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Archive for June, 2011

Sorry


I’m sorry!
I know,
that hurt.
It hurt me too.
Of all you know
I’m here
To hurt.
You.
Expect no more
That’s for sure.
Yeah, for sure.

Sorry in Japanese: すみません/すいません(sumimasen)

Mbube~~Music Without Borders


This is the journey of an enchanting African doo-wop song ‘The lion sleeps tonight’ and it’s singer.
The original title of the song was “Mbube,” (pronounced EEM-boo-beh) which means “Lion”. It was sung with a haunting Zulu refrain that sounded, to English-speaking people, like “wimoweh.”
“Mbube” was written in the 1920s by Solomon Linda ( Linda was his tribe’s name), a South African singer of Zulu origin. He worked for the Gallo Record Company as a cleaner and record packer, performed with a choir, The Evening Birds.
“Mbube” was a big hit in what is now Swaziland, sold nearly 100,000 copies in the 1940s.
Linda had written the song based on a boyhood experience chasing lions that were stalking the family’s cattle.
He recorded the tune in 1939 with his choir, the Evening Birds. It was so popular that Zulu choral music became known as “Mbube Music”.
For his performance of “Mbube”, Solomon Linda was paid a fee very small fee. Gallo Records of South Africa reaped all the royalties of the record sales in South Africa and Great Britain. Unaware of the implications, Linda sold the rights to Gallo Record Company for 10 shillings (less than $US 2) soon after the recording was made.
Despite the popularity and wide use of the song, Linda died impoverished during 1962 of renal failure. It was not until 18 years later that a tombstone was constructed at his gravesite.
Then, in the mid-nineties, the song popular as ‘The lion sleeps tonight’ became a pop “supernova” (in the words of South African writer Rian Malan) when licensed to Walt Disney for use in the film The Lion King, its spin-off TV series and live musical. The song earned $15 million for its use in the movie The Lion King alone.
With the support of many activists including the writer Rian Milan a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the impoverished descendants of Solomon Linda, to get back the right s for the song . By the British laws then in effect ( in the time Linda sold the rights) , those rights should have reverted to Linda’s heirs 25 years after his death during 1962.
After an arduous battle, the ownership of “Mbube” reverted to Linda’s heirs 25 years after his death, in 2006.

The original song ‘Mbube’ by Solomon Linda sung in 1939

Current version sung by Ladysmith Black Mumbazo

Lyrics:

The lion sleeps tonight.

Lala kahle[Sleep well]
In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
In the jungle, the mighty jungle
The lion sleeps tonight

(Chorus)
Imbube
Fcuk
Ingonyama ilele[The lion sleeps]
Thula[Hush]

Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight

(Chorus)

Ingonyama ilele(The lion sleeps)
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/lion_king/the_lion_sleeps_tonight.html ]
Hush my baby, don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight
Hush my baby, don’t fear my darling
The lion sleeps tonight

He, ha helelemama[He, ha helelemama]
Ohi’mbube[lion]

(Chorus)

Ixesha lifikile[Time has come]
Lala[Sleep]
Lala kahle[Sleep well]

Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight
Near the village, the peaceful village
The lion sleeps tonight

(Chorus)

My little darling
Don’t fear my little darling
My little darling
Don’t fear my little darling

Ingonyama ilele[The lion sleeps]
(Repeat to fade)

SOURCE: http://www.weeklybugle.com/music/mbube.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbube_(genre)

The Violin


The bow of my thoughts,
Glides hard
on the strings
Within the chest.
Triggers a convulsion
Fatal fibrillations ensue.
‘In arrest’ go
The pulsations of peace.
The notes scatter
helter skelter
Vexing with cramps
Of violent agony.
Music, is it?
Or cacophony perhaps?
Even I can’t decipher
From the violin
Of my heart.

If I ever met God…


If I ever met God
I would hug Him
For making me ‘me’.
And would thank Him
Over and over a million times
For granting me
Eyes to see the beauty of nature
Ears to hear the melodies of joy
Senses to give and take love
But shall return Him with ‘Thanks’
My bundle of conscience
And walk back merrily.

If He said, “No”
I would leave at his feet,
My eyes, my ears and my senses
For I do not wish
To look into the eyes of hunger
Or hear the clamour of hatred
Or sense the angst of pain

If He still said,”No”,
I would pull Him by his hand
And bring Him down on Earth
To face it all ‘first hand’.

Kabir a day keeps radicalism at bay


First published in english daily, The Islamabad Dateline on 26th June, 2011

Almost 700 years ago, when religious polarisation in the Indian subcontinent was at its helm, a preacher was born. He was named Kabir and he spent the rest of life trying to bind Hindus and Muslims together. Today, as religious hatred is bred into masses and intolerance is injected into young minds one finds it necessary to bring forth Kabir, the champion of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony.

The mystics from united India are more relevant to us than Persian or Turkish voices as they spring from the culture we own. For a relatively more radicalized society in Pakistan, these pluralistic and tolerant voices need to be disseminated vehemently. These great men seemed to be far ahead of their times and Kabir is no exception. Kabir stands tall, in the line of greatest mystics of all time with St. Augustine, Ruysbroeck, Buddha, Rumi, Emre and Hallaj

Kabir’s vision, though timeless in its essence when transformed into simple poetry addresses the basic problems humanity faces today. His message was simple and straightforward — that God is perceived in different forms by different people, but in essence they all talk of One supreme power.

Koi bole Ram Ram, koi Khudai

(Some call him Ram, some name him Khuda)

His honest message offended both Mullahs and Purohits for it challenged their stakes. He was persecuted by both to which he screamed:

Sadhu dekho jag baurana / Sanchi kaho to maran dhawe /Jhoote jag patiyana

(O gentleman, see the world has got mad / I say truth but they run to beat me and believe the fake.)

His intent was not to offend anyone and he made it clear:

Kabira khada bazaar mein mange sab ki khair / na kahoo se dosti, na kahoo se bair

(Kabira Stands in the market place( the world) / Asks for everyone’s prosperity. Neither special friendship nor enmity for anyone).

His mission, through his vision was to promote brotherhood, unity, love and forgiveness beyond regions and religions.

The Hindu says Ram is beloved, the Muslim says Rahim / They fight and kill each other, no one gets the point.

And the point that no one got was:

Maatii Aik Anaik Bhaanth Ker Saaji Sajan Haray
(The Clay Is The Same, But The Designer Has Designed It In Various Ways)

Kabir through his words challenged the authority our society has given to clerics quite audaciously:

The spiritual athlete often changes the color of his clothes
& his mind remains gray and loveless.
Or he drills holes in his ears, his beard grows enormous
People mistake him for a goat.
He shaves his skull & puts his robe in an orange vat,
Reads the Book & becomes a terrific talker.
Kabir says: the truth is, you are riding in a hearse to the country of
death, bound hand & foot.

He even warned against the mindless following of religious preachers and to use one’s own conscience to decide what is right or wrong:

Jaka guru hai andhla, chela hai ja chandh / Andhe andha theliya, dunyu koop parent
(If the preacher is blind (unrealized) and the disciple is also blind, how can they progress further? If a blind shows the path to the other blind, they both are bound to fall in some dead well at some time).

To those bigoted who would not understand this, he remarked:

Phootee aankh vivek kee, lakhe na sant asant
(People have their inner eyes of conscience blind; they don’t see who is real and who is fake)

“What can one do, if, with lamp in hand, one falls in the well”

Bura jo dekhan main chala bura na milya koi / Jab man khoja aapna mujh se bura na koi.

(I went on the search for the Bad Guy, Bad Guy I couldn’t find. / When I searched my mind, Non one is Nastier then Me)

He lived to restore the confidence in the common man against the elite clergy or the rulers, who claimed their superiority by virtue of their status. He explained:

Bada hua to kya hua jaise ped khajoor / Panthi ko chhaya nahin phal laage ati door.

(If You are Big so what? Just like a date tree / No shade for travelers, fruit is hard to reach).

He used simple vernacular language, with metaphors from common examples to engage the people around him. People were fascinated by the deep moral messages contained in his simple poetry.

Kabira Garv Na Keejiye, Uncha Dekh Aavaas / Kaal Paron Punyah Letna, Ouper Jamsi Ghaas

(Kabi , Don’t be so proud and vain, Looking at your high mansion / Tomorow you’ll lie under feet, On top will grow Grass).

Ab Tun Aaya Jagat Mein, Log Hanse Tu Roye / Aise Karni Na Kari, Pache Hanse Sab Koye

(When you came in to this world, Everyone laughed while you cried / Don’t do such work, That they laugh when you are gone)

And that it’s not one’s status but one’s deeds which pay off ultimately:

Ek daal do panchi re baitha kaun guru kaun chela / Guru ki karni guru bharela, chele ki karni chela.

(Both the preacher and the follower are together / but both will be dealt according to their deeds.).

The Purohits and Mullahs could not tolerate his audacity, and how he influenced the common man. His words had already penetrated into masses and exposed the self-righteous claims of every clergy. He got expelled from Kashi. He roamed around Benaras preaching his message and passed away in Maghar.

After his death both the Hindus and the Muslims both claimed ownership over him. There are a few legends but one wonders how was the matter resolved. As for now, there exists a Hindu shrine and a Muslim Dargah adjacent to each other at the place where he died.

Kabir’s words are very pertinent to current Pakistan, where religion is manipulated for political ends and justify acts of violence. Voice of Kabir needs to be resonated in our academia and society being the need of time. Why did not we own Kabir like India? – I leave this question to be answered by the reader.

Co written: Ilmana Fasih with Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi.

Arduous Journey for Tender Feet


In the poorest communities around the world, women and girls walk to collect water, firewood or other basic necessities of life. They walk on average 6 kilometres a day – 8,000 steps while carrying the equivalent of a suitcase. This leaves little time to attend school, access health services or earn money to support their family.

Women are largely responsible for collecting and managing water resources in developing countries, especially in rural areas, reports from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) show. Without a ready source of freshwater they may have to walk for several hours every day to find it.The U.N. estimates that 1.2 billion people lack access to safe water and about 2.5 billion are without access to proper sanitation.It is common for girls in rural areas of the world to drop out of school, so as to help carry out the burden of moving water. Girls as young as ten contribute to household tasks. Eventually, they miss classes and lag behind enough in school to abandon their education.
Collecting wood from forests for fuel is a difficult task that falls largely on the shoulders of the world’s women. A survey found that collecting firewood was one of the greatest burdens for many women and that it had a significant impact on their quality of life (Green & Erskine, 1998; 1999). . Collecting firewood is extremely tiring as the women often have to walk long distances in search of wood which then has to be carried back to the homestead. Rural Tanzanian women, for example, walk 5-10 km a day collecting firewood, carrying loads between 20kg – 38kg. In rural India, the average is over three hours each day. The time-consuming nature of this task often causes young girls to be kept out of school. Girls going for firewood collection have been known to be subjected to sexual abuse too (UNDP).
AND THINK.

Would their life be the same if they had the opportunity to be educated like YOU and me?

Educated girls grow into women who tend to have healthier and better nourished babies, who most likely will do everything to have their own children attending school as well, thus breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. Educated girls can better protect themselves against HIV, trafficking and abuse.

Educating a girl also means that as a woman, she is empowered and more likely to participate in development efforts and in political and economic decision-making. Women who went to school usually manage to increase the household income. The advantages of girls’ education thus do not stop at the boundaries of a single child, but ripple through families, communities, and nations.

Sanity, hold on.


The serpent of anguish slithers,
As peace within withers.
Turmoil, into the soul, seeps
As composure weeps.
Insomnias creep,
Night after night, deep.
Drifting from reality to delusion,
In a surreal confusion.
Psyche jolted in a quake,
Oh! prudence do not forsake
And keep me awake,
For sanity’s at stake.