Voice of a lost generation


Most fascinating has been Jagjit’s universal appeal which touched millions of lives around the world and helped them connect. One is  amazed by the spontaneous outpouring of grief across the border in Pakistan.
Hours after his death, Pakistani television networks paid fulsome tributes to the singer, vying with those across the border It’s not often that you see Pakistani media shower such unqualified and unreserved praise on an artist from the other side. Which incidentally holds true for Indian media as well.
As India and Pakistan mourn the singer, we are once again struck by all that the separated at birth twins have in common despite the unpleasantness of the past few decades and wars they have fought on and off the field.
Despite the best efforts of our perpetually scheming politicians, to divide us and poison our relations, what unites and bonds us, Indians and Pakistanis, is still greater than what divides us. From music to culture to literature and from food to sports to arts, the things that ordinary people of India and Pakistan share is truly mind-boggling. 
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THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A GREATER NEED TO SPEAK OUT FOR LOVE, PEACE AND REASON – AND NOT JUST IN SOUTH ASIA 

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by Aijaz Zaka Syed

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Note for WoP readers: In the following post, Aijaz Zaka Syed recounts the life and times and the art – of that great performing soul, called Jagjit Singh. Stirring millions of hearts with his melodious numbers Jhuki jhuki si nazar and Kaagaz ki kashti, Jagit Singh infused a new life in the dying genre of music in the eighties and carved a niche for himself in the Bollywood.

 Jagjit Singh was indeed a marvel in the art of ghazal singing ad as rightly said by Zaka he made ghazal a popular genre when in the subcontinent modern disco jingles were ruling the roost.

The pain and melancholy in his voice gave vent to the feelings of many a lonely heart.

Note: This YouTube video may be copyrighted material. We make use of such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

I remember in the 1980’s when his CD’s came into the Pakistani market, I bought one of his ghazals CD which carried his most impressive ghazal [my most favourite one too] sarakti jayay hae rukh se naqab aahista ahista. Interestingly Zaka missed this wonderful rendition, but to me it has always been like his signature tune.

Another aspect which endeared him to us in the Punjab was his very frequent telling of some joke which he narrated with such finesse that you enjoyed his jokes as much as you did his ghazal singing.

In the later period, when he lost his young son Vivek [Vivek used to accompany him in singing] more pain, melancholy and sadness crept into Jagjit’s soul and he stopped jokes which he used to do before starting his ghazals.

Jagjit was one of the most successful and loved artistes of his time, who has left behind a huge body of work in a career spanning five decades, including 80 albums. [Nayyar]

*****

This is one of those times when words fail us pen pushers. Men like Jagjit Singh defy and transcend platitudes and unoriginal sobriquets such as “end of an era” and “Ghazal King.” The gifted singer, who passed away this week in New Delhi, strutted the world of South Asian music and ghazal singing like a colossus, earning himself popularity that at times seemed to surpass that of Mehdi Hassan, the original emperor of the genre who has inspired generations of artists, including Jagjit Singh himself.

(more…)

Environmental Crisis and Self-Destructive Imperialism


The developed nations of the world have to realize that our world needs global and not just local stability and that requires a global strategy.
Global stability can become reality only if there will be global equilibrium — equitable distribution of wealth and income worldwide — where the income of the developing countries is substantially improved, both in absolute terms and also relative to the developed nations.

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With our current bad habits, would we be able to save our planet! African nuclear scientist Jamal.S.Shrair throws light on this very pertinent issue of the day and warns on where to we are heading.

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by Jamal S. Shrair

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The present environmental crisis was triggered by the industrial revolution. As the industrial age started to progress the problem became visible, but it was simply ignored. From the beginning of the industrial revolution until the last two decades of the 20th century, we paid no attention to the pollution of our common home. The only important things were maximum profit and minimum loss, industrial expansion, especially that of the military industries which served the aims of colonialism, irrational ideological struggle, hegemony, power politics, etc.

The lack of a rational economic order is certainly the primary cause of the problem:

The resources of the planet are unwisely exploited, the motivation being to make as much profit as possible within the shortest possible time, while waste is being dumped wherever it is the cheapest to do so, such as in the oceans. There is no doubt that with a small fraction of what we have already wasted from the resources of the planet, the entire present world population could have prospered and enjoyed a very high standard of living if only we possessed – and practised – a higher level of social consciousness than we have done in the past one hundred years. As an example, the total military expenditure in the USA and former USSR in the 1980s alone (!) reached one trillion USD.

Now, however, there are urgent steps which should be taken to ameliorate the environmental crisis. Firstly, productive methods and activities, including the way of life in all advanced and the developing nations must change. We still only have this planet to live on, which has a finite space and mostly non-renewable resources. The earth cannot provide an unlimited number of individuals with a good material life. Therefore, irrational material growth and unrestricted demographic growth ultimately imply a lower standard of living. Secondly, population growth in the developing countries which the developed countries also worry about, must slow down and may be finally stopped altogether, aided by increased economic prosperity. (more…)

Published in: on 22/01/2010 at 11:43 pm  Comments (3)  
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Think, Americans: What’s Better, Tomahawks Or Michael Jackson?


clip_image001 (2)Michael Jackson: It didn’t take weapons to launch America’s cultural supremacy in the digital age.

They say Muslim nations want war with America. Can you explain why an American like Michael Jackson became hugely popular across Middle East and Central Asia despite the hatred for America’s foreign policy and military involvements in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan? Anti-Americanism is a lie used by Washington to lead the American people into unnecessary wars and create new enemies. Washington needs to learn from Jackson, Stallone, Madonna, and Tom Cruise. They took America to places where its military and politicians couldn’t.


by AHMED QURAISHI


Two things made America more influential and awe inspiring than any other nation on the face of the earth: cowboy movies and Michael Jackson.
Long before the American Tomahawks, B-52s and the rest of the American weapons used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, Michael Jackson entered the houses of the nations across the Middle East and Central Asia.

Michael_Jackson_1971_got_to_be_thereCover to Michael Jackson’s 1971’s – Got to Be There
Some say these Muslim nations want war with America. That’s typical Langley hogwash. Long before Karen Hughes and Don Rumsfeld came up with kooky concepts of public diplomacy, and long before Pentagon and State Department established offices for outreach to Muslims, this icon of modern American culture was welcomed in a region that knew little about American culture or simply didn’t care.
America didn’t need men with twisted minds and Darth-Vader plans for global domination to open the doors for American supremacy [this is for you, Richard Perle]. It happened anyway thanks to Jackson, Stallone and Madonna.
I was ten years old, growing up in the Middle East with kids who were Iraqis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Iranians, Palestinians, Yemenis, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Syrians, Turks, Sudanese and Afghans. And I distinctly remember how in 1982 and 1983 Michael Jackson burst on the scene, to a great and an enthusiastic welcome never accorded to an American before.
michael_jackson_king_of_popMichael Jackson portrai
Those who knew one face of America – Reagan at the time – and vehemently hated it became crazy about another American face. I am sure they could never reconcile this contradiction deep in their hearts. But it was there, the two sides coexisting side by side.
Aside from our region, Michael’s music opened the doors of the Soviet Union and China to everything American, not to mention Africa, East Asia and the rest of the world. Before his album, Thriller, for example, only members of the elite in some of these nations knew the truth: that there is another side to America besides imperialism, a good side.
It seems so ordinary now. But, really, think about it; closed and proud societies warmly welcoming a completely new and alien culture of a country whose foreign policy was viewed suspiciously by many.
Right about the same time as Michael’s Thriller and the moonwalk, there came Sylvester Stallone with his accent, Tom Cruise with Top Gun, and then ‘USA for Africa’: forty-five American singers joining in a song for the victims of the African drought. The song, We Are The World, gave the world this amazing message about an American nation striving to help the needy.  Even the best American diplomats and the best image consultants couldn’t buy the goodwill that these ordinary good Americans created for their nation.
Cover of Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix
This is the lesson that America desperately needs to learn today. Jackson almost launched America’s cultural supremacy in the digital age. CIA or the US military used it, not caused it. So who is the real asset?
Enough of US government using Hollywood celebrities to get back at China like Stephen Spielberg did when he canceled a contract for Beijing Olympics last year in a theatrical move to politicize Tibet; and enough of the US government using YouTube and Twitter as political tools in its not-so-innocent battle with Iran.
The Americans need to bring that time back when they came together for something like ‘USA for Africa’, an effort devoid of any political mileage, like the search for cheap oil in African jungles, which is what they’re doing now.
This ugly and militarized side of America has eclipsed everything else in the past decade. Let’s remember that Washington’s entire might in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t and couldn’t generate the kind of real goodwill that America received with Jackson’s death.
Your Jacksons are far more appealing than your Tomahawks. Get it. Or beat it.
Sure, while this was happening, CIA was secretly supporting terrorist militias in Latin America and Africa, pushing Iraq to declare war against Iran, destabilizing governments and exploiting the pure passion and the blood of the Afghans to settle an American score with the Soviets.  America’s governments were doing dirty things. But it was the good side of America that the people of the world preferred, the one that was really launched by Michael Jackson and others. The Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union didn’t exactly crumble thanks only to America’s gung-ho politicians or military strategists. They crumbled because of the enduring power of the image that Jackson and Madonna and Tom Cruise and Stallone and others spread worldwide. [Continued below the picture].
Credits: Text & title pic: AhmedQuraishi.com & PakNationalists Last 3 photogaphs: http://www.solarnavigator.net/


The obsession to `Muslimize` MJ



In 2006 it was also rumored that Michael Jackson embraced Islam but it was later denied. Yet the 2008 news were never denied
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By Kazi Mahmood

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A rather fantastic event hit the earth on the 25th of June in the US and it was here, at Kuala Lumpur the 26th of June in the early hours of the morning. The news of Micheal Jackson’s death hit the Internet with blogs and other twitter users carrying the story which grew like wild fires. At World Future Online, we published the story as early as 7 am in the morning and we followed it with another story on the reported conversion to Islam of MJ. Here we tell you more on the Muslim obsession to have MJ as a Muslim and why is this is very important to this community of 1.5 billion people.

 

The Muslims are sometimes accused of being thirsty for big names to join the list of those who embraced Islam in the course of their successful carreer. MJ had a larger than life success as a singer, a genius that the world will not see for a long time with the kind of musical phenomenon that we might not see again, unless the prophetized ‘Dajjal’ appear.

 

At the begining of his meteorical rise, MJ gave some Muslim thinkers reasons to fear that the ‘Dajjal’s coming was near. The reference to the ‘Dajjal’ was due to the 1982 global record sale of the Album ‘Thriller’ that took the world by storm and for ever changed the way the music industry looked at itself and was looked upon by the world.

Then came other albums, including Bad which sold very well and made MJ look like the number one dominant force in the music world. His aura, the magnetic appeal and his charismatic character turned him into a world musical giant. This again forced some people in the Musilm world to be weary. The idea that ‘Dajjal’, the anti-Christ for the Christian world and the anti-Muslim ogre for the Muslims, was on his way to earth. Dajjal will be a one eyed (perhaps biased?) singer who will capture the world with his power to deliver a music that mankind has never heard before.

Jermain Jackson on the right with Micheal holding an umbrella

With the concert ‘We are the World’ the image of Micheal Jackson took a sudden change as all the fears were torn apart. In this concert, with its background and the reasons for MJ to be involved in this project portrayed a very different Micheal Jackson. He became more fragile, human and down to earth and this made him more popular in Africa, Arabia and the Asian continent where he captured the people with his aura and charisma. The vulnerable Micheal showed his heart with ‘We are the World’ and this doused the fears of the 666 number appearing soon for many Muslims.

 

It is to be noted that Africa, Asia and Arabia has large populations of Muslims and the popularity of Micheal Jackson among the Muslims is uncomparable. Not a single Muslim star could reach the iconic height that MJ reached with his Muslim followers/supporters and this will probably remain as such for generations. ‘We are the World’ showed that Micheal wanted to save the world not destroy it and that he was a gentle, kind human being and never a threat to other people.

 

The charges against Micheal Jackson brought up by the families of the children who were his companions in his dream land sent a wave of pity across the world. The American justice system had much more to lose than to win with the accusations made against the man without a childhood. The entire world now knows that MJ wanted to be in the company of kids only to feel the same joy that they felt being at Dream Land. There’s nothing else to it and the families that made millions out of their accusations have nothing else to gain but the shame of having given a bad time to MJ. That is the global impression of people when you read blogs and other articles by people online and offline.

 

About his conversion to Islam, the news came as a sound of good tidings in the ears of the Muslims, battered in the war on terror and accused of being ‘extreme’ while their Prophet and their Holy Al-Quraan both suffered the ill-doings of bad intentioned non-believers. MJ a Muslim? The impact is huge. It is even bigger than Muhammad Ali becoming a Muslim in his tender age after he won the Olympic Gold Medal for the US in the 1960’s.

Muhammad Ali created a wave of joy in the Muslim world when he became a Muslim, abandoning the name Cassius Clay for his Muslim one. His successes and his ups and downs became that of the Muslim communities world wide. The fact that MJ is said to have converted to Islam too became a part and parcel of the Muslims who follows the news and are interested in MJ.

Great Muslim names have today paid their reverence to Micheal Jacson on his untimely death, a death that has made many people cry on the Television during interviews with TV presenters including Larry King who spoke to close friends of MJ. And most of them cried live on TV or said later on that they could not stop crying. Their heart broken and their hopes dashed, they loved MJ too much to have lost him so soon.

 

Nevertheless, for the Muslims, it is like a sort of blessing in disguise and when Jermain said the word ‘Allah’ during the official declaration of MJ’s death, it was a light in the tunnel for the millions of Muslims who are living in state of war, war caused by their enemies who are today head quartered in no other place than the Pentagon! The news of MJ becoming a Muslims had spread like wild fires in November last year. In 2006 it was also rumored that he embraced Islam but it was later denied. Yet the 2008 news were never denied.

 

The impact of the MJ’s death on his followers will inevitably bring some of them to consider the fact that Jermain is a Muslim and that perhaps MJ converted to Islam. The same impact was seen with Lady Diana Spencer after her passing in 1997. Though 911 will remain the greatest impact on non-Muslims who embraced Islam after that deadly event, the role MJ’s reported conversion and Jermain’s confirmed conversion will play in the future. This will be of great importance to Muslims and also to non-Muslims as the latter folks will see a new light, a new way to understand Islam despite the massive anti-Islam campaigns by the American Neo-Cons and the Jews.

Source: Mathaba
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

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Published in: on 30/06/2009 at 2:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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Does it Matter if Michael Jackson, Princess Diana Were Muslim?


mj345

RPK Addresses The Issue of Asian Muslim Inferiority Complex. We say Asian (including Arab), because this strange phenomena of looking for endorsement by Western Stars is a primarily if not exclusively Asian phenomena which reveals an insecurity and inferiority complex.


WHAT IS THERE TO BE PROUD OF?


So, does it really matter whether Lady Diana became a Muslim before she died? Would Islam benefit if Prince Charles or the Queen herself became a Muslim? Does this really enhance the image of Islam, as most Muslims believe it would?


by Raja Petra Kamarudin


There are many who are pleased with the revelation brought on by the death of Michael Jackson. This is of course the revelation that he may have converted to Islam. These happy people were also pleased that Cassius Clay became a Muslim (and is now called Muhammad Ali) and in most likelihood Princes Diana and astronaut Neil Armstrong did as well — although I don’t think these personalities concerned actually publicly said so.
Why is it so important to Muslims that these superstars converted to Islam? So they died as Muslims. Or maybe they never became Muslims and died as Jews or Christians or whatever. Does it really matter one way or another what religion they professed before they died? What is it to us anyway? Would it not be their business more than ours?
I suppose to some this would be very meaningful. To know that extremely important people like Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Princes Diana and Neil Armstrong may have all become Muslims gives us that feeling of winning. This proves that we were right all along. And everyone likes to feel that he or she was right and enjoy the satisfaction of being able to say, “I told you so!”
Would it mean anything to Muslims if one million poor and starving Africans converted to Islam? Probably not and we really don’t care if it were 100 million poor and starving Africans who had converted. It is not the numbers that count. We don’t care about quantity. We are concerned about the ‘quality’ of the converts.
One million or even 100 million poor and starving Africans converting to Islam is not something to be proud of. But if Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, was to become a Muslim then that is cause to celebrate with the slaughter of 100 camels and 300 sheep. That proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Islam is the correct religion and it further proves that I was right all along in subscribing to Islam. Hey, even Prince Charles agrees with me and Prince Charles is no ordinary human being.
This ‘we won’ and ‘we were right all along’ is not only a Muslim obsession but also an obsession of all religions. So before you take this as a cue to start your Islam-bashing please note that the word ‘Islam’ can be replaced with the word ‘Christianity’, ‘Hinduism’ or whatever. No religion is exempted from this ‘competitive spirit’ and the obsession to ‘prove itself’ by the converts it attracts — and the higher the profile of the convert the higher your win and the stronger your message of being ‘right’.
Instead of harping on the number of new converts you are able to attract and the high profile or high quality of these converts, I would rather focus on the high quality of your existing practitioners and ask whether they are doing justice to the religion they are supposed to be professing. What does it matter if Queen Elizabeth herself converted to Islam if the rest of the five million or so Muslims in Britain leave much to be desired as far as their conduct is concerned.
Why are properties in non-white areas in Britain lower than in an all-white area? Well, basically this is because in a non-white area the crime rate is very high. Even your car insurance is higher if you live and park your car in these ‘black’ areas — especially if you don’t own a garage and park your car on the street.
RPK

RPK

Granted, not all the non-whites are Muslims. Some are Christians, Hindus, or whatever. Nevertheless, if that particular Briton happens to be a Muslim rather than a Jew, Christian or Hindu, you can safely bet that that person would be non-white rather than white. So, while not all non-whites are Muslims, most Muslims are non-white. And the crime rate is higher in non-white areas (as it is in ‘white’ council areas).
So, does it really matter whether Lady Diana became a Muslim before she died? Would Islam benefit if Prince Charles or the Queen herself became a Muslim? Does this really enhance the image of Islam, as most Muslims believe it would? What would really enhance the image of Islam would be if property in non-white areas are exactly the same price as property in the white areas and your car insurance is not loaded because you live and park your car in a non-white area.
If Michael Jackson really did die a Muslim then well and fine. Good for him. It does not do anything for me anyway. The same as far as Lady Di is concerned and for the rest of the British Royal Family as well. The fact that these high profile people became Muslims does not add value to Islam. What would add value to Islam would be when you buy a car in Britain and you don’t end up paying double the insurance premium because you live in a high-crime rate ‘Muslim’ neighbourhood’ or that your home is cheaper in value because all your neighbours are non-white Muslims.

Now that would make me real proud indeed.

Source: Mathaba
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.