‘Na tha kuch to khuda hota, kuch na hota to khuda hota,

duboya mujh ko honi ne, na hota mai to kya hota?’

[‘If there was nothing then there would have been only God, were there nothing there would have been only God,

Drowned as I am by existing, had I not been then what would have been?’]

-Mirza Ghalib.

Lab pe Aati hai dua banke tamanna meri,

Zindagi Shamma ki surat ho khudaaya meri ‘ .

[The heart’s wish comes to my lips as supplication,

My lord make my life a picture of light.’]

-Allama Iqbal

‘In a country where worse things had happened,

Nothing mattered much, nothing much mattered’.

– Arundati Roy, The God of Small Things.

This blog contains my interactions with the world.

It also serves as context tank for the ongoing project labels. But the blog itself is not entirely bound to the project.This blog is a more direct exploration of blogging as a political tool, while labels is a larger initiative.

I am an artist, toy-collector and healer.I have a graduate degree in Art History and some training in performance, dance and dance therapy.See a complete resume here and here .

contact theunderscoredhood@gmail.com or raheemabegum@rocketmail.com


The sub-titles of this blog vary upon the mood of the moment.Here are a few that have been:

“Husn aiena-e-Haq hai aur dil aiena-e-husn.

Dil-e-Insaan ko tera husn-e-kalaam aiena.”

[Beauty is the mirror of truth and the heart, a mirror of beauty.

The beauty of your poetry is a mirror to the heart of humanity.]

-is from a couplet written by Maulana Altaf Hussain Hali in the introduction to the first edition of his epic poem Musaddas, among many a stolen book for which I’m indebted to my uncle’s grace and erudition.This book has been brought to the English reader by Sayeeda Saiyidain Hameed’s translation.

“From Dilli to Palam, is the reign of Shah Alam”.

-is a slighting comment on the fallen fortunes of the Mughal Sultanate.

“Sin from my lips, O trespass sweetly urged, give me my sin again”

-from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, one of the most passionate love scenes of literature and drama.

“Agnipath ke paar chandan chaandni ka desh hai kya, ab kaho sandesh hai kya?Maraz tere nazdeek mohlaq hain kya kya?”

The first two are lines written by Mahadevi Verma, and were found quoted here.The last is the second line of Hali’s Musaddas.

-To me these lines talk about the activist’s message, about dreaming of and toiling for a better world.

Hali’s Musaddas begins with an anecdote where Hippocrates is asked what he regards as the most dreadful disease.Hippocartes replies that there is no illness such as that of the one who denies cure, finding fault with every prescription, being heedless of symptoms and neglecting of cure, finding oneself ultimately dissatisfied with life.In the poem these lines are about the irony of the Muslim world, drunk in its tiresome decadence.

“In art, every real bad weapon is immediately transformed into a toy weapon .”

-Jonathan Meese on engaging with the real monsters of life in art.

“Hazaaron saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai, badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deedawar paida”.

These lines are from Tuloo-e-Islam by Allama Iqbal, and it means to me the sentiment of an epoch.

Different people see these lines differently.To me this is the torment of a creative universe, or a mind, waiting for itself to flower.There is also this translation by Amitabh Joshi, at the Journal of Science Education.

“If you’re willing to change, the world let love be your energy.”

Robbie Williams, “Let love be your energy”.

“I believe the sun should never set upon an argument.”

Savage Garden, “Affirmation”.

“Dil hi to hai na sangokhist, dard se bhar na aaye kyun? Royenge ham hazaar baar, koi hamein sataaye kyun?”

The heart after all is soft enough for lamenting.I will lament a thousand times, for why must someone irk me?

The beginning of Mirza Ghalib’s incurable and unsurpassed lament, ‘Dil hi to hai‘.

“What have you done for us lately?”

From Reza Afisina’s performance at Khoj Live ’08. See video here.

‘Sabaq phir parrh sada’qat ka, ada’lat ka, shuja’at ka. Lia jaey ga kam tujh sey dunya kee Imamat ka”

We return again to Iqbal, these lines ask you to learn once again the lessons of truth, justice and valour.Iqbal’s work was located around Islam but his poetry carries messages whose profundity extends to the universal community.Indeed he is the best that Islam has brought out in a poet.

Iqbal wanted to restore the valour of youth in the young people of his time.I want to appropriate his message to all people, young and old. Our task will be to lead the world, so lets learn once again the lessons of truth, justice and valour.

‘I am as we are.’

Amitabha Adhikari at labels Grid, here.

‘Welcome to my kitchen.’

Bhagya Lakshmi.

‘This movement doesn’t have leaders in the traditional sense, just people determined to learn, and to pass it on’.

Naomi Klein, ‘Fences and Windows’.

‘Jigar se vohi teer phir paar kar, tamanna ko seenon mein bedaar kar’.

‘Let the same passion course through my veins, make the same desire ebb and abound in me…’

Allama Iqbal, Saqinama, which of course is brought to the young of my generation by the music supremos of Junoon in ‘Zamaane ke Andaaz badle gaye‘.

‘Testing “Attention Please” feel the tension soon as someone mentions me here’s my 10 cents my 2 cents is free A nuisance, who sent, you sent for me?’

Eminem, ‘Without Me‘.

‘One for all, all for one’.

The motto of Alexander Dumas’s ‘Three Musketeers’.

‘What part of our history’s reinvented and under rug swept? what part of your memory is selective and tends to forget?’

Alanis Morisette, ‘Hands Clean‘, from the Album ‘Under Rug Swept’.

‘God breathes through us so completely…So gently we hardly feel it…Yet, it is our everything.’

John Coltrane.

‘Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church’

Popular saying.

‘The cow belongs to the bovine ilk.One end moo, the other end milk.’

Hmm.This is a lingering glimpse of the sexism of pre-adulthood, when you, in order to make yourself seen, heard and felt make appearances in events like inter-college JAM( Just a Minute) Sessions, only to get painful peeks into what it’s going to be like in the big leagues.I only mulled over the meaning of this profound statement much later, after I stumbled and failed to bring forth any verbal discourse on it, as the mike was mercifully taken away from me.The all powerful and supreme God who was chairing the session (sigh!), he really brings it home today.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people could change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’

– Margaret Mead.