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November 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       November 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:Sep' 2017


Losing faith of our own!

Humra Quraishi

We are talking of bullet trains when even our slow moving trains have begun de-railing. This year hundreds were killed in train accidents, not to overlook the latest tragedy at Mumbai's Elphinstone station.
We are talking of smart cities when those traditionally structured ones are getting submerged and flooded. Whoever could have ever imagined that cities like Chennai, Mumbai , Srinagar or even the suburbs of New Delhi would get flooded to such an extent that homes would get washed away and boats and swimsuits need of the hour.
All those speeches of our development seem so hollow, as un –developed we stand. It wouldn't be amiss to say that never before, perhaps, not even in the dark ages, there'd been such horrifying sexual attacks on our boys and girls. Perversions of the worst kind are on, as developed we claim to be! Development is not about some make- believe graphs …development is when the young can look forward to a better tomorrow and not sit in fear of getting lathi charged. What took place right on the campus of Benaras Hindu University was nothing but anarchy.

Taj Mahal Mind you, one can pick up a thousand brooms and swish – swash dust from here to there but till the political mahaul is not cleansed nothing is going to work. We call ourselves a secular lot but today's rulers are wrecking even that notion! Hit and lynched are not just human forms but even monumental structures are not spared. The latest coming from Uttar Pradesh sarkar are the heap of questions raised on the very original and upkeep of the Taj Mahal! The world famous wonder which earns the State exchequer crores is also not spared by the Yogi government of the day! One can announce economic and relief packages for the affected areas but where's the trickle-down effect? Do these benefit the people or are they only for effect? Why aren't the recommendations made by the various committees moving, towards the masses? This brings me to ask: why the recommendations made by the Yashwant Sinha led delegation to the Kashmir Valley not implemented?

Farooq Ahmad Dar Yashwant Sinha visited the Valley in the autumn of 2016 and then again in 2017, along with members of the civil society organisation--Concerned Citizens Group (CCG). This group had come up with recommendations to dilute the crisis but nothing came up .
Aren't we to be blamed for that loss of faith of the Kashmiris? This brings me to write the latest news reports more than indicate that the Kashmiri shawl weaver, Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was tied to a military jeep and used as human shield during the by-polls in Srinagar on April 9, was telling the truth – he is no terrorist but a law abiding citizen. The police investigation report confirms that Dar was speaking the truth: he had cast his vote at a polling booth in his native village before he was picked up by the army, tied to their vehicle, used as a 'human shield…kept under wrongful confinement.'
We didn't even bother to hear him out, even when he was crying out –'I'm no stone- pelter, nor a terrorist or militant. I went to cast my vote yet they tied me to their jeep and didn't trust me, didn't believe me!'

Listening to classical strains

Begum Akhtar If this murky political mahaul hits, there is no better option than to sit listening to those classical strains and verse of the bygones. And on the late Begum Akhtar's birthday on 7 October, I did exactly that. Listened to this celebrated classical singer's renderings. And though much has been written about her passion for Urdu poetry, her yearnings, those emotional lows in her life which, perhaps , manifested in those renderings, yet there still exists a certain romantic aura. Just mention the very name Begum Akhtar, who was also known as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, and an entire range of images hover around…
Years before I could get to hear her at one of her concerts, I'd heard her name from an absolutely unexpected source: In my parent's home in Lucknow, an ageing person used to come selling lemons, ginger, green chillies and cucumbers. All stuffed in a huge bag which would be hung on his stooping shoulders. And before throwing them on the floor ,he'd exclaim, 'Akhtaria ke Bagh ke hain!' It was part and parcel of those rumours doing the rounds that this man belonging to an erstwhile well- todo family had lost his balance after being dumped by Begum Akhtar. He couldn't take the strain; he lost not just his balance and also his home and family and was reduced to selling this mundane Selling all this along with chanting that one-liner: Akhtaria ke bagh ke hain ! She, of course, finally married Lucknow's leading barrister Ishtiaq Ahmad Abbasi, who is said to have fallen in love with her after hearing her at one of the local mehfils. Their marriage took place after much opposition from Abbasi's clan; after all, he was defying traditions. I'm not too sure whether the marriage actually a 'happy' one because as several of her husband's relatives offloaded to me that Begum Akhtar was a person with strong likes and dislikes and also she loved to live in style – wore expensive saris and jewellery, lived a lavish lifestyle which at times was far beyond her means. To quote her husband's niece, late Rafia Husain – 'Its Abbasi sahib, who had to sacrifice at a lot for this marriage , including his career. A known fact that he could not be made a Judge as he was married to a former courtesan .Then , he gave in to her at other stages of their lives ; for instance , when she used to travel outside Lucknow for concerts , she did not want him to accompany her. With that he used to stay back in Lucknow. And though he was extremely lonely but never openly complained and nor ever fought with her. After her death he was so devastated its hard to describe. He lived a very lonely life and died ten years after her death.'

Brutally in this Capital city !

Ali Sardar Jafri Yes, thinking of that blissful period in our very recent history where poets Ali Sardar Jafri and Sahir Ludhianvi wrote verse after verse in solidarity with the Africans:
These lines of Ali Sardar Jafri written in 1960s relay much bonding between Indians and Africans - 'This African, my brother /Picks flowers, in forest after forest / My brother, whose feet are red /Red as roses.'

Sahir Ludhianvi Also these lines of Sahir Ludhianvi, written when Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of Congo, also a staunch anti-imperialist was deposed from office and then murdered, –'Tyranny has no caste, no community, no status nor dignity/ Tyranny is simply tyranny, from its beginning to its end /Blood however is blood, it becomes a hundred things /Shapes that cannot be obliterated /Flames that can never be extinguished /Chants that can never be suppressed.' Look where we stand reduced to in these 'developed' times, where we leave no opportunity to hit and hound foreigners and even refugees trying to survive in our midst.