Seven Years of love and commitment – and the journey continues……

Majid hero.jpg

25 June is back again for the seventh time and we don’t have Majid with us. In 2009 on the same day when he left this cruel world, we could have never imagined how our love for him would keep multiplying. Since that day Dr. Javed’s Family got a new shape. Majid became the most important member of our loving family. Not a single day passes when he is not remembered by all of his family members. Allah has been so kind on us that all of us have visited Melbourne to see where Majid used to live and roam around.

Majid was the smiling soul, with a great sense of humour and witty nature, who always took care of the people around him. He was an extremely sensitive person who could not see anyone sad. His colleagues at Netsol are witness to this. Majid in his short life tried his best to achieve a high living standard which up to some extent he did. He by nature was a king who never compromised on quality of our events. He filled Rashid’s wedding with colours. No one can forget the dances and fun through which he entertained all the cousins and friends on this memorable wedding. I was unfortunate that Majid had left for Australia when I got married.

We as his brothers have always him in our thoughts. On the prayer mat after offering the prayer rituals before anyone else we pray for his forgiveness to Allah SWT. By God his love is growing with every passing day and will insha Allah keep growing till the day we leave this world to join him in the life hereafter.

Here we feel proud to say that we have fulfilled our commitment with the soul of our beloved brother that we would not forgive those cruel faces who ignored him on his death and did not find time for coming to the family. We love Majid and all those who love him. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Ameen!

Evening with Zia Mohyeddin – an unforgettable event!

Urdu International Australia is a Sydney based cultural organisation which tried to promote Urdu literature through its programmes and events. On 7 May 2016 they organised a beautiful evening in Husrstville, a Sydney suburban area, where we got opportunity to meet and listen one of the most dynamic literary person, the living legend, Mr. Zia Mohyeddin who was joined by the visiting Urdu poets Mr. Musaddaq Lakhani, Dr. Baqar Raza and Khushbeer Singh Shaad. In addition there was a breathtaking classical dance performance by Sydney’s local artist Jyoti Duxit, termed as ‘Poetry in Motion’.

Beautiful hall of Civic Theatre was jam packed with the audience and many of them could not get seated. President of Urdu International Mr. Ashraf Shad, a renowned Urdu poet, inaugurated the event with his opening speech in which he welcomed the distinguished guests. He presented a brief introduction of Zia Mohyeddin. Dr. Shabbir Haider was then invited onto the stage for welcoming the legend formally.

Zia Mohyeddin as usual was dressed gracefully. He thanked the organisers and audience for their love and respect. Zia sahib then read a number of poems and proses which were selected from the best Urdu and English literature collections of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Pitras Bukhari, Dr. Younis Butt, Ayub Khawar and Shaukat Thanvi. They included humorous as well as serious and thought provoking subjects. But the best thing was the presentation. Zia has got a God gifted skill and voice quality that is unmatchable. He gave life to the written words. We smiled and laughed with him, and at some sentences we got our eyes filled with tears. 83 year old gentleman made a non-stop performance for almost 90 minutes. After he finished crowed gave his standing ovation.

During the interval Zia sahib came to meet his fans in another hall where the organisers had placed his two books for sale. Zia sahib gave autograph on the first page to every purchaser. It also provided a lifetime opportunity to his fans of getting their photographs with the legend. I didn’t miss the opportunity and purchased his autography titled as “The God of my Idolatry”. I not only expressed my best wishes for him but also told her a little about my blog writing, which he appreciated.

After the interval Jyoti Duuxit was called onto the stage who gave a spectacular dancing performance on Urdu Ghazal ‘Haal-e-Dil Hum Ko’ (حال دل ہم کو یاد آنے لگے). I was getting late so left after her performance and missed the Mushaira (poetic session).

I greet Urdu International Australia for arranging such a marvellous programme and providing us the opportunity to watch and listen to a living legend.

Corrupt leadership exposed after Panama Papers leak

panamaleakspm

Panama Papers have not only exposed our Prime Minister and his family members but also put a question mark on our national accountability system. Punjab Chief Minister already has become controversial by not allowing National Accountability Bureau to conduct any investigation in Punjab to find the irregularities and corruption in mega government projects like Nandipur Power Plant and Metro bus and train projects

Recently after the Gulshan Iqbal Park bomb blast in Lahore there is a big demand from the public and lawmakers to allow Pak Army to expand their counter-terrorism operation. However Punjab government didn’t like the idea and opposed it.

This difference of treatment between Punjab and other provinces is increasing hatred between the residents of other provinces and of Punjab.

Nawaz Sharif and his party PMLN is already under fire after hanging Mumtaz Qadri and giving safe way to General Retd. Pervez Musharaf, who was facing serious judicial inquiries. It seems that there is no rule of law in Pakistan. Today I interacted with some of very high calibre Pakistanis in Sydney. We discussed on Qadri issue and agreed that it was not a good move to hang him. Instead he could have been given life imprisonment. If government believes that he was treated according to the law then why Raymond Davis was released and Musharraf was given free path.

In the coming days there will be more evidences coming against Sharif family and their political career will seize just like Chaudhries and Bhuttos.

Shahid Afridi to be kicked out of Pakistani Cricket immediately

Pakistan lost to India in Asia Cup T-20 match in Bangladesh last night (27 Feb 2016). Definitely India proved themselves as a better side and won the game. Afridi once again proved himself as a failure. Our ‘Chinese mobile’ once again ditched us at the time of need.

Afridi

For last five years I have been unable to digest that why Shahid Afridi is still part of Pakistani Cricket Team. This man has given some good performances definitely in the past but it doesn’t mean that he has got the rights of playing forever in spite of his worst performance.

If he has got right to play for the country despite his continuous failures then why were many capable players removed from the squad on just one or two bad performances? Then Salim Yousaf, Muhamamd Yousaf, Ejaz Ahmed, Aqib Javed, Shoaib Akhtar, Imran Nazeer, Yasir Arfat and many others deserved playing more for the Pakistani side.

In fact Mr. Afridi has got some links with the culprit officials in Pakistan Cricket Board who always keep him in the team. These culprits have nothing to do with our country’s respect and pride. They damn care about people’s feelings and keep Afridi in the squad without any justification. We demand that this person must be kicked out from the team immediately without any second thought. He always brings disappointment, embarrassment and humiliation for the nation.

Back to music – back to life!

Year 2016 has finally brought some success and achievements for me….. I went through very tough phase in my personal and family life in the recent years. After the unfortunate death of my beloved younger brother Majid in 2009 I, in spite of my best efforts, couldn’t focus on my music. Not even a single composition I made after his demise.

In January 2016 however I decided to produce something that could help me in returning back to music and the normal life. I had written and composed a beautiful Urdu song “Jaan-e-Jaan” (جانِ جاں) in 2006, which I always wanted to record. I worked on the song and improved lyrics. Then I contacted Hasan Turk in Lahore, who is the real music maestro, for arranging the music for my composition. Hasan did a great job and gave beautiful colour to my creation. I then recorded the vocals on the track in Sydney at Swish Factorie studio. My young friend Shayan halped me in recording the vocals which was a real tough job for me. Later Hasan Turk mixed and mastered the song. I am highly obliged to Hasan, Shayan and Aaron (Swish Factorie) for turning my dream into reality and providing great assistance in creating a masterpiece. Song has got great appreciation from the friends and music critics.

I would like to say that I am not a singer at all. It was my first ever chance of recording a song as a singer. There may be some flaws in my vocals but I am determined that if I continue singing I would improve my singing skills with the time. I am highly thankful to Allah Who gave me an opportunity to do some creative work after a long time. I am also very much obliged to all those who supported and appreciated me. Criticism is always welcome and it helps me in improving.

Soon we will be working on the video of this song. Keep your fingers crossed!

Aman Ullah – the king of comedy and mimicry

Aman Ullah

Since my early youth I have been watching Pakistani stage dramas live in Lahore, and on CDs. Pakistan has got the best comedy artists that include late Moin Akhtar, late Albela, Omar Sharif, Iftikhar Thakur, Muhammad Ali Mir, Shakeel Siddiqui, Sohail Ahmed, Nasim Vicky, Honey Albela, Saleem Albela and Sakhawat Naz. No doubt that all of them are gems of comedy and no Indian artist can compete with them in comedy and mimicry.

However there is one name that can be declared simply as the king of comedy and mimicry. Aman Ullah is the recognition of Pakistan. Wherever in the world people live who understand Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi, are his big fans. His dramas and programmes are watched everywhere. These days he appears on the Dunya TV show Mazaaq Raat, where he with his fellow comedians Iftikhar Thakur, Jawad Waseem and Sakhawat Naz, participates in social and political discussions and spreads smile on the faces of audiences.

Aman Ullah’s observation is just remarkable. The way he mimics lower, middle and upper classes, is highly commendable. His sense of humour is amazing and he sometimes really touches your heart with his though provoking sentences and judgements. In addition to this he has a great knowledge about the legendary artists like late Mehdi Hasan Khan, Madam Noorjehan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and many others. Aman Ullah has a very good control over the tone and pitch of his voice, and sometimes when he sings in the programme on request, his vocals are just amazing.

Pakistani nation is very lucky that we have got such an amazing and highly talented artist who always has brought respect and recognition for our beloved country.

Shameful attitude of the Bangladesh government towards opposition leaders

Bangladesh massacre

I feel sorry to say that Bangladesh has become the worst Islamic country. Current government lead by the female Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set new records of inhumanity and brutality. They have started killing elderly members of opposition parties Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Nationalist Party without meeting the legal requirements and carrying out due investigation. Recently they have hanged two very old men just because they were not in the favour of getting independence from Pakistan in 1971. Their names are Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid and Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury. Both of them were aged persons and were spending their last few years of life.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has always been sparking hatred against Pakistan through her silly comments. In 1999 when Pakistan lost a one day cricket match against the Banali side in the World Cup, which helped getting them test playing status, Hasina said that it was a revenge of 1971 war crimes. On the other side Pakistani skipper at that time legendary Waseem Akram showed happiness on another Islamic country getting the status.

In fact Bangladesh is being controlled by the enemies of Pakistan. Current Indian government lead by Prime Minister Modi has strong influence on the Bangali government. Same time Muslims in India are facing state sponsored discrimination. Both Indian and Bangladeshi governments must realise that such moves of hatred will result in unrest and they can expect a strong reaction from the religious extremist groups who can start terror attacks there.

On the other hand I feel that Pakistani government should immediately quit all diplomatic ties with Bangladesh as this country has always taken us as their enemy in spite of that fact that our soldiers were martyred there with the cooperation of Indian army. We need to stand up as a united nation against this state sponsored brutality.

Comparison between Big Apple (New York) and Harbour City (Sydney)

NYCSydney

I visited USA in the first fortnight of November 2015. When I got my Australian citizenship in June this year I planned to celebrate it by visiting great places. First I spent two beautiful days in Australian entertainment capital Gold Coast in July. Then I visited Auckland, New Zealand in October. My parents also accompanied me during this three day tour which was a memorable one.

On 6th of November I left for New York by a Qantas airline flight. During my stay there I was asked by many of my friends to compare the New York lifestyle with that of Lahore, Karachi and Sydney. I however replied that I would like to compare NYC with Sydney as it can’t be compared with Lahore or Karachi. It doesn’t mean that Lahore and Karachi are not good cities, but the reason why I can’t compare NYC with them will elaborate itself in the following paragraphs.

  1. Roads, rails and transport

Roads in both cities are generally good. However in New York there are lot more bridges, intersections and flyovers than those in Sydney. In all over USA you will find distances measured and written in miles rather than kilometres. However one thing that bothered me during my driving was the lack of speed limit signs in NYC, whereas in Sydney we see them quite often. In Australia we drive right hand cars on the left side while in the USA they drive left hand cars on the right side. Traffic rules are almost the same.

NYC has a much bigger metro train network as compared with the Sydney’s one. Trains in NYC are extra-long and have single deck. Many lines run parallel to each other and there are too many junctions. Even in Manhattan (NYC business and financial hub) there are countless stations. Sydney has a smaller train network but Sydney has much better double decker trains. NYC subway stations are not very good and present a poor impression whereas Sydney train stations are much cleaner.

Taxis in NYC are quite cheaper than those in Sydney. Uber is legal in USA and Uber drivers display a ‘U’ sign on their front screen to identify themselves. NYC also has a large number of private companies who have Lexus and other high brand cars which they rent out with their own drivers. They charge very reasonable fixed amounts for them.

  1. Manhattan Vs Sydney City

This is the main difference between these great cities. Manhattan is perhaps the biggest central business district (CBD) in the world. It has countless number of high rise buildings and departmental stores. Many head offices, branded stores and attractions are located there. Manhattan is divided in three areas, i.e. Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. Times Square is the heart of Manhattan. You can check it on YouTube. Sydney CBD is at least quarter of the Manhattan in area.

  1. Shopping and cost of living

USA as a whole is much cheaper for shopping especially if you are a traveller from Australia. Branded clothes are available at very good prices and you will find a very good variety there. House rents are almost the same. Sydney suburbs are much cleaner than the New York City neighbourhoods. Fuel prices are good in the USA and remain constant. Train fares are also cheaper in NYC and you pay fixed US$2.75 per journey regardless of the length of journey.

  1. Dining and Grocery stores

In New York I could not find a single fast food chain that serves halal food. Whereas in Sydney Nando’s and Oporto serve halal chicken. We also have many halal branches of KFC, McDonalds and Hungry Jack’s (Burger King brand name in Australia) in Sydney. In Manhattan however you will find many carts serving halal food. There is no cart culture in Sydney and in CBD halal food is not available easily.

In USA offering tip to the waiters and taxi drivers is a culture whereas in Australia there is no such culture. In Sydney we have a very large number of grocery supermarket stores managed by Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. In New York there are few stores managed by Safeway, Vons, Ralph, Food 4 Less and Aldi. Due to this small grocery stores are found in abundance.

Soft drink became Soda water in the USA. There is free refill on every McDonalds there. Coffee at the McDonalds is priced US$ 1 regardless of the size. Coffee cups at the cafes have a bigger size in USA.

7-Eleven have different types of coffees in both countries. In Australia you get coffee from machine, whereas in USA coffees at 7-Eleven are placed in containers that include Hazelnut, Vanilla and Caramel Lattes, and you have a large variety of different creams to mix.

  1. Lifestyle and culture

I liked NYC because markets and stores remain open till late there and families hang out till late on the weekends. In trains you will see African boys showing dances and difficult acrobatic tricks on fast music. They of course demand tip at the end. However undercover Police arrest them if they are patrolling on the train. Sydney in comparison is a quieter city for the families and after 5:00 pm there is no activity for them except dining out. Shops and stores keep open till 9:00 pm only on Thursday nights. Another thing that I noticed in NYC was the large number of Jewish community members. You will especially notice them on trains, and in Manhattan. In Sydney Jewish people mostly live near Bondi beach.

A last but not the least difference is the English accent. American accent is very different from the Australian one. They don’t twist the words like us and there is no ‘mate’ there. 🙂