1932 – 20 November 2012
A beautiful life, an amazing body of work!
Thank you, Shafqat Tanvir Mirza.
See you soon.
Infromation from Asif Raza
AI, the great defender
of our rights, succumbed
to injuries late
Born UK July 1961
Died USA May 2012
Injuries were inflicted by the self. Yes, SELF. No,
self is not a terrorist
organization. I meant, ‘self-inflicted’ as in inflicted by himself on
himself for himself. Yes, AI
was innovative. He chose to print
his suicide note on a sizeable sign at a prominent location
on an elegant street
Lucid as ever, he says: ‘Human Rights
for Women and Girls
Unsurpassed ori-gi-nality, as usual,
of course. O’ women and girls, harken, side with
a mighty global abuser
of your rights
those slight-y local abusers
of your rights.
Long Live AI!
Go AI! Go AI!
The suicide note
is not that short, there’s more: ‘NATO: Keep the Progress
Going’. Yes, it does
say ‘NATO: Keep the Progress going’!
Onward, Christian Soldiers, marching as to war!
Nara-e-Takbeer, Allah-O-Akbar! Haidri, Ya Ali!
Yes, it does mean, keep collecting the booty
of your military excursions
from those poverty
stricken lands. Oh, how they gloat
over their righteous nobi-li-ty
with their international bands, kill qaddafi, invade
syria, bomb iraq, occupy afghanistan, attack iran,
mission impossible pakistan, i can break
my neck back
-wards trying to ascertain
the very height
of their aggression,
of your capitulation. The guinness book
of records all yours, this year, agai-n,
as it was yours with
Here, i light a candle
as i curse the darkness. Yes,
we light candles with our tongues when
we talk with our hands. No, it’s unclear
if AI ever,
saw it falling around
us. His barbed-wired candles don’t eat
this darkness, only take
On that elegant street of Chicago
under that sizeable sign where you stepped
out in your cheer-leading costume
the biggest ever abuser
of our rights. Indeed,
you do have the cheeks, may be pink, in the plain sight
of hundreds of war vets returning
from battlefields bearing the impact
of nato-ized ‘progress’, and thousands
of people walking in the wake, to tell you, we are
of your wars.
RIP Dear AI,
it’s time for amnesty.
For us, the prisoners of NATO’s progress
-ing wars. We,
and our youth armed with our dollars
taken to far-off battlefields to die
and to kill: us, and
our youth, armed
with our dollars!
And you hail these hitlers
to keep it on! Now, google
is since search
-ing for ONE, at least
1 of your 300 million members
who is happy
to find you
in the feet of the military wing
of the international mafioso warlords, human
rights violations excuses
for occupations, victimizing
the victims killing civilians, there
seems to be no end to the worldwide ambitions
of your war gods.
RIP Dear AI,
it’s time for amnesty.
from unmanned attackers, tar sands hackers,
defense-budget backers. Amnesty
the people of the earth
from this fast-spreading virus
of violence and greed,
for us, the people
of this world.
NATO Summit, Chicago June 2012
Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, used the proverb “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” to illustrate the design of its emblem.
‘Nara-e-Takbeer, Allah-O-Akbar’, call of the great, the ‘Takbīr or Tekbir (تَكْبِير) is the Arabic term for the phrase Allāhu Akbar (الله أكبر). It is usually translated “God is [the] Greatest,” or “God is Great” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takbir). Also, a Muslim war cry.
‘Haidri, Ya Ali’, call of Haider: Lion. Refers to Hazrat Ali who was also called Saifullah, the Sword of Allah. Another Muslim war cry.
Related content at Uddari
‘For Amnesty International occupation is women-liberation’ by Sahar Saba
‘English Wars’ by Krisantha Sri Bhaggiyadatta
THE SHOCK OF RECOGNITION: Looking at Hamerquist’s ‘Fascism and Anti-Fascism’ by J. Sakai
‘Pakistan’s Mock Oscar’ a poem by Fauzia Rafique
‘U.S. Savage Imperialism’ by Noam Chomsky
A woman was beaten to death in California in the style of vigilante-ism of religious fanatics working in Pakistan. Here in North America, divinity changes into racism nurtured over centuries by the White Supremacists. This killing, the murder of Trayvon Martin, and other hate crimes against Native peoples, gays and people of colour, are getting a boost with the US ‘anti-terror’ campaign.
Muslim woman from Michigan beaten to death in California home
An Iraqi-American woman who recently lived in Michigan was found beaten to death at her home near San Diego in what might possibly be a hate crime. A note calling her a terrorist and saying she should go back to her country was left next to her body, according to family members.
The death on Saturday of Shaima Alawadi, 32, after three days in the hospital has prompted an intense outpouring of anxiety and outrage from some, especially among Arab-Americans and on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Some drew comparisons with the killing of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teen shot dead last month in Florida.
“I’m really disturbed,” Suehaila Amen, president of the Lebanese-American Heritage Club in Dearborn, told the Free Press. “It’s quite frightening.”
Police told the San Diego Union-Tribune they are investigating her death in El Cajon, near San Diego, as a homicide.
“A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that,” Lt. Mark Coit of El Cajon police told the Union-Tribune. “We don’t want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.”
Alawadi, a mother of five born in Iraq, was found by her 17-year-old daughter on Wednesday.
“I found her on the floor… in her own blood with a letter next to hear head saying go back to your country you terrorist,” Fatima Al Himidi, told 10News, a TV station serving the San Diego area.
The woman and her husband were born in Iraq, moved to the U.S. in the 1990s, and recently lived in Michigan, according to an Associated Press report that cited the Union-Tribune. The victim’s husband had previously worked as contractors to help the U.S. Army train U.S. soldiers going to the Middle East.
Shaima wore a hijab, an Islamic headscarf. She had received a similar threatening note earlier, but ignored it, assuming it was a harmless joke, her daughter said.
“A week ago they left a letter saying this is our country not yours you terrorist, and so my mom ignored that thinking it was just kids playing a prank,” she told the TV station. “But the day they hit her, they left another note again, and it said the same thing.”
The city of El Cajon has a growing Arab-American population. Last night in Arab-American communities, “everybody was talking about” the death of Alawadi, Amen said.
At 33, Amen is roughly the same age as Alawadi and also wears a hijab.
“This is something that’s really scary,” Amen said. “For a woman like myself who wears a hijab, you’re an open target. You’re always looking over your shoulder because of how you’re dressed and because someone might have skewed perceptions of the community.”
On social media sites, people expressed concern she was killed because of her ethnicity and religion. Some compared her to Martin, the African-American teenager killed in Florida who was wearing a hoodie. They say that both were minorities killed, one for a hoodie, the other for a hijab.
A Facebook page was created Saturday called: “One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi.” Hijabis is a term sometimes used by Muslims for women who wear hijabs. The Facebook page reads: “She could be your daughter, your sister, your friend. We cannot let the children in this country grow up in a world so full of hatred that a woman wearing a head scarf is afraid for her life, that a black kid wearing a hoodie is afraid for his life… We are all Shaima. We need a Million Hijab March.”
On the Facebook page, the words “this oufit doesn’t say ‘kill me’ on the label” is on a photo of a woman wearing a hijab.
Shaima’s death drew a response from a range of people, including Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, with the Orthodox Jewish group Chabad.
He wrote on Twitter this morning: “Outrageous that this murder happened in the USA! May Shaima Alawadis murderer be found & brought to justice.”
Paul Rieckhoff, the CEO of Iraq & Afghan Vets of America, wrote on Twitter: “As an Iraq vet, and as an American, I am beyond outraged by Shaima’s death. This could have been so many of my friends.”
Amen noted that the family of the woman had helped the U.S. Army.
“How much more American can you get than to serve the country with pride and honor,” Amen said.
“Shaima Al-Awadi’s murder, like Trayvon Martin’s, was a senseless murder based upon racial animus,” said Dawud Walid, an African-American Muslim leader from Detroit who is executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We must come together as a society to have frank discussions about the toxic rhetorical environment which we currently live in that leads to such wanton violence.”
The daughter of the mother told the TV station in San Diego:
“She’s such an innocent woman. Why? Why did you do that?…We’re not the terrorist. You are.” Contact Niraj Warikoo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-223-4792
Jagjit Singh, the ‘King of Ghazal’ who sang Ghalib so well, moves on at 70.
His wonderful contributions to this world will still remain.
Thank you for all the songs.
Love and respect to Chitra Singh.
Jagjit Singh, the ghazal maestro, dies
NEW DELHI: Renowned ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, 70, passed away at 8.10 am in Lilavati Hospital on Monday morning.
Jagjit Singh was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital on September 23 after he suffered brain haemorrhage in suburban Bandra where a life-saving surgery was performed on him.
“Jagjit Singh passed away at 8.10 am after having a terrible haemorrhage,” Dr Sudhir Nandgaonkar, hospital spokesperson, told PTI.
He is survived by his wife Chitra Singh.
Jagjit Singh was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. He had four sisters and two brothers and he is known as Jeet by his family.
Popularly known as “The Ghazal King”, he gained acclaim together with his wife in the 1970s and 1980s, as the first ever successful duo act (husband-wife) in the history of recorded Indian music.
Recipient of Padma Bhushan award, he has sung in several languages including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Nepali.
Sushila Chayn née Sharda, who passed away in October 2011 at age 88, was a Punjabi communist activist and leader of the [East] Punjab Istri Sabha. She devoted her entire life to the cause of national freedom, workers movement and the emancipation of women.
Born to Hindu reformist Arya Samaji parents of Pathankot she came into contact with Bibi Raghbir Kaur who was a Kirti-Ghadar Party member of Punjab State Legislative assembly, and became a political activist moving to the communist party headquarter in Lahore in 1941. At the time, she also worked amongst women in the district of Montgomery.
She displayed her organising skills in the kisãn peasants conference held in Fatehgarh Korotana in Ferozepur (now in Pakistan). Then she was deputed to work in Kangra district. This was the time when she got married to a party activist Chayn Singh Chayn. Along with Tahira Mazhar Ali, Vimla Dang and other Punjabi socialist women she worked day night collecting funds and other support for the victims of Bengal Famine.
A few yeas later in 1947 when the united Punjab was dismembered, Punjabi communists began to organise peace committees thus saving hundreds of Muslim, Hindu Sikh men, women and children from sectarian violence. Sushila was an important part of it, and later worked tirelessly in rehabilitating women victims of partition.
After 1947, the Chayn couple moved to Jalandhar and they both participated in the 1959 peasants’ anti-betterment levy agitation – Khush-hasiyati tax morcha.
She was the first ever woman panch of her village panchayat council in Daduwal. Till the end Sushila tackled the social problems at the grassroots level – dowry, domestic violence, casteism and inter-caste marriage.
Sushila is survived by her husband and their daughter Savita.
Sushila Chayn’s picture taken by Amarjit Chandan in Jalandhar, 1986.
Punjab has its vibrant revolutionary tradition starting with Bhagat Singh. With the death of Gursharan Singh, fondly known as Bhaaji respected brother, a link with this tradition has been broken. If the worst crisis of East Punjab since 1947 was the Khalistani mayhem, Bhaaji emerged heroically from it. Born into a devout Sikh family, he lived in his ancestral house Guru Khalsa Niwas in Amritsar, wore his turban and did not trim his beard. This made him a ‘critical insider’ for Khalistani militancy and made his opposition to it more meaningful.
Bhaaji’s opposition to Khalistan was in a league different from others. He did not issue sanitised statements from behind bullet-proof podiums or well-guarded houses. He moved fearlessly in villages and towns of East Punjab with the determination of a soldier for democratic socialism against Sikh extremism. This experience gave him the faith to advise activists, ‘Your doubts will melt and you will find a way if you go to the people.’ On the day of his cremation, some 150 groups pledged to carry people’s work forward on Bhaaji’s inspiration.
In 2007, the Centenary year of Bhagat Singh, the whole of India caught revolutionary fever thanks to films like The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Rang de Basanti etc. It goes to the credit of Bhaaji that he celebrated the memory of Bhagat Singh in Punjab two decades before this. Around the Martyrdom Day, viz. March 23, Bhaaji would hit the streets of East Punjab with his cultural troupe since the 1980s.
Bhaaji used street theatre as the medium to spread ideas for change and he dipped his ideas for change in the earthy wit of Punjab. His enduring fame was created by Bhai Manna Singh – a play that was telecast from the Jalandhar station of Doordarshan for more than a year between 1985-86. Bhai Manna Singh is a character who stands for reason amidst slippery social climbers and cunning power brokers. Some thought it was a character Bhaaji represented in his daily life.
The Green Revolution produced economic development in East Punjab. But this growth came with a cultural lag. Bhaaji put this dilemma beautifully. ‘Just a few feet away from Punjab’s flourishing modern agricultural fields exists an impoverished culture. This culture is full of fear for the weak and packed with ethical deprivation for the strong.’ The son of a famous doctor in pre-Partition Punjab, Bhaaji took a Master’s degree in Chemistry. From 1961, he earned his livelihood for twenty years as a cement technologist with the Canal and Irrigation department of Punjab Government. He contributed to the research of strengthening the bunds of reservoirs like Bhakhra. His social conscience bid him to oppose the Emergency (1975-77) and he was promptly jailed for it.
A man of immense sensitivity, Bhaaji observed keenly and expressed vividly. One dark day at the height of the Khalistan movement in 1987, we sat huddled in a meeting of one Democratic Forum at a small hall in Patiala. The Khalistanis were called people without a just cause by one speaker and condemned for bloodletting without meaning by another. As the chairperson of that meeting, Bhaaji rose to speak at the end.
‘I oppose Khalistan due to two simple reasons stemming from experience. I have seen the Partition of united Punjab. I was a good player of hockey in college and was habituated to good cheer. But after seeing the bloodshed and listening to all those horror stories then, I have not laughed whole-heartedly ever since 1947. Secondly, I oppose Khalistan because I have two daughters and these fellows have no program for the future. All they are doing is making vulnerable people more insecure. And all they will do is ask women to cover their head or even face, stay home and live like caged birds. I cannot approve this.’
Though all of us had spoken our minds as frankly as we could, Bhaaji had spoken from his heart truthfully. He carried the day.
My first encounter with Bhaaji was in 1985. Navsharan, the elder of his two daughters, and I were colleagues at a research institute in Chandigarh. On my request, he carried a pair of blankets for me from Amritsar to Chandigarh. He lived in Amritsar amidst his big joint family, large theatre group called Amritsar Natak Kala Kender and larger group of fans. I learnt much later that Amritsar was as much well known for Bhaaji as it was for its woollen goods and the Golden Temple. Somewhere it hurts my conscience that I saddled a man of his stature with a domestic chore like buying a pair of blankets in Amritsar, carrying them 300 kms away to Chandigarh in an ordinary bus and delivering them to a lout like me. Who said great men do not do ordinary chores?
Bhupendra Yadav teaches History in Rohtak University.
From Amarjit Chandan