Thursday, 18 December 2014

My heart bleeds for thee, Peshawar

O little cherubs of Peshawar
I am sorry for thee: thou departed from this world too soon
To thy heavenly abode
But I am content: for thou shalt at least be safe in heaven
That is bereft of earthly demons.

I am sorry for thee:  thou must have gone through immense pain
And suffering after being ruthlessly shot by mindless beasts
Who came to thy school on a bloody feast
And inflicted gaping wounds on thy little, fragile bodies.

What was thy fault, thou must have wondered?
Thou wert good at studies; thou wouldst do homework on time;
Thou wert disciplined and punctual too
Besides being messengers of peace.

Thou wert no children of a lesser God
Thou wert endowed with eyes, hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions.
Thou wouldst feel pain when hurt
Thou wouldst bleed, when pricked; thou wouldst laugh when tickled.
But O little cherubs of Peshawar
I am sorry for thee: thou wert faced with
A stony adversary, inhuman wretches
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.

I am sorry for thee
Thou deserved nothing but peace and amity
And a world where the kingdom of God prevailed, instead of Satan’s, alas.

Verily, I am sorry for us: for what’s this world without thy smiles, giggles, and chuckles?
What’s this world without thine innocence and truth?
Nothing, my angels, nothing.

It is barren without thee, devoid of its raison d’ĂȘtre
Wherefore should it even exist now?   
I for one do not feel like living in this brutal world anymore.

For my heart bleeds for thee. Adieu!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Recommending Razi to ISIS

                                             LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
It gives me immense pleasure to write for Mr. Razi Kazi whom I have known for the past six years in the capacity of a Chief Terrorist Officer at aL Maika Private Limited. In this period, Razi has successfully carried out many terrorist attacks in various parts of the world under my expert guidance. In the course of my acquaintance with Razi, I have had many opportunities to observe him at close quarters. Therefore, I can state with conviction that he is endowed with essential qualities required to succeed in a highly revered Master’s program in Terrorism at the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) university such as penchant for violence, expertise in beheading, misogyny, and lethargy.

After watching umpteen videos on YouTube and Dailymotion on religious riots and needless wars waged by Satan i.e. America, Razi joined our organization as a Trainee Terrorist in 2008 and since then he has not looked back. Razi has gone on to become a Senior Terrorist at aL Maika in a short span of time by virtue of his passion for committing acts of extreme violence. Razi’s skills in this regard came to the fore during a terrorist attack carried out by one of our sister organizations, namely Lashkar-e-Murabba in a namaloom country. I am happy to inform you that as many as 200 kafirs were done to death in that attack with Razi playing an important role in the planning and execution thereof. For this feat Razi was presented with Terrorist of the Month award by our management. Besides, numbers speak for themselves. Up until now Razi has killed more than 3,000 human beings. By my troth, not often one comes across such a barbarian.

Razi has more than one strings to his fiddle. Since expertise in beheading is an essential requirement to secure admissions into the ISIS, Razi has taken a number of steps to hone his skills therein. For instance, for the past three months he has been doing an internship at an abattoir in the vicinity of our headquarters. Every day Razi beheads at least 50 chickens, cows, goats and any other creatures he can lay his hands on so as to prepare himself for the academically and physically challenging graduate program at your esteemed institution. Although he has not achieved perfection, yet I am convinced with your expert guidance, world class laboratories, renowned faculty, and hands on training, he would become an efficient executioner before long.

Another quality that impresses me most about Razi is his hatred of women. He has displayed his misogynistic attitude on several occasions whilst working with aL Maika. I vividly remember an instance when Razi took the responsibility of stoning a woman accused of adultery to death. The woman had ventured to talk to a man in the middle of the road, thereby disregarding our model code of conduct for the fair sex. How dare she? Razi, without wasting any time, reported this matter to us and she was at once awarded with death penalty for her ‘debauchery’. Thereupon, Razi on his own hook dug a pit in the ground, collected as many as 100 stones, and kept hurling them at her until she was dead as a doornail and he was out of gas, so much so that for the next one month Razi could not move his right hand. Poor boy! Nonetheless, as misogyny is considered to be a cardinal virtue in the ISIS, I am confident Razi will do very well there.

Like you and I, Razi also believes in making easy money. Ever since he has come to know about the oil wells captured by the ISIS and thriving business of kidnapping in occupied territories, he has been dreaming of joining you. He is a true fighter who would do anything for income obtained with a minimum of effort, even kill and maim fellow human beings for no fault of theirs. Furthermore, Razi is a dyed-in-the-wool believer in the idea of an Islamic Caliphate ranging from North Pole to South Pole. He wishes to play an important role in this fantastic enterprise of yours.

In a nutshell, Mr. Razi Kazi possesses six years of work experience, a record of violent acts, blood on his hands, and above all extreme mental retardation or idiocy. These qualities make him an ideal candidate for the much sought after Master’s program in Terrorism at your reputable institution. Thus, I am convinced if given a chance, he will prove to be a valuable asset to the ISIS. Please feel free to touch base with me, if you have any queries with regard to Razi.

Yours Truly,
Baimaan al-Zolawari
Chief Terrorist Officer, aL Maika Private Limited, Tora Bora
Contact No: +0000001000000
Email ID:

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Being Haider

To see or not to see was never a question. 

I had been waiting for Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider to be released for a long time and voila, the movie did not disappoint me. 

By my troth, Mr Bhardwaj has done full justice to the legendary bard’s most tragic play, Hamlet. Alas, the tale of our Haider, a Kashmiri youth, is far more tragic than the Prince of Denmark. A mere thought that this could also be an ordinary Kashmiri's real life story sends shivers down one’s spine.

Take this for a climax!
To shoot or not to shoot Khurram’s (Kay Kay Menon) limbless body slithering on the Kashmiri snow must have been a question in Haider’s (Shahid Kapur) mind. Will he vacillate yet again? Or will he finally avenge his father’s murder? 

The ultimate tragedy of Haider is that he has by now lost everything, from his father, mother, beloved, to his home, which had been blown up by the army for sheltering militants. In the end you feel like hugging the Kashmiri brother and cry your heart out with him. How could people endure so much pain and sufferings?
Nonetheless, one of the problems that we face in the course of reading Hamlet is whether his madness is feigned or real. Opinions are divided on this. But, there is no such issue with Haider, for he has not put an antic disposition on like the former.

Haider almost goes mad like a bedlam beggar after he finds his father’s corpse entombed in a graveyard. He is fortunate, for thousands of Kashmiris, still awaiting their disappeared loved ones, have not had this luxury. 
So, in a fit of madness, bald as a coot, dressed in rags, a mic in his
hand, unrecognizable Haider addresses a public gathering in the middle
of Lal Chowk, Sri Nagar.

Whilst making weird faces, in fluent English, he recites the following
section of Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 (AFSPA),
“According to the AFSPA, in an area that is proclaimed as ‘disturbed’, an officer of the armed forces has powers to arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offenses or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest.” This is Shahid's best performance to date.

But how does Haider find his father’s grave? How does he come to know who killed his father?
I am glad that there is no use of supernatural in Haider like the
ghost of Hamlet’s father who would reveal to him the cause of his
death and his mother’s infidelity. It would have looked really grotesque
for Haider’s father’s ghost hovering above the former’s head and
spilling the beans. Wouldn’t it? In this context, Irrfan Khan’s role as Roohdar is crucial.

Moreover, within days of Haider’s father’s death, Ghazala (Tabu) and Khurram get married, rubbing salt into his wound. He condemns her for showing such haste in marrying his uncle and accuses her of being
involved in the former's murder.If she were Gertrude, she would say, 

O Haider, speak no more;
Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct.

Like Hamlet’s Ophelia, Haider’s love interest Arshia (Shraddha Kapur),
does not have much to do in the movie. But, she really looks and above all,
sounds like a typical Kashmiri girl, when she says to Haider,

I lov-ed you more than my life,’ evoking peals of laughter from the audience.

Shakespeare often introduced comic elements in his tragic plays. In
King Lear, for instance, we have the Fool. In Macbeth, we have a comic
element in the person of the Porter. In Othello, we do not have any
comic elements as such, but we do have some light-hearted conversation
between Desdemona and Emilia.

And like Halmet, Haider also is endowed with its comic elements, the fools – two Salman Khan lookalike brothers and the grave diggers. The introduction of comic elements in this tragedy serves many purposes. In the first place, it shows the diversity of life which is not just a matter of sorrows, sufferings, and tears but which also has its funny side.

But, I feel the grave-diggers’ scene could have b
een better and wittier, providing much fun and humour although this scene is laid in a graveyard and even though the fun and humour for that reason acquire a somewhat somber quality here.

In the end, Haider’s story will leave one numb, shocked, hurt, and searching for answers. One might as well shed a tear for our Kashmiri tragic hero Haider, who has gone through so much in his life. I definitely did. But, there will also be those who would not turn a hair and would be indifferent to his agony and endless sufferings. They would blame Haider for simply being Haider, a child of conflict.

In Shakespeare’s words, 

‘What’s Haider to I, and I to Haider,
That I should weep for him?’

To be human or not to be, ought not to be a question.