Barack Obama on Narendra Modi


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 17, 2015           01.25 A.M.

This is not an original blog written by me. It is profile of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi  , written by the 44th President of U.S.A. for magazine. The 166-word piece, written as part of the magazine’s annual ritual of coming out with its list of 100 Most Influential People is being re-produced here.

India’s Prime Minister “transcends the ancient and the modern,” writes President




The article written


Barack Obama

Narendra Modi
By Barack Obama

India’s reformer-in-chief

As a boy, Narendra Modi helped his father sell tea to support their family. Today, he’s the leader of the world’s largest democracy, and his life story—from poverty to Prime Minister—reflects the dynamism and potential of India’s rise.

Determined to help more Indians follow in his path, he’s laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change. Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern—a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a “digital India.”

When he came to Washington, Narendra and I visited the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in our countries is a strength we have to protect. Prime Minister Modi recognizes that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world.


Shortly after the article appeared on the Time magazine’s website, Prime Minister  Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his gratitude at the rare gesture :

Dear your words are touching & inspiring. Thanks .



Vidur Acting Institute Logo


I am happy that our Prime Minister is being honoured by world-famous magazine and is being written about by the most influential man on this earth, the President of United States of America .

On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I congratulate our Prime Minister  Narendra Modi  .

May he attain greater glories in future!!




Thinking About Advaniji !!


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 13 , 2013           01.15 A.M.

On June 10 , 2013 , while sitting in my institute’s office , I suddenly heard a TV anchor’s voice . He said , ” Lal Krishna Advani resigns from all the posts of Bharatiya Janata Party [ BJP ] .”

English: cropped photograph of L K Advani with...

Shri Lal Krishna Advani outside his residence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was shocked and dumbfounded . BJP without Advaniji or Advaniji without BJP is not comprehensible . I left every work and was glued to the TV set for a while . I watched the news for sometime and then started recollecting the incidents of past few days .

In BJP since almost 1 year there was a clamour for bigger role for Shri Narendra Modi . No sane person can find fault with this . But the picture was being painted as if Advaniji was against this . The fact of the matter is that Advaniji was solely responsible for Shri Narendra Modi’s elevation to the post of Chief Minister of Gujarat and he also saved Gujarat strongman from being sacked in the aftermath of Gujarat riots of 2002 . Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to remove him from the post . So how can he be against Shri Modi ?

Every BJP leader , who were assembled at Goa for the party’s National Executive Committee  meeting , took a decision to appoint Shri Narendra Modi as the Chairman of  The Campaign Committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha election . Since Advaniji didn’t attend the National Executive meet , he was painted as a villain , a greedy old man who was hankering for power and pelf. There was even a demonstration in front of his New Delhi house by some organization called Modi Sena .

I was pained by the sight . It was unbelievable and unthinkable few years back . No sane BJP worker will demonstrate against Advaniji . But some Modi Sena staged protest and instead of condemning it immediately and wholeheartedly , BJP leaders simply distanced themselves from it . That is all for this deplorable act .

Then , when asked about Advaniji’s health , BJP spokes-person Prakash Javdekar said in Goa , ” jab mausam badalta hai to log beemar pad jaate hain ” . I simply ask , is it fair ? ” …………….. mausam badalta hai ……………. ” indicates some connotation and it carries unambiguous meaning in the given present context . A Prakash Javdekar commenting like this and sarcastically taunting Advaniji , is deplorable . In my opinion it all started after the 2009 Lok Sabha defeat .

The then former Goa chief minister Shri Manohar Parrikar reportedly told a local news channel Prudent Media, “Pickle tastes good when it is left to mature for a year. But if you keep it for more than two years, it turns rancid…Advaniji’s period is more or less over. Another couple of years and after that he should act as a guardian or mentor for the party.  It’s like Sachin Tendulkar.  However mature an innings he may play, he will have to stop playing sometime.”

Parrikar said though he respected Advani for his integrity, the party should give importance to younger leaders. “I am not against elders, but the BJP should give prominence to leaders who are between 40 and 60 years.”

[ I have taken this above quoted piece from DNA of September 22 , 2009 . ]

Therefore there seems to be a conspiracy against Advaniji . I think that is the reason he took a painful decision of resigning from the Bharatiya Janata Party , which he nurtured whole of his life . He resigned on Monday , that is on June 10 , 2013 .

What followed afterwords is more sinful and shameful . Verbal abuse on twitter was unleashed . Obnoxious postings on facebook by some Rastra Dharma Rakshak and it’s patron Dhiraj Desmukh started with ferocity . This Rastra Dharma Rakshak supports Shri Narendra Modi and posts obscene comments about  Advaniji . Some comments are not even worthy of writing . Again a deafening silence by BJP on such posts is baffling .

A day after his resignation , when efforts were on to persuade Advaniji to take back his resignation , a certain  Prabhat Jha , the vice Prsident of BJP , said that one individual is not above the party . In fact this sermon is being dished out from several other sources also . Can I ask why the party was not above the individual when it got just 2 seats in 1984 ? From 2 seats in 1984 to a first BJP led government in 1998 , and to 182 seats in 1999 , Advaniji worked tirelessly . May I know why party was not above the individual in those momentous but dark and futureless 14 /15 years ?

He is accused to be driven by personal agenda . From 2 seats to 182 seats , from a party on the periphery , to the ruling party at the centre , he led BJP to unimaginable glories and when the clamour for him to become the Prime Minister was reaching a crescendo , he proposed Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s name . And the same person is now called by some minions and upstarts as driven by ambition and self – agenda .

Corrected few errors.

Map of Indian Provinces as Ruled by Political Parties (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even today BJP rules 4 provinces [ Gujarat , Madhya Pradesh , Chhattisgarh and Goa ] on its own and 3 provinces [ Punjab , Bihar and Nagaland ] as dominant coalition partner . But votaries of new order say that BJP lost 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections and its seat tally came down . It won only 138 seats in 2004 and 116 seats in 2009 . But such people conveniently forget the gradual ascent of the BJP . 2 seats in 1984 , 89 seats in 1989 , 120 seats in 1991 , 161 seats in 1996 , 178 seats in 1998 , 182 seats in 1999 , 138 seats in 2004 and 116 seats in 2009 . Even if seat tally came down to 116 in 2009 , it was much better than 2 seats in 1984 .

But political calculations are driven by convenience . And the current convenience is winning parliamentary elections in 2014 . And some people feel that for this task you need Shri Narendra Modi’s face .

It is absolutely fine . Every one welcomed the decision . But to anoint a new leader , you need not ridicule and mock the aging patriarch . This is India and respecting elders is our tradition . That is precisely the reason that people cutting across part line are supporting Advaniji and showing sympathy. Not only Indian National Congress but even CPI and CPI-M showed empathy towards him . Urdu press , which is not favourably dispensed towards Advaniji , was sympathetic and supportive . They called this behaviour of sidelining him unfaithfulness and betrayal of an aging senior .

I am a non entity . But I was saddened by the turn of events . I am only trying to raise my voice against the ridicule , insult and mocking of Advaniji , who is now 85 . We should not left him in the cold . To play a Balraj Madhok on him is not possible in this age of social media and if some one , driven by personal agenda , is trying to do this , he should be condemned .

I am raising my voice fully knowing that I may be in minority . But  TRUTH ALWAYS WINS .



NEWS LETTERI , along with my above mentioned institutions , wholeheartedly condemn the verbal attacks on Advaniji . After writing this blog I am relieved of my guilt . At least I have raised my voice against the insult being heaped on the aging patriarch of the family .

I am happy Advaniji , I am not in the list of people , who failed you at this juncture of your life .



Ameen Sayani Turns 80 Today


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 21 , 2012           04.35 P.M.

Ameen Sayani , the name may not be very familiar for the present day generation of Radio listeners , but for the people of my generation he was the biggest ever star of ” Aawaz Ki Duniya ” .

It is so heartening that he turns 80 today .

Ameen Sayani

Ameen Sayani

HisBinaca Geet mala ” , later on re-christened as ” Cibaca Geet Mala ” , was integral part of our growing years . Wednesdays were not the same for us after this famous radio programme got closed . This iconic show was first aired in 1952 and continued till 1988 on Radio Ceylon . Then it started coming on Vividh Bharti from 1989 and continued till 1994 . This was the first Radio Countdown show of film songs in India and had 42 years of run on airwaves . Ameen Sahab is synonymous with this show .


Apart from ” Binaca Geet Mala ” , he used to produce various other programmes for radio . ” S. Kumar Ka Filmy Muqaddama “ was another trend setter .


Ameen Sayani started his announcing career from Radio Ceylone , which later on came to be known Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation . Contrary to all the RJs of today , he has his own distinct style . He always started his announcements with  ” …………… Behno aur bhaiyon …………………………. ” and ” ………………Awaaz ki duniya ke mere dosto ………………………. ” . People of my generation are so familiar with his inimitable style and distinct voice that no one can miss it .


In films likeBhoot Bangla ” [ 1965 ] andTeen Devian ” [  1965 ] he appeared on-screen also as himself .

His body of work can still be enjoyed through this compilation .



He , apart from several other awards , was also awarded Padma Shri in 2009 . We are fortunate that this iconic figure is completing 8o years and still among us .

Years ago I first met him through Mr. Kishore Namit Kapoor . After that I met him three times till date . First it was marriage ceremony of Vikas Kalantri‘s sister . Then I was invited to Neil Nitin Mukesh‘s sister marriage reception and Ameen Sahab was also there. I met him last at the music release function of film ” Sadiyaan ” [ 2010 ] , Luv Sinha’s debut film .

I , on behalf of all the current students and staff of my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , wish Ameen Sahab many more successful years ahead .



A Moment for Malala Yousafzai


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 15 , 2012           00.50 A.M.

I know some Acting Trainers of Mumbai or Acting Trainers of India must be puzzled to hear the name of Malala Yousafzai . They are totally oblivious of her existence . Almost all the owners of Acting Schools of India only think about the next batch and their constant thought is centered around the number of new admissions . Barring a microscopic minority , no Bollywood Acting Trainer thinks about the country or spares a moment to ponder about our neighbouring countries .

According to me this is unholy . One may be the owner of the Most Famous Acting School of Mumbai , but he or she can’t be oblivious of the happenings of the world .  But it depends on the individual . Morons are in majority .

I think that whether I would be able to form my next batch or not , whether I am called an Acting Tutor , who is unworthy of becoming an Acting Trainer , whether Vidur’s Kreating Charakter is successful or failure , it is my pious duty to follow the happenings of my country and the world and to spare some moment for these things .

So naturally I was aghast by the dastardly act of shooting a 14-year-old girl Malala Yousafzai by the Talibans . To make my readers aware of the incident , I am posting tweets of  Iranian activist Saloumeh Z :

Malala, 14 year old shot by a Taliban coward, has been speaking out on behalf of girls banned from education by Taliban.

A Taliban coward sneaked into Malala’s schoolbus and shot her in front of other children for calling for girls’ rights.

Malala’s crime? She called for Pakistani girls to have the right to go to school. #TalibanCoward

Photos of Malala, ninth grade Pakistani student shot by Taliban coward 

Taliban claim credit for their Satanic act of violence against Malala. They are proud of their evil.

@gr8ofq8 Malala is a 14 year old girl shot by Taliban in Pakistan

Taliban means the student . And it is bizarre that students of Islamic studies are trying to prevent girls from getting educated . Malala Yousafzai is a 14 years old activist for the education of girls of Pakistan . She is a blogger also . She is running a campaign for the education of girl child in the Swat valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan .

English: Map showing the location of Swat Dist...

Map showing the location of Swat District (highlighted in yellow) within the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Montage of various Khyber Pakhtunkhwa...

Montage of various Khyber Pakhtunkhwa images. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Born in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan on July 12 , 1997 , she is a ninth grade student . 3 years back , Malala came into prominence when she blogged about promoting education for girl child in Swat Valley . She never hesitated to make her views public against the Talibans , who had banned girl education in Swat Valley after taking full control of the district .

For her activities she won International Children’s Peace Prize also .

She was shot in the head by a Taliban activist , while she was returning from the school by bus . Since then she is lying unconscious in a hospital in Peshawar and her condition is still critical .

Undaunted , Chief Spokesperson of Taliban , Ehsanullah Khan took the responsibility for this dastardly act . He has gumption to say that if she survives , they will shoot her again . Flag of Taliban bears the Islamic Aayat , ” La Ilah illallah , Mohammadurasoolillah ” [ There is one Allah and Mohammad is his prophet . ] But they , apart from this apparent slogan , don’t follow any tenets of Islam .

Flag of Taliban

Flag of Taliban (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Map showing areas and presence of the...

Map showing areas and presence of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

World rose in disgust against this heinous crime . World leaders condemned the barbaric act . intelligentsia is indignant . Girls of Pakistan are openly proclaiming support for Malala Yousafzai . Thinking people of India are unanimously condemning this heinous crime .

Though I am insignificant spec in the scheme of the things , I am also voicing my protest . I unequivocally condemn Talibans and their religious bigotry . In our busy life let us spare a moment for this brave 14-year-old girl , who is fighting for her life for no fault of her own .

May ALL MERCIFUL , ALL BENEVOLENT bless you my child !



Irom Sharmila’s 11 Years v/s Anna Hazare’s 12 Days

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA             SEPTEMBER 06, 2011           08.30 P.M.

I am all for eradication of corruption. And if Anna Hazare is spear-heading a movement and went for a 12 days fast for the cause , it is a welcome sign and it should get wholehearted support of the nation and people. Government of the day and the parliament took cognizance of his endeavour and parliamentarians cutting across party line went into huddle and passed the resolution for the Lokpal bill , as was demanded by Team Anna . Vilas Rao Deshmukh , a central minister , was dispatched to the Ramlila ground with the letter of the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh , informing him that the resolution is passed by the parliament and that he should now break his fast. Very next day Ana Hazare ended his fast and the nation was relieved.

I fail to understand the mindset of our national and regional parties. If Anna’s fast can galvanize whole nation and everyone was concerned for his life, why this concern is not shown to Irom Sharmila Chanu , 38 , who is fasting since November 02 , 2000. She stopped eating when Assam Rifles troopers , while chasing militants , killed 10 villagers at Malom village . She was subsequently arrested and now being force – fed through a nasal tube in a hospital. It is now 11 year-long hunger strike and no one is concerned. The central government , political parties of all hue and colours , the electronic and print media , the intellectuals and conscience – keepers of our country and various NGOs , working in different sectors , all , either ignored her or didn’t show concern . National Human Rights Commission [ NHRC ] and National Commission for Women [ NCW ] are intriguingly silent too . Why ? Is it because she hails from North East India or more precisely from Manipur ? is her life not precious enough ? Is she a child of a lesser God ? Is she not even a speck in the scheme of the nation called India ?

Irom Sharmila Chanu

Irom Sharmila Chanu

India’s neglected North East Region and our so-called love for our motherland is a conundrum. Assam , Arunachal Pradesh , Meghalaya , Nagaland , Manipur ,Tripura and Mizoram are called 7 sisters and they are part of  North East India. Now Sikkim is also  part of the North East and should be included in the group . This makes total 8 provinces in the region.

Political boundary of Assam in the 1950s.

Political boundary of Assam in the 1950s.

Apart from Assam , two other provinces of North East ; Manipur and Tripura were in existence even at the time of independence . Later on Nagaland was created in 1963 and finally in 1972 during Indira Gandhi‘s tenure Arunachal Pradesh , Meghalaya and Mizoram came into existence and thus 7 sisters were born. Sikkim also became a part of India in 1975 during Indira Gandhi’s tenure.

Map of the Seven Sister States of North East India & Sikkim

Map of the Seven Sister States of North East India & Sikkim



Soon after independence , people in Nagaland and Mizoram started agitation for independence. Armed struggle is being carried on since then. The Nagas were the first one to demand a sovereign nation for Nagas. Their leader Angami Zapu Phizo formed Naga National Council and on August 14, 1947 started armed struggle for independent Nagalim. In 1963 central government gave statehood to Nagaland as the 16th state of Indian Union and started peace talks. In 1980 National Socialist Council of Nagalim was formed by T. Muivah , Isak Swu and S. Khaplang and they are still fighting in Nagaland , though now they are devided into two separate factions.; NSCN [ I – M ] and NSCN [ Khaplang ] . So far more than 25,000 lives have been lost in the bloody struggle of Nagaland.



Laldenga and his Mizo National Front waged war for independence in Mizoram. In 1986 after the Mizo Accord, though,  insurgency ended but Hmar People’s Convention – Democratic and The Bru National Liberation Front have kept the flame alive.



Meghalaya , though , relatively peaceful have two organizations fomenting trouble . They are ; The Achik National Volunteer Council formed in 1995 for an Achik Land in Garo Hills and  The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council formed in 1992 to free state from Garo and non – tribal Indian domination.



At the end of 1970 several insurgent groups emerged in Tripura and started fight for the safeguard of tribal rights and end of the dominance of Bengalis from mainland India. Main among them are : National Liberation Front of Tripura formed in 1989 and All Tripura Tigers Force formed in 1990 .



The biggest state of North East India is troubled because of porous borders with Bangladesh . Anti – foreign agitation of 1980 spawned many insurgent groups in Assam. Main among them are : United Liberation Front of Asom formed in 1979 to establish a sovereign , independent Assam , National Democratic Front of Bodoland formed in 1989 to establish autonomous region of Bodoland , Karbi Longri N.C. Hills Liberation Front  formed in 2004 to fight for the cause of Karbi tribes and United People’s Democratic Solidarity formed in 1999 to fight for self-rule of Karbi trbes of Karbi Anglong. At present Assam is the most disturbed state of North East.



State of Meiteis , who are Vaishnavites by faith , is also troubled and it started when some Naga organizations gave call to include Naga inhabited areas of Manipur into Greater Nagaland. Most important insurgent group of Manipur is Peoples Liberation Army formed in 1978 with the sole aim of liberating Manipur from India . The second one ; United National Liberation Front was created in 1964 and it also demands independence . Third important group ; Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak is also an organization of some importance demanding independence from Indian rule.

Above mentioned facts are very basic and known history of the insurgency in the North Eastern Region. To counter these movements and armed struggles , Government of India promulgated AFSPA  , [ Armed Forces Special Powers Act ] of 1958 in the region. This act gives sweeping powers to armed forces. It gives them license to kill . Currently AFSPA is in force in Assam , Nagaland , Manipur [ barring some areas in and around Imphal , the capital of the state ] , 2 districts of Arunachal Pradesh [ Tirap and Changlang ] and some areas of Tripura .

People of North East resent the draconian AFSPA and they want its removal . Removal of AFSPA is demanded in Jammu & Kashmir also. I am intrigued that  removal of AFSPA is being considered sympathetically by the central government in Jammu & Kashmir but when it comes to Manipur or other areas of North East it is refused point blank. Recently Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram visited Manipur and said that since there is no consensus , so AFSPA cant be removed. Was there consensus about Anna Hazare’s demand in the beginning ? Everyone sat and consensus emerged. If consensus could be manufactured in Anna’s case , why can’t it be done in the case of Irom Sharmila Chanu ? Anna’s fast is hailed as the democratic right of citizen of this country and his subsequent victory is heralded as the sign of vibrant democracy but Irom Sharmila’s fast is viewed as sedition. Anna got all the sympathy and Irom Sharmila got indifference.

Is it sign of vibrant democracy that people of Manipur had to agitate for the creation of a new district ; Sadar Hills ? Mayawati , the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh , creates districts at her whims and fancies and central government acquiesces. But in Manipur a tribal organization resorted to economic blockade for creation of Sadar Hills and no one took cognizance. A sense of outrage engulfed me when I saw a photo of a group of women protesting naked for the removal of AFSPA. Still no cognizance was taken. Insensitive central government ignores all the above mentioned demands , though the method was pure Gandhian , but the same government is willing to talk to the militants of Jammu & Kashmir for the removal of AFSPA . Can anyone explain me the cause for this partiality? If central government has no qualms in talking to Syed Ali Shah Geelani , Yasin Malik or other leaders of separatist Hurriyat Conference , then what is the hitch in talking to Irom Sharmila Chanu , who is not a militant or not resorting to armed struggle ? Of late talks are going on with ULFA leaders of Assam and NSCN [ I – M ] of Nagaland , who are waging armed struggle against Indian Union, but the silent , non – violent and peaceful movement of Irom Sharmil and the other women of Manipur is completely ignored.

I am pained , aggrieved and outraged . I can’t do much because I am too insignificant. But I firmly believe that if central government can talk to separatists of Hurriyat Conference of Jammu & Kashmir , then it can talk to Irom Sharmila Chanu also. If government of India can work out modalities for the breaking of the fast of Anna Hazare , then it can work out something for Irom Sharmila also. If consensus was evolved for Anna’s cause , it could be evolved for Irom Sharmila’s cause also. 12 days of Anna’s fast is too much but 11 years of Irom Sharmila’s fast is a lifetime.

Something should be done and it should be done soon.

Irom Sharmila Chanu

Irom Sharmila Chanu






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Meeting Mr. Dev Anand


Last week on December 17, 2010 I celebrated my 58th birthday. I wont be able to forget this year ever in my life. Before my birthday I was able to go to Lata Mangeshkar’s house on 7th December 2010 and finally, I was fortunate enough that I could talk to her on December 14, 2010. It was regarding a song for my Bhojpuri film ” Aber “.

Lata Mangeshkar playing a tanpura

Image via Wikipedia Lata Mangeshkar

Then, after talking to Lata ji, I went to meet Mr. Dev Anand in his office on December 20, 2010. As I have stated earlier in my blog ” 60 Years of Navketan and Some More Years of Mr. Dev Anand ” on February 27, 2010, I am a huge fan of Dev Anand. First film of Dev Anand, which I watched in my native place Deoria, was ” Dushman “. I was a kid then but the debonaire hero of that film is still fresh in my mind. Usha Kiran and Kumkum were the female protagonists opposite Dev Anand. Its music was composed by legendary Husnlal-Bhagatram. Lootnewale Duniya Ko Ik Din Tu Bhi Lut Jayega sung by Mohammad Rafi , still kindles in my memory. It is still famous.

After this film, I was introduced to Dev Anand’s world through his mega hit and critically acclaimed classic ” Guide “. After that film, it was a regular affair. A new Dev Anand release and I have to be in the theatre first day, first show.

Unfortunately during my 21 years in Mumbai, I could not meet Dev Anand earlier. Though I could meet his elder brother, legendary Chetan Anand , several years back. I was training Rohit Kumar then and Chetan Anand was to direct his debut film. I met Chetan Sahab several times in Rohit Kumar’s house.

Several years later on the premier of Akshaye Khanna’s debut film ” Himalay Putra ” I bumped into Vijay Anand, Dev Sahab’s younger brother and a legendary director himself. I kept on bumping into him in several film functions. But Dev Anand was illusive, though not by any design or by any fault of mine.

Recently when I started preparation for my directorial venture, a Bhojpuri film ” Aber “, I decided to approach Dev Anand to invite him to give clap for the muhurat shot. To my utter surprise he immediately gave me time and I could meet him in his office.

Frankly speaking , when I entered the room and sat in front of him, I was in awe. I was sitting in front of a legend, one of the original triumvirate of Hindi cinema [ Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor are the other two ], a hero whose career span is 64 years and that too as a leading man [ unmatched and unequalled in the world ]. I was sitting in front of a indefatigable optimist. He started working in films before my birth. He made his debut 6 years before my birth and here I am sitting in front of him as a 58 years old man and Dev Anand was talking about his latest film “Chargesheet” and the coloured version of ”  Hum Dono “, his 1961 classic. He was full of new ideas, full of vibrating energy, full of future plans. Here was a man 30 years my senior, but still full of energy and brimming with new ideas. Needless to say that I was a change man after meeting Dev Anand. He was kind enough to bless me for my Bhojpuri film.

180 px

Image via Wikiped

It has become a norm these days to denigrate the seniors. To insult a hapless person in absentia is considered a sense of humour by today’s Dalda generation. Cynics are ruling the roost and megalomaniacs are roaming around as today’s super stars. In this scenario Dev Anand belongs to a vanishing breed of a bygone era. I feel myself lucky and fortunate that I could meet him in flesh and blood. I feel myself blessed that I shared the same room with him and could talk to him for some time.

Thank you Sir for making me feel special, making me feel important and not making me feel inferior or insignificant in any sense. I am not even a spec in the scheme of universe but you were generous enough to give me time and said some kind words. I know there could never be another Dev Anand ever. I shall cherish my meeting with you as long as I am alive.

Long live Dev Anand !

Long live the evergreen hero !


Mumbai – Maharashtra – India

Hazrat Ali , Iraq & Dawoodi Bohras Of Mumbai

There was an innocuous news item in the Mumbai edition of Times Of India on March 21, 2010. It was about Dawoodi Bohras of Mumbai, who restored the Great Mosque at Kufa in Iraq. There is nothing strange or new about restoring a mosque and that to by the followers of a sect of Islam. But here are two pertinent points to ponder, two important questions to answer. Question no. 1, Why were Dawoodi Bohras of Mumbai needed in Iraq ? Iraq is a muslim country. And question no.2, why a mosque in Kufa was in urgent need of repair and restoration? Again Iraq is a muslim country and Kufa has significant religious importance to the Shiites. But the second question itself has the inbuilt and inherent answer. Since Kufa mosque is venerable to the Shiites, it was not properly maintained by Sunni Iraq in general and by a parochial dictator like Saddam Hussain in particular. Though this mosque is a silent witness to many historical moments of Islam. In the holy precincts of this very mosque, Hazrat Ali used to offer namaz and prayers and in the precincts of this very mosque, he was murdered in 661 by Ibn Muljim at the behest of the ruler of the day, while he was in sajda. He was buried in Najaf and his holy tomb is also situated near Kufa. Karbala, where Hazrat Ali’s second son and Prophet’s grandson Imam Hussain was brutally killed in 680 by the army of Amir Yazeed, is also situated close by. Kufa, Najaf and Karbala, all the pious and holy places of Shiites are situated in Sunni dominated Iraq. And Saddam Hussain, being a despot and tyrannical as ruler and Sunni as believer, hated and despised Shiites. So he paid no attention to the up keep and maintenance of these holy Shiites shrines and this historical, pious and important shrine was in a rundown condition.

Now the question arises about Shiite and Sunni divide. The origin of this great divide is very tragic and sad. Hazrat Ali was Prophet’s son-in-law and according to Shiites, should have been a true successor of The Prophet. He is the most venerable to Shiites, next only to The Prophet. They assumed that he would succeed The Prophet. But Hazrat Ali was sidelined and ignored at the time of succession and The Prophet was succeeded by Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Usman in that order. After murder of the third Caliph Hazrat Usman, finally and ultimately Hazrat Ali was chosen The Caliph. Though he was fourth in the hierarchy and not the first, still his followers were happy. But as The Caliph, Hazrat Ali was never allowed to rule with peace. He was accused of Hazrat Usman’s murder and in the name of avenging the murder, Amir Mawia, who was at that time, Amir-E-Sham ( Governor of Syria) refused to accept Hazrat Ali’s supremacy and revolted against his Khilafat. He rebelled against Hazrat Ali and proclaimed war. By deceit and with the help of his politically clever associates, he was able to turn tables at the battle of Siffin and was able to hoodwink Arab world and was successful in removing Hazrat Ali, the greatest name in the Islamic history after The Prophet, from the Post of Caliph. Hazrat Ali accepted this humiliation silently, tolerated this deceit gracefully and started leading a pious and holy life as per the teachings of the Prophet. But his enemies were still frightened of him. His very existence was considered dangerous for the Amir and the conspiracy was hatched to eliminate him physically. One day when Hazrat Ali went for the namaz at the mosque, he saw an unknown man sitting and dozing off on the stairs of the grand mosque of Kufa. He woke him up and told him that its time for namaz and if he doesn’t move fast, he won’t be able to offer his namaz. That man, Ibn Muljim, looked at Hazrat Ali and smiled as if Malkul Maut ( Prophet Of Death ) is himself smiling and looking at Hazrat Ali. When Hazrat Ali bowed for sajda, Ibn Muljim, took out his dagger and attacked Hazrat Ali ferociously and repeatedly. Hazrat Ali aka Sher-e-Khuda fell on the ground and after few days struggle, succumbed to death. Grand mosque at Kufa is the same place where this incident happened in 661. Kufa is situated on the banks of the Euphrates river and is close to Baghdad. It is sad that a place of this importance was subjected to neglect and disrespect.

The Dawoodi Bohras have achieved the impossible. Undaunted by the circumstances, they started rebuilding the Great Mosque in 1998. Saddam was still alive and was ruling Iraq with iron fist. Condition was not conducive and congenial. US invasion made matters worst and sectarian strife, which followed US invasion, made it almost impossible. But Bohras worked silently, diligently and completed the project in 2009.

This is a great achievement. This work is worthy of inspiration. Unfortunately electronic media ignored it completely. This kind of news brings brotherhood, fosters amity and has soothing effect on the frayed nerves of our society. Alas ! Tragic events of Gujarat are always shown and played repeatedly, while this kind of news is overlooked. Communal riots of Gujarat is an aberration and restoring the Great Mosque of Kufa is our national and natural ethos. It should be encouraged and not ignored.


A Drop Of Tear For Taslima Nasreen Too !

Yesterday I read a tweet on my twitter account by Taslima Nasreen, whom I follow. She wrote , “  If India turns its back on me, I have nowhere to go. No country or home to return to.” You can easily fathom the pain and melancholic state of her mind. A lonely woman, driven out of her own country by her own people and fanatic, dogmatic and fundamentalist clergy, took shelter in India. Here again she is hounded by religious orthodoxy, though our constitution proclaims that we are a secular nation. She made Kolkata her home, but fundamentalist elements attacked her and forced her to leave Kolkata. Congress government at centre, instead of giving her protection, advised her to leave the city and settle elsewhere. Even her Visa is not permanent. It is periodically renewed. You can understand Taslima Nasreens mental pressure and agony. She was physically assaulted in a programme in Bengaluru. Congress government, which is so eager to see Narendra Mody behind bars, maintained its stoic silence in this case.

Media, the torch bearer of democracy, the vanguard of freedom of expression and the protector and votary of secularism, remained passive onlooker. For the record they made some noises, but more or less it was a half-hearted and lackadaisical effort. Leaders of Media, who are so vehement and vociferous for the justice of Muslims of Gujarat, keep a mysterious silence in case of Taslima Nasreen. They are baying and crying for Narendra Modis blood, but attackers and tormentors of this lonely, hapless lady are roaming around without fear of retribution. Media maintains a Dhritarashtra-like attitude. Why two different yardsticks are used and followed for M. F. Husain and Taslima Nasreen ? As per media’s perception, M. F. Husain has all the rights against Hindu fundamentalism, but Taslima Nasreen has none against Muslim fundamentalism. Why this differential treatment ? Will I ever get an answer ?

Whenever I think about Taslima Nasreen, I cry. Away from her home and hearth for no fault of hers, away from the city of her liking and choice, she is hounded persistently and continuously with vehemence and vengeance and the all-powerful government of India, the secular Indian National Congress and the righteous, megalomaniac media maintain their stoic silence. Why M. F. Husain has all the sympathy and Taslima Nasreen has none ? Why Narendra Modi should face the trial and attackers of Taslima Nasreen should not ? Sometimes I feel that Hindu organisations like RSS and VHP are right . It is not secularism, it is simply appeasement of a religious minority.

I never had any faith in Congress. I have lost faith in media as for as this case is concerned. Can thinking and conscientious people of India and true secular intellectuals of our nation will ever shed even a drop of tear for Taslima Nasreen ? I do and shall keep on doing this unless she is given protection, her tormentors are put behind bars and she is given permanent visa and eventually the citizenship of India.



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