Counter Strike
My take on the things and events in the world.

Kabhi Kabhi.....(The Original Poem)

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Sahir Ludhiyanvi wrote many deep-meaning songs for movies. Some of my favorites are "chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayen hum donon", "yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai" and "kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai". Sahir Ludhiyanvi wasn’t just a lyrist, but was a shayar in the true sense. "Kabhi kabhi" was in fact a poem from his collection Talkhiyan. Amitabh Bachchan recited the simplified version brilliantly in the movie with the same name. The original poem is much longer and much more difficult to understand. But once you understand the meaning, its just beautiful and more meaningful than the film version. I found a video of Sahir Saheb reciting the original poem himself on youtube (couldn’t believe my luck):

And here is the text of the original poem along with meanings of difficult words:

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai...

Ke zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chhaon mein
Guzarane paati to shaadaab ho bhi sakati thi
Ye teergi jo meri zeest ka muqaddar hai
Teri nazar ki shuaon mein kho bhi sakati thi

Ajab na tha ke main begaana-e-alam reh kar
Tere jamaal ki raanaaiyon mein kho rahata
Tera gudaaz badan teri neem-baaz aankhein
Inhin haseen fazaaon mein mehav ho rahata

Pukaratin mujhe jab talkhiyan zamaane ki
Tere labon se halaawat ke ghoont pi leta
Hayaat cheekhati phirti barahana-sar, aur main
Ghaneri zulfon ke saaye mein chhup ke ji leta

Magar ye ho na saka, aur ab ye aalam hai
Ke tu nahin, tera gham, teri justajoo bhi nahin
Guzar rahi hai kuchh is tarah zindagi, jaise
Ise kisi ke sahaare ki aarazoo bhi nahin

Zamaane bhar ke dukhon ko lagaa chuka hun gale
Guzar raha hun kuchh anjaani rahguzaaron se
Muheeb saaye meri simt badhate aate hain
Hayaat-o-maut ke pur-haul khaar-zaaron se

Na koi jaada na manzil na roshani ka suraag
Bhatak rahi hai khalaaon mein zindagi meri
Inhin khalaaon mein rah jaoonga kabhi khokar
Main jaanata hun meri hum-nafas, magar yun hi

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai...

Shaadaab - Blissful
Teergi - Darkness
Shuaon - Brightness
Begana-e-alam - Alien to sadness/grief
Jamaal - Beauty
Raanaaiyon - Elegance
Gudaaz - Tender
Neem-baaz - Half-open
Mehav - Drowned
Talkhiyan – Bitterness’s
Halaawat - Deliciousness
Hayaat - Life
Barahana-sar - Uncovered-head
Rahguzaaron - Paths
Muheeb - Dreadful
Simt - Direction
Hayaat-o-maut - Life and death
Pur-haul - Full of terror
khaar-zaaron - Small trees with many thorns
Jaada - Path
Khalaaon - Vacuum
Hum-nafas - Companion, Of the same breath

Here is the one recited by Amitji (Jump to 02:09):

For me the real theme of the poem is in these lines:

Magar ye ho na saka, aur ab ye aalam hai
Ke tu nahin, tera gham, teri justajoo bhi nahin

Try to think about something that you loved dearly and couldn’t get. And try to imagine yourself in a state where you don’t have it, you don’t grieve the loss and don’t have any desire to get it either. All the three are conditions are so difficult to attain simultaneously, at least for me. But once you understand this state of mind of poet, the meaning of the entire poem changes. It is no longer just a ghamgheen poem! Listen to it again...
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I am finally done with my Ghazal on the concept of Life. I would like to extend a spacial thanks to a dear friend for proof reading it and helping out in coming up with a nice title. Mulahiza farmaiye:

Zindagi iss kadar tanha kyon hai?
Maut se iss kadar pinha kyon hai?

Woh jo jaane hai qayamat ka matlab
Maut se iss kadar darta kyon hai?

Har koi jeeney ko lutf kehta hai
Zeest sabki toh ghamzada kyon hai?

Zulm sehne ko buzdili maana
Dukh ko sehna phir hausala kyon hai?

Marna gar na-gawaar hai tujhko
Hasti-e-faani pe marta kyon hai?

Kaun hoon main, kahan hoon, meri hasti kya hai?
Kaun hai tu mere jaisa, mujhsa dikhta kyon hai?

Zeest - Life
Pinha - Concealed
Ghamzada - Filled with sorrow
Na-gawaar - Distasteful
Hasti-e-faani - Mortal life/body
Raqeeb - Enemy
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Tammana-e-dil bekarar hui jaati hai
Zindagi aur bhi dushwar hui jaati hai

Aankh se khwab bahut door hue jaaten hain
Asliyat khwab se bhi door hui jaati hai

Har khushi dil ko ghamgheen kiye jaati hai
Ek tere gham se zindagi shadab hui jaati hai

Main isse har kadam humrah kiye rehta hoon
Meri vahshat mujh se hi bezaar hui jaati hai

Firaaq - Separation
Shadab - Blissful
Vahshat - Solitude
Bezaar - Fed-up
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Duniya Mein Hoon Duniya Ka Talabgar Nahi Hoon

Sunday, March 23, 2008
My shyarana mood continues and so does my musings on the concept of life. I should be able to finish and share my new ghazal on the same topic very soon. In the meanwhile, I came across this beautiful ghazal by Seemaab Akbarabadi that I thought was worth sharing:
Duniya mein hoon duniya ka talabgar nahi hoon
Bazaar se guzra hoon kharidar nahi hoon

Zinda hoon magar zeest ki lazzat nahi baaqi
Har-chand ke hoon hosh mein hoshiyaar nahi hoon

Is khana-e-hasti se guzar jaoonga belaus
Saaya hoon faqut naqsh ba-deewar nahi hoon

Woh gul hoon khizan ne jise barbad kiya hai
Uljoon kisi daman se main woh khar nahi hoon

Talabgar - Desirous
Zeest - Life
Lazzat - Pleasure
Har-chand - Always
Khana-e-hasti - Existence
Belaus - Without gains
Faqut - Just
Naqsh ba-deewar - Carving on the wall
Khizan - Autumn
Khar - Thorn

(Main source:
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Taslima Nasreen Vs "Secular" India

Friday, March 21, 2008
What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.

How true is this statement by Salman Rushdie! I have neither read Lajja nor Dwikhandito. I am also aware that that these works of art might offend some Muslims or other people in general. If that is so, we should protest in peaceful and civilized manner like grown up gentlemen. A work of art or a book is just a version of the world by its writer's perspective. Truth is one but everyone sees that truth differently. If you don't like someones views, come up with your own version, argue and show the world how your perspective is better. That is how a progressive and open civil society should work.

But the actual point here wasn't the views expressed by Taslima Nasreen in her books that she even took back after those planned demonstrations. The point is that how these communal forces (read CPIM and Congress) used these religious sentiments to divert media attention from a public movement in Nandigram and then in Kolkata. The real tragedy is that Muslims allowed them to manipulate their religious sentiments and we as a "secular" civil society watched the show helplessly. Worse, those who did this, are now claiming to be the champions of Muslim cause. This, according to me, is a complete and collective failure of the system and society.

Both her books have been in print for long and she too has been living in India for a some years now. So what happened suddenly? Answer is Nandigram (see The Ugly Face of Communism in India). When people started protesting in Kolkata against violence in Nandigram and media stated reporting it in a big way, CPI/CPIM staged these protests against Taslima Nasreen and drove her out of Kolkata. Our central government wasn't war behind. She calls the place she was kept in as "the chamber of torture and death" and has accused government officials and our revered foreign affairs minister and second in command after PM, Mr. Pranabh Mukharjee of mental harassment. GOI made mockery of even basic spirit of human values by not even allowing Mrs Nasreen to see a doctor by citing security reasons. And this ultimately forced Mrs Naseen to take the step that they wanted.

Incident after incident, governments in India are bowing to communal elements and our constitutional institutions have failed to up held the secular spirit that our forefathers enriched in the constitution. Be it Gujrat riots or this latest episode, we are just serving the interest of extremist elements of different communities. We are undermining moderate voices. This not secularism, not even schudo secularism, this is blatant communalism, religious extremism, right on the face. The interesting thing is that we just change our sides based on our interests and our cowardice. Sometimes we align ourselves with Advani and co to bring down Babri mosque and never take any action and at some other time we harass, torture and throw out a liberal writer out of the country.

You took the right decision to leave India, Mrs Nasreen. India is no longer an open and progressive society. We are now becoming a model failed state that doesn't follow its own laws but is governed by diktats of fundamentalist of every religion and cast. She herself described the situation after leaving India as:

"A person who couldn't be scared by fundamentalists has been defeated by cold-blooded state terrorism inflicted by the Indian government. My terrible experience has shattered all my notions about a secular, democratic India.”

So has mine! Sadly, I no longer consider India a secular country after watching and analyzing the political developments in last 15-20 years. Right from Shah Bano case to Babri demolition, and from Gujrat massacre to Taslima's exile. It is a shame for all those who call themselves secular and liberal but don't have the guts to take a stand to defend it. Shame on you CPIM, shame on you UPA and shame on you India for being such a spineless communal state.

In the end, instead of Ghalib, I would like to quote actor Nana Patekar's dialog that captures my rage and frustration more appropriately:

Saala ek machhar aadmi ko hijra bana deta hai.

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Life or Death

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
To be, or not to be, that is the question.

As Shakespeare asks in Hamlet, is it better to live or die? Is it better to keep battling with life's challenges than to surrender and embrace death? On the other hand, isn't living just because you are not dead like everybody else, a form of inaction or running away? If life is always a misery, isn't it cowardice to bear it silently? Why not revolt? Why not challenge your fate? Why not refuse to suffer and see what death has for us?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008
जब सवालों भरी निगाहें
बेरुखी के जवाबों से मिलती हैं
तो एक अजीब सी उलझन पैदा होती है
एक कश्मकश
जो बेचैन कर देती है
सरसराहट बन कर
पूरे जिस्म में दौड़ जाती है
और दौड़ती रहती है
आखों में आरज़ू बन कर
ख्वाबों में जुस्तजू बन कर
और दिल में मोहब्बत बन कर
यह आरज़ू है, जुस्तजू भी लेकिन मुहब्बत...
क्योंकि मोहब्बत का जवाब बेरुखी नहीं हो सकता
क्योंकि मोहब्बत तो सवाल है ही नहीं
यह तो जवाब है
सब सवालों का
बेरुखी नहीं...
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Saheb, BB Aur Nawaz

Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Before I start with my analysis of the current situation in Pakistan's political landscape, let me applaud the role of General Musharaf, international community specially USA, all constitutional institutions, media and the people of Pakistan in conducting free and fair elections.

No single party has got clear majority in any of the assemblies (national or state), but PPP and PML(N) are being seen as the winners. PPP as the single largest party is expected for form the govt at the center with support of Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf's future seems bleak at this point as PML(Q), the 'King's Party' or 'Qatil League' has been routed badly in the elections everywhere except in some the rural areas where jagirdaris are quite strong and party symbols matter less.

Nawaz Sharif is playing the role of a king maker here. Unlike Zardari, he is a seasoned politician and is looking at his long term prospects. This assembly, as most people are rightly predicting isn't going to last long. Its risky to predict but two years should be long enough. Nawaz Sharif has already his eyes set on two-third majority in the next election which doesn't seems an unlikely scenario given the fact that PPP would have no Benazir Bhutto next time and nor the sympathy wave, coupled with the anti-incumbecy factor that would go against them. He would need it to make constitutional amendment to enable him to become PM for a third time.

The current direction of born-again jamhuriat looks so similar to what it was in its previous incarnations. The current state of affairs in terms of democracy can be analysed by the fact most people have voted on anti Musharraf plank or due the sympathy factor generated due Mohtarma's assassination. The ruling coalition to-be doesn't seem to have any real political agenda except for a few largely useless and symbolic issues like restoration of judges and removing Mush. Then what? Do they have any plan or capability to tackle with religious extremism? Would they be able to really deliver on the issues concerning common man rather than just playing divisive politics. Would the be able to provide a clean and effective administration instead of increasing their Swiss bank balances? Answers to all these questions seems no. Also, we have a very good understanding of the administrative capabilities and habits of Zardari (Mr 10%) and Nawaz Sharif (Mian Zakhmi Sher-e-Punjab). Mr Zardari's true colors have also begin to be seen now. After earlier proposing Makdoom Fahim's name, he now seems desperate to become PM himself. Nawaz Sharif too is hell bent on taking political revenge and is simply heading towards a path where a confrontation with Musharaf and possibally with Army seems inevitable.

Even at a time when Pakistan is on the crossroads and suicide bombings have become a daily feature, they are after power and political revenge. The real fight in Pakistan should not be between Musharaf and Nawaz Sharif, nor between Army and civilian control, it has to be between moderates and extremists. People have already given their verdict and religious parties have lost badly. Now for the sake of Pakistan's existence at least, they should get together, work with each other to rebuild democratic institutions and to defeat backward looking forces for the good of Pakistan and the world.

So much has changed in Pakistan in the last few years yet everything looks the same. In the words of Ghalib:

फिर उसी बेवफ़ा पे मरते हैं
फिर वही ज़िंदगी हमारी है
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