Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are you ready to fight back, Sherry Rehman?

If you are a feminist—and you don’t need to be a woman to be a feminist—and you have not felt enraged in a while, do view this video for an opportunity to cry.
Here is a young, energetic woman who has a dream for a just and democratic society for her country; she is sacrificing a lot to see her dreams come true. In a conservative country where many women simply stay at home, this young woman named Sherry Rehman is coming out on the street, raising slogans, wanting a change. And how does she get rewarded for her sacrifices? By being sexually assaulted!
Can someone identify this animal walking besides Sherry Rehman? He is presumably a colleague of hers, but still a beast, a sexual predator for whom Sherry Rehman is not a human being worthy of respect, but merely an object of sex that this animal is ready to exploit whenever he would get a chance to do so.
After watching this video my first reaction was to not mention it to anyone, but I quickly realized what such reticence really meant. Ugly assaults like these keep happening with regularity in Pakistan because we keep silent about them. We pretend as if children don't get molested in the Pakistani society, that young girls and grownup women are not groped, fondled, and sexually battered left and right in our society. Enough of this animal behavior! It is time to break the silence--we owe it to all women in our society because they have every right to live with dignity, without the fear of sexual assault. What Mukhtaran Mai has done to address the issue of rape, Sherry Rehman should do to address the issue of sexual harassment of women in Pakistan. Are you ready to fight, Sherry?

See Urdu version of this post here:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Amazing poetry!
And what an amazing history behind the song!
Not sure how Habib Wali Mohammad discovered this gem in Jalalvi’s poetry, but it is HWM’s musical genius that gave this ghazal the unique composition that made the song an instantaneous hit. And the saturnine music should not be listened to only in HWM’s voice and the harmonium, enjoy sarangi, tabla, and sitar too—in fact the song starts with the sarangi overture that sets the mood of the lyrics to come.
Back in the '80s the message of this ghazal was discovered by MQM and the song became MQM’s unofficial official song. Though later what MQM did to other ethnic groups in Karachi, it should be those victims who should be singing ‘kab mera nasheman ahl e chaman.’
This-he cannot find important information about Ustad Qamar Jalalwi. [Some information in Urdu is available here:
but it would be nice to get it from a credible source.]
Can someone kindly answer a few basic questions (citing credible sources)?
1. Was Ustad Qamar Jalalwi indeed born in the town of Jalali (near Aligarh)? What year?
2. When did he move to Pakistan?
3. Where did he live in Karachi?
4. Who were his intellectual friends?
5. Is it true that Ustad Qamar Jalalwi was not called Ustad because people accepted him as a master Urdu poet; that he was called 'Ustad' because, purportedly, he used to work at a bicycle shop and fixed 'punctures'?
6. How and when did he die?
[Back in 1994, in Karachi, I sought some office help from a young man called Rahbar Jalawi—he claimed to be Qamar Jalalwi’s grandson. At that time I had too many things on my mind and did not get to quiz Rahbar on Qamar Jalawi’s life. A golden opportunity lost!]