Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Introducing Farzana G Butt, the writer



I have known Farzana G Butt for quite some time.  I don’t remember where I met her the first time but I would guess it was at one of the ‘Halqa e Arbab e Adab’ programs arranged by Annie Akhter—around 1999. The Internet revolution was unfolding and new possibilities had emerged.  We opened an online bookstore, Clickville—it is still functional (http://clickville_bookstore.tripod.com/Bookstore/). Farzana volunteered to help. She answered any queries sent to the bookstore’s email address (booksrourlove at Y).  Farzana Butt did not find running the bookstore a monetarily rewarding enterprise and slowly parted ways.  When Farrukh Shah Khan (of WBT-TV) and I started producing the ‘Aik Fikr, Aik Behes’ TV shows, she helped us in promoting the productions.  Not sure when she left California, but through Facebook found out she was living in Oregon.  We kept in touch with each other via FB.
That Farzana who promoted other people is gone; now there is a new Farzana.  The one has found her passion in writing short stories, on women, especially South Asian women, and especially on their sexual exploitation.  She has sent me a couple of stories she recently wrote and I must admit I am bamboozled!  She has taken the work of South Asian feminist writing from where Ismat Chughtai left it several decades ago. But Farzana is no mere disciple of Chughtai.  In her stories, Farzana is using language Ismat Chughtai could not even imagine to use, in her wildest dreams.  Farzana says she is justified to use this language because this is exactly how South Asian men talk, when they speak about women.
With this kind of ‘controversial’ material Farzana Butt does not have much chance of getting published in India or Pakistan.  How is Farzana planning to reach to her audience?  I do not know.  But reach she should, as this woman has a lot to say, and whatever she is saying is very pertinent.


Saturday, January 07, 2017

COLAP, Tokyo 2017 first day highlights



COLAP, Tokyo 2017 first day highlights
The majority of the delegates had arrived a day earlier, on Friday, January 6.
Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP) Tokyo's first day morning session took place at the Aoyama Aoyama Gakuin University, on the 10th floor of Building number 14.
There was one delegate from Bangladesh (Hasan Tarique Chowdhury), one delegate from Pakistan (Abrar Hasan), three delegates from Philippines (Grace Saguinsin, Edwin Dela Cruz, and Ed Carmona)
two delegates from Vietnam (Le Thin Kim Thanh and Nguyen Van Quyen), and four members from the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (Jun Sasamato, Aisa Kiyosue, and two others).
International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) was represented by Jeanne Mirer (USA) and Roland Weyl (France).
The morning session proceedings started with the introduction of members.

After the lunch break the delegates took a train to Otsuka.
Delegates met other members of the Japanese civil society in an event hall in Otsuka. Several delegates gave presentations before
the dinner.  A sumptuous Japanese dinner was followed by songs and dances that continued till late at night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Keep the name, Saif and Kareena

Keep the name, Saif and Kareena


Thousands of kids in South Asia are named Taimur—not after Taimur (Timur/Tamelane) the emperor who killed hundreds of thousands of people, but after Taimur who once was an underdog.  The Taimur who was once badly defeated in a battle, his close associates were killed in the combat.  Taimur made a narrow escape and took refuge in a cave. He was bleeding, he was humiliated, and he wondered if he should just give up. Then, reclining against the wall of the cave he saw an ant. The ant was carrying a large food particle in its mouth and was trying to climb a wall. The ant went up a little bit, but because of the weight it was carrying it came tumbling down. The food particle rolled out one way and the ant fell the other way. But then the ant got up again, found the food particle, and started its climb again. This time the ant went up slightly higher than the last time. But then the same thing happened again. The ant fell down. Then the ant got up yet again, grabbed the food, and started climbing back up again. The same thing happened this time too: the ant went up a little bit and then fell down. The ant got up again and restarted the work. But this time too it was no different: the ant fell down.  Taimur kept counting: the ant kept trying. The 5th time, the 6th time, the 7th time…the same thing happened 47 times.  But the 48th time the ant was able to climb the wall with the food in its mouth. Watching the ant, Taimur learned a lesson for life. If you have a dream, you either work hard until you see your dream come true, or you fight and die working to see your dream come true--but you NEVER EVER give up. The Taimur who learned this lesson of perseverance from an ant was a beautiful man. And that is the Taimur you have named your son after, Kareena and Saif.  Keep the name!



Monday, December 12, 2016

This one is for Rattan Kumar




When Rattan Kumar appeared as a child actor in the super-hit movie “Boot Polish” he was around 12.  Shortly after, his family moved to Pakistan where he acted in several movies.  For the last several years Rattan (Ratan) Kumar (Nazeer Hussain Rizvi; Nazir Rizvi)  was living in San Jose, with his children.  He died last night, leaving the South Asian film landscape a little less colorful.
[Will post his picture I took over six years ago, at his home in San Jose.]
[We are with the Balochs, but unfortunately Baloch media outlets don't have much credibility--they are known to make up stories.  These outlets have a simple strategy: make up a story and then keep copy pasting it at different web sites, until the story starts getting a life of its own.  In this propaganda warfare the Baloch media outlets are now aided by rightwing Hindu nationalists.  And that's all there is to it. Consider this story about 44 people abducted from the Dasht area. In order to make the story look credible the story-teller even came up with names. But if you try to verify the alleged abductions from a different source, you will NOT find any such verification. Go ahead and call someone in Quetta, or Nushki, or Kharan.  You will not be able to independently verify this story.  Pathetic!We sympathize with the Balochs, but unfortunately Baloch media outlets don't have much credibility--they are known to cook up stories.  These outlets have a simple strategy: make up a story and then keep copy pasting it at different web sites, until the story starts getting a life of its own.  In this propaganda warfare the Baloch media outlets are now aided by rightwing Hindu nationalists.  And that's all there is to it. Consider this story about 44 people abducted from the Dasht area. In order to make the story look credible the story-teller even came up with names. But if you try to verify the alleged abductions from a different source, you will not find any such verification. Go ahead and call someone in Quetta, or Nushki, or Kharan.  You will not be able to independently verify this story.  pathetic!We sympathize with the Balochs, but unfortunately Baloch media outlets don't have much credibility--they are known to cook up stories.  These outlets have a simple strategy: make up a story and then keep copy pasting it at different web sites, until the story starts getting a life of its own.  In this propaganda warfare the Baloch media outlets are now aided by rightwing Hindu nationalists.  And that's all there is to it. Consider this story about 44 people abducted from the Dasht area. In order to make the story look credible the story-teller even came up with names. But if you try to verify the alleged abductions from a different source, you will not find any such verification. Go ahead and call someone in Quetta, or Nushki, or Kharan.  You will not be able to independently verify this story.  pathetic!We sympathize with the Balochs, but unfortunately Baloch media outlets don't have much credibility--they are known to cook up stories.  These outlets have a simple strategy: make up a story and then keep copy pasting it at different web sites, until the story starts getting a life of its own.  In this propaganda warfare the Baloch media outlets are now aided by rightwing Hindu nationalists.  And that's all there is to it. Consider this story about 44 people abducted from the Dasht area. In order to make the story look credible the story-teller even came up with names. But if you try to verify the alleged abductions from a different source, you will not find any such verification. Go ahead and call someone in Quetta, or Nushki, or Kharan.  You will not be able to independently verify this story.  pathetic!We sympathize with the Balochs, but unfortunately Baloch media outlets don't have much credibility--they are known to cook up stories.  These outlets have a simple strategy: make up a story and then keep copy pasting it at different web sites, until the story starts getting a life of its own.  In this propaganda warfare the Baloch media outlets are now aided by rightwing Hindu nationalists.  And that's all there is to it. Consider this story about 44 people abducted from the Dasht area. In order to make the story look credible the story-teller even came up with names. But if you try to verify the alleged abductions from a different source, you will not find any such verification. Go ahead and call someone in Quetta, or Nushki, or Kharan.  You will not be able to independently verify this story.  pathetic!