Gurmukhi edition of Fauzia Rafique’s new novel ‘KEERRU’ now available

B&W photo by Danyal Rasheed, inset painting by Shahid Mirza
cover design by Mariam Zohra d.

From the Author of Skeena- a ‘little big’ book

ebook
ISBN 9780463342541

Available Everywhere
USA & the World: US$4.50
Canada: CA$4.50
India: INR101.00
Pakistan: PKR101.00

Instant Downloads
smashwords.com/books/view/1012167

‘The story of broken families, lovers, immigrants.
Five people come together in Surrey BC to
form powerful connections with each other, and
to tell a story that has rarely been told.’

Purple Poppy Press 2020, Vancouver, Canada

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Shahmukhi edition
Paperback
ISBN 978-969-593-315-2
PKR300.00
Sanjh Publications 2019, Lahore Pakistan
sanjhpk@yahoo.com
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Gurmukhi edition of novel ‘Skeena’ now available in India and Canada

Sangam Publications, Patiala 2019

Novel ‘Skeena’ by Fauzia Rafique has been published in Gurmukhi by Sangam Publications in Patiala, India, and it is now available at India Bookworld in Surrey’s Payal Centre. Script conversion from Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi has been performed by Harbans Singh Dhiman.

ISBN 978-93-5231-317-4
India Bookworld, $15
604-593-5967
info@indiabookworld.ca
Sangam Publications, India
sangam541@gmail.com
01764-501934

Punjabi novel ‘Skeena’ was first published in Shahmukhi by Sanjh Publications in 2007 in Lahore, where to date, it is Pakistan’s most sold Punjabi novel. Its English edition and a limited Gurmukhi edition came out in 2011 with Libros Libertad in White Rock. The Shahmukhi to Gurmukhi conversion and editing was done by poet/author/translator Surjeet Kalsey in consultation with Fauzia Rafique. The novel has also been recognized as one of the ‘100 Must Read Books by Punjabi Authors’ in ‘Legacies of the Homeland’ (Notion Press, Chennai 2018).

Visit Skeena web page
novelskeena.wordpress.com
Read reviews on ‘Skeena’
novelskeena.wordpress.com/reviews

Uddari Weblog operates on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
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No Ordinary Sufi

shah hussain

“If you want your life, die before your death” (Shah Hussain).

This is my summary of Fauzia Rafique’s presentation on the life and poetry of Shah Hussain. The presentation was part of the Dead Poets Reading Series which took place at the Vancouver Public Library (Central) on May 6, 2018.

Shah Hussain (1538-1599) was a Punjabi poet from Lahore. He wrote 163 poems in Punjabi and introduced the kafi genre into the language.[1] His collected works remain among the top selling books of all time in Punjabi.

When he was thirty-six years old, Shah Hussain had a dispute with his religious teacher over the interpretation of the following verse:

“duniya khel tamasha hai” (‘the world’s a play and spectacle’).”

For the teacher, the verse meant the renunciation of the fleeting material world. For Shah Hussain, it meant that life is to be enjoyed. With that, he laughed, donned himself in a red cotton robe and became a dancing mendicant in the streets of Lahore.

Shah Hussain was a “malamti” Sufi, one who took pride in the “malamat” or “shaming” he was subjected to. He stood against the the political and religious establishment in support the common people. He identified himself with the julaha (weaver), the chuhra (sweeper) and the faqir. He associated with rebels like Dulla Bhatti who stirred peasant rebellions against the Emperor Akbar. His poetry reflected the folk rhythms and idiom of everyday Punjabi.

Shah Hussain was a rebel in another way. Unlike the male poets of his day who used the feminine voice (rekhti) to express the “feminine” emotions of grief and anguish, Shah Hussain wrote in the feminine voice to acknowledge and express his own self as a gay man.

If Shah Hussain’s love was transcendent, it was in the earthly sense of overcoming distinctions of class, gender, creed and sexual orientation. He belonged to no sect or lineage other than humanity’s.

Kafi 131

Swaying in ecstasy play on in the inner yard, all is near to those meditating
Rivers flow in this yard, thousands of millions of boats
Some are seen drowning, others have reached the shore
This yard has nine doors, the tenth is locked shut
No one needs to know, from where my lover comes and goes
This yard has a pretty curve, a hollow in the curve
I spread my bed in the hollow to love my lover at night!
A wild elephant in this yard, is struggling with the chain
Says Hussain the Beggar of His Beloved, (the elephant) is teasing the awake

(Trans. Fauzia Rafique)

Jhume jhum khaid lai munjh vehRay, japdeyaN nooN hur naiRay
Vehray de vich nadiyaN vagan, baiRay lakh hazar
kaiti iss vich Dubdi vekhi, kaiti langhi paar
iss vehRay de nauN darvazay, dusswaiN qulf chuRhai
tiss darvazay de mehram nahiN, jit shauh aaway jai
vehRay de vich aala soohay, aalay de vich taaqi
taaqi de vich sej vichaawaN, apnay pia sung raati
iss vehRay vich makna haathi, sangal naal khahaiRay
kahe Hussain Faqir SaeeN da, jagdeyaN kooN chehRay

 

 

[1] A kafi is a lyric poem of four to ten lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinkfest Promotes ‘gutter literature’ in Punjabi

Thinkfest 2018 chose to promote a sub-standard work on the life of Punjabi author, radio artist and arts activist Nasreen Anjum Bhatti. There was an intense demonstration of solidarity with the late author by people who were there to protest against this choice.

Nasreen Anjum Bhatti reads from her first collection of poetry ‘Neel Karayaan Neelkan’.

The aware Punjabi writers and artists have described the story as ‘yellow journalism’, ‘tabloid literature’, and, of course, ‘gutter literature’.

The text proceeds to carry out ‘character assassination of progressive Punjabi writers such as Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, Shaista Habib, Zubair Rana and Fauzia Rafique’, and it does so in a misogynistic, homophobic and degrading manner. The story is penned by Nain Sukh aka Khalid Mahmood in his book called ‘ayi buray de wa’. The so-called story is a collection of inaccuracies where there are as much as FIVE factual mistakes in FOUR lines of text- about one of the writers attacked who, incidentally, is still alive to point them out.

Uddari fully supports Naeem Sadhu, Lahore’s Feminist Collective, and other individuals and organizations that are getting together to stop this attempt to legitimize yellow journalism as literature, and to resist this onslaught of conservative patriarchal mindset that demeans and degrades women, lesbians, gay men and religious minorities.

Down with the erstwhile ‘friends’ who are promoting and supporting this abusive and filthy text, and who are insisting that it should be accepted as Punjabi literature.

Fauzia Rafique
https://gandholi.wordpress.com/
frafique@gmail.com

Also view
‘Nasreen Anjum Bhatti Ke Leeye – For Nasreen Anjum Bhatti’ a poem by Amna Buttar
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‘Tellers of Short Tales’ – Fauzia Rafique with Nasreen Pejvack – Feb 16 New Westminster

tellersofshorttales

RCLAS presents
Tellers of Short Tales
Featured Author Fauzia Rafique
Open Mic.
Host Nasreen Pejvack

Thursday, February 16
18:00–20:00
Anvil Centre
777 Columbia Street
New Westminster

Fauzia Zohra Rafique writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction. She has published two novels: ‘The Adventures of SahebaN: Biography of a Relentless Warrior’ (Libros Libertad, Nov 2016) and ‘Skeena’ (Libros Libertad 2011); an ebook of poems ‘Holier Than Life’ (Purple Poppy Press 2013), a chapbook of English and Punjabi poems ‘Passion Fruit/Tahnget Phal’ (Uddari Books 2011), and an anthology of writings of women of South Asian origin, ‘Aurat Durbar: The Court of Women’ (Toronto 1995). In Pakistan, Fauzia worked as a journalist and screenwriter. She is the coordinator of Surrey Muse, an art and literature presentation group. At Tellers of Short Tales, Fauzia will present short fiction from her published work. More is here:
gandholi.wordpress.com

Royal City Literary Arts Society (RCLAS)
A New Westminster arts organization offers Tellers of Short Tales, a program of monthly readings designed to engage fans of the short story genre with emerging and published short story writers. Also, an open microphone will be available for writers who would like to share their stories. The program is free for fans.

Facebook Event Page
facebook.com/events/1404442066242062

Organized by
Royal City Literary Arts Society (RCLAS)

Contact Nasreen Pejvack:
nasreenpejvack@rclas.com
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‘Bits and Pieces: Edge City as Space of Exile and Refuge’ by Fauzia Rafique

Sound Thinking 2015 Symposium
Sponsored by Geist magazine and Surrey Libraries
Presented by Surrey Art Gallery, SFU English, South of Fraser Inter-Arts Collective (SOFIA/c)

Most of ‘Bits and Pieces’ was presented on the second day of Sound Thinking 2015 Symposium ‘Voicing the City In/verse: Reading Surrey and the Super Suburb’. The event was organized by a team of amazing volunteers and staff, and it was beautifully convened by Phinder Dulai (SOFIA/c) and Jordan Strom (Surrey Art Gallery). The first panel ‘Edge City as Space of Exile and Refuge’ had myself, Cecily Nicholson, Joseph A. Dandurand and Heidi Greco. The second panel ‘Kinetic City /City in Motion’ had Sadhu Binning, Taryn Hubbard, Kevin Spenst and Tom Konyves.

The second day began with the Traditional Kwantlen Welcome and Drum Song offered by Kwantlen Nation Elder Kevin Kelly with Michael Gabriel and Joseph A. Dundrand. After, M.G. Vassanji gave an insightful keynote on the marginalization of spaces, artists and art. It was great to have Vassanji and Noorjehan visit from Toronto where the two have been working for the last thirty or so years to develop literary communities through organizing, writing, editing (Toronto South Asian Review) and publishing (TSAR Publications). At the symposium, Vassanji provided us with a larger framework for the subject, and with the depth that had been created, it was easy for me to bring it right back to Surrey.

Bits and Pieces

Writing and reading Surrey is challenging because Surrey in Vancouver Lower Mainland is somewhat like Muslims in North America, we have to begin by saying what we aren’t and what it isn’t. So, yes, Surrey is not boonies, not rife with violent Punjabi gangs, not a hotbed of crime, no, it’s not in the third world. It’s right here on the south bank of Fraser River, the city of parks, of future, of the desis; the city of prosperity and abundance, of poverty and violence; it’s an edge city of exile and refuge. Sounds like any of all cities to me, and yet so unique. In the next twelve minutes, i’ll present a few bits and pieces that i have carefully collected to contribute to this discussion.

The first item is a paragraph from the fourth and the last section of my novel Skeena that takes place in Surrey where Skeena, a 37-year old Pakistani Punjabi Canadian woman, arrives after having lived the last thirty years in Toronto, Lahore, and a Punjabi village.

‘This building is sitting on a ravine on one side, and Scott Road on the other. Brenda came for a visit last year, and she asked me why I bought a condo here when better residential areas were also available in Surrey. I could not find an answer for her then. Now, as I look at the ravine, it appears to be a cluster of trees in my village, and away from my view, there also is the continuous hum of a busy Ferozepur Road in Lahore.’

Skeena, Libros Libertad 2011
novelskeens.wordpress.com

Next we have excerpts from a blog post on hijab, titled ‘Purdah Manifestations’, a contemplation on different forms of purdah and how it’s implemented in different places by different social segments of Pakistani Muslims, it touches my experiences in about six different cities in Pakistan before getting to Surrey.

‘In 2004, i saw a bearded male lead a burqa-clad and hijab-thrown woman at 72nd and 124th in Surrey British Columbia. For some reason, i got transfixed on the couple, and stood watching them till they walked out of my sight. First i tried to be the man to figure out why he would want his wife to be in hijab in a country where most women were showing their faces. What does he think is unique about the face and body of his wife that they must be so hidden. Then i tried to be the woman to see why i would accept an existence where when walking i can barely see the two-and-a-half-feet long road that culminates at the heels of my husband. My imagination was injured by imagining both roles…’

‘In 2009, burqa/hijab/purdah hit the Western news stands with intensity because of the controversy generated by the legislated ‘ab-use’ of it by the French government.’

‘Most recently, and as late as this last winter, i was confronted by a black member of the Muslim brotherhood at Scott Road Station in line for a bus to Newton Exchange. In love with his own voice, the Preacher went on and on about the absolute necessity for women to observe purdah and the unforgiveability of not observing it. As an illustration of his preferences, and of an exemplary state of a Muslim woman, he pointed out to me a burqa-wearing woman who was also in the same line. The ‘discussion’ became an argument; the woman in burqa did not participate…’

‘Last month, i spotted a woman in burqa at Broadway skytrain station who later chose to sit beside me while coming to Surrey. She caught my eye because though in burqa, she was standing straight without covering her face. From the fair color of her skin, i assumed she was Iranian or Lebanese. On the skytrain, she made patronizing attempts to converse with me that made me feel suspicious of her intentions. It seemed, she was hoping to convert a chadar-wearing brown woman to stricter disciplines. And then, it came out that she was an Anglo Saxon convert to Islam. I offered her my poetry chapbook that had just come out. She skimmed through it, stopping at ‘My Shariah-Compliant Bra’ and ‘My Drone-Dead Lover’, and then she shut it close producing a sharp noise; ‘I don’t read poetry’, she thrust it back at me. This is one of the rare instances when i was happy to be rejected as a poet. I consider it a compliment to be rejected by an Anglo-Saxon-woman-convert-to-Islam who was using the burqa to gain high moral ground so that she can preach purdah to wayward and ignorant brown Muslim women.’

A blog post on purdah:
Purdah Manifestations

The next item is a song by Mariam Zohra, a founding member and the Creative Director of Surrey Muse. The song is about East Vancouver’s Tent City that came up a few years back as a protest against urban poverty and homelessness. Tent City had activists camp out in a park during the summer. This is an excerpt, and the link to the song is at the end of it.

get your ensemble
oh teacher
wanna talk about
tent city
so,
what are people
doin in Oppenheimer Park?
Teacher
what are people doing
parking tents, tents at the park,

teacher
get up get up
oh
I don’t know you gotta find out for yourself
we can talk about
tent city

Lyrics/Vocals: Mariam Zohra D. Music: Michael Louw. Song Composition: Michael Louw & Mariam Zohra D. 
Tent-City Song

Next is a spoken word item that has become written text now, so i’ll just read it to you.

‘It was a beautiful, warm and golden summer day. I was visiting a home in East Vancouver, and while the host made tea, I stood by the window and enjoyed being part of a quite residential street lined with thick old trees. Narrower than most streets in Surrey, it had a small park on one side and prosperous and old single family homes on the other. As I took in the view, a man appeared from one end of my vision of the road, in the way he walked he seemed to be a part of the street, the trees, of leaves, and the breeze rustling through them. It was as if he was gliding, smiling for sure. Then he passed right in front of me, dancing on tiptoes, twirling something in his other hand. Just watching him was a privilege. Seeing his back, I noticed that he was wearing a white sleeveless tank top, arms full of black, blue and red tattoos, with white cotton shorts over tattooed legs. It was a tall white guy with brown hair. And just then, I heard sirens, shattering the peace on the street with shocking accuracy. A police car came out of nowhere, zoomed past me, and hit hard breaks inches from the guy. By the time, the police car stopped and a cop jumped out, two other police cars were already there blocking the road on the other side, and a couple of cops were making their way toward him from the park.
The next moment, the guy was pinned to the road, and cops were holding him down while another stood ready with a tazer aimed at him. They mauled him, searched him, and then came away. They had ‘recovered’ a long white feather.
‘Sorry, Sir, we received a call from a property owner on the street who thought you were wielding a dangerous weapon, like a long knife ‘with glittering white blade’, they said.’
And then after deliberating among each other, they returned the feather to the guy, and left while the guy stood bewildered amidst shattered shards of a peaceful sunny afternoon.
The white guy was on a rare summer vacation from Newfoundland.’

Unpublished item.
It was presented in readings at Surrey and New Westminster.

Now, we have Jamie Reid’s poem PRAYER that I first heard from Vancouver’s wonderful slam poet RC Weslowski at the September gathering of Surrey Muse, just after Reid moved on. Last night, Heidi Greco was kind enough to lend me the anthology with the poem in it. I’ll just present what occurs most often in the poem, the refrain. As well, not just the refrain but the whole poem is in capitals- a form of protest, shouting or both, i guess.

PRAYER
By Jamie Reid

LET THE SKY ESCAPE
LET THE SKY ESCAPE
LET THE SKY ESCAPE
LET THE SKY ESCAPE AT LEAST
AT LEAST LET THE SKY ESCAPE PLEASE AT LEAST
LET THE SKY ESCAPE

Pages 74-76.
‘Revolving City’, eds. Compton & Saklikar, Anvil Press 2015

So far:
In the first item, the migrant character Skeena sees the new place as a continuity instead of a break, an important distinction. Purdah Manifestations shows how specific issues are faced by each of us in all our different social locations, ‘us’ includes everyone, colored/white migrants and indigenous peoples. The Tent City song points to poverty as integral to the cityscape, an issue that seeks resolutions. In the so-called spoken word item, the white man with a white feather brings out class as an entrenched form of othering, and Jamie Reid’s poem touches the heartache where the city destroys the land and the landscape. And this brings us to our last two items: an image and a slogan.

The image is of a new city park in Seattle.

fromthehungsrsiteFrom the Hungersite.

Seattle’s new city park reminds us of Havana where in the decade after the sanctions were placed on Cuba the average Cuban adult lost 20 lbs. But by the end of that same decade…

The average Cuban was getting ‘2600 calories and more than 68 grams of protein, an amount considered “sufficient” by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. By 2006 average caloric intake was up to 3356 calories. A lot of this food was produced not in the countryside (requiring transport to the cities) but in urban gardens, where food was grown and consumed in the same neighborhood. By 2002, 35,000 acres of urban gardens produced 3.4 million tons of food. In Havana, 90% of the city’s fresh produce came from local urban farms and gardens, all organic. In 2003, more than 200,000 Cubans were employed in urban agriculture. In 2003, Cuba had reduced its use of Diesel fuel by more than 50%, synthetic fertilizers by 90%, and chemical insecticides by 83%.’

Surrey, the City of Parks and of Future, is best-placed to turn some of its manicured parkland to nutritious food forests in anticipation of a delightful urban future.
the-worlds-most-sustainable-country-what-cuba

And now, the slogan. We have about three renditions of it, and i think we’ll be able to choose one easily.
The first:
A Tree For A Tree
The second:
A Tree For Every Tree
And the third:
A Tree For Every Profit-Damned Earth-Loving Brown Ass Tree

All in favor of the third one, raise hands.
On second thoughts, in the interest of brevity and simplicity, we better choose the first.

To view the context of slogans, check this poem presented the previous night at the Literary Cabaret.
‘Good news…’

Thank you, it was a great pleasure to be with you today and to participate in this 2-day event.
Fauzia
frafique@gmail.com
gandholi.wordpress.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
..

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
..

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
..

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
..

Inspired by
PEN American Centre‘s Facebook post ‘Giving Thanks for Books’
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Uddari has a New email Address

In the last week of July, we got locked out of ‘uddari@live.ca’ because of an ongoing tug of war between us and Microsoft Outlook where the program wants to be used but we don’t want to get into it.

We are happy to report that at long last, we have accepted defeat by surrendering our lovely address to its internet fate. Ah, uddari@live.ca! (But no worries. You Are Us, We Are You.)

Meanwhile, here’s the new one:
uddariblog@gmail.com

We are replacing the old address from our pages and posts but you may still find it somewhere. If you do, please let us know so that we can update it.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thank you for supporting Uddari.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com

Translations of Classical Chinese Poetry into Punjabi

Image

Poems of Chinese poet, Li Bai (701-762). Translated by Randeep Purewall, edited by Fauzia Rafique.

日     照     香     爐     生     紫     煙

遙     看     瀑     布     掛     前     川

飛     流     直     下     三     千     尺

疑     是     銀     河     落     九     天

Xiang Lū* te dhūp channan dhund udānda ae

Dūron maiñ vekhiya ek ābshār

uDdā vagdā dhenda tīn hazār foott thalle

Jivaiñ tāriān de rāh arsh toñ digdī ae

The mist rises from sunlit Xiang Lu

From afar, I see a waterfall

Flying, flowing plunging three thousand feet

Like the milkway falling from heaven

問     余     何     意     棲     碧     山

笑     而     不     答     心     自     閒

桃     花     流     水     杳     然     去

別     有     天     地     非     人     間

Lok pūchde maiñ sāvī choTi te kyoñ rehnāñ

Muskdā maiñ chup apne dil de sukūn’ch

Aarū de phūl pānī te tarde jānde

Fāniāñ de is jahāñ toñ agge kisse haur jahāñ’ch

They ask me why I live on Green Mountain

Smiling, I stay quiet, my heart at peace

Peach blossoms float along the water’s surface

To another world beyond that of mortals

床     前     明     月     光

疑     是     地     上     霜

举     头     望     明     月

低     头     思     故     乡

Mere bistre de samne chamkde chan de lo

Farsh de paindi lagge jivaiñ korā

Sar chañdeyañ maiñ chan taknāñ

Sar niwañdeyañ apna ghar yaad karnāñ

Before my bed the bright moon shines

So that it seems like frost on the ground

Raising my head, I gaze at the moon

Lowering my head, I think of my home

* Xiang Lū: the name of a mountain in southern central China

Fauzia Rafique declines Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

‘It is a great pleasure for me to be recognized for my literary and community development work, and i am grateful to everyone, most especially National Democratic Party MP Jinny Sims, for this wonderful support. Thank you.

Diamond-Jubilee-Medal-hr-1

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(A new commemorative medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.)*

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‘At this time, it’s hard to rejoice in the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations when the protesting Indigenous Peoples of Canada continue to face indifference on the issues related to land, sustainability and the environment.

‘I must decline this medal to protest the delay afforded by the Monarchy and the Canadian government in attending to the concerns of Canada’s Indigenous communities. My focus is the first of the 13 points presented in January 2013 by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence at the end of her six-week hunger strike. The one point that is central to the rest:

“An immediate meeting between the Crown, the federal and provincial governments, and all First Nations to discuss treaty and non-treaty-related relationships.” (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/01/23/attawapiskat-spence-hunger-strike.html.)

‘My friend Author/Journalist Gurpreet Singh is ahead of me. View his statement here:
https://uddari.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/gurpreet-singh-refuses-queen-elizabeth-ii-diamond-jubilee-medal-by-charlie-smith/

(Medal description: The obverse depicts a crowned image of the Sovereign, in whose name the medal is bestowed. The reverse marks the sixtieth, or diamond, anniversary of the accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The anniversary is expressed by the central diamond shape, by the background composed of a pattern of diamonds, and by the two dates. The Royal Cypher consists of the Royal Crown above the letters EIIR (i.e., Elizabeth II Regina, the latter word meaning Queen in Latin). The maple leaves refer to Canada, while the motto VIVAT REGINA means “Long live The Queen!”)
* http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14019&lan=eng

‘In terms of ornaments, i’ll stick with this one for now.

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‘This handmade trinket is based on an age-old design that uses recycled metal, natural colors and wax. It was bought in 2007 for Rupees 15 from a street vendor outside the court/shrine of Gay Punjabi Sufi Poet Bulleh Shah (1680–1757) in Kasur, Pakistan. Through his poems and his life, Bulleh Shah stood firm against religious bigotry and Mughal monarchy as he fought for social justice in the Punjab.’

Fauzia Rafique
February 5, 2013

In recognition of her writings and community work Fauzia was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in January 2013.

Contact Fauzia
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/fauzia.zohra.rafique
@RafiqueFauzia

uddari@live.ca
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uddari-Weblog/333586816691660
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Fauzia Rafique gets Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

Uddari’s Fauzia Rafique has been awarded a medal for outstanding services to the community. The awards are given by Jinny Sims, an MPA of the National Democratic Party (NDP), as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth 11.

A presentation ceremony will be held at 1:00 on February 10th, 2013 at the All India Banquet Hall at 201-13030 76 Ave, Surrey. 

The ceremony will begin at 1:30 and last for approximately one hour.

More information about this medal:
http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14019&lan=eng

Contact Jinny Sims
(MP, Newton-North Delta)
p: 604 598-2200
f: 604 598-2212
113-8532 Scott Rd., Surrey, BC, V3W 3N5

Contact Fauzia
frafique@gmail.com
gandholi.wordpress.com
@RafiqueFauzia
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Satrangi Sangat – Classic & Modern Panjabi Poetry Readings – London UK – July 6/12

The exciting (re)launch of Panjabi Sangat, a reading and sharing group of Classic and Modern Panjabi Literature
Satrangi Sangat – The London Panjabi Literature Group
Launch and welcoming event
6-9pm on Friday 6th July
In the teaching room of Jas Musicals
14 Chiltern Street London W1U 7PY
(5mins from Baker St and 10 mins from Bond St Underground)

In this first session we’re are planning to explore texts by:
Baba Faridji, classic poetry of the originator of the written Panjabi Sufi cannon
Surjit Pattar, contemporary poet, recipient of Padamshree Award, the finest contemporary Panjabi Poet in India today
Fauzia Rafique, modern verse by radical Canadian based Poet, novelist and blogger (Uddari Weblog)
Shiv Kumar Batalvi, iconic Panjabi poet of the 20thC, work presented by Raja Junjua

Developing the traditional format
The London Sangat will explore and share Modern Panjabi Writing- indeed from a now global community and, equally, create innovative opportunities for people to improve their heard and spoken Panajbi. Eventually, we’d also like to encourage co-facilitation from you, to create a truly collective forum.

We envisage the initial session to be an exploratory one- many new members are attending and we’d like to share and discuss with you the form that this Sangat hopes to take.

The London Sangat will of course, include the traditional process of reading, singing (as appropriate(!)) and discussing text collectively, but we also intend to avail modern technology i.e. the Internet- to explore the increasing range of both Classic: Sufi, Guru, Bhagat Bani – and Modern Panjabi literature that is now becoming available in diverse written, and spoken form to us.

We’ll be serving refreshments and snacks: give you a chance to meet each other, and then spend some time leading you through a Sangat, and also telling you more about it’s sister event- the SATRANGI DARBAR.

Background
The Satrangi Sangat used to take place annually in Southall, and was generally presided over by Professer Saeed Firanni of Rawalpindi University, West Panjab.
Some of you have editions of his groundbreaking series: Panjabi Sufi Wisdom, which presents classic texts of the Sufi Masters of Panjabi in accessible, multi-lingual texts with translation.

I’m now delighted to inform you that our long term intention- to establish the Sangat in Central London and so create a London wide accessibility- has now been realised as Jas Musicals have kindly let us use their London premises(nr Baker St) for monthly gatherings.

We hope that you’ll agree that as an important, collective (Sanjhi) venture, your contribution, and feedback is essential to us and to the Sangat’s continued success -so I really hope to see you there!

We’d be delighted for you to join us at this very special gathering.

Parminder Chadha
Raja Junjua

Email: pammykamli@gmail.com
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Facebook’s Lifted Ban on the poem ‘Pakistan’s Mock Oscar’

Yesterday, Facebook blocked an Uddari post containing my poem ‘Pakistan’s Mock Oscar’ on basis of it being ‘spammy’ or ‘unsafe’. View the details here: https://uddari.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/facebook-blocks-fauzia-rafiques-poem-pakistans-mock-oscar/

I am grateful to Uddari readers, my peers in the writing community, and Facebook friends for responding to my ‘urgent’ message by checking out the links from different places, searching the poem on the Net, sending messages of support, and sharing ideas on what to do next. In particular, my warmest regards to Qayyum Khosa, Khalid Toor, Sarwar Sukhera, Shahid Mirza, Janet Kvammen, Ihsan Ul haq, Kadri Pereira, Chaman Lal, Surjeet Kalsey, S. K. Alam, Valerie B.-Taylor, Hasan N. Gardezi, Rajesh Sharma, and Cesar Love for rapid responses and for staying with it.

As this activity was taking place, and you can view a part of it on my timeline at Facebook, the block on the poem was lifted. Link to my timeline:
http://www.facebook.com/fauzia.zohra.rafique

The block may have lasted a couple of hours but it has left us with a few important questions. Like most questions, these are about How and Why if not Who, Where and When. How did it come about that this particular poem was blocked in the first place? Are there certain words that Facebook filters catch onto, and if so, what are those? And then, why this particular poem raised some alarm and faced a block when many other poems have not raised/faced any?

So, let’s look at the possible keywords that could have caused some concern. It can’t be ‘pakistan’, ‘mock’ or ‘oscar’ because we are not where it can matter to anyone. Sure isn’t the ‘vegetarian menu’ or the ‘lush green/ forest’. ‘US-NATO’, ‘Daisy-Cutter’, ‘BLU-82, 1500lb.’, ‘(ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, polystyrene) bomb’ may be. Or may be it’s ‘extreme violence,/disfigurements, deaths, causing irreparable damage/to body and spirit,’.

Second guessing the keywords is one thing, but the first thought is that it was a robot or a software filter that flagged it, but if so, why did it not flag it on June 5 when it was published at Uddari and shared at Facebook. Why did the filter flag/block it on June 7?

Valerie B.-Taylor, the president of New West Writers who came searching to Uddari to read the poem, said to me on the phone, ‘The poem has nothing pornographic, graphic, racist, sexist or homophobic, and it does not incite hatred or violence. There is no reason for anyone to block it.’ She also said another important thing: ‘By blocking you, they are blocking me because i can’t share the poem either.’ As Khalid toor concludes it, ‘Believe that no one can stop the voice of Truthfulness’.

More likely, some ‘humans’ did not like the content of the poem as opposed to the robots not liking some keywords in it.

We better be ready.

Fauzia Rafique
uddari@live.ca
http://gandholi.wordpress.com/
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Used copies of ‘Skeena’ selling for $307.53 at Amazon

A Facebook user Andrew John Gie, clicked over to Amazon to buy Fauzia Rafique’s novel ‘Skeena’ when he noticed that the price of a new copy is $20 yet two used copies are being offered at $307.53 each.

Fauzia’s response:
‘Hilarious. But also, after reading Skeena no one would want to really sell it.’

Thank you, Andrew. Yes indeed, it is being sold at $307.53 plus $3.99 shipping. The sellers are two businesses based in two different US states.

And here is the link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1926763122/ref=sr_1_1_up_1_main_olp?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335675797&sr=1-1&condition=used

New still at $20:
http://www.libroslibertad.ca/book.php?id=42

http://novelskeena.wordpress.com/reviews
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‘Waiting’ Uddeekan by Fauzia Rafique – Punjabi rendition Afzal Saahir

English Poem – Punjabi Translation

Waiting
Fauzia Rafique

Waiting
days afternoon nights
to be alone
to mourn
that the cactuses*
are growing
within my heart

they may bloom
the desert, sprinkle
sparks of colour atop
sifting slabs of sand

my heart
a suitable soil
to make the plants
happy

*cacti
From ‘Passion Fruit/Tahnget Phal’ (Uddari Books, 2011).

Now published in

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Buy it here
Gumroad
Amazon
Smashwords

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More
Holier Than Life
Fauzia’s Web Page
facebook.com/fauzia.zohra.rafique
@RafiqueFauzia
Update: June 2013
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Uddeekan
Punjabi rendition of Fauzia Rafique’s ‘Waiting’
Afzal Saahir

Aklaapay de sik handdawan
aThay pehr uddeekan mainun
dil vich ugiyan thhoran utay
keekan wain kran

man rohi vich thhor khhirran de
rut aa pujji
raitarr utay rangan de
chingyarri chattay wajjay

thhoran noon khush rakhhan keetay
mere dil toon changi mitti
hor na honi

March 2, 2012
Surrey, BC

‘Passion Fruit/Tahnget Phal’ by Fauzia Rafique
A chapbook of English and Punjabi poems. Uddari Books 2011. 42 original poems, Punjabi in Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi scripts, 104 pages, $15.
To order, send an email: uddari@live.ca.
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