Biting cold and films


Perhaps this is the longest spell of fog and biting cold I have experienced in life.In Patiala it is worse than Delhi.Almost the whole month of January has gone without proper sunshine.
I do not get anytime to see films in Delhi,which has been my ‘shauk’ from childhood.Only at Patiala, my daughter Shweta shows me films on dvd or occasionaly in cinema hall.Last time saw 3 Idiots,this time saw ‘Avtar’,I must admit that my VIIIth standard student daughter understands American English better than me,I find it difficult to follow ‘Imperalist’ American English, though can follow ‘Colonial’ British English


Bhagat Singh playmate passes away in Faislabad


Abdul Haque, a childhood playmate of Bhagat Singh in Chak no. 105,distt.Lyallpur,now Faislabad in Pakistan passed away last week.He was nearly 105 years old.Shehzad Aalm of Sanjhey Lok phoned today and gave this sad news.I was looking for his photograph,which he promised to send.He told that a video has already been made on him and I hope that shall also be available in some time. Last year Shehzad sent me photographs of Primary school of Bhagat Singh, also photographs of his birth house,which I also clicked in April 2007.Shehzad told about one Mai of nearby village,where Bhagat Singh used to take shelter in his underground days,about which no body talked about earlier.Mai also has passed away,I have requested the photographs of that house and also pictures of that family. Some photographs sent by Shehzad last year,now attached above-Primary school of Chak no.105,where Bhagat Singh studied and Beri in his birth house.

Shehzad also referred to the mangoes in Bhagat Singh family owned 17 acre mango garden. Though he picked mangoes to be sent to India,these got ripe so they had it.Some delegates are likely to visit Lyallpur Khalsa College Jalandhar on 6th February 2010 college function from the area of Bhagat Singh birth place.Bhagat Singh birth area people are planning to hold a function in Bhagat Singh’s memory at Faislabad, new name for Lyallpur this year.Lyallpur historian Janab Waqar is also working on Bhagat Singh. Sibte Rizvi’s old book in Urdu=Bhagat Singh Aur Unke Sathi- translation of Ajoy Ghosh memoirs of Bhagat Singh with leftist scholar activist Sibte Rizvi’s introduction was published in Pakistan in early seventies,its new edition perhaps has come recently.So Bhagat Singh continues to live in the hearts of Pakistani people.People like Farhad Khan has named their lane as ‘Bhagat Singh Town‘.

Dhup Di Mehfil(Sunshine Gathering)-January-2010


Annual Dhup di Mehfil organized by Punjabi Sahit Sabha and Navyug Press Delhi was held this year on 17th January, Sunday at Navyug farms.This year Mehfil was dedicated to the memory of Amrita Pritam many writers spoke about her memories,but more touchingly Imroz, her life partner,who also rebutted Kartar Singh Duggal’s claim that had she been attached to ‘god’,she would have been bigger writer.Gursharn Singh, radical Punjabi playwright and director was conferred with Sabha’s prestigious fellowship.More than hundred writers turned up,in spite of biting cold and Dhup turning into Dhund(Fog).I could not convey the information to gathering that at Jandiala Sheikh Waris Shah mazar in Pakistan annual urs of Waris Shah starts with competitive singing of Amrita poem-Aaj Aakhan waris shah nu…Also that only last week Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of lawyers movement in Pakistan to restore Iftikhar Chaudhary as chief justice of Pakistan supreme court recited Amrita poem in full at Indo-Pak peace meet in Delhi,where I added that this poem had been used as theme song in Pakistan made Punjabi black and white film Kartar Singh in sixties.

On V O Chidambaram

This very important and missing page of Indian freedom struggle has been brought into focus by the author A P Venkatchellapathy from Chennai.His another piece on related matter has appeared in EPW of 9th January

The present Chidambaram,might not even know the history of his own state.V O Chidambaram fought British colonial regime and in the process destroyed his own riches.But the present Chidambaram is ready to sell the nation to neo colonial powers for promoting his financial interests and wants to kill Adivasis to favor neo colonial financial powers.What an irony and what a story of two Chidambarms of same state and from same Congress party

10-12 January-2010-Indo-Pak peace meet in Delhi


Indo-Pak peace meet began in Delhi on 10th January 2010 with great enthusiasm.Aitzaz Ahsan, Iqbal Haider, Hisal Bijenjo like eminent personalities from Pakistan came all the way to participate in the event. I could not attend inaugural programme,but attended afternoon discussion and book launch programme in the evening at India Islamic center, close to India International centre,where the main function is being held for three days.In the afternoon session discussion, posed the issue of Bradlaugh Hall preservation to Iqbal Haider, who in turn referred it to Aitzaz Ahsan, who agreed that this historic building should be preserved. In book launch session-‘Bridging Partition’-edited by late Smitu Kothari and Zia Mian, alongwith Kamla Bhasin, A.H.Nayar and Mohammad Tehseen was released by Kuldip Nayar and Aitzaz Ahsan jointly.While Kuldip Nayar spoke about the book and the need to stop Wagah border evening hate parade on both sides,Aitzaz Ahsan made the evening livelier by reciting first Amrita Pritam partition poem ‘Aj Aakhan Waris Sha nun…’ almost completely, referring to Punjabi film Kartar Singh, Manto’s prosecution in early fifties and finally at audience demand his own recent poem-‘Kal Aaj aur Kal’.Though I heard this poem on you tube linked on facebook by some friend,yet listening to poet directly was fantastic experience.The way Aitzaz Sahib made the use of Hindi words in his nazm like-Jivan,Dharm,Devi, Sundar sapna,etc. that was marvelous.This is the kind of Hindostani language, which we are struggling for in India.Meeting all these people at tea time was also very pleasant,met Madeeha Gauhar and Tehseen too.The book having 21 essays from eminent personalities, including Mubashir Rehman, I.A.Rehman, Kuldip Nayar,Asma Jahangir,Beena Sarwar(On women’s role in Building peace),Parvez Hoodbhoy etc. seems to be good collection,published by Orient Blackswan, though priced a bit high.It was a pleasant evening.
On second day, I could not attend first and second session, in which I learnt later that Kashmiri Pandits in the audience disturbed Yaseen Malik presentation and there was unpleasant scenes.But the afternoon session, in which Vandana Shiva,Dr. Abid Suleri,Farooq Tariq spoke on climate change,chaired competently by Lalita Ramdas, went on very well.Vandana and Tariq spoke forcefully.Outside met Ayesha Sidiqa and Kuldip Nayar discussing many aspects of peace process,Ayesha feeling little less enthused by the results.Presented my leftword publication on Bhagat Singh-‘Jail Notebook and Other Writings’ to Aitzaz Ahsan.
On third and final day of meet I could attend two session.In first session, Ayesha Sidiqa, Rajiv Sikri and Asma Jahangir made presentations.Asma was at her oratorial best,she spoke with passion and reason both.Ayesha seemed to be bit pessimistic as per audience response, as I could not listen her.But I had heard talking to Kuldip Nayar and knew her views, which have a grain of salt, no doubt,yet one have to speak for peace like Asma in spite of worse circumstances.I intervened to say that both Indian and pakistani state should follow their respective icons-Gandhi and Jinnah in matters of Indo-Pak relations,both wanted friendly and brotherly relations between two countries.I appreciated gandhi for his fairness on demanding payment of 55 crore rupees due to Pakistan as partition liabilities, for which he paid with his life, getting short by Hindu fundamentalist.In session on media and culture, chaired by ‘Kashmir Times’editor Ved Bhasin, Murlidhar Reddy of ‘The Hindu’,Liaqat Ali Toor of APP,Mahesh Bhatt and Madeeha Gauhar all spoke very well,Kuldip Nayar came later and added his comments.Everyone blasted media for blowing up tensions among two countries.From audience Seema mustafa also exposed Govt. duplicity on media.I put question to Madeeha that what happened to Ajoka planned joint play festival on Bhagat Singh? Also suggested that India, pakistan and Bangladesh should jointly strive to make Hindi-Urdu or Hindostani and Bangla ,2nd and seventh largest spoken languages of the world ,to make as two more official languages at UNO.Madeeha in this session made loud protest over her play Bulla not being planned to be staged by organisers.Even after Seema Mustafa clarification, she created commotion among audience by her unreasonable arguments,getting media to have another negative story on the event.
I could not attend the last session, but it seems it went on well.On the whole a very positive event.Some photographs for viewing.

On Three Idiots and other films


First thing after seeing 3 idiots comes to mind is the concept of idiot and mad like terms. Mahatma Gandhi described Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt as ‘ two mad men’, when they threw bombs in Central assembly in Delhi on 8th April,1929.In Lu Xun’s Chinese story ‘Diary of A Mad Man’, it is the mad man, who looks to be only sane man. Other thought came to mind was that it is only mad and idiots who, change the world and mindset of people, whereas it is ‘the wise men’, who rule the world. Again Dostoevsky’s novel ‘The Idiot’ came to mind. It was with lingering thoughts,saw 3 idiots on DVD,in a way sequel to ‘Taare Zameen Par’,which was of course much better.Idiots is also better than Chetan Bhagat’s base novel,which is not considered to be literary piece at all.Amir khan is perhaps most intelligent film maker of contemporary times and himself represents the theme of film-‘Go after excellence,success will follow you’. But to achieve success, he uses all ‘creative tactics’ of getting ‘vocal middle class’ and ‘civic society’ following,like sitting on Medha Patkar dharna,attending Punjabi girl marraige at dead of night in rural area etc.Amir Khan no doubt has made many good films, but he is not like Balraj Sahni or Satyajit Roy or even Bimal Roy, for whom creating Indian reality on celluloid was more important than earning ‘success’, in the form of box office earnings,Amir Khan is more motivated by Box office returns than changing society for better.Yet he is certainly better than Amitabh Bachans likes, who could go gaga after Narender Modis, forgetting his own fathers humanist worse’s in Hindi or he could go to Thackeryes and Amar Singhs like characters. At least Amir Khan faces the wrath of Modis and yet stands on his ground and then Advanis like shed ‘crocodile tears’ watching ‘Taare Zameen Par’.Glycrean in their eyes can shed tears on Delhi riots but not on Gujrat pogroms of Muslims.
Three idiots apart from being good exposure of Indian education system(perhaps whole sub continent system), is also helpful to those parents, who are always troubled by their kids queries-‘From where the kids come?, by showing the actual delivery of child in a funny,but rationally and aesthetically designed scene, Amir Khan has helped those parents to answer their children’s query,they can simply show the film to their children.
I held a very poor opinion of Punjabi films, generally avoiding seeing these,except for film like ‘Marhi Da Diwa, made on the same title of Gurdial Singh’s novel.Lately by sheer chance of watching Sunday afternoon movie on TV or traveling in a Volvo bus from Delhi to Patiala, I got introduced to few Harbhajan Mann made films.Though overdosed by sentimentality, yet his Punjabi films created an impression that after all Punjabi films are not bad in Toto and some can be watched as well. His exposure of police repression on innocent Punjabi youth in the name of countering Khalistani movement or attacking high caste feudal mindset by his romantic movies makes his movies socially relevant.Best part of his films I found in his creation of Punjabi hero, which was generally created as boastful with high caste Jat mentality, shouting, fighting, loving, everything so loud that one felt revolted. Perhaps Gurdas Mann also created such Punjabi cliches in his films, though I wish to see his Shaheed-e-Mohabbat, which I have not yet seen. Harbhajan Mann has created Punjabi hero as refreshingly gentle, humble,soft spoken, decent, civic, romantic of old black and white Hindi film like,yet firm without being loud at all.First half an hour of his ‘Heer Ranjha’ also looked good,as my journey was over,so could not watch the complete film.
Incidentally’ Amitabh Bachan family product ‘Paa..’ is not my cup of tea.Even with important medical problem ,it is Bachan family centered narcissist film,which did not touch me.