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Fatehpur Sikri

I was in Fatehpur Sikri a week ago. I love going there again and again. The place is calm and represents architecture that can be […]

March 25th, 2009|Personal, Photo stories, Travel|6 Comments

Chronicles foretold

A piece that I wrote with Asad Sayeed for The Friday Times. This piece was written before the long March and the subsequent developments that include the restoration of deposed judges.

The two years old lawyers’ movement is now entering its decisive phase. It started in March 2007 as a spontaneous, vibrant expression of fatigue with a military dictator, after which the lawyers mobilised Pakistan’s inert middle classes and sections of civil society against the arbitrary ouster of the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and his subsequent maltreatment at the hands of the security agencies. Within weeks, the political parties jumped into the fray and mounted a formidable challenge to an otherwise seemingly well-entrenched military rule. This was a critical year when General Musharraf had assured both the world as well as the nation of a transition to democratic rule. However, Musharraf’s efforts to direct the transition in his favour were forcefully countered by the lawyers through a judicial and political struggle that continues to date. […]

March 21st, 2009|Politics, Published in The Friday Times|2 Comments

Southasian Sufism: a new victim of communalist brigade

After everything Muslim has been trashed by the rejuvenated Hindutva across the border, now Southasian Sufism is also being highlighted as an Islamist-supremacist project. What utter ignorance to write about the syncretic mystics who were not part of power games nor were they parts of the armies. They were wandering mystics who found India’s spiritual landscape exciting and endearing and chose to stay and die there. The saddest piece that was forwarded to me by a reader is linked below by someone who holds forth – rather fumes – on Sufism and makes sure that he is introduced as “IPS (Retd)” – a scion of the Indian Police Service, an abominable legacy of the colonial state and its naked exploitative nature. Small wonder, his communalised veiw of the world is what the architects of his proud service wanted and achieved with much success.

False, pretentious and ill-informed. Alas.

Dark side of Sufism: Reappraisal of the Role of Sufis Working as Missionaries of Islam, R.K. Ohri, IPS (Retd)

For centuries the Sufi creed and Sufi music have been tom-tomed as great symbols of spiritualism and promoters of peace and harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims. The cleverly marketed concept of Sufi spiritualism has been unquestioningly accepted as the hallmark of Hindu-Muslim unity. It is time we studied the history of Sufis, […]

February 27th, 2009|India, India-Pakistan History, Sufism|2 Comments

Sufi Art Festival in Ajmer

My friend Syed Salman Chishty,from Dargah Ajmer Sharif sent me this message. I would have loved to be there but such are the divides and challenges that I simply cannot pack up and go without dealing with the layers of officialdom.

Chishty Foundation is based on the blessed vision ,principle and message of “Love towards all, Malice towards none” which is the blessed message of Hz.Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty (r.a) popularly known as Khawaja Gharib Nawaz (r.a). […]

February 17th, 2009|Soul, South Asian Art, Sufi poetry, Sufism|1 Comment

No One Is Left Hungry at Ajmer

No One Is Left Hungry

By Rajan Mahan, “No one goes hungry in Ajmer during Ramadan” – NDTV – New Delhi, India
For Muslims of south Asia, the Sufi Dargah at Ajmer stands second only to the sacred one in Mecca.

And in the holy month of Ramadan people from all corners of the subcontinent seek the blessings of the Dargah’s immortal 13th century saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

Popularly called Gareeb Nawaaz, the Protector of the Poor, the Khwaja is still revered for his compassion and empathy for those desperate and needy. […]

September 22nd, 2008|Arts & Culture, India, Personal, Sufism|2 Comments

A R Rahman’s devotion to Khawaja Muinuddin Chishty

Music and Love share a primordial bond. None other than the legendary and a genius of our times Allah Rakah Rahman, better known to the world as A.R. Rahman appreciates it at a much deeper level. The composer who has been honoured by the world and the […]

March 14th, 2008|Cinema, India, Music, Sufism|15 Comments

Shah Ast Hussain

Khawaja Ghareeb Nawaz’s immortal verses on the status of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS)
Shah ast Hussain, Badshah ast Hussain
Deen ast Hussain, Deen Panah ast Hussain
Sardad na dad dast, dar dast-e-yazeed,
Haqaa key binaey La ila ast HussainAnd a rough translation –

Ruler is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain,
Faith is Hussain , guardian of faith is Hussain .
Offered his head and not the hand to Yazid.
Indeed, Hussain is the foundation of La-ilah […]

January 17th, 2008|Islam|37 Comments