Love


“The Wine of Croatian orchids doesn’t alleviate my pain, it burns me more, the pains of love, the pains of alienation, the pains of separation are strange pains: as the wounds heal, the pains sharpen—the soul burns on denial of love and on denial of emancipation——–”

220px-khawaja_ghulam_farid_tomb_at_kot_mithan1 Deep in south of Punjab in the colonized Saraiki deserts spoke one poet who is known as “Keats of the East”, for just like him , love is his subject , every shade of Love , every color of love , love in all its glory , love in all its pain. This Sufi of love ballads when saw his desert being occupied, being colonized changed the shades of his Love Songs, such was the intensity of emotions on the feeling of dispossession of Rohi [Romantic name of desert thar , used for Saraiki lands] that Farid cried

Apni dherti aap wasa tu , putt Angreze Thanne.

[O brave son of land] Take the ownership of your land back in your hands and demolish these British police stations.

Too strong for a Sufi , it may appear to English speaking sufi admiring class of Islamic Republic whose ideas of Sufism are result of interposition of modern quietism to theological mysticism. I drink from my glass , the dark fruity wine from lands beyond , pain sharpens in my heart , the pain of separation , I feel like burning every thing down including myself , the serene voice of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan echoes in my ears.

Ishiq Anokhri peer ae—- Love is a Strange Pain— tears flow from eyes—wounds of heart are strange— I long for my lover— I have become a fatally wounded l patient I have been separated from my love. Life without lover is a lie. I am just like a Crane which has been separated from its flock— and my eyes continuously shed tears —-a thousand pains plague my soul—for love is a Pain Strange

This is separation, which Farid felt, a separation from his land, a separation from his love. They don’t understand, those who have turned their guns and cannons towards the gallant Balochs , they call them brothers and kill them but they don’t understand Love. What love is for a lover?

O Friend Farid [speaks Sassi] Love is a pain strange. O my lover, you are my friend, you are my honour, you are love for me, you are beauty for me, you are my faith, you are my creed and you are my Quran—-You are my total asset –you are my state and my king—– Pains have settled in my heart because you have been separated— and my flesh burns with a hissing sound— for Love is pain strange

amj A soul in love burns each second, those who have fell in love don’t fear fire, the solders of this great Islamic republic don’t know about love or they wouldn’t have put 4 young Baloch men in molten Coal Tar — they don’t know lovers prefer to melt in fire than to betray their love—-Lovers melted in Tar but no sky fell—God thy kingdom has gone for ever—-they put thy son on cross no sky fell— No sky fell when thy soldiers burned alive these Baloch youth—-Lovers are insane they keep loving , they face torture, their family becomes their enemy—but these mad people they keep traveling on the road to love—O people of Islamic Republic this tyranny and torture will not break the Balochs—It didn’t broke Sassi listen to your Sufis and learn the lesson

[Sassi speaks] The day I expressed my love [for the handsome Baloch] I have declared a war against my tribe, my kin—my father, mother and brothers beat me [are dead for me]. O Lover the people of city are enemies—– the prison of loneliness, of alienation is a strange misery—my soul has a hundred wounds——-

Sassi when wandered in the desert in search of his Baloch lover Punnu—weakened by thirst and grief—she encountered a wicked man who wanted to take advantage of Sassi’s misery. These were the olden times and God had yet not gone into retirement. Sassi called him and mother earth took her into its safety. She was saved from humiliation of molestation. Yet in postmodern times neither did God listened nor did mother Earth came to rescue Zarrina, the poor Baloch girl abducted by soldiers of Islamic Republic and being molested as a sex slave with other Baluch women—No sky fell—

Those who deceived Punnu were his own brothers, those who took him away in the dead of the night away from Sassi—-When he knew he died wandering in desert looking for Sassi—There is a lesson for Baluchs , those who have kidnapped Solecki , acted just like brothers of Punnu

For Love is pain strange, and I drink with no solace, I see the writing on the wall but they don’t—yes love is a strange affliction

This is the Kaafi of Farid which became the inspiration of this post


Shaheryar Ali

“Every Kiss Begins With Kay Jewelers”

With Pakistani Liberal’s new found love for Capitalism during General Mushraffs golden age of “Enlightened Moderation” Valentine Day has become the latest new festival in Pakistan. Now Islamists and religious fanatics in their usual opposition to any thing western have opposed Valentine’s Day on the premise that it promotes “obscenity”. The expression of Love is outrageous in their eyes and it erodes the moral and social fabric of the society, which if I decode means “that some how it dilutes the forced ‘gender segregation” in the Pakistan. Religious Right in Pakistan is not the only one in this their counterparts in India the Saffron brigade behave similarly

This opposition is not on Valentine’s Day rather it is to some thing which this day is thought to be representing that is Love and opposition to War, Violence and State authority. Modern day practices of Valentine’s days have nothing to do with the spirit of this day. Like every thing else Capitalism has converted this expression of Love into its anti-thesis. On onside Capitalist consumerist degeneration has resulted in “commoditization of Love” essentially equating love with wealth. The card industry, cosmetic industry, Diamond industry, Fashion Industry, the media Industry all in order to exploit the most beautiful of human emotion have contributed in building stereotypes, promoting prejudices and cultural hegemonies. The first victim of this is Love itself which is reduced to the category of a commodity which can be bought. This assault on Love is compounded by the market built sexism and promotion of highly loaded “stereotypical gender roles”. A general survey of the promotion campaigns around the world on Valentine Day reveals that it promotes a very shallow and sexist role of a woman. Most of it is based on the premise that woman can be wooed into love by showering her with expensive gifts. Diamond and Gold monopolies have shamelessly promoted this image of woman virtually equating love with a form of prostitution. Overall this approach enhances the already existing male chauvinist attitudes towards the women who are considered commodities themselves and “pleasure-toys” which can be bought by a DeBeers ring.

Muslim Gay Pride

Muslim Gay Pride

A shameful example is this commercial which states “every kiss starts with Kay Jewelers”. In most of the promotion activities “men” are shown to be buying gifts for the “women” thus enhancing yet another of male chauvinist myths that “Men are the bread winners” reducing women to a mere dependent of the male who remains happy with a constant supply of diamonds, roses and chocolates. Yet another stereotyping this Valentine’s Day industry is building is what I call the “Jock and the Cheerleader” complex. A particular image of a boy Jock and a Cheerleader is repeated over and over again. This creates a complex in other boys and girls who don’t subscribe to this image. The societies governed by capitalism live on “conformity” carefully constructed resemblances which assures ones survival at social and economical level. There is an immense pressure on young people especially teenagers to “fit-in” otherwise they fall in “nerd”, “sissy” , “freak” and other “un-kool” categories. These in advanced countries have resulted in high teenage suicide rate, campus violence and murder. This complex is than banked upon by the “cosmetic mafia”, the “fashion industry”, “drug trade” and medically unregulated and monstrous “cosmetic surgery industry”. All these mafias are busy in their exploitation in Pakistan’s Valentine day boom. The hair transplant and plastic surgery clinics have mushroomed in Urban Pakistan and are unregulated and engaging in malpractice. They perform procedures ranging from liposuction to hymenoplasty. This to provide the Pakistani males the “Virgins” they want to marry. The image of male which is portrayed on Pakistani Valentine related media is a fair post teen urban male clad in Levi with an expensive multi media mobile phone, bulging muscles and an Ipod listening to western music. He is surrounded by admiring females they too fully urban dolls manufactured in some latest in vogue saloon. This is against which most young Pakistani has to compete and look up to the result is frustration, street crime and campus prostitution.

When the problem of sustenance of capitalism was being discussed in Western Europe after the war it was identified that Capitalism also operates in the realm of ideology by creating conflicting identities and it is the key to its sustenance. This “operation in contradiction” is visible in the pseudo-conflict between the pro-capitalist seculars and Islamic fascists around the Valentine’s Day. It is to be noted that forces like Jamate Islami in Pakistan and Hindu Nationalists in India who are notorious for their disruption of Valentine Day’s activities are vehemently Anti-communist and Anti-Left and pro-Capitalism. Jamate Islami has been on the forefront of resisting anti capitalist reforms of PPP in 70s and has supported “free market economy”. Thus first they allow the capitalization of Love and than protest on its “cultural manifestations”. The extreme fear, violence and confusion this phenomenon creates results in “de-humanization”, “dejection” and a sense of “de realization”. A poetic expression of this de-realized love in time of violence has been done by Awais Aftab the brilliant young Pakistani blogger. By expressing his torment on loss of love in age of violence and confusion Mr Aftab has emerged as an “alternate voice” in otherwise cooperate and Jihadi dominated discourse on Valentine day. The poem is called “Vitriolage” and it opens with these lovely lines

No Shiv Sena threatens me
Nor do Talibans bind my hands
Yet in the miasmatic world
In which i breathe
There is no Valentine’s Day
For you, for me

The entry can be reached here. Whilst the Pakistani blogsphere is conformist to a strangulating degree, a dear friend “freethinker” has deconstructed Valentine’s discourse by celebrating Love and Subversion..

Gay Valentine stereotypes

Gay Valentine stereotypes

The dominant discourse on Valentine’s Day around the globe is “segregationist”, “totalizing’ and “de-humanizing”. This is extremely hegemonizing defining love in a strict “heterosexual” relationship. Love is only an emotion which is present between a “biological male” and a “biological female”. This corporate capitalist agenda disenfranchises whole of Homosexual humans. Reducing them to the status of “perverts” and “deviants” they are deprived of their humanity and rights, the political expression of this corporate and capitalist bigotry can be seen especially in United States where the corporate and its political allies the Moral Majority and Republicans have started a witch hunt against homosexuals by “defining” categories like “marriage”, “inheritance” and “family” in strict heterosexual terms. This in this sense becomes a strictly “fascist phenomenon”. By bombarding retinas and minds with pictures and visuals of love as a “heterosexual only” phenomenon, minds are being slowly transformed for annihilating a whole deviant population. Unfortunately even the self proclaimed “liberals” and “secularists” of Pakistan are insensitive to politics of gender and sexuality and even their notions of “human rights” and “pluralism” are plagued by essentialist prejudices of modernity. None of the major aggregation of Pakistani bloggers or Blog-zines has dared to challenge the conformity or protest at the segregationist interpretation of Love on Valentine’s Day. Across the border situation is batter. Blogbharti the aggregator of Indian Blogosphere published an article by an Indian Gay blogger Crazy Sam on Valentine’s Day. By doing so Blogbharti subverted the segregationist and exclusionary discourse on Love. Blogbharti should be congratulated for this act. Sam’s passionate plea is for “Equal Love”, he speaks about the segregated society and segregated love, reminding the straight heterosexual couples that the “fear” they feel on Valentine’s Day due to threat from the fascist goons is everyday reality of Gay of Life in India.

“Now just think about a small percentage of population who always has felt this unfairness that you are all feeling right now, every single day! Yes I’m talking about gays. For us gays, we could never think of celebrating Valentine’s Day with our special person in open places because we never felt secure to express our love. There is this fear always echoing in our minds (and not on Valentine’s Day alone) about what others would think and react if they see us holding hands or sitting across a table looking into each others eyes or giving a peck on the cheeks. It is not a good feel to always search for a secluded place to exchange such small tokens of love” Read the full article here

Sam maintains his own blog by the very “deconstructive” name of “The Straight Friendly Gay Blog”. It must be understood that

Jihad For Love

Jihad For Love

“exclusion” is the sole of a fascist society. Nothing is more dangerous than “exclusionary discourse” especially in Pakistan. Taliban couldn’t be defeated by pseudo-secularist discourse which is conformist and exclusionary. The Liberal Muslim’s insistence on constructing an “enlightened spiritual Islam” fails precisely because it becomes apart of dominant “Islam is the greatest and most democratic and liberal religion in the world” discourse in which Taliban and Liberal Muslims are united. The subversion is thus not achieved and all resistance becomes futile. This discourse insists on keeping “the others” invisible, the invisibility slowly evolves into amnesia and at this stage Genocide begins. How these apparently contradictory discourses merge can be demonstrated. While the Islamic Fascist says Homosexuals must be killed or there are no homosexuals in muslim world thus pushing gays towards genocide. This will result in protest by many even from western world who will focus on Islam’s objection to homosexuality. The Liberal muslim while vehemently oppose to Taliban will brand it “Islamophobia” and Euro-centricism giving examples of historic tolerance of homosexuality in the Past. To the general public which hears to “consensus opinion” message goes “Its all west’s fault they are enemies of Islam” because this is what both Mullah and secular is saying. The marginalized group is forgotten and keeps becoming victim of the dominant discourse. Ahmedin Nijad declared there are no homosexuals in Iran. This is a dangerous exclusionary discourse. Muslim Gay filmmaker Pervez Sharma has subverted this by making documentary recording “same gender love” in Muslim Societies. The film has got critical acclaim and awards and it challenges exclusionary discourse as well Islamophobia. The title itself is deconstructive “A Jihad for Love”

“Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islam today is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims.

Filmed over 5 1/2 years, in 12 countries and 9 languages, “A Jihad for Love” comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, this film seeks to reclaim the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, which can mean ‘an inner struggle’ or ‘to strive in the path of God’. In doing so the film and its remarkable subjects move beyond the narrow concept of ‘Jihad’ as holy war.”

The film has been criticized for not challenging the theological objections to homosexuality but at least it has tried to challenge the strangulating invisibility imparted on Muslim Gays by Ahmedinijad and likes.

The Pakistani secularists or liberals who becomes tear eyed at the “barbarity” of ignorant Mullahs who wont allow the “love” who hate flowers and chocolates should keep in mind while they defend a corporate degenerative, exclusionary, stereotypical caricature of Love , they can Love even in most fascists of the societies, Taliban’s Afghanistan didn’t banned straight marriage nor did Hitler but in Iran these two teenage boys were hanged only because they loved each other and with Sharia in place in Swat this is the fate which awaits us , the Pakistani Gays if you people remained conformists

Hanged for Love, Iranian gays

Hanged for Love, Iranian gays

Shaheryar Ali

My memories and understanding of  Taliban come from Eqbal Ahmad’s paper “Land Without Music” . Ahmad has truly captured the horror of post Taliban Kandahar. Taliban are forcing a culture which is totally alien to Pakhtoon tradition. A tradition which is rich in Art and Music. With War on Terror the misguided liberals and modernists who are nohthing but United State’s  drum beaters have spoken about “barbaric tribalism”, “backwardness” and “religios fanaticism of Pakhtoons. With this a new stereotype of Pakhtoon is being  built in Pakistan and in the world, a bearded suicide bomber who is a savage. Pakhtoons are fighting at two fronts. This lovely song in Pushto is one such act of people’s resistance.  A mix crowd of young Pakhtoon boys and girls singing and enjoying is defying the Talibani ban on Music and also exprssing the cultural side of Pakhtoons. I dont understand a single word of Pushto but i enjoyed this song immensely, it was like a breath of fresh air. The joy on the faces of the crowd , their participation , the interaction of boys and girls. The song is a treat to watch

Other night i saw a dream, where ‘Forough Farrokhzad”, was crying in the deserted streets of Tehran, following her were corpses lips sealed , hand tied , clad in black chador—“

Forough Farrokhzade

I want to mourn Tehran, a dream that turned into a nightmare. A revolutionary city which stimulated thought and dreams of freedom, equality and the rise of an eastern civilization , now is the seat of a Fascist government , which want to erase even the idea of freedom from people’s mind and i am happy that Farrokhzad is dead, but how can i be happy? No i am not

Farough Farrokhzad was born into en era of hope, when it was possible to dream of an Iran that would be free, where women could be humans , not black skinned sinners. After Tahireh , Farrokhzad took the task of “breaking the silence” on her shoulders

Years later secular humanist Ayan Hirsi Ali will use the term “Islamic gendericide” and cause a big scandal . In post 9/11 world its easy to write “The Caged Virgin” and become the heroine of neo conservative America . In this paradigm the discourse becomes reactionary because the boundaries of freedom and tyranny have been blurred by right wing Hegelians of USA, but in Tehran of Shah it represented a dream , the dream of liberation and equality. The spirit of modernity was singing in the air.

The veiled Chasity and forced modesty was the fate of Iranian woman , when Farrokhzad decided to speak. The question of Love and Desire haunted her and the first step was to acknowledge it. It was the desire that gave her a being, made her a human , “Asir” or the captive is the poem that says it all:

I want you, and I know

That I can never take you in my arms;

You are like that clear, bright sky,

And I am a captive bird in this cage.

(“The Captive”)

The bird in the cage , had started flapping her wing, the voice that never was ,emerged out of the Herms and Slave markets which had now taken the shape homes .

Divorced at 19 , she decided to live as an independant woman in Iran . Love that she desired so much, the love of man, which she cherished was a Sin. How could a thing that was so liberating, so pure , so completing could be a Sin, she pondered on it again and again, she cried to God for guidance , but the conflict never resolved .The only thing which made her feel like a living human being was Sin. It couldnt be , love cannot be sin;a rebel was born. Her masterpiece “Gonah” or Sin deconstructs the concepts of Love and Sin and find harmony in it—-Forugh Farrokhzade

“I sinned a sin full of pleasure,
In an embrace which was warm and fiery.
I sinned surrounded by arms
that were hot and avenging and iron.

In that dark and silent seclusion
I looked into his secret-full eyes.
my heart impatiently shook in my breast
In response to the request of his needful eyes.

In that dark and silent seclusion,
I sat disheveled at his side.
his lips poured passion on my lips,
I escaped from the sorrow of my crazed heart.

I whispered in his ear the tale of love:
I want you, o life of mine,
I want you, O life-giving embrace,
O crazed lover of mine, you.

desire sparked a flame in his eyes;
the red wine danced in the cup.
In the soft bed, my body
drunkenly quivered on his chest.

I sinned a sin full of pleasure,
next to a shaking, stupefied form.
o God, who knows what I did
In that dark and quiet seclusion”

The Sin[Gonah]

The Rebel was on the go , her poem had reached new heights in craft and style , the modern poem with extremely rebellious ideas , In the old Iranian mystic poetic tradition , the poet often describes the idea of “unity with God”. Speaking in God’s language , its the ultimate climax, fulfilling and pacifying .When Farrokhzade became God she was angry and chaotic , the “woman” silenced and suppressed for thousands of years speaks in “The Divine Rebellion” as a God who will be a rebel , who will let the sun loose in darkness, who will throw mountains in sea , will join souls with the bodies in the grave and who will drive the flocks of ascetics from unholy pasture of heavens , but the ultimate revenge from him was:

“weary of divine asceticism,
at midnight in Satan’s bed
I would seek refuge in the downward slopes
of a fresh sin.
I would choose at the price of
the golden crown of godhood,
the dark and painful pleasure
of sin’s embrace”

But God’s revenge was fatal , this beautiful , bold woman who simply desired Love and equality , but who was pushed to rebellion by the tyranny that prevailed died in a car accident but in Iranian literature and libertarian tradition she lives for ever. Farrokhzade had a dream , a dream of a rising red star over Tehran , she never lived to see the star breaking into a curse , a curse that resulted in a bigger cage , A Tehran where another Farrokhzade will not die in a car accident but will be hanged and burned., the dream is still a dream—

I’ve had a dream that someone is coming.
I’ve dreamt of a red star,
and my eyes lids keep twitching
and my shoes keep snapping to attention
and may I go blind
if I’m lying.
I’ve dreamt of that red star
when I wasn’t asleep”

I mourn Tehran and i mourn the revolution, and i mourn the freedom———–

 

 

 

 “I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul
.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body
.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep”

This is one of the most well known poems by Pablo Neruda , it strikes right to the heart of the readers. Breaking the textual barriers of Platonic Love , Neruda is bringing forward the “Original concept” of Love , one that has been converted into Sin due to the politics of intimacy. Why for thousands of years whole religious , social and political discourse wants to regulate “intimacy”. Why “Intimacy” between two people has to be sanctioned by God, State, Society and Family? Even when doing such a thing is logical violation of concept of “Intimacy” itself.

Why death , stones , hate , prejudice, bigotry , all dominate the poetic, social, religious, political and legal discourse involving Love , Why intimate love has to be “dark”, so that Neruda had to celebrate its “dark side”?

 

Why in 2007, still “Marrige” has to be defined, Why lovers have to be stoned and hanged? Why dont we leave all the definitions , all the statutes , all the verdicts on the two lovers who decide to hold hands!

Answer to all these “whys” is in Politics of Separation, control and power, intimacy has to be regulated in order to divide , subjugate and control the people. To create the “institutes” of Power and Segregation, the Church, The Mosque , The State , The Family.Thats why Love had to be the “Original Sin” causing all the misfortunes of Mankind , there had to be an Adam and An Eve . Eve had to be temptation of Sin, so that her daughters could be buried, stoned , killed, burned , sold , abused, converted into domestic slaves, or paraded Naked on stage and Porn flicks.

To keep slaves Happy , “Perverts” had to be created, to cause fear . Fear is another source of Power. Definitions have to be created , lust, temptation, longing, sin, adultery ,Normal, Pervert, Mad, Sane—. Knowledge is Power too , How Knowledge has raped the third words , one needs to read Edward Said’s Orientalism. And how it has affected Love , read Foucault’s “History of Sexuality“.

Every thing to stop Love, because Love completes and it cuts off the roots of power:

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep————

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