Aug 28, 2014

SHE SHOWED HIM THE WAY

SHE SHOWED HIM THE WAY
Khaliqur Rahman

Years and years ago, says Maulana Rumi, there lived a God-fearing couple. They were a model of love for each other. She loved and respected him. He reciprocated. As best as they could; she served him and he looked after her. They prayed and worshipped God to the best of their capabilities. For livelihood, he had a small business and she, a household.
Life passed on thus.
Three decades later, she noticed that his business had finally shrunk next to naught and he was devoting more and more of his business hours to praying and thus trying to make up in terms of devotion and blessings for what he was losing in business in terms of money and time.
Soon there came a time when they had nothing to eat! Just as their clothes, worn out and threadbare, somehow hung on to the frail frames of their bodies, the waft and woof of piety and courage, patience and dignity held on to the tenuous fabric of their unflinching devotion. She never complained. He never lost composure.
For days and nights, he wouldn’t come out of his room. For days and nights, she would wait for him to come out. Perhaps then, she would sit with him and, perhaps, persuade him to do something himself rather than wait for God to do something for them.
Lo, and behold! He comes out. He holds her in his arms and they give each other a long helpless hug. (To give, they had nothing else!) Then he digs his eyes deep into her stony gaze and they lose each other as if in a trance.
He realised he was responsible for this miserable state. She consoled him giving him an assurance that she would never complain against him, even before God on the Day of Judgement. At the same time, she suggested he should do something because they did need food to survive and clothes to cover their bodies.
‘But what can I do?’ he bemoaned helplessly.
She said, “Take a little gift to the kind-hearted king, whose great palace stands in grandeur by  the river that has never dried. Offer your humble gift to him and ask him for favour: a job to live by.”
‘But what will I take for the gift?’ he spouted in complete bewilderment. “I know! We’ve got nothing at all. But listen, we do have a pitcher somewhere at the back. We’ll put it out in the open, under the sky, for rain water to collect. When it is full, you’ll put it on your head and take it to the kind king. You’ll go there with all humility and offer this humblest of the humble little gifts to the kindest of the kind kings. Mark my words and say them in the humblest possible manner to the great king. I’m sure he’ll reward you well.”
He took the pitcher full of rain water to the palace. When he entered the king’s court with this pitcher on his head, the people threw disconcerting looks and chuckled. Suffering this ignominy stoically, he moved humbly ahead towards the king, remembering the words of his wife. Appearing before the king, he offered his gift following every word she had said.
The king accepted the gift majestically. Not only that, he rewarded him with silver and gold and a job in the court!
On his return, his wife said,” Your prayers to God are like your gift of ordinary rain water to the king whose palace stands on the bank of the river in which the water never dries”. He was enlightened.

She showed him the way!

Aug 26, 2014

HIGHER EDUCATION: HOW HIGH?

HIGHER EDUCATION: HOW HIGH?
Khaliqur Rahman

In a Utopian situation, Material Power respects Spiritual Power and Spiritual Power reciprocates. Mutual respect defines the limits. Discipline and balance are maintained. The ideal starts moving from the imaginative to the real.
In ideal times like this, there must have been a kingdom where appropriate facilities must have been available for learning and teaching. Sufficient centres like gurkuls, pathshalas, madrasas, maktabs must have been there for proper education. The teachers must have been mentors, guides and philosophers to befit the words like guru, ustad and murshid. They must have guided, instructed, trained and taught very well. Their main objective must have been to see that their students developed a healthy mind, body and spirit.
The Wheel of Time then must have moved half a circle on. Things must have declined. Good sense must have given in to non-sense. The ruler must have been the very first victim of non-sense. He must have waged a war against the Neighbour. Surely, good counsel – the sensible rajaguru - must have warned him against a war. But swollen heads often have deaf ears. The raja must have ignored the raja.guru. Following the war, the coffers must have gone empty. Budget cuts must have been imposed. As always, the first victim must have been the guruji
The guruji, one day, out of sheer every-lessness in the household, must have got a fit of madness. The egghead then must have asked the zamindar through his son for ghee. The zamindar must have obliged him rather too ghee-fully, of course, in the hope of a smooth and prospective career for his son in return who must have surely outscored the guruji’s son who, in turn, must have preferred to make a career as a darogha because he would receive the ghee from the zamindar, any way, even without having to teach anyone’s son. The guruji must have okayed his career plans.
The success story of the zamindar’s son and the secret story of the guruji’s son , both, must have spread like wild fire, rapidly, or like hot news, widely, or like a secret, surreptitiously,. Secrets are things, like kuchra, that you want your friends and neighbours to keep.
Soon, the key to children’s success must have been with every one and all the gurujis must have had more than belly-full supply of ghee.
But one day, he must have thought that this way his self-respect and social prestige would be completely ruined and lost. That day, he must have cursed the king because the only way to save his self-respect and prestige was to have got the ghee from the king and not from all and sundry. In complete frustration, he must have taken the Ganges to the Arab Sea and that too without delta.
The present day schooling, the modern day mushrooming of coaching centres running chains of various different classes and courses and the contemporary examining bodies at schools, colleges and universities including various different boards and bodies conducting entrance examinations must all thank the king who didn’t send enough ghee to the guruji!
Before a good, conscientious teacher decides, out of sheer helplessness, to begin to mishandle the future of children, the authorities would do well to handle him with care because a teacher is very breakdownable and he knows how to give it back. If you dodge him today, he’ll dodge you back, too. But you’ll begin to fall in good thirty years!

Hasn’t that already happened? Hasn’t Higher Education become Wider Education? Our own language Hindi expresses it better: Uchcha Shiksha? No, Tuchchha Shiksha!

Aug 22, 2014

CAPTIVITY TO FREEDOM TO CAPTIVITY

CAPTIVITY TO FREEDOM TO CAPTIVITY
Khaliqur Rahman

For Man, the nine month captivity in the womb ends at birth. But another kind of captivity with another name, LIFE, that sounds very optimistic, begins. People around are happy chanting happy notes, with laddoos and with felicitations. But perhaps the consciousness of the new born immediately identifies the beginning of another kind of imprisonment. It cries!
Man has always cherished freedom, at various different levels. From the womb to the cradle to the mother’s lap is another freedom but captivity of another kind. From crawling to walking to running, you notice that limitations of one sort open up into an extension of freedom but one step ahead brings an instant new set of shackles.
The child now is free to go to school but immediately the school rules apply. The child is a free member in the family but family traditions catch up.
Life then is a sentence!
You are free to choose a word from all the words available in the language. But once you pick the first word, choices close in upon the choice of the next word. You have to choose the next word from a smaller number of words available now to strike compatibility with the first word chosen. The second word and the third have fewer and fewer choices to choose from until the last word that has only one choice: full stop!
Life is a SENTENCE. The verdict has already been written. We call it Destiny. There have been debates: destiny is character or character, destiny. Much has been said on either side. But I think Destiny comprises two sub-destinies: one, that cannot be modified, say, about 90% and two, that can be modified with the help of one’s free will and what is called a’maal or karma, say, about 10%.
I think, the so called cherished freedom is at best attainable within this 10%, not for free but at a very high price. Look at the price people like the prophets and saints had to pay to attain a certain level of freedom for oneself and the followers. One would shudder to visualize the unimaginable and immeasurable suffering they chose to embrace only to attain the highest level of freedom that we call by different names like salvation, liberation, nirvana, fana fillah or ‘dying before death’. It is a state of mind at the highest level. Some people, like Buddha or Ram or Mohammed or Nanak, only to name a few of the many, have reached this level where not only they freed themselves from the various mundane bondages but paved a new path and established it for a better world order.
It was Ramkrishna Paramhans who said, “It is by Mind that one is bound and it is by Mind again that one is freed”.
There have been people in the history of mankind who have attained this state of freedom by breaking the prevailing social and religious codes and customs and readily paid a heavy price, in certain cases even in terms of one’s life, people like the Joan of Arc or Mirabai or Shams Tabrez or Mansoor or Sarmad, only to name a few.
There is yet another category of men and women who have or have been campaigning for one kind of freedom or the other. In principal, it appears that they are raising voices for a just cause, like human rights related issues, or women empowerment or eradication of corruption or legalization of gay marriages or you-call-it-liberation-movement but we call it cross-border- terrorism or you call it jehad but they call it fundamentalist terrorism or simply freedom of action and expression.
So many lives have been sacrificed. The world order has been terribly disturbed. No side is willing to understand. The fight for freedom is on. Why? Because the mind can go in two directions: the positive and the negative. To get rid of negativity, one has to train one’s mind by actually living a life free from the Freudian id and ego. If I am still not free from the clutches of the material desires, if I still crave for a woman either in this world or in Heaven, taking for granted His Judgement that He will allow me into the Heaven, I don’t think I’ll succeed in attaining my goals, no matter how noble and lofty they are. I wouldn’t even know whether gay marriages will bring a better world order.
Aql-e-salees or sadbuddhi, I think, is attainable only after one’s mind is free from kubuddhi or aql-e-iblees,  which I call ‘outellect’.
O God, have mercy on us. We do not know what we are doing. Forgive us and free us from ‘outellectualism’ so that we start looking at FREEDOM as jam and butter between two large slices of CAPTIVITY.


Jul 3, 2014

Da'wat-e-Rasm-e-Khatna


Mukarrami janab Assalam-o-a'laikum
Sana us khaliq-e-kaenat ki ke jiski atakardah taufiq se

Hamare piyarey betey  Babar Iqbal ki Rasm-e-Khatna hona qarar paee hai

jo kisi majboori ke ba'as adaa na kee jasaki thi
Shadmani ke is pur musarrat mauqe par aapki aamad hamare liye poonam ki thandi 
Roshni ki maanind hogi
Chashm-e-ba-raah Jumla A'ziz-o-aqaarib wo dost ahbab

Mahir-e-Khatna
Alhaj Billa Naaee

Apne dast-e-mubarak se kare'nge
PROGRAMME
Shalwar Utraaee   12 baje din
Rasm-e-khatna      1 baje din
Babar ka rona aur chup karana   1:30 baje din
Langar                    2 baje din
Bamuqaam Farq haspatal Nazd jama'a masjid Siddiqua Railway Road Mailsi

Apr 17, 2014

BRING BACK DHYANCHAND'S HOCKEY

BRING BACK DHYANCHAND'S HOCKEY


Khaliqur Rahman


After Independence power gradually gripped the nation, both internationally and intra-nationally. Within India, callousness entered through the back door and slowly gripped power. Outside India, it was cleverness that handled power beautifully to see that India did not rise to its potential at normal speed. Our power holders in India played into their hands. Hockey administration toed the same line.
Hockey was beautiful in the days of Dyanchand until perhaps the late fifties. Not because we used to win but because Hockey was played with a certain level of craft and skill that was beautiful. The bully at the centre, also at the twenty five-line, had an element of chance founded on the capability of ball control. The penalty bully did give some chance to the defenders, if they were better at bullies. The dribbles, the dodges, the moves always had a certain charm about them. Asian Hockey (the Indian and the Pakistani) was at the top. The West didn’t like it. They knew that the superior physical prowess of theirs could do nothing against the Asian artistry in dribbling and dodging and mindboggling moves. They were simply rattled. So what did they do? They decided to change the very fabric of the game. Gradually they succeeded in changing the playing condition, the rules and regulations and the very nature and spirit of Hockey which the Asians were unquestionably good at. Perhaps they were unsurpassable.
They moved the twenty five-line to thirty five-line. The dribbling space thus was reduced. The off-side rule now applied at thirty-five. The bully was removed. One more skill was done away with. If that was not enough, they introduced the astro-turf. They changed the shape of the blade of the stick. The astro-turf required very strong legs and calf muscles. The smaller blade suited robust hitting rather than skillful dribbling. Changes in short corner and penalty rules and replacing pushes with strokes encouraged robust power game and crippled Asian Hockey which found it hard to adapt according to the new demands of the game because of physical unequalness and various socio-politico-economic factors.
Now that when India has a wooden spoon and Pakistan, seventh position, in the Olympiad 2012, it is time we took some strong measures.
We should go back to promote our Asian style of Hockey. We should play on hard surface or grass and bring back the aesthetics of the game and stop playing power Hockey on artificial surface. Dribbling, old fashioned dodges and moves will automatically fall in place and the game will regain its charm and romance. The size of the blade must be restored to its earlier shape.
These measures will reduce the expenses considerably on having to provide astro-turf at the grass root level. This will also take care of the needless and perhaps over ambitious efforts to raise the fitness level of our youth to be able to grapple with the brute force and pace and power of the Western World. This will drastically cut down the expenses on physical training programmes. Physical training should be there only to facilitate acquiring the fitness level suited to our own attainable capabilities. We should play to our strength and not to theirs. We should play Indian Hockey just as they play American Football or Australian Rugby. Wimbledon still has grass courts and has persisted with an indeflectable will to preserve the grace of lawn tennis.
After all the purpose of games and sports is to attain physical health through recreation so that balanced human personalities are developed. Competition is acceptable only amongst like contenders. Unequal competitiveness promotes unhealthy, unfair and self-defeating ambition to win bronze, silver or gold. No wonder sports persons take banned medicines and fail doping tests.
It might be argued that we have travelled a considerable distance in developing power Hockey and it would be naïve at this stage to even think of giving up the challenge. If discretion is the better part of valour it is better to give up the false challenge now than to continue to fail for years and years to come. We should look to the generation next, that is, the ten year old aspirants. They should be trained to treat and nurse Hockey of the old Indian style.
India has acquired a significant place in world economy. We are now able to dictate terms. India and Pakistan should organize their own World Cups and Champions Trophies .Let the West come and play on our grounds, in our style and see who wins!
The aim of sports and games is, I repeat, recreation, not crazy unequal competitiveness. Sports and games must be there to create and recreate and develop a sound body for a healthy mind and a healthy soul to take over and progress towards peace and happiness.

#dhyanchandhockey




Mar 1, 2014

FLIGHT WITH EGRETS

FLIGHT WITH EGRETS
Khaliqur Rahman
It is raining outside. I look out of the window. I see the wet green of the tree and many white dabs on the green and the peeping grey-blue spots of the sky through the green as well. It has stopped raining. But life on the tree is still and motionless. Maybe there’s a puff of breeze, now and then, and the green sways a bit to the right then it sways back, again it moves to the right, and again it comes back, now it sways to the left a bit. This little dance to the tune of the breeze is in keeping with the puffs of breeze. With this the blue peeks of the sky also choose to peep through different peep-holes. Some of the white dabs take to wings only to take the shortest of short flights to perch beside another white dab still unmoved. These white dabs are, in fact, egrets which we call bagula. Again I see some of them take a short flight to come back and sit either alone or by the side of another egret.
My mind takes a flight.
How peaceful is the life of birds! Why birds alone, why not the life of all the animals? And trees? The entire animal kingdom and the plant kingdom are peacefully and beautifully organized. And mind you, these kingdoms conduct themselves so well even without kings or governments. They follow the rule of life from Nature so well. And, when they do that they do not need countless support of numberless institutions that the so called superior species, the homo-sapiens, now so helplessly need.
Let’s have a look at the support systems the human beings need. Can they live without medical system? They can’t, because they’ve lost on the way, how to live naturally and die naturally, like the birds and other animals, and of course, the trees and plants.
While the other life-forms live naturally, they don’t need clothes. Their natural clothing: skin, hide, feather, fur for animals and birds and bark for trees, is all they have and all they need to protect their bodies in all weathers. In contrast, Man needs clothing and different clothing for changing seasons and different places. In addition, Man needs clothes not only for just needs but also for luxury and fashion. Perhaps the most basic requirement for Man besides these improved modifications of human-attire, was the primordial fig leaf to hide shame, unlike the other life-forms.
I suspect, when Man found fig leaf to ‘hide’, both Adam and Eve, learnt their primary lessons in hypocrisy.
The wisest among the wise men, then, must have thought of fortifying the grains of honesty by introducing religion and the religious laws. But alas! The clever men (and women) have always found ways and means to dodge these rules.
Like the system of religion, over historical periods of time, different sets of wise men must have come with similar support systems, like education, medicine, judiciary, governance, architecture and so on.
Within the system of religion, they must have thought of the institution of marriage and within the system of education they must have thought of economics and consequently money and property. Thus must have come into existence the concepts of relationships like husband and wife, mother and father and families. Thus must have come into existence the concept of ownership of money and land. Other institutions, in the same way, must have taken shape and thus they must have come to stay.
Man, thus, had, and still has, to follow two sets of rules: the rule of life and the rule of law. The rule of law includes all laws, like religious laws, judicial laws, social and cultural laws, conventions and traditions. Compared to Man, other life-forms are perhaps better off; they have to follow only one set of rules: the rule of life, whereas Man has to live and struggle under the tension between the rule of life and the rule of law. In the process, hasn’t Man denaturalized himself and euphemistically uses the words ‘civilization’ or even ‘sophistication’ for denaturalization?
Man, like a river, needs embankments of strong sets of discipline, to become human and even super human, just as a river does to become ‘sea’.
Stagnated water, on the other hand, struggles to break free and in process, makes a few mischievous let outs, eroding the rocks and leaking through the crevices. Confused human mind, similarly, craves for freedoms that invariably lead to erosion of values set up through rules of law.
When I hit the solid earth after this flight with the egrets, I wholeheartedly adore the egrets: they don’t smoke, they don’t drink, they don’t ‘hide’ and they don’t lie!
Thank you, egrets, for this loose sally of mind!

First published in Daily Times

 (From my recently published book LEARN ENGLISH & FOLLOW UP ESSAYS)

Feb 13, 2014

DEMOCRACY DISGRACED
Khaliqur Rahman

A typed text of what Macaulay said in his address to the British Parliament on 2 Feb 1835:“ I have travelled the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such high caliber (sic), that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
When Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of Great Britain then, introduced the Indian Independence Bill in 1947 and when they debated the Bill in the British Parliament, Sir Winston Churchill, who was the Prime Minister during the War time, had angrily remarked, “Power will go into the hands of rascals, rogues and free-booters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. Not a bottle of water or loaf of bread shall escape taxation; only the air will be free and the blood of these hungry millions will be on the head of Attlee.”
I’ve often written that whatever had started happening in college classes in the form of indiscipline like General Gol (walk out) or bunking the classes en mass or cat calls, thus not letting the teacher teach or even going on Strikes and picketing those who intended attending classes and above all these the Students’ Union Elections  – all these becoming an accepted routine – and nobody bothering to rectify and reform has resulted in all these happening in Parliament.

Perhaps we’ve touched the lowest level of political values in practice and whatever has happened in the Parliament has disgraced democracy beyond anyone’s imagination and above all has proved the two foresights in the words of Macaulay and Churchill come true.