To Waris Shah I turn today!
Speak up from the graves midst which you lie!
In our book of love, turn the next leaf.
When one daughter of the Punjab did cry
You filled pages with songs of lamentation,
Today a hundred daughters cry
O Waris to speak to you.
O friend of the sorrowing, rise and see your Punjab
Corpses are strewn on the pasture,
Blood runs in the Chenab.
Some hand hath mixed poison in our live rivers
The rivers in turn had irrigated the land.
From the rich land have sprouted venomous weeds
flow high the red has spread
How much the curse has bled!
The poisoned air blew into every wood
And turned the flute bamboo into snakes
They first stung the charmers who lost their antidotes
Then stung all that came their way
Their lips were bit, fangs everywhere.
The poison spread to all the lines
All of the Punjab turned blue.
Song was crushed in every throat;
Every spinning wheel’s thread was snapped;
Friends parted from one another;
The hum of spinning wheels fell silent.
All boats lost the moorings
And float rudderless on the stream
The swings on the peepuls’ branches
I lave crashed with the peepul tree.
Where the windpipe trilled songs of love
That flute has been lost
Ranjah and his brothers have lost their art.
Blood keeps falling upon the earth
Oozing out drop by drop from graves.
The queens of love
Weep in tombs.
It seems all people have become Qaidos,
Thieves of beauty and love
Where should I search out
Another Waris Shah.
Waris Shah Open your grave;
Write a new page
In the book of love.
12:47 am 7,059 notes
July 24 2014
I don’t get the argument that people who watch nonwestern cinema are somehow pretentious? Specifically to people who are ethnically from nonwestern countries? Like the people who generally say that are white Americans to people who want to broaden their film watching experience or god forbid, connect to their home country that they’re disconnected from. How is that being elitist? I don’t know how my grandparents lived. I don’t know tangibly how my grandfather dealt in moving after the Partition of 1947. My parents never talk about how life was like when they lived and why they feel personally disillusioned and disconnected in many ways to where they grew up in India.
More so, why is it so off-putting to others on here to learn about other countries - their history, how they live, even how they make their tea. Stuff like that just is so engaging and interesting to me because it’s not like I will be able to just go to Kazakhstan or Bolivia or Malaysia on a whim as someone who is from America but does not necessarily have the means to do so. Nobody even cares to give a spotlight on these countries. The only time we generally see these countries through a western lens is using the countries and people as a backdrop and nothing more.
Also do people not get that a lot of this cinema, especially Third Cinema, is meant as a form of resistance? How are you upset that an entire movement is there because it questions colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy, etc,. things that are still largely accepted globally. The British Museum still stands even though it’s one of the largest lasting legacies of the British Empire Being into nonwestern cinema isn’t a niche thing, although it can be when it’s in the hands of white westerners but largely it’s about tokenizing and find ‘cred’ in a few nonwestern directors. I’m not being different on purpose to be above others. I am treated as different outside of my control for a lot more and my difference is seen as inferior and will always be so. Don’t think for a second that I am doing this as a facade for cred - it’s insulting and demeaning and unneeded.
2:41 am 440 notes
July 23 2014
The dances of Pakeezah are of course quite extraordinary and are in tune with the exquisite lyrics. Here Kamal Amrohi deliberately develops a unique style in which rather than the fast chatpata rhythms with a superficial kathak base, he uses a languorous, deliberate and rigourous classical style. As mentioned earlier, the two dances in Gulabi Mahal are unlike many filmi mujra numbers. Meena Kumari makes herself an object of desire by distancing herself from her admirers, presenting herself as a prize difficult to obtain instead of flirting with them seductively as done in many mujra numbers. Even Rekha in her ‘Dil cheez kya hai' in Umrao Jaan is more forward than Meena Kumari in her mujra.
—Meghnad Desai, Pakeezah
In the songs “Chalte Chalte” and “Thare Rahiyo” which Sahibjaan performs amidst the grandeur of Gulabi Mahal, she frequently isolates herself from her patrons both physically and mentally. Though there are many subtle addresses to them, as the text says, she still places herself at a distance. I think the most expressively different part of these two mujras however, is the way Sahibjaan (and Meena Kumari in her trademark way) claims her space or her stage, despite always being painfully conscious of how societal standards deem her an “impure” woman and thus undeserving of such a privilege. In these songs she tends to spend long scenes facing away from her audience and even leisurely walking around the scenic Gulabi Mahal, further and further away from the patrons. And frequently her thoughts are led to her ongoing infatuation with a stranger which, while melding seamlessly into the themes of the songs, also shift the knowledgeable viewers’ perception of her performance as one of self-contemplation rather than entertainment. This atmosphere and Sahibjaan’s control of performing space is different from many other “courtesan dramas” that were popular throughout the 20th century, which usually showed crowded, cramped spaces where the raucous male gaze surrounded and intruded that stage.
Look at the sites of the economy. To the opposition of formal and informal, we have horizon of the parallel economies of smuggling, aid, disasters, tourism, prohibition and terror. You can add defence to it for all practical purposes. The parallel economy and the informal economy are service economies. They cover a huge part of the map where corruption is a way of life. To alter a way of life, you have to affect conceptions of that life and its livelihood. The clerk, the cop, the tout, the pimp, the prostitute are all sustained by us. We feel they deliver a service, possess modes of knowledge we do not have. Use the information revolution to challenge that fragment of the older knowledge society. Once you widen the hummock, simplify the rules of subsistence, you can challenge the construction of the state.
For most people the state is either what Shalini Randheria called a ‘cunning state’ pretending a guarantee of well-being, or a shamiana state which creates the trappings of governance around events like aid, disasters and doles. We need to pre-empt the corruption of states by restoring and returning work back to communities. Only communities can decentre a bureaucracy.
Begin by creating smaller corruptions, changing rule games in favour of the citizens. A computer giving all the dates in a court, a web-site announcing all exam results, a shop announcing all prices, development projects announcing dates of projects and a map of resources and benefits – all goes a long way. Corruption is the old information revolution that baroquized the state. Now one needs a new information revolution to redo the state, which then hands over problem solving to the community.
The community, especially women, as problem solvers can go a long way in re-weaving corruption. We talked of corruption as a subsistence cum migratory tactic. But there is also the corruption of corporations, defence departments and pharmaceutical companies. Treat that as criminal. It is a taxonomic problem again. A society has to know what to criminalize and decriminalize. Imagine an information department with the commitment of an NGO and the knowledge of a tout. And his enthusiasm. We can go far in reworking the state.”
Shiv Viswanathan, "The Necessity of Corruption"
this article is so interesting and i really like his notion of the city as a ‘knowledge economy’
i also wish he expanded more on the role of women as problem solvers in the community that he briefly mentions towards the end, though i realize what he’s referring to re: making the city more accessible through relationships/connections/actions that aren’t necessarily codified