The controversy regarding the conferment of Qatari nationality upon M.F. Husain — and his acceptance of it — has given us the opportunity to revisit an old but neglected debate. The debate on being an Indian Muslim or a Muslim Indian is old hat; but the one concerning the “secular Indian Muslim” — the SIM? — needs our urgent attention. Those who doubt the existence of such a breed and view it as a contradiction in terms would do well to remember the legacy of a long line of distinguished people, from Mirza Ghalib, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Dr M.A. Ansari, Maulana Azad, Dr Zakir Husain to M.F. Husain, to name just a few. Then there are the nameless millions — doctors, lawyers, writers, journalists, teachers, wage earners who are living proof of Indian secularism. Husain is simply another link in this ganga-jamuni chain. He needs to neither establish his credentials nor protest his innocence; his work speaks for him.Having established the credentials of this breed, let us set out the contours of its present dilemma: one, it exists in sufficiently large numbers to have escaped our notice yet, oddly enough, has never managed to establish a public profile for itself; nor has it, given its numbers, translated into a sufficiently large, and therefore woo-able, vote bank. Two, despite its largish presence (I imagine roughly half the population of Muslims in India), the breed is under severe threat.One is not interested in establishing the presence of the SIM, for that one takes as a given. It has always existed in the weft of the Indian tapestry as the warp that runs alongside. In fact, what ought to concern us is the threat to its existence. That this threat is […]
But it was Asim’s venture into public art and his subsequent adoption of the Stuckist creed that turned him into a major figure at a relatively young age. Unlike his peers, he broke out of the studio and its sensibilities. His murals at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi were electric, and involved the transitional communities of beggars, prostitutes, and the dregs of society who had been rejected by convention.
I was recently asked to write where I would spend my summer. For a few minutes I kept my anguish at Pakistan’s situation aside and wrote the following lines for the NEWS. Indulgent and nostalgic, it was fun nevertheless.
Hackneyed as it may sound but Murree remains my favourite destination for the summer.
Alas, the luxury of spending months at the alluring foothills of Himalayas is no longer available with the day-jobs, and other commitments. But there was a time, over a decade ago, when I lived in Murree for three glorious years. It was May when I moved there with a wild rose bush joyously waving with the […]
Jugnu Mohsin writing for The Friday Times says that Lahore’s most celebrated oasis is now the subject of enchanting paintings
You are truly amongst Lahore’s privileged if you receive an invitation to a harisa lunch on a winter afternoon at the home of Tahira Mazhar Ali Khan. No ordinary repast this, cooked as it is laboriously and lovingly over an evening and a night by Tahira herself. And only harisa is on the menu.
Originating in Kashmir, harisa is a purer cousin of haleem, without the spices and far more meaty and grainy. But as with all other Kashmiri offerings, harisa became a memorable dish only after its encounter with the Punjab. For hundreds of years, driven out by the harsh winter or latter day Dogra tyrants, Kashmiri Muslims and their families came down from the vale to Sialkot, Lahore and Amritsar and settled in their droves. Here, their customs, dress, language and cuisine underwent a metamorphosis. […]
My dear friend Isa D, has refreshed the memory of this fabulous quote from Pablo Picasso.
This quote is extremely pertinent to the current times when the choices are quite stark and paths unclear. Yet, silence shall not be the right response.
… Artists who live and work with […]