His recitation was eerily reminiscent of how his father, Ghulam Farid Sabri performed his signature qawwali tracks. It was the exact same way his uncle, Maqbool Ahmed Sabri also performed. This style of qawwali can probably be traced to how his ancestors had performed, right back to the time of Mian Tansen, a favourite musician of the Mughal court. Perhaps because theirs was a proverbial ‘qawwal gharana’ (a family of qawwals), was why in my mind, Sabri’s Karachi household eternally vibrated to the combined music from harmoniums, tablas, dholaks and sarangis used to produce a qawwali. All of us know that qawwali is no ...Read Full Post
Declared ‘intangible’, the heritage of Kalash is over 3,000 years old – but will it survive the 21st century?
‘Ishpata Inn and Restaurant’, says the sign to a roadside hotel in Bumburet Valley in the Chitral district. Ishpata means welcome in the Kalasha language spoken exclusively by the endangered Kalash people, an ethnic group that has lived in three secluded valleys of these towering mountains for centuries: Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir. There are only around 4,000 Kalash villagers left in Chitral. They are one of the last peoples of western Asia to retain their aboriginal culture and have survived many waves of invaders, refusing to convert to Islam. Their neighbours across the mountains in the north-western region of ...Read Full Post
105 years later, Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawabe Shikwa are still raising significant existential questions
Kyun ziaan kaar banun, sood framosh rahoon Fikr-e-farda na karun, mahw-e-ghum-e-dosh rahoon Naale bulbul ke sunoon, aur hama tan gosh rahoon Hamnawa, main bhi koi gul hoon ke khamosh rahoon Jurrat aamoz miri taab-e-sakhun hai Mujh ko shikwa Allah se khakam badahan hai mujh ko (Why should I play the part of the loser and refrain from seeking what I can gain? Why shouldn’t I think of the future, instead of mourning the losses of the past? Why should I listen to the woes of the nightingale? My friend, I am not a flower who will remain silent It is truly my poetic ability that gives me the courage ...Read Full Post
“O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! Then I, and you, and all of us fell down, whilst bloody treason flourished over us…” These enduring words of Shakespeare describe best the cruel hand dealt to Pakistan, by internal and external forces alike. One is filled with an innate feeling of dejection when one observes how with the passage of time, our societal ethics and standards tumbled in almost all walks of life. Pakistan is amongst the few unfortunate countries that have regressed, not progressed, with time. Let us start with governance. We all have read the bleak history of the ...Read Full Post
Coke Studio launched season 11 with Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge, and let’s just say our expectations were sky high due to this beautiful rendition. We were thrilled that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was represented on such a prominent platform, like any other artist. They showcased inclusiveness by involving various cultural backgrounds, along with certain renowned and raw talent, leaving us eager for more. However, perhaps we spoke too soon. Let’s take a look at all the tracks that have been released so far, starting from the best to the worst, based on my preference. Episode one: Shikwa/Jawab-e-Shikwa It is courageous in itself that Coke ...Read Full Post
The trailer for Batti Gul Meter Chalu, scheduled for release on September 21st, was recently released to acclaim. The film, helmed by the Toilet: Ek Prem Katha director Shree Narayan Singh, stars Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor alongside Divyendu Sharma and Yami Gautam. The film’s theme is truly commendable, for this is perhaps the first Bollywood film dealing with the subject of electricity theft. The film is essentially an issue-based commentary on the subject of power theft and skyrocketing electricity bills in the mofussil areas of India. Shahid is a cheerful and carefree advocate, but his life changes completely when his ...Read Full Post
They say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which is partly true. Imagine a comedian friend in your group, making fun of the way you walk or the way you talk or some of your special behaviour. Everyone will have a laugh at your expense but you might still be able to enjoy it too. However, I am not sure if plagiarism (an obvious kind of “imitation”) is the best form of flattery. Imagine a music director or a writer spending hours and hours of their time on creating something original and someone casually takes it, rephrases or re-tunes it ...Read Full Post
In the midst of an agonising election season, and after the incredible success of Coke Studio Explorer, we just witnessed the release of the Coke Studio season 11 trailer. Leaving us utterly speechless with its ravishing and inclusive rendition of ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the song previewed many of the artists who will make their Coke Studio debut this season. Coke Studio has perhaps finally caught on to showcasing new artists that needed mainstream public attention for so long. These new artists are not only well-versed in their melodic symphonies, but also carry a cultural reminder, exemplifying what Pakistan’s ...Read Full Post
I wanted to earn the ‘Lashari’ surname, and studying abroad in HEC Paris helped me achieve just that!
“Are you related to ‘the’ Lasharis?” This is an inquiry that follows the moment anyone is introduced to my full name. What I am really being asked is if I am in any way related to Kamran Lashari – my father, and arguably one of the most popular and respected bureaucrats in Pakistan, known for bringing innovation and zing to city development. Or perhaps they mean my eldest brother, Bilal Lashari, the country’s most successful and celebrated film director. Or do they mean Omar Lashari, my Cornell educated, financial analyst brother? This would always be a source of pride, if only ...Read Full Post
Despite living outside of Pakistan for almost three years now, I am still a hard-core desi at heart. The ‘desiness’ gets stronger if you are not just from Pakistan, but also from Lahore, and happen to be married to another Lahori, who is homesick more often than not. The Lahori inside my husband is so headstrong that a daig (large pot) at Data Sahib‘s shrine is the key to all our woes and worries. Despite studying in the UK and spending most of his professional life outside Lahore, he still compares the falooda he eats anywhere with the one he used ...Read Full Post