Demystifying Punjabi stereotypes – 1

Most of the stuff that non Punjabi’s know about us Punjabis is typical stereotyped stuff shown in Bollywood movies and Punjabi songs. Most of it is some non-sense wrapped around “balle balle” as if dancing is what Punjabi’s do all the time. So thought about doing some posts telling the reality instead of what is being shown on small or big screen. How it actually started was that once I drafted a post explaining that how in Punjab there live people of all religions, not only Sikhs as a lot of non-Punjabi’s seem to think. But this post remained in the draft for months. Then last week a colleague in office was talking about something similar. From there an idea struck me to write about multiple topics related to Punjabi stereotypes. In each post I will try to talk about one topic (or more if they are very closely related). The posts are not going to be very very detailed but would briefly talk about the subject. You can add your criticism/views/corrections of any facts in the comments section. Some of the posts might be ridiculously short but length isn’t really the important thing here. Important is to make the point about some issue that we are seeing around us.

So here we go with the very first post in this series. In this the issue I am going to talk about is:


Punjab is a very rich state


That is what a lot of people outside Punjab think courtesy Punjab’s rich past and what is being shown in movies, songs etc. But the reality is that it used to be rich but it is not anymore. These days economy is in shambles. State is under a debt of Rs 1 lakh crore. There is no money to pay salaries to the Govt. employees and to make both ends meet Govt. properties, lands are being sold. There are hardly any new Govt. jobs. Not much is happening in the name of industrial growth so there are not many jobs in private sector too. Menace of drugs is posing the most serious danger the state has ever seen. According to some reports almost 60-70% or more of the youth is addicted to some kind of drug or alcohol. There are villages where each family has lost one of more of the family members to some kind of drug addiction.

Agriculture has failed. Landlords might be doing fine but farmers with few acres of land can hardly make both ends meet. Many of the small farmers have taken loans to the tune of lakhs from banks and because of poor agricultural growth are not able to pay it back. Not being able to support their families they are taking the suicide route to end their lives. There are many families where the only earning members have committed suicides and the debt ridden families are left to struggle with their lives.


With all this going on one can pretty much understand how rich Punjab these days is !


Read part 2 – Punjabi music is all about beats !

Love Sonnets of Ghalib–Ghalib in translation

If you are a fan of Urdu poetry and haven’t had a chance to read Ghalib may be it is the time to do that. Understanding Ghalib is no easy task, though. You may not the get the real context what he wants to say in the verse. That is where some translation helps. Most of the translations from Urdu to English do kill the real essence but Love Sonnets of Ghalib (Translated by Sarfaraz Niazi) doesn’t do that. I think it is the best reference out there on Diwan-e-Ghalib; at least in English. It is a must have for any Ghalib poetry lover especially people for whom Urdu is not the native language. But I am sure people having Urdu as their native language will also enjoy reading the translations. He provides with the verse translation first and then goes on to explain the context of that verse in detail. Reading Ghalib from this book has been an absolute pleasure.

Go get it !

Here is a link on and .

Give peace a chance in 2014

meharbaan ho ke bula lo mujhe chaaho jis waqt,
main gaya waqt nahi hoon ke phir aa bhi na sakoon
– Mirza Ghalib

(Turning kind towards me, call me back any time you want;
I am not like the time bygone that cannot be recalled*)

*Translation from Love Sonnets of Ghalib by Sarfaraaz Niazi

As Mirza nausha said “ke phir aa bhi na sakoon”  the year 2013 is about to say good bye and it would never come back. Personally for me new year isn’t something that grand of a celebration time but it does signify a unit of time; one more year has ended. Of course there would be many disappointments everyone of us faced in the last year but here is a chance to look forward to new hopes and opportunities in the new year.

Like last year and last to last year’s post this year again I would pray for peace in this world. Although scientists claim that we are going through the most peaceful times in the history of man kind but still the violence all around us is heart breaking. Thousands of people are losing their lives in suicide attacks, bomb blasts, wars and so on. We must not gift this violent planet to our upcoming generations. Everyone of us must work for peace in whatever way we can. Hope this year brings a new hope for peace and humanity.

As Bashir Badr saab has said:

saat sandookon mein bhar kar dafan kar do nafartein,
aaj insaan ko muhabbat ki zaroorat hai bahut

Here is wishing you a very happy new year 2014 ! Have fun !

ye na thi hamari qismat…ajab apna haal hota

Yesterday while searching for a live version of Ghalib’s ye na thi hamari qismat on Youtube came across this brilliant rendition of the same poem by Tina Sani. It is done bit differently where she picked up another poem by Daag Dehlvi and she sings one verse from Ghalib’s poem and then next one from Daagh’s poem and so on. Verses from both the poets are somewhat related to each other in terms of the emotion that is expressed. On top of  that there is a brilliant singing by Tina Sani. Absolutely mesmerizing. Can it be a called a new year gift ? Yes I think.

Happy New Year everyone !  Enjoy the masterpiece !

Some things are just not meant to work

Some things are just not meant to work the way you want them to. I mean no matter how much you try, you can never get some things to work.

This PC that I got almost 3 years back I think is one of such items. First I wanted to buy a powerful machine with at least 8 Gigs of RAM. Problem at that time was very few motherboards supported 8 Gigs. Finally selected all the components and got it assembled. It included a very expensive Microsoft wireless Keyboard and Mouse.

The first signs of illness were shown by keyboard itself when it didn’t work and had to get it replaced.

Then second issue was that it kept rebooting randomly. Tried different versions of Windows but same story every time. Finally after some R&D I came to know that there was some problem with the motherboard. Got a new motherboard and it worked ok for few months.

Now the problem was that Windows would hang randomly and the only option was to reset the PC. I could never solve that problem but became almost sure that it had something to do with hardware. May be the components weren’t compatible or something.

Then twice or thrice power supply unit got screwed up. Fed up of all this I got an expensive one, Corsair power supply. Even that got blasted once but the one that I got after replacement has been working fine till date (touchwood).

Now it was monitor’s turn. It started giving some flicker problem. The screen keeps going on and off randomly. Again looks like some hardware shit.

The only thing that didn’t give problems was UPS (an APC one). Recently it also started complaining about battery. Got the battery replaced but still it doesn’t work properly.

Oh I think I forgot that there was one incident with hard disk also where it developed some bad sectors and had to be replaced.

This whole thing wasn’t meant to work ! No ?

So what makes Google Search–Reunion ad click ?

The new ad by Google called “Google Search – Reunion” has almost gone viral in both India and Pakistan. It shows two friends, now in old age who were separated during partition meeting again due to the efforts by their grand children and use of Google search and other options in Google.


What I am wondering about is what really makes this ad click ? Given that these two countries have been in a bitter relationship since almost 1947, what exactly people are liking in this video ? Are there some deeply buried emotions or this is just an instant reaction to a nicely made video ? Not trying to be an idiotic critic but just an angle that must be given a thought, at least.

Here is the link to the same video on Vimeo as Youtube doesn’t work in Pakistan.

…badi lambi judai

Like most of Indians my first interaction with Reshma ji’s songs was not via Hero movie’s lambi judai song. It was rather via Radio Pakistan, Lahore. The songs like haye o rabba nahio lagda dil mera and akhian nu rehan de akhian de kol kol were already very famous and used to play regularly on Lahore Radio.


But yes it was when lambi judai was recorded that she became a house hold name in India.

Because she mostly sung in Punjabi so she was already well known in Punjab. In those days most of the Punjabi newspapers used to carry articles about her and talking about the very very simple and humble life she used to live. Few of the incidents I still remember. Like:

When she wore saree for the first time and was asked to go on stage she was so scared that it might fall down.

While memorizing a Urdu song she had to put a lot of hard work as she had never attended a school.

Once she went to Russia for some concert. In the evening she went out of the hotel for a walk and while coming back lost the way. She didn’t know English so was confused whom to ask for help. She says that then she spotted a Sardar guy and directly went to him and told him in Punjabi that here is the key of my hotel room (it has the hotel address on the key ring) and I have lost the way to the hotel. Then he helped her reach the hotel. She used to joke that if something hasn’t changed at all it is attire of Sardars and Reshma. She always always wore a salwar suit and dupatta on her head.

She traveled across the world for concerts but her style didn’t change a bit. She remained the same Reshma born in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

I remember when I listened to Masooma Anwar for the first time hers was the voice that immediately reminded me of Reshma’s original husky voice. Of course there is no comparison but if you listen carefully Masooma’s voice is also husky one. Very few female voices fall in that category. For a sample see Masooma’s rendition of ve main chori chori


With her passing away two greatest voices from the Thar are not with us. First it was Mehdi Hasan saab and now her.

I am reminded of a post I did 4 years back when she attended Lux style awards and looked very weak. She wasn’t able to sing properly. Today she is not with us Sad smile .

May her soul rest in peace. Her voice through her songs will live forever !

Dussehra street

The Dussehra celebrations at the place where we live in Delhi are pretty huge. The local residents arrange a big function every year where there some local singer is called for performance and then there is burning of the effigies of Ravana. In our language there is a kind of mela where there are many stalls for different type of food, toys for children and more.

Looking from the 3rd floor balcony the scene in the street looked somewhat like:

  • Stage for Dussehra celebrations is being set. People have started gathering in the street.
  • All the locality residents are participating in the rituals as if burning effigy of Ravana is going to get rid of all the problems in the life. Though half of them have been fighting over ‘i-will-park-my-car-here’ issues an hour ago.
  • Rehri walas are also finding places to set up their stalls. For them today is the day to earn more than what they can daily.
  • Some homeless poor children are also roaming around thinking they might get to eat something without paying anything. Today is the festival of winning of good over bad, after all.
  • Our neighbor aunty is worried that space in front of their house might get occupied by someone. Then where would his (idiot) husband park his car ? So she has asked a rehri wala to park his rehri there to keep that space occupied. Of course till her husband comes and has to park his car.
  • We also tried gol-gappas from a rehri wala but they were not good Sad smile . So now back home and just standing in balcony observing all this.
  • The music is going on in full swing. Some politician also seems to be present on the occasion. After all it is election time in Delhi dude.
  • We hear the crackers are being fired. Seems Ravana is being burned. Hope it will end all the evil in our society.
  • It is 9:15 PM. Most of the rehri walas are gone now.
  • It is almost 10 PM. The street looks empty now but is full of litter. Hopefully someone would clean the street tomorrow. It looks really dirty !





  • It has been 2 weeks to all these celebrations but the evil is still there. Newspaper are full of such terrible news. Seems this year again burning Ravana didn’t work Sad smile.
  • Hope it does next year !

tera Coke, mera Coke

After the first video from Coke Studio season 6 was released I got a message from one of my friend

Fantastic ….

Par dukh di gal eh hai ki Pakistan te India waale coke studio baaki countries de singer te musicians lai rahe.  But not of each other.
It’s really painful for me..,
Both talk about shrinking boundaries. But not between themselves.
So sad !!!

That indeed is a bitter truth. In Indian version of the Coke Studio this year there were few non-Indian artists but none of them was from Pakistan. Similarly in this season of Coke Studio Pakistan there are many artists from other countries like Serbia, Turkey and many others but no-one from India. In the last reason one song by Rabbi Shergill was recorded but it never went on air. God knows the reasons.

Indian version anyways is garbage so lets not talk about it Smile. But there are many Indian artists who I would like to see feature in Coke Studio Pakistan. Some of them would be Wadali Brothers, Gurdas Maan, Hans Raj Hans, Sukhwinder, Sonu Nigam and Lakhwinder Wadali. There would be many others too. But given the present situation between two countries its doesn’t seem very likely to happen. Even after so much being similar the two countries have been enemy of each other since 1947.

Anyways with the hope that things take better shape in future enjoy Rohail Hyatt’s brilliance. Here is the first song from Coke Studio season 6. Bulle Shah’s main jaana jogi de naal sung by Fariha Pervez featuring Muazzam Ali Khan and Serbian artists.

naqsh faryaadi hai…

Have just been trying to understand the opening verse of Diwan-e-Ghalib. Finally after looking at few of the books and translations, it is making some sense to me. So here is what I understood of it.

Poets generally start their work by remembering the God and praising him for creating this world. Waris Shah opens his epic qissa Heer with:

awal hamd khuda da vird keeje,
ishq kita su jag da mool miyan

First of all let us acknowledge God, who has made love the worth of the world, Sir – Translation from Wiki

Ghalib also does the same but bit differently. He does acknowledge that this universe was created by God but doesn’t praise him for this. He rather takes a shot at God and complaints about the pain and sufferings humans go through in this world. The complete verse is:

naqsh faryaadi hai kis ki shokhi-e-tahreer ka,
kaagzi hai pairahan har paikar-e-tasveer ka

First few word meanings:

naqsh – a painting or portrait
faryaad – complaint or plea so faryaadi – the one who is complaining
shokhi – mischief
tahreer – handwriting
kaagzi – made of paper
pairahan – clothes
paikar – face, form, appearance

Before we get in to the explanation it is important to understand the importance of kaagzi pairahan (clothes made of paper). It has its roots in old Persian tradition where the complainants would go to their kings wearing clothes made of paper. It was considered a symbol of humility.

In the first line Ghalib says “who did the mischief of creating this universe ? You ! right ?” So he does acknowlge that everything has been created by God. But he sees everyone (all humans) as faryaadi and to who we are complaining ? of course God. So he relates the condition of humans to someone who is there in a king’s court with his faryaad. Here we are the complainants and God is the king. He questions the very creation of such world where there is so much of suffering and everyone seems to be doing a faryaad in the king’s (God) court. What was the need to create such a world ?

Here and here are some links discussing it in much more detail.