Thursday, September 23, 2010


This posts is more like an extension of the previous post, exploring the genre of music. It can have many names for the style of music - folk, fusion and so on, but in essence it belongs to the Jugni style of narrative. Jugni literally means a female firefly, the male being the more commonly known Jugnu. These songs generally cover the journey of a Jugni who visits different places and makes different observations, some of these are political, some funny, some satrical, sometimes even with sexual connotations.

The style developed in the region of Punjab, now partly in India and partly in Pakistan. The style continued its popularity in Pakistan with artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Arif Lohar and his father Alam Lohar, often using the Jugni methaphor in their songs. The credit for the revival of the Jugni songs in the mainstream popular music scene in India goes to Rabbi, who sang a very hard-hitting Jugni song in his very first album.

The form is very expressive, but the often used Khadi Punjabi makes it sometimes difficult to understand. The form remains popular still, amongst the Punjabis as well as the non-Punjabis, Hindus as well as the Muslims.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I almost died, but was saved by the phone call!

I am not convinced that I shall not die today, at least not so early. As per Muzayun, I will die earlier than her. But then she is likely to live for many many years. The oil from the Kashmiri walnuts apparently ensure a long life, plus the years of all the animals that you eat also get added to your life. But, of course, if you live in Kashmir things change. Bullets often negate any positive impact of the local walnuts, something seen repeatedly in the past three months.

Coming back to my original conviction of dying today, well, it was based on some solid foundation. I had body ache and I missed both the major meals today. Plus I slept like a log in the evening, completely unconvinced that I shall wake up ever again. Or maybe I was dreaming of that. My phone spoiled my fantastic imagination, which in itself was a very vivid visualization of my own death. It was heartbreaking and even I was moved by it.

I found it cruel to be told on the phone that I won't be dying today, what about all the tears that I shed for my death? It was also suggested that I should postpone it to a later date when it's more convenient for my near and dear ones to come and talk about my apparent greatness, perhaps a weekend towards the end of this month. Isn't is preposterous to insist that a dying man die at a later date? I was highly offended and sulked for a while.

But eventually I did agree to the weird demand, and so I am not dying tonight. The dying symptoms continue, but death has been sent to the gallows, at least for now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Coke Studio. Chambe di Buti. Exceptional Music.

Cannot resist putting this on my blog! Something exceptional and not to be missed!

This is presented by Coke Studio, a Pakistan based television series. The program focuses on a fusion of the diverse musical influences in Pakistan, including eastern classical, folk, and contemporary popular music.

Within this dynamic musical environment, Coke Studio has emerged as a musical fusion platform of exciting elements and influences, ranging from traditional eastern, modern western and regionally inspired music coming together to form a distinctive Pakistani sound.

Another sensational discovery here is Meesha Shafi (Meera Rahman). She holds a degree in art from the prestigious National College of Arts and also models. Indeed, her multifaceted personality and versatility add to her image. Shafi is currently the lead vocalist for the percussion-based fusion band Overload, where she is equally at ease setting her powerhouse vocals to Urdu, English and Punjabi poetry and prose.

Not to mention, the song has become a rage in my office as well, especially with Manoj, Vikram and me. We enjoy not just listening to the beautiful music, but also the video. Superb production work by Coke Studio.

Here is another song by here which should not be missed - Chori Chori, Meesha Shafi.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jhulelal/ Zinda-pir/ Damadam Mast Kalandar

This is in continuation of my previous post on the oneness of God. This isn't exactly my forte so am using religious texts, references from all over to compose these posts.

This is about Jhulelal, the reverend Sindhi God from the Sindhu (Indus). His single most important contribution to the Hindus of Sindh was to let them be Hindus under a tyrant Muslim ruler bent upon converting them to Islam. Also known as Uderolal, he was born out of a prophecy by the Water god. Interestingly, in the pre-partition days of Sindh (and often even now), it was not uncommon for Muslims to pay homage to Hindu Gods and vice-versa. Jhulelal was foremost amongst these Gods, he is claimed by both the sects - as God himself by the Hindus and a Pir by the Muslims. The more common name for the Muslims is Zinda Pir.

An exceptionally beautiful example of this is the song 'dama dam mast kalandar'. You never really know if its a tribute to a Hindu God or a Muslim. God becomes one here for everyone. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sang it beautifully, and so did Runa Laila from the then East Pakistan. Here is a version by Abeeda Parveen.

Researching for just these few lines here, made me feel so low about the Sindhi Hindus who were forced to vacate their land in the modern day Pakistan. The exodus was more peaceful than Punjab, but involved a huge displacement of population. I wonder if its the right time to ponder over this, but the man-made boundaries divided people who had learnt to live together in harmony and even believe in the same God. Half the Sindhis are away from what made them Sindhis, Sindh and Sindhu. But life goes on. We survive.

p.s. this post is derived from a various sources, there might be some errors, would love to know about them, if any.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

lâ ilâha illallâh, Muḥammadur rasûlullâh
(There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God)

I am a Hindu and currently in the state of exploring the various facets of this mighty religion, often unsuccessfully. Somehow exploring religion was never a part of my growing-up years. There was never any talk of the Vedas or the Upnishads, or an excessive display of our religiosity. My maternal grandmother would read the Ramayana, but the kids were never a part of it, except for a few interesting stories most of which I do not even remember.

However, generally Muslim households are slightly different. There is a lot of emphasis on reading and memorising of the Koran. The fact that there is only one holy book, of course, helps.

Coming back to the title of the post, its something inspired from a fantastic book I am currently reading, Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia, where there are references to these opening lines of the Holy Koran in reference to a Sindhi pir. The book is a gift from Bhavana Singh and I can not thank her enough for this. The book got me reading on the subject and I couldn't resist writing a bit about it here.

These lines are known as Shahada, and a single honest recitation of the Shahadah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim. This declaration, or statement of faith, is called the Kalima, which literally means "word".

Its fundamental first phrase "Lā 'ilaha 'illā llāh" is the foundation stone of Islam, the belief that “there is no god but Allah”. This is the confession of "Tawhïd" = "oneness".

The second phrase "Muħammadun rasūlu llāh" fulfils the requirement that there should be someone to guide in the name of Allah, which tells "Muhammad is Allah’s Rasūl, Nabi, the Messenger, Apostle". This is acceptance of the "Nabuwat" (prophethood) of Muhammad.

Over the past centuries, these holy words have been represented in various forms. I have included a couple of the more conservative ones here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Modi Brigade

Modi here refers to Mr. Narendra Modi, our esteemed Chief Minister!

This is a suggestion from someone I met a few days back and someone who is visibly worried and agitated with the state of corruption and apathy in Gujarat, especially amongst government officials. The idea calls for the creation of a brigade of upright officials drawn from different spheres of life, and would aptly be called Modi Brigade.

The Brigade would always be on the move, in plain clothes but with a NYPD kind of badge which can be smartly displayed whenever needed. The badge would also make the Brigade very cool and create a sense of fear amongst the fearlessly corrupt. The brigade would carry out a host of activities, not excluding Sting Operations on suspected corrupt officials and non-deadly encounters as and when needed. People would have access to points where they can discreetly pass on information to these officials and then they would take prompt action on them.

The most important factor that will make this Brigade tick would the un-corruptible army of officers and of course its name, drawn from someone who is respectfully feared not just in Gujarat but outside. Their success would also be due to the element of surprise in their attacks/ or encounters. And no one would be above them, except Mr. Modi himself.

Welcome the Brigade. You may not even know, but they may already be there, watching us and looking for just the right moment to attack.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Fly. I believe I can fly. Well, this sounds cliché.

Fly is the phone brand I previously owned. And I enjoyed using it thoroughly, for whatever time we spent together. It's still with me, and every time I look at it, it asks me a BIG why? I believe it asks me the reason for my sudden shift of loyalties to Samsung. I do not have the heart to tell my fly that it had stopped satisfying my needs a while back and hence the replacement. And so I just look at it mournfully, while its questions remain unanswered.

I saw a Fly phone for the first time a long long time back with Muzayun in Bangalore. It was the apple of her eye, while I always thought it was odd. I remember once I tried using to take pictures at the Leela Palace, and the results were less than satisfactory. In fact I couldn't use it at all without a stylus, it wasn't meant for my fat fingers I guess. But there was nothing I liked about the phone, even the color black was not a savior. But somehow Muzayun was absolutely convinced that hers was the best phone (despite the INR 14,000 price tag)! And despite the fact that she was working for Nokia then and her brand loyalties were completely wedged with a sword. It was an absolutely hilarious Nokia Vs Fly tie, we all enjoyed it back then.

I surprised myself when I bought a Fly last year, this was necessary as my happening Motorola couldn't survive the Italy trip. And I flew with the Fly, it was absolutely cheap and worked amazingly well. However, after our short fling, it met with a mini accident and stopped performing well enough. I kept using it for a while still, refusing to give it up though I knew we were not meant for each other anymore. Weirdly the moment I had another opportunity to shift back to a touch phone, I dumped my dear old Fly (I already had a long association with the brand) and shifted loyalties!

Muzayun still lives with her Fly (2008 onwards, if I am not wrong). But the Fly is dying and needs help. My initial thought was to set up a fund in its name, The Dying Mobile Fund for Muzayun's Fly (TDMFMF), but dropped the idea considering the complicated name and un-kararjohar like acronym appeal. The time is now running out fast. My sincere request to all is to contribute directly to this dying phone to keep it alive on life support. Science and Technology are yet to advance to a level where this dear old fly can be given a new lease of life. We can hope for a miracle. Or a replacement.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...