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Showing posts from November, 2007

Meena Kumari: Her Death, Work, Love and Birth

November. 2007.

I never had a collection of bright colored marbles like other children.
~ Meena Kumari.

Meena Kumari was born with the birth name Mahajabeen into the family of Ali Bux and Iqbal Begum (known as Prabhawati Devi before her marriage and conversion to Islam). At home, Mahajabeen’s family fondly called her by the name “Munna”.

Vijay Bhatt, Director, Producer and Proprietor of Prakash Studio was approached by Ali Bux to cast Mahajabeen in one of his films. Vijay Bhatt was at that time making Leather Face aka Farzande Watan ( Hindi title, film released in 1939) in which Jairaj was the hero and Mehtab the heroine. There was a vacancy for a small girl to play Jairaj’s daughter (14 years later in the film Magroor she was to play the role of Jairaj’s love) and it is for this part that Vjay Bhatt wanted to cast Mahajabeen. At the audition, the little girl was neither intimidated nor overawed by the surroundings or the equipment. Vijay Bhatt was quick to spot this and gave her t…

Political Science “made easy”

We in India have a magic pill for the pains that one has to suffer while undergoing process of education. This "magic pill" is usually called a “guide” or a “made easy” and whole lot of other names though out India. Name might be different, but we know what it is. We know where to find it and when to buy it, at what cost to buy it and at what rate to sell it.

Like a laxative it works, only it helps in passing exams but sometimes it works like an anacathartic pill too, helping to vomit out crammed up undigested-hence poisonous-stuff. The concoctions that go into these pills are made by unknown quakes and at sometime by hacks who like to make a name and a lot of money for themselves.

Sham Lal in his essay titled Slums of the Mind, written way back in 1988 and first published in The Times of India, revealed the secret ingredients that go into making of a “made easies”. Sham Lal shred to tears a “made easy” prescribed for modern political theory course covering both BA (Pass) an…

A Second-hand Bookshop by John Arlott

A Second-hand Bookshop

The sunlight filters through the panes

Of book-shop windows, pockmarked grey

By years of grimy city rains,

And falls in mild, dust-laden ray

Across the stock, in shelf and stack,

Of this old bookshop-man who brought,

To a shabby shop in a cul-de-sac,

Three hundred years of print and thought.

Like a cloak hangs the bookshop smell,

Soothing, unique and reminding:

The book-collector knows its spell,

Subtle hints of books and binding

In the fine, black bookshop dust

Paper, printer's-ink and leather,

Binder's-glue and paper-rust

And time, all mixed together.

`Blake's Poems, Sir-ah, yes, I know,

Bohn did it in the old black binding,

In '83.' Then shuffles slow

To scan his shelves, intent on finding

This book of songs he has not heard,

With that deaf searcher's hopeful frown

Who knows the nightingale a bird

With Feathers grey and reddish-brown.

by John ArlottFound it in the Book:
Last Liberal and Other Essays by Ramachandra Guha

Parveen Babi: Half woman and Half Dream

Oh woman, you are half woman and half dream.
~Rabindranath Tagore, The Gardener


I was surprised. The most beautiful and seductive actress of Bombay film world! She lived alone in her bachelor apartment and has had a series of sensational love affairs. She had never learned to act but was sought after by producers for her glamour. At the peak of her career she had suddenly disappeared leaving behind many films unfinished, ruining the producers. Later, people learnt that she was washing dishes in a New York restaurant. After two years, healed of her wild and crazy actions, she retured to Bombay. The film industry embraced her and she became a star once again.
I first met her in 1981 at a party at Sanjay Khan’s ― the flamboyant film producer-actor-director. As she walked in, a warm wave ran through the party. She smiled and shook hands with everyone. She told me that she had read my novel and invited me over for a cup of coffee to her apartment.
When I went to see her, she was in he…

Madhuri Dixit posted to The Roof of the World

Sections of Lingkhor, Lhasa’s outer pilgrims’ walk with its shrines and temples, were the new red-light district. Literally hundreds of brothels, each with a blue glass front and a curtain across the door, lined the route. Chinese hookers, mainly from Sichuan and Qinghai, sat in the doorways knitting or combing their hair. Posters of Indian movie stars were stuck to the windows to give a sense of foreign glamour, the most popular draw being the luscious Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit.

Patrick French writing in “Tibet, Tibet: a personal history of a lost land”, page 219

Allama Iqbal and Gita

“I regret that it is impossible to render the melody of the Sanskrit words into Urdu language. If time permits, I have decided to translate the Gita into Urdu. You must have seen the Persian translation of the Gita, rendered by Faizi. Nobody can deny the excellence of his writing. But I think that while translating the Gita, he has not done proper justice to its content and style. I am clear in my mind that Faizi has failed to understand the sprit of the Gita.”

Allama Iqbal, in a letter dated 11th October, 1921 to Maharaja Kishan Prashad, writing about his wish to translate Gita. Maharaja Kishan Prashad was the Prime Minister of Hyderabad in the court of Nizam. He wrote a book, Matam-e-Husain, about Imam Hussain

Also read about Iqbal's view about Sri Krishna

Lines penned by Bahadur Shah Zafar (along with Urdu to English translation)

Umr-e- daraaz se maang ke laye the char din
Do aarzu mein guzar gaye, do intezaar mein
Hai kitna badnaseeb Zafar dafn ke liye
Do gaz zameen bhi na mili koo-e-yaar mein
(I had requested for a long life a life of four days
Two passed by in pining, and two in waiting
How unlucky is Zafar! For burial
Even two yards of land were not to be had, in
The land (of the) beloved.)

Na kisii kii ankh ka nur hun na kisii ke dil ka qarar hun
Jo kisii ke kam na a sake main vo ek mushat-e- Gubar hun
Na to main kissi ka habiib hun na to main kisii ka raqiib hun
Jo bigar gaya vo nasiib hun jo ujar gaya vo dayar hun
(My life gives no ray of light, I bring no solace to heart or eye
Out of dust to dust again, of no use to anyone am I
Barred the door of fate for me, bereft of my dear ones am I
The spring of a flower garden ruined
Alas, my autumn wing am I)

Hamane duniyaa mein aake kyaa dekhaa
Gekhaa jo kuch so Khvaab-saa dekhaa
Haa to insaan Khaak kaa putalaa
Lekin paanii kaa bulbulaa dekhaa
(I came into the w…