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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Urdu | Memorial Day

The following video documentary on Handwritten Urdu Newspaper in Chennai is simply mesmerizing! The only handwritten Newspaper in the world! And today is Memorial day, a day dedicated to honor the loved ones who are no more.  I am dedicating this write up to Najma, my late wife on this Memorial Day.

I love writing Urdu and there is not a day that I don't scribble something or the other in Urdu. It was a good feeling to see this down-to-the-earth documentary. It was a pleasure to hear about the prevalent secular ethos in that news paper office.

In the early sixties we had three Urdu Newspapers in Bangalore; Pasban, Jumhoor, Azad and Salaar, there are many more now and I forgot the weekend news papers we had.  

I hope you’d love this video:


Indeed, I am infatuated with Urdu, interestingly it was Urdu that had pulled me towards my late wife Najma at a Mushaira in Richardson after which she had joined me on my TV and Radio shows as a co-host and a year later we married. She was superb in her diction and choice of words, people loved to hear her out on the radio; I would pull the car over and listen to her whole program. I can never forget Farida Jalal yielding her portion of emceeing to Najma in a Bollywood show, Lata Mangeshkar was enthralled and said "Najmaji aap ki awaaz bahut hi sunder hai aur aap bahut achchi Urdu bolti hain".

I am dedicating this write up to Najma to honor her memories on this memorial day.

About the Pluralism and Secularism in India, which I am a product of, I found those attitudes across the board. Even last year when I was in Bangalore and addressed the Muslim leadership gathering, the tone was same; co-existence and pluralism drawn from Islam and Hinduism at works.

I am pleased to quote my mother on this topic that I wrote on Mother’s day, "She was a pluralist. My youngest brother Farooq runs a real estate business in  Bangalore, and his manager had hung the picture of Lord Krishna in the office; he asked my Mother about it, she was blunt, "do you have your religious symbols hung on the wall? He said, yes, and she said, let him have his. Dear Mother, I salute you and I am going to brag about you." article at http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/05/mother-my-story-happy-mothers-day.html

I did not realize how much of Urdu runs through my veins, however I am yet to  give expression to it. I was writing to my mother until she was alive and kept writing  to my sister when she was in Rae Barielly and Secunderabad with my brother in Law who served in the Indian Army. However I used to write “Afsanay” short stories in Urdu and have written several Nazams and Ghazals in the  past, and have written a few Rubayee’s lately on Pluralism and social cohesion, they sound just like my mentor Sahir Ludhianavi. My sister writes for Salaar in Urdu and she has agreed to translate my work in Urdu for publication in Bangalore, my home town.

When I became single, I was looking for someone who does not have barriers between her and another human being. Religion, Race or Ethnicity was never an issue to me, so I talked with so many from literally every possible background …and I was joyous to know so many women from Muslim, Hindu, Parsee, Jain, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and different backgrounds were equally open about religion, race or ethnicity.  Most of them had described themselves as spiritual not religious.  

Then I realized, it wont’ be fair to her that I want to go to the Mushaera and she  will not enjoy it.  Grudgingly, I  was willing to miss seeing a woman in Saree or Shalwar Qamees, but Urdu was another thing. I see many of my friends in that boat here in Dallas and other cities, where the guys or the girls have to go-it-alone as their spouse does not speak Urdu. They cannot even enjoy listening to the songs without a timer for “my turn”. 

Thank God, I finally met Yasmeen, who was everything I was looking in a life partner and darn, she spoke Urdu!  God willing, we hope to host a few poetry sessions in Urdu and Hindi  next year. I’d rather attend the Public Mushaera when politics is cut out. We attended one in Louisville and it was fabulous. I had written a poem on Social cohesion and it was a cross between Iqbal and Sahir… I abandoned it, as I do not want to sound like I have copied them. Temptations to write it out again comes to my mind repeatedly, but I will be knowingly manipulating it not to sound like Sahir, then it will not be genuine poetry. Well, I will have to write another one and stop reading Iqbal and Sahir.

Happy Urdu and Reminiscent Memorial day
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, futurist and a writer on the topics of Pluralism, Coexistence, interfaith, Islam, India and cohesive societies. He is committed to building cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  His work is indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ 

Note to Desis – you do not wish a Happy Memorial day; it is a day of remembrance and not rejoice.

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