We want to keep this American here

Two inspiring Americans to read about today:

I. Saving a Kashmiri Village After Remaking His Life, NYT, June 25 2009, tells the story of Todd Shea and his hospital, Comprehensive Disaster Relief Services, in Chikar. There is a video-essay attached to the story that you should watch. Shea’s flickr stream. And a link for you to donate directly to his effort.

II. Kathy Kelly and a group of volunteers have just returned from a visit to Pakistan where they toured some of the IDP camps. They belong to Voices for Creative Non-Violence. You can read their reports on the site but I want to highlight Kelly’s latest, Now We See You, Now We Don’t. There are also photo galleries from their visit.

They Serve Daal after Funerals

Beat extremists you can, says Obama, Anwar Iqbal, DawnTV, June 21, 2009

Any plan to visit Pakistan in the near future?’
‘I would love to visit. As you know, I had Pakistani roommates in college who were very close friends of mine. I went to visit them when I was still in college; was in Karachi and went to Hyderabad. Their mothers taught me to cook,’ said Mr Obama.

‘What can you cook?’
‘Oh, keema … daal … You name it, I can cook it. And so I have a great affinity for Pakistani culture and the great Urdu poets.’

‘You read Urdu poetry?’
‘Absolutely. So my hope is that I’m going to have an opportunity at some point to visit Pakistan,’ said Mr Obama.

SWA: Death tally in drone strike touches to 65, Geo, June 24, 2009.

SOUTH WAZIRISTAN AGENCY: The death toll in suspected US drone strike in the South Waziristan Agency has risen to 65, witnesses and officials said late on Tuesday adding that the missiles hit a funeral procession.

Sohail Mehsud from the town of Makeen in the South Waziristan tribal region said he saw three unmanned drones fired missiles on Tuesday afternoon at the funeral procession for suspected militants killed by a similar strike earlier in the day.

At least two missiles were fired at the funeral prayers, killing at least 17 people earlier and injuring several others but later in the day the death toll mounted to 65.

The missile attack targeted the hideouts of Baitullah Mehsud, where Commander Sangeen is reported to have been killed.

Commander Sangeen belongs to Afghanistan.

U.S. officials concede missiles fired from drones have targeted suspected militant leaders in the tribal zone for months, but they do not comment on individual strikes.

Dard Vachor Da II

Shah Hussain (1539-94), known more popularly as Lal Hussain, was born in Lahore. He was a sufi in the Qadiri order, prone to expressing his devotion through song, mystical dance and exuberance. Naturally, he had a rough time with some of the elders in Lahore who looked askance at his public repudiation of beards and proclivity to wine. Prince Dara Shikoh’s Hasanat al-`Arifin describes Hussain as being above religion (neither Hindu nor Muslim) along with some other sufi-tastic details on miracles he performed. But it is Hussain’s love for Madho – a Brahmin youth (later converted) – which raised the most eyebrows. The tombs of Madho and Lal Hussain remain a central node in spiritual Lahore.

I pointed earlier to this ka’afi. Thought, I’d reproduce it in full now.

O mother! Who can I ask? Of this pain of separation
The smoky fire of my Murshid, glows red like flowers
When I go near.
Thoughts assault me like pricking thorns. Drive me mad.
A bread of sorrow. A meal of anxiety. My sighs the fire to cook.
In forests, in jungle I wander, seeking never finding, Lal.
Says Hussain Faqir, he is my treasure, yet unseen.

ماۓ ني! ميں کيهنوں اکھاں، درد وچھوڑے دا حال
ُُُُُدهواں دهکهے ميرے مرشد والا، جاں پهولاں تاں لال
سولاں مار ديواني کيتي، برهوں پيا ساڈے خيال
دکهاں دي روٹي، سولاں دا سالن، اهيں دا بالن بال
جنگل بيلے پهراں ڈهونڈيندي اجے نە پايو لال
کهے حسين فقير نمانا، شوە ملے تاں تهيواں نهال

He also has a slightly different version that has this oft reproduced line:
رانجهن رانجهن پهراں ڈهونڈيندي رانجهن ميرے نال
ني ميں کيهنوں اکهاں

I roam looking for Ranjha, Ranjha next to me
O who should I ask?

This particular Kaafi is sung most gorgeously by Abida Parveen (who sings Sufi kalaam [poetry] like few could).

update: I linked to the wrong file. The audio is of Abida Parveen singing Bulleh Shah’s Saday Weray Aaya Kar (Come to my doorstep, Lover, day and night). Still, it does incorporate the above couplet. I will check Bulleh Shah’s kalaam to see if he is the one sampling (it would be early modern sampling) or Abida Parveen. More later.

Pakistan Ka Matlab Kiya III

“I’m the second Khan winning a World Cup for Pakistan, so I’m very proud of my Khans,” said Younis. “This is my dream. I dreamed all the time of lifting the World Cup. My thinking in all my career is that I will be remembered for a team like 1992. I was not in the Imran Khan team, and this is a dream come true. I’m really happy. Though this World Cup is Twenty20, at least we won our second World Cup. This is a gift to our whole nation.”

What do you know … those three good Talibans – Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul and Younis Khan – gave a gift of smiles uncountable.

A team so denied, a team so punished, a team so traumatized. Well played, kids.