Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's 5 months today …

Whether it was me wearing Sab's designed T-Shirt
and talking to grieving colleagues at T2F

… or whether it was someone visiting Dil Phaink
(in London) and writing her views on the wall

… Sabeen's assassination hit people everywhere.

There was music in Tunisia in remembrance of her.

There were marches, protests, meetings, seminars
in all the countries you can imagine.

People who knew her in her life were devastated.

People who knew her after her death cried uncontrollably.

A few days ago I received this card from the USA.

Thank you, Olivia Beggins, for the Candle you lit,
for your love for her, and for all of us.
Much love.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Abi … 11.04.1900 - 19.09.1963

Azhar Kidvai was born in Rampur (India) on 11th April, 1900

My father, Abi is what I called him, was named Azhar Kidvai by his father (Safdar Ali). Abi was also named Khaaqaan Alam (many people had two names in the olden days), but he rarely used this name after he grew up. In Urdu his name (ازہر قدوائ) had a ز and not ظ. Why? Think of Jaamaé Al Azhar. It means another thing when you write it with ظ. In English it was spelt with a K instead of Q. Why? Because the name is Turkish. Kidvais are descendants of Kazi Kidva who was a Turkish Judge under King Baber's rule. There is no Q for ق. There's just a K. Think of Koran. Also, و is written as V in Turkish, not W. Here is an image of their full alphabet.

The W for و was added when Hindustani Transliteration took place … earlier than Turkish Transliteration. This changed و into a W, despite the fact that the pronunciation is that of V.

A picture from a London Collection of Family Logos.
I have this in my house now in wood and brass.
The Latin translated to English means "I shall not altogether die'.

He went to MAO (Aligarh School and College) and did a BA in English Literature. Was arrested for his political views by the Brits ruling India. Later, he became a Doctor, was a Major in the British Forces during the Second World War. He was also a poet, a writer of stories and essays, and a great lover of classical music (Indian and Western). He sang fairly well, but only among friends. He used to do a wonderful Scottish accent, after having passed his Medicine from Edinburgh. He lived and practiced in Monifieth, a small town in Scotland.

His father, Safdar Ali, did send him there but then refused to send him money, though he had a lot of it. Abi's life there was odd, because of a lack of funds. He eventually was put into hospital where one of his kidneys had to be removed. I heard this from his friends, while he was alive. I asked him and he said he would never have told me this, because it was "between me and my father". (His father died in Dacca several years after Abi's death.)

Abi was an Atheist in his early life, but eventually became a rather strong Muslim. In his last few years one could always see him with a tasbeeeh, reciting his words of faith. He said eight prayers every day: the five Farz many do, plus Tahajjüd, Chaasht, and Ishraq. The last time he prayed was only a few minutes before his death.

Despite being a strong Muslim and reading several religious books, he also read extensively in English and Urdu — Fiction and Non-Fiction. He introduced the writers to me, just as he gave me my love of music.

A strong Congress-person, he decided that we'd stay in Delhi … but our house and his clinic were burnt down so he migrated to Pakistan on a temporary basis (in 1947). Dr. Syed Mahmud (my wife Nuzhat's naana) and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said to him that the troubles in Pakistan would end in 5-6 months and we'd be 'good neighbours later'. These things never happened and showed how little the Congress knew what lay ahead.

Abi died at the age of 63, after several repeated heart attacks over the years, heavy diabetes, a constant ringing in his ears, occasional faintings, and - finally - a brain haemorrhage at Anklesaria Clinic, Karachi. He seemed well as I saw him, arriving in Karachi the day before from my trip. Sadly I was on duty on the ship that night/morning and did not see him pass away.


This blogpost, 52 years after his death, is to tell you of a new website that I have started putting up.It will get ready in a week or two but there are enough things there for you to see.

1. Yaad Daasht

2. Links: A collection of my previous blogposts about him.

3. Stories that were written from 1928 onwards and were published as Nai Paod (نئ پود) in 1939, two years after he wrote his last playlet. The original cover and the inside page (Printed 1000 copies : Price Re 1), are also scanned and shown here.

These are followed by scans from his own handwriting.
(In some places it has not been possible to remove the paper lines.)

4. Ghazals, that were kept in a ruled booklet and named Parvaaz. 

5. Rübaais, Qit'aas, Nazms - which were filed under a small folder, called Parvaaz 2.

6. Humorous verses which Abi wrote under the takhallüs 'Shaikh Ji'. He put them in a separate collection, called Laghv Goi.

7. Tasveerayñ — a collection of some images. More will be added as I find them.


This collection is dedicated to Nuzhat, who constantly insisted that I must print Abi's works. She loved the idea that I was going to print it with scanned images as far as the poems were concerned. It is also co-dedicated to our daughter, Ragni Marea, who loved her grandfather's stories.

Sabeen Mahmud loved his stories that I read out to her. I also recited a few of his verses. She had one piece on her softboard in her office. She wanted me to publish his works, specially in his own writings, under T2F's planned idea of opening up a publishing unit. That never happened.

The collection is now on the Internet
where many will be able to read it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ghulam Abbas (aka Babu)

Sabeen Mahmud's Driver, Babu,
was shot dead at his home in Korangi.

He was working in
Anti-Corruption Department (Karachi).

He was in the back seat of the car that
Sabeen was driving when she was assassinated.

Twitter, Facebook, and the TV, informed many people.

Then Dawn came out with Police's investigative report.


While I was trying to find out what the Police is saying about Babu's murder, I came across these stories in different media.

Which one should I believe?

1. He was killed outside his house (while coming back from prayers) by two motorcyclists who fired 4 shots. Bullets were recovered. People said the two had been to his house two days earlier.

2. He had gone out to meet two people who had called at his house for two days. He went out. Spoke to them. A third person arrived. They had a discussion. There was an altercation by Babu and the third person. The person pulled out a gun and shot him. They all ran away. People knew two of them.

3. He went out to talk to two people who, his daughter said, were his friends. He spoke to them outside and they shot him and left. She knows them and informed the police.

4.  One newsgroup was told by the police that this had to do with Sabeen's murder and all witnesses to that assassination should take care. Police is organising extra security.

5. One newsgroup was informed by the police that this was a private matter and Sabeen's murder had nothing to do with it.

6. Slain social worker Sabeen Mahmud’s driver Ghulam Abbas was not killed over any personal issue; he was killed by the members of a banned outfit according to police.

7. GeoNews said The constable (Ghulam Abbas) worked part-time as T2F director Sabeen Mahmud’s driver.
Quaidabad sub-divisional police officer Rao Mohammad Iqbal said two men visited Abbas’ house and when they were told that the constable had gone to a nearby mosque for prayers, they went after him and shot him.
The constable was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where he succumbed to his injuries. He had suffered bullet wounds to his chest.
Counter-terrorism department official Raja Umer Khattab said the constable was the prime witness in the T2F director’s murder case and had identified the main suspect, Saad Aziz, as the attacker.
The official said the same men had visited the constable’s house two days ago, but he was not there. He added that Abbas was sitting in the backseat of Mahmud’s car when she was attacked.
“The security of other witnesses in the case has become a concern now,” Khattab said.

8. The official (Khattab) said the trial of Mahmud’s murder case was almost over and the suspects were on the verge of being convicted but the prime witnesses had been killed. “The constable had witnessed the entire attack.”
Khattab suspected that al Qaeda Indian Subcontinent could be behind the attack."

Friday, September 4, 2015

Congrats Beaconhouse!

In November 2015 it will be the 40th Year of Beaconhouse. Having moved from a Montessori that Mrs Nasreen Kasuri opened in Lahore, it is now the world's largest chain of schools with institutions in many different countries.

Mrs Kasuri has handed the Schools to her son, Kasim. His younger brother, Nassir, is the Regional Director in the North Area.

This year there will be three conferences by Beaconhouse: Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi. They will be open to the Public, when, in the past these 5 year conferences were only for the people within Beaconhouse. I have been helping them from their very first conference and am a Consultant, again, for this one.

Speakers and Panelists come from all over the world to these conferences and many more will come this year. Be sure to attend them if you are in one of these cities.


It will be 26 years since the following article appeared on The Friday Times. KK's Micro Magazine was brilliant. He and his cousin, Mehreen Kasuri, worked very hard to keep it going.


Click on the article to enlarge it.
Use the Magnifier to make it even bigger.

Micro had an "International Computer Exhibition" that he still laughs about for all the things they did.  I was part of the Exhibition, getting some speakers and a couple of exhibitors. Sabeen Mahmud, who was at Kinnaird College then, used to appear at the Micro Office and help me with her Apple Computer.


Mrs N Kasuri and her sons are my two separate set of friends.

(I met Mr Khurshid Kasuri formally after I met Mrs K,
and was surprised to find that he and I were at GC, Lahore at the same time,
in the same year, in different classes.)

Congrats to them all.