Videos


Shaheryar Ali

Cross posted at: Bazm-e-Rinda’n

Tariq Ali is one of the icons of progressive movement. He was one of the leaders of the 1968 revolution which gave birth to the “New Left”. Few Pakistanis have influenced global thought as did Tariq Ali. A Marxist with a very strong anti imperialist base Ali is part of the global of Anti globalization movement.

I have strong ideological differences with Ali on Left strategy .  But what he is saying is very important especially his understanding of Pakistani state and its dependent elites. University of California at Berkeley recorded a series “Conversations with History” featuring influential intellectuals.

One of them was Tariq Ali and whatever he says is very important.

Most of his talks about PPP shouldn’t be taken seriously because he had personal issues with Benazir Bhutto.He was one of the persons who thought of the idea of a non stalinist popular Socialist Party with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He contributed in writing the fundamental documents of PPP which are one of the most radical documents. His later differences with ZAB though were ideological but were also personal. He worked with Benazir Bhutto during Anti-Zia resistance but he never accepted the fact that people of Pakistan loved Bhuttos more than a pure Marxist intellectual . This attitude is hallmark of most Pakistani Marxists  and the result is their failure to either build a strong Marxist party in Pakistan or to intervene meaningfully in the PPP [with which they all have a twisted love-hate relationship]. Due to this reason most of them lack objectivity when they speak  about PPP even though their ideological stand is correct.

Take the following talk by Ali. He is criticizing Benazir Bhutto and the “family politics”. But in his personal grudge he falsifies facts. He says that Benazir Bhutto writes in her will [on which he tactfully casts doubt as well] that “My son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari” will head the party” than we hear the usual rant . He is just a kid studying some where bla bla and the party being a family fiefdom . Party shouldnt be a family fiefdom but lets get the Facts right.

Benazir Bhutto never left PPP to Bilawal Bhutto. Its absolutely rubbish and a total lie spread by the right and naive lefti friends like Tariq Ali who never bother to read that “will” which they curse all the time

Benazir Bhutto clearly wrote in the will that if she was no more than party consider Mr Asif Ali Zardari as a leader for the “interim period”. She clearly mentioned why she is suggesting his name. She mentioned because in a period of crisis  party needs a unifying figures to prevent split  [dangerous consequence Pakistan Na Khappey etc]. She made it clearly that its a “temporary arrangement” till the party’s Central Executive Committee decides who will be leader of the Party. It must be clear that for this decision she absolutely left No directive to party. She didnt left a will for her son to be leader. She never said that leader must be from her family.

When the will was read at the CC , it was the CC which decided that Asif Ali Zardari will be a “co chairman” and Bilawal Bhutto be the Chairman. The decision was unanimous. Benazir ’s Will just gave Zardari the leadership for 2/3 days. It was the party which decided in his favor after a lengthy discussion. Moreover  the millions of people who were surrounding Nodero were not ready to accept anyone else apart from Sanam Bhutto or Bilawal. The mood was such that most of the leaders of PPP were hiding  from the crowd who wanted to kill them for failing to save Benazir. If anyone of you was there he/she will know what i am talking about. If you watched Geo than forget it.

Now regarding Bilawal being a kid and studying somewhere Tariq Ali conveniently forgets he is in Oxford just like Benazir Bhutto and Tariq Ali. Tariq Ali himself was a student in Oxford when was leading the European youth revolution of 1968/69. He is forgetting his own “Street Fighting Years”. Before condemning fiefdoms , Mr Ali must remember he also “inherited” his  Marxism . He is son of veteran communist activists of CPI Mr Mazhar Ali [Nawabzada] and Tahira Mazher Ali [One who reportedly showed Mr Jinnah the pamphlet of Communist Party of India in favor of Pakistan as a young girl riding a bicycle] . Ali family was also aristocrats and it was this background which put him in Oxford just like Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and where he became president of Oxford Union [just like Benazir Bhutto]. Ali knows very well that most kids his age in Pakistan who were part of 68/69 ended up in Lahore Fort and lost their lives or ruined it. Only family wealth put Ali in Oxford and put him in  contact with European Left whose blued eyed boy he became.

Comrade when you were resisting the empire in westminister with Hollywood celebrities Bhutto’s were being murdered along with the working class workers of the party . Thats what made them leaders . So that you can write novels about them and make films on them and earn millions and than falsify facts.

Food for thought: If PPP is such a family fiefdom why it was not inherited by Murtaza Bhutto and what forces the people of Larkana not to vote for Ginwa Bhutto?? by all laws of society its the male who is heir of father. Benazir didnt inherited she won it. By her struggle by her jails by her contact. Same is with Bilawl, he will only be the leader if he earns it like her mother or will end up like Mumtaz Bhutto and Ginwa Bhutto.!!

Shaheryar Ali

I had a glass of Wine in my hand and i was trying to read something when suddenly i heard it.A voice which had the spirit of Indus in it! With voice quality comparable to legendary folk singer Reshman and spiritual ecstasy reminiscent of Abida Parveen, Masooma Anwar is probably the most talented find in the recent times. I times of Jihad when music s dying, singers are being murdered , Masooma’s voice is like a spring of hope.

A medical student, Masooma’s is extremely talented, at such a young age she sings Kafi with a unique ease! She has also sung Kalam-e-Iqbal. She sings Bulleh Shah, Khawaja Faird and Iqbal with equal ease.

Its important that such a talented new singer must be promoted and her talent fully utilized. Below is one of her videos . She is singing a beautiful Kafi of Khawaja Ghulam Farid. Known as Keats of the East, the lyrics of Khawaja’s Kafi are enchanting. The way Masooma has sung it have made it a master piece!

“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

The way we think is the bases of every thing. . The way of thinking is what legitimizes one thing and condemns others. A particular “way of thinking” has been dominant in human societies since antiquity. It’s this way of thinking which has resulted in evolution of Religion, conventional Morality, hierarchical society and Patriarchy. Since the olden times certain philosophers have revolted against the “main stream” way of thinking, which essentially was based on a dichotomy of “thought” and “observation”. The constant friction between both and their advancement and evolution to this day is the main source of what I call “conventional way of thinking”. Its based on different , often contradictory understanding of concepts. Different ideas of Logic, Rationalism, empiricism and Idealism make this way of thinking.

Many philosophers of olden times revolted against way of thinking, they highlighted the ideas of “contradiction” “continuous flow”, “unity of opposites” and limitedness of apparent. They were often not accepted as “philosophers” but were called “Sophists”, “mystics”, poets and “insane” etc. Xeno gave a critique of motion, declared that a “flying arrow is at rest”. He was mocked for denying “motion”, he infact was criticizing the logical way of thing which looks at “Time” and “Space” as a fixed mechanical concept, showing that with there way of thinking “motion” can be shown to be a logical absurdity. Xeno’s paradoxes resulted in development of advance mathematics and with appearance of Quantum physics, his ideas about motion once again got new fame. Heraclites, Parmenides and others like them also revolted against “liner way of thinking”. In modern times Hegel developed “dialectics” and proposed it as “new logic” it was a celebration of contradiction, continuous motion, unity of opposites and mistrust of apparent.

Marx gave it a materialist touch in form of “dialectical materialism” which resulted in a first ever organized critique of the established way of thinking and its social manifestation. With dialectical thought emerged the critique of Morality, Family, Patriarchy, State, false consciousness, etc etc. Marx libertarian ideas were destroyed by the totalitarian and dogmatic regimes of Stalin and Mao. Against this back drop emerged the youth rebellion after 2nd world way whose expression in cultural arena was movements of “free love” and in politics “civil rights movement”, “Anti war movements”,” new left movement” and “revolution of 1968’ etc. These were the greatest challenges to conformity and established way of thinking. Most of it is now remembered as “Counter-Culture”.

During all these movements certain Hindu mystics emerged on international scene who associated with “peace” and “free love” movements. One such figure was OSHO. One of the most controversial figures of our times he has been maligned a lot. Osho should be called “anti mystic”. He challenged the conventional thinking, belief system and morality. His main ideas revolve around the quest of freedom and how conventional thought has actually brought all evils in the world. An excellent conversationalist, Osho has been called “Wittgenstein of religious thought”, his work is deconstructive, and he shows contradiction of conventional morality, thought and religion.

He was very popular in Pakistan during the cultural fascism of Zia. Rebel youth was attracted to his un inhibited talk on sex and freedom. After his fall from grace his ideas were largely forgotten but have seen a re emergence lately all over the world even in Pakistan. Osho was a trained philosophers, his talk is an expression of a sharp sense of humor and simplicity of expression. Those who have an interest in philosophy can see that in his simple lines he is usually commenting on some very serious philosophical problems.

This video is a short talk by him in which he speaks about concept of God and philosophical concept of contradiction. Its an excellent attack on organized religion, logical thinking and some politics

In this video Osho is criticizing philosophy, its an excellent attack on Idealism. [All proponents of non conventional way of thinking have condemned philosophy, from Xeno to Marx, Derrida and Deleuze want to destroy the whole tradition of western metaphysics as main cause of tyranny]

Few days back world celebrated Darwin’s 200th birthday. What do ideas of Darwin mean? The religious thought has taken a u turn on Darwin from total and violent rejection to cooption. Osho here puts things in perspective, those who have read Kant will enjoy his talk on “perfection”. Rediscovering Osho now will reveal a lot of new things, one need to be bit non judgmental and listen to him not considering all the package that we have inherited.

“Strange Fruit” is a song which has always inspired me, it has made me cry, it has motivated me, it has aroused passion in me, and it has made me experience sorrow and grief all at the same times. Result is that it has become a strong inspiration for me. Sung by the legendary Billie Holiday based on the lyrics of a Jewish school teacher who was member of American Communist Party, the song is one of the strongest Artistic protests against Racism and Fascism. The bodies of young Negro lads hanging on tress after being lynched by God fearing, patriotic white Americans became allegorical symbols for poetic expression as “strange fruits”.

Taliban Justice, Pakhtunkhuawa

Taliban Justice, Pakhtunkhuawa

It’s not just a piece of music, or a piece of history which gives liberals kick thinking romantically of the “struggle” and than being grateful to American democracy which has defeated racism. The song and what it represents is some thing greater. When these crimes were being committed people were silent. Those were killing blacks were ordinary people church going people who thought they were doing a service to community. It was all being done in the name America, its values, and its national interest. When Abel Meeropol wrote the lyrics, he used a pseudonym Lewis Allan. Billie Holiday who sung it had to face persecution. Columbia refused to record this song. But these people persisted. They had to defy their country’s law and perceived interest to bring change. They dissented, they resisted and they protested.

Pakistani society is slowly giving in to Fascism. Our intellectuals are so obsessed with state and its interest that they are blind to the crimes being committed. In 71 they remained silent on Bengali Genocide. I have written about this before as well, here. All this was in the name of “national interest”. Now Baluchistan is the “scotoma” in Pakistani consciousness. Pakistan’s colonialism in Baluchistan is reaching its final oppressive stages. The case of Zarrina Murree was still fresh and no outrage was noticed in public opinion and now young student activist Qambar Baluch has gone “missing”. Malik Siraj Akbar of Daily times says here:

“There are confirmed reports that Qambar Baloch, a student of the 8th semester in Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) department at the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences (BUITMS), has gone ‘missing’. He ‘disappeared’ on 12 February from Quetta city where he had been invited by some officials ‘to come for investigations’. Bold enough to face his investigators, Qambar had fixed the district compound area for the meeting with the ‘unidentified caller’ where he would meet him. Since then no one knows about his whereabouts.”

Qambar Baluch, Missing

Qambar Baluch, Missing

Unspeakable crimes are being done in Baluchistan, extra judicial killings, torture, dispossession of whole population, a slow genocide of a sort but no news comes in the media. The simple sleeping pill our intellectuals have is “RAW” being involved in Baluchistan. With this Pakistani state gets right to do any thing it wants and no one will say a thing. Our collective “Big Bad India Syndrome”. Baluch anger is now out of control. The Nationalist, whom Pakistani establishment has been suppressing since day 1 and who despite that have remained pro Pakistan are now becoming irrelevant in front of angry young Baluch who are now fighting for “freedom”. A clear “Post nationalist” turn is visible in Baluch resistance. Unlike Baluch nationalists who were Marxists, Socialists and modernists. The post nationalist resistance is racist, violent and increasingly adopting International terrorist paradigm. This type of terrorism was virtually unheard of in Left wing military insurgencies. John Solecki’s kidnapping clearly indicating the influence of tactics of Al Qaida . Even more disturbing explanation could be that a part of Baluch

John Solecki , kidnapped

John Solecki , kidnapped

resistance has been infiltrated by Pakistani agencies that have long track record of this kind of terrorism in collaboration with Islamists. Baluchistan is a Bengal in making and Pakistani intellectuals and liberals are once again guilty of silence.

President Zardari today spoke about a “Taliban Take over” this too falls on deaf ears, though he himself is contributing to threat of Fascism by refusing to distance himself from imperialism. Islamic Fascism can never be defeated by USA’s war on terror which as empirical proof suggest has only helped increase it. Ahmad Rashid’s seminal work “Descent in chaos” explains it brilliantly as how United States policy is only causing “failed states”. Taliban’s reign of terror is continuing but it because the theory of “strategic depth” remains in place: Pakistani state keeping its links with groups and playing them against each other. All the networks and infrastructure remains intact. In the state of despair I listen to “Strange Fruit”. I want to believe Faiz Ahmad Faiz but I am loosing hope

Aatay Aatay yun hi dum bhar ku rukki hogi bahar

Jaatay Jaatay yun hi pal bhar ku khizan theri he

(If Autumn is here could Spring be far away?)

STRANGE FRUIT

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black body swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop.


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

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