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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Numerous paintings depicting Muslims showering atrocities over Sikhs, are exhibited in Sikh museums. One is driven to the conclusion that the Sikhs and the Muslims had never been at peace with each other and early Sikh history is nothing but a bloody tale of the Muslim tyranny vis-à-vis the Sikhs. Nothing can be further from truth than this misconception.

Before the advent of Guru Nanak, Punjab was ruled by Afghan Muslims. Afghans had remained in power for a long time before Humayun, who in his second attack on Sirhind, avenged his earlier defeat by killing Sikandar Sur, the Afghan ruler of Punjab.

With the death of Sikandar Sur, the Afghan populace of Punjab lost their Muslim ruler and their political godfather. The victorious armies of Humayun arrested hundreds of Afghan men. They were chained and dragged to Delhi for execution

At this point in history, the women folk of the arrested Afghan Muslims rushed for helpto their spiritual leader Shah Qumais, the Sufi saint of Sadhaura. Moved at the plight of the poor Afghan women, the saint immediately marched to Shahbad to see the victorious Humayaun. The latter reluctantly granted an audience to him. At this meeting the famous Bairam Khan was also present.

Shah Qumais’s way of appealing was not to beg or plead. He reminded Humayuan of the vow which he had taken on the banks of the river Attock before launching an attack on Punjab This unnerved Humayun. He had vowed not to arrest any Muslim if the merciful Almighty showered victory on him during this attack..Flabbergasted at the saint’s sweetly-worded admonition, Humayun ordered an immediate release of all the arrested Afghans.

Saved from the gallows, the Afghan Muslims became more devoted to the Sufi saint and thus Sadhaura became the forebearer of their socio-poltical activity. In the absence of a political leader, the Afghan masses, too, rallied around the Sufi saint and looked to him not only for safety but for resurrection as well.

After Shah Qumais, their centre of devotion shifted from Sadhaura to Sirhind, where Mujaddid Alif Saani Sheikh Ahmed Farooqi was vehemently attacking the doctrine of “Din-e-Ilahi” founded by Akbar. The might of the emperor Jahangir was challenged by the Sheikh.

The Muslims of Punjab, fighting their battle for survival under the leadership of spiritual leaders, were happy to find Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, crossing swords with the Mughals. They wholeheartedly sympathized with the Guru as they thought that he was fighting their enemy.

They created unrest in Punjab when the two religious leaders, Sheikh Ahmed Farooqi and Guru Hargobind, were arrested by the Mughals and locked up in Gwalior Fort. As a consequence, Jahangir had to order their release. This made the Punjabi Muslims as well as the Sikhs jubilant.

In their effort to acquire their lost power back, the Punjabi Muslims once again rallied around a Sufi saint. This time it was Adam Banuri, the valiant crusader and a faithful disciple of Sheikh Farooqi. In a bid to clinch the issue in favour of the Afghan Muslims, Sheikh Adam Banuri, in 1642 AD, decided to parade his man-power before Shah Jahan and ordered his followers to reach Lahore, where the Emperor was camping.

Noticing the thousands of sudden visitors in Lahore, Shah Jahan asked for the real motive of such a concentration of Afghan Muslims. On being told that it had happened at the behest of Adam, the Emperor deputed his Prime Minister Saadullah to go the Shiekh and sort out the problem whatsoever.

What transpired between the Sheikh and the Prime Minister can be guessed from the note Saadullah presented to the Emperor making it clear that it was not possible for the two_The Emperor and the Sufi saint_ to live together in India. Either of the two would have to submit. Enraged by the findings of the Prime Minister, Shah Jahan ordered the Sheikh to be exiled immediately.

The departure of Adam Banuri to Mecca was a deadly blow to the morale and aspirations of the Punjabi Muslims. They had already lost their political leader and now with Adam’s exit from the scene they lost their religious leader as well.

Frustrated and demoralized Afghan Muslims, felt blood course their their veins, when Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, vowed to dethrone the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. Once again, they wholeheartedly rallied behind a religious leader and put their heart in his politico-military adventures. They hopefully believed that the tenth Guru would ultimately finish their bitter enemy, the Mughals.

It was for this reason that Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan, the two dyers of Machhiwara to risk their lives to save the life of the tenth Guru. They also deceived (in the name of Islam) their Muslim enemies to provide a safe passage to the Guru out of the besieged Machhiwara.

When the decision of burying alive in the wall the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh was taken at the Mughal court of Sirhind, the chieftain of Malerkotla, the only surviving Afghan principality in Punjab, dissented. Not contented with his walk-out from the court, the Afghan chieftain also sent a nasty letter to the Emperor declaring his act of killing the innocent as unIslamic.

Had the Muslims of Punjab not backed the Sikhs fighting the Mughals, and had there been animosity between the Sikhs and the Muslims, Banda Bahadur would not have spared Muslims. In his attack on Sirhind to avenge the killing of the Guru’s sons Banda Bahadur would have lashed at the shrine of Sheikh Farooqi, a magnificent Muslim monument, just a few yards away from the place of the killing. Banda left the Muslim shrine undamaged and carefully directed his fury towards the Mughal population. Only the Punjabi Muslims who sided with or were in the pay of the Mughals attracted his wrath.

I understand that there was never a war between the Sikhs and the Muslims as such, though the Sikhs were always at war with the Mughals. Interestingly, the Afghan Muslims rarely admitted the Mughals to be Muslims because they came from a Turk father and a Mongol mother. Mughal rulers from Jahangir onwards were half Hindus from their maternal side.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


हक़ - शनासी की इब्तिदा मौला
कौन हूँ मैं मुझे बता मौला
(हक़-शनासी - Identification
of Truth; इब्तिदा - beginning)

मुझ में वो जुस्तजू जगा मौला
ढूंढ़ पाऊँ तेरा पता मौला
(जुस्तजू - craze)

तू नज़र आये ज़र्रे-ज़र्रे में
आँख को देखना सिखा मौला

जो तेरे बिन ना तुझ से कुछ माँगे
वो गदागर मुझे बना मौला
(गदागर - beggar)

मेरे माथे पे लिख दे नाम अपना
मुझ को अपना पता बना मौला

आँसू-आँसू में अक्स हो तेरा
मुझको यूँ भी कभी रुला मौला
(अक्स – reflection)

अर्श भी तेरा फर्श भी तेरा
जग है क्यूँ मसअला मौला
(अर्श - sky; फर्श - earth;
मसअला - problem)

होंठ सीखेंगे कब ज़बां चुप की
बंद कब होगा बोलना मौला

रोते बच्चे को गोद में ले ले
दे ना जन्नत का झुनझुना मौला

तू तगाफुल-पसंद है या फ़िर
बे-असर है मेरी दुआ मौला
(तगाफुल -पसंद - leisure-loving;
बे-असर - ineffective)

शेर फरयाद है 'नरेश' अपनी
शायरी है सदा-ए-या मौला
(सदा-ए-या - Cry for the Lord)

Monday, June 21, 2010


Mana ki tera husn dilavez bahot hai

Lekin ye mera dil ki anakhez bahot hai

(Dilavez : fascinating ; anakhez : egoist)

Aaye ho to kuchh baat karo yun na raho chup

Ud jaayenge lamhe ki hawa tez bahot hai

Jee mein hai maiyenaab mein kuchh zehr mila loon

Darta hun ki saaqi ki nazar tez bahot hai

(maiyenaab : colourful wine)

Main dast-e-talab kaise badha doon mere saaqi

Paiymana-e-ghairat hai ki labrez bahot hai

(Dast-e-talab : seeking hand ; paiymana-e-ghairat : bowl of vanity ; labrez - full)

Mana ki jawan azm badi cheez hai lekin

Toofan-e-hawadis bhi balakhez bahot hai

(Azm : ambition ; Hawadis : happenings ; Balakhez : trouble shooting)

Chhale se ‘Naresh’ uski zaban par bhi pade hain

Sunte the ki sach se use parhez bahot hai

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Jaate ho gaon chhod ke pachhtaoge Mian

Insaan dekhne ko taras jaoge Mian

Har bad-dua se saaf nikal jaoge Mian

Murda zamir ko kahan dafnaoge Mian

Taqleed-e-Qais khoob hai mauzoo-e-guftagu

Patte bhi sarsarae to dar jaoge Mian

(Taqleed-e-Qais : Copying Majnu)

Is shehr mein to jurm hai imdaad-e-baahmi

Kasa-b-dast kiske yahan jaoge Mian

(Imdaad-e-baahmi : mutual help; Kasa-b-dast :

With a begging bowl)

Dekhoge jab ki pedon tale bhi nahin hai chhaon

Tab khud-b-khud hi ghar ko palat aaoge Mian

Tarak-e-ta’alluqat baja kitne din magar

Aayeena dekhne ko chale aaoge Mian

(Tarak-e-ta’alluqat : breaking off ties)

Mela nahin ye bheed hai bazaar ki ‘Naresh’

Afsurdagi milegi jidhar jaoge Mian

(Afsurdagi : sadness)

Friday, June 4, 2010


Hai agar khushi koyi wo to bas zara si hai

Haasil-e-muhabbat to mustqil udaasi hai

(Haasil-e-muhabbat : Achievement of love;

Mustqil : permanent)

Koyi baat karva de koyi us se milva de

Jis ke phone ka number saat sau chhiyasi hai

Kya nasib hai apna maikade mein aakar bhi

Hont hain ki tashna hain rooh hai ki pyasi hai

Kaun usko jaanega kaun usko samjhega

Khud ko jaan lena hi asl haq-shanasi hai

Kaise isko bakhshega aye Khuda-e-bakhshinda

Ye ‘Naresh’-e-khasta-dil aasion ka aasi hai

(Khuda-e-bakhshinda : Merciful God; aasi : sinfull)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The cinema of today represents our collective sensibility and its viewing has become a habit with us. It has gone so deep into our sub-conscience that we can not think of any other means to spend our leisure than seeing a film. And yet cinema has become a subject of discussion at the conscience level. While it has almost assumed the role of a stark necessity in our life, the intelligentia is accusimg cinema for causing degeneration of our values, our cultural pattern, our civilization and is threatening to subsume the real purpose of our life and living. On the other hand, the artistes and film-makers have a grouse that on account of lack of proper intellectual development and modernization, the general viewers are in no position to appreciate the experimental, psychological, educational and literary films.

There is no gain saying the fact that our present generation is deeply engrossed in the cinema which influences and effects the social life most comprehensively in the field of day-to-day pattern of life-style and standards of living, physical outfits etc. In fact cinema has an overwhelming impact on the attitudes and behaviour of the people. But it will not be fair to jump on the conclusion that cinema is exclusively responsible for causing a dent in our time-tested values, though cinema may be one of the factors. How can we deny that after investing millions of rupees in the production of a film, the producer shall not like to recover the costs along with profits ? It is, therefore, very natural for a producer to make a film which could become easily popular with the masses who would repeatedly see the film. This profit-motive has resulted into the making of ‘formula films’.

The present formula-films are thus to attract large number of viewers who are tempted to view titillating sex-scenes, pulsating dances, lilting songs, thrilling fights and exciting swimming- pools. Such films cater to the baser feelings of the viewers.Love and crime are the natural instincts of common masses and they get satisfaction through the formula films. The common viewer would yearn to see the fulfillment of his pent-up desires and suppressed feelings through the characters in the film. During the viewing, the antics of the hero overpowers the viewer and the latter looks to his performances intently and completely identifies himself with the hero. As the film progresses, the viewer develops a feeling that he himself is performing and the hero of the film is only a symbol. But when the viewer finds that his hero is not performing the way the viewer might have wished him to, then he gets bored and disgusted. Our film-makers are keenly aware of this state of mind and they exploit it to the fullest extent.

The inquisitive mind wants to know if such formula films have always been the weakness of our society. Looking back we find that we have almost revolutionalized the art of film-making and now our films are technically much superior than before in terms of photography, direction, dialogue-delivery, theme et,.in fact, all the departments of film production. But are there people who are still fond of old films and old actors ? The answer is emphatic yes. Such people think that the old films were far superior to the new ones. People listen to the old songs over the radio or television with nostalgic memries since that usued to be the music for the soul and not the prevalent music for the years alone. Although the old films did not have the superficial jazzy fast orchestratic songs, no obscene sexy scenes and no exiting gun-trotting, yet the treatment of the film was so near to reality that it would touch the inner chord of the heart and one could, in fact, breathe the songs and live the films.

But under the influence of the West, we have introduced sex and violence in the films. I, for one, don’t agree that sex and violence have become an essential ingredient of the modern films. People are still wedded to their old culture and old values. Otherwise how could films like ‘Do aankhen barah haath’, ‘Jhanak jhnak payal baaje’, ‘Mughal-e-azam’, ‘Geet gaya patthron ne’, ‘Shaheed’,’Poorab aur pashchim’, ‘Yaaden’ and ‘Upkar’ be great box-office hits.

Time goes on. It is never stationary. Everything is under a natural process of change. We must not be unduly alarmed if our values have undergone certain changes over the years. To my mind, the real problem is that we have neither been able to remain purely Indian in our outlook and behaviour nor have we fully adopted and accepted the Western culture and values. This contradiction or dilemma is manifest in the fact that some times we enjoy films made on Western pattern but at another time we feel disgusted with them. If we go to see a movie with an idea of seeking entertainment, then we like them but those who try to find out the purpose or morality, are disillusioned.

The modern films can be broadly classified into two categories: viz. the ‘entertainment films’ and the ‘purposeful films’. On the yardstick of popularity, the entertainment films are more successful than the purposeful ones, the reasons for which are far too to seek.In this present-day materialistic society, every one is awfully busy in his daily pursuits and does not have much spare time. Whatever little time one can cheese off from his engaging routine, one would like to relax and enjoy to the full without listening to anything that calls for serious contemplation. Such rare moments, one would like to spend in entertaining oneself and not bothering to see any serious or thematic kind of film. One would cherish to divert oneself from the dull and druggery of life and its accompanying problems and be at peace with oneself for some moments.

In other words, the entertainment films came to our rescue from our boredom and monotony. During the last few decades, we have seen the mushroom growth of such ‘escape’ films. Looking closely we find that there is a world of difference between the factually hard realities of life and the artificialities projected by the films. Caught in such a position, one can get frustrated with one’s real life because the glamour of ‘filmy-life’ is missing in one’s real life_ an ailment which can be conclusively attributed to the influence and impact of films.

The second category of films is the purposeful films which, besides feature films, include documentary films, advertisement films, news-reels etc. Documentary films have a great significance in a democratic set-up since through this medium people are wakened to their duties and responsibilities towards their society, their country and thus close relationship is established and maintained between the Government and the governed. News-reels are also very useful in imparting political education to the masses. You might have experienced that such like films have done commendable impact in making us aware about the situations when India was engaged in wars with China and Pakistan. Such films are made with some specific purposes and have no commercial overtones.

The need of the time is that apart from the films made by the Government and with the financial assistance from the Government, the entire film-industry must make such films as encourage the viewers to maintain and strengthen the Indian culture and Indian values. The film-makers must not make films with their eyes sonly on the ‘box-office’. If they can replace sex, ,action and violence with themes like humanity, mutual love and understanding which can stir our sensitivities and consciousness, inspire us to preserve and foster our composite culture, then , I am sure, films will not only be popular among the viewers but also creative and our film-makers will be fulfilling a social and national obligation apart from serving the cause of art and indeed themselves.