Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Mohali Effect

March 30, 2011 - did a magic to the Pakistanis. The Mohali Effect. People gathering, praying, sharing their excitement online and offline, loving Lala (Afridi), everyone was super excited. There was a powerful sting of unity that ran accross every Pakistani till the news of the Mother of All Matches came - Pakistan vs India Semifinal on 30th March 2011.

The world of Pakistan was hit by a frenzy. It was as if some sleeping lazy youth was ignited with the strongest of will for their country. It was strong. It was out of the world. Then came the day, and Pakistan lost, but the effect was humongous. We were bright, we were not down, we felt strong even after the defeat, we were not depressed - as usually happens.

We still loved Pakistan. Every bit of it.

The experience has left us with an effect, which is hard to let go of. It wasn't about winning or losing, it was the sheer love for the country's cricket team that made us United: yes, Unity, something we feel is never possible in Pakistan. It was unconventional - no match for it.

On 14th August 2011, Pakistan just broke the record of most people singing National Anthem at Karachi (yet to be officially announced). This, I feel, was another form of that Mohali effect. Youth gathering, making an event possible. Making a world record.

And here goes, The Anthem:

The potential, thus, is exuberant. I have hopes in Pakistan.

Long live Pakistan.

Thanks to Abid Beli for organizing this.
That amazing video of the anthem by Ali Khurshid:
The post Mohali match lovely compilation at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who says the eternal being does not exist?

Who says the eternal being does not exist?
Who says the sun has gone out?
Someone who climbs up on the roof,
and closes his eyes tight, and says,
I don't see anything.

- Rumi

from UNSEEN RAIN by John Moyne and Coleman Barks

Friday, August 5, 2011

The month of fasting has come

The month of fasting has come,
The emperor’s banner has arrived,
Withhold your hand from food,
The spirit’s table has arrived.

The soul has escaped from separation and bound nature’s hands;
The heart of error is defeated.
Fasting is as our sacrifice,
It is the life out of soul; let us sacrifice all our body,
Since the soul has arrived as guest.

Fortitude is as a sweet cloud, wisdom rains from it,
Because it was in such a month of fortitude
That the Koran arrived.

When the carnal soul is in need,
The spirit goes into ascension;
When the gate of the prison is broken, the soul reaches the Beloved.

The heart has rent the curtain of darkness and winged up to the sky;
The heart, being of the angels, has again arrived.

The Cow was goodly,
Moses son of Imran appeared;
Through him the dead became living when it was sacrificed.

Quickly clutch the rope out of this body’s well;
At the top of the well of water cry, "Joseph of Canaan has arrived."

When Jesus escaped from the donkey his prayers became accepted;
Wash your hands, for the Table has arrived from heaven.

Wash your hands and your mouth, neither eat nor speak;
Seek that speech and that morsel which has come to the silent ones.

- Rumi

Rumi’s Ghazal No. 892 from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, translated by A.J. Arberry, "Mystical Poems of Rumi," 1968

Come, come again, whoever you are, come!

Come, Come again!
Whatever you are…
Whether you are disbeliever,
idolater or fireworshipper.
You have broken your vows
of repentance a hundred times
this is not the gate of despair,
this is the gate of hope.
Come, come again…

- Poet unknown
(Inscribed at Rumi's grave, Konya, Turkey)

Comment: This is one of the most frequently quoted poems attributed to Rumi, but is not authenticated as his (and it is also not in the earliest manuscripts of the quatrains attributed to him). It is found in the same form in the quatrains of Bâbâ Afzaluddîn Kâshânî (died 1274-- Rumi died 1273) and is related to a similar quatrain attributed to Abu Sa`îd ibn Abi 'l-Khayr, died 1048 (see "Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir," renditions by Vraje Abramian, 2001, p. 4, c). It is one among the most frequently quoted poems by Turkish Mevlevis (the "Whirling Dervishes") themselves (who have long assumed it to be a Rumi poem), from a Turkish translation of the original Persian.

Nevit Ergin (translated from Golpinarli's Turkish translation), "Crazy As We Are," 1992, p. 1.

Variant translations:

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn't matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come.

  • As quoted in Sunbeams : A Book of Quotations (1990) by Sy Safransky, p. 67
  • Variant translations:
    Come, come, whoever you are.
    Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
    Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
    • As quoted in Muslim Narratives and the Discourse of English (2004) by Amin Malak, p. 151
  • Come, come, whoever you are.
    Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it doesn't matter
    Ours is not a caravan of despair.
    Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times,
    Come, yet again, come, come.
    • As quoted in Rumi and His Sufi Path of Love (2007) by M Fatih Citlak and Huseyin Bingul, p. 81
  • Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
    Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
    Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
    Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.
    • As quoted in Turkey: A Primary Source Cultural Guide (2004) by Martha Kneib
A dear friend recalled seeing this verse written in Persian on one of the doors of some haveli in Lahore, back in his youth (should be around 70s), and was kind enough to mail over the verses with translation, here it is:

Baz Aa, Baz Aa, Har An Cheh Hasti Baz Aa
Come again, Come again, Whoever you are come again
Kafir o, Gabr o, Butparasti Baz Aa
Whether you are a Kafir, a Gabr (Gabr is probably a christian sect) or worshipper of idols, come again
Ein Bargah-e ma bargah-e nameedi neest
This bargah (Caravan!!!) of ours is not the bargah of of despair (hopelessness).
Sau bar agar Taubeh Shakasti Baz Aa
Even if you have broken your vow (taubah - repentance) a hundred times, come again

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you're full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus' table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

- Rumi ~ Ghazal No. 1739 from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi (Diwan-e-Kabeer)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Halat meray mulk ke...

Main yeh kis key naam likhoon Jo alam guzar rahay hain
Meray shehar jal rahay hain, Meray log mar rahay hain

Koi ghuncha ho kay gul ho, Koi shaakh ho shajar ho
Woh hawa-e-gulistan hain kay sabhi bikhar rahay hain

Kabhi rehmatain thein nazil is hi khitta-e-zameen par
Wohi khitta-e-zameen hai kay aazaab uttar rahay hain

Wohi taroun ke jhurmat jo hawa main jhooltay thay
Woh fiza ko tak rahay hain tu aah bhar rahay hain

Koi aur to nahin hai pas-e-khanjar aazmai
Ham hi qatal ho rahay hain Ham hi qatal ker rahay hain

- Poet unknown

(I remembered the last stanza, upon googling, found the poem at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Silk Worm and The Heart

I stood before a silk worm one day.
And that night my heart said to me,

“I can do things like that, I can spin skies,
I can be woven into love that can bring warmth to people;
I can be soft against a crying face,
I can be wings that lift, and can travel on my thousand feet throughout the earth, my sack filled with the sacred.”

And I replied to my heart,

“Dear, can you really do all those things?”
And it nodded “Yes” in silence.

So we began and never will

- Rumi

Rumi's Ramadhan Poem

Rumi’s Ramadan Poem

O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived
Cover the table
and open the path of praise.

O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah
how long will it be the halvah you desire?

Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker
has made you so sweet even honey says,
“I’ll put myself beneath your feet, like soil;
I’ll worship at your shrine.”

Your chick frets within the egg
with all your eating and choking.
Break out of your shell that your wings may grow.
Let yourself fly.

The lips of the Master are parched
from calling the Beloved.
The sound of your call resounds
through the horn of your empty belly.

Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty: give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness.

Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.

- Rumi