I am a Ghazal critic, I may not be an expert “Urdu-DaaN” but, my Urdu is better than most people I have come across, its a shame that Urdu is disappearing slowly. There are a very few people and very few organizations who are promoting Urdu.

Urdu is Pakistan’s national language, only a few Urdu speaking sects mainly found in Karachi, the salees Urdu or the shusta zubaan that once used to be the main language in the courts of the noblemen in Delhi, Lucknow etc., is kinda rare now. What we see, hear and talk today in Urdu, is the aam bol chaal which is not the same Urdu as before.

Anyways, after reading this blog please don’t challenge me or, point out my mistakes, because to err is human. LOL, yet I am criticizing others and yes why not? We need to criticize each other rather than being complacent or shy or, say its not my business. It is our business to correct and to protect our language.

My intention here is not to ridicule anyone instead, I would like the Ghazal singers to take note of the basic ingredients when they are reciting or singing a Ghazal.

Ghazal is a Ghazal and it is not GAJAL

Mai Ghazal hoon, mujhe Raagaon se sajaya jai

Narm Awaz kay Jaadoo se Jagya jai

Mir aur Ghalib ne sanwara hai Ghazal kay fun ko

Mujh ko Nadaanaon kay hathaon se bachaya jai

Meray Gham jo aapko Miltay, tou aap apne hosh kho diyeh hotay

Yay tu mera dumm hai, jo muskurati hoon mai,

Garr aap hotay tu ro diyeh hotay

My advise is to my fellow non-Urdu speaking singers is, when you recite a Ghazal on stage or at a mehfil private or public, I am sure you must have practiced it, rehearsed it a few times or, even composed the music as in case of a few renowned singers, composers and music directors like A. R. Rahman etc., so my advise is:

1. Check out the pronunciation of ALL the words in that Ghazal, avoid Hindi version of J for Z. And, not just Gajal, but Jindagi, Firr etc., pls avoid Hindi words in Urdu Ghazal.

2. Check out the meaning of the words in that Ghazal and in what context it is used by the poet? For example the famous Ghazal, “Aaj Jaanay Ki Zidd na Karo…” almost all the famous singers have used it as a benchmark to prove they can sing it better (than others) to name a few: Habib Wali Mohammad, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Farida Khanam, A R Rahman, Richa Sharma, Gopa Chakarbarti etc.

I would rank Habib Wali Mohammad’s as the best from every perspective, the words, the accent, the emphasis on words, stretching the words in such a melodious way that has struck me as the best.

What is wrong with Shafqat Amanat Ali? aNo, nothing wrong he improvised it with classical music and ragas, its my personal view and my personal choice that he is after Habib Wali Mohammad. Earlier he used to say “wakt ki kaid may zindagi hai magar…” later he corrected it to, “waqt ki qaid may zindagi hai magar.:

Farida Khanam a great Ghazal singer but the same problem of “Qaaf” and “kay” its not Taaluk but Ta’aluq. I know a lot of ppl admire her, adore her worship her but, not my choice, and I’m restricting this only on this Ghazal, Aaj jaanay ki zidd na karo…

A R Rahman, great voice but he messed up this Ghazal aaj jaanay ki zidd na karo with a couple of blunders.  One, he started with “hai” murr jayenge, its not “hai” it is Haaayee murr jayenge. “Hai” means I have and “Haaayee” is a kinda Aaaah, a woe the feeling of melancholy, the feeling of pain and even the thought of the departure of my beloved. So, when he said “HAI” it changed the meaning of that verse.

The second mistake he made is, “Ruk lo” aaj ki raat ko. Whereas the correct word is “Roke lo” aaj ki raat ko. Now, Ruk lo means “you stay put” whereas, the poet is not asking the beloved to stay put, he is saying, hold the night, stop the time, roke lo aaj ki raat ko, meaning stop the time!

I mean how can you do that? Especially, a person like A R Rahman should have thought about it. Perhaps its due to the fact that Urdu is not his mother tongue.

Some common mistakes even among the Pakistani Punjabi Ghazal singers like, Ghulam Ali etc is: they keep repeating the words Tallak, Tallafazz, Kismet, Kaid etc., in stead of Ta’aluq, Talafuz, Qismet, Qaid.

The worst thing Ghulam Ali does is, he thinks the audience are idiots and fools, he starts explaining the meaning of difficult (in his view) words that he recites. Once in Dubai at a CitiBank sponsored concert, he was booed ‘coz he was explaining too much in between the Ghazal not just the meaning of words but, also on how to emphasize them, when and where? Come on Ghulam Ali that was a concert and not a teaching class for the novice students, people have paid money to listen to you. That was my one and only Ghulam Ali concert that I had attended.

Some other Indian notable singers like Gopa Chakarbarti, despite being a PhD in music cannot express the proper Urdu words, like the French ignores the letter or alphabet “H” or do not pronounce it especially where it is needed, she too has missed out the word “H” in her Ghazals, its neither Gajal nor, Guzal it is Ghazal. The Urdu alphabet “GHaiN” cannot be pronounced in Hindi. Surprisingly the letter R in French sometimes sounds like the Urdu letter “GHaiN” e.g., the car Renault is pronounced as “GHuNoo.”

You may challenge me for saying Renault is pronounced as GHuNoo but, its a fact that  a few years ago I met a French lady from France (not Quebec) and she introduced herself as Elisabeth GHuNoo, and I was kinda awwww??? (First of all the first name Elisabeth not Elizabeth never mind that, what was that noon GHuNoo? :b ? She said, like the car GHuNoo, I asked her you mean Renault? She replied, “Exactement” Exactly!

The Quebecois and the Latinos who speak French, they pronounce R as R and not as GH, lie our Urdu ka Ain, “GHAIN”. Whereas, when the Frenchmen or women from France, when they say France or Francais, they say “Frrnce” and “FrKHansay.” Its more like KHAN.  Anyways, I don’t want to drift from Ghazal to GHuNoo or how the correct French is spoken? Its an old story and not the subject here.

Richa Sharma: I have no clue about her background, she has impressed me with her singing skills and her improvisation abilities and the correct pronunciation of Urdu. She needs to be focusing more on classical than filmy songs and she should be conducting concerts all over the world including Pakistan.

Ps. I have made this blog longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.

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The Return of Cricket Dracula

One foreign journalists wrote, “Pakistan is a country where nothing is permissible but, everything is possible.” Its true, it happens not only in the government, politics but in sports too. What is more surprising is everything is controlled in a dictatorial manner in the name of democracy.

The Pakistan Cricket Board or the PCB is one such organization which is supposed to be an independent and autonomous body is run by the President of the country who is the Patron in chief of the PCB. Reportedly he appoints the Chairman and the Chairman is not accountable to anyone but to himself. Because, the President of Pakistan has no time to look into the day to day affairs of the Board.

In the past we have seen so many Chairmen who have played cricket in Boardrooms like a Chessboard and that too in Poker face style. They have no experience of man management and no knowledge of the game. They came, they ruined, they got busted, booted and Butt-headed. The ultimate loser is the game of cricket in Pakistan. Yet, we have seen so much talent among the players that with all the odds they have been playing well internationally – they could have done better had there been better management and less politics in the PCB.

We have witnessed that in the event of a loss of series or a big tournament, there is always a change in the captaincy but, never at the Board level. The fault is not with the players but the fault lies in the management. The people working in the PCB are not bunch of jokers but, vultures. They are there to make money and they look after their own vested interest.

We have also seen cronyism is at its best in the PCB, the talented, the capable, the deserving is always ignored and the one who is selected is a friend of my friend or, he who has a political backing and a clout. The total team selection is based on regionalism and cronyism. Not only the team but the officials too are selected in the same manner.

We have seen corrupt players who have been banned from playing cricket for life by the Justice system of the country have been recruited as officials in the team. Example, Waqar Younus, Mushtaq Ahmad, Ejaz Ahmad and now there is a news in the market that Saleem Malik has been tipped as a batting coach for the national team?

Is there any morality left? How can they even think of appointing Saleem Malik as the batting coach for the Pakistan national team? I would like to quote here a link from the  Daily Tribune, our friend Umair Qazi has written the Malik Saga in detail i.e., how Malik used to toy with the opposition and with our own team. Here is the link:

What is Saleem Malik going to give to the young players? Tips on how to fix a match? How to bet and how to get your partner runout? Some people are not aware of the fact that Salim Malik had an account in the defunct bank BCCI where he used to keep his “money” the bank was closed in the early nineties hence, easy come easy go.

Therefore, whoever knows Salim Malik besides his cricketing abilities and his talents should also remember that he brought a vulture culture in the dressing room where every player was affected from the cancer of betting and match fixing. Now that the dressing room is clean from all the ills, why is the PCB interested in bringing Saleem Malik back into the game? 

Therefore, YOU ALL should say NO to Saleem Malik’s appointment as a batting coach for the Pakistan National Team. PERIOD

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money I write with a lot of passion whether it makes sense or not but I don’t care about that, but I convey my point to you, did I or did I NOT?  I write like others breathe. 

Yay, this is the 100th thread that I have written on this blog alone, and thousands and thousands of comments.

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Saeed Ajmal you may be the best bowler in the world but, we CCI (generally mistaken by the Pakistanis that CCI means; Cricket Council Of India, actually we are the Cricket Clowns International) cannot give you the player of the year award because, you are a Pakistani …. ooops…..  Please don’t quote that we are not saying its a mistake but, it is politically incorrect also, it is not official.

Ahemmm, let us discuss with the members of our Politburo and then we will release an official statement. In the mean time please delete that blabbering, it was nothing but a loud thinking. So, please wait while we get back to you.

Ummmmm OK, we have now discussed it with our comrades at the CCI Politburo and we would like to make an official press release especially for you: ” The PCB Guys and the Pakistani public who are making a big hue and cry for nothing.”  And, you Mr. Ijaz Butt, you have lodged a baseless protest against us. In our opinion it is a diplomatic blasphemy on your part so it is about time that, you better amend your blasphemy laws in your PCB constitution.

For your kind information, the decision to nominate the player of the year award, especially the long list of players who were nominated for this award was decided by a panel of 32 independent jurors. Do you understand how many are 32? It means three tens and one + one.

And, before that, the longlist was prepared by not one man like Ijaz Butt, but a five-member very able Selection Panel headed by Clive Lloyd and it included Clare Connor (England), Tom Moody (Australia), Carl Hooper (West Indies) and Marvan Atapattu (Sri Lanka). See, there is no Indian in this panel, because they like to do the backseat mothering.

Now, also for your information, in that panel of 32 member INDEPENDENT jury, you have two of your very own ‘disabled & mistrusted’ people. One is a former test player and a former Chief Selector of the PCB Mr. Aamir Sohail and the other is your own journalist Mr. Majid Bhatti both were also the jurors of that panel. So, the mistake of not choosing Saeed Ajmal is not ours but, your own. Therefore, the next time if you lodge a protest Mr. Ijaz Butt, the Chairman of the PCB, you get your facts correct. Kapish?

You are saying that,  Saeed Ajmal, took 72 Test wickets between August 4, 2011 and August 6, 2012 – the qualifying period for the award – including 24 wickets at an economy rate of 14.70, and Pakistan swept aside England, the then NUMERO UNO side in the world. And whitewashed them 3-0 in January 2012. Ajmal  climbed to No. 3 rank in the ICC Test bowling rankings and is the highest ranked spinner. So, let us check our records before we correct this anomaly and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thursday Sept. 06, 2012:  OK there you go, YES we have checked the records and somehow our records show that NOW a Pakistani bowler called “Shaheed AQHmal”, has become the top bowler in the ODI rankings.  How is it possible? How can a Pakistani bowler and that too a spinner can be better than Graeme Swann of England? Let us check it again with the help our subsidiary “ICCB” (read reverse) and their top IT gurus.

Alright, something similar happened in the year 2010 when Swanny was not in the long list and our sister concern BCE (British Clowns of England) pointed out this error and we realized that was a genuine over-sight on our part. Because, Swanny is a great bowler. So, we had to include him in the  nomination. That is another matter that he lost to Bhagwan Sri Sachin Tendulkar, because we don’t want to “diss-please” ICCB because they support us whenever we need them.

But, in Ajmal’s case there are a few hindrances and obstacles, like he did not play on the hard bouncy wickets of Australia and South Africa, so we don’t know whether he will be as effective as he is in the UAE?  Besides, UAE is like an extended province of Pakistan. They even import the soil for the pitch from Pakistan and that is why their bowlers bowl well on those pitches and they keep on altering the pitch according to their needs. Fast track, slow track, medium track, bouncy, SurrSurri etc. etc.

Anyways, Mr. Ijaz Butt, the Chairman of the PCB must not give us threats of boycotting the ceremony because, they still have to come to Sri Lanka to play the T20 World Cup.

According to the official press release receieved from the PCB, Mr.Zaka Ashraf is the new Chairman of the PCB since January 2012. However, our (CCI) records indicate that Mr. Ijaz Butt is still the Chairman of the PCB. We will ask the ICCB techno savvy gurus to help us in amending our computer programming system.

Shaheed AHQmal has also violated the code of conduct laws by giving an statement to the media that the CCI is nominating player of the year award based on likes and dislikes and not on the basis of performance! How can he say that? Under the penal code no. 302 section 144 paragraph 3-4.7 clearly says that any player especially a Pakistani player IF he insults the CCI or CCIB directly or indirectly shall be banned for 7.382 years.

“After our discovering the error in our CCI computer system when we announced that Shaheed AQHmal is now the Numero Uno bowler in the world for ODI’s he is apparently over the moon.”  The picture below was taken by The Curiosity Rover from MARS.

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. I write for free and for fun, and this piece is written in total zest to amuse cricket lovers not because its a funny story but, its a truth that a real good bowler ~ Saeed Ajmal, who performed better than everyone else in the world,  is not being considered for an award by the ICC ~ And, that is a real shame.