Mir and Ghalib on the beloved’s street

Recently, while browsing through Frances Pritchett's excellent online commentary site on Mir Taqi Mir's poetry, Garden of Kashmir, I chanced upon the following verse: firdaus se kuchh us kī galī meñ kamī nahīñ par sākinoñ meñ vāñ ke koʾī ādamī nahīñ His/her lane is not any less than Paradise But you won't find any humans … Continue reading Mir and Ghalib on the beloved’s street

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Ghalib’s "I called it" ghazal

This is a commentary on some verses from Ghalib's "I called it" ghazal in Farsi. The radif of this ghazal is نامیدمش (naamidamash), I named it or I called it. This radif offers a beautiful way to thematically link the couplets in the ghazal. Several of the verses are about delusions and mistakes. The poet … Continue reading Ghalib’s "I called it" ghazal

“The moon waxes big so that it might become your forehead”: Ghalib’s metaphor-inverting verses

The human mind works through metaphors and analogies. And no one understands this better than a poet. In the sub-continental Urdu-Persian poetic tradition, the metaphor was carried to great heights of sophistication during the classical period. The “Indian style” of Persian poetry (sabk-e-hindi)and its allied Urdu tradition became famous (some would say notorious) for their … Continue reading “The moon waxes big so that it might become your forehead”: Ghalib’s metaphor-inverting verses

Man Kunto Maula at Sufi Dargah in Sarnath, India

I have blogged before about the "little qawwali traditions" referring to the countless qawwals who sing at small town dargahs all over South Asia. Here is another example of the same. Bachcha Mohsin Qadri Qawwal and Part from Ghazipur, UP sing qaul at the urs (death anniversary) of a Sufi saint who lies buried in … Continue reading Man Kunto Maula at Sufi Dargah in Sarnath, India

Subverting Our Epics: Mani Ratnam’s Retelling of the Ramayana

A review I wrote of the recent film Raavan came out in the Economic and Political Weekly last week. It can be found here: Mani Ratnam’s film Raavan depicts the contradiction between the adivasis and the State through the framework of the Ramayana. The film, however, deviates from the message of the Ramayana, and raises … Continue reading Subverting Our Epics: Mani Ratnam’s Retelling of the Ramayana

Dantewada, Dec 14th to 17th 2009: Three days in the cauldron, on the eve of the Padyatra

Some of my readers know that I have been in India since September 2009 working on my dissertation research. I have had little time to write on the blog although there has been no shortage of things to write about.A couple of my recent travel reports were published on sanhati.com. One on my experience of … Continue reading Dantewada, Dec 14th to 17th 2009: Three days in the cauldron, on the eve of the Padyatra