As I write this, I’m listening to Tina Sani singing Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s “Mere Dil Mere Musafir”. The news has just broken. There is nothing new about it. Indian Motion Pictures Association has passed a resolution to ban Pakistani Artists in India, only temporarily so that they can be a part of the jingoist mela. Essel Group Chairman and Rajya Sabha MP (why he is that, I don’t know) Subhash Chandra announced pulling out Pakistani TV shows from Zindagi channel as his chant of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. He further added that he requested Pakistani actors to condemn Uri Attack but they didn’t (Anti-nationals, chase them back). Also girls, Fawad Khan has left. And Atif Aslam’s Gurgaon (no, Gurugram) concert has been cancelled. Meanwhile Lahore Cinema announced boycotting of Indian movies as their part of Pakistan Zindabad. Well, merry times for everyone. War rooms are set up in news studios, both here and there (cute, na?). Open letters buzzing everywhere.
I feel really anti-national as my playlist has just gone to Mehdi Hassan singing Ranjish Hi Sahi written by Ahmad Faraz (Damn, both Pakistanis). It has not been a week to the Finale episode to Coke Studio Season 9 (our little love exchange platform), especially the last performance of Amjad Sabri shook us all. He and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan together performed the very famous qalaam of Amir Khusro, Aaj Rang Hai. How dare they? He is Amir Khusro, Tuti-E-Hind (Parrot of Hind devoid of Sindh). Also Nizam is our Mehboob-e-Ilahi, not yours. And some of the anti-nationals here keep on singing Baba Bulley Shah all the time. But we can because Akhand Bharat. Now you see Shahbaz Qalandar, yes Jhoolelal, this Pakistani guy Sindhis keep on celebrating (Indian Mujahirs). Let us pass a resolution not to sing “Damadam Mast Qalandar” ever. It is time we divide Sufism now, of course territorially. Can we do that or do we have to call a British guy? However there are practical problems. For example, Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad are flag-bearers of Dilli Gharana (tracing roots to earliest disciples of Amir Khusro) but they are Pakistanis. And Ghulam Hassan Shaggan from Gwalior Gharana is Pride of Performance and Sitara-e-Imtiaz of Pakistan. And the Mitwa singer, Shafqat Amanat Ali belongs to Patiala Gharana. Now what to do? We will probably need a British.
Okay now Abida Parveen is singing Asghar Gondvi’s “Zahid ne mera hasil-e-imaan nahi dekha” in my laptop, see her audacity to have done albums on Ghalib. Earlier in the day also, I was being all anti-national listening to Parvin Shakir and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. This is quite a confession but I own some inflammatory literature by these Pakistani writers. About Manto and Faiz, these guys are strange. They chose to leave the paradise to be persecuted in Pakistan (p, alliteration). No “Bol ki lab aazaad hain” and “Hum Dekhenge”. It boils my blood when Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Rafaqat Ali Khan sang “Saanson Ki Maala Par”. Let us be unequivocal about banning them from singing Meera Bai and Kabeer. Also why did Pakistani government has to felicitate Amrita Pritam. We need to appoint a committee to look into this. The good thing about all of this is that we could probably pick out these points when we want to make a speech about peace and stuff at these conferences and cultural festivals. Sometimes it feels like writing answers in exams. What are the problems with agriculture in India? Disguised unemployment. What are the advantages of practicing agriculture in India? Large manpower. Anyway right now, the season is that of increasing marginal utility of hatred, so let us ask for war.
Coming back, the playlist has now reached “Tu reh naward-e-shauq hai” by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. I know Iqbal is the fasaad ki jad but he is a great poet. To hell with poetry! The case of Allama Iqbal is curious. Born and died in India but envisioned this permanent headache giving State called Pakistan. Such a traitor (too much Shikwa and no one for Jawaab-e-Shikwa). And the greatest irony is that he wrote “Saare Jahaan se Achchha Hindustan HUMARA”. We have to stop saying “Khudi ko kar buland itna…” in every stupid motivation-giving lecture. However the position of Ghalib, Mir, Dagh, Firaq, Majaz and Momin is clearer. The case of Josh is different. The government of India should make sure that no Pakistani singer sings them or reads them. If need be, use the army. Also opposition, here is an attractive promise! We also have to divide the folklores and love stories all over. The government is requested to look into that.
Here is Iqbal Bano singing Qatil Shifai on my laptop (in the pre-Pakistani music ban era in India). The Hindu mythology, it is the best. The only problem is cannot be accomplished without the kingdoms of Darada, Gandhara, Kasmira, Kamboja, Bahlika, Madra, Kekaya, Amvastha, Sivi and Sauvira. What do they know about the pious land they are dwelling on. And the much talked about Lahore, Lord Luv’s kingdom, why can’t we reclaim it? And our great Indus Valley Civilization unfortunately situated in Pakistan, it is completely unfair to hand them all these beautiful archaeological sites they don’t identify with. We read everything from Indus Valley Civilization to Mughals to British in our history, this is what shapes our identity. How little is their history! The beautiful Jahangir tomb, which I cannot visit, remains isolated in my Mughal architecture exploring mission. Those are not monuments, they are shreds of our identity. Can we please exercise some extra-territorial jurisdiction here?
Now it is Ustad Amanat Ali Khan singing “Ye Arzoo thi tujhe gul ke rubaroo karte” (we need more stringent deterrents). Till last few years, we were all very happily living in our quarters of hatred. Then came social media and internet. Now these guys, we started talking with (except while an India-Pakistan cricket match), made sense. It was super strange to know that these were actually normal people with similar language and culture (except that they write karte as kartay). It is extremely shameful that I became friends with some of them due to similar interests in music, films, literature and peace. I even wore a Pakistani suit for Diwali last year. Contemporaneously there started this channel called Zindagi which was broadcasting Pakistani shows (and subsequent reruns). Now gharwale (gharwalay for Pakistanis) started watching them and were awed. These people are just like us. On being asked ki kaise (kaisay) ho? They reply theek-thaak. That was the era of increasing MU of peace.
Finally it is Ghulam Ali with his signature ghazal “Chupke Chupke Raat Din” by Hasrat Mohani. Hasrat Mohani was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India. It is his apmaan to leta Pakistani singer sing his writings. These Pakistani artists can’t stop coming to India to drain our economy and we are such large-hearted social-service doers. Now that we have distributed our alms and had the sawab, let us oust them till the next season of Coke Studio (Pakistan, of course). Plus our perpetually unemployed hulla-gulla boys from Shiv Sena, RSS and MNS are having their brief headline mongering phase. Let us not steal their thunder! Also the instances of anti-nationalness listed here are indicative and not exhaustive. About division, we have to start with the Ganga-jamuni tehzeeb. We have to see there is no household in Pakistan dancing on Bollywood songs at weddings. I sincerely hope that our very brave government will accept my suggestive measures for cultural division of India and Pakistan and show that we are beyond stopping playing cricket. Also congratulations to the country for standing united in the times of jingoistic bhangra!
via Shraddha Upadhyay
Twitter : @shraddha48