[Reader-list] hello some notes from the trip

Lehar .. lehar_hind at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 27 00:40:09 IST 2002

this is soo briallint
and shines with humanity..
Btw, we are running a yahoogroup of concerned indians
called sanjhi virasat..has filmakers, dancers, poets,
assorted sorts on it..
also..coming out with a newsletter called Sanjhi
the first issue has the Ode to Benaras by GHalib and
Amrita Pritam's story Sahiban in Exile.
next issue will feature Guru Gobind Singh's Persian
hymns and Manto's TOba Tek SIngh or/ Q. Hyder's Aag ka
Dariya extracts...
for those interested in receiving please reply to this
id or access online 

The site will be finally up and running tommorow..
INthe meanwhile, here is an initial glimpse of the
translators are needed since we hope to make this a
regional languge newsltter..accesible to remote
Gujarati, Urdu, HIndi, Bengali, Punjabi andTamil
transaltors are needed..
much appreciated..

     Sanjhi Kalam 
			The  rediscovery of India..

Welcome to Sanjhi Kalam.
We invite you to rediscover 
the Indian subcontinent..
In her own words.
In her own languages.
In her own ink.

Stained with her own vision.
Written with her own blood.
A testament to her indomitable 
Sanjhi Spirit.

Some of her greatest sons and daughters..
Speak of her - in her own voice.
And pay tribute to her 
Centuries moulded Sanjhi Virasat.

*Sanjhi- syncretic/shared
Kalam- pen, quill.
Virasat- Heritage/Legacy
This week

The Rediscovery Begins..

Introducing two of the greatest voices from her myriad
orchestra.. of many cultures and harmony.

 Ghalib’s Ode to Benaras

 Amrita Pritam’s Sahiban in Exile 

Next Week

 Featuring Guru Gobind Singh’s
Persian-Sanskrit hymns to the One Truth- the Ek Omkar.

 Aag ka Dariya - The River of Fire
  by Q. Hyder (India’s Gabriel Marquez)*

A brilliant river-rafting crash course into 4000 years
of India, through the rebirth of its protagonists from
Buddha’s Magadha to post-partition India. *The Times

	  			Come, start the Journey

Ode to Benaras
        Chiragh e- Dair, The Light of the World
				By Mirza Ghalib

May Heaven keep the grandeur of Benaras
Grove of this meadow of joy;
For oft returning souls -their journey’s end.
In this weary Temple land of the world,
Safe from the whirlwind of Time,
Benaras is forever Spring.

Where autumn turns 
into the touch of sandal on fair foreheads,
Springtide wears the sacred thread of flower waves,
And the splash of twilight 
is the crimson mark of Kashi’s dust on heaven’s brow.
The Kaaba of Hind!
This conch blowers dell; 
Its icons and idols are made of the Light,
That once flashed on Mount Sinai.
These radiant idolations’ spirits, 
Set the pious Brahmins afire, when their faces glow
Like moving lamps..on the Ganges banks.

Morning and Moonrise,
My lady Kashi,
Picks up the Ganga mirror
To see her gracious beauty,
Glimmer and shine.
Said I one night to a pristine seer
(who knew the secrets of whirling time)
‘Sir, you will perceive
That goodness and faith, fidelity and love
Have all departed from the sorry land.
Father and son are at each other’s throat;
Brother fights brother.
Unity and federation are undermined.
Despite these ominous signs
Why has doomsday not come?
Why does the Last trumpet not sound?
Who holds the reigns of the final catastrophe?’
The hoary old man of lucent ken
Pointed towards Kashi and gently smiled.
‘The Architect’, he said, is fond of this edifice
Because of which there is colour in life.
He would not like it to perish and fall.’
Hearing this, the pride of Benaras soared to an
eminence, untouched by the wings of thought.
- Mirza Ghalib
(Translated by Pavan Verma
Ghalib: The Man and the Times; Published by Penguin

Translator’s Comments

Ghalib actually contemplated settling down in Benaras.
He wrote:

‘I wish I had taken a rosary in my hand, put a
sectarian mark on my forehead, tied a sacred thread
around my waist and seated myself on the banks of the
Ganges so that I could wash the contamination of
existence away from myself and like a drop, be one
with the river.’

Here is the Sufi idea of fana and the unity of
Vedanta. There is a conviction and intellectual
integrity, which made it possible for Ghalib to

In the Kaaba I will play the shankh (conch shell)
In the temple I have draped the ahram* 

*(Unstitched cloth worn by Muslims during Haj)

It can be argued that Ghalib’s radical views were not
fully mirrored by the man on the street. But it would
not have been possible for him to openly declare his
views and practise them or achieve the tremendous
following he had, except in an age somewhat in tune
with his beliefs. 
In a time of fundamental discordance with his views,
it may not have been possible for a Hindu, Munshi
Hargopal Tufta to become Ghalib’s foremost Shagird and
closest friend. Not would it have been possible for
Ghalib to declare another Hindu- Shivji Ram Brahman-
to be like a son to him; or for the Mughal emperor of
his age, Bahadur Shah Zafar to appoint a Hindu convert
to Christianity- Dr. Chaman Lal as his personal
(Courtesy: Penguin Books, India
Pavan Verma, Ghalib, the Man and the Times)							

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