Archive for the ‘AMRITSAR- INDIA PAKISTAN -HISTORY’ Category

In TOI: FAIZ’S REBELLION WAS A PASSION :Salima Hashmi Faiz ‘s Daughter /By Rashmi Talwar


FIRST PUBLISHED IN TIMES OF INDIA

‘This silence of the Majority is worrisome’ Salima Hashmi daughter of one of the greatest poets of the subcontinent Faiz Ahmed Faiz , says about the current situation plaguing Pakistan in terms of terrorism. In an exclusive interview to Rashmi Talwar on the way to Pakistan via the Wagah Attari Indo-Pak Joint Check Post after presiding as the Guest of Honor at “Jashan-e-Faiz organized by Jammu Civil Society for Art and Literature (JCSAL), in Jammu” in connection with centenary celebrations of poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, being seen as the biggest-ever poetic congregation cum festival in the trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir.
salima hashmi

Kishwar Naheed, Rashmi Talwar, Salima Hashmi

Salima Hashmi daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz Interview in Times of India BY Rashmi Talwar

Q1: What was it like to stay in the shadow of your father- Faiz Ahmed Faiz -one of the finest poets?

Salima: For me, he was more of a father and less of a poet people knew him to be. My father was a soft spoken and gentle human being with not a harsh word to anyone and I too had taken after him as a shy, quiet, soft person. When I used to come to him, about odious comparisons when people asked me of my poetic skills, my father used to brush it aside and say “Ek ghar mein ek he shaiyar kafi hai’. It is only when I started teaching that I went against my natural mettle and learned to express myself in public. My paintings are in a way like a luminous visual translation of my father’s poetry. A new book, ‘A Song for This Day’, by Shoaib Hashmi, that holds 51 translated poems of my father in its covers, carries my painting as a watermark on each page of poetry

Q2: Many believe that Faiz was against the Indo-Pak partition of 1947. His silence with merely one poem on the partition (“Ye dagh dagh ujaala, ye shab-guzeeda sehar/ Who intezaar tha jis ka, ye who sehar to nahi”) authenticated this perception. How did he really feel about it?

Salima: My father was shocked by the catastrophe wrought by the partition. He told me, “It is only the British who may be delighted with this partition”. I asked him why he had not written more poetry, other than only one poem ‘Subh-i-Aazadi’ the first written after independence on August 14, 1947 with these pained but ringing words: “yeh daagh daagh ujaala, ye shab-gazeeda saher/ woh intezaar tha jiska yeh woh saher to nahin”( This dim, stained light, this morning that still bears the imprint of a dark night’s blows: surely this is not the morn that we had waited for all these long years) -He replied, “The monumental loss of life, exodus and bloodshed numbed and overwhelmed me. We wanted independence from the British but what this Radcliff line would denote, look like, what shape it would take, all of us had only a vague idea”. However my father wrote several editorials and essays in those days filled with grief over the pointless massacres, the terrible killings of innocents and appealed for sympathy and aid for the victims and for an end to the mayhem. I still remember when I was a child how my father would talk about his Indian poet friends like Firaq Gaurakhpuri, Hasrat Mohani, Majaz, Ali Sardar Jafri and others.
He never wrote much specifically about Partition. He may have believed that to make statements about such issues was the job of politicians. In the years leading up to 1947, Faiz and most intellectuals considered freedom from colonial rule as the most important matter. He wrote in one: ‘We all knew that. It would be safe to say that no one (including politicians) expected the human catastrophe that Partition eventually brought’.

Q3: What was so compelling about Jammu, other than the fact that your father centurion was being celebrated here, that moved you to tears?

Salima:The whole year devoted to Faiz’s celebrations in both India and Pakistan has overwhelmed me, but coming to Jammu was ever so special. “Ever since my aunt (fuffi) told me about my father and mother’s little known rendezvous in Jammu, I was yearning to visit Jammu. While most know about their Srinagar connection with his ‘nikkah’ with my mother Alys –a British, sanctified by Sheikh Abdullah, few know about my father’s frequent visits to Jammu via the Jammu-Sialkot train when they were in love.
“It was in the year 1938, that on the way to Jammu from Sialkot via train during summers, my aunt spotted them together. My aunt told me, “She was coming with her relatives and noticed Faiz in the train, and Faiz hurriedly changed his wagon on noticing us. On arrival at Jammu railway station, Faiz hastily crossed the station and approached a tonga, in which a beautiful English lady was waiting. Without looking elsewhere, Faiz hopped into the carriage and disappeared. Jammu being a small city, Faiz was noticed with that same beautiful lady.” My aunt confided that she kept “their secret” and “Faiz knew it! That served to bond us siblings as best friends”.

Q4: Any memories about the time when Faiz was incarcerated in Pakistan jails?

Salima : My father used to make light of his prison term in Sahiwal jail, it was known as Montgomery jail, then. He used to gloss over that period with a simple ease. Despite his inner turmoil, he used to amuse us by saying that “it was the same cell where Moti Lal Nehru and Badshah Khan were imprisoned during the freedom movement.” He invited my sister Munissa and me to the prison cell once and showed us the flowers he had planted. The ward has now been named as ‘Faiz Ward’ and the cell as ‘Kamra-e-Faiz’. Even the place in prison where he turned a wilderness into a garden is still there, bountiful with flowers, as if time has stood still, I was so moved with the sight of flowers when I visited it, and thought ‘even the flowers had held fast and not left my father, even after he left’. However, he had long spells of silence when he just observed the life pass by, doing nothing. Looking at a squirrel, tree, clouds, the moonlight… for hours, weeks passed by and he would not write a single poem. His long letters written to my mother Alys are very revealing of this state.

Whenever criticism came his way which was ‘huge’ he was known to never respond to critics, he just took a puff of cigarette and smiled ! There was a time when he was in Hyderabad jail and I wrote him a letter before my birthday and asked him for a silk dress. And was thrilled to receive a shalwar, kameez, duppata in silk with exquisite embroidery on my B’Day.

During his spell in the jail he wrote Dast-e-Saba and we held a book release function where people cried while reading the book. I was overwhelmed with the feelings that indeed my father had magical powers to move people with his words. Whenever a new poem emerged from his cell in the jail, it became the hottest news and spread like wild fire.

Q 5. What is your personal assessment of his work and poetry?

Salima: The fact that many who were condemned to the gallows in Zia-Ul-Haq’s regime went reciting his poems is the true assessment of his work that millions kissed in prayer. His rebellion was a passion, an internal matter, it was never used for swinging speeches; it was internalized and reserved for poetry; which was potent and constant.
His poetry incorporated both the values of beauty and social responsibilities. His message was couched in beautiful words with an almost wistful quality. That is why his poetry was unlike the writings of his contemporaries, with a style more mellifluous, his tone soft, his poems smooth and flowing, while other poets had a stronger tone.
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REMEMBERING FAIZ

Poets and artists converged on Zorawar Singh Auditorium of Jammu University for ‘Jashan-e-Faiz’ Festival to mark the 100th Birth Anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. A galaxy of Indian and Pakistani artists and poets churned out the best of original poetry covering aspects as banal as corruption and as soft as hands folded in prayer.
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Q 6. What do you think of the current situation in an environment of growing terrorism with specific reference to Pakistan and how can it be tackled?

Salima: The ‘silence’ of the majority who is against terrorism is worrisome. But they must remember that silence is not and will not be the solution. The scourge of terrorism is not confined to Pakistan alone; it is spreading its tentacles everywhere. It needs to be nipped by having all South Asian countries including Bangladesh to cooperate and coordinate with each other for a common cause to undermine and eradicate it. Remember those who stay silent today may not have a tomorrow for themselves or their near and dear ones… And recited Faiz’s poem –‘Lekin ab zulm ki miyaad ke din thode hain/ Ik zaraa sabr ki fariyaad ke din thode hain/ Arsaa-e-dahar ki jhulsi hui veeraani mein/ Hum ko rehana hai pa yoon hi to nahi rehana hai/ Ajnabi haathon ka benaam garaanbaar sitam/ Aaj sehana hai hamesha to nahi sehana hai..

Salima Hashmi, is Dean, School of Visual Arts, Beacon House National University, Lahore, has taught for 31-years at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore and remained its Principal for 4-years. Standing tall as an accomplished painter and an intense writer on arts, she curates exhibitions of contemporary art and traditional textiles, with her work exhibited in Pakistan and abroad. Her book ‘Unveiling the Visible-Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan’ and publication ‘Memories, Myths, Mutations – Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan’ co-authored with Yashodhara Dalmia for Oxford University Press, India and her express devotion to art, mentoring and promoting young artists has won her Pakistan’s ‘Pride of Performance award’.
Salima is the co-founder of the Rohtas Gallery in Islamabad, established in 1981, and established Rohtas-2 in Lahore in 2001.

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Amritsar born Farida Khanum– legendry Pak singer loves coming to India


FARIDA KHANUM


By SAANJH

The voice of Farida Khanum has enchanted listeners for decades, on both sides of the border. The legendary artiste, when she was in Delhi recently, said she had always got a lot of love from India, and that the arts made a huge difference to cultural relations – something that an initiative like Aman Ki Asha has reiterated often.

“Lijiye hum aa gaye, pahunch gaye aapke paas,” is what she says genially when the conversation begins. “Yeh pyaar mohabbat humein kheench laye. Bahut bhaag daud karke visa liya hai. ICCR and Roots to Routes ne bahut bhaag daud ki, bahut mehnat aur lagan se kaam kiya hai,” she says, in a heavy Punjabi accent.

Farida Khanum was born in Amritsar and spent the early years of her childhood in Kolkata before their family moved to Pakistan during Partition. How often has she come to Delhi? “Bahut martaba aa chuki hoon. Eighteen years ago, I came here for a performance for the Gymkhana Club. Getting an NoC was a big problem at that time. That was my first time in Delhi,” she says.

Narrating the story of her years in India, she says, “Meri padaish Amritsar ki hai, belong toh hum Punjab se hi karte hain, par hamari family ka rehna Kolkata mein ho gaya. My elder sister worked in theatre and films there. “Waise hum Punjabi hain, par asli soch toh meri Bengal ki hi hai, uske liye bahut kashish hai mere dil mein. Dono mix hoke kuch achha hi ho gaya ki Allah ne fankar bana diya, aur aap bachcon ko sunke khushi hoti hai,” she says.

“We left home at first because it was announced that India and Pakistan were to be partitioned and so was the state of Punjab. Uss waqt kashmakash hui, ghar jalne lage, maramari ho gayi. Toh hamare logon ne kaha ki Pindi (Rawalpindi) chalte hain, paas hai, mahine mein wapas aa jayenge. We took just enough stuff for a month, but we could never come back after that. Announce ho gaya ki Amritsar Hindustan mein chala gaya. Bachpan ka time tha, humein laga ki yeh kya hua. We started living in Pindi and then moved to Lahore. Hamare liye toh Lahore bhi naya tha, Pindi bhi naya tha. Iss wajah se do-teen saal uljhan rahi. Jo gaana seekha tha usmein difference aa gaya. Then I joined Radio Pakistan. Jab Allah Taala ko izzat deni hain, kisiko naam dena ho, toh aawaz mein bhi khoobsurti daal dete hain, aur logon ko achha laga. Naam toh mera Farida tha sirf, radio ke liye Farida Khanum kar diya.”

In the context of Aman Ki Asha, what difference to bilateral ties does she think art and cultural exchange can make? “Bahut farak padta hai beta, government ka bhi mood cool ho jaata hai, artiste ke aane mein ijazat de dete hain. Usse artiste bhi khush hota hai – unhe mauka milta hai ki Hindustan jaa ke apne fan ko sunayenge, apnon se milenge, tarse hote hain Hindustan dekhne ke liye, sochte hain sair hogi, dosti hogi, mohabbat badhegi. Zahir hai, aapki mohabbat mein koi kami hai nahin, woh yaadein bahut hi khoobsurat le ke jaate hain, woh kehte hain ki hum dobara aana chahenge. Yeh mel-jol, pyaar-mohabbat purana hai, lekin ismein zara si jo rukawat hoti hai, uske baad jo ijazat milti hai, usmein aur hi mazaa aata hai,” she says emphatically.

And what sort of response has she got from her fans here? “Jab bhi main aayi hoon, pyaar ke lafz hi likhe hain aapne. Artiste ka dil bada ho jaata hai ki itna toh main gaati hi nahin jitna inhone likha hai. Bahut achha lagta hai. Allah ka shukr hai, haalaat behtar se behtar ho rahe hain. Duayein hi dete hain hum bhi.”

The listeners here in India have always been connoisseurs of music, and regard for the arts is only growing. “Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sa’ab ke sahabzade kitna khoobsurat performance dete hain, mausiki toh yahan ki zindagi hai. Abhi ki baat nahin hai, purani baat hai ki Hindustan mein gaana hoga toh uska aur hi rang banta hai. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sa’ab bhi issi pyaar se yahan aa gaye, ki fan ko bhi aage badhana hai, naye bachchon mein,” she says.

And which younger performers has she heard and liked? “There are many, so many!” she exclaims. “Nazia Hassan and her brother did some good, light music, their kind of pop was very different and did so well. Lekin jo humara idhar ka kaam hai (classical music and ghazals, etc), ismein bhi bachche dilchaspi le rahe hain, zahir hai usmein bhi unka riyaz badhega, ismein bhi tarakki hogi.”

Story of India Pakistan bonding


By RASHMI TALWAR

I thank all who have taken the trouble to comment or like this post.IN fACEBOOK.. believe me it is close to my heart …..

Although, every year, I share photos of a tenderly, tended garden in Amritsar in March when in full bloom ….there is also a little story I would like to share with the heterogeneous mix of my friends …..
In one of the pixs, next to the green lamppost is a ‘innocent’ looking palm spreading more horizontally than vertically. When I requested my friends in Lahore, Pakistan, about carrying a little sapling to my Desh, a night before leaving, they promptly uprooted the palm breaking the pot, soldiered some soil of Pakistan, wetted it with water and wrapped in a polythene bag. On our arrival in India on the Samjhauta Express, my husband got talking to some who were similarly waiting. As the luggage started arriving, one of them pointed it out to my husband …”Dekho loki bootey vi Lahore to le ke aa rahe ne.” My husband knew it could only be me. Sheepishly, the man skipped away; when he saw it was the wife of the man he was talking to, who was carrying the ‘Green’ bounty.
Over there in Lahore, people asked me “India mein aisa Palm nahi milta kia ?” and back home I was queried on the same “India mein aisa palm nahi milta kia, jo app Lahore se utha layi ho?”. They did not know, that it was not the palm but the living, growing memento that I had got to bond me forever with the overwhelming “Realization of Peace between people of India and Pakistan” catering to my love for the Living, Growth, Nature, Progress and Smiles.
This was not the first time, and hopefully wouldn’t be the last .
On a visit to Nepal a quarter of a century back, I had similarly brought a Bamboo bush which turns Greenest of Greens, in the hottest of summers when all others look scorched from the burning sun.
Also, from countries having strict quarantine rules, come rocks, stones and pebbles, often to the chagrin of our friends, who laugh and point out “..Sare pathar bhar ke le ayin hain , weight tey zaida hone hi si..” I found a new way to lessen the weight, and carried them in my travelling belt. When I explained to officials of Custom and Immi that I was a “stupid” stone collector and it was not a ‘hijacking tool’ . I was just lucky, they believed me and let me off, often smilingly, while my dear and near ones continued to laugh incessantly, even to this day.
This ‘queer buzz’ in me again manifested itself on a different occasion . I got a call from Pakistan …Apka article Tribune mein parke , humey Indian high commission ne visa de diya hai …abb humey humare dost se milva do”..The call was from Raja Mohammed Ali, a childhood friend of Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, from village Gah (birthplace of PM), Pakistan……”Yeh sunn na tha, aur hum chal pare, unko milvane ke liye. Aisa kaho bachpan ke dost ki kahani ” Krishan- Sudama ” vali thi, lekin humko kia, humko bas karma tha …yeh .
…waise hi jese Dr Hardeep Singh aur Mrs Hapreet Kaur ke khoye hue bête Giandeep @Richie ke peche hum chal diye….

Raja ji aur Mohna ji (PM was called Mohna by his classmates) ki unnkahi kismet thi . “Ji” “mulakat hui Raja ji aur Mohna ki, aur sare Jahan ne dekha …Aur India se …..Jate, Jate Raja ji ko 2 Cassia (golden Shower) ke bootey diye ..aur woh idhar ke logon ke kahil ho gaye.
These two cassia saplings were out of three, one of which is planted behind the statue in the pix and will hopefully flower this year. However, the two are already flowering in the Pakistani village Gah bringing pleasure and smiles, since last year. ..my only wish is as my father in law (GRHS) said to me ….”Dont look back , move forward, there is no time better than now …”

U r free to share this post if u like ….Be with me on finding Giandeep….I know we will find him …..Godbless Amritsar

SEX SCANDALS –2009


Rashmi Talwar SEX SCANDALS 2009:… X-GUV ND TIWARI ….(85 yr old wid 3 women)..TIGER WOODS…(14 women frm woodwrk pointing fingers) S PS Rathore..(Ruchika Molestation )…SHINEY AHUJA…(the MA(i)D Man )….wat more …!!!!

Sher Singh commented on your status.

“Siyasat ke Nashe main, Paise ke Zor main,
Wo Phadte Kapde hain, Apni man ki karte hain,
Kanoon ko Jeb Main rakhte hain, Saaf Bach Nikate hain,
Are Aslee Gunhgaar tau hum hain, Jo Julm Sahte hain,
Jo bus sirf Gandhi-Subash ki hi Baaten karte hain,
Sirf Doosro pe hi Kichad uchaal te rahten hain,
Are jub wo Bhediye Samne hi Mauzud tumre hain,
Tau Sidhe Goli hi kyon nahi unhe maar dete Hain.

HISTORICAL FORT GOBINDGARH AMRITSAR–THROWN OPEN TO PUBLIC











ARMY HANDS OVER HISTORICAL FORT GOBINDGARH TO CIVIL ADMINISTRATION

Rashmi Talwar /Amritsar

October 6, 2008——–

The coming Monday was indeed be special and a magnificent historical moment in the history of the holy city as the army handed over the Fort Gobindgarh ramparts to the civil administration of the city, after several rounds of talks between bureaucracy, the political leadership and army authorities.

Major General P.S.Paul,VSM, General Officer Commanding Panther Division handed over the reins of the fort to Deputy Commissioner KS Pannu on this Monday .

The Punjab Government has already chalked out an ambitious plan to tap the great tourism potential of this historic city which includes a plan for the adaptive re-use of Fort Gobindgarh as a National Museum displaying memorabilia of India’s Freedom struggle besides a contemporary history of the Indian armed forces and the role of these forces in preserving the integrity of the country.

Located on the northwestern boundary of India, it was here that Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his armies for the first time were able to shut the Khyber Pass and prevent the invaders from invading India in the early 19th century.

It may be recalled that on December 20, 2006, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had handed over the key of the historic fort to the then Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

This monument was kept out of bounds from the people of Punjab for over 150 years who have emotional attachment with the events related to Fort Gobindgarh. It had remained under the control of Army since 1849, when Punjab was annexed by the British after the demise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is expected that Fort would be thrown open to the civilians who could witness firsthand the past history of the monument and of the period .

Built in 1760, it was called Bhangian Da Kila (Bhangis was one of the twelve Sikh misles), The fort occupies a unique place in the Indian military history.

During 1808, the fort was known as the fort of Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Later it was re-built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh with the help of Jodh Singh. The legendary Maharaja Ranjit Singh, strengthened the fortification of the fort in order to keep his treasures and treaties safely. Towards this end, is a specially constructed “Toshakhana”, in the centre of the fort. The huge Toshakhana was also used to store large amount of grains and provisions for the 12,000-strong Maharaja’s army.
Made with brick and lime with number of army bastions and iron gates and 25 cannons on the ramparts that are now replaced with modern weaponry, the fort was constructed on a square pattern with a parameter of 1500 sq mt with two strong gates, four large bastions and well-defined rampart.

The majestic entrance has been named ‘Nalwa Gate’, after General Hari Singh Nalwa –the great Sikh warrior in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army.

The other end of the gate is known as ‘Keelar Gate’ and it was rumoured that in its close proximity existed an escape tunnel, connecting to Lahore tunnel. However, the army authorities said that they had not been able to locate any such tunnel so far.

Of special interest to the denizens and tourists is the Darbar Hall, Hawa Mehal. and Phansi Ghar (hanging chamber) besides the “O’Dyer Bungalow” a grim reminder of — a reminder of the Jallianwala Bagh bloodbath (General Reginald E. H. Dyer, chief of the British army in Amritsar and the perpetrator of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that is merely a crows flight to the historical bagh where thousands lost their lives in the bloodiest carnage) . the British Army had added these to the fort after the annexation of Punjab about 150 years ago

Significantly after the Indo Pak Partition the fort provided shelter to a large number of refugees from Pakistan. A year after Partition in October 1948, the fort was handed over to the Indian Army. It was last occupied by 176 Field Regiment of the artillery

However, reservations are already being expressed whether the state government would be able to preserve (and restore) its original glory.
Talking to The Pioneer, Pannu said the administration and the Army authorities had worked out a solution. A part of the fort still held by army establishment would be properly segregated to give safety to their unit and also provide suitable camouflage by raising a wall with a cost of Rs 2.50 crore. A special road has also been constructed to provide a separate entry to the Army establishments.

He said the Ministry of Culture and Tourism had already earmarked restoration fund of Rs 2.50 crore that had been lying with the administration and would be used for proper facelifting and conservation of this historic monument..

Despite the prolong army occupation of the monument , the forces had to this day maintained the historicity of the place with the names of the various buildings still intact and etched in original form and have even tried to enhance the usage of the place by displays .

One such instance is the “Phasi Ghar” (hanging chambers ) that has a mock effigy hanging from a noose pointing explicitly over its use by the British who condemned hundreds of Indian freedom fighters and patriots to the gallows.
It is reported the General got sadistic pleasure in watching patriots being hanged in ‘Phansi

Ghar’ which is situated just opposite his residence-cum-office.
On this occasion , the “Association of Families of freedom fighters” demanded an inventory of those condemned to the gallows by the British , to be handed over to the civil administration as well as all previous records of the fort so that history could be truthfully , clearly and concisely conveyed to the public through historical memorabilia and corresponding documents in the proposed museum .

Also such a list could piece in the puzzle of several “missing” freedom fighters “who were known to have just ‘vanished’ during the freedom struggle and their mention in any incident or report could not be located .

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