Thursday 14 June 2012
Last Update 15 June 2012 3:44 am
June 13, 2012: It’s a sad day for music lovers of not only the subcontinent but wherever the fans of Urdu ghazals reside all across the world. The legendry classical Urdu ghazal singer, Mehdi Hassan is no more amongst us.
Mehdi’s family migrated to Pakistan during the subcontinent’s first partition of 1947, wherein he struggled hard to earn a living.
But perhaps time was waiting for someone to recognize Mehdi as a classical singer not as a motor mechanic. In late 1950s, he got a chance to prove himself in Radio Pakistan’s classical music programs and then there was no looking back afterward.
His voice added so many colors to some of the ghazals of famous poets that their couplets are even remembered by the vocalist’s name. He sang ghazals of poets of our times — Faiz, Faraz and Parveen, and also ghazals of Urdu’s classical master poets of 18th and 19th century — Ghalib, Daagh and Meer. He was the one who made some of these ghazals immortal, going to live forever in his voice.
He was bestowed with numerous national and international awards but his main award was what he earned among the common people — King of the classical Urdu ghazal singing. He was an icon of the subcontinent’s soft music who has gone forever but his melodious voice will continue to eternally reign the music waves of the subcontinent. — Masood Khan, Jubail
This refers to the story “Saudis, expats report rise in crime incidents in Riyadh” (March 18), which briefly covered the kind of harassment that expat residents face in Riyadh. The report, however, did not touch upon the misery that the residents, mainly Asian expats, face in places such as Dammam. Now, almost three months after the report was published, we do not know how far the situation has improved or worsened in Riyadh. In Dammam though, not a single day passes without an incident of house burglary involving a middle class expat.
Earlier, we would only be worried about the safety of a mobile phone or a handbag while walking on the streets, but now every time we return back from outside we say a prayer while opening the door of our house hoping to find it intact just like we had left it in the morning.
While driving to work, even when a regular person walks past our cars, we fear he may barge into our cars and put a knife to our throats. Accommodations and apartments of expats are ransacked while they are on a holiday.
When such incidents are reported to the police, a superficial report is prepared, which probably disappears along with hundreds of similar reports that must have been lying since years in the local police stations.
How is it possible that the authorities have failed to do anything so far? How is it becoming increasingly easy for these culprits to repeat thefts of a similar nature on a daily basis? How is it possible that even an ATM machine is looted and is not noticed by anyone?
Is it a crime on our part that we are seeking a livelihood in this country? Is it our fault that these miscreants are not seeking to make use of the various government schemes and the King’s noble gestures to lead a comfortable and respectable life? Where are we to go to seek help and protection? — A Reader, by e-mail
Turmoil in Nigeria
Things are going from bad to worse in Nigeria. Because of the government’s weak position, extremist elements are gaining ground in several areas. More than 200 people have lost their lives in the past three months. Now, the country is facing a Yemen- and Somalia-like situation. The government is not doing much to control it. Extremist elements like Boko Haram are furthering their agenda of controlling young minds according to their skewed interpretations of the Shariah. The number of suicide attacks has increased dramatically in the last few months. Boko Haram openly claimed responsibility for these attacks, but no one was brought to justice. Several churches have also been attacked and several people have lost their lives in revenge attacks. Due to this tense situation, there is a widening gap between the different sections of society and the poor people are the worst affected. The country has enough oil resources, but the government is unable to change the fortunes of its people as more than half of its population is below the poverty line. — Khawaja Umer Farooq, by e-mail
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