Saturday, May 21, 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Life today

 The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."

-- Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Stepping away

 I think I have posted this before but it's so powerful, would not mind posting again

Friday, May 06, 2022

Give and Take of Marriage

 Hamare Muhalle main aik sahab apni biwi ko khub pitte the, aur aksar ghar se bahir nikal ke pitte the. Aik din main muhalle pe paan wale ki dukan se apni gold leaf khareed raha tha to aik buzurg ne un sahab se kaha;

"Bhai jawani main biwi pe rahem karo, woh burhape main tum pe rahem kare gi"

Monday, April 25, 2022

An Advice

You may not need to agree, but I heard this at an Iftar party. 

 "In this country, sometimes it is tough to give all the religious values to our children. But if you ask me to pick only one value, I will teach them to say Bismillah (in the name of God) at the start of any meal and shukar-alhamdulliah (thank God) at the end of any meal. I believe this will put a lot of things in line. It is easy to teach from an early age by practicing ourselves and asking them to follow."

Friday, April 22, 2022

Islam and lunar calender

Yesterday someone said this beautiful thing. It may not be all true, but it makes sense. 

"Founders of early Islam purposely chose the lunar calendar for its rites and rituals, giving the message that this is a religion that should be practiced in all seasons. By following the lunar calendar, all events such as Ramadhan, Eid, Haj, and other events fall every year at different times."

Monday, April 18, 2022

Easter and full moon

 Pardon my ignorance but I just learned that:

"Easter is determined as the first Sunday after the first full moon (Paschal Full Moon) after the vernal equinox."

The vernal equinox is the equinox in spring, on about March 20/21 in the northern hemisphere and September 22 in the southern hemisphere. This is when the Sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night are of equal length.

This mystifies me due to my perpetual fascination with full moons. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Books and language

 "Three days without reading books will bring a tint in your conversation by the fourth day." ~ Chinese proverb.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Friday, April 08, 2022

Humans are like the moon

"Humans are like the moon. We all have a dark side that nobody ever sees." ~ Anonymous 

Monday, April 04, 2022


 I think I have posted this poem before on the blog also. It is going around the web now for a few years but it still makes me take a sigh for a moment.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

On unfortunate 'arab-ization' of Urdu

(author unknown - but a few years back someone beautifully described this whole arab-ization of our culture as ' khuda-hafiz ko khuda-hafiz)

It is a struggle to say Aadaab as a form of greeting. I find it hard and somewhat odd as I rarely get an opportunity to use it. One hears Aadaab much too less in the families where it was once a norm. The hand gesture that accompanies Aadaab, unique to the culture of Urdu speaking gentry, is almost extinct. The fact that we don't feel the loss is a bigger tragedy.

Gone are the days when Khuda Hafiz was a norm. We thought in our naivity that Khuda meant God or Allah Mian but were corrected by the pious who ensured Khuda Hafiz is replaced by Allah Hafiz. Akin to a silent movement, without much fanfare and hoopla, Pakistanis quit saying Khuda Hafiz altogether. One hears it rarely now.

Ramzaan was our way of pronouncing the name of the holy month. The same movement taught us that its Ramadan or better still Ramadhaan. Our usual greeting of Ramzaan Mubarak was also replaced by Ramadan Karim. The underlying notion is that anything Arabic is automatically more Muslim and hence obligatory on us to adopt.

The mission to replace commonly used words that sounded more Urdu with their Arabic and hence more pious versions continued with a strong religious fervour. Mubarak, though an Arabic word, seemed too integrated in Urdu and therefore Mabrook was brought in. It sounded more genuinely Arabic. Shukriya was too Urdu, South Asian and perhaps even secular and therefore targeted next. We now hear JazakAllah more than Shukriya which may well be the next word to go on the path of extinction. The more pious use JazakAllah Khairan. I suppose sorry or maaf kijiye ga would be next though I haven't figured what is the Arabic alternative. The norm of asking kya haal hain or aap kese hain may also fall prey to this silent movement of making our language more jannati. Why don't we do away with Urdu altogether and teach the population Arabic on a war-footing basis? What good is Urdu when it sounds less Islami and more Indian?

The movement is not restricted to language alone. When women adorned abayas, some men took to thobe. For some odd reason, thobes didn't find as big a market in Pakistan as abayas. I am certain somewhere the struggle to make them more popular must be going on. In the last few decades however we changed our dressing significantly. Men almost stopped wearing pajamas, specially chooridars replacing them with shalwar. Saaris became infrequent and ghararas were restricted to weddings only. I am surprised we didn't follow Arabs in our wedding traditions except for popularising segregation of sexes at wedding events. Many families discarded the traditions of mehndi and mayun terming them unIslamic. The festivities in many families now start with a dars which is another cultural innovation brought in the society in the aftermath of General Ziaul Haq's Islamization drive. Many urban neighbourhoods now boast of regular dars sessions that have silently but noticeably transformed lifestyles, cultural practices and perspectives in scores of families. Many women actively pursue dars get-togethers to find suitable matches for their daughters.

What triggered these changes and how did they manage to penetrare our culture with an almost zero resistance is a question that needs to be discussed on an intellectual level. Are wannabe Arabs better Muslims than the ones following their local traditions and culture? Is it just us or non-Arab Muslims of Africa and the Far East are also Arabizing their culture? I am also intrigued to know if sticking to our indigenous culture actually threatens our religious affiliation and pose a conflict that needs to be resolved? It didn't, as a matter of fact, in our parents and grandparents generations and the generations before them. What happend then that altered the whole landscape?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

White sheets

 It was years ago, but I still remember when she said:

"There is something magical about making out between white sheets."

Friday, March 18, 2022

Lupus in Fabula -2

"At your highest moment be careful, that's when the devil comes for you."

~ Denzel Washington

Monday, March 14, 2022

Sheikh Saadi Says

 Saadi Shirazi's beautiful couplet

 گِلے خوش بوئے در حمّام روزے
رسید از دستِ مخدومے بہ دستم

ایک دن حمام میں، ایک مہربان کے ہاتھ سے مجھ تک ایک خوشبودار مٹی پہنچی۔

 بدو گفتم کہ مشکی یا عبیری
کہ از بوئے دل آویزِ تو مستم

میں نے اس سے کہا کہ تو مشکی ہے یا عبیری (دونوں اعلیٰ خوشبو کی قسمیں ہیں) کہ تیری دل آویز خوشبو سے  مَیں مست ہوا جاتا ہوں۔

 بگفتا من گِلے ناچیز بُودم
و لیکن مدّتے با گُل نشستم

اس نے کہا میں تو ناچیز مٹی تھی لیکن ایک مدت تک گُل کے ساتھ نشست رہی ہے۔

  جمالِ ہمنشیں در من اثَر کرد
وگرنہ من ہماں خاکم کہ ہستم

اور ہمنشیں کے جمال نے مجھ پر بھی اثر کر دیا ہے وگرنہ میری ہستی تو محض خاک ہے۔

Thursday, March 10, 2022