Booha Bandd Karainde’ay . ‘About To Shut The Door’ by Mahmood Awan

A poem in Punjabi and English

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Tainday Naa Di Roz ChambaylRi
Mainday Sukkay Seenay Jaagdi
Tainday Suraj Naal SvailRay
Tainday VehRay KhaiRday VailRay
Nit Holi Holi Kholday
Maindaty SahwaaN Wajji TaakRi

Taindi Neeli Saavi Chunni’aaN
Aa Door Samundar Runni’aaN
Tainday SahwaaN Paani GaiRyaa
Din Aokha AaN SahayRya

Maindi Raat Udaas AkailRi
Mainda Bistar Painday Torda
MaiN Sutta Hor day Hor da

Mainday Pindday Andar Bhaonde’ay
Mainday KhaabaaN day wich Ronde’ay
Nee Boha Bandd Karainde’ay
Mainu ThoRa Hor Udeek
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بُوہا بند کریندیٔے
محمود اعوان

تینڈے ناں دی روز چنبیلڑی
مینڈے سُکّے سینے جاگدی
تینڈے سورج نال سویلڑے
تینڈے ویڑھے کھیڈدے ویلڑے
نِت ہولی ہولی کھولدے
مینڈے ساہواں وجّی تاکڑی
تینڈی نیلی ساوی چُنیاں
تینڈے ہوٹھیں کِھڑدی چمیاں
آ دور سمندر رُنیاں
تینڈے ساہواں پانی گیڑیا
دِن اوکھا آن سہیڑیا
مینڈی رات اداس اکیلڑی
مینڈا بستر پَینڈے ٹوردا
میں سُتا ہور دے ہور دا
مینڈے پِنڈے اندر بَھوندیٔے
مینڈے خاباں دے وچ روندیٔے
نی بُوہا بند کریندیٔے
مینوں تھوڑا ہور اُڈیک
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About to Shut the Door
Mahmood Awan

Jasmine of your name each day
awakens in my dry chest
morning rises with your sun
times playing in your back yard
slowly open
my breath-shut window
your blue green scarves
kisses blooming on your lips
Longing to reach across oceans
breath-pulled water of your eyes
begets a tough day
my night sad, alone
distance-tracking bed
transforms me in my sleep
the woman whirling in my body
weeping in my dreams
who is about to shut the door
wait for me a bit more!

Translation: Fauzia Rafique
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Mahmood Awan – Author

Welcome Mahmood Awan
as Author/Contributor
at Uddari Weblog!

m-awan

Mahmood Awan is a Poet, Essayist and Translator. His published works include Raat Samundar Khed (Let’s Play with the Night Sea; 2002) and Veeni Likhia Din (A Day etched on her wrist; 2012).

Veeni Likhia Din received Masud Khaddarposh Award for the best Poetry book of the year 2012, Baba Guru Nanak Award (2012) and MehkaaN Adbi Award (2012).

Born in 1977 in Padhrar (Khushab; Pakistan), Mahmood is an Electrical Engineer who has been involved with the Punjabi language and literary movement since his student days at Engineering University Lahore [1995-2000]. He moved to Dublin (Ireland) in 2007 due to his professional commitments and lives there with his family.

He also writes for Pakistan’s leading English daily ‘The News’ about Punjabi Themes, Identity and Literature. His Author page at The News can be accessed at:
http://tns.thenews.com.pk/writers/mahmood-awan/

His books can be read online at apnaorg.com at the following links
http://www.apnaorg.com/books/shahmukhi/veenee-likhya-din/book.php?fldr=book
http://www.apnaorg.com/books/shahmukhi/raat-samundar-khade/book.php?fldr=book

Mahmood can be reached at:
mahmoodah@gmail.com
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Thanks Giving for Books

This November, we are motivated to remember the books that made a difference in our lives, and to offer thanks to the authors for writing them. Giving thanks below are Mariam Zohra Durrani, Sonja Grgar, Sana Janjua, Randeep Purewall and Fauzia Rafique.
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My ‘loved’ books

Journey to Ixtlan, Carlos Castenada
Affirmed personal metaphysical philosophy

Native Son, Richard Wright
Increased sociopolitical awareness about north america.

Primitive Offense, Dionne Brande
Influenced poetic work.

Sula, Toni Morrison
Touched by sula and toni.

Skeena, Fauzia Rafique
Healing; reincarnation of my ancestors and homeland.

Incognito, David Eagleman
Affirmed and empowered my personal metaphysical philosophy.

The Biology of Belief, Bruce H. Lipton
Affirmed and empowered my personal metaphysical philosophy.

A Woman’s Herbalist, Kitty Campion
Gave knowledge of herbs and techniques and concoctions.

Mariam Zohra Durrani
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Books I am thankful for

Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, Nato, and Western Delusions, Diana Johnstone
Academically rigorous exploration of the role of the West and NATO in the breakdown of Yugoslavia, and one that exposes many of the propagandist depictions of Serbia that were promoted by western mainstream media during that time.

Sophie’s Choice, William Styron
Artful and heartbreaking account of the effects of holocaust on those who have survived it, and on those of Jewish identity in general.

Anna Karenina , Leo Tolstoy
Complex and beautifully philosophical portrait of 19th century Russia and stifling social norms that drive its heroine to her demise.

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
Stunningly eloquent and touching portrayal of the immigrant experience in America, and the complexities of composite cultural identities.

The Tyranny of E-mail, John Freeman
A much needed and rare critical look at the often blindly celebrated cyber world we live in.

Geographies of a Lover, Sarah de Leeuw
An incredibly skillful book of erotic poetry that uses the raw imagery of BC landscape as a metaphor for the vigour and fullness of female sexuality

Skeena, Fauzia Rafique
A raw and brave account of a Pakistani woman’s life back home and in Canada, unflinching in its critical portrayal of patriarchy and chauvinism in both societies, yet laced with a warm, yet never sentimental, homage to the lead protagonist’s homeland

Sonja Grgar
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I love these books

In the Skin of Lion, Micheal Ondaatje

An Equal Music, Vikram Seth

The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon, the God

The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing

Black, George Elliot Clarke

The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi

The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Anderson

Blindness, Jose Saramago

Native Son, Richard Wright

Sana Janjua
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Thankful for the following books

A Diary of a Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith
It’s hilarious, a delightful and touching “light” read. I come back to it time and time again, probably because of its main character, Charles Pooter who is one of the great figures in English comic literature.

Dream of a a Red Chamber, Cao Xueqin
Reading this book was an experience. I almost felt like I was living the life of its characters, set in 19th century China. And the supernatural Buddhist/Daoist themes lend it a “timeless,” mysterious feel.

Deewan-i-Ghalib, Ghalib
I am still reading and learning Ghalib’s verses. His poetry is complex, challenging and captivating. His verses can be philosophical, melancholic and irreverant, telling us not only much about Ghalib’s life but of the twilight of the Mughal era.

Skeena, Fauzia Rafique
This was my first Punjabi novel (which I actually read in its English edition). It was a novel that not only made an old literature sound contemporary but one that did so poignantly without being sentimental. The scenes in the novel are etched in my memory and I enjoyed how it dealt with “political” themes like class, poverty and patriarchy, without ever once sounding political.

Randeep Purewall
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Thankful for every book read (to the end), but for some, more so.

Kafian, Madholal Hussain
Shah Hussain’s (Punjabi) poems emerged as songs in my childhood. Later, i realized, Kafian speaks to my totality in some way as it gives me a perspective to view and experience life. From then to now, if planning to travel for over a week, Kafian comes with me because it’s home.

Diwan-e-Ghalib, Assadullah Khan Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib’s collection of (Urdu) poems came upon me a little later than Kafian but in similar ways, and though a very different flavour, it also is a continuous source of pleasure and profundity.

Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre
Though i love Sartre’s trilogy The Roads to Freedom, thanks must be given for Nausea that I read in early youth and there it made me understand why i was feeling nauseous all the time.

After, i found two incredible books that helped me to make sense of the world that was unfolding in the ’70s, notes on alienation in Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 by Karl Marx and The Second Sex by Simone de Bouvois. Much gratefulness for both.

Power, Linda Hogan
Thanks to Linda Hogan for all her novels, they allowed me to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ the lived lives of her characters. As well, because in Toronto in the ’90s, i was having this recurring image of an upside down tree with roots as branches, and it was disturbing me to the point where i began to mention it to friends including poet Connie Fife, who later brought me three novels by Linda Hogan. And unbelievable though it was, i found the exact scene of an upside down tree in one. There also was a reason for it: a storm, and there were people who were able to deal with it. I did not understand why i was having it, i still don’t, but the stress went away.

The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
Special thanks to Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses (with Midnight’s Children and Shame since they come out from and flow into each other), the work that launched a strong and permanent literary assault on religious bigotry and its contexts of oppression; the telling of a story that showed us what literature can do. In its aftermath, the Author’s insistence on our right to freedom of expression, to discuss and to confront extremism, continues to strengthen the secular movement. The usage and expression is as revolutionary as the content. The Satanic Verses also is my most valued Banned Book.

The Beloved, Toni Morrison
Thanks to Toni Morrison for The Beloved, an unbelievable story of courage and endurance, of heroic survival and resistance, that claimed from me all the buried emotions of women’s system-sanctioned stoning-lynching-gangraping deaths, confinement and torture. I’m in awe of Toni Morrison for telling this story the way she has though i may not dare read it again.

Fauzia Rafique
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Inspired by
PEN American Centre‘s Facebook post ‘Giving Thanks for Books’
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‘YaaN koi oho jeha – یاں کوئی اوہو جیہا ‘ by Zubair Ahmad

A Punjabi poem by Zubair Ahmad.

Din khali se
sarrkeiN vug geya
dau tin var murr ke takeya
ik adh vaar khyal peya
yaaN taaN se oho
yaaN koi oho jeha
..

دِن خالی سی
سڑکیں وگ گیا
دو تن وار مُڑ کے تکیا
اک ادّھ وار خیال پیا
یاں تاں سی اوہو
یاں کوئی اوہو جیہا

زبیر احمد
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From Zubair Ahmad’s new collection of poems ‘Sadd’ (Call), Sanjh Publications, Lahore 2012

Contact Zubair
kitab.trinjan@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/zubair.ahmad.73
https://www.facebook.com/groups/KitabTrinjan/?fref=ts

uddariblog@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uddari-Weblog/333586816691660
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‘Nine categories of new visa system’ (between India and Pakistan) by Imran Mukhtar

From The Nation, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and India Saturday inked the much-talked and much-awaited liberal visa accord at the Ministry of Interior.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik from Pakistani side and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna from Indian side signed the agreement in the presence of high-level officials from both sides. “It is a sign of friendship”, Malik said while shaking hand with Krishna after signing the draft agreement.

This agreement will supersede all previous agreements on the subject and it can be amended by mutual consent through exchange of notes or by signing the supplementary protocols. The journalist visa category as earlier reported in the media is not part of that agreement.

Under the agreement, the applicants must avail the visa within a period of 90 days from the date of issue and if there are grounds requiring extension of validity, the concerned Mission will take a decision on such requests on priority. This provision will however not be applicable for the holders of business visa. A fee of one hundred will be payable for the issuance or extension of visa.

The draft of the visa agreement, available with The Nation, contains nine categories.

Business Visa
This visa will be issued to bonafide businessmen who intend to travel for business purpose between India and Pakistan. Businessmen with an income of Pak Rs half a million or equivalent per annum or annual turnover/gross sale of Pak Rs three million or equivalent will be given one year business visa, with five places for up to four entries.
Business with an income of at least Pak rupees five million or equivalent per annum or turnover of Pak rupees 30 million or equivalent per annum will be given one year multiple entry visas for up to ten places with exemption from police reporting. The visa shall specify that the period of stay at a time shall not exceed 30 days. The maximum time taken into the processing of a business visa will not exceed more than five weeks.

Visa on Arrival
Persons of more than 65 years of age will be granted single entry visa on arrival at the Attrai/Wagah check post for 45 days. This visa will be non-extendable and non-convertible.

Visitor Visa
A visitor visa will be issued to persons visiting the other country to meet the relatives or friends or for any other legitimate purpose. This visa will be valid for a maximum of five specified places and shall be for a period not exceeding six months. The visa shall also specify that the duration of stay of the visitor at a time shall not exceed three months.
A visitor visa for a maximum of five specified places may be issued for a longer period of up to two years with multiple entries to senior citizens (those above 65 years of age); national of one country, married to a national of the other country; and children below 12 years of age accompanying parent(s).

Pilgrim Visa
Pilgrim visa will need to be applied at least 45 days before the commencement of the intended tour. The visas will be issued at least 10 days before the commencement of travel. These visas will be issued for a single entry, restricted to 15 days validity and would be non-extendable.

Group Tour Visa
Group tourist visa may be issued to individual applicants intending to travel in groups, with not less than 10 members and not more than 50 members in each group organized by approved tour operators/travel agents. Such visa will be valid for up to 30 days and will be non-extendable. This visa facility will also be available to the students of educational institutions of both countries but it would not be for those seeking admissions in educational institutions of either country.

Transit Visa
Transit visa valid for up to two entries in the city/port of entry for 36 hours in each case will be issued to persons travelling by air or sea and proceeding to another country through Pakistan/India. Such transit visa will need to be obtained before undertaking the travel.

Diplomatic Visa/Non-Diplomatic Visa
A diplomatic visa valid for multiple entries will be issued to the heads of the Diplomatic and Consular Missions, members of the Mission holding diplomatic or consular rank, their spouses and children and diplomatic couriers. Diplomatic visa valid for single entry will be given to high-ranking dignitaries holding diplomatic passports.
Similarly, a non-diplomatic visa valid for multiple entries will be issued to non-diplomatic members of the Diplomatic and Consular Missions, their spouses and children and the personal servants of members of the Mission holding diplomatic or consular ranks. Diplomatic visa shall be originally issued within a period not exceeding 30 days of application and non-diplomatic visa shall be issued within a period not exceeding 45 days of application.

Official Visa
An official visa valid for single entry will be issued to officials entitled to diplomatic or non-diplomatic visa of either country visiting the other on official business including participation in international conferences. This visa will be valid for 15 days for specified places.
Registration: Holders of visitor visas shall be required to register themselves at the check posts of entry and shall, within 24 hours of their reaching the specified place of stay, report their arrival, in writing, to the prescribed authorities or the nearest police station. They shall also make a similar report 24 hours prior to their intended departure from the place of stay. Persons of more than sixty-five years of age and children below twelve years of age are exempted from police reporting.

Entry/Exit Points
Under the agreement, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad from Pakistani side while Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai from Indian side have been designated as air routes, similarly Karachi and Mumbai as sea routes and Wagah/Attari from Pakistani side as well as Khokhrapar/Munabao from Indian side respectively have been designated as land routes for the entry /exit for the nationals of the either country going to/ coming from the other country.

From
The Nation, Pakistan
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‘Child Porn Ring Uncovered Using Stuffed Toy Bunny’ by Denise Lavoie

Even though this story is about a porn ring operating in Europe and the USA but we know that similar establishments exist in other parts of the world too. We must be more careful about who takes care of our children regardless of them being relatives, friends or professionals. Sick minds who have the power over others even for short periods of time can make playthings out of defenceless human beings of any description. This group of people hunted babies and toddlers from 19 days to 4 years of age. The 43 men so far busted include a children’s puppeteer, a hotel manager, an emergency medical technician, and a day care worker.
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This is the face of one predator – Uddari.

BOSTON — The men came from different walks of life on two continents: a children’s puppeteer in Florida, a hotel manager in Massachusetts, an emergency medical technician in Kansas, a day care worker in the Netherlands. In all, 43 men have been arrested over the past two years in a horrific, far-flung child porn network that unraveled like a sweater with a single loose thread.

In this case, the thread was a stuffed toy bunny.

The bunny, seen in a photo of a half-naked, distraught 18-month-old boy, was used to painstakingly trace a molester to Amsterdam. From there, investigators made one arrest after another of men accused of sexually abusing children, exchanging explicit photos of the attacks and even chatting online about abducting, cooking and eating youngsters.

Authorities have identified more than 140 young victims so far and say there is no end in sight as they pore through hundreds of thousands of images found on the suspects’ computers. They are also trying to determine whether the men who talked about murder and cannibalism actually committed such acts or were just sharing twisted fantasies.

The still-widening investigation has been code-named Holitna, after a river in Alaska with many tributaries.

“They are the worst of the worst,” said Bruce Foucart, agent in charge of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in Boston. “This isn’t just a child that’s nude and someone’s taking pictures of him; this is a child that’s being raped by an adult, which is horrific.”

The case began to unfold when Robert Diduca, a Sheraton hotel manager from Milford, Mass., sent the photo of the Dutch boy to an undercover federal agent in Boston. Diduca, a married father of three who used the screen name “Babytodd,” thought he was sending the picture to another man with a sexual interest in babies and toddlers.

Agents forwarded the photo to Interpol, the international police organization, and to several other countries.

An investigator for the Dutch police recognized the stuffed bunny as Miffy, a familiar character in a series of Dutch children’s books. She also traced the boy’s orange sweater to a small Amsterdam store that had sold only 20 others like it.

The boy’s photo was broadcast on a national TV program similar to “America’s Most Wanted.” Within minutes, friends and relatives called the child’s mother.

Robert Mikelsons, a 27-year-old day care worker who baby-sat the boy, was arrested. On his computer were thousands and thousands of images of children being molested and raped, including the boy holding the stuffed bunny.

Photos and online chats found on computers owned by Diduca and Mikelsons led to more than three dozen other suspects in seven countries, including Canada, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Mexico. The oldest victim in the Netherlands was 4, the youngest just 19 days old.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, whose office prosecuted Diduca, said the demand for photos of sexual assaults of young children, including babies and toddlers, has increased sharply in recent years.

“This demand leads to the abuse of children, yet there is this misconception that somehow, viewing child pornography is a victimless crime,” said. “It clearly is not.”

Diduca pleaded guilty to child porn and sexual exploitation charges and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. His lawyer, Richard Sweeney, said Diduca was sexually abused as a child by a Boy Scout leader. “He gets it, he knows he needs to be punished, he knows what he did is wrong,” Sweeney said.

Mikelsons also received an 18-year sentence, followed by indefinite psychiatric commitment, after confessing to sexually abusing more than 80 children.

The horror did not let up after the Mikelsons case.

In May, authorities arrested Michael Arnett of Roeland Park, Kan., after finding pornographic photos he allegedly produced. Agents discovered the pictures when they searched the computer of a Wisconsin man who had been chatting online with Mikelsons.

What they found on Arnett’s computer was unlike anything some of the investigators had ever come across: long, graphic, online chats about his desire to abduct, kill and eat children. They said he had also made photos of a naked 2-year-old boy in a roasting pan inside his oven. The child and two other boys Arnett allegedly abused and photographed were later identified and found alive.

In July, authorities arrested four men they say had online discussions with Arnett about kidnapping and eating children. Those arrested included Ronald Brown, a children’s puppeteer from Largo, Fla. (A YouTube video shows Brown during an appearance on a Christian TV kids show in the 1980s. In the video, he tells a child puppet that he did the right thing by refusing to look at “dirty pictures” some other youngsters tried to show him.)

In excerpts of an online chat between Arnett and Brown from 2011, the two men appear to be discussing their desire to cook a child for Easter.

“he would make a fine Easter feast,” Arnett says.

“yes, his thighs and butt cheeks would be fantastic for Easter,” Brown responds.

A lawyer for Arnett would not comment on the allegations. Brown’s lawyer did not return calls.

Prosecutors said Brown acknowledged his online conversations but said that it was all a fantasy and that he would never hurt anyone.

“Obviously the discussions regarding their claims of cannibalism are disturbing and a concern to our agency,” said ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein. He said agents are following all leads “to make sure these individuals didn’t follow through on any of their claims.”

To find the young victims, investigators carefully studied thousands of photos, read hours of Internet chats and worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They also employed some forensic wizardry.

After finding a video on Diduca’s computer of a bound, 2-year-old boy being raped, investigators enhanced the images of furniture and carpet and determined the attack took place in a motel room in Bakersfield, Calif.

Then they pinpointed the date by way of a TV that was playing in the background in the video, figuring out exactly when a particular episode of “Family Matters” aired along with a certain Pepperidge Farms commercial.

A man from Black Forest, Colo., was arrested and is awaiting trial.

Similarly, in the Arnett case, investigators discovered that a water bottle in one of the photographs carried the name of a swim and scuba center in Overland Park, Kan. With the help of teachers at an elementary school, they identified three children shown in the photographs, including the toddler posed in the roasting pan.

The mother of one of the boys said she initially did not believe the allegations against Arnett, a family friend for about 15 years. She said her son, now 7, and several nephews often spent weekends at Arnett’s home four or five years ago.

“Well, when we first got the phone call, we thought there’s no way. You guys got the wrong guy,” she said. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual abuse or their families.

But then investigators showed her photos Arnett had allegedly taken of her son with a shirt and no pants.

“Regret? For sending my son with a sick-minded guy, that’s the only regret I have. I had no idea,” she said. “It’s depressing.”

For the agents working on the case, the leads never seem to end.

Last week, they arrested another Massachusetts man after finding child pornography and photos of what appeared to be dead children on his computer. He allegedly had online chats with Arnett and Brown.

More arrests are expected.

“The agents that work for me are extremely driven on this type of investigation,” said Bart Cahill, assistant agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “They really believe that they are taking out horrific violators and saving kids.”

DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press

Associated Press writers Maria Sudekum in Kansas City, Mo., and Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach, Fla., contributed to this report.

From
Huffington Post
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‘Rafique Dost Laye’ (for Rafique friend) a poem by Zubair Ahmad

Teri kinj kahani kereye arreye
rut purani ker bethay aaN

Pooni pooni ker jo kateya
ohda taan na taneya
‘chaldeyaN vidaa na keeta’
‘kakh baal na baneray dharay’
kinj likhhiye raam kahani
sab sukhn zubani ker bethhay aaN

Ajab shaam nagr vich aayi
booha pichhla oh langhh aayi
jinhay dhhoi Dar di taaki
suman raat akhheiN vich paayi
eh raat akhheiN rakhh lainday
akhh dardaaN pani ker bethay aaN
rut purani ker bethay aaN
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* ‘chaldeyaN vidaa na keeta’ Madholal Hussain de kaafi ‘aiNwain gaye vehaaye, koi dam yaad na kaatea’
* ‘kakhh baal na baneray dhareye’ Najm hosain Syed de nazm ‘kakhh baal ke banereyaaN te dhhareye jee’ toon
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Fauzia Rafique laye eh nazm Zubair Ahmad ne 2005 ch likhhi. 2007 ch eh Lahore de risaalay ‘Pancham’ ch shahmukhi ch chappi.
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تیری کنج کہا نی کرئیے اڑیئے

تیری کنج کہا نی کرئیے اڑیئے
رُت پرانی کر بیٹھے آں

پُونی پُونی کر جو کتیا
اوہدا تان نہ تنیا
ْ”چلدیاں وداع نہ کیتا”
“کُکھ بال نہ بنیرے دھرئے”
کنج لکھیے رام کہانی
سبھ سُخن زبانی کر بیٹھے آں

عجب شام نگر وچ آئی
بوہا پچھلا اوہ لنگھ آئی
جس ڈھوئی ڈر دی تاکی
سُپن رات اکھیں وچ پائی
ایہہ رات اکھیں رکھ لیندے
اکھ درداں پانی کر بیٹھے آں
رُت پرانی کر بیٹھے آں

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‘چلدیاں وداع نہ کیتا’٭ مادھو لال حُسین دی کافی ‘انیویں گئی وہاء ِ، کوئی دم یاد نہ کیتا۔’

‘ککھ بال نہ بنرتے دھریے’۔نجم حُسین سیدّ دی نظم’ ککھ بال کے بنیریاں تے دھریے جی’
..

..

ਰਫ਼ੀਕ ਦੋਸਤ ਲਈ

ਕਿੰਜ ਤੇਰੀ ਕਹਾਣੀ ਕਰੀਏ ਅੜੀਏ
ਰੁੱਤ ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਕਰ ਬੈਠੇ ਆਂ

ਪੂਣੀ ਪੂਣੀ ਕਰ ਜੋ ਕਤਿਆ
ਉਹਦਾ ਤਾਨ ਨਾ ਤਣਿਆ
“ਚੱਲਦਿਆਂ ਵਿਦਾ ਨਾ ਕੀਤਾ”
“ਕੱਖ ਬਾਲ ਨਾ ਬਨੇਰੇ ਧਰੇ”
ਕਿੰਜ ਲਿਖੀਏ ਰਾਮ ਕਹਾਣੀ
ਸਭ ਸੁਖ਼ਨ ਜ਼ਬਾਨੀ ਕਰ ਬੇਠੇ ਆਂ
ਰੁੱਤ ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਕਰ ਬੈਠੇ ਆਂ

ਅਜਬ ਸ਼ਾਮ ਨਗਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਆਈ
ਬੂਹਾ ਪਿਛਲਾ ਜੋ ਲੰਘ ਆਈ
ਉਸ ਢੋਈ ਡਰ ਦੀ ਤਾਕੀ
ਸੁਪਨ ਰਾਤ ਅੱਖੀਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਾਈ

ਏਹ ਰਾਤ ਅੱਖੀਂ ਰੱਖ ਲੈਂਦੇ
ਅੱਖ ਦਰਦਾਂ ਪਾਣੀ ਕਰ ਬੈਠੇ ਆਂ
ਰੁੱਤ ਪੁਰਾਣੀ ਕਰ ਬੈਠੇ ਆਂ

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* ਏਹ ਸਤਰ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਹੁਸੈਨ ਦੀ ਕਾਫ਼ੀ ਤੋ ਏ
* ਏਹ ਸਤਰ ਨਜਮ ਹੁਸੈਨ ਸਯੱਦ ਦੀ ਨਜ਼ਮ “ਕੱਖ ਬਾਲ ਕੇ ਬਨੇਰਿਆਂ ’ਤੇ ਧਰੀਏ ਜੀ” ਤੋਂ ਏ।
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Zubair Ahmad is a Lahore based author, poet, editor and cultural activist.
Visit his Facebook Page
http://www.facebook.com/zubair.ahmad.73
Contact Zubair at
kitab.trinjan@gmail.com
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English Poems find a home at Uddari

‘English Poems’ is a new page that brings together poems published at Uddari in English since 2008. These include translations from other languages.

The page was created on a ‘hunch’ that there were a few English poems rolling around on the blog that somehow could not be reflected on the existing poetry page (clearly) called Punjabi Poems. Even then, a couple of English poems did make their way into it by the grace of their powerful Punjabi counterparts.

Collecting ‘a few’ poems for this page took three times the amount of work anticipated. You will see why when you visit it. No one thought we had so much of such potent poetic content at Uddar. It is powerhouse poetry!

Check it out:
http://uddari.wordpress.com/english-poems/

You will notice that only some poems are published on the page, the rest have links to their independent posts. The poems on the page are extracted from larger posts on the blog, and the links are provided.

We suspect, some poems still may have escaped us. If you come across any that isn’t on English Poems page, let us know at uddari@live.ca.
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‘Hamraz Ahsan’s Third Eye’ by Arif Waqar

Hamraz Ahsan is a well known figure in the Asian circles of England: an experienced Urdu journalist and columnist, a trusted researcher for documentary film producers, and an authentic Punjabi poet who is equally respected in the Muslim and Sikh communities of the UK.

His first Punjabi collection ‘Tibyan uttay Chhawaan’ (Shades on Dunes) got good response from general readers as well as skeptical critics. He wrote several short poems on various aspects of the life of Pakistani immigrants in Great Britain and these poems were collected in a book called ‘Paar Samundraan Wallay’ (Trapped on the Other side of the Ocean). His most recent work is a collection of Punjabi quatrains: ‘Meki Kujh na Aakh’ (Don’t Scold Me)

These short poems draw on the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry and they are composed in the traditional four-line format. Before we proceed further let’s have a look at some of these quatrains… in English translation, of course:

Don’t scold me
The worthlessness immersed in my soul
I took the leash of the beast within
And collared myself instead

Don’t scold me
I left both mammon and mother
To take a peek at the firmament
I returned disenchanted, Adam’s brood once more
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Don’t scold me
I have wept in my dreams
Churning the vat of my heart
Hot tears my only curd
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Don’t scold me
I have worn out my soul
For each act I was given a different costume
Made by the designer, I simply put it on
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Don’t scold me
In the dust before me glint particles of sand
In my sky only darkness reins
Stars are trodden underfoot
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Don’t scold me
My mantra neither Rab nor Rama
I seek benediction without supplication
Clutching neither Koran nor Gita
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Don’t scold me
I have forged eternal bonds with fire
Red embers caress my palms
I, the baker, whose hand is married to the burning clay oven
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Don’t scold me
I met my groom in my dotage
My ear rings hang loose from my ears
My nose cannot bear the knobbing ornament’s weight
Translated by the poet

These quatrains are preceded by a detailed, and rather philosophical preface, titled ‘Khraabkaar di teeji akkh’… The Third Eye of the Subverter… masterfully written by Professor Amin Mughal, who firmly believes in the Subversion Theory of Herbert Marcuse, and without referring to him directly, Professor Mughal says, “Authentic poetry, indeed all authentic art, is subversive. Hamraz Ahsan is subversive, and his subversion is directed against his (inner) self. Let’s not forget that ‘self’ is constituted by man’s relations with the universe, of which he himself is a part. Hamraz seeks to break his self, that is, his relations with the rest of the universe and his self, in order to identify all those relations that stand in the way of his self becoming, or moving continuously towards becoming, an authentic self!’

To describe the subversive nature of an authentic artist, Prof. Mughal uses the term ‘kharaabkaar’. This Persian word denotes a destroyer or a saboteur, but traditionally this expression has been reserved for qalanders, or the wandering dervishes. Some of the quatrains in this book have direct references to qalanders.

Hamraz negates class and cast, and the lust that is caused by them. But a distinctive feature of Hamraz’s poetry is his negation of gender distinction. This aspect may easily be overlooked because it forms the base of Punjabi poetry and is therefore not obtrusive and hence not visible. The obliteration of the category of gender turns the poet and the sufi into the woman, and not merely a woman but, following Dostoevsky, they become the prostitute the dust of whose feet they kiss with reverence.

To become a fallen woman is not enough; to think and feel like her is the ultimate test of the negation of gender, and Hamraz tries to do precisely the same.

A major role in the formation of inauthentic relations is played by the way that man employs to see the universe. The way is empirical, rooted in rationalism, and ultimately the senses. The metaphor for the senses in Hamraz’s poetry is ‘the two eyes’ The third eye is needed to authenticate one’s self. The failure of the third eye to open causes the elusiveness of what is missing. The poet starts from negation and reconstitute his self and ultimately affirms life and the universe, but on his own terms. It is no accident then, that Hamraz’s patron saint is Madho Lal Hussain and the 101 quatrains dedicated to his murshid have grown on soil of the Punjabi folk tradition.

‘I did not follow any particular genre of Punjabi poetry’ says Hamraz, ‘the four-line structure came naturally to me, but the words of the first line (me ki kujh na aakh) were uttered by a woman in Pothohar. I heard them years ago and somehow they stuck to my mind’.

One unique feature of this poetry book is its dual script: it’s printed both in Persian and Gurmukhi scripts. It’s worth mentioning that the Lingua Franca of the pre-partition Punjab was divided into two separate languages, in 1947, on the basis of Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi (Persian) scripts. Speakers of the same language, ironically, are unable to read each other’s ideas in the written form, and thus the Punjabi literature is mutually unintelligible across the borders in Indian and Pakistani Punjab.

During my recent visit to London, I had a chance to see the poet in person and discuss the situation with him. ‘How do you compare the situation in Southhall, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds or other diaspora centres in the UK?’ I asked Hamraz, ‘Do you think there are better chances, in this more educated and liberal atmosphere, of breaking the script barrier?’

‘I don’t accept the premise that Punjabi communities are more educated and liberal in the UK than in the Punjab’ comes the answer from the poet, ‘I migrated to this country as an adult, but all my children were born and brought up here in Britain, and the willful lack of integration between diverse groups meant that while Hindu, Sikh and Muslim children may have been friends at school, intermarriage between these religions means ostracism for both parties, or even worse, rather than creating a need to understand and communicate across the divide. Certainly anecdotally most of the young Punjabis I know – Sikh, Hindu or Muslim – do not read either script, even if they’re fluent orally. The similarities of language mean a close bond of friendship but friendship is not the same as a desire to read extant literature of either group because this would require a level of educating oneself that is barely there for the English language, let alone for either scripts of the Punjabi’.

If that’s the case, why did he take the trouble to publish his poetry in both scripts? ‘Just because most of my friends and readers in East Punjab, Europe and North America, cannot read Persian script’.

The status of Punjabi language in the Pakistani Punjab is quite enigmatic: there are hundreds of Sindhi medium and Pushto medium schools in Pakistan but not a single Punjabi medium school in the whole country. ‘What’s your take on educating Punjabi kids in their mother tongue?’
Hamraz looked at me rather helplessly, as if I had put him a very unexpected question. ‘well, I’m a Punjabi poet, but not an activist; this question should be asked of those who have been working for the cause of Punjabi’.

Alright then, let’s come to a less political question:
Shahmukhi (Persian) script is not hundred percent phonetic and Gurmukhi is associated with the Sikh religion; in this situation, can Roman script be a way-out? If not, what else can be done to enable the Punjabis across the borders to read each other’s literature?
‘I think that would be an inelegant solution’ comes the answer from the Punjabi poet, ‘to me, the best approach is straightforward translation. While it is easy to become dazzled by the thought that it is the same language in two distinct scripts and want logically to bring about one that crosses borders, it isn’t resolved by learning a third set of phonetic symbols. Before long each group would be bemoaning the endangerment of their own scripts as youth are always game for learning the easiest way out, in this case Roman script. In a lesser form, good publishers edit books for American English and idioms when presenting a UK or Australian text in the States. Publishers should just accept the need to pay translators to do the same for texts crossing borders within the Punjab’.

From Saqib Maqsood (http://puncham.com/) at Pancham Sulaikh SaNg
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Punjabi monthly magazine Pancham now available online

Lahore’s literary Punjabi monthly magazine ‘Pancham’ is now available to read online. Edited by Faiza and Maqsood Saqib, ‘Pancham’ publishes poetry, fiction, literary criticism and non fiction. The publication is a continuation, in spirit, of the fine traditions of monthly ‘Maanboli’.
http://puncham.com/default.asp

You will also find information about Punjabi books published by Suchet Kitab Ghar here:
http://puncham.com/sucheet.asp

Led by Maqsood Saqib, the team that produces monthly Pancham and publishes Punjabi books from Suchet Kitab Ghar, has also created two pages on Facebook that are initiating robust discussions on aspects of Punjabi literature.
Pancham Sulaikh SaNg
http://www.facebook.com/groups/187000121364896/
Fareed Rang
http://www.facebook.com/groups/312103068831819/

More on Maqsood Saqib
http://uddari.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/brilliante-punjab-offering-to-a-writer-an-editor-and-a-reader/

Pancham at Uddari Publishers’ page: http://uddari.wordpress.com/punjabi-authors-publishers/#PANCHAM

Contact Pancham
Street Address
11 Sharaf Mansion, 16 Queens Road
Chauk Ganga Ram
Lahore, Pakistan
Website
http://puncham.com/
Phone
(+92) 42 36308265
Email
info@puncham.com
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New Punjabi-English Dictionary – A much-needed resource

Review
Punjabi-English Dictionary
Authors: Kanwal Bashir, Abbas Kazmi
ISBN: 978-1-931546-89-8
Dunwoody Press, Hyattsville USA, 2012
Pages: 660
$125.00

‘Punjabi-English Dictionary’ by Bashir and Kazmi is a much-needed resource for students, teachers, researchers and writers of Punjabi. Designed ‘to assist beginning and intermediate students of Pakistani Punjabi’, this work is an important step in reading, learning and teaching of the language in South Asia and Abroad.

The 660-page dictionary contains about 2,500 main entries selected from Punjabi newspapers published from Lahore, and audios of unrehearsed conversations of Punjabi speakers in the province.

Each entry begins with a headword in Perso-Arabic (commonly called Shahmukhi) script followed by it’s romanization. Descriptions include speech patterns, definition/s, and one (or more) examples in Punjabi with English translation. Here are some of the perks: the authors have developed and implemented a pronunciation system for learners, they have included sentences in both languages; and, you will find verb charts and notes on grammar at the end of the book.

The dictionary appears well-researched, well-written and well-produced. Check it out here:
http://www.dunwoodypress.com/products/-/328

Kanwal Bashir is a senior linguist at a language research center in Maryland. Earlier, she had worked as an Instructor of Urdu and Punjabi language and culture in USA, and as lecturer and later assistant professor of English in Pakistan.

Abbas Kazmi worked as an Instructor, Subject Matter Expert and Tester of Urdu and Punjabi language and culture in Washington. Earlier, he had served Pakistan Foreign Service as a career diplomat.

Bashir and Kazmi began work on this first volume of Punjabi English dictionary in 2008, and now they are working on the second one.
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‘Yes, Virginia, We Can Do Something About the Drone Strikes’ by Robert Naiman

This article represents a much needed initiative to, hopefully, stop US drone strikes. If you are an ‘American’ (!), please do consider being one of the ‘ten thousand Americans (who) would write to their Members of Congress, urging them to sign the Kucinich-Conyers letter’. The letter asks for accountability and transparency in US drone strike policies/practices. View and copy it here: letter

From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

There’s a conventional wisdom in Washington that there’s nothing we can do politically to stop the U.S. government from killing innocent civilians with drone strikes.

But it ain’t necessarily so.

Speaking only for myself, I’m willing to stipulate that killing “high value terrorists” who are known to be actively preparing to kill Americans is wildly popular, regardless of whether it is constitutional and legal.

Here’s what’s not wildly popular: killing innocent civilians.

This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. This is an American issue. Go to the reddest of Red America. Stand outside a megachurch or military base in the Deep South. Find me 12 Christian Republicans who are willing to sign their names that they want the U.S. government to kill innocent civilians. I bet you can’t do it. Killing innocent civilians is un-American.

Consider: after what widely reported news event did even Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum say maybe we ought to get our troops out of Afghanistan? After it was reported that a U.S. soldier massacred Afghan civilians.

The historian Howard Zinn suggested that it’s a backhanded compliment to the American people that our government lies to us about what it’s doing in other people’s countries. Because it suggests that if the American people knew, they would never stand for it.

Thanks to a New York Times report this week, we now know. In an echo of the Colombian military’s “false positives” scandal, our government is killing people with drone strikes and then decreeing that “military age men” killed by U.S. drone strikes are automatically “combatants.” Born a chicken, raised a chicken, now you’re a fish.

Some senior U.S. officials are quite unhappy about this, the Times reports.

The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it “guilt by association” that has led to “deceptive” estimates of civilian casualties.”It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”

So what is producing this conventional wisdom that there’s nothing we can do?

A key determinant is what Members of Congress are willing to say and do. If you can’t get 12 Members of Congress to say “boo” about something, then the conventional wisdom says it’s not an issue.

Well, that just changed. Thirteen Members of Congress are willing to say “boo.” Here they are: Dennis Kucinich, John Conyers, Rush Holt, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Maurice Hinchey, Charlie Rangel, Pete Stark, Mike Honda, Raul Grijalva, Bob Filner, Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, and Lynn Woolsey.

These 13 Members of Congress — who, one hopes, will soon be joined by others — have signed a letter to the administration demanding that the administration come clean with Congress and the American people about its drone strike policy, particularly concerning civilian casualties and so-called “signature strikes” that target unknown people.

This Congressional letter is being supported by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, Amnesty International, and other groups who don’t want the U.S. government to kill innocent civilians.

If ten thousand Americans would write to their Members of Congress, urging them to sign the Kucinich-Conyers letter, we could get 40 Members of Congress to sign it. If we could get 40 Members of Congress to sign it, the beltway media would report that Members of Congress are complaining about civilian deaths from drone strikes. If we could get the beltway media to report that Members of Congress are complaining about civilian deaths from drone strikes, the conventional wisdom that there’s nothing we can do politically about civilian deaths from drone strikes would be dead.

Sometimes mate in five starts with a pawn move.

As Stephen Colbert put it,

“The administration has developed a brilliant system of ensuring that those building engulfing explosions don’t kill non-combatants: they just count all military age males in a strike zone as combatants…This isn’t just the president executing innocent people around the world by fiat, there is an appeals process. The men are considered terrorists unless ‘there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent,’ in which case, I assume, there is a legal process that un-kills them.”

Colbert Nation, to your laptops.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/obama-drone-strikes_b_1563081.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Posted at Huffington Post: 06/01/2012 2:57 pm

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‘Remembering Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955)’ by Tariq Ali

“Something terrible happened fifty years ago today when India was divided. It is time to recognize it and see if it can be understood and transcended. The survivors owe it to those who perished.”

Saadat Hasan Manto’s centenary is being observed quietly by friends and admirers in Lahore. No official recognition or mention. He’s almost become a non-person. Manto died in Lahore in 1955. He was forty-three years old. The life of one of our greatest short-story writers had been prematurely truncated. I was eleven years old at the time. I never met him. I wish I had. One can visualize him easily enough. In later photographs the melancholy is visible. He appears exhausted as if his heart were entrenched with sadness. In these his face displays all the consequences of a ravaged liver.

But there are others. Here his eyes sparkle with intelligence, the impudence almost bursting through the thick glass of his 1940’s spectacles, mocking the custodians of morality, the practitioners of confessional politics or the commissariat of the Progressive Writers. ‘Do your worst’, he appears to be telling them. ‘I don’t care. I will write to please myself. Not you.’   Manto’s battles with the literary establishment of his time became a central feature of his biography. Charged with obscenity and brought to trial on a number of occasions he remained defiant and unapologetic.

It was the Partition of India in 1947 along religious lines  that formed his own attitudes and those of his numerous detractors. The episodes associated with the senseless carnage that accompanied the withdrawal of the British from India loom large in Manto’s short stories. A few words of necessary explanation might help the reader to understand the corrosive impact of  Manto on the reading public. The horrors of 1947 were well known, but few liked to talk about them. A collective trauma appeared to have silenced most people. Not Manto. In his stories of that period he recovered the dignity of all the victims without fear or favor. Even the perpetrators of crimes were victims of a political process that had gone out of control.

In these bad times when the fashion is to worship accomplished facts real history tends to be treated as an irritant, something to be swatted out of existence like mosquitoes in summer, it is worth recalling that something terrible happened fifty years ago today when India was divided.  It is time to recognize it and see if it can be understood and transcended. The survivors owe it to those who perished. At least a million men, women and children lost their lives during the carnage of ‘ethnic cleansing’ that overcame Northern and Eastern India as the Punjab and Bengal were divided along religious lines.

In the months that preceded Partition, Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other glared into each other’s hate-filled eyes before embarking on  frenzied blood-baths. The character and scale of the butchery was unprecedented in Indian history. In fact even Jinnah, as late as June 1946, was prepared to consider a federal solution as proposed by the Cabinet Mission sent to India by the Labour Government. It was the Congress Party which made that particular solution impossible.

This failure meant that exactly one year before Partition, the Hindu-Muslim riots started in Eastern India. During four days in August 1946, nearly 5000 people were killed and three times that number wounded in Bengal. The mood in the Punjab became edgy. Fear overcame rationality.

My mother, an active member of the Communist Party, often recalls how in April 1947, heavily pregnant with my sister and alone at home, she was disturbed by a loud knock on the front door. As she opened the door  she was overcome by anxiety. In front of her stood the giant figure of a Sikh. He saw the fear on her face, understood and spoke in a soft, reassuring voice. All he wanted to know was the location of a particular house on a nearby road. My mother gave him the directions. He thanked her warmly and left. She was overpowered by shame. How could she, of all people, without a trace of prejudice, have reacted in that fashion?  Nor was she the  only one. Manto’s stories help us to understand the madness that was bursting into bloodshed.

Trains became moving graveyards as they arrived at stations on both sides of the new divide, packed with corpses of fleeing refugees. As always, it was  the poor of town and country who were the main victims and they were buried or burnt in  hastily dug pits. Neither the song of the nightingale nor lamps or flowers would ever grace their graves. They are the forgotten victims of that year. No memorial in India or Pakistan marks the killings. The Partition of India was a tragedy and a crime. It was neither inevitable nor necessary and  its traces are only too visible in the unending anguish of the great  sub-continent. Faiz Ahmed Faiz,  one of the greatest of 20th century Urdu poets,  born in what  became Pakistan, spoke for many  in his poem Freedom’s Dawn on August ‘47:

This leprous daybreak, dawn night’s fangs have mangled—

This is not that long -looked-for break of day,

Not that clear dawn in quest of which those comrades

Set out, believing that in heaven’s wide void

Somewhere must be the star’s last halting place,

Somewhere the verge of night’s slow-washing tide,

Somewhere an anchorage for the ship of heartache.

But now, word goes, the birth of day from darkness

Is finished, wandering feet stand at their goal;

Our leaders’ ways are altering, festive looks

Are all the fashion, discontent reproved;–

And yet this physic still on unslaked eye

Or heart fevered by severance works no cure.

Where did that fine breeze, that the wayside lamp

Has not once felt, blow from—where has it fled?

Night’s heaviness is unlessened still, the hour

Of mind and spirit’s ransom has not struck;

Let us go on, our goal is not reached yet.

A year later, another poet Sahir Ludhianvi, who crossed the border and came to Pakistan could not bear the atmosphere and returned to India. He sent an explanation in the form of a dirge addressed to fellow-writers in Pakistan:

Friends, for long years

I have spun dreams of the moon and stars and spring for you,

Today my tattered garments hold nothing

But the dust of the road that we have travelled.

The music in my harp has been strangled

Its tunes buried by wails and screams

 Peace and civilization are the alms I crave

So that my lips can learn how to sing again.

Saadat Hasan Manto, was moved to write ‘Toba Tek Singh’. Manto wrote sparsely, each word carefully chosen. His diamond-hard prose was in polar contrast to the flowery language of many  contemporaries. He wrote about sexual frustration and its consequences, of jealousy and how it often led to murder. One of his stories, ‘Behind the Screen’, describes a wife’s revenge once she discovers her husband has a secret mistress. The wife takes the husband to his lover’s apartment and in his presence has her body chopped into tiny pieces. The story was based on an actual event that took place in the North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan. Manto spared his readers the real life ending: the wife  had her rival’s flesh cooked and forced her husband to eat the cooked flesh, a striking demonstration of the saying that truth is stranger than fiction. (footnote: cf Khalid Hasan, ‘Sadat Hasan Manto: Not of Blessed Memory’, Annual of Urdu Studies, 4, 1984, P.85)

‘Toba Tek Singh’  is a masterpiece, set in the lunatic asylum in Lahore at the time of Partition.  When whole cities are being ethnically cleansed, how can the asylums escape? The Hindu and Sikh lunatics are told by bureaucrats organizing the transfer of power that they will be forcibly transferred to  institutions in India.  The inmates rebel. They embrace each other and weep. They will not be parted willingly. They have to be forced on to the trucks. One of them, a Sikh, is so overcome by rage that he dies on the demarcation line which divides Pakistan from India. Confronted by so much  insanity in the real world, Manto discovered normality in the asylum. The ‘lunatics’ have a better understanding of the crime that is being perpetrated than the politicians who have agreed to Partition.

Few politicians on either side had foreseen the results. Jawaharlal Nehru’s romantic nationalism portrayed independence as a long-delayed “tryst with destiny”. He never imagined that the tryst would be bathed in countless gallons of Indian blood. This was partially the result of a failure by the Congress High Command to make the large Muslim minority an offer it could not refuse.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a second-rate politician, but with a first-class lawyer’s brain. Initially he had used separatism as a bargaining ploy. Even later, he genuinely believed that the new state would simply be a smaller version of secular India, with one difference. Here Muslims would be the largest community. He really believed that he would still be able to spend some time every winter at his mansion in Bombay, the only city where he had found love and happiness.

Jinnah conceived of  Pakistan as an amalgamation of an undivided Punjab, an undivided Bengal together with Sind, Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province. This would have meant that forty percent of the Punjab would have consisted of Hindus and Sikhs and forty-nine percent of Bengal would have consisted of Hindus.   It was, alas, a utopian nonsense. Once confessional passions had been aroused and neighbors were massacring each other (as in the former Yugoslavia during the last decade of the 20th century) it was difficult to keep the two provinces united.

“I do not care how little you give me,” Jinnah is reported as saying in March 1947 to the last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten,  “as long as you give it to me completely.”

A dying old man in a hurry, who could have been a willing collaborator in establishing a single state with important safeguards for the minority, had the Congress been capable of strategic insights, but now he wanted his own statelet, however small and awkward it might appear on the map.

India had come a long way in 1947. All previous rulers had attempted to govern with the consent of the ruling elites of whatever religion. The Mughal Emperors, themselves Muslims, had learnt this lesson very quickly and Akbar had unsuccessfully attempted to create a new religion synthesising Hinduism and Islam. Even the last of the great Mughals, the religious-minded Aurungzeb did not attempt any Islamicisation of his army:  his ablest Generals were Hindu chiefs!

The British, when confronted with the nightmare of actually governing India, realized that, despite their more advanced technology, they would not last too long without serious alliances. They could only govern India with the consent of its traditional rulers.  The raj was maintained by a very tiny British presence: in 1805 the pink-cheeked conquerors numbered 31,000; in 1911 they had grown to 164,000 and in 1931 there were 168,000. In other words the British in India never comprised more than 0.05 of the local population.

It was this fact that concentrated the finest minds of the raj on politics and strategy. The civil servants trained by Haileybury and other imperialist nurseries in Britain to govern a mighty sub-continent were political administrators, often of the highest order. They learned to speak Urdu and Bengali so that they could, when necessary, communicate directly with peasants and administer justice. They also learned how to divide local rulers from each other and how to fan religious prejudices. The birth of modern Sikhism and Hinduism owes a great deal to the British presence in India. In return, local potentates were permitted to learn English and taught the etiquette of nibbling cucumber sandwiches with His Excellency at Government House.

If the British had granted India self-government on the Canadian and Australian pattern after the First World War it is unlikely that the sub-continent would have been divided. Partition was not a planned conspiracy by either the British or Jinnah. It came about because of a combination of circumstance during the Forties, including the Second World War. Jinnah backed the war effort, the Congress demanded Independence. Some scores had to be settled. Pakistan was imperialism’s rap on the knuckle for Indian nationalism.

Nehru and Jinnah were both shaken by the orgy of barbarism. It offended all their instincts.  But it was Mahatama Gandhi who paid the ultimate price. For defending the right to live of innocent Muslims in post-Partition India he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a fundamentalist Hindu fanatic. Godse was hanged, but two decades later, Godse’s brother told Channel Four that he regretted nothing. What happened had to happen.

That past now rots in the present and threatens to further poison the future.  The political heirs of the hanged Godse are shoving aside the children of Nehru and Gandhi. The poisonous fog of the religious world has enveloped politics. History, unlike the poets and writers of the sub-continent, is not usually prone to sentiment.

Partition was a disaster, adjacent to which there lurked another. The two parts of Pakistan were divided by a thousand miles of India, culture, language and political tradition. The predominantly Punjabi military-bureaucratic elite belonged to West Pakistan, while the Bengali majority of the population (60%) lived in East Pakistan. The refusal of the military rulers to permit democracy led to a successful uprising in 1968. A dictator was toppled. In the elections that followed the Bengalis of East Pakistan won a big majority. They were not permitted to take office. The Army invaded the Eastern part of its own country.  There was a massacre of intellectuals and mass rape (Punjabi soldiers had been told to ‘change the genes’ of Bengalis forever) followed by a civil war. Bangladesh was born. One partition had led to another.

India, too, was severely damaged by Partition. The Nehru years (1947-64) disguised the processes underneath, but now the Furies are out into the open. Bombay, once the centre of cosmopolitanism is now Mumbai and under the sway of a neo-fascist Hindu organization. In their absurd search for a new Indian identity, the scoundrel parties have re-discovered Hinduism and sections of the ‘secular’ Congress have fallen into line.  Communal riots have claimed tens of thousands of lives over the last fifty years.

Manto was amongst the few who observed the bloodbaths of Partition with a detached eye.  He had remained in Bombay in 1947, where he worked for the film industry, but was accused of  favoring Muslims and was subjected to endless communal taunts, even from those who had hitherto imagined to be like him, but the secular core in many people did not survive the fire.  Manto came to Lahore in 1948, but was never happy. He turned the tragedies he had witnessed or heard into great literature. He wrote of the common people, regardless of ethnic, religious or caste identities and he discovered contradictions and passions and irrationality in each of them. In his work we see how normally decent people can, in extreme conditions, commit the most appalling atrocities. ‘Cold Meat’ is one such story. In 1952 he wrote: “My heart is heavy with grief today. A strange listlessness has enveloped me. More than four years ago when I said farewell to my other home, Bombay, I experienced the same kind of sadness…”

Years later he was still trying to come to grips with what had happened:

“Still, what my mind could not resolve was the question: what country did we belong to now, India or Pakistan? And whose blood was it that was being so mercilessly shed every day? And the bones of the dead, stripped of the flesh of religion, were they being burned or buried? Now that we were free who was to be our subject? When we were not free, we used to dream about freedom. Now that freedom had come, how would we perceive our past state?

“The question was: were we really free? Both Hindus and Muslims were being massacred. Why were they being massacred? There were different answers to the question; the Indian answer, the Pakistani answer, the British answer. Every question had an answer, but when you tried to unravel the truth, you were left groping.

“Everyone seemed to be regressing. Only death and carnage seemed to be proceeding ahead. A terrible chapter of blood and tears was being added to history, a chapter without precedent.

“India was free. Pakistan was free from the moment of its birth, but in both states, man’s enslavement continued: by prejudice, by religious fanaticism, by savagery.”

In a series of Open Letters to Uncle Sam he marked his displeasure at the state of world politics and Pakistan’s Security Pact with the US. He displayed a remarkable prescience as expressed in this extract from his ‘Third Letter to uncle Sam’, written shortly before his death:

“Another thing I would want from you would be a tiny, teeny weeny atom bomb because for long I have wished to perform a certain good deed. You will naturally want to know what.

You have done many good deeds yourself and continue to do them. You decimated Hiroshima, you turned Nagasaki into smoke and dust and you caused several thousand children to be born in Japan. Each to his own. All I want you to do is to dispatch me some dry cleaners. It is like this. Out there, many Mullah types after urinating pick up a stone and with one hand inside their untied shalwar, use the stone to absorb the after-drops of urine as they resume their walk. This they do in full public view. All I want is that the moment such a person appears, I should be able to pull out that atom bomb you will send me and lob it at the Mullah so that he turns into smoke along with the stone he was holding.

“As for your military pact with us, it is remarkable and should be maintained. You should sign something similar with India. Sell all your old condemned arms to the two of us, the ones you used in the last war. This junk will thus be off your hands and your armament factories will no longer remain idle.

“Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is a Kashmiri, so you should send him a gun which should go off when it is placed in the sun. I am a Kashmiri too, but a Muslim which is why I have asked for a tiny atom bomb for myself.

“One more thing. We can’t seem able to draft a constitution. Do kindly ship us some experts because while a nation can manage without a national anthem, it cannot do without a constitution, unless such is your wish.

“One more thing. As soon as you get this letter, send me a shipload of American matchsticks. The matchsticks manufactured here have to be lit with the help of Iranian-made matchsticks. And after you have used half the box, the rest are unusable unless you take help from matches made in Russia which behave more like firecrackers than matches.”

Given the circumstances it is hardly surprising that he sought solace in alcohol and drank himself to death. He had written over 200 short stories and had no doubt of  his place in literary history and left behind the following epitaph for himself:

“Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto. With him lie buried the arts of short-story telling. Here he lies underneath tons of mud still wondering if he was a better short-story writer than God.”

TARIQ ALI’s latest book “The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad’ was published by Verso.

From
Counterpunch.org
WEEKEND EDITION JANUARY 13-15, 2012
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/13/remembering-saadat-hasan-manto-1912-1955/
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Book Launch: ‘Chanting Denied Shores’ by Tariq Malik, Vancouver Jan 16/2011


‘Chanting Denied Shores – The Komagata Maru Narratives’

Book Launch, Vancouver
Sunday 16 January, 2011
2:30 – 4:30pm
Book launch with introduction by
Mr. Ujjal Dosanjh
Historical Kogawa House
1450 West 64th Avenue,
Vancouver, BC V6P 2N4
Phone 604-263-6586

Book launch, Surrey
Sunday, January 23, 2011
1:30 – 4:30pm
Surrey Public Library
Strawberry Hill Branch
7399 – 122nd Street, Surrey BC

Author Reading, Abbottsford
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Author book reading
Ehsaas Readers and Writers Festival
University of Fraser Valley
Abbottsford, BC

More information
http://www.tariqmalik.net/Chanting_Denied_Shores.htm

‘With the world pre-occupied with rumours of an imminent war, Vancouver’s boys of summer 1914 are at it again – the waterfront is already ringing with their verses of ‘White Canada Forever’. As hundreds of Punjabi Indians quietly sail into the harbour clamouring for their rights as equal subjects to relocate to any part of the British Empire, their chartered ship – the Komagata Maru – now lies rusting at anchor inside the Burrard Inlet on Canada’s Pacific Coast. The hopeful, would-be-immigrants find the host city distracted in its exuberant Victoria Day celebrations, and by the final visit of Buffalo Bill’s Best Show On Earth.

The arrival of the rogue ship into Canadian waters is seized by an immigration inspector as an opportunity to redress personal frustrations and regain lost stature. Meanwhile, a Punjabi mill worker, whose plight in seeking gainful employment is challenged through his community’s daily humiliations and frustrations by the belligerent exclusionist policies, watches the ship’s passengers thwarted in their every attempt at landing.

A gifted undercover operator whose intricate web of informants, intimidation, intrigue and murder has infiltrated the Pacific coast, warns that the new arrivals are a part of an emerging sinister insurgency to free India from its occupying British forces; and his seven-year-old daughter watches a favourite uncle worship the first crocuses and revel in the return of seasonal salmon by swimming with them in a shallow stream.

These are some of the narrative threads of a disillusioned and dislocated passenger on the Komagata Maru. He is ostensibly here to take up the Canadian offer of ‘Free Land’ in the Last Best West and his explorations of the possibilities and limits of hope and endurance spans two continents during the tumultuous decade from 1914 to 1924. It includes the startling revelation of how some of the deported passengers walked the railway tracks from Calgary to Vancouver barely ahead of the onset of winter.

Set against the racially charged background of discordant voices from an unshakeable past, this wrenching and inspiring first novel illuminates a watershed incident of Canadian history largely forgotten outside the South Asian community. The Komagata Maru debacle would eventually radicalize the Indian freedom movement on the American soil, giving fresh impetus to the claim of Indian freedom fighters that there was no justice for them within the British Empire, and the only recourse open to them was to forcefully seek complete independence for India.’
from the book cover

Komagata Maru historical timeline
1880’s
First Punjabi settlement in Canada at Golden, Vancouver Island, B.C.
1890
Columbia River Lumber Mill Temple built in Golden, Vancouver Island, B.C.
1897
Sikhs soldiers returning from Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee travel through Canada and carry with them news of Canada’s vast farmlands.
1907
Anti-Asian Riots in Vancouver, B.C. Canada and Bellingham, Washington, USA.
1908
Canadian Government severely restricts immigration from India.
1910
Canadian Government passes 2 orders-in-council: the first declares that all Asians were now obliged to have $200 on their person when they land. The second order-in-council, the ‘Continuous Journey’ regulation, stipulates that East Indian immigrants had to have travelled directly to Canada from India. However, there were no shipping lines operating between the two countries at the time.
1914
May 23, Komagata Maru arrives in Vancouver harbour with 376 passengers (340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus) to challenge the extant exclusionist laws.
1914
23 July, Komagata Maru departs with 352 of its passengers still onboard.
1914
29 September, Komagata Maru reaches Indian shores at Budge Budge near Calcutta. 20 passengers die in the ensuing riots.
1919
Canadian Immigration regulations loosened slightly to allow some Indian family reunification.
1947
Canadian Citizenship Act opens the gates for immigration from the Indian subcontinent.
1989
75th Komagata Maru anniversary plaque placed at Vancouver’s Portal Park.
2004
Vancouver City Hall declares 23 May as Komagata Maru Day.
2009
Filmmaker Deepa Mehta (Director: Water, Earth and Fire) announces plans for a Canadian film based on the Komagata Maru events. Related issues of federal apology, financial compensation to descendants and anniversary commemorations keep the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 alive in the press.
2010
Canadian federal government announces plans for a permanent memorial at the Komagata Maru site in the Burrard Inlet.

‘Chanting Denied Shores’ is published by Calgary’s Bayeux Arts in November 2010.
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