Tag Archives: Shankar

Pandit Ravi Shankar – “Today, World Came to Standstill! Today, Many Hearts Missed a Beat!”

By Dr. Ahmed H. Makhdoom

Today, the Sun did not rise! Today, the Moon too went mourning! Today, the stars ceased to twinkle! Today, Maestro who refurbished with longing and yearning the souls of the seekers of Truth has passed away! Pandit Ravi Shankar jee has reinvented and rejuvenated Raaggu Sindhi Bhairvee.

اَڄُ نَہ اوطاقُن ۾؍ سي طالِبَ تَنواريِن؍

(شاھُ ڀِٽاٸيؒ)

“Acju na otaaqun mein, sei taliba tanwaareen”

(Shah Bhittai)

“Alas! Worthy devotees found not in courtyards today”

(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

Such GREATS are born once in a lifetime! All lovers of Raaggs and Kalaams and Classical music will forever miss the MAGIC of Maestro Ravi Shankar. May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace!

Sitar is an instrument which really perplexes most Westerners. Using this musical instrumeny, Ravi Shankar helped connect the world through music. The sitar virtuoso hobnobbed with the Beatles, became a hippie musical icon and spearheaded the first rock benefit concert as he introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over nearly a century.

پريمَ اَکَرُ پاڙھي؍ سَتِ گُرَ مَنُ سِيتَل ڪَيو؍ (ساميِ)

“Preima akharu paarrhei, SatiGura manu seetal kayo” (Saamee)

“Taught me lessons of love assiduously,

True Master enlightened my soul graciously”

(Saamee Chanrai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

Ravi Shankar was the legendary Indian instrument ‘sitar’ maestro and composer. He was most esteemed musical Ambassador and a singular phenomenon in the classical music worlds of East and West.

“Ravi Shankar has brought me a precious gift and through him I have added a new dimension to my experience of music. To me, his genius and his humanity can only be compared to that of Mozart’s.” (Yehudi Menuhin)

Listen and be enamoured, enriched and enlightened by the super rendition of Sindhi Bhairavee by the great Maestro here….

Pandit Ravi Shankar jee was always ahead of his time. He has written three concertos for sitar and orchestra, last one of which in 2008. He has also authored violin-sitar compositions for the world renowned Maestro, Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita – Koto virtuoso, and has collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages).

آديسي اُٿي ويا؍ مَڑھيۇن مۇن ماريِن؍

(شاھُ ڀِٽاٸيؒ)

“Aadeisee uthee wayaa, marrhiyuun muun mareen”

(Shah Bhittai)

“Noble disciples gone forever, their solemn absence does slay”

(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he has done more for music than any other musician. He is well known for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. This however, he did only after long years of dedicated study under his illustrious guru Baba Allaudin Khan and after making a name for himself in India.

Always ahead of his time, Ravi Shankar has written three concertos for sitar and orchestra, last one of which in 2008. He has also authored violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita – Koto virtuoso, and has collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages).

اَڄُ پڻ اُتَرَ پارَ ڏي، ڪارا ڪَڪَرَ ڪيسَ؛

(شاهه ڀٽائيؒ)

“Acju pinnu utara paara ddei, kaaraa kakara keisa”

(Shah Bhittai)

“Gloom ‘n darkness here ‘n there abound , today as well;

Black murky clouds on Northerly horizon, today as well.”

(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

Ravi Shankar is an honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers. He has received many awards and honours from his own country and from all over the world, including fourteen doctorates, the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan, Desikottam,Padma Bhushan of 1967, the Music Council UNESCO award 1975, the Magsaysay Award from Manila, two Grammy’s, the Fukuoka grand Prize from Japan, the Polar Music Prize of 1998, the Crystal award from Davos, with the title ‘Global Ambassador’ to name some.

In 1986 Ravi Shankar was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of Parliament.

Deeply moved by the plight of more than eight million refugees who came to India during the Bangla Desh Freedom struggle from Pakistan, Ravi Shankar wanted to help in any way he could. He planned to arrange a concert to collect money for the refugees. He approached his dear friend George to help him raise money for this cause.

This humanitarian concern from Ravi Shankar sowed the seed of the concept for the Concert for Bangla Desh. With the help of George Harrison, this concert became the first magnus effort in fund raising, paving the way for many others to do charity concerts.

ھۇجي جيٸَ کي جياريِن؍ سي لاھۇتي لَڏي ويا؍

(شاھُ ڀِٽاٸيؒ)

“Huu jei jeeya khei jiyaareen, sei laahuutee laddei wayaa.”

(Shah Bhittai)

“Filial ones nourished our souls, no more in motherland stay.”

(Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

His recording “Tana Mana”, released on the private Music label in 1987, brought Mr. Shankar’s music into the “New age” with its unique method of combining traditional instruments with electronics.

He has been described as the ‘National Treasure of Sub-continent” by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. There is never going to be another Maestro Ravi Shankar! A supreme legend, he was far above each and every legend in the field of arts, music and entertainment. And, there is never going to be another 12.12.12 – that day in History when the Master Sitarist breathed his last at the age of 92 years.

جي ساہ سنڀارَ، سي اَڄ

جن جي ساہ سنڀارَ، سي اَڄ پَنھوارَ پَري ٿِيا،

(سَچَلُ سَرمَست، سُر مارئي، ۱داستان پهريون)

“Jani jee saaha sanbhaara, sei acju panwhaaraparei thiyaa”

(Sachalu Sarmastu, suru Maaruee, daastaanu Pahriyon)

“Those beloveds in my soul preserved, alas! Away today afar they parted!”

(Sachal Sarmast, Melody of Marui, 1 Ch.1: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

This is my humble tribute to the Guru who blessed the souls of many all over the world with his remarkable music and compositions. In grief and mourning.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, December 12, 2012.

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Pakistan at knife’s edge

Karachi – Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) is organizing the launching ceremony of the book “Pakistan at knife’s edge” by late M. B. Naqvi at Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA), Aewan-e-Sadr Road, Karachi on January 9, 2011 at 3.00 pm. Former diplomat, Former Union State Minister for External Affairs, Ex-Member of Indian Lok Sabha (lower house) and central leader of member of the Indian National Congress party Mani Shankar Aiyar will the chief guest on the occasion.

We hypocritical Muslims – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Muslims have convinced themselves that they are super-humans. They believe that the world should be very attentive to the Muslims’ religious and cultural sensitivities while they can persecute any minority

On an international level, people from every religion exchange greeting cards to commemorate different occasions. We all know that most of these cards are meant for the wastebasket. What if a Christian or Jew saw a Muslim salesperson throwing his card with Jesus or Moses’ name on it and called the police to register a case of blasphemy against him/her and the police arrested the violator? Most western readers would laugh out loud at this unlikely scenario but it is not a laughing matter for a physician from Hyderabad, Pakistan, who, unwittingly, threw a Muslim’s visiting card in the trash basket. He apologised to the offended party and yet the police arrested him under pressure from religious fanatics.

The manner in which the religious parties are campaigning for Aasia Bibi’s hanging has given me many nightmares while living in the US capital. What if the Bible belt of the southern states in the US became as influential as the religious parties in Pakistan? The US Congress and Senate would add a constitutional amendment on blasphemy laws according to which anyone who believes in any prophet after Jesus would be sentenced to death. Under pressure from Washington, most European and South American countries and those with majority Christian populations would follow suit in making the Christian blasphemy law. Hindus, Buddhists and people of other religions would also be forced to pass such laws. What kind of world would we live in if all that should take place?

Whatever happens, the Blasphemy Law will be fully operational against Muslims because they were the ones who set the precedent. This means that the millions of Muslims living in non-Islamic countries would face persecution and may even be led to the gallows. Fundamentalists and extremists of every religion will justify Muslim persecution on the basis of their belief in a prophet who came after Jesus and other prophets and the way the people believing in this religion have been targeting Christians and other minorities in their own countries.

Lucky for the Muslims living in the US and other non-Islamic countries that no nation has blasphemy laws and Muslims can throw any greeting card in the wastebasket or even openly put down other religions without fear of reprisal. Of course, after 9/11, Muslims may be screened more at airports. Even the Indian ambassador to Washington, Ms Meera Shankar, was put through a body search for which India has lodged a strong protest with the US. One can see regular white Americans also being humbled at airports. Therefore, discrimination is there but Muslims never realise that they have worse practices in their own countries. They do not see a connection between the liberties they enjoy abroad in contrast to the persecution of minorities in their homelands.

Furthermore, Muslims in the US and other European countries are not taking discrimination lying down; they are fighting for their equal rights. Nowadays, US-based Muslim organisations are campaigning for the US government to allow them to send zakat money to other countries. The US put many restrictions on such charities under the pretext that such money is being used to fund Muslim terrorist organisations. The point is that Muslim organisations can challenge such laws publicly despite American sensitivity about the role of charitable organisations in funding jihad.

While Muslims enjoy such liberties in the western world, they are intolerant towards minorities in their own countries. Religious parties take the most hypocritical positions at home and abroad. They agitate for equal rights in the west and demonstrate to maintain the Blasphemy Law and hang a poor rural Christian like Aasia Bibi in Pakistan. Religious parties want democratic freedom when it comes to their own interests but become fascists when it is someone else’s right. For example, the Jamaat-e-Islami wants pure democracy and transparency in the country but in institutions under their control, like the Punjab University, they become a corrupt, tyrannical force. A similar pattern is repeated wherever religious parties gain control, be it in FATA or an educational institution.

Aasia Bibi’s case does not make much sense. Having lived with many rural Christians — who are mostly very poor and are considered untouchables — I know that these poor souls are incapable of committing the crimes they are accused of. Most of the time, the grudging ‘Muslim masters’ register such cases to punish them for disobeying or refusing to do free work. Muslim organisations are up in arms to free Aafia Siddiqui for violating US laws but show no compassion for Aasia Bibi. Obviously, this is a crude example of double standards. …

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