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Travelogue (final) Entangled destinies

Contrary to the Mall culture booming across India, Khan Market is a high street experience. I am claustrophobic in Malls and therefore a place like this was a godsend. I hopped across various points: Bahrisons for new book titles and informative books for children, Shahnaz’s Store to buy a present for a dear friend and a chemist run by Sardarjis to procure cheaper medicines. Yes, the consumers pay much less for the same drugs we buy

Outstanding rendition – Khwaja meray Khwaja

This is a fabulous, almost flawless performance by Sreeram, an aspirant for the Indian Idol selection. Originally rendered by A R Rahman, this young talent has given a new dimension to this ode to South Asia’s celebrated saint Khawaja Muinduddin Chishty of Ajmer.

Khwaja Mere Khwaja By SHREERAM.flv by […]

July 11th, 2010|Music, Sufi poetry, Sufism, video|3 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

Journeying into mysticism (noted as one the best articles of 2007)

Indian Muslims Blog is now two years old. The IM team have compiled the best articles published at the blog in 2007. Shameless as it sounds, one of my guest articles – Journeying into Mysticism is included in the category. As the editor Mohib, said the “colorful downloadable pdf file is worth reading for the diversity of views and opinions. IM blog team has been most kind to allow me to occasionally contribute to the space. In the process I have learnt a lot about the country and its Muslim population. But most importantly, I have found a few good friends from Lucknow, Kakori, Bhopal, and Bihar among other places. wah wah, kiya kehnay blogosphere ke…

To blow my own little trumpet in this seamless and infinite blogosphere, here is my piece for those readers who may not have read it earlier.

Journeying into mysticism

I turn my face towards the monsoon breeze and lament that I’m in Delhi for work. How will I manage the sightseeing agenda? The faint scent of champa flowers seems hauntingly familiar and I am reminded of Lahore. Despite my efforts, visa hassles and my non-Indo-Pak-peace-brigade status have prevented this journey from materialising for years. Driving through Delhi at night, I almost start the litany of superficial judgments but stop for fear of falling into the abyss of cliches. Nevertheless, I cannot help but notice the images of exotic India, or the official Incredible India. Yes, incredible is the word.

The Maurya Sheraton hotel is a haven of comfort totally removed from the real Delhi world. This is what I resent about luxury hotels in developing countries: the sense of disconnectedness, the ultimate denial of what lies beneath. Maurya is packed with party-hoppers as there is a huge weekend bash at the hotel. The Delhi party-goers are far more free-spirited than the Pakistani lot. They appear at ease with what they wear and do, and conduct themselves in a remarkably unselfconscious manner. The hotel driver, Uttam Ram, warned me that the ‘real’ India is different, that this crowd is too Westernised and the influence of Bollywood is to be blamed. . . but how can I agree? I live on Bollywood myself. The journey has been too long and that first night in Delhi, I crash on the huge four-poster bed. I am not a party boy after all!

Sunday morning passes in work – yes, I work on Sundays and have often thought of killing myself for accepting such terms in my mortal life. After an afternoon nap, I wake up to a sense of regret for having wasted a day in Dilli. I get in touch with Sadia Dehalvi, hoping for her company during my visit to Nizamuddin Auliya’s tomb. She is already planning to go there and we plan to meet a little before sunset.

I reach Mathura Road in an hour and soon find myself wading through its distinctly medieval ambience: labyrinthine alleys, crowds of beggars and street-vendors, a bazaar mood. To my delight, I spot a sign pointing towards Ghalib’s mazaar . This is a traditionally Muslim area: there are several signs offering Umra packages and most signs are in Urdu. The stereotype of suffering Indian Muslims gains currency here. I try not to notice all that and walk around until I find Ghalib’s mazaar . Having being fixated on Ghalib and his poetry for the better part of my life, I am a little disappointed by the matter-of-factness of the place. Even though the tomb has recently been renovated after a court order, it is quite low-key. Nevertheless, the area retains a unique atmosphere and the building itself is somewhat alluring. Near it is the Ghalib Academy, but I rush to Nizamuddin’s dargah and follow the scent of desi roses until I find my way to the tomb. […]

January 15th, 2008|India, India-Pakistan History, South Asian Literature, Sufism|6 Comments

Ajmer – my scuttled travel plans

Ajmer Shareef is a spiritual centre-point in South Asia. It is not just another Muslim Saint’s dergah but represents the glorious tradition of inclusiveness and spirituality beyond the formal boundaries of religion, caste and creed. This is why it has become […]

July 14th, 2007|India, India-Pakistan History, Sufi poetry, Sufism|4 Comments