Review: Jodha Akbar

Jodha AkbarThe challenge of translating a historical era into a cinematic endeavour is daunting, especially when it concerns historically contested subjects such as the fabled love between 16th century Mughal Emperor Akbar and Jodha Bai, the legendary princess from Rajputana who later ruled India as Empress and symbolised the Hindu-Muslim accord of the times. Continue reading Review: Jodha Akbar

The 500th Post

It is only apt that I address concerns raised by some readers recently on Ram Puniyani’s article in the 500th post of this blog. This will allow me reiterate what this blog stands for and set the tone for future.

Concerns have been raised about the utility and relevance of Puniyani’s article on Ramayana at Indian Muslims Blog. On the face of it the article has been written by a Hindu on a specific Hindu issue. However, IMHO we are missing the bigger point here. The issue at stake is not that of different Ramayana narratives but that of freedom of expression. And that as an issue is relevant to this blog and to all Indians.

A debate on assault on freedom of expression by religious groups (Tasleema Nasreen, Salman Rushdie et al) will be incomplete without bringing in other aspects of the debate (James Laine, AK Ramanujam and others). The purpose of this blog is to bring a sense of perspective to issues. We are not trying to use the blog as a tool to prove that my communalism is better than you communalism. Or that if one particular religious group is using violence to justify their ends it automatically justifies the other religious group doing same. Our intention is not to further strengthen the cliques we have compartmentalized us into but to help see views in divergence with our own. I am not saying that Puniyani’s article is the final word on the issue but it is one of the many voices that we need to hear. We will try to bring more diverse voices in future on such important issues.

The problem with any such debate and specifically on a forum like this is that people become too defensive. Rather than debating the merits of arguments we get into an argument about some hidden agenda behind the article. Even if we concede point, it is almost grudgingly, and is generally followed by an attack on the author on why he didn’t write about this issue or that issue. We try to discredit him/her for that. A classic case of shooting the messenger down.

And imagine this article being written by a Muslim? Then all hell would break loose. Phrases like “but in your religion…” would be thrown in abundance. As if we have drawn the battle lines and any opinion from the ‘other’ side is seen as an act of transgression. It is almost that we have resigned ourselves to the idea of extremists calling the shots for our respective causes. It is a dangerous trend and will hurt us big.

Another important point is that this blog does not speak with one voice only. And what one bloggers writes on an issues doesn’t becomes the de facto opinion of all the bloggers. Indian Muslims Blog is a platform to throw in ideas, engage in discussions and challenge our existing perspective. We don’t except everyone to agree with everything that is posted here and that is not our objective either.

Thank you and keep the discussion going!

Many Rams – Many Ramayanas

RamayanaThe recent (Feb. 2008) rampage by ABVP activists in Delhi University protesting against the introduction of Ramanujan’s essay “Three Hundred Ramayana’s”, as the reading text, was not the first such act of political vandalism around Ram’s story. This essay by the much acclaimed scholar, A.K.Ramanujan is part of his “The Collected Essays of A.K.Ramanujan (Oxford 1999). Earlier in the aftermath of Babri demolition a Sahmat exhibition on different versions of Ramayana was attacked by RSS combine’s goons. Continue reading Many Rams – Many Ramayanas

Invitation: Performance Traditions Among The Indian Muslims

Please click on the image to enlarge.
IGNCA Invite

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Cordially invites you to an eight day event Aqeedat ke Rang (Performance Traditions among the Indian Muslims)


1 – 4 April 2008; 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Venue : IGNCA, Janapada Sampada Hall, 3rd floor, No. 5
Building, Dr. R.P. Road, New Delhi – 100 001
(Entry from Man Singh Road)

Public Lectures

1 – 4 April 2008 at 6.00 pm
Venue : IGNCA, Janapada Sampada Hall, 3rd floor, No. 5
Building, Dr. R.P. Road, New Delhi – 100 001
(Entry from Man Singh Road)

1st April 2008: Gopi Chand Narang

2nd April 2008: Saeed Naqvi

3rd April 2008: Syeda Saiyidain Hameed

4th April 2008: Asghar Ali Engineer


1 – 4 April 2008
Venue : IGNCA, Open Air Theatre, No. 3, Dr. R.P.
Road, New Delhi – 110 001

1st April 2008
7.00 pm : Zikr Faqeera (Assam)
7.40 pm : Qawwali
(Warasi Brothers, Rampur)

2nd April 2008
7.00 pm : Bhand Pather (Kashmir)
7.30 pm : Nassari (Lucknow)
8.00 pm : Rabia Basari; Play
(Seema Aggarwal, Delhi)

3rd April 2008
7.00 pm : Milaad (Delhi)
7.30 pm : Classical Sufi Songs (Madan Gopal, Delhi)
8.00 pm : Chahar Bayt (Tonk)

4th April 2008
7.00 pm : Naat Khani & Darood Khani (Kashmir)
7.30 pm : Agra Bazaar; Play (Habib Tanvir)


Hind Islami Tahzeeb ke Rang – Aqeedat ke Sang
1 – 8 April 2008
Venue : IGNCA, Mati Ghar, C.V. Mess Building,
Janpath, New Delhi – 110 001
10.00 am – 05.00 pm

My Travels to Delhi

When travels come, they come in battalions. Such has been the trajectory of my recent sojourns to Delhi. Travel to India can be, at best, random and left to a game of chance, given how the officialdom on both sides of the border ensures that people don’t cross real and imagined boundaries. Coincidence, or as my less rational side would say, the calling of the Delhi and Ajmer Saints, enabled me to land in Delhi twice in less than three months. Continue reading My Travels to Delhi

Death Of A Patriot

On the 24th of last month, the body of a 94 year old poet prince was led to rest. He was Imamuddin Khan Babi, who wrote poetry by the pen name of Ruswa Mazloom, and was the erstwhile ruler of Pajod, a small jagir in Junagadh district of Gujarat. Few in India have heard his name, and even fewer know that in spite of being the jagirdaar of one of the smallest princely states in India he towered above the other princes of pre-independent India. Continue reading Death Of A Patriot

“Begum” Was Waiting, But Master Never Returned

Shivnath Jha

Ustad Bismillah KhanRemembering Ustad Bismillah Khan who was born 92 years ago on this day.

In the last half a century or more, no one could think of shehnai without Bismillah Khan or vice-versa. It is he, who, in fact, gave a popular instrument the capacity and courage to raise to be admitted to the hoary company instruments of Hisndustani classical music globally. Continue reading “Begum” Was Waiting, But Master Never Returned

Holi’s Muslim History

Holi, being celebrated across India March 21, may be the most colourful Hindu festival but it has a Muslim history as well.

Sufi saints like Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and Amir Khusrau in their chaste Persian and Hindi loved the festival. Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, whose Holi ‘phags’ (songs) are relished even today, allowed his Hindu ministers to tinge his forehead with ‘gulal’ during Holi festival each year. Continue reading Holi’s Muslim History

Prophet Mohammed And The Mystics

Muhammad Calligraphy(On the occasion of the 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal, the Prophet’s birthday)

Prophet Mohammed was born on a Monday, the twelfth night of Rabi ul awwal in Mecca in the year 570 CE. It is a day to rejoice as God sent him as a rahmat tul alamin, “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures” (21:107). God is all praise for the Prophet of whom He was the Nurturer (Rab). “And thou standst on an exalted standard of character.” (68:4). He commands us to follow the Messenger. “If you do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (3:31). Continue reading Prophet Mohammed And The Mystics