream literature of the times. The readers and the cinema going public were less literate than what is today’s audience but somehow they were more educated and appreciative because the arts of that time were not subjected to Classic/Popular or Higher/Popular art distinction.

From that period I would like to bring a memorable song that was exceptionally melodious, popular and enriching because its roots were energized by the classic and eternal spirit of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.

See these opening verse of Masnavi:
Following is a translation of first 11 verses of Masnavi Manavi:

1) Listen to this Ney (the reed-flute) that is complaining and narrating the story of separation.

2) Ever since they (the people) have plucked me from the reedland, my laments have driven men and women to deep sorrow.

3) I want someone with chest (heart) pierced by abandonment so that I may tell him about the pain of my longing.

4) He who falls aloof from his origin seeks an opportunity to find it again.

5) I am mournful in all sorts of company and sought by the happy as well as by the unhappy.

6) Everyone becomes a friend with me according to his faculty of perception and many do not seek my inner secret.

7) My secret is not distant from my cries, but physical eyes and ears do not possess the light (to see it).

8) (In fact) the body from the spirit and the spirit from the body are not concealed, yet none (not many) are allowed to see it.

9) The sound of Ney is fire and it is not the ordinary wind but he who does not have this fire may he become non-existent.

10) It is the fire of Divine Love that has entered the Ney, it is the yearning for love that has bought the wine into action.

11) The Ney is a friend with anyone who has been deserted, and its musical divisions have torn off veils too.

This extra ordinary example of flute and flute reed by Rumi traveled in our times to our film music and this unique sensibility got beautifully translated in the one of the most popular songs of Pakistani music. The film was Heer Ranjha(1970) songwriter was Ahmed Rahi, musical arrangement was done by Khawaja Khurshid Anwar and melody was rendered by Noor Jehan. This song in Panjabi is like this:

سن ونجلی دی مٹھری تان وے

میں تاں ھو ھو گئی قربان وے

ونجلی دی تان وچ روح میری بول دی

عمراں دے کججے ھوئے بھید پیئے کھول دی

ساڈی ازلاں دی جان پہچان وے

میں تاں ھو ھو گئی قربان وے

دونوں پاسے چڑھی اے جوانی والی رت وے

جند ساڑی اک ھوی پاوں دو بت وے

مینوں اپنے تو وکھری نا جان وے

میں تان ھو ھو گئی قربان وے

The Translation:
After listening to melodious sweet sound of the flute
 I have given up everything O beloved

In the sound of this flute speaks my spirit
Speak and unveil the secrets that were shrouded for ages
Of our eternal acquaintance and bondage.
I have given up everything O beloved
On both sides is cast  the spell of the youth's spring
We are two in bodies but a singularity of spirit,
Don't think of me as someone separate from yourself
I have given up everything O beloved

The higher and popular arts is now an old terminology ever since Khurram Ali Shafiqu's brilliant term Consensus Arts/Literature changed this landscape. I dedicate this post to him as a token of my appreciation.

Sunday 26 August 2012

IQBAL a biography by Khurram Ali Shafique

Nonfiction is considered boring and tedious reading but not when it is written by someone as gifted as Khurram Ali Shafique, who uses pen like flute and through that what flows is always relishing and mesmerizing.

I had read the first two volumes of Iqbal's biography and was keenly waiting for the next part and when I got this 3rd volume before the Eid holidays I knew that these Eid holidays would certainly be more than just holidays. All those who have read Khurram Ali Shafique know that he not only surprises readers with his profound insights and an unusual and remarkable way of looking at things but at the same time he crafts his lines so beautifully like a skilled curator that captures the readers’ attention till the last word is written and even after that point reader remains intoxicated for a long long time.

IQBAL: volume 3 , the middle period, is a voluminous undertaking, a book that spreads to 944 pages of immaculate research, beautiful narrative and ingenious insight. The book is divided into 9 chapters of unequal length and has been given a title which provides essence of the period that was under consideration. Each chapter is written point wise like the previous two volumes and each point is given a number and a point contains a complete event, a thought or a description. It is sometimes a lengthy paragraph and sometimes just a sentence but still it narrates a complete picture in itself. The complete book comprises of 1459 such eventful points.

The chapters have very interesting titles which corresponds to the basic current underling the period which they belong to, the list is:
1-Khudi ka nashamen (January 1914 to June 1915) خودی کا نشیمن
2-Ma ka mazar (July to August 1915) ماں کا مزار
3-Nizam uddin Auloia ki Basti September 1915 to August 1916 نظام الدین اولیا کی بستی
4-Milat ka Derbar September 1916 to June 1917 ملت کا دربار
5-Taqdeer ki Mahfil July 1917 to April 1918 تقدیر کی محفل
6-Goethe ki Dersga April 1918 to November 1920 گوئٹے کی درسگاہ
7-Abe Hayat ka Chashma November 1920 to April 1922. آب حیات کا چشمہ
8-Samrna April to September 1922 سمرنا
9-Hafiz ka Mekhana September to December 1922 حافظ کا میخانہ

Once 9 chapters end one wish that more was there to be read as the pleasure that the 807 pages provided and built a feeling of enormous interest in the life of a genius that Iqbal was, the Appendix appears. This is as interesting and useful as the preceding nine chapters were and the book thus culminates on a very satisfying note but with a promise that the best is still to come as the next book deals with the prime period of Iqbal and is titled Daur e Urooj and so very rightly promises that the best is still to come.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

2017 The Battle for Marghdeen

Within nature there is a phenomenon that is called a cycle, these cycles appear in every known natural and social order, be it astronomy, climate, geology, economics or history. Khurram Ali Shafique, a historian, educationist, writer and an intellectual of great merit has come out with a hypothesis of extremely extra ordinary proportion about a cycle that he has witnessed, understood and now put forward about Pakistan, in a book now electronically published but soon will be available in print version. The book is titled: 2017 The Battle for Marghdeen. This is billed as a non fiction thriller, and mind you Khurram Ali Shafique is unique when it comes to writing about insights. Following is an excerpt from the book:

2017 The Battle for Marghdeen

We live under the shadow of a great contradiction. On one hand, much emphasis is being laid on discovering the unique voices of diverse cultures. On the other hand, there seems to be a non-negotiable condition that the very tools through which these voices are to be discovered, and the lenses through which societies should see their own selves, should bear the stamp of some academic authority. The ultimate source of all such authority turns out to be located, invariably, somewhere in the Western hemisphere.

A part of the price of this self-contradiction, perhaps being paid by the whole of humanity, is that a unique aspect of human potential that has manifested itself in Pakistan is going completely unnoticed. Every twentieth year, all segments in this society come to an agreement that a fresh decision is required for determining the course of the future:-

This kept happening for the entire Muslim community of British India from 1887 to 1946;- Following the birth of Pakistan in 1947, the pattern has continued at least in the country borne by that parent community(and it may still be happening in Bangladesh despite the
separation of that region from Pakistan in 1971, but that is outside the primary focus of this book).

On these occasions, which occur every twentieth year, even those who might be otherwise disinterested in public life suddenly find their hearts stirring with anticipation of a new poll. Hence, these may be called “peak moments”. A complete list follows.

1. 1887, the first year of the Mohammedan Educational Conference;

2. 1907, the first year of the All-India Muslim League;

3. 1927, the year which started with the inauguration of new legislative councils, ended in the wake of controversy over the forthcoming Simon Commission and was filled with allparties
conferences in between;

4. 1947, the year which witnessed the largest Muslim state of the times coming into being without any restriction on the imagination of its people except their own spiritual

5. 1967, the year when leading political elements from both wings attempted to discover common goals;

6. 1987, the year when general disturbances in law and order and the apparent inefficacy of the government elected under the military rule led to a widespread dissatisfaction with the
political innovations of General Zia and even the ordinary citizens did not remain disinterested anymore;

7. 2007, the year when the displacement of the chief justice of Pakistan by the military ruler President Pervez Musharraf evoked widespread reaction. By this estimate, a peak moment may come again in 2027. The implications, however, can be more than mathematical.
“Government, whatever its form, is one of the determining forces of a people’s character,”

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (later Sir), who is supposed to have conceived the idea of Pakistan as well as a master plan for universal social reconstruction, jotted down in his private notebook in 1910, while pondering over the role of his nation in the economy of nature. “I am almost a fatalist in regard to the various forces thatultimately decide the destinies of nations. As a political force we are perhaps no longer required; but we are, I believe, still indispensable to the world as the only testimony to the absolute Unity of God – Our valueamong nations, then, is purely evidential.

Sunday 27 May 2012

The Day of Judgment and Collective Consciousness

In the Islamic tradition the ending of times is attributed as QAIMAT the literal meaning of this word is standing. When we stand during the prayers while reciting from Holy Quran it is also called Qayam, on the Day of judgment when the whole humanity would be gathered and standing witness to Allah's command of مالک یوم الدین(the owner of the day of judgment) this would be the time when collective consciousness of humanity would be at work. This is not the Day of Judgment for individuals because if individual efforts would have mattered they would have been sorted out instantly on death of each individual; there would have been no need for resurrection of the whole humanity at once. The Day of Judgment is the day of reckoning for collective efforts, on this day one multitude would find themselves facing the bliss of the Beloved and the other group being denied of that and hence would be in anguish.

The aim of nature was to see how humanity finds its way collectively and what picture it depicts when it works collectively. The world was the place to exhibit this as all short comings of individual efforts were given power of equilibrium and power to propel when bunched together, because the word adam means the potential of living and striving together that's why man had prayed fervently and passionately ایاک نعبد و ایاک نستعین
(We only pray to You in submission and from You only do we seek help) this was a collective prayer and can only bring benifits and change when men work collectively.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Incredible Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni

When a true artist faces adversity, obstacles and pain he does not become sour,in fact he transforms that pathos into love and sweetness for others like what honeybee does after sucking the bitter nectar.

Shakeel Badayuni (August 3, 1916 – April 20, 1970) was born in Badayun, Utter Perdesh (India) and wrote fabulous film lyrics in his career and was awarded a title of Geet Kar-e-Azam(The Great Lyricist) by Indian Government. He wrote songs for about 89 films over a period of twenty years and was one the most popular and sought after lyricist, and holds a phenomenal track record of successful, meaningful and beautiful poetry.

His lyrics were exceptionally composed to the demands of the film scenes and were beautifully corrobrated with musical compositions as he worked with the great masters of his time like Noshad, Ravi and Khurshid Anwar. Some of his magic is as follows:

چھوڑ بابل کا گھر موھے پی کے نگر آج جانا پڑا (فلم بابل
بچپن کے دن بھلا نہ دینا (فلم دیدار
آج میرے من میں سکھی بانسری بجائے کوئی(فلم آن
لے جا مری دعائیں لے جا پردیس جانے والے(فلم دیدار
بچپن کی محبت کو دل سے نہ جدا کرنا (فلم بیجو باورا
اے دل تجھے قسم ھے تو ھمت نہ ھارنا (فلم دلاری
سہانی رات ڈھل چکی نہ جانے تم کب آو گے(فلم دلاری
ساقیا آج مجھے نیند نہیں آئے گی سنا ھے تیری محفل میں رت جگا ھے(فلم صاحب بی بی اور غلام
(جب پیار کیا تو ڈرنا کیا (فلم مغل اعظم

Besides his film songs which were his forte he also wrote beautiful ghazals in the most conventional tradition but they are scented with his own flair, crisp, sensitive, expectant, optimistic and thoughtful.

As a poet of life he was very clear in his perception that the whole life was a prayer and the beauty of it lies in living in present and experiencing the 'power of now':

کتنی لطیف کتنی حسین کتنی مختصر
اک نو شگفتہ پھول کی نکہت ھے زندگی
ان کے خیال کی تمنا میں مست ھوں
میرے لیے شکیل عبادت ھے زندگی

His poetry reflected his life and his life was reminiscent in his lyrics, his songs and his poetry that represent life as hopeful, cheerful and striving for the best.

میں شکیل دل کا ھوں ترجماں کہ محبتوں کا ھوں رازداں
مجھے فخر ھے مری شاعری مری زندگی سے جدا نہیں

He was inspired by the spiritual and intellectual heritage of Muslim thought and since he was well versed in Arabic and Persian so he knew the intricacies and beauty that lies in our glorious tradition. He was great admirer of Iqbal and paid tribute and homage to him:

کھل جائیں شکیل اس پر اسرار خداوندی
اقبال کے شعروں کو انسان اگر سمجھے

As an artist he believed that art was the tool which can make meaningful contribution in our lives and he worked throughout his career to work towards that end:

جادہ عشق میں گر گر کے سنبھلتے رھنا
پاوں جل جائیں مگر آگ پہ چلتے رھنا
جلوہ امن تم ھی سے ھے محبت والو
مہر تاباں کی طرح روز نکلتے رھنا
نغمہ عشق نہ ھو ایک ھی دھن پر قائم
وقت کے ساتھ زرا راگ بدلتے رھنا
ھے یہی وقت عمل جہد مسلسل کی قسم
بے سہاروں کی طرح ہاتھ نہ ملتے رھنا
زندگی ھے فقط گرمی رفتار کا نام
منزلیں ساتھ لئے راہ پہ چلتے رھنا

Tuesday 10 April 2012

The Fabulous Ahmad Rushdi

1983 is remembered as a year when we lost two super stars of Pakistan, one was the face of the nation and the other was the voice of nation. We lost the charismatic Waheed Murad and melodious Ahmad Rushdi in the space of 8 months. On 11 April 1983 Ahmad Rushdi the most recognized voice of that era went silent, but the songs that he lent in the airwaves can never be silenced as they were the pulse of his time and will live forever. Although on his demise the evergreen Waheed Murad had to say that 'I have lost my voice today'.

Ahmad Rushdi was a complete singer, one who was comfortable in all styles and genres. What he offered to the audience was something not matched by other big names of his time, he gave them a sensibility and a passion through his voice which was very close to their hearts and their feelings. I must admit he was not a perfectionist, as he never underwent a proper learning and training in music, this little thing made all the difference, as he was genuine and his art and creativity was all of his own. He did not belonged to any music family nor any music tradition, but he left behind a legacy of his own, an unmatched one.

He came into prominence from Radio Pakistan:
بندر روڈ سے کیماڑی میری چلی رے گھوڑا گاڑی but when his voice first dawned on Pakistan cinema:
چاند سا مکھڑا گورا بدن he and his music just evolved tremendously and he became a must for every film.

The range of his music is fantastic, no one can match the emotional vitality with which he used to sing love songs:
اکیلے نہ جانا ہمیں چھوڑ کر تم He is simply incomparable when it comes to pop music:
اک اڑن کھٹولا آئے گا کسی لال پری کو لائے گا not only of his time but also beyond his time. When he laid his hand on slow and sad songs:
اچھا کیا دل نہ دیا ھم جیسے دیوانوں کو the sentiments conveyed through them were so touchy that a lobby worked against him in propagating that his voice was not suited to this genre and although they were successful partly in spreading this notion as the numbers of sad songs sung by him are far less in his career although our films used to have more sad songs in those days.

A qawwali sung by him in an East Pakistani film Bhaiya is rendered with class and reverence:
.مدینے والے سے میرا سلام کہہ دینا

Ahmad Rushdi was a humble person and a gentleman to the core who lived a simple life and that all reflected in his fabulous art that was energetic, pure and profound.

Friday 9 March 2012

Miracle of Language

There was nothing except God and God uttered the first word KUN and so He was the First Speaker and the First Listener. His speech was an idea and his hearing was an action, the combination of these resulted in creation of everything. This was the origin of language and communication.

Now , when we communicate, one speaks and other listens, this act of ours unfolds a creativity from which results, love, harmony and actions that ignites new worlds every time.

Sunday 19 February 2012

The Poet of Pakistan- Sehba Akhtar

One song that determined that he was the poet of Pakistan:
میں بھی پاکیستان ھوں تو بھی پاکیستان ھے

Today is the 16th death anniversary of this poet who celebrated being Pakistani as non other before him could, he was Poet of Pakistan, Sehba Akhtar (1930-1996)

In 1968 the charismatic and incredible actor and film maker Waheed Murad ventured one of the most beautiful films of his career named SAMANDER, at the most crucial period of our political history when nation needed a reconciliatory and consensus mood and approach . The songs of this film were penned by Sehba Akhtar , and one of the song I think is a song of hope, courage, national character, brotherhood, reconciliation, fortitude, belief and strength, just see how this song deals with all these issues so easily, so beautifully and so forcefully:

ساتھی تیرا میرا ساتھی ھے
لہراتا سمندر
ھم بیٹے ھیں سمندر کے
ھم طوفانوں کے پالے ھیں
ھر مشکل سے ھم ھنس ھنس کے
ٹکرانے والے ھیں
ساتھی تیرا میرا ساتھی ھے
لہراتا سمندر

اسی نے ھم کو جینا سکھایا
اسی کے ھم ھیں لال
کبھی نہ خالی آئے اس میں ڈوب کے اپنے جال
یہ وہ سخی ھےجس کے گھر میں کبھی پڑا نہ کال
کیسا داتا ھے موتی برساتا سمندر
ساتھی تیرا میرا ساتھی ھے
لہراتا سمندر

موج سے موج گلے مل جائے
تو بنتی ھےدھار
لہر سے لہر ملے تو ساتھی
لہراتا ھے پیار
ھاتھ میں ھاتھ رھے تو
بن جاتی ھے وہ دیوار
.جس کے آگے پانی ہے
ٹکراتا سمندر

ساتھی تیرا میرا ساتھی ھے
لہراتا سمندر

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Faiz in Seven Valleys of Attar (1)

The Seven Valleys in Sheikh Fariduddin Attar’s masterpiece Mantaq al Tayr are the course on which not only those birds which were seeking there King had to journey through but each one of us takes that route in our lives while we are seeking our own Simroghs.

This is the first part of a seven part study of the seven poetic works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz(1911-1984) which I believe is a movement in those seven valleys seeking Simrogh.

The First Valley- The Valley of Quest: طلب وادیِ

According to the classic of Attar, in the first, in the journey the seeker reaches a stage wherein he sees all created things wandering distracted in search of the Friend. How many a Jacob will he see, hunting after his Joseph; he will behold many a lover, hasting to seek the Beloved, he will witness a world of desiring ones searching after the One Desired. At every moment he finds a weighty matter, in every hour he becomes aware of a mystery; for he has taken his heart away from both worlds, and set out for the Beloved. At every step, aid from the Invisible Realm will attend him and the heat of his search will grow. The quest in this valley above, below, in every sphere each atom is a Jacob fervently searching for Joseph through eternity.

Faiz first poetic work is نقشِ فریادی Naqsh-e-Faryadi .(1943) and we see in all major poems of this small volume a search, a quest for a beloved, and even when the beloved is found the quest takes another dimension specially when the it comes to
the poem مجھ سے پہلی سی محبت میری محبوب نہ مانگ

The book starts with the famous couplet of Faiz longing for that beloved:
رات یوں دل میں تری کھوئی ھوئی یاد آئی
جیسے ویرانے میں چپکے سے بہار آ جائے
Then we see a poem سرودِ شبانہ in which the poet is simply immersed in the thoughts of the beloved whom he is seeking and I personally have no doubt that this beloved is no other than the ultimate Reality, although few eye brows may rise as Faiz and his poetry is never seen in this light but the historical and cultural perspective which Faiz’s poetry brings very subtly brings this out:
اے کہ تو رنگ و بو کا طوفاں ھے
اے کہ تو جلوہ گر بہار میں ھے
زندگی تیرے اختیار میں ھے

Then we move to a poem اک رہگزار پر where the beloved and the beauty of that beloved takes reader to the diverse reality of the beloved, who is here, there and everywhere and still is not accessible:
وہ جس کی دید میں لاکھوں مسرتیں پنہاں
وہ حسن جس کی تمنا میں جنتیں پنہاں

Then comes a startling ghazal of this volume, which is so amazing that it can be considered as the poem of this valley of quest and it shows the intensity of the quest :
کئی بار اس کا دامن بھر دیا حسنِ دو عالم سے
       مگر دل ھے کہ اس کی خانہ ویرانی نہیں   جاتی

کئی بار اس کی خاطر ذرے ذرے کا جگر چیرا
مگر یہ چشمِ حیراں جس کی حیرانی نہیں جاتی

مری چشمِ تن آساں کو بصیرت مل گئی جب سے
بہت جانی ھوئی صورت بھی پہچانی نہیں جاتی

بجز دیوانگی واں اور چارہ ہی کہو کیا ھے
جہاں عقل و خرد کی ایک بھی مانی نہیں جاتی

The vocabulary, the diction and the undertones expressed in this volume are expressively and expansively seeking a path, a person and a way of life that is not possible without the Beloved.

Saturday 24 December 2011

The Leader

Myths make look ordinary mortals supernatural but in case of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah it’s the facts that make his legend stand tall and insurmountable at the crossroads of history.

When he spoke in his precise, clear and eloquent English to the masses not literate but educated enough to know that the man in front of them was speaking for them and they believed every word spoken by him and every gesture made by him, this incorruptible belief in him made him the incomparable leader that he is.

Monday 21 November 2011

Unforgettable Waheed Murad

His Seven Roles a Challege to Chocolate Hero Image

November 23rd marks the day when in 1983 Waheed Murad bade farewell to his mortal abode and walked up the stairs of immortality, and 28 years after that day we still find him in our midst, more close to us today than when he was shinning on the horizon of Pakistan Film Industry, and even still closer than what we feel about most of the living mortals.

Commonly he is labelled as a chocolate hero who had a lot of female following and one who could run around trees singing, dancing and charming heroines, but this is not a very plausible description of his talents as an actor. Waheed Murad's public appeal rests on the diverse roles that he played and portrayed the sentiments of common people, the roles with which masses used to identify him as one of them. The charisma and appeal of his innocent and easy going looks when translates on celluloid into roles of multitudes made him the darling of film going public of all ages and gender.

The seven roles of the commoner that I personally liked and always could see people identifying themselves with are Donkey cart dweller of film Heera aur Pather( 1964), Mental Doctor of Ehsan (1967), Peasant of Phir Subha Ho Ge (1967) Fisherman of Samander(1968),), Labourer of Ak Nagina (1969), Postman of Mastana Mahi (1971)and Taxi Driver of Wada (1976).

All these roles distinctively bore an anti chocolate hero image, but the way he depicted them aroused great affection and admiration for him among all segment of society, and they all looked up to him as an idol, but not just as a matinee idol, but an icon that transformed lives of ordinary people on silver screen and made them the real heroes of society. This was not possible without the trust that he had in his art and the trust in the believe that to reach to the people’s heart and mind the artist has to be the part of populous society and seeker of consensus art, an art form which is only possible when artist looks outward to society and produces a dynamic and vibrant piece of work which consumes his passion and translates that into compassion.

PS: 1-Waheed Murad's photograph is from his own production Samander released in 1968
2-Consensus Art/Literature is a term coined by brother Khurram Ali Shafique

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Iqbal creator of new paradigms

I was simply shocked when an Iqbal scholar who also happened to hold a senior position at Iqbal academy said in a published interview that Iqbal is a great poet but not a great philosopher.

I always thought like multitudes that Iqbal was a great poet philosopher, and my conviction grew more when I read along with Javidnama, The Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam. But after that shocking revelation of Iqbal scholar I started rereading the Reconstruction again and this time I found that calling Iqbal a philosopher was extremely unfair.

Like Iqbal scholar I have my own perception about all this, I think Iqbal cannot be termed only as a Poet, Philosopher, Mystic or a Sufi, to me he is an Artist. To me poet means an imaginative person, Philosopher the one who thinks he is imaginative but is one who contemplates, Mystic is the one who sees what can be imagined and Sufi is one who lives like what a Mystic imagines. But to me an Artist is one who creates from imagination a new world and Iqbal was one of those few artists who were par excellence and who is a creator of a new world, a world that did not explode at the time of creation when God pronounced Kun ( کن ) and it was, but God also wanted from His creation some creative souls who would answer the Kun with Faukoun ( فیکون ) and Artists like Iqbal took that challenge and responsibility, and the result is 9 glorious books or nine new paradigm that are nine new ways of understanding the past, the present but more importantly the future.