Stories about tradition

Intellectual poverty: Troubles of the Muslim world

It sometimes seems like a lost cause – our backwardness as a nation, our never ending cynicism and our victimisation at the hands of the West. What is it that fans all the violence in our societies? Perhaps we never bother to think about that. The only instincts that are left in us are animal. And it’s not only us. It is also the Arabs, the Central Asians, the Persians and others who are scattered across the face of the earth – all, victims of stereotypes and suffering from a chronic identity crisis. It is us, the Muslims, the peoples of ...

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Talking about Sufism: Faiz vs Askari

The national politics have brought us to a point where everybody is engaged in a religious debate. While my contemporaries brave the treacherous ocean’s currents, I, for one, have to plead ignorance of the finer points of the Quran and Hadith studies. Akbar’s verse – I never entered a debate about religion, for I always lacked the extra intelligence it required – has served me well in the perilous times we live in. So it’s not as if I am preparing to enter the debate now; just wondering about the blessed moment when Faiz Ahmed Faiz did. A word first ...

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The realities of Bigg Boss, Wasim Akram and Pak-India relations

It never fails to amaze me how Pakistanis and Indians pretend to be indifferent to each other but keep their eyes and ears open for any tiny bit of news that might be floating about each other. There are countless people who we can thank for this. Let’s see, there’s the cricket teams, as no Pakistan-India conversation is complete without at least three mentions of the last match played or how unfair the Indian Premier League was for not letting any Pakistani play this time. That doesn’t mean India has ‘recognised’ the immense talent we have in the Green Land. They got ...

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Singing from the heart

There is a story told in traditional musical families in the sub-continent about Tan Sen, a legendary musician from the times of Akbar the great who was one of the nine jewels of the Mughal court. It is said he could cause rain clouds to appear and disappear through the exposition of his raags. The heart does not sing for gold The story goes that one day, after listening to the rapturous music of Tan Sen, Akbar asked him if there was anyone in the empire who could match his musical talents. “There is one, my Lord, who not only matches but indeed surpasses me in music,” answered Tan Sen. “Is it ...

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