Saturday 27 July 2019

Travel Story “Trip To Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary: Paradise For Bird Lovers.

Family kids were enjoying winter vacation as per their interest, playing cricket, football, reading fairy tales.” To make their winter vacation from funny to spicy and knowledgeable, I decided a trip to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

Where thousands of migratory birds come to the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur each year from Siberia, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Egypt to be in the relative warmth of northern India“.

Bharatpur is at 110 Km distance away from Aligarh, a three hours’ journey.

Kids were ready with their fully charged mobiles for clicks and binoculars. I too picked up my camera bag. Journy started 6.00A.M. It was a freezing cold January. Never imagined such thick fog. Low visibility caused the vehicle to run slow.

We reached Mathura at about 8.30. Here we stopped at a hotel cum dhaba for breakfast. The hotel boy was frying hot jalebi. We refreshed us with Kachaudi, Bedai, hot and sweet jalebis, and garam adrak wali tea.

It was about 9.00A.M. Sky was not clear, still some fog. Thanks to Almighty Allah. We reached safely on gate of santury at about 1o.A.M. Purchased Entrance ticked @75/-per adult, student’s entry was free. From main gate no vehicle is allowed.

The options are to go by walking or hire a pedal rickshaw, bicycle or horse-cart available at the main gate. Rickshaw (Two Seater) charge Rs.100/=per hour, and bicycles charge Rs. 40/=. 

The length of the straight road upto which rickshaws/horse-carts are allowed is around 3.5 kms one side. If not in a hurry, it takes around four odd hours to and fro.

We hired a rickshaw guide and started on the journey into the wildlife, a journey which I am never going to forget. Thankfully the rickshaw guide was very well versed with a vast variety of birds and mammals present in the sanctuary.
“You may not see a tiger at Ranthambore, but you will always see Painted Storks in Bharatpur.”  The proud rikshaw puller cum guide told us.

History of Bharatpur bird santury

It is better to tell about this Bird santury, before entering in a mesmerizing world of flaura and fanna. The 29 km, reserve is locally known as Ghana, and is a mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps, and wetlands.

These diverse habitats are home to 366 bird species, 379 floral species, 50 species of fish, 13 species of snakes, 5 species of lizards, 7 amphibian species,7 turtle species, and and a variety of other invertebrates. 

Keoladeo Ghana National Park formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a famous sanctuary that plays host to thousands of birds especially during the summer season. 

Over 230 species of birds are known to have made the National Park their home. It was declared a protected sanctuary in 1971. It is also a declared World Heritage Site.

The sanctuary was created 250 years ago and is named after a Keoladeo (Shiva) temple within its boundaries. Initially, it was a natural depression.

The park was a hunting ground for the maharajas of Bharatpur, a tradition dating back to 1850, and duck shoots were organised yearly in honor of the British viceroys. In one shoot alone in 1938, over 4,273 birds such as mallards and teals were killed by Lord Linlithgow, the then Governor-General of India.

The journy insiside sanctury, in the silence and mystic beauty.

I preferred to walk with my camera, Bilal on bicyle and others on rickshaw. Rickshaw puller was a well trained guide having knowledge of the various species of birds both inland and migratory. 

He guided me to points of clicking the birds, by their names and habits. It was a treat for my photography.
I still remember the hues and the colors which the sanctuary was bestowed with; a drop of sunshine and the whole place was lit with morning soft sun light mixed with thin frost glory.
Into the tranquility and serenity of the sanctuary which still engulf my mind and soul and takes me in a completely different world with melodies of birds chirping, whistling, flipping and all other sounds that I feel lost in a world of dreams.

This place is a perfect set-up for nature lovers, poets, philosophers and authors, a setup for thoughts, emotions and words.
We moved in a magical world of dream, the world which is ruled by birds, about 2 hours. I confess 2 hours are none for this place. It requires at least one and half full days to witness and inhale the magic of birds.

All were tired and in a mood to return back. My camera was fully loaded with memories of this unforgotten journey.

So vivid was this travelling that even after a long time since our visit, it is still part of the poetry of my imagination.

“Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints!”

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Aligarh Wale Talat Mahmood: The Era of Golden Voice That Never Gets Old

Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh is not only a seat of higher learning and education, it has created a galaxy of stars, who glittered in every field of life. One of them was—Talat Mahmood (1924-19980), A bright star of AMU galaxy. The Ghazal Samrat”, the Golden Voice of India.

The nostalgia voice for many of generations. He sang about 800 songs in his long career. His songs are still popular among the music lovers.

Those were the days of Radio Cylone Amin Syani and Binaca Geet mala, when in peaceful silence of nights, I heard his first song on radio; ‘Ai dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal jahan koi na ho’ (Arzoo).

Later I became a great fan of Talat Mahmood In that craziness, I purchased a new gramophone and L.P records of Saregama HMV ‘Golden Collection’ of Talat Mahmood ghazals.

I instantly fell in love to velvet singing of Talat Mahmood for his 8 songs.He was an obsession for me. :
1- ‘Ae Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal’ (Daag).
2- ‘Main Dil Hoon Ek Armaan Bhara’ (Anhonee)
3- ‘Ae Ghame Dil Kya Karoon’ (Thokar)
4- ‘Shaam-E-Gham Ki Kasam’ (Footpath)
5- ‘Raat ne kya kya khwab dikhaye’ (from ‘Ek Gaon Ki Kahani’).
6- ‘Aansoon samajh ke’ (Chhaya)
7- ‘Seene mein sulaghte hain armaan’ (with Lata Mangeshkar in Taraana).

8-Tasavir banata hun, Tasavir nahi banati(Baradari)

Once Dilip Kumar said Talat as "a perfect gentleman". He was a fine gentleman who always had time and respect for his admirers.

Talat was known for his unique style of singing.  He had a characteristic quiver in his voice that was unique.  Initially many music directors saw this as a flaw, but it was Anil Biswas who saw this as a characteristic that had potential.

Born in Lucknow on February 24, 1924, in a conservative Muslim family, Talat's father was averse to his singing pursuits. But his peternal aunt, phoophi, encouraged her nephew's singing talent and also convinced her brother not to smother his son's passion for music. 

After completing his initial studies in Aligarh he came back to Lucknow and joined the Marris College of Music in 1938, like many singers of that period. He was very active in the 1950s and early 1960's and has many notable films to his credit.

Talat's musical career was marked by a steady rise.  His training began under Pandit S.C.R. Bhat at the Morris Music College Lucknow in the 1930's. In 1939 when he was only 16 years old, he began to sing gazals on All India Radio.

In 1944 came the smash hit "Tasveer teri dil mera behela na sakegi" sold over 100,000 copies; It took the country by storm. Its popularity was so phenomenal and unrivalled that even today it remains one of the biggest non-film hits! 

This disc brought Talat fame throughout India and soon he was beckoned by the Calcutta Film Industry, which was then the premiere hub of film production in the 40's.
He moved to Calcutta and began to sing and act for the film industry there.  While in Calcutta he often performed under the name Tapan Kumar. 

Talat received Padma Bhushan in 1992, in recognition of his artistic contributions in the spheres of cinematic and ghazal music. he had a unique, elegant and profoundly artistic style of singing. Talat was a very gifted singer in every sense.

In 1949 Talat moved to Bombay, to sing for the Hindi film industry. His name and fame had already preceded him and soon he was flooded with offers.

His big break came with the song “Ae dil mujhe aisi jagha le chal jahan koi na ho” composed by music director Anil Biswas for the soundtrack of the movie Arzoo. The song proved to be extremely popular. 

However, Talat who was the first Indian singer to go on foreign concert tours in 1956 to East Africa found eager fans awaiting his arrival in other foreign countries.

His last recording was Mere Shareek-e-Safar, recorded in 1985.  He died on May 9, 1998, at the age of 74.

The Love story of “Talat Mahmood” that ended in happy marriage 

Young and handsome Talat Mahmood was the heart-throb of the nation and he had no dearth of girls, from beautiful movie-stars to sophisticated Maharani's, practically throwing themselves at him vying for his attention! 

But his heart was stolen by a beautiful Bengali girl called Latika Mullick.  Latika had been a child star and had starred in hit films like 'kashinath' and others. 

She was a great fan of Talat's and was thrilled to meet him during one of his many trips to Calcutta for his recording and acting sessions. 

Love soon blossomed and the two decided to marry. But in those days it was unimaginable for anybody to marry against the wishes of their parents. 

Talat was worried that his orthodox father would throw a fit if he came to know that Talat was planning to marry a Christian Bengali!  So Talat and Latika decided to marry on the quiet!

However, the Press soon got wind of the "quiet marriage" and within days splashed stories of their marriage, including photo's of the 'Nikahnama' or marriage certificate, on the front pages of their publications! 

Talat's family in Lucknow came to know of his marriage when some well-meaning family friends showed these Press revelations to them. 

His father was upset but only for a very short while and soon gave his daughter-in-law Latika, whose new married name was now Nasreen Mahmood, his blessings for a happy married life. And so, this became a love story that had a happy ending!!!

Talat and Nasreen married on 20th Feb 1951 and have two children: Khalid born in 1953 and Sabina born in 1959. 

Written with help of Wikipedia, many other write ups on Talat Mahmood and photos available on internt and with an special thanks Mr Khalid Mahmood son of Talay Mahmood.

The End

Friday 12 July 2019

Aligarh Wali-Begum Para: A Legendary Bold Actress of Hindi Cinema.

Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh is not only a seat of higher learning and education, it has created a galaxy of stars, who glittered in every field of life. A bright star of that galaxy was Begum Para (1926–2008) was one of Bollywood's most bold actresses during the 1950s.

She was considered a glamour girl of Hindi Cinema, to such an extent, that Life magazine had a special session with her devoted to her fine sensuous photographs.
Her active Years in Hindi Films were 1944–1956. She returned to films after 50 years for last role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya (2007) as Sonam Kapoor's grandmother. She died in her sleep at the age of 81.

Begum Para carved an image of her own with beguyling shimmying her riding crops, Westernized clothing, and seductive shimmying to music. Films like Ustad Pedro (1951) made her one of the earliest pin-up girls of Hindi cinema.
She was offered to play Nigar Sultana’s role 'Bahar' in Mughal-e-Azam (1960). However, she refused to play the role because she considered it against her image.

In one of her interviews, she had said, "I have millions of memories from those days. I didn't smoke as I never liked it. But, I did drink even when it was considered taboo. I used to hold a glass of whisky openly, unlike other actresses who mixed whisky in colas and pretended that they were teetotalers."
No one will disagree that here was a woman who lived life on her own terms and brought sunshine into the lives of millions of her fans, including those American GIs in Korea who would stick her picture on the cover of Life in their bunkers.
Begum Para’s connection with Aligarh

Begum Para was born as Para Haq in Jehlum (Pakistan). Her family was from Aligarh. Her father, Mian Ehsanul-Haq, was a judge. Later he joined judicial service of the princely state of Bikaner, where he became chief justice of its highest court. He was a fine cricketer too of his time.

She was educated at the Aligarh Muslim University. Her elder brother Masrurul Haq, had gone off to Bombay in the late 1930s to become an actor.

There he had met and fell in love with the Bengali actress Protima Dasgupta, and married her. Protima Dasgupta, was born in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, in 1922.

 Whenever she visited them in Bombay, she was quite taken up with the glitzy world of her sister-in-law. She used to accompany her on many occasions and get-togethers. 

People would get quite impressed with her looks and offer her a lot of roles. One such offer came from Sashadhar Mukherjee and Devika Rani. Her father consented to her wishes reluctantly, and requested her to never work in Lahore.

The Grand Family Relatives Background of Begum Para

She married actor Nasir Khan, the younger brother of Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar.They had three children, including the actor Ayub Khan. Her husband Nasir Khan died in 1974. Following her husband's death, she briefly migrated to Pakistan in 1975. Two years later, she relocated back to India.
Begum Para’s older sister Zarina’s daughter Rukhsana Sultana is the mother of the Indian Actress Amrita Singh. Rukhsana Sultana married Shavinder Singh, the younger brother of the novelist Khushwant Singh, and the son of Sir Sobha Singh of Lahore. 

Amrita Singh, who is Saif Ali Khan's ex-wife, is also Khushwant Singh's niece. After marrying Kareena Kapoor, Saif now has family roots on both sides, as Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor shared a close familial relationship.

The End

Sunday 7 July 2019

Aligarh Wale Ibne Safi: Agatha Christie of East.Master of “Jasoosi Dunya”.

Down the memory lane. Those were the days when hindi films were regulary lived on big screen of Tasveer Mahal Cinema Hall (Aligarh).

There was a small book stall by the side of boundary wall of tasveer Mahal.That small book stall was the first to make me crazy for urdu literature, but a special liking of Jsoosi Dunya written by Ibne Safi.

Monthly magazines- “Bisvin Sadi”,” Shama”,” Bano”, kid’s magazine “Khilauna”,” Ruby” and some popular hindi magzins were also there.

Inspite of these litrary magzines, I was much allured to “Jasoosi Dunya”. The first Urdu authors that I began reading was Ibn-i-Safi writer of Jasoosi dunya. The generation of those still feels very nostalgic about Ibne Safi’s works.
 First of all, the reading habits are declining all over the world in general. We are not seeing A-class writers as we used to in the past.

The fantastical world that Ibne Safi had created, full of colourful, flamboyant and wise-cracking spies, beautiful women, strange-sounding villains, exotic places and odd gadgets.

His novels were characterized by a blend of mystery, adventure, suspense, violence, romance and comedy, achieving massive popularity across a broad readership in South Asia.

According to one of his autobiographical essays, someone in a literary meeting claimed that Urdu literature had little scope for anything but sexual themes.

To challenge this notion, Ibn-e-Safi began writing detective stories in January 1952 in the monthly Nikhat, naming the series Jasoosi Dunya.

Biography of Ibn e Safi
Ibne Safi was born on July 26, 1928, in the village of Nara in Allahabad District, U.P., India. His parents, Safiullah and Nuzaira Bibi, named him Asrar Ahmed at birth. It was much later that he came to be known as Ibne Safi.

Ibne Safi obtained his primary schooling in the village school at Nara. When he was only eight years old, he got an opportunity to read first volume of Talism-e-Hoshruba. The story made a great impact on his creative mind. He then read all seven volumes several times.
Ibne Safi completed Intermediate (High School Certificate) from Eving Christian College Allahabad. This was a co-education college.

In 1947, Ibne Safi enrolled in Allahabad University. Independence riots had started and one incident had also occurred on university premises. Due to the critical nature of an already tense situation, he was asked to stay home. 

After partition, when situation normalized in 1948, he did not re-enroll at Allahabad University.Allahabad University did not have any room for private students.So he moved AMU.Aligarh.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Aligarh Muslim University.
Ibne Safi formed many close friendships during this period. After moving from Nara, his family had taken residence in Hasan Manzil, Allahabad, quarter numbers 15 and 16.

It was there that Ibne Safi met two brothers Abbas Hussaini and Jamal Rizvi (Shakeel Jamali) and their cousins Sarwar Jahaan (later known as Sarwar Hussain Abidi, an artist in Pakistan,) and Mujavir Hussain Rizvi (Ibne Saeed).
Ibne Safi’s other friends from this period include, Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza, Ishtiaq Haider, Yousuf Naqvi, Hameed Qaiser, Qamar Jalsai, Nazish Partab Garhi and Tegh Allahabadi (famous poet Mustafa Zaidi).

Nakhat Publications Allahabad
In 1948, Abbas Hussaini founded Nakhat Publications. Ibne Saeed was the Editor of the prose section, and Ibne Safi became Editor of poetry. 
At this time, Ibne Safi started experimenting with different literary genres on a regular basis, including short stories, humor, and satire. He used pseudonyms such as Sanki Soldier and Tughral Farghan.

His first story for The Nakhat was Farar (The Escape), which was published in June 1948. Ibne Safi, however, was not satisfied with his work. The eight-year-old who had swallowed Talism-e-Hoshruba was persuading him to create something entirely different, especially in prose.
With the advice of Ibne Safi, Abbas Hussaini made arrangements for publishing monthly detective novels. The name of the series was Jasoosi Duniya (The World of Espionage), and it was the first time Ibne Safi started writing with the infamous pen name of Ibne Safi.

Containing his original characters, Inspector Faridi and Sergeant Hameed, the first novel Dilaer Mujrim (The Brave Criminal) was published in March 1952. The plot of the novel was adopted by Victor Gunn's novel Ironsides' Lone Hand.  
At this time (1949-1952), Ibne Safi was by profession a secondary school teacher at Islamia School Allahabad, and later at Yaadgaar-e-Hussaini School. He maintained the school jobs, and studied part time to finish his education.

Ibne Safi migrated to Pakistan with his mother and sister in August 1952.
Ibne Safi migrated to Pakistan with his mother and sister in August 1952. They joined his father in Karachi, who had emigrated there in 1947. Ibne Safi’s first residence was in a locality called C-1 area, Lalukhet (now known as Liaqatabad).
Ibne Safi then founded Asrar Publications and started publishing Jasoosi Duniya simultaneously from Pakistan and India. The political border between the two countries did not divide the relationship he had formed with his readers

The Allahabad connection never broke. He moved to Pakistan but the books kept being published simultaneously from Karachi and Allahabad till the end.

Even when the mail could not be transacted between the two countries the manuscript from Pakistan used to get to Allahabad via England and other countries and the books appeared on shelves on both sides of the border about the same time. The connection still exists.

Nakhat Publications was closed down after the demise of Abbas Husainy and Shakeel Jamali as the offsprings took to other professions.
In Pakistan, Asrar Publications continued publishing the novels.

In 1953, Ibne Safi married Umme Salma Khatoon. She was born on April 12, 1938 to Muhammad Amin Ahsan and Riaz Fatima Begum. Her father was Deputy Superintendent of Police in Sultanpur, India. Salma had a family background of literary and religious personalities.

Her grandfather, the poet Muhammad Ahsan Vehshi, was a disciple of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki. Salma’s uncle, Maulana Najm Ahsan, was a vicegrant (Khalifa) of Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Al Thanvi.
By June 1960, Ibne Safi had written the eighty-eighth novel of Jasoosi Duniya (Prince Vehshee) and the forty-first novel of Imran Series (Bay-Awaaz Sayyarah). However, only four issues were ever published. The excessive thinking and writing eventually took a toll on his health, and the magazine edition was discontinued.
Ibne Safi suffered from schizophrenia during 1960 and 1963, not writing a single word in those three years. With the prayers of his family, friends, and fans, Ibne Safi finally recovered from the illness in 1963 under the treatment of Hakim Iqbal Hussain of Karachi.

The author made a great comeback on November 25, 1963 with the bestseller Imran Series novel Dairh Matwaalay, which inaugurated in India by the Ex Interior Minister (later Prime Minister of India) Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The demand for this novel was so high that within a week a second edition was published in India. This edition was inaugurated by the then Provincial Law Minister Ali Zaheer.

In September 1979, Ibne Safi suffered from abdominal pains. By December of that year, it was confirmed these were a result of cancer at the head of pancreas.

Though his health deteriorated seriously and rapidly between December 1979 and July 1980, Ibne Safi did not quit writing.

On Saturday July 26, 1980, Ibne Safi passed away (Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Raje’oon).

This write up on Ibn-e-Safi has been prepared and posted with the help of different materials and book covers available on net ,with thanks.