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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The power of poetry runs as deep as the roots of its societal moorings: Jawed Naqvi.

If Pakistan is a den of Muslim terrorists, as they would like us to believe, why do Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a true blue Marxist poet or Habib Jalib, a militant variant of Majaaz, continue to be such icons there? Dagh Dehlvi’s ghazal, made popular in the four corners of India and Pakistan and beyond by the late Iqbal Bano’s mesmeric voice, admonishes the muezzin for his inopportune intervention thus:

Di muezzin ne shab-i-wasl azaan pichhli raat
Hai kambakht ko kis waqt khuda yaad aaya!

Ghalib of course was a self-declared heretic — only half-Muslim, as he once confessed. As he witnessed savage turmoil in 19th century India, not unlike the one being experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan today, Ghalib’s inspiration to celebrate the Brahmins must have come from the role played by Maharashtra’s Peshwas and assorted freedom fighters like Mangal Pandey against British colonialism:

Wafadari ba shart-i-ustawari asl-i-imaa’n hai
Marey butkhaney mein to Kaabe mein gaarho Barahman ko.

By blanking out Urdu from mainstream discourse, the Indian state has sought to delete an entire genre of liberal culture represented by Ghalib, Mir and Majaaz from public discourse, not to speak of Hafez or Rumi who are at least worshipped in Iran. The media completes the smear campaign. No wonder the only private Urdu channel in India is then harnessed to propagate the teachings of the narrow-minded mullah, which passes for Muslim culture. Typically, the rightwing of all religions like to see the wimples, ignorant of the curlers underneath.


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