Tag Archives: Lucknow

On Josh Malihabadi’s death anniversary

On Josh Malihabadi’s 30th death anniversary, doing the rounds is this recently uploaded interview of the Urdu poet, amongst a rich archive uploaded on YouTube by Radio Pakistan.

Josh migrated to Pakistan only in 1958. About the loss of Lucknow, he says it was like losing the world. He says in this interview about a visit to Lucknow, where he asked a taxi driver, how is it going with all these Sikhs and Punjabis who have come to Lucknow. The taxi driver replies, we have taught them (Lakhnavi) etiquette!

लखनऊ और फैज़: अतुल तिवारी

Guest posy by ATUL TIWARI

(प्रगतिशील लेखन के आंदोलन से जुडे हुए प्रसिद्ध पटकथा लेखक
अतुल तिवारी ने यह लेख लाहौर में आयोजित फैज़ शताबदी समारोह में प्रस्तुत किया था और फिर दिल्ली में थिंक इंडिया मैगज़ीन के फैज़ नम्बर की रिलीज के समय होने वाले कार्यक्रम में भी उन्होंने यह लेख प्रस्तुत किया । काफिला के लिए लेखक की अनुमति से प्रकाशितThe English translation is given below the Urdu original. – SH)


ये जलसा हमारी अदब की तारीख़ में एक यादगार वाक़या है।  हमारे सम्मेलनों,अंजुमनों में – अब तक, आम तौर पर – ज़ुबान और उसकी अशात अत से बहस की जाती रही है। यहाँ तक कि उर्दू और हिंदी का इब्तेदाई लिटरेचर – जो मौजूद है – उसका मंशा ख़यालात और जज़्बात पर असर डालना नहीं, बल्कि बाज़ ज़ुबान की तामीर था।…लेकिन ज़ुबान ज़रिया है मंजिल नहीं ।

…अदब की बहुत सी तारीफें की गयीं हैं।  लेकिन मेरे ख़याल से इसकी बेहतरीन तारीफ़ “तनक़ीद-ए-हयात” है – चाहे वो मकालों की शक्ल में हो। या अफसानों की। या शेर की। इससे हमारी हयात का तब्सिरा कहना चाहिए। Continue reading लखनऊ और फैज़: अतुल तिवारी

Five Days with VS Naipaul


(An edited, shorter version of this essay had
appeared some years ago in
Man’s World magazine.)


Call me the man who met V.S. Naipaul.

It all started innocently enough. A journalist telegraphed from Bombay that he was reaching Lucknow on such and such a date with V.S. Naipaul.

My excitement knew no bounds and I fixed it with a mutual friend, Azad, to go to the airport to pick them up. As luck would have it we got stuck in the traffic jam and reached the airport late. With hindsight I shudder to think what a close shave I had, what with Naipaul’s antipathy to people being late for an appointment.

We shook hands and since there was hardly any luggage we got into the car and headed back to the city. In spite of the intense summer heat Naipaul was wearing a summer suit and a felt hat. He was wearing a checked shirt with the collar buttoned but without a tie, white socks and loafer shoes, the kind in which the socks show.

His skin was dark like walnut, and because the felt hat hid his thick head of hair the initial impression which had become familiar to us from Hollywood gangster movies. The expression was fixed in a perpetual grimace with the lips pursed as if he was just enduring being stuck in a place like this. There was not a hint of a smile.

I told Naipaul that A House for Mr Biswas was one of my favourite books and I am sure that he must be pleased with it too. He modestly said, “It just got written and yes I am very fond of Biswas too.” Modestly because in one of his interviews Naipaul said that he knew that it was going to be a big one. I referred to the ‘skin tights’ episode and Naipaul gave an amused chuckle. In my younger days, when I had read the novel, I had felt that it was very cruel to write this episode however amusing it might have been. But I did not say so to him. Continue reading Five Days with VS Naipaul

Human Rights Defenders As Petty Swindlers: It is all Maya

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That’s our problem.”

– Howard Zinn, Failure to Quit

Three month old Babu who is affectionately called Yuvraj also is not in a position to read the changes in his mother’s face nor can comprehend why everyone in the family has suddenly started looking tense these days. For the kid the world remains the same, but for his family members it has rather changed a lot.

Continue reading Human Rights Defenders As Petty Swindlers: It is all Maya