Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raja Gidh

Bano Qudsia has experienced innovative form of Novel writing. Her novel usually based on three core values. First being the philosophy introduced which she tries to justify through her narrative style. Second being the city she opts for her story telling and on which plot of her novel revolves and finally parallel to the main plot allegorical story of animal which supports her philosophy and trace out the existence of animal character in human being.

Raja Gidh by Bano Qudsia is one of the most widely read and acclaimed Urdu novels offering the said trilogy bonanza to readers. Gidh is the Urdu word for a vulture and Raja is a Hindi synonym for king. The name anticipates the kingdom of vultures. The metaphor of the vulture as an animal feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals is employed to portray the trespassing of ethical limits imposed by the society or by the religion.

The philosophy is the concept of Halal & Haraam & hereditary transmission of Haraam genes. Naturally the plot is woven to support the thesis. In the opinion of many readers and critics she manages to convince them that the pursuance of Haraam, be it financial, moral or emotional, results in the deterioration of a person's normality in some sense. She seems to suggest that the abnormality is transferred genetically to the next generation.

The city is Lahore. The nostalgic narration of the historical Government College Lahore and of the Lawrence Garden Lahore (Bagh-e-Jinnah) lights upon the days of seventies and eighties. Every sensitive reader who has attended a college or a university in a Pakistani setting is bound to find some similarities between him and one of the characters.

In my early days of Jehalat (present being post Jehalat era?) when I was a University students I met a scholar to discuss Raja Gidh. He said you know reader of Raja Gidh has two lives one prior to reading and one life hereafter.

Recently, one of my students met me and said: Sir, I read your blog writings at Daastan Siraey. Mind-blowing, your entries were awesome! I had a very different image of yours before reading your blog but since then your image has changed in my perception…An image far different from the previous…Like a matter changed its physical state completely after some series of chain reactions.

Shariq, Shylock & Shahid saw each other…Our meaningful sight has reasons to share…Shariq looked at me and said “Show-off”…I & Shylock smiled like we have reasons for smile again like Taj Din had for opening of new Nirala outlet.

Characters:
Shahid: myself
Shariq: A student of National College of Arts for whom I am so called elder brotherly dictator and for me he is an incalculable critic for my calculated world.
Shylock: A character of Jewish money lender in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice portrayed by me in class of Consumer Credit Analysis as a case study

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Music has nothing to do with eyes

Although I have never figured out the balance affect of my extremes from Core Islamic to Secular frame of mind…The war within is unexplainable in words…with my most favourite hobby to search unseen God irrespective of religious beliefs to the looking glass of compulsory belief that God exists…like other things remain the same in economic theories…The variation some time leads me to the point like Sungam (Attock, Border of NWFP & Punjab) where clear water of Dariya-e-Neelam meets muddy Dariya-e-Kabul forming 3rd colour of water.

Despite of all the debates I adhered to about permissibility and non-permissibility of Music to date I am still unable to unlisten music in the name of Islam. That is the reason I am member of APMC (All Pakistan Music Conference) for the last many years. APMC was the brain child of Hayat Khan sb & his fellow friends for promotion of traditional music of sub-continent. After death of Hayat Khan Sb, Dr Ghazala (daughter of Hayat Khan Sb) doing all efforts to keep maintaining the pace of APMC. She teaches philosophy at LUMS.

Attending monthly sessions at Al-hamra Hall 3 to Bagh-e-Jinnah’s 3 day annual Rag Mehfils, APMC is contributing to great extent for quality listening of instrumental and Rag music. Once I was among the audience of very terrific & exceptional evening organized by APMC regarding Raag Dhurpad.

After soulful instrumental performance, Dr Ghazala announced the details of the performer Aliya Rasheed for singing Raag Dhrupad. A blind girl came out from back door to the stage. The person sitting next to me was stunned & shocked to see blind Aliya having generated disbeliefs that if she can perform over stage. I & Dr. Ghazala jointly felt the feeling of the person, suddenly Dr. Ghazala came over stage and while looking to that person said, “Music has nothing to do with eyes”.

Two performances by Aliya Rasheed on Raag Dhrupad were extremely exceptional & outstanding. Throughout the performance I remained thoughtful of impermissibility of music watching music with my deaf ears in praise of Allah (SWT) in colour of classic Hindu tradition.

P.S: Raag Dhrupad is a solo vocal genre in classical music said to be the oldest still in use in that musical tradition. Its name is derived from the words "dhruva" (fixed) and "pada" (words). The term may denote both the verse form of the poetry and the style in which it is sung. the musical background of dhrupad is commonly thought to have a long history, traceable back to the Vedas. Thematic matter ranges from the religious and spiritual (mostly in praise of Hindu Gods). Very interestingly under Mughal influence (courtyard of Emperor Akbar) the Raag Dhrupad was used to praise Allah (SWT) replacing Hindu spirituality of religious figures to oneness & greatness of God. The guru of music Mian Tansen, was a well known dhrupad singer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

King Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Last Royal Mushaera

RBS Group PLC is one of the worst affected by the recent global economic downturn and posted an unprecedented loss of £24.1bn in CY08, the biggest in UK corporate history. Consequently, the group was forced to divest or curtail operations in 36 of the 54 operated countries including Pakistan to raise much needed distress funding.

MCB Bank’s board has approved the acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Pakistan. Following regulatory approvals and share purchase agreement, MCB is likely to acquire 99.37% or 1.71bn shares from the RBS Group while the remaining 0.63% stake or 10.8mn shares will be acquired by means of a mandatory tender offer. Pakistan's largest bank, MCB Bank, will pay around $90 million to acquire the local operations of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Muhammad Aurangzeb is a Chairman of RBS Pakistan Operations. At this juncture of uncertainty, ambiguity & grief he wrote an excellent & meticulous message to all of his colleagues. Every word of this master piece communication is worth reading and class in itself…A moral booster…graceful…emotional high note!!!

Message from Muhammad Aurangzeb, RBS Pakistan, Chairman
Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to confirm today that we have successfully entered into a sale agreement with MCB Bank Limited (MCB) for RBS Pakistan.This marks a new chapter in both RBS Pakistan's and MCB's history,which will give MCB an even stronger presence in their home marketfrom which to build their international growth plans. This creates anexciting opportunity for RBS Pakistan to become part of one of thecountry's largest and most ambitious banks.

MCB recognized the strength of the customer franchise which RBS has built and with the investment they can provide RBS Pakistan will be better able to realize its full potential.

From today, we begin the transition to becoming part of MCB, one of the leading banks in Pakistan with a long standing banking history of over sixty years. MCB operates through a network of over 1,050 branches in Pakistan with more than four million corporate, institutional, personal, small business, agricultural, Islamic and asset financing customers.

Awarded in 2008 as the Best Bank in Asia, Best Bank in Pakistan andBest Domestic Bank in Pakistan, MCB has a record of technologicalinnovations and is focused on making substantial investments inthe banking and financial services sector locally and internationally.

Although many of us will feel relieved that a successful bidder has now been announced, it is important to remember that we are onlyat the beginning of another journey of transition of our operationsto our new owners. This phase will take some time and present usall with some continued uncertainty. It will require the same levels of patience and focus that you have already shown during the lead-up totoday's announcement.

I would also like to reiterate that today's announcement does not mean a change to our business overnight. It will take some time beforewe look and feel like a different entity, so we must continue to focus on building our operations and reassure clients that its business as usual with no change to their existing contracts, levels of service andproduct offering.

During this week, it is critical to stay close to your customers and keep the lines of communication open with your immediate manager. We all need to play a role in communicating to our customers, vendors and the market, that this transaction offers the possibility of greater opportunities, better products and services, and growth potential for our shareholders, clients and employees.

As we begin the process of getting to know our new owner, a seriesof informative town halls will be hosted soon across the country togive you more insight into MCB's culture, strategy and views on ourbusinesses going forward.

I encourage you to regularly review our intranet site to keep you informed as new information comes to hand. I would like to personally extend my thanks once again to you all, for your ongoing commitment to our operations in Pakistan and for your patience prior to today's announcement.

Yours sincerely,
Muhammad Aurangzeb
Chairman, RBS Pakistan

Year 1857: Mushaera was full of bloom, though everyone aware of the bleak future ahead everyone was trying to put his all notions of daad-o-tahseen for every sonnet & couplet being aired….kya kehney hain…Wah…Aah-haa-ha…wah jee…kya baat hai…ghazab hai…ah-wah…Subhan Allah!

That was infact the last episode of Royal Mushaera at the court yard of the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah Zafar in Delhi…Shama-e-Mehfil lastly sparked, blazed and finally ends up with grey coloured upsurge one liner smoke…Night after the Mushaera was darker & gloomy.

Dard minat kashe dawa na howa
Mien na acha howa boura na howa (Ghalib)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Largest runway in Asia

Recently constructed largest runway in Asia at New Delhi, India will be opened for air-traffic very soon. At 4,430 metres, Asia's largest runway will make the Delhi airport the first in the country with the capability of handling A-380, the largest aircraft in the world.

By 2010, all international and full service domestic carriers will operate from Terminal 3, while Terminal 1 will be developed as an exclusive terminal for low-cost carriers. In subsequent stages, the low-cost carriers will also move to the new terminal complex, according to the plan.

With an eye on the 2010 Commonwealth Games, DIAL will augment the airport's annual passenger handling capacity from 16.24 million to 37 million. A new high-speed rail link from Connaught Place, which will reduce the journey time to 19 minutes, will also be ready before the games.

The master plan has been designed in consultation with Moff McDonald, a leading management, engineering and development consultancy and HOK, world-renowned airport architects based in the UK.

Thanks to Army scheme houses alongside Allama Iqbal International Airport which grabbed the right of enhancement/expansion for Lahore’s international Airport to have larger runway.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Green Leaves Getting Yellow

Though Independence Day is near and everyone is glued to paint Pakistan green from corporate marketing campaigns to individuals with lavish spending on the cards very few people in the country are genuinely concerned about dryness of Pakistan.

Pakistan has to face another setback in attracting foreign investment as China has shelved the Coastal Oil Refinery Project at Gwadar in strategically located Balochistan province, and has deleted it from the list of Financial Development Programme 2009-10 agreed between the two countries during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to China in February 2006.

The proposed Coastal Oil Refinery was part of China's plan to invest $12 billion in multiple projects in Pakistan. The refinery was designed to reach a daily output of 60,000 barrels crude oil per day. Pakistan and China had also considered a feasibility study for an oil pipeline from Gwadar port to western China to bring oil from the Persian Gulf. This proposal has also been shelved after China's refusal to set up oil refinery in Gwadar

Former President Pervez Musharraf had also offered a "trade corridor" to meet Beijing's energy requirements and offered help for the construction of the strategic pipeline from Gwadar to its borders, enabling it to import oil from Saudi Arabia. China is heavily dependent on oil from the Gulf that currently passes via a very long route, through the straits of Malacca under United States influence. After this oil reach Shanghai, or the Chinese East Coast, it has to cover thousands of miles inland to west of China. By using Coastal Oil Refinery at Gwadar port, Karakoram Highway (KKH) could be much safer, cheaper and shorter route to west of China for oil transportation.

UAE state run International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has already suspended the work on the Khalifa oil refinery project after the controversy with Government of Pakistan. Due to shelving of Coastal Oil Refinery Project by China, Balochistan has been deprived of billions of dollars investment that could generate employment for local people.

In the era of darkness & gloom where domestic & international media is full of negativity about Pakistan, where our graph is going down & down in every social & economic indicator, I am still hopeful for good days to come, looking the sky for rain of blessing & prosperity so that our leaves may start getting green again. Inshallah!

Courtesy: News item appeared in Daily Business Recorder “China shelves refinery project at Gwadar” (05/08/2009)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kaiynat

I can’t understand anything, nor interpret & infer either. And believe me it’s not my fault or error, actually God made me like this. It’s often hard to comprehend what people are saying to me. My parents, siblings, teachers & friends I can recognize them but sometimes there faces mingled in my perception. If this kind of feeling happen I almost found myself lost.

Among all my teachers, Miss Nayyer is the most admirable personality I have ever had. She is an amazing person. When no one listens to my worries & my feelings I always found her caring, concerned & passionate.

Since last 2 weeks my teacher was preparing myself for a rhyme presentation. You know, rhyme was all about mermaid, swimming, move around in water, waving hands like fish as my teacher showed to me. She taught me each step & lesson regarding performance. We repeatedly performed steps with back ground music. Me & my teacher.

Then the day came when I had to give on stage performance. The presence of audience was making me nervous &tense. I was loosing control over my mind. My teacher was there to give me strength. She took my hand, caressed, looked in my eyes & said: Believe me! I am sure & confident that you can do it!

Finally my name announced, background music began, and I started performance in front of dinosaur audience. My teacher was there off stage to guide me about the steps. She was enthusiast. Her eyes were full of expectations & energy. I started swimming in the air. Wearing colourful attire of mermaid I followed steps of my teacher. My teacher was performing with me. And I concluded successfully. Hall was full of clap, full of joy and round of applause.

My teacher came up stage & kissed me in reward. And I found Kaiynat.

P.S: On August 4, 2009 I was guest at Annual function of Mother & child Rehabilitation Society (Alhamra Hall # 2). Mother & child Rehabilitation Society is an organization for handicapped & mentally retarded children. Kaiynat was 5 years old mentally retarded girl performed in certificate winning tableau. Miss Nayyer is my most beloved primary teacher lost in time. To give her honour & grace I am searching for her address or where about for the last 15 years and my search for her is fruitless to date. And I percept Miss Nayyer in every dedicating primary teacher.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ranjha – Aaj Kaal

Subsequent upon electricity break down, Ranjha was sitting idle at roof top. He just heard about some court decision about November 3 emergency by the court of law for which he was not sure what is actually the judgment meant for however to his level of expertise on politics which he has gained from listening evening political shows he was sure that there is something about impeachment of Ex-President Musharraf.

He aimlessly forwarded some of the recently received SMS in love with President Zardari excluding Heer. Since last 3 days he has not received any communication from Heer. This non communication was causing him frustration & distress besides humidity & bad weather.

Ultimately after loosing the battle of who will communicate first (winner being the last) he pushed the button to talk for Heer. After a one calling beep the bollywood song (recent hit) started. Despite of patience listening of the same song twice phone was not picked by Heer. He tried the Heer’s No. 3rd time which was picked by her finally.

Heer: Hello
Ranjha: Oh sweet heart! Where are you? Its been 3 days I have not heard from you?
Heer: Bus kiya bataoon, balance khatam ho gya thaa!
Ranjha: Abhi last week hi tu load karwa ki diya thaa??
Heer: Bus tumhien tu pata hai mie call kay bina reh hi nahin sakti & SMS voh tu mujhe pasand hi bohat hai, so khatam ho gya!
Ranjha: Aur ye aaj kaal tum ho kahan??
Heer: I have been volunteering for NGO serving IDPs (being fashion statement)
Ranjha: IDPs?
Heer: Don’t you know?? Internally Displaced Persons?
Ranjha: Oh I see! So are you going to Mardan?
Heer: No dude! We arrange protest by putting play cards for media attention and all such kind of stuff for rehabilitation & settlement of IDPs.
Ranjha: I have composed some special MP3 flute tunes in mobile for you.
Heer: Ahan! Be mature man! Can’t you do something valuable?
Ranjha: Any plans for meeting? I have arranged tickets for premiere show of new bollywood movie @ DHA Cinema.
Heer: I wish my friends also accompany!
Ranjha: How they are in number? (Raised eye brow)
Heer: 4-5 (Rabia, Maria, Sara & Ali)
Ranjha: ummm… ok! (With sheer gloom)
Ranjha: As you may please!
Heer: see you then, Bye!
Ranjha: Bye! (Thinking: Sasti call mehngi pur gaye)

Suddenly electricity glimmered. Ranjha came down from roof top to living room. Ranjha switched on the wall hung LCD screen and after some thumb moves managed to have a stop over at GEO NEWS. GEO Network being found of promoting negativity of Pakistan showing yet another sensational breaking news: 40 houses torched, At least seven people, including four women and two children, have reported to be burnt to death and dozens others have received critical injuries when riots erupted in Gojra between Christian community and Muslims.

Azaan-e-Meghrib erupted from nearby masjid and Ranjha muted the LCD screen thinking of joining some NGO for the noble cause of serving IDPs.


P.S: I watched one of the premiere shows of newly opened “Love – Aaj Kaal” in nearby Cinema (The late night Saturday show was jam packed, overly booked)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Princess Zaib-un-Nisa's Mausoleum

When she was not treated well being remain unmarried on account of darbar politics, the treatment for her mausoleum is not different as such. Mughal princess Zaib-un-Nisa’s 350 years old Mausoleum at Samnabad, Lahore is a symbol of gross negligence of the concerned authorities as the Mausoleum is in pathetic & miserable conditions. The illegal occupation of the Mausoleum area by local woodworks is remained unchecked by the municipal or local government.

The Mughal princess was famous for her taste for art & craft and her love for nature & parks. Chouburji monument, the centre of activity & one of the busiest squares in Lahore was supposed to be a gateway for magnificent ladies park founded by the Mughal princess outside the walled city at that time. The princess
died in 1669 and the mausoleum was built which was piece of art & Mughal architecture.

Today Mausoleum looks shabby with broken floors. Painted & crafted wall interior is either damaged or lost in defense with harsh weather seasons. There is dare need to renovate the premises & protect the area from land grabbers.

When I was serving banker in close vicinity of the last araam-gah of the princess back in year 2007 I occasionally pay visit to the late Mughal lady. The silent whispers of the broken fa├žade have timeless stories to tell about miseries & agony of living & dead princess. In surroundings, being Noha-kana I was used to be the sole pacifier for the late princess.

Maatam-sira bhi hotey hain kiya khud-gharz Qateel
Apney ghamoon pey rootey hain le kur kisi ka naam