If the likes of Manoj Kumars and Dilip Kumars could go up the graph by singing and dancing in the village locales, then this is the time to standup in solidarity with the farmers
First things first. Where are the Bollywood stars and starlets who played the role of farmers! I do realize they were make-believe portrayals, more along the fairy tale strain. What, with them singing and dancing in and around lush green fields and meadows and forests, if not bathing in the various streams and rivers and village ponds!
My logic is simple and straight: As those countless filmi characters gained popularity because of their farmer roles, so they ought to come up with a word or two on today's farmers and their plight. If the likes of Manoj Kumars and Dilip Kumars could go up the graph by singing and dancing in the village locales, then this is the time to standup in solidarity with the farmers. Maybe their health conditions wouldn't permit them to reach out to the protesting farmers in that whole-hearted way, but their families could definitely do so.
In fact, it's more than disappointing that none of the well-known Bollywood stars have come forward and spoken out. Why? Is this because they have little time or the required inclination or are they worried about the reactions of the political rulers of the day and the machinery under their control!
I'm stating this because though many amongst us spoke out against the political masterminds of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, but Bollywood had disappointed. Few dared to speak out against the killings and carnage. Why didn't the big names and bigger banners of Bollywood take on the political rulers of Gujarat? Their answer was as stark as this: If we had reached out to the dying and near-dying victims of the pogrom, we would have been in the 'bad books' of the government and our films would be targeted and we would have been ruined!
Well, such is the reality! Such scare of the aftermath.
Whilst on the Gujarat pogrom, though this Spring will mark 21 years of that pogrom but till date the survivors await justice. The very word 'Gujarat' drags along faces of all those sitting marginalised and bruised and at the mercy of the political rulers of the day. I recall the words of Zakia Jafri, "I'm going to carry on this fight for justice, not just for myself but for all those killed in Gujarat, in 2002. My husband, Ahsan Jafri, fought valiantly till he was killed by the Hindutva rioters. But till the end he did not give up. Like Hazrat Imam Hussain and his companions were martyred during the battle of Karbala, hundreds of innocent children and women and men were killed in that Gujarat pogrom in 2002."
And whilst on Bollywood, awaiting to hear the news of the birth of Kareena – Saif Ali Khan's second baby. Wonder what name they'd give the new baby. Can't get over the distasteful comments, to say the least, passed by the various Hindutva characters when Kareena and Saif Ali Khan had named their son Taimur.
In fact, nobody tried to speak out or for that matter even squeak that there's another dimension to Taimur, the conqueror: following Taimur's invasion of North India in 1398, over 1,700 woodcarvers, architects, calligraphers and highly- specialized cooks — wazas — had migrated from Samarkand to Kashmir. Even today, a great majority of the Waza families in the Kashmir Valley trace their origin to Samarkand and these wazas are in great demand for the wazwan feasts. Not to be overlooked the fact that the 'feast of feasts', the wazwaans, are hosted by both the communities — the Kashmiri Pandit and the Kashmiri Musalmaan.
On Shahryar's 9th death anniversary
On poet – writer – lyricist Shahryar's upcoming death anniversary (he passed away on February 13, 2012), I am not putting in any of his verse, though his lyrics in 'Umrao Jaan' and ' Gaman' are of the everlasting sorts.
Well, instead of his verse, I'm highlighting his sense of observation and humor, through my conversation with him. He was from my father's ancestral qasba, Aonla, in Uttar Pradesh and he knew my younger sister, Habiba, also settled in Aligarh.
But I came to know of his Aonla and Aligarh connection only after I was first introduced to him almost decades back. A common friend introduced us, with this introductory line:
"She is Habiba's sister."
To that he reacted, "You Habiba's sister!"
Yes, I am …she's my younger sister.
"But you look different! So different! You two real sisters! She covers her head but you …"
Yes, we are real sisters.
"From the same father?"
Yes, of course.
At least this is what amma told us!
With that we had a hearty laugh.