Discovery Upon Discovery

What does one feel when he come to know that his understanding of a study/subject/book/idea has expanded than it was? That every time he read it anew, his understanding had multiplied? 

A joy! Fervent joy! New horizons discovered. I felt.
For it is so by seeing 'things' from different places or levels, or angles (to satisfy abstraction). You'll feel afresh! expanded! and more healthy. Abdullah Yusuf writes to describe this feeling in this way, "It is like a traveller climbing a mountain: the higher he goes, the farther he sees. from a literary point of view the poet Keats has described his feeling when he discovered Chapman's Homer:

Then I felt like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into ken,
Or like stout Cortex when eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific - and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

The sense of wonder in the opening of our eyes! The humble exaltation!
        Who could have observed it than a poet or a writer or an artist, and 'things', the marrow of life, we general beings tend to avoid or even deliberately overlook? That is why I like to call these men/women eyes of societies, as did poet Iqbal. They are effective observers. But more than that they are creators of feelings, effective feelings, but more than just feelings, concrete in reason and abstract in essence. Its only the sole work of their 'imagination' and their ways of looking, seeing and judging, interpreting. Their imagination when translated into words, fills our existence with pathos of nearness to reality, its observation, open sight, clear vision and deep sense of reflection. Yet, I'm to ask: Who are they?

Dead Poets Society

[Conversing with my own self]

-'I didn't understand the end of the movie (Dead Poets Society). What was it?'

Outward Realism

Spiritually, art is concerned more with inner reality of things. Yet, outward manifestation is not discarded. Here are some paintings depicting realism in its own sense. I found them to be appreciated for their simplicity and for the trouble artists took in fencing on paper (factually, on canvas) the vastness of desert and simple life. (My friend says its useless to search for philosophical thoughts in such paintings, otherwise it tends to become sarcasm!)

"Words in the desert."


"The lantern repairer."

"Under the tree."

"Rest time."

"The caravan."

Taliban Are Not Pakistanis

I don't refute if many may be. But I also cannot refute: they're not. Are there any types of Taliban? I don't know. But whosoever fights them, they kill them. If Paxton's kill them, they kill Paxton's, their own ancient blood-relatives. This is it. This shows us, Taliban have no gross roots in Qabails (FATA tribes). Here's the evidence.

Taliban strike a village Shalbandi in Swat which rebelled against it and hunt down 6 Talibans last Sunday morning. Taliban in preceding events had massacred 8 policemen. The village gained national repute for its fight against Taliban. Thus, Taliban singled out this village. Sent a suicide car and in pursuit of a 'general strategy' struck a school which was holding legislative elections. Result: 30 people killed and more than dozen wounded, all local Pakistani tribesmen. (NY Times.)

Yes, there are lawless areas in western region of the border. But, we've seen that who-so-ever, i.e, tribesmen, fight against Taliban (be they it) or try to wipe them out of their region(s), they'd simply strike back with full violence and no mercy. In order to multiply troubles for Pakistan, U.S finds leisure in attacking Tribal Areas, especially those which seem to be on friendly terms with Pakistani government. This later part is only my speculation. Nonetheless its wide clear to me, Taliban must be a name to cover external forces. It seems logical to me when I find Tribal people fighting back Pakistani Government and even America to save their tribesmen from the onslaught of their enemies, whom we categorize as Taliban or Al-Qaeda. How can the other party be so mean enough not to respect them? 

To tribesmen of Pakistan traditions and principles precede survival. This fact should be marked down.

Idea of g-o-d

Umer: What is the reality of God, to you?

A Philosopher: Some kind of eternal intelligence does pervade in this world. If God is a reality then it must be an "immanental" (suryani) God. There is no trace of any "Transcendental" (maavari) God. God is the soul of this universe. God is akin to the sum total of all the universal principles of this Universe.

[...Umer still guessing...]

Poetry & Philosophy

Philosophy ages; poetry rejuvenates.

M. Iqbal from Stray reflections.

A Bit of Poetic Symbolism

Umer: What is the difference between art and entertainment?

A Young Artist: A lot of.

Umer: But its too vague.

A Young Artist: Art can amuse others but ones own entertainment can't.

Umer: Art  for amusement, then entertainment is for what?

A Young Artist: Its just for putting ones own stress away.

Umer: Then what is the utilisation of art?

A Young Artist: Its actually for same purpose, but on social level.

A Young Artist:  For example.I can explain that:
                                  An actor is an artist and entertainer.                                
                                  A viewer is only one being entertained.

Umer: According to Herbert Read art may not be a serious intellectual activity as M. Arnold said [he said which M. Iqbal also quoted in his one book, "Art is the criticism of life."]; "Art is rather an expression of our deepest instincts and emotions; it is a serious activity whose end is not so much to divert as to vitalise," he is of the view.

A Young Artist: Its something we like to tell and others want to hear; its something we like to make and others like to see; its a move we want to move and others like to see it.

A Young ArtistIts bullet in the the heart that has its value when obtained by careful operation and expressed to the world.

A Young Artist: Its a bit poetic symbolism.

Do you agree with 'his' analysis on art? And, why?

Resign-When-Out-Of-Line Tradition

This thought provoking comment by Kuldip Nayar on an event which took place recently in the wake of Mumbai attacks, made me admit the need of being clean and how to be so:

Like Bhutto, Zardari assumed that he had all power. But he found that this was not so when the government first declared it would send the ISI chief to Delhi after having acceded to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request in the wake of the Mumbai blasts and then was not able to do so. What should he have done? Admitted his helplessness in public? No ruler does. He could have resigned but Pakistan does not have a tradition of doing so.
Pakistan needs it badly, in fact any "goo-goostate.

Grim Days Ahead for Sub-Continentians

1. War is now-a-days talked so much so in the media that I don't wish to comment on it with pleasure of my Self. However, its time for the people of two nations to be extremely cautious on their own personal level, as "Pakistan  has deployed some 20,000 troops to the towns of Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border"*. This may trigger a series of events more damaging to the peaceful relations at official level. And, when Indian response comes, if a negative one, changes will start to take place in the minds of ordinary people, like us. That means bad. To quote Kuldip Nayar:

"Tensions, if prolonged, burst into consequences which are hard to handle. A warlike atmosphere comes to dominate. Nations are sucked into the cycle of jingoism because they feel insecure."

2. All military analysts are of the view, to whatever degree in certainty, that wars in 21st millennium are going to be 'diffused' wars. Such wars will not herald a clarion call to the people that war has begun, start digging holes in your houses' backyard. Such wars will start from within the enemy's boundary, even when no cross-fire be taking place across the deadly borders. And, on different but many planes shall they be fought - you name it; economic, diplomatic, international, cultural etc. 

2 (a1). In today's world military is not a compartmentalized sort of affair. Its directly linked with cultural roots, a thought I came across in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. It is so because military can now fight not without the support of country's economy, interestingly Pakistan's 'Army' is one of those notorious armies which even produce capital of their own apart from defending ideology and so-called borders. Economy is not their department. Its people's. We're all are going to be doomed this time - in a chain reaction. Imagine what tools they will be using against us Indians and Pakistanis (they're only demons) - you name it again (that's the only thing we can do) starvation, trade cut-offs, gas cut-offs, bad national identity, etc. In short, they don't want us, how would they like to us to peacefully live?

3. But why is Pakistan behaving so aggressively? I do not defend Pakistan's state, its beyond understanding of normal human boys like I am. It may be a good thing they're doing, I say with extreme caution. Gen. Chain Smoker, I mean, General Kayani (COAS of Pakistan) "told chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen in a meeting earlier this week that according to Pakistani military reports, the Indians have finalised plans for surgical strikes at some locations inside Pakistan"**. And, its being reported in blazing media of Pakistan that Bharat has averted these plans after warnings from Pakistan? I do not condemn Bharat for this kind of thinking, but the problem is, a surgical strike can lead us into a full-fledged traditional and modern-concept of war. When you can diplomatically squeeze a democratic Pakistani Government - I say wash your hand in the flowing river. That's what I can suggest.


We All Need "Goo-goo" Governements

What do we mean by goo-goo, by the way?

I found Paul Krugman, this year's Economics Nobel Laureate, give the answer in his latest article in The NY Times:

'Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt (a past American "consistently ranked as one of the greatest U.S. presidents") was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner'.

I hope we all do need, or at least implore, for a goo-goo government that is cool. But that doesn't mean a goo-goo government must be beautiful. In my assessment, no government can possibly be as beautiful and whimsical as the endings of Cinderella Fairy Tales or like, because it has to be organized, disciplined and strict. Do you agree?

Matters of Elegance in Writing

Einstein wrote in his preface to Relativity: The Special and General Theory,

"In the interest of clearness .... I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical physicist, L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to the cobbler."
Translated by Robert W. Lawson

This has been the prime reason why this book is abundantly book-friendly and gives a healthy thoughtful reading to laymen. A point that ought to be taken serious by those who are in the business of educating general public, complex matters.

Another technique Einstein as a writer incorporated while writing this book on Relatively, was the 'treatment of the empirical physical foundation of Relativity theory in a "step-motherly" fashion.' He presented the ideas "in the sequence and connection in which they actually originated." This as I've observed leads the reader to a self-discovery and gives him an insight into the theory of Relativity.

Once a year

'Oh man, I am so glad
I only have to wear
the fat suit once a year...' !!

thought of the day

This is a refreshing thought amidst notions of war, burdens of financial crisis and crippling economies, havoc of all sorts that happen to humankind. We yearn for quick fixes, thus we talk and talk - do we listen? I listened to these words of Laura Miller's and my perception elevated over thoughts that are prone to bring us to the level of animals.  

'In “The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia,” Laura Miller recognizes, in her relationship to Narnia (read here), “the desire to be carried away by something greater than ourselves — a love affair, a group, a movement, a nation, a faith. Or even a book.”'
(Source) (Image: C. S. Lewis in 1950)

Harold Pinter, Nobel-Winning Playwright, Dies at 78

Britains have lost an eye. But, this death of an eye has seeds for countless better more. That's the beauty of the death, which is merely completion of a cycle, a Sufi observes. Pinter is not a small name in Britain. In fact, he has become of symbol of his own kind. "The adjective Pinteresque has become part of the cultural vocabulary as a byword for strong and unspecified menace." Pinter, who had been under influence of Samuel Beckett (another British novelist, famous for Waiting for the Godot), in his famous novels and dramas, works like "The Birthday Party," "The Caretaker," "The Homecoming" and "Betrayal" - 'captured the anxiety and ambiguity of life in the second half of the 20Th century with terse, hypnotic dialogue filled with gaping pauses and the prospect of imminent violence.'

Apart from being an actor, essayist, screenwriter, poet and director as well as a dramatist and writer of 30 plays, Mr. Pinter had strong 'anti-right wing military dictatorship' political views. "He used his Nobel acceptance speech to denounce American foreign policy, saying that the United States had not only lied to justify waging war against Iraq but that it had also 'supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship' in the last 50 years." Thus, he had been tried uselessly public 'censorship and repression', and as the phrase goes, but in no vain.

Pinter died of cancer. He received Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, but he already came to know of his cancer disease 2002. So much so that he 'delivered an acceptance speech from a wheelchair in a recorded video' on receiving the Nobel Prize.

Read more about Pinter, life and works. (Source Here)

What is classic?

-"A classic, according to the usual definition, is an old author canonised by admiration, and an authority in his particular style.
-The word classic was first used in this sense by the Romans.
-With them not all the citizens of the different classes were properly called classici, but only those of the chief class, those who possessed an income of a certain fixed sum.
-Those who possessed a smaller income were described by the term infra classem, below the pre-eminent class.
-The word classicus was used in a figurative sense by Aulus Gellius ((ca. 125 AD—after 180 AD), Latin author and grammarian), and applied to writers: a writer of worth and distinction, classicus assiduusque scriptor, a writer who is of account, has real property, and is not lost in the proletariate crowd."

Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, in his essay What is Classic?
Was a shock to me when I looked at this para, and, I said to my aspirations of becoming a sort of classical essayist, "Boy, it takes heck of a long time."! But, I think its more easy to be labeled today has a classic in terms of 'style' of writing, its easy to recognize that's why, I fancy. Do you agree?

Zia's Death Eaters Strike Again

Marhoom (late) General Zia ul Haq, famous for his 'with-in 90 days elections', is a historical kind of thing (I'm referring to the idea). But Zia did fulfilled, at least half of his prophecy by conducting elections in the middle of 1980s. The election, although proved General Zia's dedication and his commitments, they however seemed to be victim of asthma. Reacting to which (late) poet Habib Jalab commented:

Shahar mein hoo ka alam tha,
(It was deathly quiet in the city)

Jin tha ya Referendum tha
(Was it a ghost or really a Referendum)

Marhomeen ki shirkat thi
(Even the dead took part)

sachaioon ka chelam tha
(it was in the wake of the death of truth)[?]

And, I called it historical because as folk wisdom asserts, history repeats itself, no matter in which fashion or colour, usually in altered time and space, or not? "Education is Revelation coming to the Individual Man; and Revelation is Education which has come, and is yet coming, to the Human Race," says Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Same is true with history as written in future or near future. The news is, even in the 21st century, man has not abolished ways of people of two decades' past! Historians who delicately study the development in 'leisure, demographic currents' will be disappointed to see martial men of Guinea following blindly our celebrated Gen. Zia.

Abou Bakr and Rukmini Callimachi, of Associated Press Writers  have reported about a few hours and some minutes ago, "A military-led group sent tanks through Guinea's capital on Wednesday and said it would hold power for two years after initially promising presidential elections within 60 days." You may like to think of 60 days instead of 90 as a surprise, perhaps not. The situation Conakry, capital of Guinea, is facing is utterly different from what happened in the late years of 70s in Pakistan. Following are some facts about Guinea which make it a horrible spectacle.

  • Its 10 million people are poorest in the world despite being 'world's largest producer of bauxite, used to produce aluminum, and also has gold, diamonds and iron ore deposits'.
  • There is a government, which beg's mercy from African Union (consisting of 53 African nation); has a consititution (as broken and torn out as of Pakistan's, ref. to A. Ahsan); and, The National Council for Democracy and Development (responsible for the latest coup).
  • 'Since independence from France in 1958, Guinea had been ruled by only two people until Conte's death Monday evening.'
In short, there are parallel systems pervading in Guinea, accusation on the part of government for having foreign mercenaries, presence of a state army and rouge army - where does it lead them, I mean people? "Regional experts have long warned that Conte's death or ouster could send it into turmoil." There is a real risk of violence in Guinea. 

Thanks to General Zia. (General Zia wah bai wah, General Zia!)
*Source (Single article): Read.
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MuddleHead Signs Off!!

MuddleHead Signs Off!!