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Friday, February 28, 2014


Bulleh Shah (1680 1757) (Punjabi: Shahmukhi:بلہے شاہ, Gurmukhi: ਬੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ}}), whose real name was Abdullah Shah [1], was a Punjabi Muslim Sufi poet, a humanist and philosopher.

Bulleh Shahs writings represent him as a humanist, someone providing solutions to the sociological problems of the world around him as he lives through it, describing the turbulence his motherland of Punjab is passing through, while concurrently searching for God. His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). The simplicity with which Bulleh Shah has been able to address the complex fundamental issues of life and humanity is a large part of his appeal. Thus, many people have put his kafis to music, from humble street-singers to renowned Sufi singers.

Bulleh Shahs popularity stretches uniformly across Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, to the point that much of the written material about this philosopher is from Hindu and Sikh authors. His involvement with atheism did not sit well with the contemporary Muslims, as a result of which few biographies of him from Islamic sources exist.
(Source Wikipedia)



Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Thumrī is a common genre of semi-classical Indian music.
The text is romantic or devotional in nature, and usually revolves around a girl's love for Lord Krishna . The lyrics are usually in Uttar Pradesh dialects of Hindi called Awadhi and Brij Bhasha. Thumri is characterized by its sensuality, and by a greater flexibility with the raga.

Some of the most commonly used ragas are PiluKafiKhamajGaraTilak Kamod and Bhairavi. The compositions are usually set to kaherava taal of 8 beats, addha talof 16 beats, dipchandi of 14 beats or jat of 16 beats and in "dadra' tal of 6 beats.
Thumrī is also used as a generic name for some other, even lighter, forms such as Dadra
English: People worshiping lord Krishna in Dur...
 People worshiping lord Krishna in During Janmasthami. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thumrī arose in popularity during the 19th century in the Lucknow court of nawab Wajid Ali Shah. At that time it used to be a song sung by courtesans accompanied by dance. That was the bandish ki thumri or bol bant ki thumri. When this style of thumrī went out of vogue at the turn of the 20th century, a new style became more popular, which is known as bol banao, sung in Varanasi. Since Varanasi is to the east (poorab) of Lucknow, the new style became known as Poorab ang or eastern style thumrī
 HoriKajariSaavanJhoola, and Chaiti, even though each of them has its own structure and content — either lyrical or musical or both — and so the exposition of these forms vary. Like Indian classical music itself, some of these forms have their origin in folk literature and music.
Some of the noted vocalist of Thumri style of classical music are Pt Bhimsen Joshi. Prabha Atre and Shobha Gurtu.


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Sunday, February 23, 2014



I am never alone
she is always with me;
like a mist white and cool 
covering me from head to toe.
It is with me every moment of my life
it does not leave me
nor can I live without it.
it is with me every morning
every evening and every night
caressing my thoughts
fondling my feelings,
like a mother patting its baby.

She is my existence,
she runs in my veins like blood
I depend on her;
without her I do not exist...



God alone knows the
mutterings of my heart
How may you know,
you are devoid of emotions!

Kailash Kher (born 7 July 1973) is an Indian pop-rock singer with a music style influenced by Indian folk music. He has sung in 18 languages for Indian films, and in over 300 songs for Bollywood. He was inspired by the Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the classical musician Pandit Kumar Gandharva. They remain his inspirations.

read further at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kailash_kher


Thursday, February 20, 2014


Tere Bin Jiya Jaye Na...I can not live without you! 

Lata Mangeshkar is best known Indian singer who is most respected not only in India but all the music world.  She is the second vocalist to have ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. Mangeshkar was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records from 1974 to 1991 for having made the most recordings in the world. The claim was that she had recorded approximately 25,000 solo, duet, and chorus-backed songs..


Monday, February 17, 2014


Tawang Gompa
Tawang Gompa (Photo credit: rao.anirudh)
A Tibetan farmer ploughing a field; yaks still...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Japanese Edo period commanders baton "sai...
Japanese Edo period commanders baton "saihai" with a yaks hair tassle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Riding Yaks
Riding Yaks (Photo credit: W.
Monpa (1)
Monpa (1) (Photo credit: rajkumar1220)

Monpas are largely concentrated in West Kameng and Tawang districts of Arunachal Pradesh of India. They also inhabit Tibet part of China and Eastern Bhutan.They are  recognised as an ethnic group by China. Out of about 50,000 monpas living in India roughly 25000 monpas reside in Tawang district of Arunachal pradesh. Tawang monastery is the highest seat of Buddhist religion in India. The sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso (1 March 1683 – 15 November 1706) was a Monpa by ethnicity and was born at Urgelling Monastery, just 5 km from Tawang and not far from the large Tawang Monastery in the northwestern part of present-day Arunachal Pradesh in India.

Yaks are an important part of their life There life revolves around the Yaks. The inhabitants of Monpas villages living in high mountainous valleys of Arunachal and Bhutan go about their lives tending to the herds of Yaks. They  plough their fields harnessing the animals to grow their   crops. The climate in the high altitudes where they reside is generally very cold. They knit sweaters and blouses from the hair of Yaks and stitch their clothes from the skin of animals they hunt.

They brew their drinks from the rice and millet called 'chhang' and do whatever possible to make their lives enjoyable. They drink copiously and quickly break into dance, song and spontaneous laughter. This is the most endearing feature of their character and is known far and wide.

They build their multi levelled houses from brick and stone. The forest products are used copiously to build their dwellings.

Colourful flags atop high poles and prayer wheels are a common sight of any 'mon' village. The prayer wheels are generally found on every path leading to a village.

They are expert craftsmen. Carved wood work, weaving and paper making are some of the crafts which are famous all over. Thangka or Tanka paintings and mask making are being  practiced by them for centuries.

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 Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan popularly known as 'Ghalib'  was an Urdu poet of late 18th century.  Mirza Ghalib was born in Kala Mahal, Agra. His paternal grandfather had immigrated to India and settled in Agra.

Ghalib started composing poetry at the age of 11.His first language was Urdu, but Persian and Turkish were also spoken at home. He received an education in Persian and Arabic at a young age.Although Ghalib himself was far prouder of his poetic achievements in Persian he is today more famous for his Urdu ghazals.
Mirza Ghalib was born in Kala Mahal, Agra into a family descended from Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand (now in Uzbekistan) after the downfall of the Seljuk kings. His paternal grandfather, Mirza Qoqan Baig Khan, was a Saljuq Turk who had immigrated to India from Samarkand during the reign of Ahmad Shah (1748–54). He worked at LahoreDelhi and Jaipur, was awarded the subdistrict of Pahasu (Bulandshahr, UP) and finally settled in Agra, UP, India. He had four sons and three daughters. Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan and Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan were two of his sons.
Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan (Ghalib's father) got married to Izzat-ut-Nisa Begum, and then lived at the house of his father-in-law. He was employed first by the Nawab of Lucknow and then the Nizam of HyderabadDeccan. He died in a battle in 1803 in Alwar and was buried at Rajgarh (Alwar, Rajasthan). Then Ghalib was a little over 5 years of age. He was raised first by his Uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan.
At the age of thirteen, Ghalib married Umrao Begum, daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh (brother of the Nawab of Ferozepur Jhirka). He soon moved to Delhi, along with his younger brother, Mirza Yousuf Khan, who had developed schizophrenia at a young age and later died in Delhi during the chaos of 1857.
In accordance with upper class Muslim tradition, he had an arranged marriage at the age of 13, but none of his seven children survived beyond infancy. After his marriage he settled in Delhi. In one of his letters he describes his marriage as the second imprisonment after the initial confinement that was life itself. The idea that life is one continuous painful struggle which can end only when life itself ends, is a recurring theme in his poetry. One of his couplets puts it in a nutshell:
قید حیات و بند غم ، اصل میں دونوں ایک ہیں
موت سے پہلے آدمی غم سے نجات پائے کیوں؟
The prison of life and the bondage of grief are one and the same
Before the onset of death, how can man expect to be free of grief?

The ghazal selected here is rendered to music by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, an accomplished singer of ghazals and nephew of legend  Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Koi Umiid

koii ummiid bar nahii.n aatii
koii suurat nazar nahii.n aatii

maut kaa ek din mu'ayyaa.N hai
nii.nd kyo.n raat bhar nahii.n aatii

aage aatii thii haal-e-dil pe ha.Nsii
ab kisii baat par nahii.n aatii

jaanataa huu.N savaab-e-taa'at-o-zahad
par tabiiyat idhar nahii.n aatii

hai kuchh aisii hii baat jo chup huu.N
varna kyaa baat kar nahii.n aatii

kyo.n na chiiKhuu.N ki yaad karate hai.n
merii aavaaz gar nahii.n aatii

daaG-e-dilagarnazar nahii.n aata
buu bhii ai chaaraagar nahii.n aatii

ham vahaa.N hai.n jahaa.N se ham ko bhii
kuchh hamaarii Khabar nahii.n aatii

marate hai.n aarazuu me.n marane kii
maut aatii hai par nahii.n aatii

kaabaa kis muu.Nh se jaaoge 'Ghalib'
sharm tumako magar nahii.naatii

English Translation.

I am left with no hope at all,
No possibility to reach my goal,

The Day of my death is fixed,
I am so very anxious that I can not sleep all night.

Though I know the reward of obedience and worship,
But I have no tendency for it.

I am silent for a certain reason,
Otherwise I can convince you with my words,

Why I shouldn’t cry,
For when I don’t, she asks about me,

My heart is burning, though you cannot see the spot,
But O my doctor, can’t you smell my heart burn?

I have reached to a certain state,
From where even I cannot find myself.

I am dying (Waiting anxiously) for my death,
I don’t know where the hell my death has gone.

With what face you will go to Ka’ba, O! Ghalib,
You should be ashamed of yourself while thinking to go there.
(translation by Qazi Mohammed Ahkam)

Friday, February 14, 2014


ज़िन्दगी सिर्फ मुहब्बत नहीं
कुछ और भी है
जुल्फ ओ रुखसार की जन्नत नहीं
कुछ और भी है
भूख और प्यास की
मारी हुई इस दुनिया में
इश्क ही एक हकीकत नहीं
कुछ और भी है...

Sahir Ludhianvi
Sahir Ludhianvi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sahir Ludhianvi (8 arch1921– 25 October 1980) was a popular Urdu poet and Hindi lyricist, who worked extensively in Hindi films. Sahir Ludhianvi is his pseudonym. He won the Filmfare Award twice, in 1964 and 1977, and in 1971 was awarded the Padma Shri. The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee released a Commemorative Postage Stamp on his birth anniversary on 8 March 2013 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. His biography, Sahir Ludhianvi: The People's Poet. has also been published recently.


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"Riding the Light"
"Riding the Light" (Photo credit: Maureen Clark Photography)

During my posting in Tenga Valley of Arunachal Pradesh one cold and dry sunday morning like today,we received a message from our officiating Officer commanding " All officers immediately assemble at the Riding School". Our Colonel had been summoned to Corps HQ for some urgent work.

We hurriedly put on our riding breeches and rushed to the riding school. As soon as all the officers had assembled there we were told to go for a cross country equestrian practice. We were to assemble at Divisional Army Officers Club after exactly 1 hour.

DSC01551 (Photo credit: rajkumar1220)

We rode over the trekking paths, small hill streams
 gushing downhill,small flowering bush avoiding
hanging branches. The sound of the hooves of twenty horses reverberated throughout the small valley. The Monpa children and womenfolk came out of their kacha houses to watch the spectacle.

"The Monpa (Tibetan: མོན་པ།; Hindi: मोनपा...
"The Monpa (Tibetan: མོན་པ།; Hindi: मोनपा, Chinese: 门巴族) are a major people of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India.[1] Currently they are also one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China. Most Monpas live in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, with a population of 50,000, centered in the districts of Tawang and West Kameng. Around 25,000 Monpas can be found in the district of Cuona in the Tibet Autonomous Region, where they are known as Menba" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We reached the Officers club after about an hour and started exploring the large ground to tie our horses. After ten minutes we decided to tether our horses to the pipeline supplying water to the club. There were no trees or any strong pegs to tie our tired horses.

We enjoyed our stay at the club and had good fun, but it was cut short by the commotion in the ground. We rushed to the place of disturbance and found that our steeds had pulled off the water pipe. The horses got panicky by passing Army vehicles on the road above and pulled together..imagine the strength of twenty horses.

English: Monpa dancers performing a Yak dance
English: Monpa dancers performing a Yak dance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
All of us decided to leave immediately and get back to our mess.

Next day our Colonel came back from Calcutta and received a letter from Club Secretary  about the damage done by us. He called the officiating Officer Commanding and all the erring officers to his office to give us a dressing down ....



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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Two Paths Diverged in a wood
Two Paths Diverged in a wood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the  other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it wa grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same...
Robert Frost

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Monday, February 10, 2014


Kostas Karyotakis in Preveza (1928). The lady ...
Kostas Karyotakis in Preveza (1928). The lady near him is his sister, the other lady is a friend of her.The child is nephew of Kostas karyotakis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kostas Karyotakis (Greek: Κώστας Καρυωτάκης, October 30, 1896 – July 20, 1928) is considered one of the most representative Greek poets of the 1920s and one of the first poets to use iconoclastic themes in Greece. His poetry conveys a great deal of nature, imagery and traces of expressionism andsurrealism. The majority of Karyotakis' contemporaries viewed him in a dim light throughout his lifetime without a pragmatic accountability for their contemptuous views; for after his suicide,the majority began to revert to the view that he was indeed a great poet. He had a significant, almost disproportionately progressive influence on later Greek poets.Karyotakis gave existential depth as well as a tragic dimension to the emotional nuances and melancholic tones of the neo-Symbolist and new-Romantic poetry of the time. With a rare clarity of spirit and penetrating vision, he captures and conveys with poetic daring the climate of dissolution and the impasses of his generation, as well as the traumas of his own inner spiritual world.

He had a brief but intense relationship with Maria Polydouri another contemporary poetess.


Make an harp of your pain.
And become like a nightingale,
and become like a flower.
When bitter years arrive
make an harp of your pain
and make of it a song.

Don't wrap your wound
but only with rose-branches.
Lustful I give you
myrrh- for balm - and drugs.
Don't wrap your wound,
and your blood a purple.

Keep saying to Gods "may I be quenched!"
but hold the glass.
Despise your days when
they become a feast for you.
Keep saying to Gods "may I be quenched!"
but say it with a smile.

Make an harp of your pain.
And refresh the lips
at the lips of your wound.
At a dawn, at a sunset,
make an harp of your pain
and smile and be quenched.

Kostas Karyotakis 

Κώστας Καρυωτάκης


Κάνε τὸν πόνο σου ἅρπα,
Καὶ γίνε σὰν ἀηδόνι,
καὶ γίνε σὰ λουλούδι.
Πικροὶ ὅταν ἔλθουν χρόνοι,
κάνε τὸν πόνο σου
ἅρπακαὶ πέ τονε τραγούδι.

Μὴ δέσεις τὴν πληγή σου
παρὰ μὲ ροδοκλώνια.
Λάγνα σοῦ δίνω μύρα
-γιὰ μπάλσαμο- καὶ ἀφιόνια.
Μὴ δέσεις τὴν πληγή σου,
καὶ τὸ αἷμα σου πορφύρα.

Λέγε στοὺς θεοὺς "νὰ σβήσω!"
μὰ κράτα τὸ ποτήρι.
Κλότσα τὶς μέρες σου
ὄνταςθὰ σοῦ 'ναι πανηγύρι.
Λέγε στοὺς θεοὺς
"νὰ σβήσω!"μὰ λέγε το γελώντας.

Κάνε τὸν πόνο σουἅρπα.
Καὶ δρόσισε τὰ χείλη
στὰ χείλη τῆς πληγῆς σου.
Ἕνα πρωί, ἕνα δείλι,
κάνε τὸν πόνο σου ἅρπα
καὶ γέλασε καὶ σβήσου.


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Saturday, February 8, 2014


Onions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You must be thinking what is the connection between Independence, floods and onions, but my mind is still  fresh with the memories of floods in Ferozepore and the routine of crushing onions everyday to extract juice.We had to take a spoonful of onion juice every morning because it is considered to be very effective antidote for cholera.

Just after India got independence from British rule our family migrated to Ferozepore situated on Satluj river bank on eastern side of Indo Pak border. We had hardly settled down in the Army barrack allotted to us, when River Satluj flooded the low lying areas of the town. It was feared that floods might cause the outbreak of cholera in the population.

We landed in Ferozepur after crossing river Satluj from Lahore on 31st August 1947. We had not even properly settled down in the Army barrack allotted to my eldest brother, who was serving in the Indian Army at that time, when the river Satluj flooded the entire town of Ferozepore. The people living in low lying areas of the town had to leave their homes and go to safer areas.We were lucky to be spared the trouble because that particular barrack was on a higher ground.

My brother Satpal and myself had great fun discovering our new neighborhood and watching the advancing waters to splash it around. The flood waters stopped advancing just short of our barrack. We were strictly forbidden to go and see the advancing flood waters by our mother, whom we reverentially called Beji, but we would stealthily slip away on one pretext or the other to watch such a vast expanse of water.

We had migrated to this place from Vihari town in Pakistan which was a notified area at that time but nowadays is a big and flourishing city. It was a semi arid area irrigated by canal from Suleimanki headworks.

There was total chaos and confusion amid rumors that epidemic had claimed many lives The patients were being referred to hospitals in the nearby cities Moga Abohar and Faridkot etc.A few families which were accommodated in the barrack brought the news that the flood waters were advancing towards nearby Ferozepore- Moga road. This news was very worrying for our parents who forbade us to go there.

After a few days the joint efforts by Army and civil administration to plug the breach in the river embankment bore the fruit and the water level started receding. Our eldest brother who had opted for India got his permanent posting to Ambala Cantt. and our family moved from there to Ambala Cantt. Although our mother was very happy to shift from that place but we were very sad that we had to leave and will not be able to have the pleasure of playing with ripples of water.