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Khusrau, Meera, Kabir: The Fluid Self

An essay contributed by the celebrated singer,writer and spiritualist Vidya Rao

I often ask myself the question why I choose, above all things, to sing, and then to sing a traditional gayaki like thumri. The images that are gleaned from its poetic texts are so often open to misunderstand: pining nayikas, heartless piyas, rakish Krishnas, divine Rams. I ask myself that question again today when tradition is in danger of being smothered by sectarianism, communal violence and a whole culture lies bleeding.
I turn to the music itself for my answer. It has never failed me before it does not fail me now. […]

Prince Charles on “East and West: Parables of the Soul”

Prince Charles was recently in Konya, Turkey on a state visit that coincides with Rumi’s 800th birth anniversary. Commenting on the appeal of Rumi globally, he said: “Is it perhaps the depth of yearning of the heart which we all feel and […]

December 15th, 2007|Poetry, Rumi, Sufi poetry, Sufism, World Literature|5 Comments

Of Autumn and Roses

I sent this poem to Fahmida Riaz a few days ago to comfort her. Little did I know that there would be another death of a close one; and I had to read it again to console myself!

Autumn Rose Elegy

You’ve gone to the secret world.
Which way is it?
You broke the cage and flew.
You […]

November 15th, 2007|Arts & Culture, Poetry, Rumi, Sufi poetry, World Literature|7 Comments

Why I love Pakistan? Top 5 reasons

The Civilization

Pakistan is not a recent figment but a continuation of 5000 years of history: quite sheepishly, I admit, that I am an adherent of the view held by many historians that the Indus valley and the Indus man were always somewhat distinct from their brethren across the Indus. I do not wish to venture into this debate but I am proud as an inheritor of Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Mehrgarh (not strictly in this order) and this makes me feel rooted and connected to my soil as well as ancient human civilizations and cultures.

It also makes me happy that no matter how much the present-day media hysteria about Pakistan (and natives in general) diminishes my country and region, nothing can take away this heritage and high points of my ancestral culture. Pakistan is not just Indus civilization it is a hybrid cultural ethos: the Greek, Gandhara, the central Asian, Persian, Aryan and the Islamic influences merge into this river and define my soul how can I not be proud of this? […]

May 10th, 2007|Pakistan, Personal|0 Comments