Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2007

Revisiting Qutub Minar

Yeh raah-e-khaak saari main sar se qata ki hai, Naqsh-e-jabeen hai mere, har naqsh-e-paa jahaan hai, Mat maut ki tamanna, ai Dard, har ghari kar, Duniya ko dekh tu bhi, tu tau abhi jawam hai. ~ Khwaja Mir Dard I was fifteen years old when I first visited Qutub Minar as a tourist on a visit to the capital of India. Followed the ritual of buying a ticket of tourist bus whose route included the “hot” tourist spots India gate, Red fort, Birla temple, Lotus Temple et al, all that could be covered in one day. It was summer of May and the spots were really hot. The package also included a tourist guide who kept telling the foreign tourist― the only foreign tourist present in the bus, Arc de Triomphe of Paris is a copy of India gate. My father and an elder cousin brother, who had recently started working in Delhi, accompanied me on this tourist trip. I was excited about seeing the Iron Pillar and not the Qutub Minar. The reason for this being that I had recently read about Iron Pilla

Momin Khan Momin “An Observant Poet”, his Life and his Times

Mureez-e-ishq par rehmat khuda ki, Marz badta gaya jun jun dawa ki. ~Momin Khan Momin Hakim Momin Khan Momin [b.1800 (01)- d.1851] was born to a family of tabibs (traditional Islamic doctor) that originally belonged to Kashmir and that had moved to the Mughal capital Dilli. He not only learnt Persian, Urdu and Arabic at an early age but also attained mastery in Hikmat (medicine of the age), hence the title of ‘Hakim’ in the name. Momin’s father, Hakim Ghulam Nabi Khan, was a court doctor and could afford all the comforts for his son. His education had been thorough and systematic, as is proved by the embarrassing profusion of technical terms pertaining to music, astronomy, mathematics, medicine, etc. in his qasidas. Momin grew up in a luxurious household; later he was to refuse a professorship offer from a Delhi college because he found the salary “peanuts”. The other prominent feature of this household was: Religion. His father was a follower of Shah Abdul Aziz , son of the

All about Taro Ek Dragon Ka Beta

Hawa mithee tu aa ja, purab se Tufaan tu aa jaa re paschim se Chali aa, jaldi aa jaldi aa tu aasmaan se ~Title song from Cartoon Series Taro Ek Dragon Ka Beta Japanese cartoon series from the late 70’s Taro the Dragon Boy ( orginal story by Miyoko Matsutani ) was shown on Indian national television - Doordarshan, in mid nineties with the Hindi title: Taro Ek Dragon Ka Beta . Due to this one serial, a generation of Indians was introduced to the wonders of Japanese animation. Although it may not seem to be a great series in itself( when compared to the new age sleek animation of these days) , showing of Taro the Dragon Boy was the true precursor to the coming of Pokemons, Inuyashas, Samurai Jacks and Dragon Ball Zs. In India, the series is mostly remembered for its title track Hawa mithee tu aa ja written by Gulzar and brilliantly composed music by Vishal Bhardwaj. In 1966, Taro, the Son of Dragon with the original Japanese title of &

Collage of Old Hindi Movie Posters based on a Song

Mere jeevan saathi , pyaar kiye jaa waah! waah! Haan haan ! Mere jivan saathi, pyaar kiye jaa Jawani diwani , O o! Khoobsurat , ziddi padosan satyam shivam sundaram , satyam shivam sundaram satyam shivam sundaram Jhootha kahin ka ! Jhootha kahin ka? Haan, hare rama hare Krishna Dhat! Chaar sau bees , awaara ! Dil hi to hai Hai! Aashiq hoon baharon ka , tere mere sapne , tere ghar ke samane , Aamane saamane , shaadi ke baad! Shaadi ke baad? O baap re! Haan haan haan, haan! Hamare tumhare ! Kyaa? Munna , guddi , tinku , mili , shin shinaki babla boo Khel khel mein shor! , Shor , shor ... Bhuul gaye? Johny Mera Naam Achchhaa? Chori mera kaam , Johny Mera Naam, o, chori mera kaam O! Ram aur shyam Dhat, bandalbaaz Ladaki , milan , geet gata chal , pyaar ka mausam Besharam ! Aahaa haahaahaaha! Pyar ka mausam Besharam ... Satyam shivam sundaram, satyam shivam sundaram Satyam shivam sundaram Mere jivan saathi, pyaar kiye jaa Jaa jaa! Javaani d

Majaz and Origin of the song Khoya Khoya Chand

Jee mein aata hai murda sitare noch loon Idhar bhi nooch loon udhar bhi noch loon Ek do ka zikar kya mein sare nooch loon I had a feeling about these lines when I first heard the song, a feeling that made me go, “Ok! Something miraculous just happened to a good but not so great a song!” My cabbie was listening keenly to the song and started laughing every time he heard the words nooch loo . Maybe he knew what just happened. This is what happened after that: he changed the radio station. But, I couldn’t get the lines out of my mind. Why the nooch loo exhortation? Then I found the answer: The Urge to Fly has done a brilliant job at finding the genesis of the song Khoya Khoya Chand from Sudhir Mishra’s recent film of the same name. The writer at his blog informs us in his in his diligent write-up that the origin of the song lies in the poetry of Urdu poet Majaz Lucknawi (real name Asrar ul Haq). Among many other observations he provides the answer to my query also. Kyun n

Origin of “the mind’s Tibet”

Hugh Richardson (1905-2000), Britain’s last representative in Lhasa, was the first person to mention the phrase “the mind’s Tibet” to Patrick French. Richardson, who in a 1943 treaty gave up British extra-territorial rights in China, mentioned to Patrick French in a letter about “a quotation from Newbolt which I can’t find, ‘The mind’s Tibet where none has gone before.’” Patrick French describes this Tibet as: “A Tibet of the mind, a notion of pure, distant land, a place of personal escape, the heart of lightness. For some, it may be glimpsed through music, or fasting, or drugs, or prayer, or excessive exercise, or perfect love. It is the imaginary paradise, the cool correlative of the desert island with palms, coconuts and Gauguin’s women.” Patrick French looks from the origin of the line in all the writings of Henry Newbolt , but without any success until he comes across it in the September 1904 edition of the Monthly Review. It was here that the poem( which Patrick French finds