AMU Tarana

Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, main apne chaman ka bulbul hun
Sar-shaar-e-nigah-e-nargis hun, paa-basta-e-gesu-e-sumbul hun

(chaman: garden; bulbul: nightingale; sarshaar: overflowing, soaked; nigaah: sight; nargis: flower, Narcissus; paa-bastaa: embedded; gesuu: tresses; sumbul:  a plant with a plesant scent)

Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, ye mera chaman hai mera chaman
Main apne chaman ka bulbul hun

Jo taaq-e-haram mein roshan hai, wo shama yahan bhi jalti hai
Is dasht ke goshe goshe se, ek joo-e-hayat ubalti hai
Ye dasht-e-junoon deewanon ka, ye bazm-e-wafa parwanon ki
Ye shahr-e-tarab roomanon ka, ye khuld-e-bareen armanon ki
Fitrat ne sikhai hai ham ko, uftaad yahan parwaaz yahan
Gaaye hain wafa ke geet yahan, chheda hai junoon ka saaz yahan

(taaq-e-haram: a niche in the sacred Kaaba in Mecca; roshan: glowing; shamaa: candle; 
dasht: wilderness, desert; goshaa: corner; juu-e-hayaat: stream of life; junuuN: frenzy; 
bazm: gathering; vafaa: faithfulness; shahr-e-tarab: city of mirth; Khuld-e-bariiN: sublime paradise; armaan: hopes; fitrat: nature; uftaad: beginning of life; parvaaz: flight; saaz: song on an instrument)

Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, main apne chaman ka bulbul hun

Is bazm meiN taigheiN khencheen hain, is bazm meiN saghar tode hain
Is bazm meiN aankh bichhai hai, is bazm meiN dil tak jode hain
Har shaam hai shaam-e-Misr yahan, har shab hai shab-e-Sheeraz yahan
Hai saare jahan ka soz yahan aur saare jahan ka saaz yahan
Zarraat ka bosa lene ko, sau baar jhuka aakaash yahan
Khud aankh se ham ne dekhi hai, batil ki shikast-e-faash yahan

(teGh: sword; saGhar: goblet; shaam-e-Misr: evenings of Egpyt; shab-e-Sheeraz: nights of Sheeraz, a famous city of Iran; soz: pain; zarraat: dust particles; bosaa: kiss; baatil: evil; shikast-e-faash: clear defeat)

Ye mera chaman hai mera chaman, ye mera chaman hai mera chaman
Main apne chaman ka bulbul hun

Jo abr yahan se uthega, wo saare jahan par barsega
Har joo-e-rawan par barsega, har koh-e-garan par barsega
Har sard-o-saman par barsega, har dasht-o-daman par barsega
Khud apne chaman par barsega, ghairon ke chaman par barsega
Har shahr-e-tarab par garjega, har qasr-e-tarab par kadkega

(abr: cloud; juu-e-ravaan: flowing streams; koh-e-garaaN: big mountains; sard-o-saman: open and shelter; dasht-o-daman: wild and subdued; qasr-e-tarab: citadel of joy)

Ye abr hamesha barsa hai, ye abr hamesha barsega
Ye abr hamesha barsa hai, ye abr hamesha barsega
Ye abr hamesha barsa hai, ye abr hamesha barsega
Barsegaa, Barsegaa, Barsegaaa…

Majaz Lakhnawi



Response to Digital Gandhians

In an interview with an English newspaper the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani made a statement that has snowballed into a political controversy. He had said that “Our youth, especially our educated youth, have now started feeling being under occupation and they cannot bear more humiliation. They are ready to die for Kashmir cause” (Rising Kashmir: November 28, 2015). In the interview he endorsed their decision to pick up the arms and argued that “We cannot call it violence as these youth are fighting for their rights with different means.”

This statement, apparently, comes in the backdrop of many young Kashmiri boys joining the armed struggle, lately (Kashmir’s Young Rebels, The Diplomat: August 22, 2015).

However, there is nothing in the interview that hasn’t been said before by either Mr. Geelani or other pro-plebiscite leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, except for the sweeping remark that people have failed the leadership. This latter statement has provoked many people and an excited debate has ensued in the mainstream Kashmiri press and on social media. There are, though, two streams of the ensuing debate: one discussing the role of the armed militancy within the larger self-determination movement and another discussing if Mr. Geelani is justified in saying that people have failed the leadership.

Yet, there is another discussion that runs beneath or parallel to these two streams. The following social media statement (culled from the Facebook timeline of a senior Kashmiri journalist) is an illustration of how this particular discussion is framed:

I have only seen those people throwing weight behind the theory that Kashmiri youth are right and justified in taking up the gun again, who are enjoying good jobs outside Kashmir or are in pursuit of green pastures and are studying in well reputed institutions. Why don’t you give up your dollar and riyal jobs and return to pick up the gun before glorifying it in the hands of others. Columnist Aijaz ul Haq has raised important questions and cannot be condemned just for saying what he thinks right.”

While the author has a point in terms of questioning those people who are at a safe distance and are in the pursuit of a career or have made one and then tell others to pick up the gun while not doing it themselves. No one would disagree to this argument. But still there are certain fallacies in the statement.

First, the premise that the author has “only seen those people throwing weight behind” the advocacy and justification of militancy who are the “careerist” (I am using the term as his implied meaning) outside Kashmir does not stand up to the scrutiny. Because we have seen over the last two decades and particularly since the last few years that people (both men and women) throng the processions of the slain rebels in every village and town of Kashmir with sloganeering and chants in which they reaffirm their support for what most people in Kashmir call Mujahid (rebels) and Shaheed (martyrs), by saying, for example, “Shuhada ke waris zinda hai”, “Lashkar [or Hizb] walo aage bado, hum tunhare saath hai” and many such slogans. Moreover, in the interviews with Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri press, we have seen parents of either active militants (like Burhan Wani) or slain ones (like Hizb’s Adil Khan) saying they are “proud” of their sons because they think they are on a “just path” (Kashmir’s Disturbing New Reality, Hindustan Times: November 23, 2015).

These evidences make it clear that those young Kashmiris who take up arms do it because they know this path has a cultural acceptance as it has a popular support, though they may be driven by religious motivations also. So the context in which a young Kashmiri chooses to join the armed struggle is not so much determined by the discourse of the educated elite or the “careerists” as much by other factors.

Second, the author presupposes that the “careerists” abroad and at home encourage “others” to pick up the gun. This is again a sweeping generalization and an unsubstantiated argument. Here you have to make a distinction between “glorifying” the gun “in the hands of others” and showing solidarity with those who have already decided to take up the gun. As argued already above, the decision to join the armed struggle is independent of what “careerists” are saying on social media. We even don’t know if those who do take up the gun have access to the discourses of the “careerists”, in the first place.

As journalist Majid Maqbool writes in his Greater Kashmir article (December 15, 2015):

“The circumstances under which a young Kashmiri boy picks up the gun are complex and not that simple as they might appear on ground. It’s not about police harassment alone; not frequent arrests; not torture alone; not the PSAs slapped on protesting youth that force them to pick up the gun.  It’s often also not necessarily what their family says because family is not consulted on such personal decisions. It’s a complex interplay of cumulative reasons – specific and different for each individual who takes the extreme step – that reach a tipping point after years of living in a heavily militarized place where your identify is always in question and your dignity trampled by force. And then there’s no looking back. For the state the youth who picks up the gun is already a terrorist worth eliminating in an encounter.”

Now, after uncovering the basic fallacies in his argument we have to ask few counter questions to further deconstruct his statement.

If a “careerist” abroad glorifies the gun in “other’s hands” how does he or she does it? One plausible answer is by posting and writing the rebel glorifying statements on social media or in the conventional press or uploading the pictures and videos of the slain rebels on his or her Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. Well, the questions that follow are these:

Does doing (in his words “glorifying gun”) such a thing is advantageous or detrimental to a Kashmiri careerist’s interests? Do you think the Indian state rewards doing these things openly or it brings unnecessary state surveillance upon those who do it? Would the state like and reward a person who glorifies rebels and the armed rebellion or the one who assumes a strategic silence?

Is the one who does not own (or shun active or slain rebels) a real careerist or the one who does something which goes against the interests of the state and militates against its dominant discourse?

Would the state like the one who acquiesce in by giving legitimizing platforms to the functionaries of the occupation or the one who critiques the very basis of their rule?

In the realm of moral universe and societal solidarity does it make a sense to not feel grieved and outraged when a young Kashmiri dies in an bloody encounter with a massively armed Indian forces? When entire villages and towns come out to attend his funeral in show of societal solidarity, would a “careerist” abroad not be morally compelled to join that solidarity as well? And if the answer is yes, then how would he or she do that?

Okay, I will not tell others to join the armed struggle because I am not doing it myself, but do I have a right to show solidarity with those who, under overwhelming circumstances, decide to do it? And is my showing solidarity a sign of glorifying gun or just what it is – solidarity with a fellow Kashmiri who like me endure the same occupation?

Last but not the least, those who exhort others not to glorify violence and not be digital Che Guevaras and rather inspire our daughters and sons to be Anne Franks and Noam Chomsky, have no business celebrating and commemorating Maqbool Butt, Hamid Sheikh, Ashfaq Majeed and other stalwarts of our armed struggle, because it goes against their ideology. And those who put the armed struggle in inverted commas just betray their own pretense.

P.S: So when a Kashmiri becomes a Noam Chomsky, what is he supposed to do?









If the Hindutva bhakts are good at anything, it is their dumbass public display of aggressiveness and chauvinism towards innocent bystanders and minorities.

Teachers’ Day in September this year was a day of grand celebration for climate-change deniers the world over, and they must be wallowing in self-praise. They got a new chubby pot-bellied member in their club, a high-profile globetrotter whose reckless selfies with animate and inanimate entities alone amount to gigabytes of e-waste, and whose unceasing frequent foreign tours alone make a case against him for having a disproportionately large carbon footprint.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about none other than Mr Modi, the deity of the dumbass diaspora and the imbecile right-wing fanatics.  With his arrival in the club, the deniers will definitely get a new lease of life because mind you, wherever he goes he not only carries his idiosyncratic megalomaniac persona, but also invents some spontaneous barmy doctrines.  In a televised address to schoolchildren, he explained his doctrine thus:

Climate has not changed. We have changed. Our habits have changed. We take too many selfies and expect our data storage won’t run out—is that even possible?! These wiry old men and women bathing in the lazy afternoon sun in the hinterlands of Haryana and UP feel it is cold out there. No no no, mere mitron aur balakon, they have actually lost it: it is their bodies that have become weak, because they work too many hours in those big fields, which yield nothing more than a seasonal grain for them. If they sell these fields to us they will never feel cold and they will never say climate has changed. Just look at those smart guys in Gurgaon’s tall office towers, ask them whether they feel cold and do they feel the climate has changed. No of course not. Because they are smart people, they work for my buddies Ambani and Adani, and my buddies make sure their bodies are always strong and they do not feel cold and they do not say climate has changed.

* * *

The Grand European Sale of Humanity concluded in Brussels a few days ago. Turkey, the former sick man of Europe, got a package of $3.2 billion from the 28 European Union member states, besides promises of entry into their buddy club that would be just short of full membership, for now at least. The steam of this newfound love with Turkey seems not strong enough to warrant an immediate marriage at Brussels. Notwithstanding the promise of the European dream, the sceptics warn to be wary of this political hanky-panky.

Remarking on the agreement, European Council President Donald Tusk said:

We Europeans are a smart people, you know that. We outsource services and manufacturing because we want to reduce certain expenses, like corporate taxes and healthcare costs, but maintain salaries of gargantuan proportions for our executives. This is our successful business model.

So here at this historic moment, we are also applying this model to the current migrant and refugee crisis. We are outsourcing humanitarianism to Turkey because it is cost-effective, politically and economically. We do believe in human rights, refugee rights and all that, but lets us put this burden on Turkey for now; we believe they can manage it. See, if they can host over one and half million, they can cope with many more. They need money, we will provide that, but please do not let them come to Europe. Our capacity of preaching human rights to others is excessive, but this crisis has confused us, really.

* * *

The past few years have shown us that if the Hindutva bhakts are good at anything, it is their dumbass public display of aggressiveness and chauvinism towards innocent bystanders and minorities. But with the arrival of Modi on the scene there is an added element to their dumbassery: their Modi-manic hysteria, which made Salman Rushdie call them Modi toadies.

They have their own warped logic and hare-brained doctrine: you cannot criticise the BJP because BJP is Modi and Modi is BJP and in turn Modi is India which means BJP is India and since Modi and BJP are one, criticising the BJP government is tantamount to criticising Modi and criticising Modi is tantamount to criticising India and we are desh bhakts who will never tolerate it. Good grief! Thesebhakts really must be as high as a kite. And when people whose minds are filled with such bilge are put in charge of important cultural and educational institutions, you’ve got to marvel at the interesting times we live in.

One of the interesting episodes was the India release of the latest James Bond film. Since the chairman of the censor board is big-time Modi toady Pahlaj Nihalani (of “Modi Kaka!” fame), he was adamant that Mr Bond act as sanskari as possible while in Modi’s India. He took Sam Mendes ke Gunahon Ka Faisla and ordered cuts in the kissing scenes, removing Shola from Shabnam for the viewers.

Another interesting episode was Aamir Khan’s so-called controversial remarks about intolerance. The bhakts argued that since Aamir was the brand ambassador of the !ncredible !ndia campaign, he should not have opened his mouth, which in turn ruffled the feathers of the brand ambassadors of the intolerant India campaign. However, what was more interesting in this episode was not the hyperactive overreaction of the Modi toadies—which is now as predictable as a loud belch after a Punjabi dinner—but the way Anupam Kher again tried to poke his baldy crown into this overblown affair, fanning the degenerate politics around it and exacerbating the situation. True to his absurd logic, he again harped on about “What about the Kashmiri Pandits?”, a refrain he brings into any discussion whether or not it is remotely connected; it has become a pathological obsession, for which he recently got a slap on his wrists by Rajdeep Sardesai.

* * *

A new scandal has come to the fore on which the media has strangely remained circumspect. On Twitter, though, it is trending as #ModiMediaGate. Washington Post journalist Annie Gowen has revealed that the BJP government tried to influence her newspaper. She tweeted:

We have been contacted twice in recent weeks by private PR companies representing Indian govt. officials. Good use of govt funds?

Well, when a PR company contacts a newspaper they do not talk politics, they talk business. However, after the revelation that Lance Price, a former BBC journalist, was paid to write Modi’s biography The Modi Effect, one would not be as surprised to learn that The Washington Post was approached to succumb to the Modi effect too. But the million-dollar question is how many have succumbed so far?

That the BJP government could somehow tame the important players of the corporate media in India does not mean that criticism against it, especially against its fascist anti-minority agenda, would have ceased to percolate from major international dailies onto social media. One after another, prominent news outlets like The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Al Jazeera English have come out with editorials and op-ed pieces that were unflattering for the Modi government. The left-leaning Guardian carried searing critiques of the Modi government from noted intellectuals and writers. Pankaj Mishra called Modi a “divisive manipulator” and Anish Kapoor described the present BJP regime in India as “a Hindu Taliban”.

* * *

As much as he is the father of Omar, Farooq Abdullah is also the father of political absurdity. We are all well accustomed to his political shenanigans—his dumbass attempts to bamboozle us with his linguistic hocus-pocus, barmy theatrics and bunkum ideas. He is everything that is wrong with Kashmir, the chief patron of the occupational kleptocracy whose primary aim, nature and raison d’etre is to exploit the people of Kashmir and their misfortunes.

More crucially, he is the one who propagates, along with the Muftis and Syed Qasims and Bakhshis and Waheed Parras, the political doctrine in which the occupied are asked to abandon the resistance struggle for political justice and dignity and instead asked to internalise a slave mentality and accept the status quo and live an apolitical and an ahistorical life. Isn’t this audaciously asinine, political chutzpah?

That is why when Farooq Abdullah says Pakistan-controlled Kashmir will remain with Pakistan and India-controlled Kashmir will remain with India, he should not be taken seriously. There is, after all, a principal party to making this decision. They’re called ordinary Kashmiris, and they’re known to goRagda Ragda de Ragda from time to time to bring Abdullah and his ilk to their senses.


First published in Kindle Magazine on December 2, 2015:

Israel-Hizbollah War: David and Goliath Re-enacted

The outcome of the 34-day war between Israel and the resistance group Hizbollah has been rather vague. Israel was largely successful in destroying Hizbollah’s strong base in Lebanon and occupying some strategically important areas in the south, which Israel will most probably keep as ‘Buffer zones’ to protect its cities from direct Hizbollah rocket attacks. While Hizbollah, under the leadership of charismatic Hassan Nasrullah, courageously resisted West Asia ’s most powerful military for little over a month. Hizbollah achieved what combined Arab forces could not achieve in 1949, 1967 and 1973 (Yom Kippur War). It destroyed the myth that Israeli military is invincible. Eventually, Hizbollah’s historic victory has raised its political stock in Lebanon . It has now attained an iconic status and Hassan Nasrullah has become an inspiration for the Muslim youth around the world.

In this asymmetrical war between a nuclear armed power with around 6,50,000 well-equipped army-men and a small guerilla force of about 5000 fighters (largely armed with AK-47’s and second-hand former Soviet made Katyusha rockets) no one would have imagined that Hizbollah would inflict such heavy causalities on the Israeli forces; more than 100 Israeli soldiers were killed by Hizbollah. Moreover, several Merkava tanks (believed to be the world’s most protected tank) and an F-16 warplane were also destroyed. Israel faced the worst defeat (militarily as well as morally) in its history of 58 years, that too at the hands of a non-state force. This historic achievement of Hizbollah will certainly give Iranian defense strategists momentous encouragement.

Moreover, this war will be remembered by the world and studied by military analysts for Hizbollah’s heroic resistance, which has gained its own definition – Fourth-generation warfare. And more for the war rules, which were followed by the weak (Hizbollah) and violated by the strong ( Israel ). While Hizbollah’s targets were mainly- enemy forces, tanks, warplanes and military bases, Israeli warplanes wreaked havoc on the Lebanese infrastructure, killed thousands of innocent civilians and caused ‘the worst environmental crisis in Lebanese history’- an Israeli air strike on the Jiyeh power plant in south Beirut led to a 15000 ton oil-spill into the Mediterranean.

Israel adopted its old inhuman and immoral policy of targeting innocent civilians (1948, 78, 82, 96) to terrorize the enemy population and force the Lebanese government to act against Hizbollah. But this time this barbarous policy backfired and Israel had to face vehement international criticism. However, US showed its perpetual moral bankruptcy by saying ‘ Israel has the right to defend itself’ and continuously making impediments in the way of ceasefire. Thanks to the US support Israel moved on and in a ‘deliberate bombing’ killed 40 Lebanese in the village of Houla within days of July 30 Qana massacre, in which Israeli Air Force, in the middle of the night, indiscriminately bombed an apartment building that killed some 60 civilians, most of them little children, who were crushed under the rubble of the building in which they had taken refuge.

By killing UN monitors on the pretext of ‘mistaken identity’, Israel very tactfully tried to keep the international monitors out of the Israeli occupied areas. The presence of such international monitors would have made Israeli’s policy of using indiscriminate and disproportionate force difficult.

Notwithstanding US support Israel could not realize its primary objective of wholly dismantling ‘a state within a state,’ though everything was in its favour. By the virtue of UN Resolution 1701, atleast Israel ’s one objective of bringing the international force to Lebanon ’s southern border and the Litani River was successful. But that will not bring any significant change. The international force, UNIFIL, will only assist the Lebanese army. It cannot disarm Hizbollah because it does not have a mandate from the contributing countries. So the main motive of UNIFIL is to maintain a ‘Buffer Zone’ between Lebanon and Israel .

However, Zionist state’s Lebanon offensive in the present political scenario has only whetted the appetite of already dangerous blade of Muslim anger. Its international reputation has sunken to all time low. The war, initiated by Israel on the pretext of freeing its two abducted soldiers, will have a long term effect on the entire Middle East, where a whole new generation of Arab Muslims will grow up perceiving Israel as a serious threat to their very existence on the one hand and as vulnerable on the other. And many of them will join Hizbollah, which has very deep roots in the Lebanese society, or form new guerilla groups on its pattern.


First published in September 2006.