Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kashmir and Delhi: Summer of 2015- I

The large verandas overlooking the garden, where many state dignitaries were hosted by the erudite Panditji.

Nehru's study.

God knows what those books are.

The moronic pose.

As I say it often. Want to love Delhi? Live in Chanakyapuri and read Khushwant Singh.
Teen Murti Bhavan. I hopped into a Meeru cab one lazy Delhi day, and spent an entire afternoon here at Panditji's official residence. 
At Kashmir house, Chanakyapuri. 
So here they are: books on Che. Early days of his revolution in Cuba and Bolivia. Riveting read.
One of the oldest bookstores in Khan Market- Bahri Sons. Any old timer Delhi walla will know about this shop.  
At Khan Market. Came to pick up books on Che.
Yadavji the auto walla. He is from Ayodhya, the battle ground of contention between Muslims and Hindus. I asked him whom did he vote in elections. AAP he replied in Delhi; Congress in assembly elections. 
A dog tired first day in Delhi. Quick hop into a auto, that drove me to restaurant in Hauz Khaus. 500 INR for this veg thali. 185 bucks for the salt lassi.

Teen Murti Bhavan.

Sprawling lawns, where Pandit Nehru would have taken many morning walks, dissecting India's future foreign policy.

Panditji's blue blooded lineage- from Kauls of Rainawari to Nehrus of Delhi.

Sartre from Panditji's personal library. What his country has turned into the hands of Baniyas and selfie stupidity. 

The gallery of Tolstoys, Trostskys, Raja Ram Mohan Roys, Tagores. 

My little boy.

Amongst many things that being a parent teaches you, I think the most overriding one is the fact how you suddenly make sense of all what your parents would tell you.

Mye chukh veni tetoy yevaan nazre. Lokut. A line every Koshur parent uses like a staple diet. If you thought we only have an overdose of batta (the thick local Koshur rice), then you are obviously wrong.

Looking at Ahmed right now: playing, making noises- looks towards me; smiles and then runs. A world only he knows about. A world of his that I like noticing. The small details. His small joys.

In some years he will be all grown up, and obviously would not remember any of this. However, for me he will always be this Ahmed. My little boy. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Science in Islamic context.

Khalid bin Yazid, the grandson of Mua’wiya, Muhammad’s famous companion and 5th Caliph in Muslim history, is considered to be among the first Muslim alchemists. Tradition has it that he left his home in Damascus at the age of twenty and set out for Alexandria. Here he met his teacher Morienus, a Christian hermit of Jerusalem and learned the art of alchemy from him. Morienus was a protégé of Stephanus of Alexandria, a prominent Greek in the field of alchemy known for his famous work “On the Great and Sacred Art of Making Gold”

An example of the second is Dr. Bashiruddin Mehmood, a Pakistani scientist from country’s prestigious Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), who argued that as Djins are made of fire as told in the Quran, we should capture them and produce electricity from them. The fact is that no matter how hard people like Dr Mehmood, Hossein Nasar or Ziauddin Sardar try to prove it, Islamic science never existed.

The treatment meted out to these scientists is another point of concern. Muslims of today take pride in these medieval men without knowing how they were treated in their times. They were persecuted, jailed and tortured. They were silenced and rejected, their books were burnt and they were charged with blasphemy, heresy and apostasy. Some were killed. Ideologues like Ghazali, Taj-ad-Din-as-Subki and Ibn-as-Salah were there to provide a quasi-rational justification of this treatment. Hardly any proud Muslim knows the extent of this oppression. The list of ill-treated persons of letters is in no way short. Jamal-ud din Afghani wrote in one of his letters to the French scholar Renan: “AI-Sayuti tells that the Caliph al-Hadi put to death in Baghdad 5,000 philosophers in order to destroy sciences in Muslim countries down to their roots. Admitting that this historian exaggerated the number of victims, it remains nonetheless established that this persecution took place, and it is a bloody stain for the history of a religion as it is for the history of a people”.
The famous physician Al Razi was blinded by the torture he received. Andalusian polymath Ibn-e Rushd was tied to a post outside the central mosque and people were asked to spit on his face [5]. Al- Kindi received 50 lashes before a cheering crowd and Ibn-e-Sina had to spend a major portion of his life in hiding or on the run in order to avoid persecution. A nation with a history of persecuting their freethinkers cannot take pride in these men unless they openly disown and denounce their persecutors. On the contrary, ideological descendents of those persecuting mullahs still dominate the Muslim intellectual arena while heirs to the philosophies of these rationalists are still being hounded and cornered.